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Posts tagged ‘Religious Persecution’

‘Nobody Will Go Back’: Christians Flee Middle East After Fall of Islamic State


Reported by EDWIN MORA |

Iranian Christian worshippers attend the Christmas mass at the Saint Joseph Chaldean-Assyrian Catholic church, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Dec. 25, 2017. Iranian Christians are a minority and recognized by the constitution in the Muslim country and are represented in the parliament. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)
AP Photo/Vahid Salemi
 

The number of Christians in the birthplace of their faith, the greater Middle East, continues to plummet months after the Islamic State, which waged a genocidal campaign against Christians, lost its “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria, Breitbart News learned from various experts, including an archbishop.

“Unfortunately, it can be stated that the Islamic State group’s anti-Christian campaign was very successful in Iraq, and to a certain extent, successful in Syria,” John Hajjar, the co-chair of the American Mideast Coalition for Democracy (AMCD) and co-director of the Middle East Christian Committee (MECHRIC), told Breitbart News.

“I think we have no more hope,”Archbishop Vicken Aykazian, the diocesan legate in America’s capital and ecumenical director for the Eastern Diocese of the Armenian Orthodox Church of America, also told Breitbart News, referring to the future of Christianity in its Middle East cradle. “Middle East Christians have no nation that protects them openly.”

The number of Christians in Middle East-North Africa (MENA), as a component of the overall Muslim-majority population, has dropped substantially — from about ten percent in 1900 to between two and four percent now.

There are different estimates for the overall number of Christians that vary from about 12 million in the Middle East alone to about 20 million in MENA, Breitbart News learned from the experts and data from U.S. government and independent sources.

“The future for Christians right now is terrible — a Middle East without Christians. We are going to have churches without Christians as museums for tourists. There will be no Christians left,” the archbishop warned, echoing other analysts who have constantly cautioned that Christianity is on the verge of extinction in the Middle East.

“The number of Christians in the Middle East has already dropped extensively,” he further declared, accusing church leaders of inflating the actual numbers of Christ followers in the region to minimize the fact that Christianity is on the brink of extinction.

The bishop urged U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration to do even more to help Middle East Christians.

Contradicting assertions by the Trump administration, the Church leader said, “People are not coming back. I can assure you that nobody will go back.”

The Trump administration has disbursed billions in funding to help victims of ISIS genocide, namely Christians and Yazidis, but the bishop told Breitbart News it is “not enough.”

“Trump is going to be a hero for the Christians in the Middle East if he takes more action,” he said.

Addressing President Trump, Archbishop Aykazian added, “Please help the Christians. They need your help and once you move one of your fingers the entire Arabic world will thank you. If he does such a thing, it is going to change everything. If he doesn’t, they will suffer.”

“The ball is in Trump’s court,” he further said.

In Iraq, which experts say has experienced the most dramatic drop in Christians due to jihadis and Iran-allied groups, Aykazian told Breitbart News that number has decreased from 1.6 million to less than 100,000, marking a drop of more than 90 percent.

“A similar situation is taking place in Syria’s Aleppo where there has also been a drop of more than 90 percent in Christians, from 360,000 to about 25,000 now,” he said, noting, “The church leaders don’t want to say those statements because they fear their followers will be disillusioned.”

ISIS’s genocide campaign targeted religious minorities in Iraq and Syria, primarily Christians and Yazidis, killing tens of thousands of them and taking some hostages as sex slaves.

“They [Christians] realized just how insecure they are,” Nina Shea, a religious freedom expert at the Hudson Institute, told Breitbart News. “Their own governments fail to protect them, and ISIS gained popular support within some neighboring major Sunni areas, like Mosul.”

Archbishop Aykazian said Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi “so far has been the best leader in the Middle East for defending Christians.” he said, adding, “The biggest Christian majorities are in Egypt.”

Shea pointed out, “Egypt retains ten million Coptic Christians. That is the only place where I see a certain future for them [Christians].”

“In a generation, Egypt may be the only remaining country with a robust Christian community that traces its roots to the earliest Christian church,” Shea added. “Elsewhere in the Middle East, only remnants of these ancient communities may survive.”

Nevertheless, Shea and the bishop acknowledged that, even in Egypt, Christians are confronting the spread of Sunni extremism and anti-Christian bigotry. The ongoing war against Islamic terrorism continues to kill, wound, and push Christians out of their historical homelands in the greater Middle East, even in Egypt.

“More recently, after the Arab Spring and with the rise of ISIS, tens of thousands of Christians were killed in Iraq and Syria,” Hajjar said. “Close to 1 million Christians in the region have gone into exile.”

“Following multiple terrorist attacks in Egypt against the Copts, many Christian Egyptians also emigrated from their country,” Hajjar continued. “We can estimate that more than 25-30 percent of Christians in the Middle East have been affected by the recent wars and conflicts.”

The experts also attributed the ongoing demise of Christianity in the Middle East to certain governments’ disdain towards followers of Christianity and their refusal to protect them.

In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has reportedly designated Christians as “enemies of the state.” In Iraq, the country that experienced the sharpest drop in the number of Christ followers in recent years, Baghdad-sanctioned Iran-allied Shiite militias have reportedly taken Christian lands and are harassing them.

Referring to the countries that have experienced the largest decline in Christians, Hajjar named Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Lebanon. Similar to Hajjar’s list, the bishop said, “Iraq is number one, Lebanon is number two, and Syria is number three.”

