BLOG 236 January 26, 2015
Nina Shea, director of Washington based Hudson Institute Center for Religious Freedom, recently noted that the goal of Islamic extremists to achieve total Islamization has virtually been met in Iraq. The former 1.4 million Christians are nearly all immigrants, refugees, or displaced persons in Kurdistan. The religious violence has reached a level that is beyond persecution. It appears that the correct label is now religious cleansing.
For the first time in its history, Iraq has become entirely Muslim. In addition to the Christians, the Yazudi, Mandean, and Jewish communities have all been driven out. Because the Christians were the largest non-Muslim group they became the recent targets for attack. One aspect of the tragedy is that Christians have worked and lived in Iraq back to Biblical times. Now, they are on the run.
Equally alarming is the West’s apparent ignoring of this situation. At one point, Christians in Iraq called for the creation of a special province for minorities. Called the Nineveh Plains proposal, the idea was largely ignored by policy makers in the West.
The situation is no better in Iran. While President Rouhani tweeted a Christmas “best wishes” to the followers of “the prophet Jesus Christ,” Pastor Farshid Fathi was experiencing his fourth Christmas in jail because of his Christian ministry in that country.
Open Door USA is an organization that seeks to prevent Christian persecution and stays abreast of what is happening across the world. They constantly chronicle who and where these violations are occurring. In their Top 10 list of persecutors of Christians are Iran, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen are at the top. Of course, the emergence of the Islamic State (ISIS) now heads the list. An analysts for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting, Dexter Van Zile said that ISIS must not only be defeated but be made to pay for murdering Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities. He emphatically insisted they should not be able to get away with these crimes.
The violence in Iraq against Christians prompted Pope Francis to say, “Your resistance is martyrdom, dew which bears fruit.”
The analogy is now being made between current religious cleansing and what happened to the Jews during the Holocaust. Some of the blame for these deaths fell on nations that would not allow Jews to immigrate during the crisis. Voices like Van Zile are calling for the world to pay attention and not let such happen again.
Western policy makers have failed to focus on the jihadists who are attempting to wipe out Christians. The time has come to wake up!