Andrew Bennett calls on predominantly Muslim countries to condemn ISIS
Canada’s ambassador for religious freedom is urging predominantly Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to strongly condemn the "grotesque" violations of human indignity committed by ISIS.
Appearing on CBC News Network’s Power and Politics, Andrew Bennett said ISIS has a "warped understanding" of Islam and said the extremist group is attacking not only Christians and other religious minorities but also fellow Muslims.
"Countries that are in this region, predominantly Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia, such as the UAE, Qatar and so forth, they need to come out very strongly and condemn this kind of persecution," Bennett told host Evan Solomon on Wednesday.
"Because this is not solely about the persecution of Christians – Christians have been suffering horrendously – this has all the characteristics of a genocide."
Responding to the brutal beheading of American journalist James Foley, Bennett went on to say that it's the responsibility of any "respectable government" to condemn the atrocities "in the clearest terms possible, consistently and coherently."
All three countries named by Bennett on Wednesday have thus far condemned ISIS for its crimes.
"A heinous crime goes against all Islamic and humanitarian principles as well as international laws and conventions," the embassy of Qatar in Canada said in a statement about Foley's killing sent to CBC News.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar expressed deep sorrow for the loss of Foley and offered condolences to his family. "Mr. Foley is a courageous person for conveying the truth from the most dangerous locations in the world, including the suffering of Syrians," the statement said.
On Wednesday, the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. condemned Foley’s murder and stressed that Islam does not condone the killing of innocent people. According to the religion, that is tantamount to the killing of all humanity.
"ISIS, and those who promote extremism, radicalism and terrorism, are the enemies of compassion, mercy and humanity. They certainly are the enemy of Islam," said Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir.
"We can not stand silent while this immoral collection of terrorists and deviants commit reprehensible acts of violence and murder against the innocent anywhere. This is an evil that must be extinguished before it is allowed to destroy the lives of more innocent people."
During a visit to Canada in July, the UAE Foreign Minister Sheik Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued a joint statement with Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird on the situation in Iraq.
"We condemn the barbaric actions by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). We call on Iraqi leaders to come together and work across sectarian divides to rapidly form a new representative and legitimate government.
"A unified and inclusive government of Iraq is the only way to combat external and internal drivers of violence," the joint statement said.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper called Foley’s death the "tip of an iceberg" of an enormous campaign of shocking, degrading and disgusting terror that is unfolding across the region and poses a threat to Canada.
During a stop in Whitehorse, Yukon, on Thursday Harper said he agrees with U.S. President Barack Obama and other leaders that the actions of ISIS cannot go unchecked.
"The violence — really, just unspeakable barbarism — that is occurring now across a vast territory, the desire to essentially commit genocide against any group of people in the region who are different, these are shocking developments."
A spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird told CBC News Canada is urging all countries, not simply predominantly Muslim ones, to condemn ISIS.
"We call on all countries who cherish freedom and dignity to condemn ISIS’s depravity and combat terrorism in all its forms," Rick Roth said today in a written statement to CBC News.
He added that Canada is providing humanitarian assistance by delivering critical military supplies from allies to Kurdish forces fighting ISIS and will be announcing more help in the days ahead.
"We have been in ongoing contact with our principal allies, and we will be announcing some additional steps that we will be able to take with them in the days ahead."
After ISIS released a video showing Foley’s beheading, U.S. officials revealed there had been a failed rescue operation.
The group is also threatening to kill a second hostage, Steven Sotloff, if the U.S. continues airstrikes in Iraq.
But the barrage of bombing campaign has continued in spite of the threats, and U.S. President Barack Obama promised a "relentless" pursuit of Foley’s killers.