BERLIN, N.H. — Hillary Clinton condemned ISIS for committing “genocide” against Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East for the first time at a campaign stop here Tuesday.
Clinton, who admitted she was reluctant to use the term a few months ago, said she would now employ the word “genocide” to denounce what ISIS is doing, citing “enough evidence.”
“What is happening is genocide, deliberately aimed at destroying not only the lives but wiping out the existence of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East in territory controlled by ISIS,” she said in response to a question at a town hall event.
"That term carries with it legal import. It’s a very important concept and label for behavior that deserves that name," Clinton said, adding that in the past she wasn't sure there was enough evidence to warrant the term.
“I am sure now that we have enough evidence,” Clinton said.
The administration has yet to label what ISIS is doing as genocide, but just last week, President Obama issued a statement on persecuted Christians around the world.
“In some areas of the Middle East where church bells have rung for centuries on Christmas Day, this year they will be silent; this silence bears tragic witness to the brutal atrocities committed against these communities by ISIL,” the president wrote.
Pope Francis, on the other hand, charged ISIS with genocide earlier this year on a trip to South America. The man who questioned Clinton asked her if she would join the Pope and other leaders who have characterized what ISIS is doing as genocide.
Clinton is not the only presidential hopeful to be confronted with this question. Several candidates have been asked on the trail to pledge their commitment to using the term genocide when discussing ISIS’s acts against Christians and other religious minorities.
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio told a crowd in Sioux City, Iowa on Tuesday that “unlike this president, the one we have now, I’m going to call it for what it is — it’s a genocide.”
The question has also been posed to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who have both said the United States should help Christian Syrian refugees fleeing ISIS’s stronghold.