Saturday, June 15, 2013

Rand Paul stands alone for persecuted Christians

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Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has become the first public figure to openly declare what Christians have been bemoaning for the last generation – that there is a war against Christianity.
Speaking Thursday before a gathering of the Faith and Freedom Coalition in Washington, D.C., Sen. Paul said, “There is a war on Christianity, not just from liberal elites here at home, but wSaid Paul, “It saddens me to see countries that are supposedly our allies persecute Christians.”
Catholics and born-again Christians have talked about the danger for years. In the 1990s, during my stint in the White House as special assistant to the president, I was constantly called on to help Christians who were thrown into prisons or slated for execution all over the world.
Meanwhile, representatives of Christian ministries in the U.S. visited the White House complaining that they had been targeted by the IRS, a fact that the agency actually confirmed to us at the time, without shame. When we tried to find an evangelical Christian who worked in a top position at the agency who could help us understand the nature of the complaints, we learned that there was only one known, born-again Christian in the top 300 positions at the IRS. At the time 38 percent of the nation claimed to be born-again.
It turns out that the token born-again Christian at the IRS was a regional director in the non-profit division and a Catholic charismatic by personal faith. He tried to help the agency understand that it could not dictate doctrine or discriminate against groups based on their faith. We had two meetings with him at the White House and kept the president apprised. I think back to that moment as I now try to grasp the fact that top IRS officials visited the White House more than 300 times under Barack Obama and supposedly never discussed with the president their illegal bias against conservative groups including their questions about what applicants said in their prayers.
In his speech, Sen. Paul offered a litany of abuses by American allies.
“In Pakistan, Asia Bibi, a Christian, sits on death row. Her crime, according to her, is that she dared to drink from a glass that belonged to a Muslim co-worker.
“Recently, in Pakistan, a 12-year-old with Down syndrome was imprisoned and charged with a death penalty crime for burning the Quran.
“After weeks she was released after a local imam was accused of actually sprinkling pages from an Arabic book into a fire near the little girl.”
Read about “the mother of all Obama scandals” in this special, in-depth WND report, “OBAMA’S WAR ON CHRISTIANS.”
Paul is the first public official to suggest a legislative solution: “My bill said that Libya, Egypt, and Pakistan would get no more foreign aid from the U.S. taxpayer unless they turned over the assassins that killed our ambassador, pledged and verified that they CAN and WILL protect our embassies, and in the case of Pakistan they must release Dr. Afridi.”
Afridi is the man who helped us identify Osama bin Laden. He was tortured and in chains for a year without being charged and is even now in prison in Pakistan.
As obvious as it may be to stand up for Christians (25 percent of the USA are Catholic, 48 percent claim to be born-again Christians), Sen. Paul is practically alone in his work. Ninety percent of the Senate voted against his bill that would have placed restrictions on foreign aid to nations that execute Christians.
“It angers me to see my tax dollars supporting regimes that put Christians to death,” Paul said. “And your government, or more correctly, you, the taxpayer, are funding it.”
Sen. Paul warned against a foreign policy that sometimes has good intentions that backfire.
“Before the Arab Spring, Christianity flourished in small outposts, like the Coptic Christians in Egypt. I had hoped that the Arab Spring would bring freedom to long-oppressed people throughout the Middle East, but I fear the Arab Spring is becoming an Arab winter.
“Today, Christians in Iraq, Libya, Egypt and Syria are on the run – persecuted or under fire – and yet, we continue to send aid to the folks chasing them.
“The new leader of Egypt is Mohammed Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Recently, he stood by when a radical cleric said a prayer for the destruction of Israel and her supporters in his presence.
“Actually, it is worse, he did not just stand by; he was seen to mouth the word ‘Amen’ as the cleric said these words of hatred.
“How does your government respond?
“The bipartisan consensus in Washington vows to increase Egypt’s funding. The president is currently requesting a billion-dollar increase in aid to Egypt. This is an outrage!”
The senator admitted that his bold stand had made him unpopular in Washington, and while his famous filibuster and other stands on civil liberties have given him exposure his father never had, his concern about the torture and execution of Christians in allied nations has been panned by the media.
“It is clear that American taxpayer dollars are being used to enable a war on Christianity in the Middle East, and I believe that must end.”

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Muslim Persecution of Christians: The Spring Offensive

Mideast EgyptOriginally published by the Gatestone Institute.
The Islamic jihad against Christians in Nigeria is proving to be the most barbaric.  A new report states that 70% of Christians killed around the world in 2012 were killed in the African nation.  Among some of the atrocities committed in March alone, at least 41 people were killed in a suicide bomb attack at a bus station in a predominantly Christian neighborhood.  According to the Christian Association of Nigeria, these attacks “were a signpost of the intended extermination of Christians and Christianity from northern Nigeria.”
According to the Rev. Jerome Ituah, “Out of the 52 Catholic churches in Maiduguri diocese, 50 of them have been destroyed by Boko Haram.   When two Christian brothers were returning home after Sunday church service, jihadis opened fire on them with machine guns, killing the brothers, as well as three others, and injuring several more Christians.
