Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Who Speaks for the Christians of the Middle East?

Mike L.

The snippet below was written by Raymond Ibrahim and published on his blog, among other places.
Yesterday, the al-Qaeda linked “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL) broke the crosses off the two Christian churches in Raqqah, a city in northern Syria. They also set the contents of the churches — the Church of the Annunciation and the Church of Martyrs — aflame, and lifted the Islamic flag above them.

Members of the Islamic organization first broke the large cross from off the Church of the Annunciation. This prompted the residents of Raqqah to march and protest, calling for the expulsion of the Islamic terrorists, while carrying the large, broken cross (see video here, around :38 second mark).

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant responded by attacking the Church of the Annunciation once again, gathering all its crosses and icons from inside, and setting them on fire. They capped off their “victory” by raising the ISIL flag—which is identical to al-Qaeda’s black flag with the words, “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger” (the Islamic shehada, or profession of faith).
I find it almost incomprehensible that virtually no one is standing up for the Christians in the Middle East.  Prior to the Muslim invasions of the 7th and 8th centuries that entire region was basically Christian land and, now, there are hardly any Christians left.

Following the misnamed "Arab Spring," Christians are being chased out of the Middle East with renewed vigor.  Their churches are burned or converted into mosques.  Their women and children are sometimes kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam.  And they are regularly rioted against for allegedly insulting "the prophet."  And sometimes, of course, their lives end with their heads entirely severed from their bodies.

In Egypt the Christian Copts are blamed, at least in part, for the fall of the Islamist Morsi government and they are being made to pay a price throughout Egypt as Brotherhood thugs seek to make their lives miserable.  In Syria they are trapped between Muslim theological authoritarian forces who seek to murder them, and who are supported by the Obama administration and the EU, and Muslim secular authoritarian forces, who do not care if they live or die.

And, yet, virtually no one speaks up for these people.  It's a terrible disgrace, actually, and the Christian west needs to be held accountable for failing to stand up for their co-religionists.  The west, in general, Christian or otherwise, has mainly remained mute on the punishment being dished out to Christians throughout the Muslim world.

Raymond Ibrahim is an American of Coptic descent, the author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians, and one of the very few voices that regularly and consistently speaks up for the rights and well-being of his fellow Christians in that part of the world.

The Christians in the Middle East, like the Jews in the Middle East, are a people under siege.  The difference, of course, is that Israelis enjoy the protection of the IDF while Middle Eastern Christians outside of Israel have virtually no protection whatsoever and this is a moment in history in which many Arabs, and many Muslims, as we just saw in Nairobi, are running amok entirely.

To be a Christian in Egypt today, or in Syria today, is to live under the perpetual threat of violence grounded in religious bigotry and hatred.

We need to speak up for these people because virtually no one else is doing so.

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