Iran’s American Prisoner
By: Raymond Ibrahim
4/30/2013 03:07 PM
In January, an American Christian was sentenced to an eight-year prison sentence on charges of “endangering national security” in Iran. A 32-year-old married father of two from Boise, Idaho, Pastor Saeed Abedini traveled to his country of origin last year to visit family and help build an orphanage, only to be arrested and sent to Tehran’s brutal Evin prison.
According to Fox News, Abedini, a Muslim convert to Christianity—also known as an apostate deserving of death under Islamic Sharia law—is “facing physical and psychological torture at the hands of captors demanding he renounce his beliefs.” In a recent letter smuggled to family members, he recounted the “horrific pressures” and “death threats” he endures: “My eyes get blurry, my body does not have the strength to walk, and my steps become very weak and shaky… They are only waiting for one thing… for me to deny Christ. But they will never get this from me.”
Indeed, the authorities’ words are “Deny your faith in Jesus Christ and return to Islam or else you will not be released from prison. We will make sure you are kept here even after your 8 year sentence is finished.”
While Pastor Abedini’s medieval-style sufferings may come as a surprise to many Americans, they are regular features of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Recall the persecution of Pastor Youssef Nadarkhani, another Muslim who converted to Christianity. He too was imprisoned, placed on death row, and tortured to renounce Christ for nearly three years. Then, likely due to the international scandal his story caused for Iran, he was released—only to be rearrested again, on Christmas Day, adding insult to injury.
And just as Tehran claims that Abedini was arrested for “threatening national security,” so was Nadarkhani formally accused of anything and everything—from being a Zionist spy to running a brothel—even as Iran’s official Supreme Court ruling made clear that Nadarkhani was convicted of turning his back on Islam [i.e., apostatizing], the greatest religion the prophesy of Mohammad at the age of 19. He has often participated in Christian worship and organized home church services, evangelizing and has been baptized and baptized others, converting Muslims to Christianity. He has been accused of breaking Islamic Law… During court trials, he denied the prophecy of Mohammad and the authority of Islam. He has stated that he is a Christian and no longer Muslim. During many sessions in court with the presence of his attorney and a judge, he has been sentenced to execution by hanging…
Nor are pastors Abedini and Nadarkhani the only ones to be so obviously persecuted for their Christian faith: countless are the Christians and Muslim converts to Christianity that Iranian authorities harass, imprison, and torture in an attempt to have them renounce Christianity. A few recent examples follow:
Mohabet News reports that four Muslim converts to Christianity were arrested in February during house-church worship and “taken to the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz several times in a pitiful condition with their hands and feet chained.” They were charged with the usual: “participating in house-church services, evangelizing and promoting Christianity … and disturbing national security.” The report elaborates on the “obvious mental and physical torture” Iran’s converts to Christianity experience in prison.
Another house church pastor, Benham Irani, remains behind bars even as his family expresses concerns that he may die from continued beatings, leading to internal bleeding and other ailments. The verdict against him contains text describing him as an apostate who “can be killed.” According to one activist, “His ‘crimes’ were being a pastor and possessing Christian materials.”
A six-year prison sentence for Pastor Farshid Fathi Malayeri—whose crime was to convert to and preach Christianity—was upheld last year following an unsuccessful appeal hearing. A woman, Leila Mohammadi, who had earlier converted to Christianity was arrested when security agents raided her house. Imprisoned for five months in Evin prison without any word on her fate, she was later sentenced to two years in prison.
A June report indicated that, five months after five Christian converts were arrested, their condition and fate was still unknown. They were accused of “attending house church services, promoting Christianity, propagating against the regime and disturbing national security.” Being imprisoned for 130 days without word “is an obvious example of physical and mental abuse of the detainees…. one of the prison guards openly told one of these Christian detainees that all these pressures and uncertainties are intended to make them flee the country after they are released.”
A young woman who had recently converted to Christianity and was an outspoken activist against the Islamic regime, was found dead, slumped over her car’s steering wheel, with a single gunshot wound to her head.
