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We have to speak out. Despite the nation of Pakistan’s human rights abuses, the United Nations is planning a Pakistan Day on March 23rd to honor Pakistan and their goal for peace on the world stage. We must let our lawmakers know that this is a travesty. Release Asia Bibi, protect Christians and Women in Pakistan! Do away with the blasphemy law and then we’ll consider a celebration.
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?
For some reason, the notion of “suffering Muslims” seems to resonate more with liberal hearts than “suffering Christians.” Maybe Muslims are seen as more “exotic” or “misunderstood”; maybe it’s the fact that many liberals have contempt for fundamentalist Christians in America, with their anti-abortion and anti-gay positions.
Whatever it is, the poor Christians can’t seem to catch a break. A 2012 Pew study found that “Christians continue to be the world’s most oppressed religious group.”
Even the world’s two most prominent Christians—President Barack Obama and Pope Francis—have hardly said a word about the plight of Christian refugees in Syria.
The current refugee system overwhelmingly favors Muslim refugees. Even though Christians represent more than 10 percent of the Syrian population, of the 2,184 Syrian refugees admitted to the United States so far, only 53 are Christians while 2,098 are Muslims.
This low number is tragic, because Christians living in Muslim lands are in especially dire straits. “ISIS and other extremist movements across the region,” Eliza Griswold wrote in The New York Times last July, “are enslaving, killing and uprooting Christians, with no aid in sight.”
As author and Arab expert Raymond Ibrahim adds, “At the hands of the Islamic State, which supposedly precipitated the migrant crisis, Christians have been repeatedly forced to renounce Christ or die; they have been enslaved and raped; and they have had more than 400 of their churches desecrated and destroyed.”
This horrible situation, Ibrahim writes, was not always the case: “Christians and other religions minorities did not flee from Bashar Assad’s Syria, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, or Muamar Gaddafi’s Libya. Their systematic persecution began only after the U.S. interfered in those nations in the name of ‘democracy’ but succeeding in only uncorking the jihadi terrorists that the dictators had long kept suppressed.”
Replacing evils with worse evils — that seems to be the nature of the beast in the Mideast jungle.
In any case, if we believe in the concept of triage—taking care of the most urgent cases first—the West ought to seriously wake up to the plight of the Christians of the Middle East, who have no “Christian country” in the area to escape to.
There are many Arab/Muslim countries who could take in Muslim refugees, but refuse. As reported recently in the Washington Times, Saudi Arabia has over 100,000 empty, air-conditioned tents that could house up to 3 million refugees, but has shut its doors to fellow Muslims in need. I guess oil-rich Arab countries figure the “compassionate West” can handle them.
The irony is that the very persecution of Christians makes it harder to rescue them. As Patrick Goodenough reports on CNSNews.com, 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 who are in most need of rescue are the 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 stand up for the most oppressed, who will?
Who will speak up for the most persecuted religious group in the world?
Who will start the #IamChristian hashtag?
Islamic State terrorists are torturing and burying children alive in Iraq, according to a report by the United Nations.
The U.N. says ISIS is systematically killing, torturing and raping children and families from the Yazidi sect and Christian communities.
The U.N. Committee on the Rights of the Child has received reports of several cases of mass executions of boys. There are also reports of children being beheaded, crucified, and buried alive. READ MORE at CBN
Why aren;t Christian churches speaking out more about the horrific persecution of Christians taking place? Wake up sleeping bride…
Kathryn has been covering the ongoing effort by radical pro-abortion NGOs to apply the U.N. Convention against Torture to the Catholic Church for — among other things — its international pro-life advocacy. The argument is so facially irrational that one would be tempted to dismiss it out of hand. Not even the U.N. could be so blindly malicious and ideological that it would attempt to destroy the church’s rights of free speech and religious liberty for the sake of protecting abortion-on-demand, could it?
Moreover, even if the U.N. Committee against Torture moved against the Vatican, such an action would be irrelevant to American courts and American constitutional law, wouldn’t it?
In fact, there is cause for concern. To be clear, the effort by the Center for Reproductive Rights clearly and explicitly targets the church’s rights to free speech and religious liberty. Here’s an excerpt from its recommendations to the Committee:
Note that the Holy See has negatively interfered with states’ attempts to develop legislation on abortion that would have served to better protect women from torture or ill-treatment. Note that the Holy See’s actions are a violation of Articles 1, 2, and 16 of the Convention against Torture and that the rights of freedom of speech and of religion extend only so far as they do not undermine women’s reproductive rights, including the right to be free from torture or ill-treatment. (Emphasis added.)
