The forgotten Christians of the East

By Caroline B. Glick Oct 12, 2011

It is unclear what either Western governments or Western churches think they are achieving by turning a blind eye to the persecution of Christians in the Muslim world

On Sunday night, Egyptian Copts staged what was supposed to be a peaceful vigil at Egypt’s state television headquarters in Cairo. The 1,000 Christians represented the ancient Christian community of some 8 million whose presence in Egypt predates the establishment of Islam by several centuries. They gathered in Cairo to protest the recent burning of two churches by Islamic mobs and the rapid escalation of state-supported violent attacks on Christians by Muslim groups since the overthrow of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in February.

According to Coptic sources, the protesters Sunday night were beset by Islamic attackers who were rapidly backed up by military forces. Between 19 and 40 Copts were killed by soldiers and Muslim attackers. They were run over by military vehicles, beaten, shot and dragged through the streets of Cairo.

State television Sunday night reported only that three soldiers had been killed. According to al-Ahram Online, the military attacked the studios of al-Hurra television on Sunday night to block its broadcast of information on the military assault on the Copts.

Apparently the attempt to control information about what happened worked. Monday’s news reports about the violence gave little indication of the identity of the dead or wounded. They certainly left untold the story of what actually happened in Cairo on Sunday night.

In a not unrelated event, Lebanon’s Maronite Catholic Patriarch Bechara Rai caused a storm two weeks ago. During an official visit to Paris, Rai warned French President Nicolas Sarkozy that the fall of the Assad regime in Syria could be a disaster for Christians in Syria and throughout the region. Today the Western-backed Syrian opposition is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. Rai cautioned that the overthrow of President Bashar Assad could lead to civil war and the establishment of an Islamic regime.

In Iraq, the Iranian and Syrian-sponsored insurgency that followed the US-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s Baathist regime in 2003 fomented a bloody jihad against Iraq’s Christian population. This month marks the anniversary of last year’s massacre of 58 Christian worshippers in a Catholic church in Baghdad. A decade ago there were 800,000 Christians in Iraq. Today there are 150,000.

Under the Shah of Iran, Iran’s Christians were more or less free to practice their religion.

Today, they are subject to the whims of Islamic overlords who know no law other than Islamic supremacism.

Take the plight of Yousef Nadarkhani, an evangelical Protestant preacher who was arrested two years ago, tried and sentenced to death for apostasy and refusal to disavow his Christian faith. There is no law against apostasy in Iran, but no matter. Ayatollah Khomeini opposed apostasy. And so does Islamic law.

Once Nadarkhani’s story was publicized in the West the Iranians changed their course.

Now they have reportedly abandoned the apostasy charge and are sentencing Nadarkhani to death for rape. The fact that he was never charged or convicted of rape is neither here nor there.

Palestinian Christians have similarly suffered under their popularly elected governments.

When the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994, Christians made up 80 percent of Bethlehem’s population. Today they comprise less than 20% of the population.

Since Hamas “liberated” Gaza in 2007, the area’s ancient Christian minority has been under constant attack. With only 3,000 members, Gaza’s Christian community has seen its churches, convents, book stores and libraries burned by Hamas members and their allies. Its members have been killed and assaulted. While Hamas has pledged to protect the Christians of Gaza, no one has been arrested for anti-Christian violence.

JUST AS the Jews of the Islamic world were forcibly removed from their ancient communities by the Arab rulers with the establishment of Israel in 1948, so Christians have been persecuted and driven out of their homes. Populist Islamic and Arab regimes have used Islamic religious supremacism and Arab racial chauvinism against Christians as rallying cries to their subjects. These calls have in turn led to the decimation of the Christian populations of the Arab and Islamic world.

For instance, at the time of Lebanese independence from France in 1946 the majority of Lebanese were Christians. Today less than 30% of Lebanese are Christians. In Turkey, the Christian population has dwindled from 2 million at the end of World War I to less than 100,000 today. In Syria, at the time of independence Christians made up nearly half of the population. Today 4% of Syrians are Christian. In Jordan half a century ago 18% of the population was Christian. Today 2% of Jordanians are Christian.

