International Fellowship of Christians and Jews

Why Are We Abandoning the Christians?

(Photo: flickr/ihhinsaniyardimvakfi)

(Photo: flickr/ihhinsaniyardimvakfi)

As the world hopes for peace in Syria and that all refugees can finally find safety from the brutal and ongoing war, we also continue to support and pray for the millions who’ve been displaced. But why isn’t anyone talking about the Christians in the Middle East? Writing at the Jewish Journal, David Suissa wonders why we have forgotten about the many persecuted Christians, who suffer oppression every day because of their faith:

In all the self-righteous talk we’ve been hearing about Muslim refugees from Syria, who’s talking about the Christians? Over the past several years, no religious group has been more persecuted throughout the Middle East than the Christians. And yet, hardly a peep.

Yes, the Jewish way is not either/or. We’re supposed to be inclusive. So, with all the beautiful, heartfelt sentiment so many American Jews are expressing for Muslim refugees, why are we not including oppressed Christians in our hearts?…

The irony is that the very persecution of Christians makes it harder to rescue them. As Patrick Goodenough reports on, the U.S. federal government relies on the United Nations in the refugee application process – and since Syrian Christians are often afraid to register with the U.N., they and other non-Muslims are left out.

This means that refugees in most need of rescue are hardest to reach. But isn’t that the real meaning of compassion — to go the extra mile for those in greatest need? Even if we put aside the charged issue of Muslim terrorists possibly infiltrating the refugees, and just look at basic human need, don’t we owe it to the Christians to pay more attention to their plight?

If the most powerful country on Earth can’t go the extra mile to rescue Christian refugees, who will?

If the most powerful man on Earth can’t bring justice to the most oppressed, who will?

Who will speak up for the most persecuted religious group in the world?



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Wednesday, November 25th, 2015 at 10:43 AM  | Stand for Israel

Islamic State-Signed Leaflets Threaten Jerusalem Christians with ‘Massacre’

(Photo: flickr/topsoftbe)

(Photo: flickr/topsoftbe)

Leaflets distributed in Jerusalem in the name of the Islamic State terror group threatened Christian residents of the city with a “massacre” if they do not evacuate by the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, according to Israeli media reports:

Haaretz reported the discovery of leaflets in several Jerusalem locations on Saturday that were signed by “Islamic State, Jerusalem Emirate” and stated, “We tell the heretic Christians, you must clear out immediately or we’ll massacre you on Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan, and one month is time enough to evacuate.” Additionally, Israel National News reported that leaflets signed by “ISIS Palestine,” vowing “revenge” against Christians, were found in eastern Jerusalem on Thursday.

Islamic State is notorious for its brutal slaughtering of Christians and other regional minority groups during its conquests in Iraq and Syria.

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Monday, June 29th, 2015 at 9:00 AM  | Stand for Israel

100,000 Christians Killed Each Year in Middle East

(Photo: screenshot)

(Photo: screenshot)

As radical Islamist groups rampage across the Middle East, the targets of their terror are most often those whose faith differs from their own. In a troubling report from Breitbart News, the number of Christians killed each year has reached six figures:

…statistics show that the situation of Christian persecution in the world is far more dire than most people understand.

The bishop called the breadth and scale of the suffering of Christians “unprecedented.”

At least 100,000 Christians are killed every year because of their faith, which amounts to 273 per day, or eleven every hour, McAreavey said, without mentioning those who are “being tortured, imprisoned, exiled, threatened, excluded, attacked and discriminated against on a widespread scale.”

In a sobering presentation before the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade this past week, McAreavey said that Christianity is the most oppressed religion in the world, and the followers of Jesus are actively persecuted in some 110 countries.

More striking still, he contended, according to the International Society for Human Rights, a non-religious organization, “80 percent of all acts of religious discrimination in the world today are directed against Christians.”

The bishop recalled how the former Chief Rabbi of Britain, Jonathan Sacks, recently described this suffering of Christians in the Middle East as “one of the crimes against humanity of our time,” comparing it to the Jewish pogroms in Europe and saying he was “appalled at the lack of protest it has evoked.”

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Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 at 2:13 PM  | Stand for Israel

Activists Warn Congress of Christian “Ethnic Cleansing”

Yesterday we brought you Fellowship Senior Vice President Yael Eckstein speaking on Capitol Hill regarding the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. Now CBN’s Abigail Robertson reports on Yael and other international speakers who gathered in Washington, D.C. this week for a panel on this religious persecution:

Every day, thousands of Christians in the Middle East are brutally persecuted by Islamic jihadists demanding they convert to Islam or pay the penalties.

Many groups are urging lawmakers to step up to assist those being tortured and discriminated against.

Speakers from around the world gathered in Washington, D.C., to discuss the horrors Middle East Christians are facing on a daily basis.

