Showing posts with label Middle East. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Middle East. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Human Rights Leaders Plead With Obama to Stop 'Nazi' Campaign Against Christians

A woman mourns with the framed picture of a man said to be among the 30 Ethiopian victims killed by members of the militant Islamic State in Libya, in the capital Addis Ababa, April 21, 2015. Ethiopia said on Monday that the 30 Christians shown being shot and beheaded in Libya on a video purportedly made by Islamic State were its citizens (REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri).


The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

WASHINGTON -- After viewing the video that was released April 19, showing the murder of two groups of Ethiopian Christians by Islamic State terrorists, Jewish and Christian human rights groups have issued a joint statement calling on President Obama to intervene with force to stop the ongoing extermination of Christians in the Middle East.
In a gruesome repeat of the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians in February, masked IS militants marched 15 Ethiopian Christians along Libya’s shore of the Mediterranean Sea and beheaded them. Another group of 15 was shot in another murderous act in an area of Libyan shrub land.

Open Doors USA, a global advocacy group for the persecuted, was joined by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human rights organization, in condemning the killings and calling for the United States to intervene.

In a joint statement, the groups claimed to have alerted Western governments for months “that a religious genocide of Christians was taking place” with little response, and took particular aim at President Obama for his lack of action.

While we welcome the White House acknowledgment that these victims were targeted because of their faith, much more needs to be done,” wrote David Curry, president and CEO of Open Doors, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, along with colleague Rabbi Yitzchok Adlerstein, who serves with him as director of interfaith issues.

They chided the president to fully acknowledge the “religious extremism” and “theologically fueled hatred” that is at the heart of Islamic State terrorism. Likewise, they called on him to lead NATO to “forge an action plan” to protect Christians in the Middle East.

We must not stand idly by and watch as thousands of Christians are murdered for their faith,” they said.

Calling the Islamic persecution of Christians a type of “Nazi ideology” that unabated “will continue to infect the hearts and minds of the ever-growing number of youth around the world,” they said, “The time to act is now.”


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Human Rights Leaders Plead With Obama to Stop 'Nazi' Campaign Against Christians



Sunday, March 15, 2015

Egyptian Christians Face Harassment, Violence in Attempting to Rebuild Church



The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

Coptic Orthodox Christians in the small village of Samalout, 137 miles south of Cairo, unexpectedly received permission from local authorities to rebuild their destroyed church building. Permits to build or rebuild local village churches in Egypt are rarely granted and usually bring strong Muslim opposition.

However, when the construction work started last week, Muslim extremists in the village stirred up a group to forcibly stop the work. Eventually, the Samalout police department called for a meeting between leaders from the church and more than 100 Muslims from the village who didn't want the church rebuilt. Police attempted to persuade the angry crowd to allow the construction of the church to take place with without opposition.

After the meeting ended with no resolution, the angry Muslims returned to the village. They took to the streets, shouting: "Egypt will become an Islamic State." They also chanted hostile slogans against Christians and stoned the houses of some Christians. That brought fear to the hearts of peaceful Christians of the village.

Although Christians had legal permission to build the church, the hardness of fanatic Muslims in their village did not allow them to build their church.


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Egyptian Christians Face Harassment, Violence in Attempting to Rebuild Church


Thursday, February 26, 2015

More Assyrian Christians Captured As ISIS Attacks Villages in Syria

Kurdish fighters in front of a church in the village of Tel Jumaa on Wednesday (Reuters).
Kurdish fighters in front of a church in the village of Tel Jumaa on Wednesday (Reuters).


The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

ISTANBUL -- The reports are horrifying, something out of a distant era of ancient conquests: entire villages emptied, with hundreds taken prisoner, others kept as slaves; the destruction of irreplaceable works of art; a tax on religious minorities, payable in gold.

A rampage reminiscent of Tamerlane or Genghis Khan, perhaps, but in reality, according to reports by residents, activist groups and the assailants themselves, a description of the modus operandi of the Islamic State's self-declared Islamic caliphate this week as it prosecuted a relentless campaign in Iraq and Syria against what have historically been religiously and ethnically diverse areas with traces of civilizations dating to ancient Mesopotamia.

The latest to face the militants' onslaught are the Assyrian Christians of northeastern Syria, one of the world's oldest Christian communities, some speaking a modern version of Aramaic, the language of Jesus.

