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World’s most ancient Christian communities are being destroyed — and no one cares


Sorry my first post in days concerns such a tragic topic. But truth be told we need to know about these things…right?

Christians in the Middle East have been the victims of pogroms and persecution. Where’s the outrage in the West?

quote,

Like many Coptic Christians in Egypt, Ayman Nabil Labib had a tattoo of the cross on his wrist. And like 17-year-old men everywhere, he could be assertive about his identity. But in 2011, after Egypt’s revolution, that kind of assertiveness could mean trouble. Ayman’s Arabic-language teacher told him to cover his tattoo in class. Instead of complying, the young man defiantly pulled out the cross that hung around his neck, making it visible.

His teacher flew into a rage and began choking him, goading the young man’s Muslim classmates by saying, “What are you going to do with him?” Ayman’s classmates then beat him to death. False statements were given to police, and two boys were taken into custody only after Ayman’s terror-stricken family spoke out. Ayman’s suffering is not an isolated case in Egypt or the region.

The Arab Spring, and to a lesser extent the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, were touted as the catalysts for a major historic shift in the region. From Egypt to Syria to Iraq, the Middle East’s dictatorships would be succeeded by liberal, democratic regimes. Years later, however, there is very little liberality or democracy to show. Indeed, what these upheavals have bequeathed to history is a baleful, and barely noticed legacy: The near-annihilation of the world’s most ancient communities of Christians.

The persecution of Christians throughout the Middle East, as well as the silence with which it has been met in the West, are the subject of journalist Ed West’s Kindle Single “The Silence of Our Friends.” The booklet is a brisk and chilling litany of horrors: Discriminatory laws, mass graves, unofficial pogroms, and exile. The persecuted are not just Coptic and Nestorian Christians who have relatively few co-communicants in the West, but Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants as well.

Throughout the Middle East the pattern is the same. Christians are murdered in mob violence or by militant groups. Their churches are bombed, their shops destroyed, and their homes looted. Laws are passed making them second-class citizens, and the majority of them eventually leave.

In Egypt, a rumor that a Muslim girl was dating a Christian boy led to the burning of multiple churches, and the imposition of a curfew on a local Christian population. Illiterate children were held in police custody for urinating in a trash heap, because an imam claimed that pages quoting the Koran were in the pile and had been desecrated. Again, the persecution resulted in Christian families leaving their homes behind.

In Syria, the situation is even worse. In June 2013, a cluster of Christian villages was totally destroyed. Friar Pierbattista Pizzaballa reported that “of the 4,000 inhabitants of the village of Ghassanieh… no more than 10 people remain.” Two Syrian bishops have been kidnapped by rebel groups. Militants expelled 90 percent of the Christians in the city of Homs. Patriarch Gregorios III of Antioch says that out of a population of 1.75 million, 450,000 Syrian Christians have simply fled their homes in fear.

In Iraq, the story is the same but more dramatic. According to West, between 2004 and 2011 the population of Chaldo-Assyrian Christians fell from over a million to as few as 150,000. In 2006, Isoh Majeed, who advocated the creation of a safe haven for Christians around Nineveh, was murdered in his home. The number of churches in Iraq has declined to just 57, from 300 before the invasion. The decline of Iraq’s Christian population since the first Gulf War is roughly 90 percent, with most of the drop occurring since the 2003 invasion.

The U.S. and the U.K. bear some responsibility in this catastrophe, since they oversaw the creation of Iraq’s postwar government and did little to protect minority faiths.

West’s book touches on the clueless and callous behavior of Western governments in these episodes. U.S. reconstruction aid to Iraq is distributed according to Iraqi laws that discriminate against Christian Iraqis. The U.S. pours billions of foreign aid into Egypt, and yet the Christians in that country are not allowed to build churches (or even so much as repair toilets in them) without explicit permission from the head of state, almost never granted. Last September, the U.S and Britain attempted to make their support of Syrian rebel groups explicit and overt, but at the same time some of these militias were executing a pogrom against Christians.

A Christian shopkeeper in Ma’loula summed it up in a quote to the BBC: “Tell the EU and the Americans that we sent you Saint Paul 2,000 years ago to take you from the darkness, and you sent us terrorists to kill us.”