“Entire ancient Christian communities right now are being wiped out by hatred and terror,” Yael Eckstein, senior vice president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, said.

The IFCJ and Concerned Women for America came together to discuss the dangerous persecution going on in the Middle East.

CBN’s Erick Stakelbeck moderated the panel as speakers focused on religious persecution and what American policymakers can do to stop these atrocities.

Terrorism expert Dr. Walid Phares, who took part in the panel discussion, said we are witnessing the worst conditions for Christians in the Middle East since the rise of the Islamic State caliphate.

“The case can be made that in Iraq and Syria alone Christian minorities are under danger of complete ethnic cleansing,” Phares said. “This is a demographic catastrophe.”

Other panelists argued we must not be afraid to refer to those committing these heinous crimes as Islamic jihadists.

“We need to identify what’s happening in order to accurately fight it,” Concerned Women for America President Penny Nance said.

Eckstein emphasized the need for the Jewish and Christian communities to unite against those persecuting them.

“They’re not kicking out the Christian community because they don’t have anywhere to go,” Eckstein said. “They’re just killing them, and so we’re seeing mass killings and I want to see the Christian and Jewish communities coming together to say this is unacceptable.”

Eckstein urges…

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Wednesday, May 6th, 2015 at 11:26 AM  | Stand for Israel

Yael Eckstein on Persecution of Christians in the Middle East

As Stand for Israel reported, yesterday The Fellowship’s Senior Vice President Yael Eckstein joined Concerned Women for America CEO Penny Nance on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to speak on religious persecution in the Middle East. Listen to Yael and Penny speak to the Family Research Council not only about the persecution that is going on, but what we can do to act against it.

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Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 at 11:16 AM  | Stand for Israel

New ISIS Video Shows Execution of Christians

(Photo: screenshot)

(Photo: screenshot)

As the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group has spread its tentacles across the Middle East, the horrors of its violent actions against those who don’t share its extremist beliefs have also spread. Yediot Achronot reports that a new video shows the mass executions by ISIS of Ethiopian Christians:

A new video published Sunday by the Islamic State terror group claims to show two mass executions in Libya. In the video, reportedly shot in Libya, a group of Coptic Ethiopians is executed by a firing squad and another group by a knife to the throat…

According to ISIS, the first group being executed was “adherent of the Ethiopian church” – a possible reference to Coptic Christians – and the execution purportedly took place in Libya’s Fezzan region…

“Despite the cross, we have returned,” the ISIS narrator said with guns pointed at the first group.

According to the video, the execution is a message to Christians in the region according to which, if they fail to convert to Islam they will have to pay with their lives or face execution at the hands of ISIS. A similar fate befell the Christian community of Raqqa, Syria.

ISIS has gained a significant foothold in Libya, posing a clear and imminent threat to both Egypt and Italy.

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Monday, April 20th, 2015 at 9:21 AM  | Stand for Israel

ISIS Destroyed Christian Civilization While World Watched

(Photo: IFCJ)

(Photo: IFCJ)

As the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group has spread across the Middle East, it has targeted religious minorities, particularly the Christian communities it comes across. Arutz Sheva provides this tragic story of Assyrian Christians who the terrorists have recently attacked and displaced:

Waiting in an aid line outside Lebanon’s capital Beirut, Assyrian Christian Francie Yaacoub remembers the well-stocked home she left behind in Syria as she fled advancing Islamic State (ISIS) group jihadists.

“We left behind a house full of everything. Why do we now have to stand at the church door?” she asked quietly as she waited to receive aid at the Assyrian diocese of Sid al-Boushriyeh, reports AFP.

She is one of hundreds of Assyrian Christians who have arrived in Lebanon in recent weeks after ISIS jihadists stormed their villages in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakeh.

Members of Lebanon’s Assyrian community, many of them related to those who fled Hasakeh, are doing their best to welcome the new refugees, but the displacement has left them traumatized.

Yaacoub, in her fifties, now lives in a small house with her son, husband and five other Assyrian refugees. Her family fled their village, Tal Nasri, during a terrifying ISIS bombardment last week.

“We left in our pajamas. My son walked barefoot, we left without our shoes on,” she said. “The shells were falling all around us…We had to flee because the safety of your children is the most important thing.”

Yaacoub’s family was not alone – thousands of Assyrians have been forced to abandon their villages along Hasakeh’s Khabur river since ISIS jihadists began an attack there in February.

The group has seized at least 11 of the 33 Assyrian villages in the region, and kidnapped more than 200 members of the ancient Christian sect, which numbered around 30,000 in Syria before the war …

“The villages of Khabur are empty now, there is no one left except some fighters,” lamented Chorbishop Yatron Koliana, as he oversaw the distribution at his diocese.