Then there are Iran’s many other faces of Christian persecution, including shutting down churches, regular crackdowns on house-church gatherings, confiscating Bibles and other Christian literature, and banning church services in Farsi.
For all that, Iran’s persecution of Christians is a minor reflection of a much bigger, rarely reported humanitarian crisis: the persecution of Christians from one end of the Islamic world to the other—which I document in my new book, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, by connecting-the-dots and exposing the same patterns of Christian persecution under Islam.
For example, what happens to Christians in Iran—arrested and harassed for being apostates to Christianity or for preaching Christ—happens in countries as different from Iran as Indonesia, Egypt, and Nigeria. Countries that share neither race, language, or culture—only Islam.
Patterns are not only evident in the Muslim world’s persecution of Christians, but in the Obama administration’s indifference. The U.S. State Department has excluded Abedini from its Iran Prisoners List—commensurate with the fact that it regularly whitewashes the sufferings of Christian under Islam, and even failed to cite Egypt and Pakistan as “nations of particular concern” despite the fact that Christians there are being hounded mercilessly, as documented in the book.
The persecution of Pastor Abedini, an American citizen in Iran, is the tip of the iceberg of the persecution of Christians under Islam—persecution that, try as they may, the mainstream media, the Obama administration, and all the politically correct powers that be, cannot ignore out of existence, especially now that it is exposed and documented in Crucified Again.
Raymond Ibrahim is the author of new book, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians. He is a fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Middle East Forum.
Please continue to pray for Saeed as he is detained in solitary confinement, most likely under going further beatings.
SEND YOUR YELLOW ENVELOPES TO JOHN KERRY TOMORROW!!!
The Dark Side Of The Revolution For Egypt’s Coptic Christians
CAIRO –(AINA) Copts are being persecuted in Egypt. So, what’s new about that? This has been the norm in our “beloved homeland” since at least the 1970s.
But in fact, there is something new: sectarianism against Copts and many other minorities — including Shias, Bahais, and Bedouins — intensified after the beginning of the January 2011 revolution.
The romantic dream of social unity and tranquility between all sects and religions was dashed a few weeks after 11 February 2011, when Salafi Muslims started to ignite sectarian strife against Christians accusing them of cooperating with the secularists who wanted to transform Egypt into an anti-Islamist state.
Why did this happen? Why did a revolution that succeeded in overthrowing a deeply entrenched dictatorship, precisely because it united all Egyptians behind its banners, result in further persecution of Copts and other minorities? Why did hope turn into despair?
A simple and straightforward answer might be because of the ugly and reactionary politics of the Islamists. This is true, but only partly. It begs the question of how Islamists succeeded in convincing hundreds of thousands, even millions, of ordinary Muslims to follow in the footsteps of their sectarianism. Why did ordinary citizens enthusiastically demolish churches and kill Copts, for just being Copts?
To solve this riddle, we have to look wider and deeper.
The revolution broke out in a society already mired in racism against minorities, especially Copts. Sectarianism and hatred of “the others” had been seeping deep into the minds and souls of Egyptians long before January 2011.
This was partly the result of the 1967 defeat in the war with Israel, combined with the rise of neo liberalism disguised in the form of infitah — former President Anwar Sadat’s “open-door” economic policy. The ruling classes and the Islamists, each in their own way, invested in this apocalyptic atmosphere to blow the winds of hatred.
When hopes of liberation, through popular resistance from below, were lost after the defeat of the January 1977 uprising, sectarianism started to fill the vacuum with a vengeance.
The January 2011 uprising brought Egyptians back together. It revived hope in unity as it dealt a strong blow to vertical divisions between equally exploited and oppressed citizens.
But revolutions are not magic. Yes, they can start a new path but they cannot miraculously bury all the old grievances in one stroke.
The new beginnings needed to be nurtured in order to blossom but this did not happen. The united Egyptians — Copts, Sunnis, Shias, Bahais, Nubians and Bedouins — toppled former President Hosni Mubarak, yet the following day they found themselves lacking a united strategy for the future.
