Why aren’t Christians defending Christians in Muslim Countries

Confront the hypocrisy

Op-ed: Israel’s treatment of Christians slammed, while far worse Muslim attitude is ignored

Manfred Gerstenfeld,YNET

On New Year’s Eve there was a murderous attack on a Coptic Church in Alexandria, Egypt in which 23 Christians were killed and many dozens were wounded. Last week a Christian was shot on an Egyptian train and five others were wounded. The murders in Alexandria drew far more international interest than many other attacks on Copts in recent years. They also gained far more attention than other recent lethal attacks on Christians in countries such as Iraq, Pakistan or Nigeria.

One wonders whether this event might be a tipping point for the Western world. Are Western governments and Christians finally starting to interest themselves a bit more seriously regarding the fate of Christians in the Muslim world? If so, this took quite a long time. Back in 1994, Israeli Middle East expert Mordechai Abir had already summed up the Copts’ situation in one sentence: “Egypt has been unable to combat the hate of fundamentalist Muslims toward the Copts who are true remnants of the original Egyptian population.”

From 1992 to 1998, Islamic extremists in Egypt are thought to have killed well over a hundred Copts. Thereafter, the largest murder took place in 2000 when 20 Copts and one Muslim were killed after violence broke out in El-Kosheh, a town a few hundred kilometers south of Cairo. There were a number of attacks of Copts and much harassment in the following years. On 6 January 2010, after Christmas mass, three Muslim gunmen killed six Copts and a Muslim policeman in Nagaa Hammadi near the South-Egyptian town of Qena.

Besides being a possible turning point, the Alexandria murders raise many important issues which go beyond this major incident. Some of these are of special importance to Israel and the Jews. The attacks were followed by threats on an al-Qaeda connected website which indicated that Coptic churches in Europe would also be targeted. As a result, Coptic New Year services in various European countries had to be guarded. For decades, the only European religious services with a security system in place were at synagogues. Once again, Jews were the first targets while others followed later.

Several Western Protestant organizations have, over the past years, relentlessly criticized Israel’s attitude toward Palestinian Christians, while remaining silent about incomparably bigger problems caused them by Palestinian Muslims. The same bodies have also long ignored the harassment of Christians by Muslims in a large number of countries, including Egypt.

This motif of ignoring Muslim aggression and focusing on Jews is an ancient one. In 2005, historian Rivka Fishman published an article showing that from the Seventh Century, the Byzantines were threatened by Muslims. The Christian leaders, however, largely ignored this and instead focused their attention on hate mongering against the Jews.

Extreme double standards

To further illustrate the hypocrisy of various Christian bodies: The Open Doors organization recently published a ranking of countries in which Christians suffer the most from oppression. Communist North Korea headed the list. The eight countries following it are all Muslim ones. They include Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Maldives, Yemen, Iraq and Uzbekistan. In 10th place is communist Laos. The Palestinian Authority is in 45th place on the list. Israel does not appear on it.

Major international attention was given by many Protestant bodies to the 2009 anti-Israeli Kairos document published by a number of Palestinian Christians. Many of those who promoted it in the West were those who ignored the oppression of Christians by Muslims in the Palestinian territories and elsewhere in the Muslim world.

The double standards inherent in part of these Christian bodies are extreme. One of the organizations which behaved scandalously was the PKN, the umbrella body of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands. After discussing the Kairos document, its leaders sent an accusing letter to the Israeli ambassador meant for the Israeli government. There are no indications that similar letters were ever sent to any ambassadors of the 50 countries on the Open Doors list.

Double standards toward Israel are at the heart of the new anti-Semitism. It is high time that Jewish and Israeli organizations as well as their many Christian friends expose strongly the many anti-Israeli Protestant bodies in Western countries. One prime target is the Geneva-based World Council of Churches which has almost consistently ignored oppression of Christians in Muslim lands, yet has given much negative attention to Israel.

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld has published 19 books, several of which deal with anti-Semitism

January 18, 2011 | 6 Comments »

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6 Comments / 6 Comments

  1. Howdy do do do from Atlanta, Georgia!

    Again, people living in America or for that matter the world that is not a Jew or belong to one of the hundreds Satanic RELIGIONS that leads directly to Hell is not a Christian!Most people attending a church building on Sundays is not a Christian and most people that say they are a Christian is not! About 2% of the people that claim they are a Christian is one.Most of the legitimate people of faith are too busy living their little lives that they do not understand or care of most of the subjects discussed on this web site!

    The major stumbling block to become a legitimate person of faith is the so called leaders, pastors, preachers, teachers and yes rabbi’s!They don’t have a clue!

    People need to stop listening and start praying and studying the word of God for themselves!

  2. The Israelis pulled the rug out from under the Lebanese Christians in 2000. No Middle Eastern Christian in his right mind would trust the Israelis. They are at the mercy of the Moslems, and have no choice but to go along with them. Even the Pope knows that.

