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Even as the world concentrates on the destruction in Gaza (caused by Hamas firing rockets from civilian sites such as homes, schools, and hospitals), it continues to ignore the plight of Christians across the Middle East. Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, writes in The New York Times that the Jewish people must stand up for oppressed Christians:
Historians may look back at this period and wonder if people had lost their bearings. Few reporters have traveled to Iraq to bear witness to the Nazi-like wave of terror that is rolling across that country. The United Nations has been mostly mum. World leaders seem to be consumed with other matters in this strange summer of 2014. There are no flotillas traveling to Syria or Iraq. And the beautiful celebrities and aging rock stars — why doesn’t the slaughter of Christians seem to activate their social antennas?
I will not be silent in the face of the growing threat of anti-Semitism in Europe and in the Middle East, I will not be indifferent to Christian suffering. Historically, it has almost always been the other way around: Jews have all too often been the persecuted minority. But Israel has been among the first countries to aid Christians in South Sudan. Christians can openly practice their religion in Israel, unlike in much of the Middle East.
This bond between Jews and Christians makes complete sense. We share much more than most religions. We read the same Bible, and share a moral and ethical core. Now, sadly, we share a kind of suffering: Christians are dying because of their beliefs, because they are defenseless and because the world is indifferent to their suffering.
Good people must join together and stop this revolting wave of violence. It’s not as if we are powerless. I write this as a citizen of the strongest military power on earth. I write this as a Jewish…Read More » Comments (0) »
Wednesday, August 20th, 2014 at 10:35 AM | Stand For Israel
The plight of Christians in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East is dire. Now The Algemeiner brings this report on Hamas firing rockets from a church in Gaza:
A Catholic Archbishop ministering to Gaza’s minute Christian minority says Hamas terrorists forced him to allow them to use his church to fire rockets at Israel during the four week-long Operation Protective Edge.
“Islam is the rule of this place and whatever Hamas says we must obey or face consequences,” Archbishop Alexios told The Christian Broadcasting Network.
Alexios showed the reporter where Hamas terrorists used the roof of the center to fire rockets at Israel …
Functioning as a tolerated Christian minority in an Islamic supremacist entity, some residents charge that Hamas has “imposed strict Taliban-style Islamic laws” on the populace, Muslim and Christian alike.
However, Alexios allowed 2,000 Gazans to take refuge within the church compound during the fighting, according to the report.
We pray for the safety of the many persecuted Christians in Gaza, in Iraq, and elsewhere across the troubled region.Comments (0) »
Friday, August 8th, 2014 at 10:44 AM | Stand For Israel
Although we here at Stand for Israel try to bring you the latest balanced news from the Holy Land and the rest of the Middle East, it often seems as if the international media has a different agenda – persecuting Israel for defending itself against enemies attacking from all sides, while at the same time not reporting on the widespread persecution of Christians and other minorities across the rest of the region. Writing at the Gatestone Institute, Raymond Ibrahim addresses this unfairness as he looks at the plight of Christians facing oppression – and worse – in Iraq and elsewhere:
One of the most ancient Christian communities in the world, that of Iraq—which already had been decimated over the last decade, by Islamic forces unleashed after the ousting of Saddam Hussein—has now been wiped out entirely by the new “caliphate,” the so-called Islamic State, formerly known by the acronym “ISIS.”
Islamists began painting the letter “n” on Christian homes in Mosul—in Arabic, Christians are known as “Nasara,” or “Nazarenes”—signaling them out for the slaughter to come.Most Christians have since fled. A one-minute video in Arabic of their exodus appears here—women and children weeping as they flee their homes—a video that will not be shown by any Western mainstream media outlet, busy as they are depicting instead nonstop images of Palestinian women and children …
The persecution and exodus of Christians is hardly limited to Iraq. In 2011, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom noted: “The flight of Christians out of the region is unprecedented and it’s increasing year by year.” In our lifetime alone “Christians might disappear altogether from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt,” all Muslim majority nations.
Under Saddam Hussein, and before the 2003 U.S. “liberation” of Iraq, more than a million Christians lived in Iraq; Mosul had some 60,000 Christians. Today there are reportedly none thanks to the new Muslim “caliphate.”
In Egypt, some 100,000 Christian Copts fled their homeland soon after the “Arab Spring.”…Read More » Comments (13) »
Friday, August 8th, 2014 at 9:43 AM | Stand For Israel
The news today (reported in this morning’s Stand for Israel Daily Dispatch) that a Christian community in civil war-torn Syria was forced — literally at gunpoint — to accept subjugation (a status known in Islam as dhimmi) causes Commentary’s Tom Wilson to wonder why there is little or no outrage from mainline Christian churches in the West:
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Clearly many of these congregations have a strong sense of social conscience and are no strangers to activism and campaigning. Yet, in the case of several of the liberal churches, the campaign of choice is not one to support their beleaguered and persecuted coreligionists in the Islamic world; instead they have set upon the campaign to demonize the Jewish state, incidentally the only place in the entire Middle East where the number of Christians is actually growing.
