Inconvenient Genocide: Caroline Glick, Breaking Israel News, Apr. 12, 2016— Christian communities, which like the Jews, predate Islam, are being targeted for eradication.
The West Must Say "Je Suis Asia Bibi": Giulio Meotti, Gatestone Institute, May 19, 2016 — The death sentence for Asia Bibi is like Chernobyl's nuclear cloud: it contaminates everything around it.
Autonomous Assyria: The Only Possible Solution to the Arab World’s Terminal Disorder: Paul Merkley, Bayview Review, Apr. 27, 2016— Christianity was born in the Middle East – long before the Middle East became Arab and Muslim.
Mideast Teachers Reveal How Islam Erases Christianity from History: Raymond Ibrahim, PJ Media, Apr. 21, 2016 — Christianity is being physically erased from the Middle East with scant worldwide attention.
Fast-Growing Pentecostal Movement Enthusiastically Affirms Support for Israel: Bradley Martin, JNS, Apr. 13, 2016
Jihad on Christian Church Tents: Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, May 15, 2016
Pope Francis Defends Jihad, Says Christianity Has Similar Roots in Idea of Conquest: Abra Forman, Breaking Israel News, May 18, 2016
Germany: Christian Refugees Persecuted by Muslims: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, May 15, 2016
Breaking Israel News, Apr. 12, 2016
Christian communities, which like the Jews, predate Islam, are being targeted for eradication. The Christian communities of Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon are well on the way to joining their Jewish cousins. The Jewish communities of these states predated Islam by a millennium, and were vibrant until the 20th century. But the Arab world’s war on the Jewish state, and more generally on Jews, wiped out the Jewish populations several decades ago. And now the Christian communities, which like the Jews, predate Islam, are being targeted for eradication.
The ongoing genocide of Middle Eastern Christians at the hands of Sunni jihadists is a moral outrage. Does it also affect Israeli national interests? What do we learn from the indifference of Western governments – led by the Obama administration – to their annihilation? True, after years of deliberately playing down the issue and denying the problem, the Obama administration is finally admitting it exists. Embarrassed by the US House of Representatives’ unanimous adoption of a resolution last month recognizing that Middle Eastern Christians are being targeted for genocide, the State Department finally acknowledged the obvious on March 25, when Secretary of State John Kerry stated that Islamic State is conducting a “genocide of Christians, Yazidis and Shi’ites.”
Kerry’s belated move, which State Department lawyers were quick to insist has no operational significance, raises two questions. First, what took the Obama administration so long? Persecution of Christians in Iraq began immediately after the US-led coalition brought down Saddam Hussein in 2003. With the rise of Islamic State in 2012, the process of destroying the Christian community went into high gear. And now these ancient communities are on the brink of extinction. In Iraq, Christians comprised 8 percent of the population in 2003. Today less than 1% of Iraqis are Christians. In Syria, the Christian community has lost between half and two-thirds of its members in the past five years.
One of the appalling aspects of ISIS’s deliberate, open targeting of Christians for destruction is how little resistance it has received from local Sunni populations. As Raymond Ibrahim from the David Horowitz Freedom Center has scrupulously documented, the local Sunnis have not stood up for their Christian neighbors, who have lived side-by-side with them for hundreds of years. Rather, in areas that have been conquered by ISIS, the local Sunnis have collaborated with their genocidal masters in raping and murdering Christian neighbors, plundering their property, destroying their churches, and driving them from their ancestral homes.
Although precise data is hard to come by, it is clear that thousands of Christians have been slaughtered. Thousands of Christian women and girls have been sold as sex slaves in ISIS slave markets, subjected to continuous, violent rape and beatings. Nuns and priests have been enslaved, crucified, mutilated, kidnapped and held for ransom, as have lay members of Christian communities. Christians have been burned alive.
For years, the administration said that the persecution doesn’t amount to genocide because according to ISIS’s propaganda, Christians are allowed to remain in their homes if they agree to live as dhimmis – that is, without any human rights, and subjected to confiscatory taxation. But as Nina Shea from the Hudson Institute has reported, these claims were shown to be false in Mosul, Nineveh and other places where ISIS has claimed that such practices were instituted.