The spontaneous unity of the progressive masses, forged by hatred of a filthy regime, did not translate itself into a conscious unity to build a new society.
The lack of unity among the revolutionary strata of the population allowed the Islamists and the military junta to exploit the inert layers — the village dwellers and sections of the so-called marginalized — in a series of frontal assaults against the revolution, from the 19 March constitutional referendum in which the Islamists mobilized these backward classes to win a “yes” vote, to the attacks by “honest citizens” on mass rallies in Tahrir Square and Abbasseya.
Hence, the failure of the progressive mass movement to enforce itself and dictate its will, due to the lack of an organized, truly libertarian force rooted in the movement and capable of providing a sense of direction. This led the revolution to the labyrinth of unfulfilled promises and sunken hopes under military and Muslim Brotherhood rule. And here, the very old law of human despair reigned: When anger is not combined with hope, it will necessarily be coupled with hatred.
Revolutionary despair is much more dangerous than ordinary despair. In their normal, routine life, people grow accustomed to their misery and hopelessness.
The problem of revolution is that it resurrects hope. Now the genie is out of the bottle and it is unbelievably difficult to put it back there. And hence, if not fulfilled, it will metamorphose into uncontainable despair.
The energy that was once directed against a hated regime might in one second be redirected against fellow subalterns.
Evil reactionary forces — in our case, reactionary Islamists — step in exactly at this moment. If not challenged, they might win the day.
The only way to fight reactionary Islamists, the only way to fight rising sectarianism, is to restore hope in the united mass movement from below.
By Tamer Wagih http://www.almasryalyoum.com
30 Pakistani Christian struggling for UNHRC protection in Hong Kong
Hong Kong: April 30, 2013. (John Jacob) The Pakistan Christian Post reports in Hong Kong, last Saturday on the April 27th over five hundred torture claimants and asylum seekers joined a protest against the “zero percent acceptance”. This protest was organized under a non-profit, independent and private organization called “Vision First”.
These torture claimants told the interviewers, that many of them have been living here for more than 10 years, but the government wants them to go back to their countries where they can be persecuted. There are over 4000 who are hanging in the space for their future and waiting to put their first step on the land of freedom. Among these 4000 plus, there are 30 Pakistani Christians who were able to escape persecution and many were severely persecuted, falsely accused and threaten by the government and Muslim religious parties of Pakistan.
They are very much under pressure, stressed and worried what will happen to them if they will be removed back to Pakistan. What Christians are facing in Pakistan has been noticed and seen by the International Media and the United Nations, but have failed to stop injustice, false accusations of blasphemy, killing, kidnapping, gang raping, property snatching, threat calls, church attacks etc.
Once someone is target by Muslim groups it’s almost impossible for a person to escape. They can’t go to local law enforcement, because the police do not help them and normally give favor to the Muslims. The Muslim community thinks that Christians are second class citizens and infidels therefore do not have equal rights with them. This causes Christians to seek protection in other areas. It seems there is no such place which you can say is safe now.
The 30 Pakistani Christians are appealing to the government of Hong Kong to not be sent back, but to protect them. Pakistani Christians are peaceful, loyal and good citizens. This is also an appeal to the international community to write to the government of Hong Kong about the injustices that Christians are facing in Pakistan.
USCIRF’s 2013 Annual Report on the State of International Religious Freedom Identifies World’s Worst Violators
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 30, 2013| By USCIRF
Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent federal advisory body created by the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) to monitor religious freedom abuses abroad, today released its 2013 Annual Report. The Report highlights the status of religious freedom globally and identifies those governments that are the most egregious violators.
“The state of international religious freedom is increasingly dire due to the presence of forces that fuel instability. These forces include the rise of violent religious extremism coupled with the actions and inactions of governments. Extremists target religious minorities and dissenters from majority religious communities for violence, including physical assaults and even murder. Authoritarian governments also repress religious freedom through intricate webs of discriminatory rules, arbitrary requirements and draconian edicts,” said Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, USCIRF’s Chair.