This is an astonishing statement, one that clearly targets the Catholic Church’s pro-life advocacy, equating it with state-sanctioned “torture or ill-treatment” of women and girls. By equating advocacy with torture, the Committee could begin an international legal process that would cause the U.N. to review statements or actions by pro-life public officials as “torture” within the meaning of the Convention. Radical pro-abortion groups would file amicus briefs citing new international legal standards equating pro-life advocacy with torture, thus claiming such advocacy is beyond the protection of the First Amendment. Indeed, the argument would be simple (and chilling): By permitting unfettered pro-life advocacy — by public officials and private citizens — the United States would be in violation of international law, specifically by torturing its own citizens.
Though the U.S. ratified the Convention against Torture only with significant reservations, international law has proven persuasive to the Supreme Court (and lower courts) on a number of occasions. Even without the aid of international law, the argument that pro-life speech is somehow inherently suspect is already present in the American constitutional debate, with viewpoint-discriminatory restrictions on speech outside abortion clinics (for now) part of the legal landscape. Abortion activists would gain a significant new legal and rhetorical weapon if the U.N. Committee were to apply the Convention against Torture to the effort to preserve innocent life.
It’s difficult to overstate the perversity of the abortion lobby’s U.N. argument. There are few acts more barbaric than abortion, and the very idea that such barbarism can be insulated even from criticism insults the very notion of free speech and obliterates religious liberty. This is a dramatic escalation of the already-overwrought “war against women” rhetoric, and one that would lead to such absurd results as domestic “women’s groups” accusing conservative candidates of literally torturing voters with pro-life arguments.
At the ACLJ, we’ll be engaging with the Committee through our own affiliated NGO to block the abortion lobby’s efforts (and indeed we started a petition effort that’s already gained more than 15,000 signatures only hours after launch). It’s a sad reality, but the legal defense of our own Constitution often starts overseas, in the halls of a potentially hostile U.N.
One final note: The bright side of this dismal effort is the reality that the abortion lobby is losing the argument. They can’t defend their barbarism in a truly free marketplace of ideas, so their solution is to close the marketplace. They must not succeed.
It is not wrong to come to the defense of the smallest, most vulnerable victims in the modern world. Nor is it wrong to raise their voices for these who are voiceless.
Benjamin Weinthal of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies reported on Fox News that—The election last year of self-professed moderate President Hassan Rouhani has not brought Iran’s Christians any relief, according to a new United Nations report which finds the Islamic Republic’s Bible believers more persecuted than ever.
The detailed report finds Iran has continued to imprison Christians for their faith and designated house churches and evangelical Christians as “threats to national security.” At least 49 Christians were among 307 religious minorities being held in Iranian jails as of January 2014, noted the UN, which also blasted the regime for its hostility to Jews, Baha’is, Zoroastrians and Dervish Muslims, the UN report stated.
“These are indicators that President Rouhani has no influence over hard-liners, who remain fully in charge of the judiciary and security apparatus, government entities that are responsible for the most severe abuses against religious minorities,” Dwight Bashir, deputy director for policy at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, told FoxNews.com.
“The situation of Christians and other religious minorities in Iran is very dire because the Iranian regime is a Sharia state.” “This dictatorship oppresses viciously all these precious groups with the abhorrent justification of Islamic law [Sharia] and by that it violates Iran’s constitution and a long-lasting tradition within Persian culture of peaceful tolerance and respect towards fellow Iranians with diverse religious backgrounds,” Farzan said.
– Saba Farzan, Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy
Among the Christians held in Iranian prisons is American citizen and Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, who is serving an eight-year prison term for alleged crimes related to his faith. President Obama has called for Abedini’s release, even as his administration has negotiated a disarmament deal with Iran.
“This report is as an important reminder about the true nature of the Iranian regime,” Sen. Mark Kirk, (R-III), told FoxNews.com. “We can’t pretend we are negotiating with Western moderates – we are negotiating with Islamic radicals who persecute Christians, Baha’is, other religious and ethnic minorities and women, while denying all of its citizens basic human rights — including the freedom of speech and assembly.”
In 2013, Iranian authorities arrested “at least 42 Christians, of whom 35 were convicted for participation in informal “house churches,” in association with churches outside the Islamic Republic of Iran, perceived or real evangelical activity and other standard Christian activities.”
Iran’s opaque justice system imposed prison sentences on Christians ranging from one to ten years.
“Under the law, religious minorities, including recognized Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians, also face discrimination in the judicial system, such as harsher punishments,” said Shaheed, who is an internationally recognized expert on human rights.
While the persecution detailed in the report includes wrongful imprisonment and even death sentences, it also takes more subtle forms. Ahmed Shaheed, UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, said Iranian Christians have reported having viruses planted on their computers after visiting Christian websites.
Iran’s regime issued a flurry of angry responses to Shaheed’s report. READ MORE
“It’s a vivid and commanding statement of those being unjustly silenced at a time when significant diplomatic focus is being placed on Iran and its renewed engagement with the world.”