Assyrian leaders have counted 287 people taken captive, including 30 children and several dozen women, along with civilian men and fighters from Christian militias, said Dawoud Dawoud, an Assyrian political activist who had just toured the area, in the vicinity of the Syrian city of Qamishli. Thirty villages had been emptied, he said.

The Syriac Military Council, a local Assyrian militia, put the number of those taken at 350.

Reached in Qamishli, Adul Ahad Nissan, 48, an accountant and music composer who fled his village before the brunt of the fighting, said a close friend and his wife had been captured.

"I used to call them every other day. Now their mobile is off," he said. "I tried and tried. It's so painful not to see your friends again."

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Piece By Piece, Middle Eastern Christianity is Being Shattered



The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

Still reeling from last week's news of the Islamist beheading of 21 Coptic Christian migrant workers in Libya, Middle Eastern Christians were again targeted by a large scale Islamist terror attack with thousands of victims Monday, in Syria. Islamic State jihadists laid siege to a string of Christian Assyrian villages, along the Khabour river, in northeastern Syria, kidnapping or killing scores of residents. Those abducted are now in imminent peril and thousands more who were expelled have joined the ranks of mendicant displaced.

Piece by piece, Middle Eastern Christianity is being shattered.

What this means for the Islamist militants are gains in strategic ground and further headway in the goal of religious cleansing. In other words, the Islamic State also known as ISIS is still winning -- militarily and politically. And despite upbeat statements about our counter-terrorism strategy by new Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, and last week's Counter Violent Extremism conference at the State Department, our side -- those who oppose this barbarism -- finds itself still back on its heels.

Archimandrite Emanuel Youkhana of the Assyrian Church of the East emailed that sources in the city of Hassakah, reported that some 3,000 of the villagers managed to flee, either to that city or to Qamishly, where they are being sheltered in churches. According to his source, who requested anonymity, the captives included "50 families in Tel Shamiran, 26 families in Tel Gouran, 28 families in Tel Jezira, and 14 young people (12 males and 2 females) who were defending Tel Hormiz." Milad, a 17-year-old man, was "martyred."

Since a family averages five people, this translates to over 120 Christians captured by ISIS. The Islamist militants reportedly separated the captives, men from women and children -- a pattern also seen when ISIS attacked Iraq's Yizidi community on Sinjar mountain last August. The Syrian Christians' fate is unknown but could include murder, enslavement, rape or traded as a hostage. Churches in the seized villages could be seen ablaze from the opposite river bank.

Syrian-Catholic Archbishop of Hassakah-Nisibi, Jacques Behnan Hindo, told the Vatican press Fides that the Christians feel like they are "abandoned into the hands" of ISIS.

The Archbishop explained:

"Yesterday American bombers flew over the area several times, but without taking action. We have a hundred Assyrian families who have taken refuge in Hassakah, but they have received no assistance either from the Red Crescent or from Syrian government aid workers, perhaps because they are Christians. The UN High Commission for Refugees is nowhere to be seen."


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Piece By Piece, Middle Eastern Christianity is Being Shattered

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Former Assyrian Church Leader and Two Christian Converts Arrested in Iran

The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

Iranian security agents arrested an Assyrian pastor and two Christian converts who were his guests at his Tehran residence on December 26, 2014, according to Mansour Borji, Spokesperson for the Alliance of Iranian Churches.

Borji told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that the full reasons for the arrest of Pastor Victor Beth Tarmez, a former leader of the Tehran Pentecostal Assyrian Church, and his guests remain unknown, but that at the time of the raid on his home, agents stated that they were arresting the individuals because they "participated in an illegal gathering." The "illegal gathering" was a Christmas party Tarmez was holding at his home and his guests were Zoroastrian, Muslim, and Christian citizens.

"There was a Christmas party at Pastor Victor's home. He and his wife and son and 14 guests were there. When agents entered the home, first they searched all the personal belongings of the guests, then they videotaped their faces, and then they searched the premises. Eventually, they arrested Pastor Tarmez along with two Christian converts and confiscated some property from the home," Borji told the Campaign.

"During a short phone call to his family on December 29, Pastor Victor informed them that he is held at Evin Prison. We have no information about the status of the two Christian converts arrested on the same day. All we know is that they have not been released yet," added Mansour Borji.