Christians are prohibited from practicing Christianity in Saudi Arabia. In Pakistan, the Christian population is being systematically destroyed by regime-supported Islamic groups. Church burnings, forced conversions, rape, murder, kidnap and legal persecution of Pakistani Christians has become a daily occurrence.

Sadly for the Christians of the Islamic world, their cause is not being championed either by Western governments or by Western Christians. Rather than condition French support for the Syrian opposition on its leaders’ commitment to religious freedom for all in a post-Assad Syria, the French Foreign Ministry reacted with anger to Rai’s warning of what is liable to befall Syria’s Christians in the event President Bashar Assad and his regime are overthrown. The Foreign Ministry published a statement claiming it was “surprised and disappointed,” by Rai’s statement.

The Obama administration was even less sympathetic. Rai is now travelling through the US and Latin America on a three week visit to migr Maronite communities. The existence of these communities is a direct result of Arab and Islamic persecution of Lebanese Maronite Christians.

Rai’s visit to the US was supposed to begin with a visit to Washington and meetings with senior administration officials including President Barack Obama. Yet, following his statement in Paris, the administration cancelled all of its scheduled meetings with him. That is, rather than consider the dangers that Rai warned about and use US influence to increase the power of Christians and Kurds and other minorities in any post- Assad Syrian government, the Obama administration decided to blackball Rai for pointing out the dangers.

Aside from Evangelical Protestants, most Western churches are similarly uninterested in defending the rights of their co-religionists in the Islamic world. Most mainline Protestant churches, from the Anglican Church and its US and international branches to the Methodists, Baptists, Mennonite and other churches have organized no sustained efforts to protect or defend the rights of Christians in the Muslim world.

Instead, over the past decade these churches and their related international bodies have made repeated efforts to attack the only country in the Middle East in which the Christian population has increased in the past 60 years – Israel.

As for the Vatican, in the five years since Pope Benedict XVI laid down the gauntlet at his speech in Regensburg and challenged the Muslim world to act with reason and tolerance it its dealing with other religions, the Vatican has abandoned this principled stand. A true discourse of equals has been replaced by supplication to Islam in the name of ecumenical understanding. Last year Benedict hosted a Synod on Christians in the Middle East that made no mention of the persecution of Christians by Islamic and populist forces and regimes. Instead, Israel was singled out for criticism.

The Vatican’s outreach has extended to Iran where it sent a representative to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s faux counter terror conference. As Giulio Meotti wrote this week in Ynet, whereas all the EU ambassadors walked out of Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust denying speech at the UN’s second Durban conference in Geneva in 2009, the Vatican’s ambassador remained in his seat. The Vatican has embraced leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe and the Middle East.

It is unclear what either Western governments or Western churches think they are achieving by turning a blind eye to the persecution and decimation of Christian communities in the Muslim world. As Sunday’s events in Egypt and other daily anti-Christian attacks by Muslims against Christians throughout the region show, their behavior is not appeasing anyone. What is clear enough is that they shall reap what they sow.

October 12, 2011 | 16 Comments »

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16 Comments / 16 Comments

  1. Author: Andrew

    “Only the Jews are christ killers and we refuse to share the blame with no stinking Muslims” Ah no. The Romans didn’t allow Israel to commit capital punishment 2000 years ago. The Pharisees wanted to do the deed, but it was the Romans who did it.

    Doesn’t matter; for 15 centuries the Jews were blamed for it, millions of Jews were murdered for it raped and robbed for the deed so we might as well take the full credit and be proud of our accomplishment, I think we have earned at least that right.

  2. No, Yamit

    It’s just tit for tat with Sam: He insulted my Christian parents, so I returned the deed. Frankly, I see very little difference between Jews and Christians.

  3. In light of the 1000 plus impending release of murders and would-be murderers of Jews all I can say is FREE YIGAL AMIR

    Pussycat-we don’t want to.

