Society excludes, torments, and sometimes kills people simply because of their religion. We might not always see it or hear it, but it’s there. Religious persecution is everywhere. It is in our schools, it is in our government, it is engrained in our society. Naturally people persecute and torment those who are not like them, be them Muslim, Mormon, Hindu, or even Christian. Yes, even Christians are being persecuted. We in America hear “so often about Muslims [being] victims of abuse in the West”(Ali).
But what we don’t realize that there is another war. An “unrecognized war”(Ali) taking place everywhere from West Africa to the Middle East to South Asia and Oceania. A war on Christians. Christians are the most persecuted group in the contemporary world. “According to the World Evangelical Alliance, over 200 million Christians in 60 countries are denied fundamental human rights solely because of their faith”(Persecution of Christians). In Egypt, Christians are forced under strict rules that do not apply to mosques and other religious institutions.
For example, under Hamayouni Decree, Christians have to go through the federal government in order to build, or even repair their buildings (Persecution of Christians). Not only does Egypt restrict Christians’ ability to build and maintain churches, but also their ability to hold positions. Christians cannot hold senior government positions, diplomatic positions, be in the military, or hold teaching positions (Persecution of Christians).
Also, the Egyptian government does not recognize conversions from Islam to Christianity, and since inter-faith marriages in the country are illegal, converts cannot marry people born in Christian communities, and their children receive an Islamic education (Persecution of Copts). After the “Arab Spring” movement, there have been even more accounts of Christian persecution. Arab Spring is “a revolutionary wave of demonstrations that has been taking place in the Arab world … [that is] successfully overthrowing their repressive governments”(Cha-cha).
The overthrow of the government of Libya, the civil uprisings in Bahrain, Syria, and Yemen, and the major protests in Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, and Oman (Arab Spring) are allowing Islamic extremists to gain power, and this is very worrisome for many Christians. The Arab Spring movement is also causing a Muslim “revival” of sorts, causing them to question their tolerance of Christians thus far. This revival has caused numerous incidents such as “church-burnings, rapes, mutilations, and murders”(Ali). Christians are being killed in Islamic cultures simply because of their religion.
Yet this raises no alarm. Here in the West we have no idea how badly our fellow Christians suffer at the hands of Muslim countries. They constantly live in fear that their houses will be burned, their children killed, and them imprisoned with no hope of a fair trial. “From blasphemy laws to brutal murders to bombings to mutilations and the burning of holy sites, Christians in so many nations live in fear”(Ali). Christians and Muslims in Nigeria have been on the edge of civil war for years. A new Islamic radical group called Boko Harem provokes most of this action.
This organization has stated that “it will kill all Christians living in the country”(Ali). “In the month of January 2012 alone, Boko Haram was responsible for 54 deaths”(Ali). This is insane! In the first month of this year, a month with a mere 31 days, Boko Haram has already killed 54 people. That’s almost two people a day. And this is only one group. In 2011, they killed at least 510 and burned down or destroyed more than 350 churches. This “Christophobia” that Africa is also found in Sudan, but in a very different form.
The Sudanese authoritarian government has “for decades tormented the Christian minorities in the south”(Ali). In Sudan, it is not extremist groups that are targeting Christians, but the government itself. It began in 2003, at the infamous genocide at Darfur. Since then, the Muslim president, Omar al-Bashir, has been indicted in the International Criminal Court in The Hauge of three counts of genocide (Omar al-Bashir). Even though he granted partial independence to south Sudan, the violence has not ended. Christians in south Sudan are still subject to aerial bombings, targeted killings, and the kidnapping of children (Ali).
The UN reports that between 53,000 and 75,000 innocent civilians have been displaced from their homes (Ali). Not only are African Christians suffering, but also ones in the Middle East. Since 2003, more than 900 Iraqi Christians have been killed by terrorists’ actions and 70 churches have been burned in Baghdad alone. “Christians might disappear altogether from Iraq” says the chairman of the U. S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (Muslim Persecution of Christians). In Iran, the government is making laws that make it illegal to spread the Christian faith to the rest of the Iranians.
Their goal is to “cleanse Iranian Christians”(Wahdat-Hagh), completely eradicating them from their country. There is so much hatred from the Islamic society that is directed towards Christians, and for no good reason. They torment and rape and mutilate and murder all Christians who are willing to stand up for what they believe in. And what do we do? What does western civilization do? We stand aside and allow it to happen. We turn a blind eye to our brothers and sisters who are being tortured and murdered for their beliefs, and allow it all to go on. We know it’s happening, but why do we stand aside?
Why is America, the country that was founded on the principals of Christianity, the country that was founded for the purpose of escape from religious persecution, standing aside and allowing people to be massacred? Are we so wrapped up in things of this world, are we so wrapped up in economy and money and oil that we stand aside and allow people to be brutally killed so that we can keep our gas prices low and our people safe? Even if we don’t all agree that Christians are right are wrong, don’t we all believe that human life is valuable, and that it must be preserved?
We went to war with the Middle Eastern countries to fight this “War on Terror,” but what did that accomplish? Safety for our own borders, and not even that to its fullest extent. It did nothing to help the hundreds of thousands of Christians living in fear all around the world. So what should we do? We the people, of the United States of America, must go back to our roots, go back to the reason why we came here in the first place, and abandon all of our petty arguments, so that we can aid those who are the oppressed and the persecuted because of their faith.