On a snowy Tuesday morning the street artist and photographer JR’s Inside Out Project and Unlock Iran took part in a protest to put pressure on the United Nations to respond to human rights violations in Iran. The organisations joined to post portraits of 13 Iranian prisoners—two of whom were reportedly executed by the state last month—outside UN headquarters in New York. The protests were timed to coincide with the P5+1 negotiations over Iran’s nuclear programme. On 22 January, the UN called on Iran to halt executions after discovering that at least 40 hangings had already taken place since the start of the new year. READ MORE
Christianity dominates the United Nations and more diversity is needed to increase non-Christian representation in world peacemaking, according to a study.
Research undertaken by Prof Jeremy Carrette, with colleagues from the University of Kent’s department of religious studies, has revealed that more than 70% of religious non-government organisations (NGOs) at the UN are Christian, and that there is historical privilege in allowing the Vatican a special observer status, as both a state and a religion.
The report, called Religious NGOs and the United Nations, calls for greater awareness, transparency and equality in the way religious NGOs operate within the UN, and more emphasis on religious tolerance. Read Full Report Here
Thousands of Christian civilians sought refuge at an airport guarded by French soldiers yesterday, fleeing from the mostly Muslim ex-rebels with machetes and guns who now rule the country.
A day after the worst violence to hit the chaotic capital in nine months erupted, people sang with joy as they banged on plastic buckets and waved rags into the air in celebration of the arrival of several French helicopters.
Outside the barbed-wire fences of the airport, bodies lay decomposing along the roads in a capital too dangerous for many to collect the corpses. Thursday’s clashes left at least 280 dead, according to national radio, and have raised fears that waves of retaliatory attacks could soon follow.
“They are slaughtering us like chickens,” said Appolinaire Donoboy, a Christian whose family remained in hiding.
France had pledged to increase its presence in its former colony well before Christian militias attacked the capital at dawn Thursday. The arrival of additional French troops and equipment came as the capital teetered on the brink of total anarchy and represented the greatest hope for many Central Africans.
About 1,000 French forces were expected to be on the ground by last evening, a French defense official said on condition of anonymity.
As night fell across the capital, Christians fearing retaliatory attacks by the mostly Muslim ex-rebels crowded as close to the runway as possible, laying out their woven mats in front of a barbed-wire coiled fence.
The U.S. State Department said it was “deeply concerned” by the violence and praised France’s quick intervention.
France signaled its amped-up presence yesterday by sending out armored vehicles to patrol the streets. A French fighter jet made several flyovers, roaring through the sky over an otherwise lifeless capital as civilians cowered at home. Britain also flew in a C-17 plane loaded with equipment to help with France’s intervention.
As many as 250 French troops are carrying out permanent patrols in Bangui, and “we didn’t notice any direct clashes between armed groups today,” said French military spokesman Col. Gilles Jaron in Paris.
On Thursday, however, 10 armed attackers in a pickup truck fired on a French position at the airport, including with a rocket-propelled grenade whose charge did not detonate. French forces returned fire, killing four attackers and wounding six, Jaron said.
A planned vote on a U.N. Security Council resolution Thursday allowed France to proceed with its mission. It coincided with the worst violence to roil the capital since March, when the mostly Muslim rebels known as Seleka overthrew the president of a decade.
On Thursday, Christian militias believed to be loyal to ousted leader Francois Bozize attacked the city, and hours of gunbattles ensued. The conflict in one of Africa’s poorest countries has gathered little sustained international attention since the government overthrow in March, and the dramatic developments were overshadowed yesterday by global mourning for South African anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela, who died at 95.
“Thanks to France and the United Nations who want to save the Central Africans; soon, the Seleka attacks on civilians will stop,” said Abel Nguerefara, who lives on the outskirts of Bangui.
Streets were empty yesterday except for military vehicles and the trucks favored by rebels, who now claim control of the government. Nine unclaimed bodies lay sprawled in front of the parliament building alone — local Red Cross workers didn’t dare retrieve them or other bodies that were left out to decay.
Despite the cheers that went up when a jet engine roared overhead, France insisted it was going only reluctantly into the country and with the limited aim of doubling its presence to 1,200 troops.
Still, it remains an open question how France can achieve even its limited goals in the six months allotted to the mission.
The growing oppression of Christians in Africa has been a long ongoing scene. Villages are destroyed, their homes and churches burned down, women and children kidnapped and taken as slaves. Rape, torture and brutal slaughter are widely reported. As the violence continues to escalate without an end in sight, Christians have grown weary of the constant attacks and now feel they must defend themselves. Armed Christian forces are fighting back. If the government cannot curtail the aggression from Muslim extremists, we fear many more will be killed in the clashes and add to the suffering.