Canada's Foreign Minister John Baird
Canada's Foreign Minister John BairdReuters

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird has expressed Canada’s determination to act against the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) which has declared an Islamic caliphate in large parts of Syria and Iraq.

In an article he wrote and which was first published in The Globe and Mail newspaper, Baird said that IS poses a threat not only to Iraq, Syria and the region, but also for global security, and that the interest of the free world is to eliminate it.

“The international community must unite to destroy this scourge, and we must defend the principles that have made our nations great, prosperous and free,” wrote the Canadian Foreign Minister.

“The long-term damage caused by IS is something you can’t put a number on,” he continued.

“They have terrorized and murdered Christians, Yezidis, Shia Turkomens and other ethnic and religious minority groups. They have destroyed ancient religious monuments that are hundreds of years old. They have raped children and forced women into sexual slavery. They have summarily executed Iraqis of any creed or ethnic group who have shown resistance to their reign of terror. Time and time again, IS has shown its total depravity and inhumanity,” wrote Baird.

“As Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated, Canada condemns the systematic campaign of persecution that is being perpetrated by IS to force hundreds of thousands of Christians to convert to IS’s nefarious brand of Islam. The very notion of religious freedom is what IS is working to eradicate and what the Iraqi people and the international community cannot surrender,” he added.

“As Mr. Harper has made clear, IS poses a threat not only to Iraq, Syria and the region, but also to global security. We all have an interest in stopping this scourge because it is threatening not just Iraq and its citizens, but freedom-loving people around the world. I believe terrorism is one of the greatest challenges of our generation,” wrote Baird.

The Canadian foreign minister visited Iraq last week and held meetings with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad and in the Kurdish autonomy.

Canada has been sending humanitarian aid for the displaced persons who have been forced to flee their homes and has been providing equipment for the Iraqi security forces, particularly the Kurdish militia fighting the IS.