  4. Approximately correct, Sam; except that Christianity dates to the time of Moses, and Judaism was invented at Yavneh.

    Huh? Are you trying to be procative?

  5. he is not alone — witness the 1000 rabbis who lashed out in a petition on allegedly Jewish perpetrators of a mosque arson in Israel without mentioning the systemic destruction and desecration of synagogues and churches in the Arab world. How sad it is that we still have Jewish capos in the concentration camp of ideas and facts.

    First of all who says that the Jews did it? There is no evidence or proof. It is a classic Jewish dhimmi knee-jerk reaction. Sooo demeaning!!! I find Jewish insecurities and their predictable reaction due to those insecurities quite tiring and insulting to those Jews who are proud and bend no knee to any man or mortal and kiss nobody’s ass no matter what.

    In light of the 1000 plus impending release of murders and would-be murderers of Jews all I can say is FREE YIGAL AMIR.

  6. According to Coptic sources, the protesters Sunday night were beset by Christ-killing Islamic attackers who were rapidly backed up by military forces. Between 19 and 40 Copts were killed by militant Islamic Killers.

    I re-fixed it for you. Only the Jews are christ killers and we refuse to share the blame with no stinking Muslims. Heck there weren’t even any Muslims around when we did the deed. Anyway it seems that most christians couldn’t care less so why should you? Are you looking to be more christian than the Pope? I think in your own way you are becoming quite the christian sycophant. Won’t work, besides it’s too transparent. You should use themes like Camel dung is poisoning the atmosphere and ruining the local ecology. Muslims are pro life (against abortion). Muslims are the worlds foremost desert makers etc. Nothing you have shown so far is shocking to a generation raised on video games in fact they are quite tame and boring to that group.

  7. Approximately correct, Sam; except that Christianity dates to the time of Moses, and Judaism was invented at Yavneh.

  8. As the carnage in Egypt and Iraq goes on, Mr. Foxman of the ADL takes to the podium of American media to denounce the bigotry and irrationality of .. Islamophobia. In seemingly rational voice he invokes out of context the biblical admonishion to be tolerant of ‘strangers’. No, there is no hidden agenda or cabal to ignore the Islamic threat. There is again, as in the 1930’s, an explosive combination of self-righteousness and ignorance mixed with a conscious desire to be loved by those who hate us. he is not alone — witness the 1000 rabbis who lashed out in a petition on allegedly Jewish perpetrators of a mosque arson in Israel without mentioning the systemic destruction and desecration of synagogues and churches in the Arab world. How sad it is that we still have Jewish capos in the concentration camp of ideas and facts.

  9. Eastern christians sold out by western christians:

    Christianity was invented by the Greeks (who were ferocious Jew-haters). The new testament was written in Greek, and every theological debate and decision in the original christianity was performed in Greek. Roman christianity developed much later. The new testament was not even translated into latin for 300 years.

    The eastern christians split up early on into different sects, usually along nationalistic or ethnic lines. The Greeks remained dominant, and persecuted the non-Greek eastern christians.

    Islam changed everything. Almost all the original christians (Turkey, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, and Morocco were originally 100% christian) eventually converted to islam.

    The Roman popes hated the eastern christians, and were jealous of them. The destruction of eastern christianity by the muslims allowed the roman catholics to totally rewrite christian history, so that romans became the original christians, and eastern christians were given an insignificant role.

    Protestantism arose as a nationalistic revolt of northern european catholics against the southern latins. Western protestants are largely ignorant of eastern christians, and think the new testament was originally written in King James English.

    So the eastern christians, or at least what is left of them, are screwed every which way. The muslims subjugate them and kill them if they get “uppity”. The muslims play the catholics against the orthodox. The catholic pope is willing to let them die if the catholics get to retain possession of the churches in the holy land.

    The governments of europe protected the eastern christians for a while a hundred years ago. Now, the governments of europe are post-christian liberals, and have made an alliance with the muslims against the conservative white european and American christians. All the liberal media purposely minimize muslim atrocities against eastern christians, in order to maintain their delusion that savage islam is a “religion of peace”.