Another 13 Christian factory workers in Kano were “gruesomely” slain. Said the local bishop: “Reports of the attack reaching us disclosed that on that fateful Saturday at about 7 p.m, Muslim faithful were conducting their prayer close to the affected compound occupied by Christian families, when two taxi cabs stopped in front of the compound and the occupants, who all concealed their arms dashed into the complex and demanded to know why the residents were not part of the 7 p.m. Muslim prayer. They responded by telling the visitors they were Christians and so could not be part of the Muslim gathering. At that point, they separated the men from their wives and children and shot them dead on the spot after ordering the women and children into their homes” to be enslaved.
The bishop added that, “government should show more concern, like it has always done when Muslims are affected; I have not seen that in the case of Christians—that 13 Christians were killed in one straight attack and nothing is heard from the government reflects selective justice because we are aware of compensation paid to Muslim families in situations of this nature.”
However, the Nigeria government recently did go on the offensive to try to contain the jihadis in northern Nigeria—only to be chastised by the Obama administration, in the person of John Kerry, who recently warned the Nigerian government not to violate the “human rights” of the jihadi mass murderers.
Categorized by theme, the rest of March’s Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed by theme and in country alphabetical order, not necessarily according to severity:
Church Attacks
Egypt: According to El Watan News, three Christian brothers were shot dead at their home by automatic weapons a few weeks before two were set to have their weddings. The victims’ family was earlier accused of trying to build a church on land they owned because they purchased building material to build a house on that land. The rumors about the building of a church spread during the Friday sermon at the mosque, following which 2,000 Muslims stormed the land and tried to destroy the house, car and tractor, resulting in the murder of the three Christian brothers.
Indonesia: Authorities demolished a church building with a bulldozer in West Java, even as Muslim bystanders cheered and denounced Christians as “infidels.” According to Pastor Leonard Nababan, the government is “criminalising our religion.”  The congregation had gathered around the church in an effort to save it; so did Muslims, shouting, “They’re infidels and they’ve built their church without permission,” “Knock the church down now” and “Allahu Akbar.”
Iraq:  According to Fox News, before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, there were more than 300 Christian churches.  Today, a decade after the jihad was unleashed on Christians and their churches, only 57 Christian churches remain in the nation.  And “The churches that remain are frequent targets of Islamic extremists, who have driven nearly a million Christians out of the land…”  An Iraqi-based human rights organization said that “The last 10 years have been the worst for Iraqi Christians because they bore witness to the biggest exodus and migration in the history of Iraq….  More than two-thirds [of Christians] have emigrated.” One of the most dramatic cases of Christian persecution came in late October of 2010, when Al Qaeda members laid siege to Our Lady of Deliverance Church in Baghdad, killing 58 and wounding 78.  According to an AP report “Iraq’s Catholic Christians flocked to churches to celebrate Easter Sunday [in March], praying, singing and rejoicing in the resurrection of Christ behind high blast walls and tight security cordons… [emphasis added].”
Libya:  A Coptic Christian church located in Benghazi was attacked by armed Muslims.  The jihadis severely beat and shaved the beard and mustache of Father Paul, the priest of the church, as a sign of humiliation.  They also beat the deacon and nine attendees.  Meanwhile, because Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood-led government had done little regarding the systematic abuse of Egyptian citizens in Libya, including the murder of one under torture, Copts demonstrated in front of the Libyan embassy in Cairo—prompting yet another attack on the Benghazi church, which was set on fire.
Pakistan: In response to one Christian man accused of blaspheming Islam’s prophet thousands of Muslims attacked the Christian Joseph Colony of Lahore, burning two churches, one Catholic, the other a Seventh Day Adventist, as often happens in Pakistan in the context of collectively punishing Christians.
Sudan:  According to Morning Star News, Khartoum’s jihad continues to “rid the area of non-Arabs and Christianity”: the Evangelical Church in the Nuba was “reduced … to ashes” after an aerial bombardment.  Days later, another bombing campaign left two dead and twelve injured, in the Christian-majority region. “These bombardments are major sources of fear among the people in South Kordofan,” said a church leader.
Turkey: The 5th century Studios Monastery, dedicated to St. John the Baptist, is set to go from being a branch of the Hagia Sophia—Christianity’s grandest cathedral, which was transformed into a mosque, after the Islamic conquest and is currently a museum—to being an active mosque.  Many Turkish Muslims continue calling for the return of the Hagia Sophia itself to a mosque.
Apostasy, Blasphemy, Proselytism
Holland: A 43-year-old Iranian Muslim convert to Christianity was found murdered.    According to the Farsi Christian News Network, the victim went to church the afternoon he was killed: “The shocking news of this senseless murder has brought grief and sorrow to the local Christians, Iranian-Christian community, and asylum seekers across the country.” Christians constitute a large percentage of the Iranians seeking asylum in Holland.  (Islamic Sharia law calls for the killing of apostates, and converts to Christianity are regularly targeted in the Islamic world.)