The 2013 Annual Report recommends that the Secretary of State re-designate the following eight nations as “countries of particular concern” or CPCs: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan. USCIRF finds that seven other countries meet the CPC threshold and should be so designated: Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.
“The Annual Report ultimately is about people and how their governments treat them. Violations affect members of diverse religious communities around the world, be they Rohinghya Muslims in Burma, Coptic Christians in Egypt, Buddhists, Uighur Muslims and Falun Gong in China, Baha’is in Iran, Ahmadis and Christians in Pakistan, or Muslims in Islamic countries such as Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan and in non-Muslim nations like Russia. We recommend that the White House adopt a whole-of-government strategy to guide U.S. religious freedom promotion and that Secretary of State Kerry promptly designate CPCs, before currently designated actions expire later this year,” said Lantos Swett.
In Burma, ongoing political reforms have yet to significantly improve the situation for freedom of religion and belief. Sectarian violence and severe abuses of religious freedom and human dignity targeting ethnic minority Christians and Muslims continue to occur with impunity.
In Egypt, despite some progress during a turbulent political transition, the government has failed or been slow to protect from violence religious minorities, particularly Coptic Christians. The government continues to prosecute, convict, and imprison individuals for “contempt” or “defamation” of religion, and the new constitution includes several problematic provisions relevant to religious freedom.
In both Pakistan and Nigeria, religious extremism and impunity have factored into unprecedented levels of violence that threaten the long-term viability of both nations. Targeted violence against Shi’i Muslims in Pakistan is pervasive, while repeated Boko Haram attacks in Nigeria exacerbate sectarian tensions.
“Many of these countries top the U.S. foreign policy agenda, and religion is a core component in their makeup. Successful U.S. foreign policy recognizes the critical role religious freedom plays in each of these nations and prioritizes accordingly. Religious freedom is both a pivotal human right under international law and a key factor that helps determine whether a nation experiences stability or chaos,” said Lantos Swett.
USCIRF also announced the placement of eight nations on its Tier 2 List for 2013. The Tier 2 category replaces the Watch List designation USCIRF previously used. These nations are: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Laos and Russia. USCIRF found the violations these governments engage in or tolerate are particularly severe, and meet at least one criterion, but not all, of IRFA’s three-fold “systematic, ongoing, egregious” CPC standard.
In Russia, religious freedom conditions suffered major setbacks in the context of growing human rights abuses. In Indonesia, the country’s rich tradition of religious tolerance and pluralism is seriously threatened by arrests of individuals the government considers religiously deviant and violence perpetrated by extremist groups. Federal and provincial officials, police, courts, and religious leaders often tolerate and abet the conduct of religious freedom abusers.
The USCIRF report also highlights the status of religious freedom in countries/regions that do not meet the Tier 1 (CPC) or Tier 2 threshold. These include: Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Ethiopia, Turkey, Venezuela and Western Europe. The Annual Report also addresses in-depth thematic issues: Constitutional Changes; Severe Religious Freedom Violations by Non-State Actors; Laws against Blasphemy and Defamation of Religions; Imprisonment of Conscientious Objectors; Legal Retreat from Religious Freedom in Post-Communist Countries; Kidnapping and Forced Religious De-Conversion in Japan; and Religious Freedom Issues in International Organizations.
USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government advisory body with its commissioners appointed by the President and the leadership of both political parties in Congress. The 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) requires that the United States annually designate as CPCs countries whose governments have engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of the universal right to freedom of religion or belief. IRFA also tasks USCIRF with assessing conditions in these and other countries and making recommendations to the President, Secretary of State, and Congress.
In accordance with IRFA, USCIRF uses international standards, as found in UN conventions and declarations, for assessing religious freedom conditions.
Belgium Erasing Christianity for Islam
The Gatestone Institute reports:
Under the guise of letting go of the Christian holidays, this text provides Muslims with a waiver to add Islamic holidays…. Six Belgian senators introduced a draft resolution in the Belgian Parliament that would make “Islamophobia” a crime punishable by fines and imprisonment. A person would be guilty if he “considers Islam to be violent, threatening or supportive of terrorism…” or “considers Islam to be a political ideology, used for political and military purposes to establish it hegemony.” If passed, the law would pose a devastating blow to the exercise of free speech in Belgium.