The jihadist genocide of Christians isn’t limited to Iraq and Syria. Boko Haram – ISIS’s affiliate in Nigeria – is undertaking a systematic campaign to annihilate Christianity in Africa. ISIS’s affiliates in Sinai and Libya have similarly targeted Christians, staging mass beheadings and other monstrous acts. And of course, a region needn’t be under direct ISIS control for Christians to be targeted for destruction. The Easter massacre in Pakistan was further evidence that wherever radical Islamists gain power, they use it to murder Christians. And as Larry Franklin from the Gatestone Institute noted in a recent article, the exodus of Christians from the Palestinian Authority is the direct consequence of deliberate persecution of Christians by the PA.
Given the prevalence of Christian persecution, why is the West – which is overwhelmingly Christian – so reticent about mentioning it? And why are Western leaders loathe to do anything to stop it? There are two ways to end genocide. First, you can defeat those conducting it on the battlefield. If you destroy the forces conducting the genocide, then the genocide ends. The second way you can stop genocide is by evacuating the targeted population and providing its members with refuge.
After stipulating that ISIS is carrying out a genocide, Kerry made clear that the US will not defeat ISIS to end it. Instead, Kerry said, “We must bear in mind… that the best response to genocide is a reaffirmation of the fundamental right to survive of every group targeted for destruction. What Daesh [ISIS] wants to erase, we must preserve. That requires defeating Daesh, but it also requires the rejection of discrimination and bigotry.” Kerry then explained that the US’s plan is to cultivate the formation of a multicultural society in Syria. Given the brutal nature of the war, Kerry’s plan is tantamount to saying the US intends to defeat ISIS and rescue those it is currently exterminating by bringing unicorns and leprechauns to the slave markets of Raqqa. Substantively, Kerry’s plan is to deny Christians refuge, and to abandon them to the mercy of their murderers…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Gatestone Institute, May 19, 2016
The death sentence for Asia Bibi is like Chernobyl's nuclear cloud: it contaminates everything around it. After Asia's arrest, her husband, Masih, and her children went into hiding. They have moved house 15 times in five years. They could not even attend Asia's judicial hearings. It is too dangerous for them. Her husband was forced to quit his job. Asia's "crime" was to use the same water glass as her Muslim co-workers. She was sentenced to death because she is Christian and she was thirsty. "You defiled our water," the Muslim women told her. "Convert to Islam to redeem yourself from your filthy religion."
Asia took a deep breath and replied: "I will not convert. I believe in my religion and Jesus Christ. And why should I be the one to convert and not you?" On November 8, 2010, after just five minutes of deliberation, Asia Noreen Bibi, under Article 295 of the Pakistani Code, was sentenced to death by hanging. The crowd cheered the verdict. She was alone and burst into tears. Next to her there were two policemen, visibly satisfied. In the days after, 50,000 people in Karachi and 40,000 in Lahore took the streets to brandish an image of Asia Bibi with the rope around her neck. They say they will not rest until she is hanged or shot.
Pakistani Islamists recently gathered to demand the immediate execution of this woman, who has been jailed for 2,500 days. Fears for the life of Bibi — the first Christian woman sentenced to be hanged in Pakistan on spurious charges of "blasphemy" — have grown after the execution of Mumtaz Qadri, the murderer of Punjab governor Salman Taseer, a brave Muslim reformer who paid with his life for expressing support for Asia Bibi. Lawyers defending people accused of blasphemy are sometimes murdered as well.
The late Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti also supported Asia Bibi, and ensured that she was placed another cell, where a camera now checks that she does not suffer any violence. It was a fatal decision for Bhatti. A terrorist blocked Bhatti's car as he left his mother's house and murdered him in broad daylight. Everyone knew that the death sentence would be carried out sooner or later. Rome's Trevi Fountain has just been illuminated red to remember Christian martyrs, such as Mr. Bhatti.
Street protests against Asia Bibi have continued since Qadri's execution on February 29, 2016. A senior Punjabi government official revealed that Bibi's security tightened was increased after intelligence reports surfaced that Islamist groups are conspiring to kill her inside the prison, to avenge the hanging of Qadri. These threats are why human rights organizations have demanded that the appeal of Asia Bibi, which has been postponed so far, will be conducted in a prison cell, under tight security measures. Any transfer needs to remain secret because Islamists are ready to exploit any opportunity to target her.