These are the lands in which Jesus’ apostles and their disciples made some of the first Christian converts. In an interview, West pointed out that these communities “were Christian when our ancestors were worshipping trees and stones.” Now they are in danger of imminent extinction.

Continued here

 

4 comments on “World’s most ancient Christian communities are being destroyed — and no one cares

  1. This is the sad reality, but the answer, as some may say, is not to get the US or the UK to intervene. Much hatred of Christians is on account of such support and the legacy of missionary cooperation with, or even in some cases, directly working for, colonial regimes and the oppression of the majority. Sometimes these groups get persecuted for their faith, other times it’s because of bad blood and history caused by the power-slaves.

    Like most things in life, it’s complicated. Come quick Jesus.

  2. The one thing that seems to remain in the forefront of my mind as I read this article is the eerie similarity of silence in the world during the run up to the holocaust where millions of Jews were systematically exterminated. And that that extermination pales the systematic killings of many millions more under Lenin and Stalin. And the most recent of exterminations the many more millions of abortions “worldwide” notwithstanding the 40 plus million in the United States since 1973!

    You have to agree with me this world’s course is like an out of control train about to collide with the train station at the end of the tracks!

    Not to worry, though, this is not new, the snuffing out of Christian communities. It has historical standing. The good news is there is coming a power and knowledge of The Lord to all the world that both Isaiah and Micah record as well as Habakkuk. See Isaiah 2 and Micah 4.

    I quote directly from Habakkuk 2:

    Habakkuk 2:12 “Woe to him who builds a town with blood and founds a city on iniquity!
    13 Behold, is it not from the LORD of hosts that peoples labor merely for fire, and nations weary themselves for nothing?
    14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

    It most likely is going to get worse before it gets better in this momentary light affliction. I hope to keep my eyes on Him the author and finisher of our Faith as I believe that’s deeply rooted and settled in your heart too!

  3. Couldn’t help but take note of how the Iraqi war has played into the persecution and “cleansing” of entire Christian communities in the middle-east.

    This is why i find it a sad joke when i read people calling the US a Christian nation. Remember when so many of our fellow believers/Christian leaders were agreeing with (then) president Bush in referring to the invasion of Iraqi as a ‘holy war’—one ordained by God?

    It saddens me deeply to read reports such as this one…also (which this one didn’t include) reports of how there are very few Palestinian Christians left in the area also.

    As the report said,

    These are the lands in which Jesus’ apostles and their disciples made some of the first Christian converts.

    I know some Christians care….it just doesn’t seem as though there are very many who do.

  4. I think we can rightly criticize George Bush when it comes to Iraq. But what about Barack Obama when it in regards to Libya and Egypt? In terms of the effect on Christians in those countries, the effect has been the same. “Democracy” has brought unprecedented persecution on the people of God. But in the USA, American style democracy is worshiped and exalted above God by many in places of political power in both parties. In fact, American style democracy and “Christianity” are inseparable concepts for many “Christians”, both liberal and conservative. That is part of the reason that President Bush was hell bent on establishing a “democratic” government in Iraq no matter what the consequences for Iraqi Christians. And Egyptian and Libyan Christians are now getting the same treatment from President Obama who supported Egyptian President Muḥammad Mursī in spite of the fact that he is a leader in the radical Islamic Muslim Brotherhood and has refused to protect Egyptian Christians from abuse and martyrdom. And, to add insult to injury, President Obama has been openly hostile to the Egyptian military, who, although mostly made up of Muslims, have been making a great effort to protect the Christian community in Egypt. All because DEMOCRACY is far more important to us than the persecuted Christians that have the misfortune of living in these lands. And Libya is rapidly turning into the same story. There is a predictable pattern where ever democracy is introduced in the Middle East. 1) “Respectable” Muslim leaders convince voters that they are peace loving and gracious. 2) These leaders, on the basis of their religious credentials get elected to run the government. 3) As soon as they are elected they enact “open season” on Christians and their churches on the part of dangerous radical violently militant Islamic organizations that were previously banned. And they provide extended cover for these groups to engage in genocide against the Christian minorities. 4) The US then has to decide between stopping the genocide or acting like a deer in the headlights in terror of challenging “democracy”. After all, these butchers were “democratically elected” (in similar fashion to Hitler’s rise to power). That is the mess that we currently face with our nation priorities when it comes to foreign policy toward Islamic countries. Its nothing short of a suicidal train wreck.

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