Christians in Egyptian Town Threatened With Violence Over Missing Muslim Girl
(AINA) reports- A deadline given by a Muslim family, with support of most Muslims in the area, to all of the Christian Coptic inhabitants of the town of El-Wasta, 90 kilometers south of Cairo, expired today. The Muslim family had given an ultimatum regarding a Muslim girl who disappeared at the end of February, and threatened violent reprisal if the girl was not returned by today.
Fliers were distributed yesterday throughout the town by Muslims, who vowed violence. Muslims visited Coptic businesses and warned them not to open today otherwise they would be torched. Today Copts disregarded this ultimatum and opened their businesses as usual.
Rana Shazli, a 21-year-old Faculty of Arts student, disappeared from home at the end of February. Her father accused the church of converting her to Christianity, marrying her to Ebram Zaki Andrawes and facilitating their travel abroad. The church has denied any involvement in the affair (AINA 3-22-2013).
Copts are currently living in terror, saying they take the ultimatum very seriously and expect the worst tomorrow after Friday prayers. The church and Coptic homes stoned by Muslims demonstrators on March 21 and the priest’s car was torched. The demonstrators vowed to torch all churches. Copts were forced to close their shops until a meeting took place on March 25 between Muslims and Christians, which extended the deadline for returning Rana to April 25.
Muslims insist that Ebram and his cousin Peter went to the ATM machine of Rana’s bank and withdrew 17,000 Egyptian pounds, saying he is shown by the bank’s security cameras.
Failing to find Ebram, a judge in Beba town court decided two weeks ago to imprison his father Zaki Tawfiq Andrawes, his mother Soraya and his cousin Peter, pending an investigation on charges of incitement to kidnap the Muslim girl, the seizure of funds, assistance to convert her to Christianity, contempt of the Islamic religion, to facilitate their travel to Turkey and hide information on their son Abram.
The Facebook page of ‘El-Wasta Online’ ( https://www.facebook.com/Elwas6a) issued today a call to all Muslims in the area to congregate for Friday prayers in the Al-Tahrir mosque adjacent to St. George’s Church.
Rana recently sent a new letter to her family in which she denies that she eloped with a young Copt. She affirmed that she is still a Muslim and is married to a Muslim man.
Kamal Suleiman, member of the Egyptian Shura Council, presented two days ago an Urgent Request and Discussion signed by more than twenty members about a new outbreak of sectarian strife in Beni Suef. The statement warned of bloody events in city of El-Wasta between Christians and Muslims, due to the disappearance of a Muslim girl and rumors about a Copt being responsible for her disappearance. The statement went on to say that the people of El-Wasta forced Coptic families to close their shops for more than a week and then allowed them to resume their activity while giving them a one-month deadline for the missing girl to return, else violence and killings would occur. The Copts, he said, have nothing to do with this case.
The statement criticized the inaction of the Security Directorate despite knowing about the gravity of the situation.
Hatem el Shazly, Rana’s father, accused Father Mattias Fanous of St. Georges Church of being responsible for evangelizing, marriage and disappearance of his daughter and smuggling the couple to Istanbul, pointing out that this information is certain because he found it in his daughter’s papers, including the priest’s telephone number, Christian prayer and some hymns, as well as mantra and talismans, which mullahs and sheikhs “confirmed were black magic to control the will of the girl.” He also told Al Fagr newspaper today that Rana told her sister that she drank a glass of water at church and the priest sprayed water on her face and that she had changed ever since, and is not aware of her actions.
Surprisingly the father also said that he received a phone call from his daughter warning him of targeting the church. She said “the Christians have nothing to do with it and beware of touching any Christian,” reported al-Fagr He added that his daughter told him she is married to a Muslim named Ahmed, is living in Cairo and she has not left Egypt and will return home after getting her marriage certificate.
