Congressman Vern Buchanan

Representing the 16th District of Florida

Defenseless Priest Slaughtered As Terrorists Chant “Allahu Akbar”

Jul 26, 2016
Press Release
Buchanan: Genocide Against Christians Must Be Stopped


WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., today condemned the murder of an elderly priest in France, saying America and its allies must do everything possible to destroy the Islamic State and end its genocide against Christians.

“The terrorist attack in France today was a heinous act of cowardice,” Buchanan said. “It’s been five months since Congress declared, with my strong support, that the extermination of Christians by ISIS constituted genocide. We need a stronger, more coherent plan from the administration on how to destroy the Islamic State and prevent such atrocities. ISIS must be destroyed.”

Since declaring a caliphate over two years ago, ISIS has decimated the Christian population of Iraq and Syria. According to The Christian Times, fewer than 250,000 Christians are left in Iraq – home of an ancient tradition of deep Christian faith. And while some estimates put the number of Iraqi Christians at 2 million before the ISIS occupation began, a new joint report issued by four nongovernmental organizations has warned that they are “on the verge of disappearing.”

Buchanan said that in light of the attacks in Germany this weekend, and France today, the U.S. must suspend its Syrian refugee program until adequate vetting systems are in place. He’s also called for the mandatory screening of social media for incoming foreigners and for the administration to focus on combating online radicalization.

“The president needs to ensure that Americans are safe, and that such attacks against Christians will not happen in the U.S.,” Buchanan said. “We are at war with radical Islam and ISIS terrorists.”

Earlier this spring, the Congressman called on the State Department to designate the slaughter of Christians by ISIS as genocide – an official term previously used only once in history by an administration while a conflict was ongoing. Secretary of State John Kerry several days later formally declared the Islamic State’s violent acts against Christians as genocide following increasing pressure from Congress, and influential world leaders like Pope Francis, the European Parliament and the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Buchanan also supported legislation approved by the U.S. House recognizing the terror campaign being waged by ISIS as genocide. The resolution, H.Con.Res. 75, states that “those who commit or support atrocities against Christians and other ethnic and religious minoritiesand who target them specifically for ethnic or religious reasons, are committing, and are hereby declared to be committing, “war crimes,” “crimes against humanity,” and “genocide.” 

On Tuesday two ISIS terrorists took five people hostage – a priest, two nuns and two worshipers – while storming a morning Mass in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, France, reportedly screaming ‘Allahu Akbar.’ Jacques Hamel, the village church’s 86-year-old priest, was killed after the attackers cut his throat. Police commandos shot dead both attackers.

NBC News reported that a nun who was in the church said the priest was forced to the ground before his throat was slit. “They forced him to his knees. He wanted to defend himself. And that’s when the tragedy happened,” said the nun, identified as Sister Danielle. “They recorded themselves. They did a sort of sermon around the altar, in Arabic. It’s a horror.”

The Islamic State has taken credit for the butchery. One of the two attackers is said to have left for Syria last year and attempted to join ISIS, but he was arrested in Turkey.