To understand Asia's impending martyrdom, one has to read the book she wrote with the French journalist Anne Isabelle Tollet, entitled "Blasphemy". Asia Bibi must prepare her food by herself to avoid being poisoned. Even the guards threaten her with death. She never leaves her prison cell, and no one is allowed to enter to clean it. She has to clean it by herself, and the prison does not provide any cleaning products. In the small cell, which measures three meters, next to the bed there is what the guards, to mock her, call the "bathroom." It is a water pipe from the wall and a hole in the ground. This has been her life in the last five years, as in the crypt of a cemetery.
Meanwhile, Islamists just raised the bounty on her head to 50 million rupees ($678,000). Her lawyer explained that many Christians accused of blasphemy are killed in their prison cells before they can even appear in court. Asia Bibi never killed anyone. But in the so-called justice system of her country, she has done something much worse, the crime of crimes, the most absolute outrage: She — allegedly — offended the Muslim Prophet Mohammed. Criminals, murderers, and rapists are treated better than her.
It is the West's indolence and cupidity that has condemned Asia Bibi to death. For this courageous woman, no one in Europe has filled the streets to ask her liberation or to protest against Pakistan's anti-Christian laws. Even Pope Francis stood silent. The emblem of his reticence is the 12 seconds of face-to-face time the Pope had with Bibi's husband and her daughter in St. Peter's Square. Francis barely touched the two, while his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, publicly called many times for her release.
U.S. President Barack Obama, always full of rhetoric and ecumenical emotions, has never said a word about the persecution of Christians or asked his Pakistani allies to free Asia Bibi. And to quote the French newspaper Le Figaro, Europeans are usually "so eager" to have "mobilizations, petitions, demonstrations of every kind, but "in this case, nothing!"
For a long time, even the American mainstream press stood silent about the massacres of Christians, who are martyred every five minutes. This silence was broken by a brave dissident of Islam, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who dedicated to this mass martyrdom a masterful essay in Newsweek. The mainline Protestant churches of America, too busy demonizing Israel, also stood silent. In France, it has been impossible even to sponsor an event in which the receipts would be given in favor of these Christians. The operator of the Paris' metro refused an ad in favor of these Christians, then lifted the ban after protests. All European secular NGOs such as Oxfam are also silent, leaving the defense of Christians to heroic non-governmental organizations such as the Barnabas Fund.
Westerners have been accustomed to think of those remote Christians as if they were leftover agents of colonialism, so that we are deaf to their pleas and even to their tragic stories. Meanwhile, Christianity is being erased from its own cradle. Distaste for our moral cowardice is balanced by the admiration for these Christians, such as Asia Bibi, who continue to witness their faith in a land that wants to expel them from history. But the Western cowardice will be punished…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Bayview Review, Apr. 27, 2016
Christianity was born in the Middle East – long before the Middle East became Arab and Muslim. For perhaps a decade or two following the Ascension of Jesus Christ, all of the people who accepted the Christian message were Jews – most of them living in Jerusalem. But then missions, headed originally by surviving apostles, went out beyond Judea and Samaria and sought converts among the many neighboring kingdoms that were, like the Jews of Judea, subject to Roman rule. Among the first of these Kingdoms to accept Christian faith as its national faith was Armenia — a prosperous Kingdom in part of what is today Turkey. Shortly thereafter, various Kingdoms in Egypt, Abyssinia (Ethiopia), North Africa and Arabia also entered the world of Christianity. Nearly six centuries later, Islam came into the world.
For perspective, we might note that several further centuries would again go by before the English language came into the world. And yet it is safe to say that most people who imagine themselves well-informed about history nod passively before the politically-correct fiction that Islam is indigenous to the Arab world, and that where there are churches anywhere in that world these were imposed during recent centuries by European missionaries working hand-in-hand with political imperialists. It is Islam that was and is the imperialist in this story.
