As Hamas sent thousands of missiles into Israel and the Israeli government responded by invading Gaza to silence these missiles, our attention has focused upon the Middle East. What you may not be aware of is how horrific a price for their faith Christians are paying in the Middle East. From Egypt to Iraq, Syria to Pakistan, Christians have been systematically singled out and beaten, killed and their churches set ablaze.
ISIS has declared a Caliphate–echoing seventh century imperialist oppression. In Mosul, they told Christians to convert to Islam, leave the city or risk being put to death “by the sword.” An 1800 year old church was burned in Mosul according to reports on Sunday, July 20. Crosses are torn down and the black flag of ISIS put in their place. These are not isolated instances in Mosul, however. Copts in Egypt have similar stories and all of us witnessed how a pregnant woman, Mariam Yahya Ibrahim, in Sudan was scheduled for execution by hanging because she refused to renounce her Christian faith. She has since been released after international calls for her freedom but note, she and her family had to leave their home. Christians have come under fierce persecution with atrocities piling up in Syria. There is not enough space in this post for the myriad stories of intimidation, torture and execution of Christians. The destruction of Near Eastern Christians is happening before our eyes. The West and the UN ignore their plight. At the very least, we should be praying for Christians there and finding ways to educate others about their plight. May God have mercy on them and save them from annihilation.
You can find more information here at the The Week and an article by Professor Franck Salameh, Associate Professor for Near Eastern Studies at Boston College, entitled, “The Destruction of Near Eastern Christianity.” And this Vatican News report on atrocities in Syria.