On July 18, reported ARA News, gunmen detonated explosives inside the church. Activists point the finger of responsibility at ISIS. “We saw a huge fire and security forces arrived and extinguished the fire. But the church was completely destroyed, you can see only ashes here,” remarked one eyewitness to the attack.
The fate of the Middle East’s remaining Christians — often open to abuse and attack at any moment — appears little these days in mainstream media news stories, which presently focus on terrorist outrages in Europe instead. Reporting has likewise been dominated, since 2015, by coverage of the continuing Muslim migration from Africa and Asia into Europe.
Given the recent targeting of churches in several European nations, the omission is unfortunate.
On February 15, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve was compelled to admit that attacks on Christian places of worship and cemeteries in France had leapt by 20% the previous year, with 810 recorded.
On March 27, news emerged that the jihadist group responsible for the Brussels airport and metro train bombings during the same month, “was planning to massacre worshippers at Easter church service across Europe, including Britain.”
During April, Italian authorities made multiple arrests against a jihadist gang planning to attack both the Vatican and the Israeli embassy in Rome.
On the night of June 25, the jihadist war cry of “Allahu Akbar” [“Allah is the Greatest”] was daubed over the statue of St. Petronius — the city’s patron saint — in Bologna, Italy.
On June 27, witnesses reported that a criminal yelling an “Allahu Akbar” desecrated St. Paul’s Church in Malmö, Sweden, and smashing its windows.
And on July 26, nuns and an aged priest were taken hostage in Normandy, France. Resisting by his altar, 85-year old Father Jacques Hamel had his throat slit by a jihadist. The churchman’s tomb has become a site of pilgrimage.
Heavily armed German police guard the Cathedral in Bremen in March 2015, after receiving intelligence information that jihadists planned to attack the city’s Cathedral and synagogue. (Image source: Tagesschau video screenshot)
In the Middle East, in Syria, Christian communities, though living peaceably with their Muslim neighbors within recent memory, now find those very neighbors turning on them with the rise of fundamentalism.
Close at hand to where Christianity first began, Syria and its immediate neighbors hold various denominations that evolved in the centuries after the crucifixion. These include remnants of the Armenian, Melkite Greek and Syriac Catholic churches, and Armenian Apostolic, Syrian Oriental and Greek forms of Orthodoxy as well.
Ironically, these relatively unknown denominations of Eastern Christianity survived in the region, under a status of perpetual religious humiliation following their Islamic conquest. As extensively recorded by the Australian theologian Dr. Mark Durie, this status — commonly called “dhimmitude” — dominated the Islamic world, only waning in the last century.
During the same stretch of history, a jihad-wracked Europe later became largely subject to the strictures of Roman Catholicism, which commanded religious unity. Theologically, the continent was then rent asunder by the Protestant Reformation, beginning in 1517.
Throughout this time in the Islamic world — and up to the present day in ISIS territory –– those Christians and Jews subjected to Islam who refused to convert to Mohammed’s religion, had to pay a tax that prevented them from being slaughtered at whim by Muslims.
The jizya tax against conquered non-Muslims began being reintroduced by ISIS in June 2014.
As Durie notes, the underlying “pact of surrender came to be known as a dhimma or ‘covenant of liability.'”
Based on the precedent of Khaybar, and also on the way Muhammad treated conquered Jewish farmers … the institution of the dhimma was developed in Sharialaw to provide for those of the conquered “People of the Book” who refused to convert to Islam.
Any community which negotiated a surrender to Islamic armies and became incorporated into the Dar al-Islam [Abode of Islam], was subject to a dhimma pact. This fixed the legal, social and economic place of non-Muslims in the Islamic state. In return, the people of the pact, known as dhimmis, were required to pay tribute (jizya) and other taxes in perpetuity to the Muslim Community (the Umma), and to adopt a position of humble and grateful servitude to it.
The rationalization for these historic events, and the violence which accompanied their eventual imposition, were enshrined by “divine” revelation, with verse 9:29 of the Koran stating (Shakir translation):
Fight those who do not believe in Allah … those who have been given the Book [Jews and Christians] until they pay the tax [jizya tribute] … and they are in a state of subjection.
As Carey Lodge at Christian Today reported, of the assault on the church in Al-Qamishli, “the attackers stole donation boxes from the church before detonating their explosives.”
In increasingly Islamized neighborhoods, few take the time to consider the security ramificationsof just how long Europe’s generous benefits systems are likely to survive — many question their sustainability — while European Union officials often state that mass immigration is in fact the solution to maintaining them.
Rather than candidly facing up to the religious roots which motivate terrorist outrages, politicians and the press in Europe often pick up on outpourings of grief and express the need for “unity” as a means of dealing with such violence.
On November 20, following such calls for unity in the aftermath of the jihadist horrors visited on the Bataclan Theater in Paris, Durie noted, however, that this perspective contains a grave error: it is often used “as a pretext to censor those who ask the hard questions.”
Accusations of bigotry are frequently leveled at European politicians such as Mogens Camre, in Denmark, Geert Wilders, in the Netherlands, and Björn Höcke, in Germany, who find the consequences of Islamic immigration alarming.
The presumption appears to be that if only such individuals and the unsettled masses they represent would show more fondness, tolerance and compassion towards Muslim immigration, all would ultimately be well in the fullness of time.
As Durie warns, however:
In this struggle it is wrong to privilege either love or truth, for we will need both. Truth without love can cause endless heartache. This is true. But love without truth can cause a naive blindness which meekly tolerates abuse and leads to suicidal submission.
This is likely to be a very long war. … Yes, we will all need a lot of compassion. But without truth to strengthen it, love alone will not save us.
George Igler, between 2010 and 2016, aided those facing death for criticizing Islam across Europe.
 A key battle in early Islamic history leading to the slaughter and conquest of Jews.
Church Attacks: Love Alone Will Not Save Us
by George Igler
September 4, 2016 at 4:00 am