Within a few decades of the appearance of the Qur’an (630 AD), these Christians were faced with the terrible dilemma of either surrendering to fanatical illiterates everything that they believed — or converting, by simple vocal declaration. Ever since then, those brave souls who stayed with the faith have lived under the stigma of being subversive opponents of Truth, denied the benefit of full participation in the circles of those who govern and subject to punishing taxes from which the faithful are exempt. This is called the dhimmmi system, the system under which non-Muslims are allowed to exist but with restricted liberties, as less than citizens. This state of affairs continued legally until the last of the Muslim empires fell – that is the Ottoman Empire, which was dismantled about the end of the First World War.
At the same time, the Islamic warriors who founded their kingdoms beyond Arabia quickly became aware of certain benefits that they could gain by not bearing down too far on their Christian subjects, by not compelling their conversion. Compared to the Muslim warriors who were sweeping in from Arabia, indigenous Christian people throughout the Middle East and beyond had enjoyed high levels of literacy, education, professional accomplishment, economic success and extensive connections abroad. Accordingly, the Arab masters drew the Christians into eminent roles in the public life. The political leaders in the Arab world have always had to tread a fine line as they sought to sustain these valued indigenous, non-Arab, non-Muslim communities, while fending off accusation from the Muslim majority that they are aggrandizing the enemies of Allah. In moments of extraordinary crisis in the public life of the Arab world, these political masters swiftly turned their backs on the Christians and surrendered them to the Muslim mobs…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]
Paul Merkley is a CIJR Academic Fellow
PJ Media, Apr. 21, 2016
Christianity is being physically erased from the Middle East with scant worldwide attention. Yet even fewer are aware that Christianity’s historical role and presence in the Middle East is also being expunged from memory. Last month, a video emerged showing Islamic State members tossing hundreds of Christian textbooks, many of them emblazoned with crosses, into a large bonfire. Per one report, ISIS was “burning Christian textbooks in an attempt to erase all traces of [Christianity]” from the ancient region of Mosul.
Christianity once thrived there for centuries before the rise of Islam. This isn’t simply about ISIS: ultimately, ISIS is merely an extreme example of Islam’s normative approach. This was confirmed during a recent conference in Amman, Jordan, titled “Toward a Complete Strategy to Combat Extremism." While presenting, Dr. Hena al-Kaldani, a Christian, said: “[T]here is a complete cancelation of Arab Christian history in the pre-Islamic era,” “many historical mistakes,” and “unjustifiable historic leaps in our Jordanian curriculum.”
By way of example, he said: “Tenth-grade textbooks omit any mention of any Christian or church history in the region.” Textbooks make no mention of Jerusalem’s Christian sites. Wherever Christianity is mentioned, omissions and mischaracterizations proliferate. Christianity is primarily mentioned as a Western (that is, “foreign”) source of colonization, said al-Kaldani. Of course, Christian minorities throughout the Middle East — not just in Jordan — have long maintained that the history taught in public classrooms habitually suppresses the region’s Christian heritage while magnifying (including by fabrication) Islamic history.
Said Kamal Mougheeth, a retired teacher in Egypt: “It sounds absurd, but Muslims more or less know nothing about Christians, even though they make up a large part of the population and are in fact the original Egyptians. Egypt was Christian for six or seven centuries [before the Muslim invasion around 640]. The sad thing is that for many years the history books skipped from Cleopatra to the Muslim conquest of Egypt. The Christian era was gone. Disappeared. An enormous black whole.”
This aligns perfectly with what my parents, Christians from Egypt, told me of their classroom experiences from more than half a century ago: there was virtually no mention of Hellenism, Christianity, or the Coptic Church, a millennium of Egypt’s pre-Islamic history. History simply began with the pharaohs before jumping to the seventh century, when Arabian Muslims “opened” Egypt to Islam. Wherever Muslims conquer non-Muslim territories, Islamic hagiography euphemistically refers to it as an “opening,” faith. Never a “conquest.”
Sharara Yousif Zara, an influential politician involved in the Iraqi Ministry of Education, agrees: “It’s the same situation in Iraq. There’s almost nothing about us [Christians] in our history books, and what there is, is totally wrong. There’s nothing about us being here before Islam. The only Christians mentioned are from the West. Many Iraqis believe we moved here. From the West. That we are guests in this country.”
