The Fate of Christianity (and other religions) in the Middle East

Friday, September 5, 2014
posted by elizabeth @ 5:14 PM

As Americans, it is our right to freely worship whom we choose.  Our country was founded on religious freedom and that right is part of our American DNA.   I imagine it is even hard for Americans to visualize a country that does not allow its citizens to worship their own god.   The Pilgrims set forth to a land where they could freely worship their denomination.  And, today, we have religious groups of all stripes, including a group that literally worships trees.

With all that in mind, what is happening to Christians in the Middle East and parts of Africa should scare the breath out of you.    The reigning majority of Middle Eastern Muslims want to do away with our way of life, our Western, free life, our life as Christians, Jews, and other religions.  ISIS in particular is aiming for total world domination with their new calipathe.   That should scare you to death.

I read a book a few years ago called Secret Believers.  The book chronicles the struggles of Christians in the Middle East.   The book really opened my eyes to the realities of Christian life in their world.   It’s not easy.   Christians endure constant threats, physical violence, and church bombings .  They live as second class citizens and fear for their lives.   A Middle Eastern Christian, Maaria, who contributes to the Open Door blog wrote just this past May, “We are Christians in a Muslim country. We are citizens in a terror torn country.  Here children are kidnapped for being of the wrong faith. Terrible things are done out of hatred.”

The violence is continuous.   Ronald S. Lauder, President of the World Jewish Congress writes, “Half a million Christian Arabs have been driven out of Syria during the three-plus years of civil war there. Christians have been persecuted and killed in countries from Lebanon to Sudan.”    And, then there is Meriam Ibrahim, a Christian woman (an American citizen living in Sudan) who was sentenced to death for being a Christian and refusing to convert.   She is now back in America after a lengthy, scary legal battle. And, she’s a very, very lucky one.

While Americans are familiar with racial tensions and political arguments in our country, we do not understand the fear of belief.  We also do not understand theocracies.   And, in turn, Middle Eastern countries do not grasp our secular government.  The dialogue isn’t even the same.   Islamic countries cannot fathom a government that is not directed by a religion.  And, in turn, the American culture has become so politically correct that we are more non-religious today than worshipping freely.

How bad has the Middle East become for Christians?  There are brave, courageous Believers remaining in these countries, but few.   “Since 2003, when Saddam Hussein was ousted, Mosul’s Christians had seen their numbers dwindle from over 30,000 to just a few thousand, but once ISIS swept into the city in early June, there were reports that the remaining Christians had fled (Alissa Rubin, July 18, 2014, New York Times).    In the past few weeks under the new ISIS caliphate, the numbers have gotten worse.   The choice is convert to Islam or die.  Period.   Most Christians have left.  Those remaining are too ill or disabled to leave.  Their future is extremely bleak, if they are even allowed to survive.  In addition to the slaughter of Christians, ancient Christian churches and historical places are being destroyed.  Islamic countries are desperately trying to wipe Christianity off of the globe.   Other religions are unwelcome as well.  Remember the Yazidis held captive on the mountain top in Syria?

Some have said this ethnic cleansing of the Middle East is this generation’s Holocaust.   It is that horrific and spine-chilling.   America has stood up and taken action to save global Muslims in the past.  Remember the Muslims in Bosnia and in Serbia?  Now is the time for us to save the Christian faith in the Middle East and Africa.   This humanitarian crisis is extremely frightening. We need to focus on saving the world as we know it.

-Elizabeth Biar

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