Islamist terrorists and fanatics are methodically exterminating the 2,000-year-old Christian civilization of the Middle East through oppression, threats, appropriations and deadly violence.
Our media ignore the intensifying savagery against Christians in Muslim Brotherhood-controlled Egypt. Unconfirmed reports assert that, last month, Muslim Brothers dragged Christian protesters to a mosque and tortured them — but our reporters won’t look into an Islamist Abu Ghraib.
For a century and a half, the varied strands of Middle East Christianity have faced increasingly fierce pogroms and, for the Armenians, outright genocide. But with the rise of Wahhabi and Salafist terror, the long, slow-motion Holocaust accelerated.
Western liberals romanticize barbaric cultures but have no interest in the destruction — before their averted eyes — of a great and brilliant religious civilization. It’s as if they accept the Islamist creed that Christians don’t belong in the realms of Islam.
But the Middle East was more than just Christianity’s birthplace. The faith we know matured in the Middle East and North Africa, from Ephesus and Antioch to Alexandria and beyond. St. Augustine, the most influential church father after St. Paul, was a North African.
Rome was a latecomer to Christian authority. Through the Middle Ages, substantially more Christians lived east of Constantinople (now Istanbul) than in Europe, the faith’s backwater, whose northern reaches had yet to be evangelized.
Christianity’s greatest thinkers, greatest monuments and greatest triumphs for its first 1,000 years rose in the Middle East. Even the Muslim conquest and relative servitude could not dislodge Christianity. In the worst of times, Christianity turned the other cheek and endured. Some Christians flourished.
Today, the end is in sight.
In Iraq, cities such as Mosul and Saddam’s hometown, Tikrit, were once vital centers of Christianity. But the country’s Christian population, estimated at up to 2 million a decade ago, has fallen by half — perhaps by three-quarters.
Over 2 million Christians in Syria dread Islamist terror and religious cleansing so much, they lean toward the vicious Assad regime, which at least shielded minorities. Those who can, flee the country.
Christians were early supporters of Arab nationalism. One of the fiercest Palestinian leaders, George Habash, was a Christian, as was the wife of Yasser Arafat. Their thanks? Two-thirds of the West Bank’s and more of Gaza’s Christians have been driven out. They’re now a small minority even in Bethlehem (a situation ignored by our visiting president).
Egypt has the region’s largest remaining Christian population, at least 10 million Copts. With rare exceptions, they’ve long been confined to squalid quarters and treated as third-class citizens. Now the Salafist fanatics have been unleashed. The nation’s Muslim Brotherhood rulers could put a stop to anti-Christian violence, but appear willing to let the Salafists do the dirty work for them. They’re playing bad cop, not-so-bad cop.
And we’ll send the regime at least a billion dollars this year — with no stipulations or conditions except that military-related funds must purchase US-made or US-licensed equipment. With Egypt’s economy in desperate straits and the Brotherhood’s popularity fading, we’re propping up religious-cleansing bigots.
Christians in Iran? Gone. Turkey? Almost gone. Saudi Arabia? The once-thriving Christian and Jewish populations of Mecca and Medina were finished off centuries ago.
And in Lebanon, the only Middle East country that until recently had a Christian majority, Christian rights have been so threatened by Sunni fanaticism that some Christians have reached out to Shia Hezbollah in their desperate hunt for allies.
Far to the east, in Pakistan, Christians face trumped-up charges of insulting Islam or rape, beatings, murder and church bombings. And we still pour billions into Pakistan.
It’s the end of a world as we know it.
If Islam is a “religion of peace,” it’s time to show the evidence to the endangered Christians of the Middle East.
Of course, not all Christians are angels, nor are all Muslims demons. Most humans of any faith just want to get through the day. And some Christians have collaborated with odious Baathist regimes (usually, to ensure their community’s survival). Nor are most Muslims active supporters of the religious cleansing of Christians from their shared homelands.
But disappointingly few Muslims actively defend religious minorities. It’s not unlike Nazi Germany, where most Germans didn’t want to murder Jews, but were complicit through their silence.
If a Michigan mosque is defaced with graffiti, it makes national news and the Justice Department views it as a hate crime. It’s time for our government and media to apply the same standard abroad on behalf of Christians.
A Christian Catastrophe
Islamist ‘cleansing’ in Mideast
By RALPH PETERS
Last Updated: 12:11 AM, April 1, 2013
Posted: 10:13 PM, March 31, 2013