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The Christian civilization is in great danger. Today about 100 million followers of the teachings of Jesus Christ are being persecuted. People are suffering or sometimes even dying for their faith not only in the countries of the Middle East, Northern and Southern Africa but also in South East Asia – regions that are essentially non-Christian. The believers in Europe and America, i.e. residents of the states where the adoption of Christianity in the past determined their development and formation, increasingly often face anti-religious prosecution.
“The last few decades have been tied to the process of final separation of the European values from the religious values. The secularization of modern Europe is going very fast. Its goal is to leave the religious values only for private, absolutely individual use by the people. A few years ago when the European Constitution was adopted, they seriously debated the issue whether the word God could be left in the document. Back then it was decided that the word God should not be mentioned in that document. In other words, the entire religious component, traditional for the many centuries of Europe’s development, back then was left out of the modern view of the world. That is why they are currently trying to take out all the religious symbols and referrals from use”.
The persecutors are no longer shy to demonstratively give up their spiritual roots, to adopt laws that contradict the biblical rules, to ban all mass festivals with Christian attributes and try to replace the traditional faith by a non-traditional one. A couple of days ago the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom officially accepted scientology as a religion. In today’s EU, the cases when Christian churches and sacred objects are sold, desecrated or sometimes completely destroyed are taking place more and more often. With the silent consent of the European society about 200 unique ancient churches of Kosovo and Metohija have been lost. The Hagia Sofia, the famous church of Constantinople (now Istanbul) is also under threat. That grand cathedral-monument that goes back to the first centuries of Christianity might soon be turned into a mosque once again. With such an attitude towards the historic religion, muezzins’ call to prayer will soon be heard all over Europe. Pavel Svyatenkov, a political scientist, expressed the following concern:
“As the sacred place does not remain empty for long, the European Union is most likely in for islamization. Today Islam is actively spreading. Representatives of that religion come to Europe from Middle Eastern and African countries. However, I am convinced that with the current persecution of Christianity, the conservative layers of society will start protesting more loudly. For example, the decision made by the French president François Hollande to make legal same sex marriages, which this year went through the parliament, caused great protests in the country”.
Not only secular politicians, liberals and atheists are to blame for Christianity leaving Europe, but also the followers themselves. Despite the fact that the rights of Christians are violated practically every day, many people are in no rush to defend them. The appeals to the European Court to restore religious freedoms are quite rare. Meanwhile, there have been several cases at the European Court of Human Rights when the fairness in the area of faith has been restored, says Philipp Ryabykh, a representative of the Russian Orthodox Church at the Council of Europe:
“At some point a woman from Italy tried to prove that the schools in the country have no right to place a crucifix on the walls. Initially the ECHR passed a decision in favor of the woman and enacted that the country’s authorities took down all religious symbols from state schools. But then the same court revised its decision and passed a different verdict. The decision protected the presence in schools of crucifix as a symbol of Christian culture and identity”.
However, the revision of the crucifix case became possible only due to the protests expressed to the ECHR by many countries, including Russia. By the way, the Moscow Patriarchy has repeatedly expressed sharp criticism of any demonstration of Christianity-phobia and has appealed to the European community with a request to protect Christians. In 2011 a special document was passed at the meeting of the Holy Synod, in which Russian bishops called upon the political authorities, social activists and scientists, as well as international organizations to apply maximum effort in fighting the persecution of Christians.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) today urged the European Union (EU) to ensure that continuing grave violations of human rights, including religious freedom, in Burma remain a priority, despite the decision on April 22 to lift all EU sanctions on Burma apart from the arms embargo.
The EU suspended sanctions on Burma a year ago, setting out four specific benchmarks for progress, which would provide the conditions for complete lifting of sanctions. In the Council of the European Union conclusions on Myanmar/Burma, April 23, 2012, announcing the suspension last year, the EU said that it “still expects the unconditional release of remaining political prisoners and the removal of all restrictions placed on those already released. It looks forward to the end of conflict and to substantially improved access for humanitarian assistance, in particular for those affected by conflict in Kachin State and along the Eastern border, as well as to addressing the status and improving the welfare of the Rohingyas.”
In the past year, the conflict in Kachin State has escalated, with the Burma Army launching air strikes against civilians in December. Over 100,000 Kachin civilians are internally displaced, and cases of rape, torture, forced labor and killing of civilians have been documented. Access for humanitarian assistance to Kachin State has not improved significantly. The plight of the Rohingyas has deteriorated dramatically, with mass violence erupting in Rakhine State in June and again in October last year, displacing over 130,000. Within the past few days, fresh evidence has come to light of mass atrocities in Rakhine State and of the security forces’ inaction in the face of shocking anti-Muslim violence. Several hundred political prisoners remain in jail, and many of those who have been released are subject to conditions. On a recent visit to the country, CSW saw a burned-out madrassah and a desecrated mosque near the capital, Naypyidaw, and heard accounts of appalling human rights violations in Kachin State.