“Our people have experienced a great tragedy in Syria,” he added with a sigh, saying that many of the new arrivals were traumatized. “They are depressed. Some of them…

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Wednesday, March 18th, 2015 at 8:27 AM  | Stand For Israel

ISIS Releases 19 Christian Hostages, Dozens Remain Captive

(Photo: flickr/ News Feed)

(Photo: flickr/ News Feed)

Last week Stand for Israel reported the horrific abduction of hundreds of Christians by the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group. Now, Newsweek reports that 19 of those who were kidnapped have been released, though dozens remain in captivity:

The Islamic State (ISIS) has released 19 of its Assyrian hostages, according to the human rights group A Demand for Action. The 17 men and two women are from Tal Goran, Syria; it is unclear why they were released on Sunday.

Last week, ISIS took hundreds of Assyrian villagers hostage in the Tell Tamer region of Syria. Although the exact number of captives is unknown, A Demand For Action estimates between 150 and 274 hostages remain.

The terrorist organization also burned local churches belonging to the Christian community. A Demand for Action said in a statement that the Islamic State is attempting to “ethnically cleanse” the region.

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Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015 at 2:19 PM  | Stand For Israel

ISIS Captures Hundreds of Christians, Destroys Ancient Art

(Photo: youtube)

(Photo: youtube)

This week, Stand for Israel has been closely following the plight of Assyrian Christians taken captive by the Islamic State (ISIS). The New York Times reports that the terrorist group has now taken nearly 300 Christians, all the while destroying priceless, antiquated art and archaeology:

The reports are like something out of a distant era of ancient conquests: entire villages emptied, with hundreds taken prisoner, others kept as slaves; the destruction of irreplaceable works of art; a tax on religious minorities, payable in gold.

A rampage reminiscent of Tamerlane or Genghis Khan, perhaps, but in reality, according to reports by residents, activist groups and the assailants themselves, a description of the modus operandi of the Islamic State’s self-declared caliphate this week. The militants have prosecuted a relentless campaign in Iraq and Syria against what have historically been religiously and ethnically diverse areas with traces of civilizations dating to ancient Mesopotamia.

The latest to face the militants’ onslaught are the Assyrian Christians of northeastern Syria, one of the world’s oldest Christian communities, some speaking a modern version of Aramaic, the language of Jesus.

Assyrian leaders have counted 287 people taken captive, including 30 children and several dozen women, along with civilian men and fighters from Christian militias, said Dawoud Dawoud, an Assyrian political activist who had just toured the area, in the vicinity of the Syrian city of Qamishli. Thirty villages had been emptied, he said.

The Syriac Military Council, a local Assyrian militia, put the number of those taken at 350 …

The assault on the Assyrian communities comes amid battles for a key crossroads in the area. But to residents, it also seems to be part of the latest effort by the Islamic State militants to eradicate or subordinate anyone and anything that does not comport with their vision of Islamic rule — whether…

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Friday, February 27th, 2015 at 11:39 AM  | Stand for Israel

“We Only Have the Almighty Left to Protect Us”

(Photo: flickr/ News Feed)

(Photo: flickr/ News Feed)

As we reported earlier this week, hundreds of Christians in Syria have been abducted by terrorists from the Islamic State (ISIS). Now The Algemeiner reports that an Assyrian Christian leader is speaking out on the tragic plight of his brethren:

Father Colliana noted that, “ISIS terrorists carried out this attack against these Assyrian villages, and the number of our people still there in the area is somewhere between seven and ten thousand people. The rest fled to Lebanon, or Iraq or other countries. At the very least, we know that our families face great dangers, and they are now threatened with death, or kidnapping or displacement.”

At dawn on Monday, the extremist group’s fighters swept through the Assyrian villages nestled along the banks of the Khabur River, which is located near the town of  Tal Tamr, in Syria’s Al-Hasakah province.

Father Colliana said that that approximately 100 young men and women were kidnapped by ISIS, a number that has been confirmed by a few human rights groups. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which reported on the abductions based on information from a network of activists inside Syria, put the number of the Assyrians being held by ISIS at 90. Nuri Kino, of the group A Demand For Action, which focuses on religious minorities in the Middle East, said that, based on conversations with villagers who escaped the onslaught, ISIS had taken 70 to 100 Assyrians captive.

According to both groups, most of the captives came from the village of Tal Shamirun, some 50 miles southwest of the province’s capital Qamishli.

Father Colliana said that, “the fighters entered the town of Tal Shamriun and took it over. The popular Assyrian and Kurdish committees were carrying out the defense of these towns as much as they could, but they could not repel these groups of ISIS fighters which were equipped with modern weapons. Meanwhile, the warplanes of the coalition were hovering in the airspace above the area without targeting ISIS locations or their groupings, as…

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Thursday, February 26th, 2015 at 9:03 AM  | Stand for Israel