Why Is the World Silent While Christians Are Slaughtered in Middle East and Africa? Asks Jewish Advocacy Group Leader

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By Alex Murashko , Christian Post Reporter
August 21, 2014|5:40 am

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  • Iraqi Christians
    (Photo: Reuters/Stringer)
    An Iraqi Christian family fleeing the violence in the Iraqi city of Mosul, sleeps inside the Sacred Heart of Jesus Chaldean Church in Telkaif near Mosul, in the province of Nineveh, July 20, 2014.
  • Iraqi Christians
    (Photo: Reuters/Youssef Boudlal)
    Iraqi Christians, who fled the violence in the village of Qaraqosh, seek refuge inside a church building in Arbil, north of Baghdad, August 11, 2014. Iraqi Christian families sought sanctuary in the church after fleeing towns and villages to escape the advance of Islamic State militants.
  • iraq christian children
    (Photo: Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah)
    Children of a Christian family, who fled from the violence in Mosul two days ago, stay at a school in Arbil, in Iraq's Kurdistan region June 27, 2014. Iraqi forces launched an airborne assault on rebel-held Tikrit on Thursday with commandos flown into a stadium in helicopters, at least one of which crashed after taking fire from insurgents who have seized northern cities.
  • Iraq
    (Photo: Reuters/Stringer)
    An Iraqi Christian family fleeing the violence in the Iraqi city of Mosul, arrives at the town of Qaraqush in the province of Nineveh, July 19, 2014. The ancient Christian community of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul had all but fled by Saturday, ending a presence stretching back nearly two millennia after radical Islamists set them a midday deadline to submit to Islamic rule or leave. The ultimatum by the Islamic State drove out the few hundred Christians who had stayed on when the group's hardline Sunni Muslim fighters overran Mosul a month ago, threatening Christians and the diverse city's other religious communities.
  • Iraq
    (Photo: Reuters/Stringer)
    A Christian woman carries a cross during a demonstration against militants of the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, in Arbil, north of Baghdad July 24, 2014. Hundreds of Iraqi Christians marched to the United Nations office in Arbil city on Thursday calling for help for families who fled in the face of threats by Islamic State militants.
  • iraq christian
    (Photo: Reuters/Stringer)
    An Iraqi Christian man fleeing the violence in the Iraqi city of Mosul, sits inside the Sacred Heart of Jesus Chaldean Church in Telkaif near Mosul, in the province of Nineveh, July 20, 2014. The head of Iraq's largest church said on Sunday that Islamic State militants who drove Christians out of Mosul were worse than Mongol leader Genghis Khan and his grandson Hulagu who ransacked medieval Baghdad. Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako led a wave of condemnation for the Sunni Islamists who demanded Christians either convert, submit to their radical rule and pay a religious levy or face death by the sword.
  • iraq christian
    (Photo: Reuters/Stringer)
    An Iraqi Christian woman fleeing the violence in the Iraqi city of Mosul, sits inside the Sacred Heart of Jesus Chaldean Church in Telkaif near Mosul, in the province of Nineveh, The head of Iraq's largest church said on Sunday that Islamic State militants who drove Christians out of Mosul were worse than Mongol leader Genghis Khan and his grandson Hulagu who ransacked medieval Baghdad. Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako led a wave of condemnation for the Sunni Islamists who demanded Christians either convert, submit to their radical rule and pay a religious levy or face death by the sword.

As violent persecution against Christians around the world intensifies, Ronald S. Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, in a recent op-ed bluntly asks, "Why is the world silent while Christians are being slaughtered in the Middle East and Africa?"

"In Europe and in the United States, we have witnessed demonstrations over the tragic deaths of Palestinians who have been used as human shields by Hamas, the terrorist organization that controls Gaza," wrote Lauder in his piece published in The New York Times. "The United Nations has held inquiries and focuses its anger on Israel for defending itself against that same terrorist organization. But the barbarous slaughter of thousands upon thousands of Christians is met with relative indifference."

Lauder leads the World Jewish Congress, which is an international organization that represents Jewish communities and organizations in 100 countries around the world.

In the op-ed, he notes that in the Middle East and in parts of central Africa, entire Christian communities are being lost in areas where peace had previously prevailed for centuries.

"The terrorist group Boko Haram has kidnapped and killed hundreds of Christians this year — ravaging the predominantly Christian town of Gwoza, in Borno State in northeastern Nigeria, two weeks ago," he states. "Half a million Christian Arabs have been driven out of Syria during the three-plus years of civil war there. Christians have been persecuted and killed in countries from Lebanon to Sudan."

Iraqi Christians (Photo: Reuters/Youssef Boudlal)

Iraqi Christian children, who fled the violence in the village of Qaraqosh, sit on a mattress at their makeshift shelter in an abandoned building in Arbil, north of Baghdad, August 11, 2014. The children sought sanctuary at the building after fleeing their village to escape the advance of Islamic State militants.

If the United States, and if especially Christians within the country, are supposed to lead the world in the fight against this sort of escalating oppression, then they may have to get educated on the matter first, observed a Christian persecution leader.

Open Doors USA president David Curry told The Christian Post as he took office last year, "The biggest challenge I think we are going to face is trying to get the American church to understand the scale and the magnitude of persecution around the world their brothers and sisters are facing today."

"We are so far removed, even with modern technology, from the kinds of punishment and persecution that people are facing in these countries like North Korea, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and so forth that I'm not sure we can get our minds around it."

However, even leaders and organizations that should know the gravity of the situation better appear to be silent, according to Lauder.

"The United Nations has been mostly mum. World leaders seem to be consumed with other matters in this strange summer of 2014," he writes. "There are no flotillas traveling to Syria or Iraq. And the beautiful celebrities and aging rock stars — why doesn't the slaughter of Christians seem to activate their social antennas?"

After explaining that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is "not a loose coalition of jihadist groups, but a real military force that has managed to take over much of Iraq" and "uses money from banks and gold shops it has captured, along with control of oil resources and old-fashioned extortion, to finance its killing machine, making it perhaps the wealthiest Islamist terrorist group in the world," Lauder says, "…the general indifference to ISIS, with its mass executions of Christians and its deadly preoccupation with Israel, isn't just wrong; it's obscene."

He writes that during a speech before thousands of Christians in Budapest in June, he made a "solemn promise" that just as he "will not be silent in the face of the growing threat of anti-Semitism in Europe and in the Middle East, [he] will not be indifferent to Christian suffering."

"Historically, it has almost always been the other way around: Jews have all too often been the persecuted minority … Christians can openly practice their religion in Israel, unlike in much of the Middle East," Lauder states.

He believes "the bond between Jews and Christians makes complete sense."

"We share much more than most religions," Lauder writes. "We read the same Bible, and share a moral and ethical core. Now, sadly, we share a kind of suffering: Christians are dying because of their beliefs, because they are defenseless and because the world is indifferent to their suffering."

After explaining that he wrote the op-ed "as a Jewish leader who cares about my Christian brothers and sisters," he concludes, "The Jewish people understand all too well what can happen when the world is silent. This campaign of death must be stopped."

 

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