On June 15, the Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria released a report on the ongoing genocide of Iraqi Yazidis, an ethnically Kurdish religious group, by Islamic State (IS). The same report dismisses the accusation that IS is also bent on exterminating Christians. Nina Shea argues that the Commission—an influential body established by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights—has credulously believed IS denials while ignoring a great deal of contrary evidence:
The report confidently declares that IS unconditionally recognizes Christians’ “right to exist as Christians,” including those within its territory, “as long as they pay the jizya tax” [traditionally demanded of those neither Muslim nor pagan] because, it suggests, the terror group respects Christians (and presumably Jews) as “People of the Book.” Another unsubstantiated and insupportable claim is that there are “Christian communities still living in IS-controlled territory.” The report even denies that the IS attacks against the Christian minority are religious, asserting instead a political motivation for its violence against that minority. . . .
[T]his conclusion is demonstrably false. . . .
In truth, there is a complete absence of intact Christian communities in IS-held territory, which is prima facie evidence that there was no jizya option for the Christians. Testimony and reports from the Christian survivors and their clergy confirm this.
What IS refers to as “jizya” is extortion and ransom from a few disabled or elderly individuals, and others who did not escape in time. Those who did not escape have been killed or forced to become “brides” [i.e., sex-slaves] to jihadists, human shields, slaves, hostages, or Muslims against their will. They are barred from practicing their Christian faith.
IS not only intends to destroy the Christian communities under its control; it has done so, and should be held accountable for the genocide against the Christians as well as for that against the Yazidis.