President Obama spent days at a White House summit emphasizing the U.S. is not at war with Islam, that he wants to protect the Muslim population from being blamed for the acts of radical Muslims across the Mideast and that violence is done in the name of all religions, not just Islam.
But a number of Middle East experts contend it’s clear that the motivation of the people who use the tactics of beheading, crucifixion, burning and slaughter to instill terror and take over territory in the name of Allah is religious.
Spokesman David Curry of Open Doors USA, which has worked for decades in the Middle East, said all of the administrations policy statements and evaluations of the conflict seem to be “leaving out the religious content.”
“It is religious,” he told WND. “These people have a religious motivation. … They are attacking Christians. Their goal is to eliminate Christianity and faith in their caliphate and beyond, and that’s what they’re attempting to do.”
Earlier this month, ISIS released a video of its members beheading 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians on a Libyan beach and another of a captured Jordanian pilot of Muslim heritage being burned alive in a cage.
This week, Syrian human-rights activists reported the number of Christians abducted by ISIS in Syria and Iraq reached more than 250.
The abductions have come during Islamic terror attacks on villages in the region that have prompted thousands more to flee and become refugees, USA Today said.
Osama Edward of the Assyrian Human Rights Network said he fears the Assyrian Christians captured would be treated like the Coptic Christians captured earlier in Libya and beheaded.
ISIS has paraded prisoners through city streets in metal cages, like the Jordanian pilot who was burned to death.
While the U.S. State Department and White House issued a condemnation of the kidnappings, Obama was insisting to attendees of the violent extremism summit that “no religion is responsible for terrorism – people are responsible for violence and terrorism” and “Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding.”
Curry said, however, the fighting in Syria and Iraq is not merely a civil war but is “religiously motivated.”
“We are going to continue to see these kinds of attacks,” he said.
CBS reported the abductions have been in the Hassakeh province, which borders Turkey and Iraq.
ISIS has been attacking the villages and seizing people, “including many women and children.”
Curry said ISIS is setting up a medieval caliphate based on its interpretation of Islam.
He said while that interpretation may be considered “extreme,” and “people may be horrified by it, that’s what they’re doing.”
And, he said, “they’re justifying their behavior through their religious lens.”
He emphasized that Open Doors is not a political group, and it reaches out to help all sorts of needy people. But he said the Obama administration needs to understand the Islamic motivation.
American Center for Law and Justice Chief Counsel Jay Sekulow said Obama needs to lead an effort to “stop the slaughter of Christians.”
“It is unacceptable for President Obama, the West and the United Nations to stand idly by and watch the systematic elimination of Christians by radical Islamists,” he said.
“How many more Christians must be murdered because of their religious beliefs? Without a specific strategy to eliminate this evil, ISIS remains emboldened and continues to use these tragic events to recruit more radical jihadists.”
Sekulow said it’s clear ISIS “intends to continue to target and execute Christians.”
“It is time for President Obama to exercise leadership to assemble a global coalition and put an effective strategy into action to stop the slaughter of Christians, to put an end to this jihadist war against Christians.”
Joining the conversation was Todd Daniels of International Christian Concern.
He told WND the latest conflict also has forced thousands of Christians to flee to nearby cities.
The religious motivation seems apparent, he said, and his organization has seen Christians concentrating in more protected regions or leaving the country altogether.
The attackers see themselves as pursing religious goals, he said.
BBC News quoted a source saying 285 people were seized this week by ISIS.
“In areas under their control, Christians have been ordered to convert to Islam, pay jizya (a religious levy), or face death,” the report said.