". . . and having done all . . . stand firm." Eph. 6:13


ISIS Kills Dozens of Christians in Congo as Biden Admin. Deprioritizes Anti-Terrorism

June 18, 2024

A surge in deadly violence carried out by Islamist terrorists in the central African country of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has left almost 150 mostly Christian civilians dead in a string of attacks since the beginning of the month. Experts say the killings, which have largely been perpetrated by the Islamic State (ISIS) and affiliated groups, are escalating as a result of the Biden administration’s lack of action in combatting the spread of the terrorist groups.

Last week, the Agence France-Presse reported that ISIS-linked terrorists had carried out a massacre in the DRC’s eastern Beni region on June 7 that had left 41 dead, with some of the bodies “tied up” and “decapitated.” ISIS claimed on a social media channel that they had killed “more than 60 Christians … including a Congolese army officer.” Another attack on June 4 in Masawu village reportedly left 15 dead, and 11 more bodies were recovered in the Mununze, Kabweli, and Mamulese communities.

The eastern region of the DRC has for decades been at the mercy of approximately 120 different terrorist groups that vie for power, land, and control over mines that produce a large percentage of the world’s rare earth minerals. But in recent years under the Biden administration, Islamist terrorist groups have particularly grown in strength throughout Africa. In March, United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) commander General Michael Langley testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee, noting that groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS are exploiting “underdeveloped, undergoverned areas.” Foreign Affairs reported that Langley’s testimony is “consistent with the assessment of most terrorism experts in and out of government that al Qaeda and ISIS groups in Africa are thriving.”

“We should not be looking at this attack in the DRC as a one-off,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins told The Washington Stand. “This is a failure of the administration because they’re so focused on their pro-LGBT, pro-abortion agenda that this cancer of terrorism that had been kept at bay is spreading.”

Observers have noted that since the Biden administration’s 2021 decision to withdraw U.S. forces from Afghanistan, Islamist terrorist groups affiliated with ISIS have dramatically increased operations. Islamic State Khorasan (ISIS-K), the ISIS affiliate that operates in Afghanistan and Pakistan, has grown to become the “most immediate threat” to the U.S. as a result, having carried out two major terrorist attacks earlier this year in Iran and Moscow, resulting in the deaths of at least 240 people and seriously injuring hundreds more.

Within Africa, the Islamist attacks in the DRC are far from isolated. As noted by FRC’s Senior Fellow for International Religious Freedom Lela Gilbert, the nearby country of Nigeria has experienced massacres of Christians on a massive scale over the last two decades.

“Radical Islamist terrorists, who identify with ISIS’s severe ideology, continue to cut a swath of violence across the African continent, notoriously targeting Christian believers by attacking churches, schools and clergy in their homes,” Gilbert, who also serves as a fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, told TWS. “This is all too familiar to Nigerians, where for years the death toll related to such attacks has been extraordinary. Tragically, today we are seeing the same Islamist terrorism surging within the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where Christians increasingly face deadly threats and experience tragic killings due to ISIS-DRC’s bloodthirsty attacks.”

International religious freedom experts are also pointing to an increase in Christians being targeted in Africa, even while the Biden administration removes countries like Nigeria from its list of religious freedom violators and deemphasizes religious freedom in its foreign policy.

“It’s shocking that organizations monitoring the persecution of Christians are reporting that deadly terrorist attacks in the DRC are more common in recent years and that more Christians are being specifically targeted in the violence than before,” Arielle Del Turco, director of FRC’s Center for Religious Liberty, told TWS. “This is a deeply alarming trend, and one that the State Department should be raising with DRC officials. While the Biden administration has scaled back U.S. government efforts to promote international religious freedom, devastating incidents like this continue.”

Travis Weber, vice president for Policy and Government Affairs at FRC, further commented, “This tragic attack puts a spotlight on one of the oft-overlooked areas of the world. The many Christians of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other countries in this region need to know that their brothers and sisters in the West and elsewhere care. They need to know that we stand with them in unity for justice, righteousness, and goodness to reign in their countries. May we take notice. May we stand with you. May we not forget you!”

Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.