not our polititians, that’s for sure. But how about us?
The last couple of weeks has seen some shocking attacks throughout the Middle East and beyond, focussing mainly (but not exclusively) upon Christians. It seems that everywhere you look it’s happening
- the bombing of a church in Pakistan with up to 200 dead
- a Islamicist attack upon a Kenyan shopping centre
- Coptic Christians in Egypt being relentlessly persecuted
- attrocities against Christians in Syria
- attacks upon Christians (and mostly children) in Northern Nigeria
and yet where is the outcry against the common source of this violence? Where is the public recognition and decrying of the motivation for these murders? The Spectator magazine notes
The last month and a half has seen perhaps the worst anti-Christian violence in Egypt in seven centuries, with dozens of churches torched. Yet the western media has mainly focussed on army assaults on the Muslim Brotherhood, and no major political figure has said anything about the sectarian attacks.
calling it nothing less than “the extinction of Christianity in the Middle East”,
…it’s the culmination of the long process that began in the Balkans in the late 19th century, reached its horrific European climax in 1939-1945, and continued with the Greeks of Alexandria, the Mizrahi Jews and most recently the Chaldo-Assyrian Christians of Iraq. The Copts may have the numbers to hold on, Holland said, and the Jews of Israel, but can anyone else?
Without a state (and army) of their own, minorities are merely leaseholders. The question is whether we can do anything to prevent extinction, and whether British foreign policy can be directed towards helping Christian interests rather than, as currently seems to be the case, the Saudis.
Speaking of Saudi Arabia, did you catch this:
The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia has said it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region,” following Kuwait’s moves to ban their construction.
Speaking to a delegation in Kuwait, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, stressed that since the tiny Gulf state was a part of the Arabian Peninsula, it was necessary to destroy all of the churches in the country, Arabic media have reported.
Saudi Arabia’s top cleric made the comment in view of an age-old rule that only Islam can be practiced in the region.
The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia is the highest official of religious law in the Sunni Muslim kingdom. He is also the head of the Supreme Council of Ulema (Islamic scholars) and of the Standing Committee for Scientific Research and Issuing of Fatwas.
Well? Did you catch it? No, of course not. That’s probably the first time you came across the incredible declaration. Why? Because the western media is simply ignoring this issue. They don’t want to come to terms with what Islam, in it’s pure form, is really like.
Consider for a moment what would happen if the Archbishop of Canterbury said it was necessary to destroy all the mosques in the United Kingdom. Can you imagine the outrage? Can you even begin to contemplate how horrified we would all be, how Prime Ministers and Presidents all over the globe would be racing to be the first to condemn his statement, not least leaders in Islamic countries – and quite rightly. But to speak out about what the Grand Mufti declared would be to face reality and we certainly don’t want to do that.
Worse than our politicians not speaking out, it seems that many churches are not engaging either:
Christians in the Middle East and Africa are being slaughtered, tortured, raped, kidnapped, beheaded, and forced to flee the birthplace of Christianity. One would think this horror might be consuming the pulpits and pews of American churches. Not so. The silence has been nearly deafening.
In Syria, Christians are under attack by Islamist rebels and fear extinction if Bashar al-Assad falls. This month, rebels overran the historic Christian town of Maalula, where many of its inhabitants speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus. The AFP reported that a resident of Maalula called her fiancé’s cell and was told by member of the Free Syrian Army that they gave him a chance to convert to Islam and he refused. So they slit his throat.
Nina Shea, an international human-rights lawyer and expert on religious persecution, testified in 2011 before Congress regarding the fate of Iraqi Christians, two-thirds of whom have vanished from the country. They have either been murdered or fled in fear for their lives. Said Shea: “[I]n August 2004 … five churches were bombed in Baghdad and Mosul. On a single day in July 2009, seven churches were bombed in Baghdad … The archbishop of Mosul, was kidnapped and killed in early 2008. A bus convoy of Christian students were violently assaulted. Christians … have been raped, tortured, kidnapped, beheaded, and evicted from their homes …”
It is inexplicable. American Christians are quite able to organize around issues that concern them. Yet religious persecution appears not to have grabbed their attention, despite worldwide media coverage of the atrocities against Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East.
Perhaps part of the reluctance to speak up is fear – fear of retribution alongside fear of looking foolish and being judged by a Western culture that is utterly unwilling to address this issue or get real about it. When we point out what Islam is actually like, what authentic Islamic action looks like as defined by the Qu’ran and early Islamic history, the popular rush to defend the “Religion of Peace” is a tragic self-delusional exercise in makebelieve.
But if we don’t speak about this, then who will? The reality is that Islam is the cause of the butchering of Christians and if we don’t point this out then there’s no chance that our politicians will wake up from their reverie of denial and actually do something.
That’s not the same, OF COURSE, as inciting violence against Muslims. Far from it. Our Lord taught us to turn the other cheek and not to seek revenge. He also taught us by his own manner and through his Apostles to submit, if necessary, to persecution (1Peter 2:23). So this is by no means a call for any form of physical retaliation.
It’s a call to speak up. Call your local MP. Lobby the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary. Write to the newspapers. Tell them about the murder of Christians. And don’t forget to tell them about their trusting submission and the Lord Jesus Christ who was no butchering warlord but, rather, the one who gave up His life to save His enemies, not kill them.