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(CNSNews.com) -- The Knights of Columbus, which has been aiding religious minorities persecuted by the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, attended a White House ceremony today where President Donald Trump signed into law the "Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act of 2018." The legislation is similar to past efforts to aid the survivors of the Armenian genocide and the Jewish holocaust.
“The legislation signed today again reminds us of America’s earlier efforts to aid victims of genocide – Christian communities targeted by Ottomans a century ago and Jewish survivors of Shoah," said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson in a press release.
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“With the legislation signed today, America speaks with bold moral clarity and political unanimity,” he said.
Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus. (Getty Images.)
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According to the Catholic fraternal organization, "Over the last four years, the Knights have allocated more than $20 million to aid Christians and religious minorities in Iraq and Syria to provide food, shelter and clothing. Those efforts also included $2 million to rebuild the liberated Iraqi town of Karamles that had been largely demolished by ISIS."
The Iraq and Syria Genocide Relief and Accountability Act is designed "to provide relief for victims of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes who are members of religious and ethnic minority groups in Iraq and Syria, for accountability for perpetrators of these crimes, and other purposes."
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The State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development will have the authority to provide financial and material aid to the religious minorities through their offices and through non-governmental organizations, including faith-based organizations. They will also be allowed to conduct criminal investigations; develop indigenous investigative offices; and collect and preserve evidence.
Also, "the State Department shall encourage foreign governments to identify and prosecute individuals who are suspected of committing such crimes, including...
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