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Again, the Question ‘Is Christians In The Middle East, Collateral Damage?’

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Reading an Op-Ed in Israel National News makes us question, ‘Are Christians in the Middle East Collateral Damage?’  I encourage everyone to read the full article.  It’s time to educate Christians and communities everywhere on what is happening in the Middle East.

Recently, I had asked the Christian collateral damage question.  It appears that the increase of  Christian persecution has been under-reported, and even covered up by the Obama administration and others.

(Excerpt from Israel National News) The plight of Arab Christians in the Middle East has been largely ignored by the mainstream press. In contrast, Conservative and Christian news organization as well as the Israeli press have not hidden behind euphemisms and half truths in reporting the atrocities committed by Islamists against Christian communities throughout the region. But while the legacy media is on top of every disagreement between Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama, when the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (abbreviated as ISIS) storms a Christian community, forcing the citizens to pay protection money called “jizya” and forbidding Christians to publicly practice and display their faith, barely a word is printed.  As horrific as that may be, the ISIS can be construed as the good neighborhood gang. They at least give their communities a choice. Most Islamist invaders demand Christians convert to Islam or “face the sword.” Others just force their way into churches and open fire. While the media has been silent, world leaders have spoken out against the violence. Pope Francis, after meeting patriarchs from Syria, Iraq and Iran, declared, “ We will not resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians.” (More)

The author of the above article brings up the same questions that many  are asking.

It’s becoming clearer that the Arab Spring is not about democracy, Israeli’s against Arab’s, the plight of Palestinians, or the claims against Assad.  It’s about the restructuring of the Middle East from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Turkey, Egypt, and even Africa.

Christians are an obstacle to this. The Western leaders refuse to help, they refuse to acknowledge, they refuse to see that they have only emboldened an old conflict.  The Muslim population is ravaging Christian villages, settlements, and churches, in a ‘Convert or Die’ campaign to establish a rule of Islamic law.

The rebels have boldly removed their cloak and now we see the real face and the real reasons for these conflicts.  To rid the country of any other religion besides Islam.  The West basically remains silent, turning their heads, and closing their eyes to an unfolding horror, quite possibly a modern day holocaust.

They have in their zeal tried to re-write history, trying to turn public opinion using politically correct terms like, ‘extremism’, and moderates, and Islamaphobia.  Ignoring the warnings from religious leaders.

These countries are in violation of religious freedoms and human rights issues, and yet the West is so bent on control and their version of a peace treaty that removes stabilizing factors, they are willing to sacrifice millions of Christians.  Christians have been in this land for thousands of years, but that is not my main concern.  These are serious questions, we all should be asking.  We should not stop until they answer them.

The House of Representatives passed a resolution recently that is being held up by 2 Senators.  Sen. Mike Lee and Tom Coburn.  HR 301, would have the president assign a special Mid-East Envoy to promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and Central Asia.  It passed the House in Sept. of last year.  What is so surprising is that the Bill passed the House with a vote of 402-22, this bill should have passed unanimously.  CUFI and other religious groups have been lobbying for it’s passage.  Why has the church not spoken out before now?  Why have we remained silent?

Senator Roy Blunt tried to expedite the bill through the Senate, but in so doing opened the door for a Senate Hold, and that’s where Coburn and Lee come in.  What could possibly keep the US from promoting Religious Freedom?  (More)

Here is a summary from HR301:

Passed House amended (09/18/2013)

(Sec. 2) Directs the President to appoint a Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia within the Department of State. Requires the Special Envoy to have the rank of ambassador.

(Sec. 3) Requires the Special Envoy to: (1) promote the right of religious freedom of religious minorities in the countries of the Near East and South Central Asia, denounce the violation of such right, and recommend appropriate U.S government responses to such violations; (2) monitor and combat acts of religious intolerance and incitement targeted against such religious minorities; (3) ensure that the needs of such religious minority communities are addressed, including economic and security needs directly tied to religious-based discrimination and persecution; (4) work with foreign governments of such countries to address inherently discriminatory laws; and (5) coordinate and assist in the preparation of specified reports required by the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 and the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

(Sec. 4) Authorizes the Special Envoy, subject to direction by the President and the Secretary of State, to represent the United States in matters and cases relevant to religious freedom in: (1) contacts with foreign governments, intergovernmental organizations, and specialized agencies of the United Nations (U.N.), the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, and other international organizations; and (2) multilateral conferences and meetings relevant to religious freedom.

(Sec. 5) Requires the Special Envoy to give priority to programs, projects, and activities for Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

(Sec. 6) Directs the Secretary to eliminate certain positions within the State Department as necessary to offset the costs of carrying out this Act.

(Sec. 7) Declares that this Act shall cease to be effective on October 1, 2018.

Again, what is so questionable about the resolution that the Senate would not pass this?

There are other groups like ‘Coptic Solidarity’ in February of this year urged Coburn and Lee to release their holds on these bills.  (More)  We can not remain neutral, we can not remain silent.  Contact your Representatives, and if Coburn or Lee is your Senators please call them and ask why they are holding this up. Insist that they release it and do all they can for the persecuted.  Pray without ceasing for our Brothers and Sisters who face persecution and continue to endure things we can barely imagine.

By C. Refsland VOP Advocate

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