This article was originally published at Christian Solidarity International.
Note: If, while reading this article, you wish to tell the current president to stand up for religious minorities in the Islamic Middle East, sign CSI’s petition.
On January 24, during his State of the Union Address, the president of the United States has a chance to expose the plight of religious minorities living in Muslim majority nations. Doing so would not merely shed light on one of the most ignored humanitarian crises of the 21st century; it would help alleviate it.
Why should the president speak up on the oppression of religious minorities? For starters, because it is the right thing to do, and reflects American values and principles.
He should speak up because religious cleansing is currently underway in nations like Nigeria, where Boko Haram—”Western Education is Forbidden”—and other Islamic groups have declared jihad on the Christian minorities of the north, killing and displacing thousands, burning and bombing hundreds of churches, most notoriously this last Christmas, where over forty people were killed while celebrating Christmas mass. Likewise, since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, about half of Iraq’s one million Christians have been forced by targeted violence to flee their homeland, the most notorious incident, again, being a church attack, where some 60 worshippers were killed.
He should speak up because churches are constantly being attacked, burned, or forced into closure, not just in Nigeria and Iraq, but in Afghanistan, Egypt, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Iran, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia (click on country-links for the most recent examples). In Egypt alone, after several churches were burned, thousands of Christian Copts gathered to demonstrate—only to be slaughtered by the military, including by being run-over by armored vehicles.
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