A Defending Crusader…

The best defense is to be good and offensive…or something like that.

Persecution(s) of the Day

Posted by Godefroi on August 1, 2007

Two

Nod: Dhimmi Watch

On July 25, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom held a major hearing on religious persecution in Iraq that made your stomach turn. It effectively demonstrated that American soldiers, many of them Christians, are giving their lives and limbs to prop up a Muslim government that encourages or tolerates religious persecution against Christians. Michael Cromartie, chairman of the group and an appointee of President Bush, said reports indicate that nearly half of Iraq’s Christians have already fled the country.

He explained that “Violence against members of Iraq’s Christian community is of particular concern in Baghdad and the northern Kurdish regions. Reported abuses include the assassination of Christian religious leaders, the bombing and destruction of churches, and violent threats intended to force Christians from their homes. In some areas, ordinary Christians have reportedly stopped participating in public religious services for fear of inviting further violence.”

Pascale Warda, an Assyrian Christian who was the Minister of Migration and Displacement during the first transitional Iraqi government, testified, “Over 30 churches have been destroyed, priests have been kidnapped, killed, or beheaded, and the Christians have been systematically targeted for persecution by Islamic fundamentalists. A 14-year-old boy was crucified in Basra. A one-year-old baby was roasted and delivered to his mother’s doorstep, on a bed of rice.”

Arab Christians are leaving the Palestinian territories in droves due to discrimination and persecution from a Muslim-dominant police force and government, Dr. Justus Weiner, a distinguished scholar in residence at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, told reporters and academics at the Hudson Institute in Washington D.C. on July 17. “For a number of years now, this minority community [of Christians] has been in dire need of assistance,” he said. “Palestinian Christians are unable to practice their religion in freedom and in peace. “Most in danger are Arab Christians. And most in danger among Arab Christians are those who have converted from Islam. They are often left defenseless against cruelty from Muslim fundamentalists.”

Due to the rise of Islamic extremism in the Middle East, Weiner pointed out that the city of Bethlehem, which in 1948 was nearly 80 percent Christian, is today barely 12 percent. He also noted that Christians make up less than 2 percent of the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip. “They’re practically at the point of disappearing—nobody denies this,” he said.   Weiner cited several specific examples of persecution, including an Armenian Christian jeweler arrested without cause and beaten for eight hours in a Palestinian police station. Another case involved a 16-year-old girl from Bethlehem who was kidnapped by a 23-year-old Muslim man who told police she had willingly eloped. High-level diplomacy secured the Christian girl’s release, but only because she was an American citizen. Human rights violations against Palestinian Christians, according to Weiner, also include: individual loss of job or property; firebombed churches; destruction of Christian-based centers; beatings; torture; forced marriages; sexual harassment; and extortion

He noted that most of the persecution has taken place since the empowerment of the Palestinian Authority in 1995 under Yasser Arafat. He described the torture suffered by Christian converts from Islam since then as “the kind of thing you only read about in Medieval books—it’s very difficult to describe.”

  

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