This is an awful reality but it is neither recent nor unexpected. Perhaps what is even more awful is the world’s silence and seeming passivity. We in the West who believe in religious tolerance have not stopped the persecution of Christians in Muslim countries.
In the name of political correctness, we have also “tolerated” the often aggressive demands for mosques, public prayer, minarets, and loudspeakers on our own soil even though there is absolutely no reciprocity towards Christianity (or any other non-Muslim religion) in most Arab and Muslim countries.
For example, this year, in a church in Bellinzona (Ticino), in Switzerland, a Nativity scene displays Jesus surrounded by minarets! “The unusual scene is supposed to make people reflect about brotherhood and human rights, after 57% of the Swiss (and 68% in Ticino) recently voted against minarets on mosques. On the crib are verses from the Bible and the Koran on the topic of water.”
First they came for the Jews … and indeed, most Jews, all 800,000 of us, fled the Arab and Muslim world in the 1940s and 1950s. No one stopped this “silent exodus” or really cared that it had happened. Individual Muslims and the Muslim governments happily, greedily, confiscated Jewish homes, factories, and farms; those Jews who were not slaughtered were allowed to leave with ten dollars in their pocket. Unlike the Palestinian refugees, the Jews and Israel took care of their own. Unfortunately, the Muslim world turned parasitically to the United Nations and to the world to fund the very Palestinians whom they would not allow to remain in their countries as refugees or citizens.
As to our Christian brothers and sisters:
Two days ago, in Mosul, Iraq, the Syrian Orthodox Church of St. Thomas, founded in 770 AD, was bombed — killing two civilians and wounding five others. This was the “sixth attack on Christians there in less than a month.” Ironically, according to their identity cards, the two murder victims were actually Muslims. However, according to Father Abdul Massih Dalmay of this church, “Christians are being targeted during Christmas time.” Father Dalmay feels that the government has not provided enough security for churches at this time and views this as “negligence on their part.”
The Syrian Orthodox Parish of the Immaculate Virgin was attacked a week ago. An infant girl was killed and forty people were wounded. Father Faez Wadiha, of this church, says, with irony: “This is certainly a Christmas present for Mosul, a message of congratulations why we are celebrating a feast of love and peace. But we will pray in the streets, in homes, in shops. God is everywhere, not just in churches.” The Syrian Catholic Church of the Annunciation , the (Chaldean) Church of St Ephrem, and the St. Theresa Church were all bombed in Mosul in the last month. According to another Christian Father: “These attacks are aimed at forcing Christians to leave the country.”
Some might say: There is an unwanted (and perceived as) Christian-American military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. These bombings are in retaliation …well, not so fast. There are other Muslim countries where there is no (unwanted) American military presence and where both Jews and Christians have lived long before Islam even came into being — countries in which Christians are now under siege. Let’s look at what’s happening to Christians who live in some Muslim countries today.
For years now, Islamist “gangs” have been forcibly converting Christian children to Islam by drugging, kidnapping, gang-raping, photographing the rapes, blackmailing, and “marrying” the female child, as young as twelve, to Muslim men. The Egyptian police have been unwilling to stop this criminal activity. Recently, a Christian television channel broadcast a program about this in Arabic. Many Egyptians were shocked. Here is one of the kidnappers’ tactics:
“The latest fraud mentioned on the TV program is that Muslim gangs who dress as Coptic priests, offer a car lift to Christian girls and then abduct them. ‘The Coptic Church has warned its congregation against letting any unknown person dressed as a priest into their homes or accepting a lift.’” (My thanks to John Peter Maher for this information).
A substantial Christian population has always lived in Egypt. They have increasingly been bombed, tortured and murdered. For example, the Monastery of Abu Fana in Upper Egypt has existed since the 5th century — which clearly predates Islam by two centuries. Last year, Bedouin Muslims attacked the monastery, “destroying a small church and burning the monastery’s farm. Nine monks and monastery employees were wounded and four others were abducted.” Jeff Jacoby writes:
“One of the [abducted] monks had his arm and legs broken,” the Egyptian lawyer and human-rights activist Nagib Gabriel later testified. “The other two were tied together with ropes, suspended from a tree, and severely beaten with hoses and sticks. Afterwards, they were placed — upside down and still tied together — on the back of a donkey and shoved off. The monks were further commanded to spit on the cross and proclaim the shahada [the Muslim credo that "there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet"], beaten every time they refused, and even threatened with death.”
For a long time now, Christians have been persecuted in Pakistan. Their female children have been kidnapped, forced to convert and forcibly married to Muslims; both priests and believers have been attacked, and often murdered. Earlier this month, in Sargodha, Pakistan (in or near the Punjab), a mob of Muslim villagers, armed with clubs, spades, and axes attacked a showing of a film on Jesus, injuring three part-time evangelists very seriously as well as four Christians in attendance. The mob destroyed their appliances and absconded with funds. The mob also turned on Christian villagers who tried to intervene. Apparently, the mob climbed “trees to get a clearer view of the screen. The eyewitnesses said that as soon as the Muslim attackers watched the resurrection and ascension of Christ, they became enraged because their version of Islam forbids portraying an image of a living thing and especially that of a prophet. ” As usual, the police refused to register a complaint.