Monday, January 20, 2014

The Biggest Story of 2013 – The Elimination of Christians in the Middle East

The biggest story of 2013 was the most ignored story by the popular international press – the systematic elimination of Christians in the Middle East and Africa. The facts are well known, but the popular international press refuses to publish or to acknowledge it. The numbers are staggering, leading Prince Charles to address the issue directly, but even so , the press has largely ignored the urgency.

The elimination of Christians is not a new story. During the Iraq war Christians that were targets of violence by Muslims resulting in their flight to safe countries,  greatly reducing their population there. Even as late as Christmas day 2013, twin attacks on Christians in Iraq killed at least 37 people. The attacks are continuously targeted from Muslims toward Christians. The number of Christians in Iraq was estimated to be 1.5 million in 2003; today there are an estimated 450,000! Indeed, the United Nations estimates that a million Christians have fled the country in the last decade. A warning given in 2010 by an al-Qaida front group stated, "The doors of destruction and rivers of blood will be opened upon them [Christians]."

The Christian populations in Libya, Egypt and Syria have found their relative peace broken by the Arab Spring.  According to Mindy Belz in the December 14, 2013 of World Magazine, “In 1944 they [Christians] made up 34 percent of the city [Damascus] population (then 325,000). Before the war began in 2011, they made up about 12 percent (of 2 million residents). By some estimates that number now may have dropped as low as 6 percent.”  The Huffington Post reported, “Church leaders in Syria have claimed that at least a third of the country’s 1.75 million Christians have been forced to flee their homes as a result of war.” Will these Christians be allowed to return after the war?  
Habib Malik, associate professor of history and cultural studies at the Lebanese American University said in an interview by Mindy Belz, “of the three monotheistic religions in the region, ‘Christianity is most beleaguered.’ Muslims have captured territory and control political power. Jews have found sanctuary in the modern state of Israel. ‘But native Christians in the region have none of this. They tend to be weak and scattered communities… repeatedly subjected to pressure from oppressive regimes and Islamist groups.”

Andrew McCarthy writes concerning the most under-reported foreign new stories of 2013, “The most underreported foreign news story of 2013 is the pogrom against Christians in Islamic countries. It is doubtful that there is a close second place finisher. The story is gruesome and the rational for both the killing and the silence about it lies in a mainstream interpretation of Islam – one that is far more prevalent in the Middle East than the West will admit.” McCarthy goes on to write, “The pogrom is the inexorable result of Islamic teaching and Western indulgence. It is, after all, directed at Christians because there are no more Jews left to persecute. The latter have long made their exodus from Muslim countries where Jewish communities once flourished. Despite this fact, and despite that fact that Muslims living in Israel enjoy more freedom and self-determination than in any Arab country of the Middle East, the West – very much including the United States – has legitimized the premise that Jews should be driven from East Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, just as they were pressured to evacuate Gaza, in order to birth a Palestinian state.” 

Syria’s Christian community had grown during the Iraq war as thousands fled to Syria, now, they are fleeing Syria. The British government seems to be the only western power acknowledging the problem. The British government, led by Nigel Farage, has proposed to offer asylum to Syrians fleeing the civil war as long as they are Christian. Concern for Christians in the Middle East is echoed by political heads like Prince Charles but not the press. Prince Charles is quoted in The Guardian on December 17, 2013 saying, “I have for some time now been deeply troubled by the growing difficulties faced by Christian communities in various parts of the Middle East, he said. It seems to me that we cannot ignore the fact that Christians in the Middle East are increasingly being deliberately targeted by fundamentalist Islamist militants. Christianity was literally born in the Middle East and we must not forget our Middle Eastern brothers and sisters in Christ, he added.  Charles said Christians now accounted for 4% of the population in the Middle East and North Africa – the lowest concentration in the world.”

Raymond Ibrahim reported in November that one massacre that took place in October 2013 in Sadad where U.S-supported ‘opposition’ invaders occupied the ancient city for over a week, killing 45 Christians and destroying 14 Churches there. Several were tortured to death, and six bodies were found at the bottom of a well. In Ibrahim’s article in the Christian Post, he quotes Archbishop Selwanos Boutros, “We have shouted aid to the world but no one has listened to us. Where is the Christian conscience? Where is the human consciousness? Where are my brothers?” 
In Egypt, the Christian Solidarity International group reported in May of 2013, “Since the overthrow of Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, attacks on Copts from state and non-state actors have escalated significantly. Over 100 Copts have been killed in sectarian attacks since the overthrow of Mubarak–more than in the entire previous decade. CSI has received reports of at least 14 attacks on Coptic churches in the same time period, including St.Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo, the seat of the Coptic Orthodox Church, and 10 pogrom-style attacks on Christian communities.”

Libya’s Arab Spring has likewise resulted in the great exodus of Christians from that country. Phillip Smyth writing for PJ Media wrote in April 2013, “What began as a Western-backed chance to assist Libyans in gaining freedom from an oppressive dictator has resulted, according to some reports, in nearly the entire population of 100,000 Libyan Christians leaving the country. The rising power of numerous radical Islamist militias, which have recently launched a low-scale terror war against Christians, is increasingly being felt throughout the country. This anti-Christian effort by Islamist militias has also been aided by a Libyan government incapable or even unwilling to protect Libya’s Christians. While it is unknown if it is the Libyan jihadists’ goal to have all Christians expelled, the fear created by their operations is producing that effect.” According to Open Doors, 75 percent of expat Christians have left the country of Libya.

In all these countries, freedom of religion, that is, freedom to practice Christianity is greatly restricted. These countries will not allow Christians to share their faith. Everywhere in the Middle East except for Israel, the Christian is imprisoned for sharing his or her faith. In Iran, American pastor Saeed Abedini sits in prison for the second year. In 2010 Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was sentenced to death for practicing Christianity. In October 2013, Pakistan Pastor Adnan Masih was arrested and charged with blasphemy. Saudi Arabia, like most Muslim countries allows Christians to enter the country as foreign workers, but does not allow them to practice their faith.

The White House does not mention this Muslim persecution and even elimination of Christianity in the Middle East and Africa. Under this administration, the promotion of Islam at the expense of Christianity seems to be the priority. Indeed, for all administrations for the last 100 years, the appeasement of Arabs at the expense of the Christian and Jew has been the doctrine. Freedom of religion has not been a priority of the US government for some time, so our money is sent overseas to “buy” and “stabilize” oppressive governments. While our brothers and sisters in Christ are systematically eliminated from the Middle East with no voice from the White House and the press.