Christian Arabs have something in common with Israel and the Jews. Angry opponents are determined to wipe them off the map! One hundred years ago, the Christian community in the Middle East was twenty percent. It struggles to reach five percent today. In some places it is dramatically worse.
The problem has become so acute, Pope Benedict XVI has convened a two-weeks conference of Catholic bishops in the Vatican. They are discussing the problems in Iraq, the Israeli-Arab conflict, radical Islam and the divisions between the many Christian churches in the region.
These are very important topics and should be seriously considered by all Christians and all the politicians who represent us. There is a current push, supported by some Western heavyweights for Turkey to be welcomed into Nato. Turkey once housed a healthy Christian populations but today a frightening 0.2 percent is the total. That shocking statistic suggests Turkey does not have what it takes to live in a world neighborhood.
For some reason, international leaders who enjoy criticizing Israel have little or nothing to say about this serious persecution of Christian Arabs which continues without restraint, inside Muslim nations.
The international media also prefers Israel-bashing rather than risk retribution for reporting the facts of life for Middle East Christians. The world is in a mounting mess because so many armchair authorities rely on the media for truth. That number includes people who vote.
International human rights lawyer Justus Reid Warner spoke about the disgraceful silence. The “patriarchs and archbishops of Christian Arab denominations, who are currently deceiving the international community, are self-interested people,” he said. “They collaborate with the Muslim perpetrators of intimidation and violence. Against all evidence they claim that the Christians Arabs are living comfortable and prosperous lives. In fact the present situation is growing worse by the day,” Justus Weiner warned.
Bethlehem is a case in point. Samir Qunmsiyeh, who owns the private Al-Mahd TV station in Beit Shahur predicted, “15 years from now there will be no Christians left in Bethlehem. Then you will need a torch to find a Christian here.”
Surely Christians who are looking forward to Christmas celebrations , Jesus and Bethlehem, should be concerned by such a prediction or have we all moved into denial.
Arutz Sheva (Israel) published the following specific details.
“Recent anti-Christian incidents include the following:
• Algeria: Looting and burning to the ground of a Pentecostal church, January 2009
• Sudan: It is estimated that over 1.5 million Christians have been killed by the Janjaweed, the Arab Muslim militia, and suspected Islamists in northern Sudan since 1984.
• Pakistan: In August 2009, six Christians – four women, a child and a man – were burnt alive by Muslims and a church was set ablaze after the alleged desecration of a copy of the Koran.
• Egypt: Seven Christians leaving church services were killed and ten were injured by three Muslim shooters, January 2010.”
Does anyone care, or will we slip into our Santa Claus outfit and continue to avoid reality? “O Little Town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie” are words for another day. They are totally unfit to describe Bethlehem today.
In an article for Israel National News, Dr Alex Grobman wrote: “Of all the abuses Christians are forced to endure, the treatment of their women is the most egregious. They are subjected to verbal sexual harassment and rape and compounding the problem is that in the Middle East, a female who has been violated is regarded as “unfit for marriage.”
He said, “Christian women are forced to marry Muslim men in violation of Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which states, “Marriage shall be entered in only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.” Those who speak out openly about this are subjected to death threats.”
Washing our hands of the predicament makes us followers of Pontius Pilate, not the Lord. There is a profound code of silence over this painfully abusive situation.
There is a chilling bible verse applicable. “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to Me from the ground?” (Genesis 4:10)
So what now?