The experts conceded that the Trump administration had done more to help Middle East Christians than his predecessor, but they argued that Christians are far from protected and more can be done.

 

Study: Christians Most Persecuted Group In The World


waving flagAuthored by Photo of David Krayden David Krayden / Contributor /  01/07/2017

URL of the original posting site:  http://dailycaller.com/2017/01/07/study-christians-most-persecuted-group-in-the-world/#ixzz4VJEtdRBT

Christian Persecution

Image added by WhatDidYouSay.org

Christians remain the target of more persecution than any other group in the world, according to a new study set to be released in February from the Italian-based Center for Studies on New Religions. These findings are consistent with those of the Clarion Project, an organization that tracks Islamic extremism.  The group’s national security analyst told Fox News that the U.S. government is doing very little to stem this tide of hate.

“U.S. policy has not had a strategy for specifically addressing the persecution of Christians,” said Ryan Mauro.  “For example, very few people are even aware that Iraqi Christians began organizing to defend themselves and needed our help.”

The report outlines the stark data of persecution, finding that 90,000 Christians around the world died for their faith in 2016. One-third of these fatalities were a direct result of Islamic extremists, like ISIS, while other believers perished as a result of the hostile policies of anti-Christian states like North Korea.

A staggering 600 million Christians could not openly practice their faith due to that observance being illegal. Christians in Iraq, for instance, have suffered a steady decline in membership since 2003.  A relatively thriving population of 1.5 million adherents has declined to an estimated 275,000 today.

The Italian study confirms information from 2015 that indicated a growing intolerance towards Christians around the world – especially where extreme Islamic practices flourish – that increasingly manifests itself in acts of violence, including beheadings.persecuted-by-muslims

isis1

Image added by WhatDidYouSay.org

Aid to the Church in Need conducted one such study that also indicated Christianity to be under fire in Africa and Asia, as well as the largely Muslim Middle East.  In Africa, the group found that Islamic terrorists like Nigeria’s Boko Hara were routinely targeting Christians for kidnapping and killing.

In Asia, Christians are attacked as a foreign influence and rejected by religious group who narrowly define what religious beliefs are indigenous to a country.

As Robert Nicholson of the Philos Project told Foxnews.com:  “There are many places on earth where being a Christian is the most dangerous thing you can be.  Those who think of Christianity as a religion of the powerful need to see that in many places it’s a religion of the powerless. And the powerless deserve to be protected.”

coptic-martyrs

Politically Correct Run Amuck


High school track team disqualified for making religious gesture


Posted: http://www.myfoxhouston.com/story/22148067/2013/05/02/high-school-track-team-disqualified-for-making-relious

By Damali Keith, Reporter – bio

Some people are outraged after a high school track team is disqualified from competing in state finals because one runner made a religious gesture. In just a few seconds the boys Columbus High School 4 X 100 relay team went from winning the regional meet, heading to state championships to having it all stripped away. How did the “W” so quickly become “DQ”? Well. when the anchor of the relay team crossed the finish line, he won the race, raised his finger to the sky and that gesture caused the winning regional’s relay team to be disqualified.

SEE VIDEO; http://www.myfoxhouston.com/story/22148067/2013/05/02/high-school-track-team-disqualified-for-making-relious?autoStart=true&topVideoCatNo=default&clipId=8836633

“It’s a sad deal. I think it’s a travesty. Those kids work hard,” says K.C. Hayes. Hayes’ son Derrick Hayes is the runner who won the race then pointed to God, turning a once in a lifetime opportunity into a huge heartbreak that will likely last his lifetime. “As a team they reached their goal and in an instant it was just gone, over something we think is a non-issue. I guess someone else thinks it is an issue. He just said dad I was pointing at the heavens” says K.C. Hayes.

A judge with the University Interscholastic League or UIL, which enforces the rules for high school athletics, was there at the meet in Kingsville and made the call to disqualify the four member relay team. “For those kids the work they put in, what are we teaching them? Ok you’re going to sacrifice, work hard and do everything it takes and ok it’s just ripped away,” says Hayes.

“It’s a harsh consequence for what some people may deem a small gesture. The rule states no celebratory gestures including raising your arms,” explains Columbus I.S.D. Superintendent Robert O’Connor. According to the UIL the relay team was disqualified for “unsporting conduct”. The UIL also points out, it does not have a rule prohibiting religious expression. “You can do whatever you want to in terms of prayer, kneeling or whatever you want to once you get out of the competition area. You just can’t do it in the competition area. It goes back to the taunting rule. I can’t taunt my opponent,” O’Connor explains.

“It’s not a malicious act. It’s not a taunting act. It’s a ‘we did it’ and he (my son) knows where the source comes from. I know him. He’s not a malicious kid. On the football field he’ll hit you and then help you up,” Hayes says.

“It’s heartbreaking,” says O’Connor. Superintendent O’Connor says since Saturday’s track meet and the disqualification he has received a number of nasty emails. One read ‘Dear sir, you, are an idiot’. O’Connor wants to stress this is not his decision. This is coming from the UIL. In fact, the district protested the disqualification but the UIL is not changing the decision. Please like me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/DamaliKeithFOX26?ref=hl and join the conversation on this issue. Follow me on Twitter @DamaliFox26.

(The track meet photos in the video are courtesy The Colorado County Citizen)

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