The Persecution and Genocide of Christians in the Middle East

Prevention, Prohibition, & Prosecution

Jane F. Adolphe

Ronald J. Rychlak

In summer 2014, ISIS waged a bloody blitz through Iraq’s Nineveh province, crucifying, beheading, raping, torturing, forcibly converting to Islam, and driving out every member of the region’s 2000-year-old Christian community. Christian girls, as young as three, were sold at ISIS sex slave markets in Mosul. Ancient churches were burned and ISIS attacked dozens of Christian towns in Syria. The beheading in 2015 of 21 Egyptian Copts on a Libyan beach, who died with the Lord’s Prayer on their lips, was videotaped by ISIS and became a searing, iconic symbol of this wave of persecution that threatens to eradicate Christianity in the Middle East. Many in the West, even Christians, remain unaware of the scale of this persecution, and even fewer know what can be done about it.

Inspired by Pope Francis’s denunciation of these acts as “genocide,” a group of Catholic legal scholars, writers, and theologians began work on The Persecution and Genocide of Christians in the Middle East. Its case studies focus on persecuted Christians, but its analysis equally applies to the other victims. In the United States, military and diplomatic responses are contemplated and sometimes undertaken. But what about the legal system? Are there things we can or should be trying? That question animates this book as it explores various facets of religious persecution, examining ISIS’s ideology and its relationship to Islam as practiced by most Muslims. Practical, relevant, and rich in ideas, this book addresses the most crucial religious freedom issue of our day. It is a primer for Christians, students of international human rights, and all concerned about religious persecution.

Praise for The Persecution and Genocide of Christians in the Middle East

“ISIS’s genocide against Christians is one of the most egregious human rights problems in the world today. Christian communities in the Middle East, Africa, and elsewhere should not be abandoned to face alone mass murder, rape, and deportation, indeed the destruction of their entire presence. These are crimes against humanity crying out to us for both prayer and humanitarian, legal, and political action. This informative book gives rare insights into a crisis often hushed up in the media, and tells how we can help.”

— LEONARD LEO, Former Chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom

“This is the most cogent discussion of the threat ISIS poses yet published. Written by experts in many fields, it details the persecution of Christians and others, ranging from religious oppression and sexual violence to torture. The failure of international bodies to address this menace is also addressed. The wealth of data, combined with a fair-minded approach to this incendiary subject, makes this book must reading for anyone concerned about the fate of freedom in the third millennium.”

— BILL DONOHUE, President, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights

“The hideous martyrdom of Christians in the early 21st century will be remembered for the life of the Church, that is, forever. We owe our gratitude to this remarkable new work for helping us understand the brutal reality lived daily by our brothers and sisters at the hands of ISIS and other genocidal groups.”

— AUSTIN RUSE, President, Center for Family & Human Rights (C-Fam)

About the Authors

Jane F. Adolphe

Jane F. Adolphe is an Associate Professor of Law at Ave Maria School of Law, in Naples, Florida (2001–present) and an expert with the Holy See, Secretariat of State, Relations with States, residing in Rome (2011–present). She is also an Adjunct Professor at the Law School of the University of Notre Dame Australia, Sydney Campus (2016–present).

Ronald J. Rychlak

Ronald J. Rychlak is the Jamie L. Whitten Chair of Law and Government and Professor of Law at the University of Mississippi. He also serves as the university’s Faculty Athletic Representative, and he is the former Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. He has authored or edited a dozen books, including Hitler, the War, and the Pope and Disinformation (with Ion M. Pacepa).