This week I received a monthly newsletter from the Voice of the Martyrs, an organization that is dedicated to assisting persecuted Christians worldwide. Its founder, Pastor Richard Wurbrand, began the organization in 1967 after he and his wife had been imprisoned for years in Romania because they were Christians.
The cover of the newsletter said simply We Are N. The letter N was actually the Arabic symbol for the letter N, or which means Nassarah or Christian in Arabic.
According to a report on The Foreign Desk website, the few remaining Christians that have remained in Baghdad are being forced out of their homes and are leaving the country to escape execution by Muslims. The report, entitled “Ethnic Cleansing: Iran-Backed Militia Seize Christian Neighborhoods in Baghdad” describes the plight of these Christians, which is eerily reminiscent of the treatment of Jews by the Nazis.
“Iran-back militias have seized homes, businesses and cultural sites, including churches belonging to Baghdad’s Christian communities, forcing individuals to resettle and forfeit all their belongings…”
It quotes the Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sacco in the article who said, “Their claim is that the property of a Christian (sic) is halal, meaning it can be seized… We are begging, once again, appealing to the conscience of government officials and authorities from Sunni and Shiite states in order to do something meaningful to safeguard the life and dignity and property of all Iraqis, because they are human.”
According to the article, “the paradox in U.S. foreign policy is that the current administration has shown a policy of partnering with Iran’s regime and even releasing funds to the regime to back these militia, while at the same time creating conditions on the ground in Iraq where they can ethnically cleanse the Christian community.”
Iraq is not the only place where ethnic cleansing of Christians is taking place. The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter recounts stories of persecution in Iraq as well, but also in Nigeria, Afghanistan, Syria and the Philippines.
In northern Nigeria, the Muslim terrorist group Boko Haram has been systematically and brutally attacking Christian villages, sometimes giving villagers an opportunity to renounce their faith and convert to Islam, but sometimes not. One story describes how a sixteen-year boy-old had his throat slit with a machete simply because he was a Christian.
“Boko Haram has terrorized northern Nigeria for more than 13 years. And since Abubakar Shekau gained control in 2009, the group has slaughtered an estimated 17,500 people, mostly Christians.”
Another story describes an Afghani Christian and his wife, who after becoming Christians were summoned to appear at a mosque to be “interviewed” and likely sentenced to death. By a miracle, they were able to escape the country before their trial date.
In Syria, a Christian family struggled to live after being rejected by their community. They had difficulty buying things they needed, they received constant death threats, and armed men entered their home when only their daughters were there. They finally had to make their escape to a neighboring country.
On the Philippine island of Mindanao, there is also persecution of Christians by Muslims. In a country largely thought of as Catholic, this represents how widespread this persecution has spread:
“The Philippine government has tried to make peace with the Muslim factions in Mindanao, but Christians have been skeptical. Muslim terrorists in the region have tried to force Christians out by killing them or stealing their crops and property. Christian villages have been attacked with the intent of occupying the village or stealing everything of value and Christians working their fields have been shot by snipers. Militant groups have also kidnapped pastors.”
This is an ongoing problem, but it is even worse when you consider that our present administration has been encouraging Muslim refugees to come to the United States, but has been refusing to take in Christian refugees. Pamela Geller wrote a 2011 article about U.S. policy stating, “The United Nations picks who gets to come to the United States as a refugee… Christians from Muslim lands are being refused refugee status”.
Think it is not important who our leaders are? Certainly it is important to elect leaders who are Christians. But more importantly, who are we, as Americans, if we turn our backs on persecuted Christians?