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Former Assyrian Church Leader and Two Christian Converts Arrested in Iran


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Christian Groups to Rally for Protection in Iraq


The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

Across the ancient cities and villages of Iraq, an "N" word also is used out of hate.

Members of the extremist group known as ISIS spray paint the letter "N" in blazing red on the homes of those they deem different. Scrawled in Arabic and pronounced "noon," the N stands for Nazarene, or follower of Christ, and to an outsider, it may look like a happy face.

But ISIS uses it as a mark of death. It warns Christian families who live in those homes to convert to Islam, pay a hefty tax, or prepare to die.

"There is a Christian genocide happening in Northern Iraq and no one is doing anything about it" said Delilah George, a 31-year-old Assyrian woman and Valley Village resident. "My people are experiencing unspeakable horror and grief at the hands of these radicals."

Since the takeover in June of Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant or ISIS has targeted the Christian population, whose faith has been present for almost 2,000 years. In the last two weeks, Assyrians were forced to leave their ancestral homeland under the threat of death. Many have been beaten, robbed and brutalized, or killed along the way as they search for a safe haven.

The sadness, frustration with the lack of public awareness and even anger has prompted George and countless Assyrians to hold a rally Saturday at the Federal Building in Los Angeles. Dubbed "Demand for Action," the Los Angeles event is one of nearly 40 worldwide to be held also on Saturday across the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Australia.


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Christian Groups to Rally for Protection in Iraq



Monday, July 21, 2014

Christian Holocaust Underway in Iraq, USA and World Look on



The following excerpts are from Aina.org:

When U.S. troops invaded Iraq in 2003, there were at least 1.5 million Christians in Iraq. Over the last ten years, significantly in the last few months with the emergence of ISIS, that figure has dropped to about 400,000.

In a region where Christians predate Muslims by centuries, over one million Christians have been killed or have had to flee because of jihadi persecution, while America is basically standing by and watching.


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Christian Holocaust Underway in Iraq, USA and World Look on



Monday, July 14, 2014

Christians Disappearing From Iraq, Bishops Lament

Chaldean Archbishops of Erbil and Kirkuk, Bashar Warda and Yousif Mirkis (photo: Aid to the Church in Need).

The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

Two Iraqi archbishops are seeking "faith and hope" in Iraq, while bewailing the continuing exodus of Christians from the country amid continued violence.
Archbishop Yousif Mirkis heads the Chaldean Archdiocese of Kirkuk, in Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region.

He said that he "quite definitely" fears the end of Christianity in Iraq.

"We are in the process of disappearing, just as the Christians in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and North Africa have disappeared. And even in Lebanon they now constitute only a minority," he told the international Catholic pastoral charity Aid to the Church in Need July 8.

Archbishop Mirkis said he is not resigned to defeat, but "trying to be realistic."

"There is still the hope that faith brings," he said. While he himself will not leave Iraq, he said he understands why young Christians are leaving in the wake of so many violent deaths.

"In the past ten years we have lost a bishop and six priests. In addition there are about a thousand of the faithful who have died in attacks."

"Not everybody shares the faith and the hope."

The Christian population in Iraq has plummeted to 400,000, down from about 1.5 million before the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.


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Christians Disappearing From Iraq, Bishops Lament



Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Christians 'Crucified Again' for Refusing Islam


The following excerpts are from AINA:

  • To the awe of its readership, a recent Daily Mail article reports that the “jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and Levant [ISIL],” which is currently entrenched in Raqqa, Syria, “publicly crucified two Syrian rebels in northeastern Syria in revenge for a grenade attack on members of their group.”
  • While the Daily Mail is to be commended for exposing these barbaric acts—along with posting photos of the crucified—it nonetheless minimized their significance, in two important ways: 1) by repeatedly saying things like “even al-Qaeda is distancing itself from ISIL,” and so implying that the act of crucifixion is some wild aberration that even the poster-child of jihadi terror, al-Qaeda, wants nothing to do with it; and 2) ignoring the much “sexier” story that Christians in Syria are also being crucified simply for refusing to embrace Islam (as opposed to the rather mundane but politically more correct story of Islamic jihadis crucifying each other in the context of vendetta killings).
  • Consider the atrocities earlier committed in Ma'loula, Syria, an ancient Christian village where the inhabitants still spoke Aramaic, the language of Christ.
  • According to recent Arabic news media, "a Syrian nun testified to the Vatican news agency that some Christians in Ma'loula were crucified for refusing to convert to Islam or pay jizya" (tribute subjugated Christians are required to pay to their Islamic conquerors in order to exist as Christians, per Koran 9:29).
  • Incidentally, they were crucified by the al-Qaeda linked Nasra Front (so much for Daily Mail's portrayal of al-Qaeda "distancing" itself from the apparently "extra-extremist" ISIL for crucifying its victims).

