Preface: The following article was written for Christian Solidarity International, “an international, Christian human rights organization, campaigning for religious liberty and human dignity, and assisting victims of religious persecution, victimized children and victims of catastrophe.”
Be sure to sign CSI’s petition urging President Obama to present during his forthcoming State of the Union Address his “administration’s policy to prevent the eradication of the endangered Christian communities and other religious minorities of the Islamic Middle East.”
When the major media reported a few months ago that Iranian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani was set to be executed for leaving Islam, many Western people were shocked, finding it hard to believe that in the 21st century people are still being persecuted—by their governments no less—simply for being Christian.
The fact is, Muslim persecution of Christians in the modern era has been consistently growing worse. Yet, because only one out of every few hundred or so cases ever receives major attention, few in the West have any idea that it exists.
For instance, around the same time that the case of Pastor Nadarkhani made headlines, 129 Christians in Sudan were imprisoned, and one in Somalia was beheaded—like the pastor, simply for converting to Christianity.
Dozens of other documented cases of persecution were occurring at the same time, none of which received much media attention. These include Christians imprisoned, tortured, and killed for allegedly “blaspheming” Islam; Christian girls abducted and raped because they are “infidels”; churches burned, Bibles confiscated, and crucifixes destroyed—and in one instance, a Christian boy killed for refusing to conceal his crucifix.
To anyone familiar with Islam’s history and traditional teachings, none of this is surprising. Instead, all of these accounts demonstrate 14 centuries of continuity. With Islam’s resurgence and the concomitant upsurge of anti-Christian violence, however, the very existence of Christian and other non-Muslim communities is under threat. The process of religious cleansing could lead to their eradication within a generation [see CSI’s Genocide Warning].
So why is there such a lack of awareness concerning this matter in the otherwise “humanitarian” West?
One reason has to do with recent history. During the colonial era and into the mid 20th century, when Western influence in the Muslim world was strong, Christian persecution was markedly subdued. Because of the lull in persecution, generations of Westerners came to see events closer to their time as more representative of reality. They tended to overlook the historic and doctrinal roots of Christian persecution under Islam, and thus failed to comprehend what is otherwise so obvious.
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