CSW’s Advocacy Director Andrew Johnston said, “It is right to welcome the positive changes that are taking place in Burma, including increased space for civil society, media and democratic political actors, improvements in freedom of expression, the release of the majority of political prisoners, and the participation of Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy in the parliamentary process. It is right to recognize and encourage the efforts of reformers. However, very grave human rights violations continue, and none of the EU’s own benchmarks have been fully met, so we regard the decision to lift all sanctions, without condition, as premature. Burma is just at the very beginning of fragile change, and until there are significant improvements in human rights, and an end to mass atrocities and the culture of impunity, pressure should be maintained. Given its decision to lift sanctions, we urge the EU to spell out new ways in which it will prioritize, protect and promote human rights in Burma. We urge the EU to use all human rights tools at its disposal, including its forthcoming Guidelines on Freedom of Religion or Belief, as part of its Burma policy, and to send a strong message to the Government of Burma that although sanctions have been lifted, the EU is not turning a blind eye to the continuing widespread violations of human rights.”
How can we sit back and do nothing, while innocent people are tortured and abused? How can we call ourselves civilized? Have we really become that desensitized? Have our hearts really grown so cold? What have we become? The silence is deafening!
As long as we have our freedom to do so, STAND UP for those who need you! One day they may stand for you!
We must increase our effort to bring Pastor Saeed’s story to the world. Our actions could SAVE HIS LIFE! If you have not already done so, please sign the International petition #Save Saeed. Our brother needs us!
ACT NOW, we are short 57,175 signatures needed by the beginning of March. Please share this link and ask all you know to SIGN! To those outside of America, we need your signatures too!
I pray God stirs your heart to action and may peace be upon you all.
The ACLJ reports:
Yesterday, Saeed’s Iranian family was able to visit Saeed in Evin Prison and tell him the truth about the outpouring of love and concern for him across America.
The Iranian prison guards told Saeed we’d abandoned him, that he was forgotten and alone. Saeed’s family told him that hundreds of thousands of Americans had signed petitions for his freedom, and they told him of the musicians who were all rallying to support him and call for his freedom.
His wife, Naghmeh told us how much the musicians’ support touched his heart:
When I first met Saeed, music was an important part of worship and prayer. He would often listen to Christian radio. When he heard about Savesaeed.org and the number of artists that he admired he was encouraged by their involvement – advocating for his release. It brought him hope as he suffers in his dark prison.
While Saeed’s spirit is strong – stronger now that he knows he is far from forgotten – his treatment is still intolerable. He reports he is being abused physically and psychologically. We must redouble our efforts to #SaveSaeed. The first U.N. meetings are in early March, and we want to tell the U.N. that 300,000 Americans have called on the international community to demand Saeed’s release. More than 240,000 have signed, and thousands more are signing each day.
Now is the time. Sign the petition to Save Saeed. Your support helps keep hope alive!
To learn more about Pastor Saeed Abedini, wrongfully imprisoned in Iran click here
American Pastor Saeed Abedini, has been charged with threatening national security and sentenced to 8 years in Iran’s notorious Evin prison. Many in this prison do not survive only a few months of the extremely brutal mistreatment. While there, he has been tortured and abused and has received minimal medical care. Being that Saeed is a Christian, the Muslim medical staff do not want to tend to, or even come near him. He is considered “unclean”, because of his faith in Christ. Why is this happening? Simply for sharing his Christian faith in homes across Iran. For this reason, he is seen as a threat to the Islamic Iranian government.
In 2009, he was briefly detained by the Iranian regime for leading a house church movement. He signed an agreement to discontinue these activities and Iran agreed to release him. The purpose for his return to Iran was to visit family and to work on building a much needed orphanage, open to children of any faith. Pastor Abedini has a heart for orphans, children so easily forgotten in the world. His wife, Naghmeh says he has held up to his part of the agreement, but Iran has not. Naghmeh and their two small children are desperate for him to return home to the U.S. quickly and safely!
Saeed has shown COURAGE few of us can comprehend. Pastor Saeed is being wrongfully held in Iran. ACT NOW and SIGN the International petition. Your signature could SAVE HIS LIFE! People from all nations may sign this petition. Please help us Save Saeed, OUR BROTHER!