Persecution of Christians in the Middle East in light of History
Open Doors, a faith-based mission supporting persecuted Christian believers, reports that
Over 200 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest, and even death for their faith in Jesus Christ, with another 200 to 400 million facing discrimination and alienation.
Events during the 1990s confirmed though that the U.S. government supports only those churches who possess sufficient "influence" in Washington, while ignoring the plight of the Orthodox. After 1989, Orthodox Christians in both Poland and Slovakia warned the U.S. government that they were "at risk" as religious minorities, but no action was taken to press for securing the rights of these minorities.
Persecution and harassment continues because of an assumption now that the U.S. is not interested in their fate, and that America will not undertake any effort (other than occasional lip service) to secure religious freedom.
- In Memory Of The 50 Million Victims Of The Orthodox Christian Holocaust
Summary history about the Victims of the Holocaust
Persecution to rid Asia of Christians
As with the millions of Jews murdered in the Holocaust, Christians in the Middle East have faced a number of purges and holocausts by the region's rulers over time.
1914 400,000 conscripts perished in forced labor brigades
1922 100,000 massacred or burned alive in Smyrna
1916-1922 350,000 Pontions massacred or killed during forced deportations
1914-1922 900,000 perish from maltreatment, starvation and massacres; total
of all other areas of Asia Minor
TOTAL: 1,750,000 Greek Christians martyred 1914-1922
1894-1896 300,000 massacred
1915-1916 1,500,000 perish in massacres and forced deportations (with
subsidiaries to 1923)
1922 30,000 massacred or burned alive in Smyrna
TOTAL: 1,800,000 Armenian Christians martyred 1894-1923
SYRIANS AND NESTORIANS
1915-1917 100,000 Christians massacred
Ottoman Empire policy of Genocide
The Ottoman Empire carried out a policy of Genocide of its Christian population. It began with systematic massacres, the killing of 300,000 Armenians throughout the provinces. Then massacres recurred, as in 1909 government troops killed in the towns of Adana alone over 20,000 Christian Armenians.
In WWI, the Ottoman Empire allied itself with Germany and decided to eliminate the whole of the Christian population of Greeks, Armenians, Syrians and Nestorians based on a policy of ethnic cleansing.
In 1915, the mass arrest and murder began of the leaders in Constantinople and elsewhere in the empire. Then a carefully planned genocide was carried out in every Armenian community:
Arrest of clergy and other prominent persons, disarmament of the population and Armenian soldiers serving in the Ottoman army, segregation and public execution of leaders and able-bodied men, and the deportation to the deserts of the remaining Armenian women, children and elderly.
Resource: Christianity spreading
- Christianity taking over planet?
Biblically inspired evangelical Christianity is sweeping through places like China, Africa, India and Southeast Asia making it, by far, the fastest growing faith on the planet.
Said to be the indigenous people of Iraq, Assyrians have been in the Middle East from the time of Christ. They became the first nation to accept Christianity, and one of the largest missionary-sending peoples in Christian history (A History of Christianity by Kenneth Scott LaTourette). They are now one of the last remaining Christian communities in the Middle East.
"Traces the course of Christianity from AD 1500 to the present day, charting its geographical, doctrinal, and denominational developments and impact against the background of world history."
- Muslims being 'appeased' by crackdown on Christianity
It's happening in Egypt, Pakistan and Laos as well as other Muslim-dominated nations in Asia and Africa: a surge in attacks on Christian families and Christian churches. Now an analyst concludes the attacks are allowed to appease radical Islamics.
The author grew up in Syria in a culture ruled by a god who hates women. “How can such a culture be anything but barbarous?” She believes that the god who hates is waging a battle between modernity and barbarism, not a battle between religions.
Present Day Attacks on Christians
It was only two generations back that Assyrian Christians made up 20% of the Middle East population, but during the Assyrian Genocide of 1915, an estimated three million Christians were slaughtered there.
Purges by the region's rulers that Christians have faced include the present attacks by powerful Islamic factions across Iran, Iraq and neighboring nations. The following link reports the beheading of a 14-year old Christian boy.
Assyrian Christians - one of the last remaining Christian communities in the Middle East - tens of thousands have fled their traditional homelands in recent months. Current estimates say there are about 2.5 million Assyrian Christians in Iraq.
- Muslim insurgents behead 14-year-old Christian boy
Only two generations back, Assyrian Christians made up 20 percent of the population of the Middle East, but during the Assyrian Genocide of 1915, an estimated three million Christians were slaughtered there.
Resource: Christians are the target
- Christianity 'close to extinction' in Middle East - Telegraph
Christianity faces being wiped out of the “biblical heartlands” in the Middle East because of mounting persecution of worshippers, according to a new report.
- Ex-Lebanon Leader: Christians Target of Genocide - CBS News
Says Extremists Are Waging Attacks Without Justification on Christians; Church Bombing Sparks Protests in Egypt. "What is happening to Christians is a genocide."
Since the October 2010 slaughter of 57 churchgoers in Baghdad, there has been a steady exodus of Christians from the Middle East and especially Iraq. This is not just simply a "clash of civilizations," nor the same climate of threat, intimidation and violence that has been boiling up in places where Muslim majorities collide with a Christian minority, like Egypt, Pakistan, Sudan, Iran, Nigeria, etc.
The following link reports that
nowhere is a palpable sense of fear and a Christian exodus from the Middle East more dramatic right now than Iraq, where analysts estimate that fully half of the country's Christians have left since 2003. [emphasis mine]
This climate of fear was made horrifyingly real on Oct. 31, 2010 at the Syrian Catholic Church of Our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad. It was then that it became clear that Al Qaeda-inspired elements were going to go to the extreme against Western influence in the Middle East by targeting indigenous Christians—trying to bring to an end in Iraq a Christian presence of 2,000 years.
"Updating" secular constitutions, changing to Sharia
- Radical 'Shariah' feared result of 'freedom' protests
Islamists aiming to fill Middle East, North Africa power vacuum. The long-banned Muslim Brotherhood was recognized as part of the opposition, and it now has been called upon to help update Egypt's constitution. Also, in Tunisia, the ...
Account of Persecution in Afghanistan
A death sentence verdict is looking likely - the day of this article's publishing - for a new Christian in northern Afghanistan. He was reported to authorities when he tried to give a Bible to someone in Mazar-e-Sharif.
However, the accused, Shoaib Assadullah, states that he has given his life completely into the hands of Jesus.
Afghanistan is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which says everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including even the change of one's religion.
Eyewitness Account of Genocide in Jos, Nigeria - March 2010
Photos of 13 violent incidents
- Christianity Under Siege in the Muslim World - Photo Essays - TIME
TIME PHOTOS: A series of 13 violent incidents underscores the fragile position of Christians living in Islamic nations.
Holy War in the Middle East
© 2011 Deidre Shelden