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Christians 'Crucified Again' for Refusing Islam



Thursday, May 01, 2014

Egypt: 2 Christians dead in sectarian clashes : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

The following excerpts are from Catholic World News:

  • Sectarian clashes between Muslims and Chrstians have broken out in towns around Assiut, a city of 400,000 in central Egypt.
  • A Muslim driver destroyed the front of a store owned by a Coptic Christian in Paisari, according to the Egyptian news site Copts United. During a reconciliation meeting between the Christian and Muslim communities, violence broke out, leaving 10 injured.

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Egypt: 2 Christians dead in sectarian clashes : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

Chaldean patriarch rips Western actions in Iraq: ‘we are a ruined church’ : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

The following excerpts are from Catholic World News:
  • Eleven years after the US invasion of Iraq, the head of the Chaldean Catholic Church declared that “we are a ruined church” and said that “1,400 years of Islam could not uproot us from our land and our churches, while the policies of the West [have] scattered us and distributed us all around the world.”
  • “Democracy and change come through upbringing and education rather than through conflict,” said Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako, who has governed the Eastern Catholic church since February 2013. “Intervention by the West in the region did not solve the problems … but on the contrary, produced more chaos and conflict.”
  • Referring to the regime of Saddam Hussein, he said that “in the Church of the Ascension, Al-Mashtal, for example, there were about 5,000 families and over 240 students preparing for their First Holy Communion before the regime’s fall.” On “25 April 2014, I celebrated in this church the Holy Mass for First Holy Communion of 13 students only.”

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Surge in kidnappings of Egypt’s Christians : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

The following excerpts are from Catholic Culture's Catholic World News:

  • Abductions of Christians near Minya, a city in central Egypt, have surged in the months following the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, The Christian Science Monitor reported.
  • Nearly 100 area Christians have been kidnapped since the Arab Spring began, with a spike occurring in recent months. Egypt’s Christians have tended to support the ouster of Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader – leading to attacks on dozens of churches and Christian institutions by Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

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Surge in kidnappings of Egypt’s Christians : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Killing Copts for Ransom in Egypt

The following excerpts are from AINA.org:

  • Not only are the churches, monasteries, and institutions of Egypt's Christians under attack by the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters--nearly 100 now have been torched, destroyed, ransacked, etc.--but Christians themselves are under attack all throughout Egypt, with practically zero coverage in Western media.
  • Days ago, for example, Copts held a funeral for Wahid Jacob, a young Christian deacon who used to serve in St. John the Baptist Church, part of the Qusiya diocese in Asyut, Egypt. He was kidnapped on August 21 by "unknown persons" who demanded an exorbitant ransom from his impoverished family--1,200,000 Egyptian pounds (equivalent to $171,000 USD). Because his family could not raise the sum, he was executed--his body dumped in a field where it was later found. The priest who conducted his funeral service said that the youth's body bore signs of severe torture.

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Killing Copts for Ransom in Egypt

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Middle East, Holy Land Christians Are Suffering Most

The following excerpts are from AINA:

  • Minority religious groups face the reality of targeted violence against them in the region
  • The leader of the Maronite Catholic Church has said that Christians are suffering the most from the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.
  • Cardinal Béchara Boutros Raï said that the situation in the Middle East is worsening, and that 'whenever a conflict breaks out in the Middle East, whenever chaos ensues, Muslim groups attack the minority Christian community, as if they were always the scapegoat.'
  • The patriarch, whose church is in full communion with the Vatican, said Christians were 'paying the price' of outside interference in both Egypt and Syria.
  • "I have written to the Holy Father twice to describe what is happening. I appeal again to the Holy Father, who only talks about peace and reconciliation," said the Maronite leader, who was made a cardinal in 2012.
  • He also accused the international community of 'total silence' over Iraq, where he said 1.5 million Christians had fled in the wake of Saddam Hussein's fall.