    The role of the American government is disgusting. Both the Republicans and the Democrats have been waging war against the muslims, but refuse to acknowledge that it has anything to do with islam. The muslims label the Americans as christian crusaders out to defeat islam and give power to the eastern christians. They consider the eastern christians to be traitors and a potential fifth column, so they persecute them even further. The Americans are afraid to intervene, and turn a blind eye, lest it might interfere with the American intention to “win the hearts and minds of the the moderate muslims.”

    Is there a lesson for us Jews? Not a new one. If Obama were strong enough, he would join with the EU, the UN, and Russia to force Jewish Israel to 1967 borders, forbid Jewish Israel from taking any pre-emptive action against the muslims, sit back while the muslims destroyed the Jews, and would add a wing to the Holocaust Museum afterward. If western christians won’t do anything to save their eastern christian “brothers” from the muslims, their dedication to a “safe and secure “ Jewish Israel is doubtful.

  10. This may or may not be true but Caroline’s point is why aren’t western governments and Christians speaking out about this. You would think they would care about their co-religionists.

  11. Jewish Naqba

    “In just 50 years, almost a million Jews, whose communities stretch back up to 3,000 years, have been ‘ethnically cleansed’ from 10 Arab countries. These refugees outnumber the Palestinian refugees two to one, but their narrative has all but been ignored. Unlike Palestinian refugees, they fled not war, but systematic persecution. Seen in this light, Israel, which absorbed most of these Jewish refugees, is the legitimate expression of the self-determination of an oppressed indigenous, Middle Eastern people.”

    The Forgotten Refugees Part1

  12. Point taken Bland.

    I personally know a lot of copts who have migrated to Australia. They initially have been dumbfounded by my support of Israel. When I explained to them Genesis 12:3, they all seemed very open minded and took it on board.

  13. January 8, 2010, – 3:27 pm
    About the Egyptian Muslim Shooting on Coptic Christmas (Why I Don’t Care)

    By Debbie Schlussel


    A couple of days ago, Egyptian Muslims did a drive-by shooting of Coptic Christians in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, who were celebrating Coptic Christmas. Seven were killed (including a Muslim security guard), and nine were wounded. The story is tragic and instructive in the absolute intolerance of Muslims for Christians in Muslim nations (and non-Muslim ones).


    Coptic Pope Shenouda III: His Anti-Semitic Sermons Rival Those of Muslim Clerics

    That said, I deliberately, heretofore, chose to ignore it. Several readers–including some Copts–asked me why I didn’t write about it. Well, as I’ve noted before, it’s an unfortunate but true fact that most Christians in the Middle East sided with Muslims against the Jews (not just against the Israelis). And among the most viciously anti-Semitic Christians in the Mid-East are the Copts. At ten percent of the Egyptian population, they historically not only supported Egypt against the Jews and Israel, but the Copts participated in Egyptian Muslim pogroms against Jews, supported the expulsion of nearly the entire Jewish Community of Egypt, and even participated in looting and seizing Jewish property before and after the expulsion was complete. And, although they are mostly found in Egypt, in every other Middle Eastern nation in which they have a small presence, Copts have consistently participated in persecuting the Jews. It’s not by accident. They are simply following the openly anti-Semitic teachings of Coptic Pope Shenouda III.

    I agree with Yamit on this detail. Probably NOT in agreement with Yamit, I will say this: All Christians aren’t equal, any more than all Jews are equal. Arab Christians, given half a chance, would crucify both the Israeli Jews and the American Christians who support them. For most of the world, blood is thicker than doctrine.

  14. Egyptian Copts are no less jew and Israeli haters than are there Muslim neighbors, if anything more so. why should we care?

  15. Is it only oil, or is there some motive unmentioned by anyone including Caroline Glick? Does someone, anyone, know what sub rosa agenda at play here is ? If the Vatican, France, the US, etc. are all in agreement, what is the nature and contents of the agreement? As an implication of this policy, it is perfectly logical to say that if Christians can be sacrificed to Islam, certainly Jews can suffer that fate.