The massacres of civilians, beheading of prisoners and hostages, and the rape, sexual enslavement and merchandising of captured women has been constant throughout the existence of IS. Despite its recent loss of some of its territory, the crimes against humanity continue unabated, although incidences are less frequently mentioned in the media as much of the Western public has tired of the stories and they are no longer viewed as being “newsworthy.”
Some effort has been made by world governments to curb IS, of course, but the results have been relatively small and slow in coming. However, the new U.S. government administration has declared Islamic State atrocities to be clear “genocide” and has committed to stopping the scourge of this group.
The United States will host a meeting of ministers from some 68 countries this week to assess the current situation and to discuss strategies to defeat IS completely. According to the news agency Reuters, the meeting, to be led by new U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, will be held in Washington on Wednesday, March 22 and Thursday, March 23.
This will be the largest gathering of nations opposing the terror group to have occurred to date and an official has stated that the U.S. administration will discuss increased military as well as diplomatic and humanitarian efforts to curb the problem of the existence of IS.
As Christians we are hopefully well aware of the inhuman predations of IS on Christian and other populations within their territory and we are already praying about this situation. The upcoming meetings give us a new opportunity to renew those prayers, however, and to fervently ask for the success of what may well be the most serious effort to destroy the evil of IS to date.
We can pray for the success of the military, diplomatic, and humanitarian efforts that result from the meetings and we can pray also that the eyes of many of the IS extremists will be opened to understand the evil that they are committing. Recent IS attacks in Europe show that as the group begins to lose territory, it is increasingly inciting terrorist activities elsewhere; we can pray for the failure of its attempts to influence more individuals to this kind of activity.
Many have prayed for the protection of Christians and others persecuted by IS, and the international meetings planned for this coming week may come as close to a potential answer to the problem as has yet occurred. Now is a perhaps a particularly good time to renew our efforts in urging our governments to act decisively in this situation, to support Christian and other humanitarian groups that are helping those affected by the ravages of IS, and to be fervent in prayers for the end of this unmitigated evil.