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Earlier this summer, Stand for Israel told you about Meriam Ibrahim, a Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan for the “crime” of refusing to convert to Islam. We then told you that by God’s grace, Meriam had been freed. Speaking to The Telegraph, this woman of incredible faith now tells the story of her ordeal:
The Sudanese mother who was sentenced to hang for refusing to reject Christianity has spoken for the first time about her ordeal, saying she was resolved to keep her faith even if it meant death …
“While I was in prison, some people came to visit me from the Muslim Scholars Association,” she said. “These were imams that created an intervention by reciting parts of the Koran for me. I faced a tremendous amount of pressure.
“I had my trust in God,” she said. “My faith was the only weapon that I had in these confrontations with imams and Muslim scholars, because that’s what I believe.”
Ms. Ibrahim, who insisted she had been a Christian all her life, was forced birth in prison to daughter Maya.
“I was supposed to give birth at a hospital outside of prison but they denied that request as well,” she said. “When it was time to give birth, they refused to remove the chains from my ankles. So I had to give birth with chains on my ankles.”
Sudan initially blocked Ibrahim from leaving the country even after its highest court overturned her death sentence in June. The family took refuge at the US embassy in Khartoum. The family returned to Manchester on Aug. 1.
Ms. Ibrahim, who now lives in New Hampshire with her husband Daniel and two children, said other Christian prisoners were told any debts they has would be written off if they converted to Islam.
“I would never leave my faith”, she said, “if you don’t have faith you are not alive.
“I put my life at risk for the women of Sudan and for Christians live under difficult circumstances, persecuted…Read More » Comments (16) »
Wednesday, September 17th, 2014 at 3:47 PM | Stand for Israel
Stand for Israel has been reporting on the spread of the terror group Islamic State (IS or ISIS), as well as the atrocities they have committed along the way. The San Diego Union-Tribune gives us this story on Iraq’s dwindling Christian community and the terror they’ve faced for too long:
The day the statue of Saddam Hussein was torn down in Baghdad’s Firdos Square in April 2003 — a day that was the basis for some of the most iconic and debated images of the war in Iraq — Sam, an Iraqi Christian who had a job at a barber shop just down the street from all of the action, skipped work.
“I saw everything with my eyes. I was there,” he said.
Like many Iraqis, he saw promise in the falling statue, and initially things were more or less OK. Even with the church bombings, the ransom kidnappings, the faith-based killings, the sectarian fighting between Shiite and Sunni militias, and the random atrocities that marked everyday life in occupied Iraq, Sam and his family were getting by.
That started to change in 2006, when militias made life unbearable even for those trying to keep a low profile. In late 2009, he fled to Jordan. That was after a group of women threatened his wife because she was Christian, and soon after a Shiite militia tried to recruit him. He eventually moved his family to San Diego …
Even now, halfway around the world, he fears persecution because of his religion. He has a lingering regret: “We should have come before.”
But he knows he’s among the lucky. “Some people, they suffered more than us,” he said.
ISIS, the shorthand name for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, a militant group that wants to create a fundamentalist caliphate, recently claimed much of northern Iraq and has been persecuting Shiite Muslims, Kurds, Christians and other minorities …
For Iraqi Christians, the past decade has been one disaster after another: first the emergence of…Read More » Comments (2) »
Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 at 3:56 PM | Stand for Israel
As the Islamic State (IS) has made its way across Syria and Iraq, it has pushed out or killed those it sees as different. Iraq’s Christians – the Assyrians – have been a historically pacifist group. But as IS threatens their very existence, National Geographic’s Rania Abouzeid reports that many Assyrians are considering fighting the terrorist group:
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Iraq’s Assyrian Christians pride themselves on having persisted in their traditional homeland for millennia, even as other civilizations thrived then disappeared, as languages and cultures died out, as ethnic groups melted into the ways and genetic pools of their conquerors.
But today Iraq’s Assyrians, and its Christians in general, fear that their place in this multiethnic, multisectarian mosaic society is shrinking, under severe threat from the ultraconservative Islamist group the Islamic State (IS).
It isn’t the first time that Iraq’s Christians have faced such a foe. The IS’s earlier incarnation, al Qaeda in Iraq—a group that formed after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003—also menaced Christians, and others, prompting tens of thousands to flee into exile.
Now, the particularly harsh nature of the IS’s assault on Christians, Yazidis, Shiite Muslims, and others who do not share allegiance to the IS’s brand of ultraconservative Sunni Islam has led some of Iraq’s Christians to take the unusual step of shedding their historical passivity and consider taking up arms to defend and eventually govern themselves …
“We keep talking about Jesus and peace, and now we’ve reached the point where it’s not enough,” [Assyrian official Harry Sarkis] said in an interview at his party’s headquarters in Dahuk. “The age of waiting for the Peshmerga to take back territory while we sit is over. We took the decision that, with our limited abilities, we will try to participate.”
Thursday, August 28th, 2014 at 1:35 PM | SFI
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 (19) »
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