Friday, February 28th, 2014 at 8:18 AM | Stand For Israel
Paul Miller, writing at Arutz Sheva, explores the reasons behind the near-silence in mainstream media about the treatment of Christians in the Islamic world. He outlines a number of incidents of such ill-treatment and lays the blame squarely at the foot of institutions that cannot muster the requisite courage to criticize violent elements in the Muslim world:
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Ultimately the question is: Why is the media silent about the horrors committed against Christians? With all the turmoil engulfing the Middle East and surrounding areas, there is no shortage of reporters or news bureaus in that part of the world. Yet, the massacre of Christians doesn’t make the pages of the New York Times or warrant a spot on “NBC Nightly News.”
Thursday, February 27th, 2014 at 8:51 AM | Stand For Israel
The small sect of Christians known as the Copts have inhabited Egypt since, essentially, the dawn of Christendom. To be sure, it hasn’t always been easy. But now, writes Samuel Tadros at the Hoover Institution blog, this ancient community is threatened as never before — which leaves us to wonder and worry whether or not there will be any Christians left in Egypt:
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The Islamists’ goal is not the annihilation of Copts. Copts are not likely to face a holocaust in the future, though local pogroms are all but guaranteed. The Islamists’ goal is to subjugate Copts to their notions of their proper place as dhimmis under benevolent Islamic rule. It is for Copts to accept dhimmitude, live by it, and embrace it. Copts will be allowed to live in Egypt, tolerated as second-class citizens recognizing and accepting their second-class status. Any attempt by Copts to break those chains of dhimmitude and act as equals is frowned upon as an affront to the supremacy and primacy of Islam in its own land.
Monday, February 10th, 2014 at 8:37 AM | Stand For Israel
Ali Salim, writing at the Gatestone Institute, has an extraordinary piece on the plight of Christian communities across the Middle East — everywhere, of course, except for Israel, where all religious traditions enjoy freedom and protection under the law. According to Salim, Christian communities are likely to continue to dwindle as persecution and outright violence against them from Islamists escalates:
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The fact, like it or not, is that under the rule of the Jews in Israel, the Christian and Muslim communities live in complete security and have absolute freedom of worship. Churches are not burned. Mosques are not burned. Neither Christians nor Muslims are attacked when they leave their houses of prayer.
Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014 at 8:19 AM | Stand For Israel
Periodically, we have reported to you about the growing danger faced by Christian communities across the Middle East. Roland Flamini, writing at World Affairs Journal, notes that despite the increasing violence faced by Middle Eastern Christians, there has been a surprising lack of outcry throughout the West:
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Across the Middle East, it is the same narrative of thousands of Christians fleeing their homelands. Almost half of Iraq’s Christians have left since the 2003 invasion, leaving about four hundred thousand, or scarcely three percent of the current population. Once a majority, Lebanon’s million and a half Christians—most of them Maronite Catholics—now account for thirty-five percent of the population. Tens of thousands of Syrian Christians have fled from cities such as Aleppo, Homs, and Qusayr in the face of Islamist rebels. The traditional Christmas market and lights in Qatana, in southern Syria, are now things of the past under pressure from Islamist militias who want no outward shows of Christian life. In Egypt, members of the Catholic and Orthodox Coptic churches make up about ten percent of the country’s total population of eighty-four million. But tens of thousands of Copts have emigrated over the past two years, particularly since the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi was elected president and especially since he was deposed.
Thursday, December 19th, 2013 at 8:17 AM | Stand For Israel
Matthew Fisher, a Lebanese-based reporter for the Canadian news outlet National Post, writes that the evidence suggests a new round of violence targeted specifically at Christians in the Middle East, where Christian communities have existed for two thousand years. In the middle of it all is the crisis in Syria, but attacks have taken place around the globe (We wrote about one horrific event in Pakistan just yesterday).
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Staying in Syria was not an option because with so many different militias now propping up Assad’s regime and so many different rebel groups trying to overthrow the government, he said “it is terrifying to approach a checkpoint because we don’t know who is who.” It is difficult to know how many of Syria’s 2.5 million Christians have fled, but at least several hundred thousand must have. Most are in Lebanon, but others are in Iraq, Jordan, Turkey and Egypt.
Tuesday, September 24th, 2013 at 8:41 AM | Stand For Israel
A suicide bombing at a Christian church in northwestern Pakistan killed 85 people yesterday. Fox News reports:
A pair of suicide bombers blew themselves up amid hundreds of worshipers outside a historic church in northwestern Pakistan on Sunday.
The attack on the All Saints Church in the city of Peshawar, which also wounded over 140 people, occurred as worshipers were leaving after service to get a free meal of rice offered on the front lawn.
Members of a Pakistani Taliban wing immediately claimed responsibility for the deadly church blast. While many Pakistani citizens have condemned the attack, the reality is that Christians have long faced discrimination in this country which is 96% Muslim. Still, never in such a massively brutal way. As a result, Christians have begun protesting around the country, blocking roads, burning tires, and demanding protection for religious minorities.Comments (14) »
Monday, September 23rd, 2013 at 1:55 PM | Stand For Israel