Tags: Emerging Threats | Iraq | ISIS/Islamic State | Syria | Christians | Mosul | Muslims

Christians Under Siege in Middle East

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Monday, 22 Feb 2016 11:05 AM Current | Bio | Archive

In 2015 more Christians were persecuted than any other religious group in the world.

Persecution has been the primary cause in the global upsurge of forcibly displaced people.

According to the U.N., the number of internally displaced people and refugees abroad hit an all time high — 60 million.

The impact of this deepening cycle of persecution has created in the Middle East the most significant exodus of Christian faithful in the region’s history.

With huge populations fleeing their homes as never before, Christians are rapidly disappearing from entire regions — most notably in the Middle East but also in Africa where several dioceses have emptied out.

In large part, this migration is the product of an ethnic cleansing driven by religious hatred. This systematic violence and intimidation is mostly the work of militant Islamist terror groups, particularly ISIS.

ISIS’ ruthless pursuit of religious and territorial cleansing clearly fits the U.N. definition of genocide which states: “any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group and causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group.”

The genocidal acts of ISIS are directed primarily against Christians. Their online publication Dabiq boasts: “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave women, by the permission of Allah.”

ISIS is led by ideological fanatics who blindly adhere to an extreme form of Salafism that holds they are the only true Muslims. The sine qua non of this sect requires the caliphate to cleanse Islam of Shi’ism and infidels.

To achieve this end, Abu Bake Naji, a noted ISIS intellectual, declared that they must employ jihad which is “nothing but violence, crudeness, terrorism, frightening people, and massacring.”

In Syria, this ISIS policy and the civil war are responsible for the deaths of over 250,000 people and the dislocation of 11.6 million people — half of the nation’s population. At least 3.9 million Syrian refugees are stranded in Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey.

Twenty-five percent of Lebanon’s population is now Syrian. Most exiled Christians refuse to join refugee camps or to register with aid agencies — fearing they will be harmed or kidnapped by Muslims.

Instead they rely on the aid of international Catholic relief organizations, like Aid to the Church in Need, and fellow Christians to feed and clothe them and to educate their children.

ISIS hopes to erase the past, present and future of Christianity. In 2015, Churches have seen their infrastructure dismantled, ancient manuscripts and sites destroyed, and a rich patrimony jeopardized.

Over 150 churches, pastoral centers and monasteries have been damaged or destroyed in Syria, including the historic Church of St. George in Qaber Shamiya, which was first looted and then set on fire.

The Armenian Apostolic Church of the 40 martyrs in Aleppo was destroyed in response to events held by Christians commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide.

In Mosul, Iraq, its 45 Christian churches have either been destroyed, turned into military installations or converted to mosques. In January 2016, satellite photos confirmed that St. Elijah, the oldest monastery in Iraq, located on the top of a mountain outside of Mosul since 590 A.D., had been reduced by ISIS to a pile of rubble.

As for Western governments, while many have condemned the Islamist radicals’ crimes against humanity, they have not implemented any effective plans to stop the violence or to ensure that Christians and other minorities receive protection or safe haven.

George J. Marlin, a former executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is the author of "The American Catholic Voter: Two Hundred Years of Political Impact." He also is a columnist for TheCatholicThing.org and the Long Island Business News. Read more reports from George J. Marlin — Click Here Now.




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As for Western governments, while many have condemned the Islamist radicals’ crimes against humanity, they have not implemented any effective plans to stop the violence or to ensure that Christians and other minorities receive protection or safe haven.
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2016-05-22
Monday, 22 Feb 2016 11:05 AM
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