Zara might be surprised to learn that similar ignorance and historical revisionism predominates in the West as well. Although Christians are in fact the most indigenous inhabitants of the Arab world, I am often asked — by educated people — why Christians “choose” to go live in the Middle East among Muslims if the latter treat them badly. The Middle East’s pseudo-historical approach to Christianity has, for generations, successfully indoctrinated Muslim students to suspect and hate Christianity, which is regularly seen as a non-organic, parasitic remnant left by Western colonialists. Despite preceding Islam in the region by six centuries.
This also explains one of Islam’s bitterest ironies: a great many of today’s Middle East Christians are being persecuted by Muslims — including of the ISIS variety — whose own ancestors were persecuted Christians who converted to Islam to end their suffering. In other words, Muslim descendants of persecuted Christians are today slaughtering their Christian cousins. Christians are seen as “foreign traitors” — perpetuating the cycle that originally made the region Muslim majority — in part because many Muslims do not know of their own Christian ancestry.
Due to such entrenched revisionism, Muslim “scholars” are able to disseminate highly dubious and ahistorical theses, as seen in Dr. Fadel Soliman’s 2011 book Copts: Muslims Before Muhammad. It claims that at the time of the Muslim conquest of Egypt, the vast majority of Egyptians were not, as Muslim and Western history has long taught, Christians. Rather, the book claims they were prototypical Muslims, or muwahidin, who were being oppressed by European Christians. Hence, the Islamic invasion of Egypt was really about “liberating” fellow Muslims. Needless to say, no historian has ever suggested that Muslims invaded Egypt to liberate “proto-Muslims.” Rather, the Muslim chroniclers who wrote our primary sources on Islam candidly and refreshingly present the “openings” as they were: conquests. Replete with massacres, enslavement, displacement of Christians, and the destruction of thousands of churches.
In the end, the Muslim world’s historical approach to Christianity should be familiar. After all, doesn’t the West engage in the same chicanery? In both instances, Christianity is demonized and its history distorted by its usurping enemies: in the West by a host of “isms” – including leftism, moral relativism, and multiculturalism — and in the Middle East by Islam.
Fast-Growing Pentecostal Movement Enthusiastically Affirms Support for Israel: Bradley Martin, JNS, Apr. 13, 2016—Bishop John E. Putnam stood at the podium and exclaimed to the crowd, “Who here loves Israel and the Jewish people?” The thunderous applause indicated the ecstatic approval by more than 500 pastors, ministers, and their families attending a recent conference of United Pentecostal Church International (UPCI). Putnam, superintendent of UPCI’s Wisconsin District, had fired up the crowd, exhorting them to incorporate biblical principles in their everyday lives.
Jihad on Christian Church Tents: Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, May 15, 2016—A Christian church in Egypt was just torched to the ground at the hands of "extremists" on May 12. A video shows the structure burning as Christians scurry to throw pails of water on it. The church consisted of a large tent that had been consecrated and contained all the material of a "normal" church — an altar, icons, and crosses — and was led by Fr. Jonathan Adel. The Christians of the region had been meeting there for all regular church services, functions, and celebrations, and authorities had agreed to its existence and use as a church.
Pope Francis Defends Jihad, Says Christianity Has Similar Roots in Idea of Conquest: Abra Forman, Breaking Israel News, May 18, 2016—Islam and Christianity share the “same idea of conquest”, and for that reason, Islam should not be viewed as a threat, said Pope Francis in a newspaper interview this week. “It is true that the idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam,” he conceded to the French Catholic newspaper La Croix. “However, it is also possible to interpret the objective in Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus sends his disciples to all nations, in terms of the same idea of conquest.”
Germany: Christian Refugees Persecuted by Muslims: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, May 15, 2016— Thousands of Christians in German refugee shelters are being persecuted by Muslims, sometimes even by their security guards, according to a new report, which asserts that in most cases German authorities have done nothing to protect the victims. The study alleges that German authorities and police have deliberately downplayed and even covered up the "taboo issue" of Muslim attacks on Christian refugees, apparently to avoid fueling anti-immigration sentiments.