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Middle East, Holy Land Christians Are Suffering Most

Thursday, August 01, 2013

AFRICA/EGYPT - The Bishop of Minya: with the lie of the "Coptic plot" Islamists will justify other terror against Christians - Fides News Agency

The following excerpts are from Fides News Agency:
  • Western chanceries "have overestimated the real roots of political Islam in the Egyptian people" and now "remain floored and ambiguous before the scenarios opened by the revolution of 30 June", while the Islamists " emphasize the role of Christians in that uprising also to justify the terrorist attacks being prepared against them". This is what the Egyptian bishop Botros Fahim Awad Hanna reports to Fides Agency with regards to two dynamics he understood during the serious moment experienced by the North African country. In past days, blogs close to the Muslim Brotherhood have labeled the new structure found by the country after the overthrow of President Morsi as the "Military Republic of Tawadros", indicating Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II and his Church as the true architects of the popular uprising which led to the end of the Islamist government. "It is obvious" Anba Botros explains to Fides "that the Muslim Brotherhood wants to explain their political failure by resorting to the theory of 'Christian conspiracy'.
  • To emphasize the role Christians had in the collapse of the Islamist regime will also serve to justify future terrorism against them. 
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Friday, April 05, 2013

Pakistan: mob burns shops, cars in Christian neighborhood : News Headlines - Catholic Culture

The following excerpts are from Catholic Culture's Catholic World News:
  • A Muslim mob burned shops and cars and threw stones at a church in a Christian neighborhood in Gujranwala, a city of 2.7 million in northeastern Pakistan that was the site of anti-Christian violence in 2011. Six were wounded in the latest incident; calm was restored following police intervention.
  • “The spark that ignited the violence was a dispute between young Muslims and Christians which degenerated into a fight,” said Samson Salamat, director of the Centre for Human Rights Education, who told the Fides news agency that “an imam of the mosque instigated the Muslims to attack Christians.”
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Friday, November 23, 2012

From The Dignitatis Humanae Institute: Egypt's Embattled Christians Fear Exclusion Under New Islamist Constitution

Note: The following is a press release from The Dignitatis Humanae Institute


  London, 23 November 2012

As the Western media shift attention from crisis to crisis in the Middle East, one continuing, omnipresent tragedy goes wilfully ignored, the violent persecution of the regions' remaining Christians.  Nowhere is this more evident than Egypt, where the new government, dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, press on with the drafting of a new constitution with Sharia Law it is core and little tolerance for Christians.

As Syria and Gaza dominate the headlines, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has quickly gone about shaping what was once a relatively moderate nation into an Islamist republic.  The Arab Spring's ambitious hopes for pluralist democracies has quickly faded, only to be supplemented with theocratic regimes potentially worse than those which preceded them.

The Christians of Egypt, amounting to approximately 10% of the population, have expressed growing despondency as to the nature of the draft constitution.  Church leaders have found themselves repeatedly shut out of dialogue by the nations' Salafis who are determined to enshrine their dominance into law.  While the future constitution looks bleak for religious minorities, the persecution of the Coptic community continues each day.  Since President Morsi and the Muslim brotherhood gained power dozens of Christians have been murdered in addition to increased attacks on Christian property and the burning of Churches.  Kidnappings are not uncommon as well as reports of qualified Christians being turned away from employment.

Speaking from his office in Westminster to the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, Lord Alton, Honorary President of the British Coptic Association and Chairman of the Cross-Party Working Group on Human Dignity, appealed to the Egyptian government to remain true to their election assurances: 

"Mohammed Morsi swept to power on the promise that he would rule for all Egyptians, including the Christian community.  As the future constitution is drafted and the next chapter of Egyptian history determined, President Morsi must be held accountable to his solemn pledge to bring peace and tolerance to the marginalised communities of Egypt.  The Coptic community have shown remarkable forbearance in these past five months, I sincerely hope their patience with the new government will not be betrayed through further degradation."

The Dignitatis Humanae Institute aims to uphold human dignity based on the anthropological truth that man is born in the image and likeness of God and therefore has an innate human dignity of infinite worth to be upheld. The Institute promotes this understanding by supporting Christians in public life, assisting them to present effective and coherent responses to increasing efforts to silence the Christian voice in the public square.

:)

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