  3. A very good question I have spent a lot of time thinking about.

    I think a lot of christians are really ignorant about the war being waged upon them. For instance a building gets demolished in East Jerusalem it makes front page news. Some Jihadists attack the IDF on the flotilla and get killed its front page news. But where does the press ever report the genocide and rape of Southern Sudan, the purge of christians in Bethlehem and Nazareth by the PA, fire bombing of churches in gaza by hamas, massacres in Egypt and Turkey. Beheadings of christians in the philipines and Indonesia.

    I think the christians who are aware of the intensifying jihad against us are concerned. But what are we going do? Obviously the muslim manchurian candidate president isn’t going to help us. Europe is already gone.

    I am actually angry at George W Bush. Supposedly born again and new all this and did nothing. Actually there was a report, who knows if it is true, that he threatened Khartoum with obliteration if they continued their crimes in the south. But later decided that oil was more important than saving black christians from being raped, killed and enslaved.

  4. It appears there are two very different reasons why Christians are not rising up against Muslim persecution of Christians.

    1. Those Christians with a pathological hatred of Jews, see Muslim persecution against them as secondary and of much less importance than to their reaching out to make common cause with Muslims who share that same pathological Jew hatred.

    2. Those Christians who are not anti-semitic to their core or at all, who do see Muslim persecution in Muslim nations against Christians as deeply concerning, are complacent and relatively safe in the fact that their world numbers of 2.5 billion Christians far exceeds the estimated Muslim world population of 1.5 billion, fear of even greater Muslim persecution and lethal violence against Christians in revenge for any action taken by Christian leadership against that persecution, Christian leadership that is simply dumbfounded as to what to do about anti-Christian Muslim persecution or a combination thereof.

  5. The Word Council of Churches is nothing more than a political body always taking sides, and always the wrong side. Most Christians view the WCC with contempt.

    There are Christians who have been quietly going into countries like Sudan for decades, sometimes putting their own lives on the line in order to take supplies and aid to those whose lives had been destroyed by the Sudanese militia.

    With the main-stream media ignoring the Christian voice and the governments normally doing nothing, the ‘main-stream’ Christian response is simply to pray, because Christians still believe that prayer is far, far more effective than demonstrations and protests – but when it comes to Israel, one group of Christians will be sympathising with terrorists and another group will be tripping over their feet in support of Israel.

    The article ignores the deep theological division existing between Protestants regarding Israel, with one camp adhering to a theology which teaches that Israel before Christ, including its people and it’s territory, (which they call ‘Old Testament Israel’) is merely a ‘type’ of the church (‘New Testament Israel’) which is universal (or catholic), and which knows no boundaries. This group follows Augustinian theology which was popularised by his book “City of God” published early in the 5th century. “The promised land” is seen as an ‘Old Covenant type’ of “the heavenly promised land” to come in the days when there will be a “new heavens, new earth and new Jerusalem”.

    Under such a theology, the Jews have no claim to Israel – and probably the majority of Protestant denominations (as well as the Roman Catholics) adhere to that theology (no doubt, so do the Eastern Orthodox churches and hence, the Palestinian Christians).

    Christian Zionists are very disliked by those who adhere to the above theology, and it is only Christian Zionists who do not believe that when God made an oath to Abraham regarding the everlasting election of Abraham and his seed, promising them the land of Canaan as their everlasting inheritance, that He was (as in Augustinian theology) actually ‘hiding’ or ‘veiling’ another meaning (a reference to ‘heavenly promised land’ and ‘new covenant Israel’). Christian Zionists do not believe God would hide something which would completely do away with the plain and literal meaning of His promise to Abraham (which He swore by oath to fulfil).

    It’s complicated, but it’s safe to say that most Protestants follow Augustinian theology, which is extremely anti-semitic for a number of reasons.

    Protestant Christians argue amongst one another so much about this division that they would make themselves a laughing stock to the world if the main stream media did pay more attention to them.

    But that doesn’t mean they should not speak with a united voice against the persecution of Christians in Islamic and communist lands (there has also been a dramatic increase the last 10 years attacks against Christians by Hindus in India).

    However, with the main-stream media ignoring the Christian voice and the governments normally doing nothing, the Christian response is to pray, because Christians still believe that prayer is far, far more effective than demonstrations and protests – but when it comes to the Arab-Israeli conflict, one group of Christians will be tripping over their feet in support of the ‘persecuted’ Palestinians’ against Israel (to the extent of sympathising with terrorists and ignoring Palestinian persecution of Christians), and another group will be tripping over their feet in support of Israel (to the extent of ignoring the attitude of Orthodox Judaism toward Messianic Jews).

    Don’t expect there to be no hypocrisy from Christians. Don’t expect there to be no hypocrisy from Jews, and don’t ever expect their to be no hypocrisy from the world’s most powerful political leaders.