Persecuted Christians: The World is Silent

Recent media reports of violent attacks against Christian communities in India and Iraq are extremely alarming, and it is puzzling that the international community, which is so quick to pounce on any and all allegations that Israel is mistreating the Palestinians, is strangely silent.

Two separate articles in The New York Times last week provide detailed reports of vicious attacks against Christians by Hindus in Borepanga, India and by Muslim extremists against Christian Chaldeans in Mosul, Iraq. The story on India, by Somini Sengupta, appears under the ominous headline, “Hindus Order Christians to Convert or Flee Homes,” and reports that “Christian-owned businesses have been systematically attacked. The attacks intensified after the assassination of a charismatic Hindu leader, which authorities believe was carried out by Maoist extremists. Hindu extremists have used the incident as a pretext for launching attacks on Christians. Two nights after his death, a Hindu mob in the village of Nuagaon dragged a Catholic priest and a nun from their residence, tore off much of their clothing and paraded them through the streets,” according to the Times. The report adds: “The nun told police that she had been raped by four men, a charge the police say was borne out by a medical examination.”

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Meanwhile, in Mosul, Iraq, another Times story by Alissa J. Rubin and Stephen Farrell reports: “Two suicide bombers struck the northern city of Mosul on Sunday, killing at least five Iraqis and wounding dozens more, as Iraq’s leaders rallied behind the city’s Christian minority, expressing distress at recent murders and displacements that have plagued the group.” The report goes on to indicate that “eleven Christians have been killed in the past 10 days and 485 families have fled their homes in the city for villages in the Ninevah Plain north of Mosul, according to local Christian politicians who requested anonymity because they feared reprisals.”

At least in the Iraqi situation, responsible Muslim leaders have rallied to the defense of Christians, while the bloodshed and attacks against Christians in India have for the most part gone unpunished.

Even more perplexing is the seeming silence of Christian leadership around the world as their fellow Christians are being viciously attacked in India and Iraq. The press reports on the persecution of Christians in India and Iraq did not report any statements of condemnation by Christian groups in the United States. At press time, the St. Louis Jewish Light has been unable to find any such statements issued on behalf of many of the “mainstream” Protestant churches in the United States, some of which have adopted resolutions calling for “divestiture” from companies doing business with the State of Israel to protest its alleged mistreatment of the Palestinians. We hope that the various denominations within national and world Christianity will speak out forcefully and vigorously on behalf of their fellow-Christians being so horribly savaged in foreign lands.

Meanwhile, when the fanatic Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was in the United States recently to attack Israel and the United States in his annual speech to the United Nations, a group of five Christian churches sponsored a special luncheon program in which the Iranian dictator was the featured speaker!

We must speak out against the persecution of Christians in foreign nations, just as we denounce the genocide unfolding in the Darfur region of the Sudan, or as we spoke out against the persecution of Muslims by Serbian fanatics in Serbia and Bosnia. In contrast to the seeming indifference by many Christian leaders over the suffering of their fellow Christians in India and Iraq, a small item in last Thursday’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that “thousands of Christians from around the world, waving blue and white Israeli flags, marched Wednesday in a colorful holiday parade in Jerusalem to commemorate a Jewish holiday and show their support for Israel.”

There are indeed many Christians who have shown strong support for Israel and the Jewish people, and the Jewish community must again speak out forcefully when any ethnic, national or religious community is being persecuted.

We urge our representatives at the United Nations and our ambassadors to India and Iraq to vigorously intervene on behalf of the persecuted Christian minorities in those nations and around the world.