This evening there were reports of increased security in El-Wasta, around the church and in the streets. “It is no good if they are present and being passive and just stand there watching as they always do,” said Coptic activist Wagih Yacoub. “All of Egypt will watch their performance tomorrow after Friday prayers.”
By Mary Abdelmassih
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The Forgotten Genocide — Why it Matters Today
April 24, marked the “Great Crime,” that is, the Armenian genocide that took place under Turkey’s Islamic Ottoman Empire, during and after WWI. Out of an approximate population of two million, some 1.5 million Armenians died. If early 20th century Turkey had the apparatuses and technology to execute in mass—such as 1940s Germany’s gas chambers—the entire Armenian population may well have been decimated.
Most objective American historians who have studied the question unequivocally agree that it was a deliberate, calculated genocide:
More than one million Armenians perished as the result of execution, starvation, disease, the harsh environment, and physical abuse. A people who lived in eastern Turkey for nearly 3,000 years [more than double the amount of time the invading Islamic Turks had occupied Anatolia, now known as “Turkey”] lost its homeland and was profoundly decimated in the first large-scale genocide of the twentieth century. At the beginning of 1915 there were some two million Armenians within Turkey; today there are fewer than 60,000…. Despite the vast amount of evidence that points to the historical reality of the Armenian Genocide, eyewitness accounts, official archives, photographic evidence, the reports of diplomats, and the testimony of survivors, denial of the Armenian Genocide by successive regimes in Turkey has gone on from 1915 to the present.
Indeed, evidence has been overwhelming. U.S. Senate Resolution 359 from 1920 heard testimony that included evidence of “[m]utilation, violation, torture, and death [which] have left their haunting memories in a hundred beautiful Armenian valleys, and the traveler in that region is seldom free from the evidence of this most colossal crime of all the ages.” In her memoir, Ravished Armenia, Aurora Mardiganian described being raped and thrown into a harem (which agrees with Islam’s rules of war). Unlike thousands of other Armenian girls who were discarded after being defiled, she survived. In the city of Malatia, she saw 16 Christian girls crucified: “Each girl had been nailed alive upon her cross, spikes through her feet and hands,” she wrote. “Only their hair blown by the wind covered their bodies.”
What do Americans know of the Armenian Genocide? To be sure, some American high school textbooks acknowledge it. However, one of the primary causes for it—perhaps the fundamental cause—is completely unacknowledged: religion. The genocide is always articulated through a singularly secular paradigm, one that deems valid only those factors that are intelligible from a modern, secular, Western point of view, such as identity politics, nationalism, and territorial disputes. As can be imagined, such an approach does little more than project Western perspectives onto vastly different civilizations of different eras, thus anachronizing history.
War, of course, is another factor that clouds the true face of the Armenian genocide. Because these atrocities occurred during WWI, so the argument goes, they are ultimately a reflection of just that—war, in all its chaos and destruction, and nothing more. Yet Winston Churchill, who described the massacres as an “administrative holocaust,” correctly observed that “The opportunity [WWI] presented itself for clearing Turkish soil of a Christian race.” Even Adolf Hitler had pointed out that “Turkey is taking advantage of the war in order to thoroughly liquidate its internal foes, i.e., the indigenous Christians, without being thereby disturbed by foreign intervention.”
It is the same today throughout the Muslim world, wherever there is war: after the U.S. toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the nation’s Christian minority were first to be targeted for systematic persecution resulting in more than half of Iraq’s indigenous Christian population fleeing their homeland. Now that war has come to Syria—with the U.S. supporting the jihadis and terrorists—the Christians there are on the run for their lives.
There is no denying that religion—or in this context, the age-old specter of Muslim persecution of Christian minorities—was fundamental to the Armenian Genocide. Even the most cited factor, ethnic identity conflict, while legitimate, must be understood in light of the fact that, historically, religion—creed—accounted more for a person’s identity than language or heritage. This is daily demonstrated throughout the Islamic world today, where Muslim governments and Muslim mobs persecute Christian minorities—minorities who share the same ethnicity, language, and culture, who are indistinguishable from the majority, except, of course, for being non-Muslims.
