They Cry in Silence Mar/Apr 2013

Christians are targeted for persecution more than any other religious group in the world. And if something isn’t done soon to stem the situation in the Middle East, Christianity may disappear from there entirely.

A 54-page report, Christianophobia by Rupert Shortt, published in December 2012 in Great Britain (available online at www. civitas.org.uk/pdf/Shortt_Christianophobia.pdf) blames Muslim-majority nations for the “lion’s share” of the persecution. The report delves extensively into Christianity’s plight in seven countries:

  • Iraq, where the number of Christians has dropped from 1.4 million in 1990 to fewer than 200,000 today.
  • Pakistan, where Muslims routinely and falsely accuse Christians of blaspheming the Prophet Muhammad and then torture, imprison, and/or kill them.
  • Nigeria, where “an orgy of violence at Christmas, 2010 . . . is an image of the country’s chronic sectarian problems.” Since the institution of Sharia law, 60,000 people, mostly Christians, have died.
  • India, where “between August and October of 2008, the eastern state of Orissa in India saw the worst outbreak of brutality against Christians since Independence.” Hindus have murdered 90 people, “displaced at least 50,000 more from their homes, and attacked about 170 churches and chapels. The victims included Hindus who had tried to defend their Christian neighbours.”
  • Burma, where there is a “catastrophic human rights record,” and “government clampdowns have been draconian.”
  • China, where there are 23 million “registered” Protestants and 50 million to 60 million unregistered. “More Christians are imprisoned in China than in any other country in the world.” They are also sent into forced labor in “re-education” camps.
  • Egypt, actually listed first in Shortt’s list, where Christian Copts face increasing persecution since President Mohammed Morsi has instituted Sharia law.

In Egypt the situation worsens almost daily. Raymond Ibrahim, a specialist on Islam and the Middle East with the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Middle East Forum, reported on his website (RaymondIbrahim.com) in December 2012 that a Muslim Egyptian cleric is threatening the Copts with genocide:

Dr. Wagdi Ghoneim—who earlier praised Allah for the death of the late Coptic Pope Shenouda, cursing him to hell and damnation on video—made another video entitled, “A Notice and Warning to the Crusaders in Egypt,” a reference to the nation’s Copts, which he began by saying, “You are playing with fire in Egypt, I swear, the first people to be burned by the fire are you [Copts].” The video was made in the context of the Tahrir protests against Morsi: Islamic leaders, such as Hegazy and Ghoneim, seek to portray the Copts as dominant elements in those protests; according to them, no real Muslim would participate. Ghoneim even went on to say that most of the people at the protests were Copts, “and we know you hid your [wrist] crosses by lowering your sleeves.”

The heart of Ghoneim’s message was genocidal: “The day Egyptians—and I don’t even mean the Muslim Brotherhood or Salafis, regular Egyptians—feel that you are against them, you will be wiped off the face of the earth. I’m warning you now: do not play with fire!”

Ibrahim pointed out that Ghoneim compared the Christian Copts to animals and addressed all Egypt’s Christians as Crusaders, “once again showing Islam’s simplistic, black-and-white vision, which clumps all Christians—of all nations, past and present, regardless of historical context and denomination—as one, in accordance with an Islamic tradition that states ‘All infidels are one religion.’”

Ghoneim also mocked America, Ibrahim said:

“What do you think—that America will protect you? Let’s be very clear, America will not protect you. If so, it would have protected the Christians of Iraq when they were being butchered!”—a reference to the fact that, after the U.S. ousted Saddam Hussein, half of Iraq’s Christian population has either been butchered or fled the nation, and all under U.S. auspices.

On the other side of the coin, Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice in Washington, DC, told The Jerusalem Post Israel is the “most free and protective of religious liberty for Christians” of all the region’s nations.

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