The Good Fight
The White House has refused to make the declaration that ISIS has committed genocide on Christians, even though ISIS’ spiritual credibility is contingent upon its dedication to cleansing the “caliphate” of Christians. Genocide consists of:
“The perpetrator’s mental state and the acts. According to the legal definition of genocide, the perpetrator(s) must have “special intent” (dolus specialis) to destroy a particular group, in whole or in part, and commit genocidal acts: (1) killing, (2) causing serious bodily or mental harm, (3) inflicting conditions of life to bring about physical destruction, (4) preventing births, and (5) forcibly transferring children.”
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the caliph of ISIS, rose to power based on a promise to eliminate Christians from the caliphate via “holy war.”
ISIS believes that in the “Last Days,” Muslims, led by the Mahdi (a messianic figure), will crush Christians on the battlefield of Dabiq. And, the Bible indicates that mass persecution of Christians, with an emphasis on beheadings, will take place during the end times.
While ISIS’ caliphate in the Middle East remains intact, in Nigeria Boko Haram, who has pledged allegiance to ISIS, is growing. Moreover, Boko Haram is working on spreading further east, to Central African Republic (CAR). The Nigerian-founded terror group, which was recently ranked as the world’s deadliest terrorist group, has expanded operations into neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger. Additionally, ISIS cells reportedly exist in various locations throughout the West.
Patriarch Mor Ignatius Youssef III Younan, the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East for the Syriac Catholic Church, notes that, “the whole Middle East, without exception, is presently engulfed by a nightmare that seems to have no end and that undermines the very existence of minorities, particularly of Christians, in lands known to be the cradle of our faith and early Christian communities.”
But, the problem goes well beyond the Middle East. For example, in 2013, Christians experienced persecution either by the government or organizations in 102 of 198 countries, which is the highest tally for any religious group. The following are examples of the type of suffering Christians will be enduring during this Christmas season:
- Thousands of poor Christian families living in slums on government-owned land in Islamabad, Pakistan, are facing the possibility of being evicted for "threatening the Muslim majority" with their rising numbers.”
- “Systematic violence against Christians continues in India to this day, though not often at the appalling scale of the cyclone of cruelty in Kandhamal. An Indian website dedicated to anti-Christian persecution, called Speak Out Against Hate, states that in 2015, there’s been an average of one violent episode every week. Christians also are targeted in other Asian nations, where their numbers have grown to the point that other faiths, or political powers, feel threatened. Nowhere is the situation more harrowing than North Korea, where tens of thousands of Christians languish in concentration camps, but from China and Vietnam to Myanmar and Pakistan, they face a staggering variety of threats.”
- "Uganda: Three Muslim men beat and raped a 19-year-old Christian woman (name withheld).”
- “United States: Freddy Akoa, a 49-year-old Christian healthcare worker in Portland, Maine, was savagely beaten to death in his own home by three Muslims.”
- “Pakistan: The Muslim family of a woman who converted to Christianity and married a Christian murdered her husband and wounded the young woman. Aleem Masih, 28, married Nadia, 23, last year after she put her faith in Christ.”
- “Egypt: The mother of a Coptic priest was robbed and killed in Fekria city in Minya.”
- “United States: On Sunday, September 13, 40-year-old Rasheed Abdul Aziz was arrested for threatening the Corinth Missionary Baptist Church in Bullard, Texas. The Muslim-American had a gun and was dressed for combat—complete with camouflage helmet, camouflage pants, tactical vest and boots—when he entered the church around 1 p.m. According to Pastor John Johnson, Aziz said that Allah had told him to ‘slay infidels’ and that “people are going to die today.’ Added the pastor: ‘I believe that his intent was when he came to our church was to actually kill somebody.’”
- “Tanzania: During the course of one week, six Christian churches were burned down.”
- “Iraq: A report that discusses how one Christian is slaughtered every five minutes in Iraq, adds that, ‘Islamic State Militants in Iraq are using Christian churches as torture chambers where they force Christians to either convert to Islam or die.’”
- “United Kingdom: A Pakistani man, his wife, and their six children are suffering ‘an appalling ordeal at the hands of neighbours who regard them as blasphemers.’”
- “Turkey: Since August 27, as many as 15 churches received death threats for ‘denying Allah.’”
- “Ethiopia: A group of 15 young Christians were attacked and arrested for engaging in evangelism in eastern Ethiopia.”
- “In October, ISIS tortured and crucified a 12-year-old Christian boy and publicly raped and beheaded two women in Syria for refusing to convert to Islam.”
- Providence Magazine: “ISIS justifies selling Christian and Yazidi girls as sex slaves as an established tenet of Sharia. In one incident, fighters tore a 3-year old Assyrian Christian girl from her mother’s arms to be raised by an ISIS emir.”
Earlier in the month, in a high-level meeting on religious persecution in Brussels, the President of the European Parliament (EP), Martin Schulz, spoke on behalf of persecuted Christians. Schulz said that Europe cannot afford to continue looking the other way in regard to the plight of Christians, who are “clearly the most persecuted group” in the world. Schulz added,“It should shake us up, that on our continent, Christians are not safe.”
A fellow writer at the Christian Post, Ken Connor, had this to say about the devastating circumstances surrounding Christians around the world:
That so many Christians in these countries feel forgotten and forsaken by the western church is a shameful testament to the attitude of complacency and apathy that has infected the hearts and minds of American Christians. We should be outraged and horrified by the treatment our fellow believers suffer and we should use every tool at our disposal to counteract it. After all, we are talking about family here, the family of Christ.
We are called to be His hands and feet, and called to care for the poor, vulnerable, and needy. This means we must widen our gaze beyond the narrow scope of our own problems and pay some attention to what's happening to Christians around the world. There will come a day when each and every one of us will have to give and account for our actions, or lack of action, in this life.”
If you would like to help persecuted Christians, first check the charity’s rating on a service such as Charity Navigator. And, remember to keep them in your prayers--on Christmas--and year-round.
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