Advocates for religious freedom praised Biden’s statement, however.
Toufic Baaklini, president of the group In Defense of Christians (IDC), stated on Saturday that “IDC sends its deepest thanks and congratulations to President Biden on becoming the first president in U.S. history to recognize the Armenian Christian Genocide.”
“While we hope that this brings some solace and consolation to Armenians around the world who have fought for this day, we also hope that it will portend greater reflection and a renewed commitment to speak up and stand against the perpetration of crimes against humanity everywhere,” stated Tony Perkins, vice-chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), on Saturday.
April 24 marked the 106th anniversary of the beginning of the Armenian genocide, when Ottoman authorities began arresting Armenian intellectuals and leaders in Constantinople. The empire commenced a campaign of mass displacement, family separation, death marches, starvation, and other abuses inflicted upon the empire’s mostly-Christian Armenian population. An estimated 1.5 million Armenians perished in the genocide.
The empire targeted other minorities as well, including Greek, Syriac, and Chaldean Christians. On Saturday, advocates insisted that the atrocities inflicted on these populations be remembered.
“IDC also remembers the additional 1.9 million Greeks, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Syriacs, Arameans, and Maronites who were also killed for their Christian faith, and further calls on the administration to recognize the devastating effect this genocide had against the region’s greater Christian community,” the group stated.