If Christians are thus being singled out today—in our modern, globalized, “humanitarian” age—are we to suppose that they weren’t singled out a century ago by Turks?
Similarly, often forgotten is the fact that non-Armenians under Turkish hegemony, Assyrians and Greeks for example, were also targeted for cleansing. The only thing that distinguished Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks from Turks was that they were all Christian. As one Armenian studies professor asks, “If it [the Armenian Genocide] was a feud between Turks and Armenians, what explains the genocide carried out by Turkey against the Christian Assyrians at the same time?”
Today, as Turkey continues moving back to reclaiming its Islamic heritage, so too has Christian persecution returned. If Turks taunted their crucified Armenian victims by saying things like “Now let your Christ come and help you,” just last January, an 85-year-old Christian Armenian woman was repeatedly stabbed to death in her apartment, and a crucifix carved onto her naked corpse. Another elderly Armenian woman was punched in the head and, after collapsing to the floor, repeatedly kicked by a masked man. According to the report, “the attack marks the fifth in the past two months against elderly Armenian women,” one of whom lost an eye. Elsewhere, pastors of church congregations with as little as 20 people are targeted for killing and spat upon in the streets. A 12-year-old Christian boy was beaten by his teacher and harassed by students for wearing a cross around his neck, and three Christians were “satanically tortured” before having their throats slit for publishing Bibles.
Outside of Turkey, what is happening to the Christians of today from one end of the Muslim world to the other is a reflection of what happened to the Armenian Christians of yesterday. We can learn about the past by looking at the present. From Indonesia in the east to Morocco in the west, from Central Asia in the north, to sub-Sahara Africa—that is, throughout the entire Islamic world—Muslims are, to varying degrees, persecuting, killing, raping, enslaving, torturing and dislocating Christians. See my new book, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians for a comprehensive account of one of the greatest—yet, like the Armenian Genocide, little known—atrocities of our times.
Here is one relevant example to help appreciate the patterns and parallels: in Muslim-majority northern Nigeria, Muslims, led by the Islamic organization, Boko Haram (“Western Education is Forbidden”) are waging a bloody jihad on the Christian minorities in their midst. These two groups—black Nigerian Muslims and black Nigerian Christians—are identical in all ways except, of course, for being Muslims and Christians. And what is Boko Haram’s objective in all this carnage? To cleanse northern Nigeria of all Christians—a goal rather reminiscent of Ottoman policies of cleansing Turkey of all Christians, whether Armenian, Assyrian, or Greek.
How does one explain this similar pattern of Christian persecution—this desire to be cleansed of Christians—in lands so different from one another as Nigeria and Turkey, lands which share neither race, language, nor culture, which share only Islam? Meanwhile, the modern Islamic world’s response to the persecution of Christians is identical to Turkey’s response to the Armenian Genocide: Denial.
Finally, to understand how the historic Armenian Genocide is representative of the modern day plight of Christians under Islam, one need only read the following words written in 1918 by President Theodore Roosevelt—but read “Armenian” as “Christian” and “Turkish” as “Islamic”:
the Armenian [Christian] massacre was the greatest crime of the war, and the failure to act against Turkey [the Islamic world] is to condone it… the failure to deal radically with the Turkish [Islamic] horror means that all talk of guaranteeing the future peace of the world is mischievous nonsense.
Indeed, if we “fail to deal radically” with the “horror” currently being visited upon millions of Christians around the Islamic world—which in some areas has reached genocidal proportions—we “condone it” and had better cease talking “mischievous nonsense” of a utopian world of peace and tolerance.
Put differently, silence is always the ally of those who would commit genocide. In 1915, Adolf Hitler rationalized his genocidal plans, which he implemented some three decades later, when rhetorically asked: “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”
And who speaks today of the annihilation of Christians under Islam?
Raymond Ibrahim is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians. He is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.