Iran:  During a major conference, a Shi’ite leader claimed that Islam was under attack by Christianity in Iran: “Christian booklets and brochures are being sent to people’s doors for free in many areas… Christianity is being preached in many shops in the Islamic city of Mashhad. Also Christian booklets are sent to people’s addresses without restrictions.”  But a Mohabat News spokesperson said “Of course, the Islamic cleric did not provide any supporting evidence for his claim. However, it seems their sole purpose in bringing up and repeating these claims is to provoke security authorities against, and provide the means for increased pressure on Iranian Christians converts.”
Kazakhstan: Vyacheslav Cherkasov , a Christian street evangelist, was detained for offering Christian literature to passersby and fined the equivalent of one month’s wages on charges of “violating the rules” regarding “importing, publishing and distribution of religious literature” which came into force in 2011.  The court ordered the destruction of his 121 pieces of Christian literature, including Bibles and children’s Bibles, in the first such ruling since the nation gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Local Council of Churches Baptists said in published remarks: “We were shocked—this is sacrilege and illegality.”
Pakistan: The blasphemy case against Rimsha Masih, the 14-year-old Christian girl who was earlier arrested for “blasphemy” when a Muslim cleric falsely claimed that she burned a Koran, has been reopened.  According to a BosNewsLife report, “A police investigator asked the Supreme Court in Islamabad to reopen the case” against the Christian girl, “saying he was pressured by the government to drop charges against her after an international outcry.” She and her family are currently in hiding. A court is also considering a death sentence against 47-year-old Martha Bibi, a Christian and mother, due to alleged “derogatory remarks” about Muslim prophet Muhammad.  Another Christian man was arrested after a Muslim accused him of blasphemy.  But his arrest was not enough to appease the 3000 strong mob that went on to collectively punish the nation’s Christians, burning two churches, some 200 Christian homes, and stealing their property.
Somalia:  Muslim militants murdered yet another Christian.  Ahmed Ali Jimale, 42, was killed by two men as he stood outside his house, near a police station.  Among other things, the man was accused of apostasy—on the widespread assumption that all Somalis are born Muslims—and, because he worked as a teacher, of “introducing the children to foreign Christian religion”; Muslim militants had warned him that “we shall come for your head.” A friend of the slain said “Jimale was a good man who helped our community.  His widow is very scared and afraid, not knowing what will happen.”  He also leaves behind four children, ages 10, 8, 6, and 4.
[General Abuse and Suppression of Non-Muslims as "Tolerated" Citizens]
Egypt: Muslim rioters in town of Kom Ombo threw firebombs and rocks at police after Friday mosque prayers in an effort to storm a church where they claimed a Muslim woman who converted to Christianity was hiding.  Violence began when a 36 year-old Muslim woman, who had been missing for five days, was allegedly seen outside the church with a female Christian friend. Days later, hundreds of Muslims marched in the town of al-Wasta, to protest the disappearance of another young Muslim girl and accuse the priest of St. George’s Church of using “black magic” to lure her to Christianity.  They hurled stones at the church; Coptic shops were forced to close down; Salfis threatened to kidnap a Christian girl if their Muslim girl did not return.  However, Watani newspaper had already reported that the Muslim girl sent an open letter to her family, posted on the Internet, saying that she ran away because she was sexually abused by her uncles, was forced to marry a man she did not want, and that she had left Egypt and was married to a Muslim man.  Unrelatedly a Fox News report states that “Islamic hard-liners stormed a mosque in suburban Cairo, turning it into [a] torture chamber for Christians who had been demonstrating against the ruling Muslim Brotherhood in the latest case of violent persecution that experts fear will only get worse.”  And according to a Voice of Russia report, “up to 100,000 Christians have left Egypt since the Muslim Brotherhood came to power. Some of those have arrived in Moscow.”
Iran:  According to Fox News, a UN report indicates that “Iran’s hard-line regime has intensified its violent crackdown on Christians and other religious minorities, even imprisoning nursing mothers for practicing their faith…”  The March report provides a “rare, detailed view into the shocking treatment of Christians in Iran, where American Pastor Saeed Abedini is serving an eight-year sentence for his alleged work with Christians.”  According to a UN expert on human rights in Iran, “The persecution of Christians has increased.  It seems to target new converts and those who run house churches…. more than 300 Christians have been arrested since June 2010, according to the report.”  Most recently, Five members of the Church of Iran denomination appeared before a judge and “charged with disturbing public order, evangelizing, action against national security and an internet activity against the system.”
Pakistan: After 3,000 Muslims attacked a Christian village—burning two churches and some 200 homes—the government punished Christians for protesting.  According to the Daily Times, “Christians around the country are incensed by the recurring theme of blasphemy allegation followed by attacks and burning down of their vulnerable communities. They have held protests across the country in a concerted effort to vent their disgust at the recent incident and to show solidarity with the victims…  Lahore police used the opportunity to beat the innocent Christian protesters. They shot tear gas shells at them and beat them with sticks. Yet when the Muslim attack took place they stood back and watched till the town had been razed to the ground…Muslims of Jhelum city have threatened to burn Christians home in response to the protests. Now the community is living in fear of reprisals for their simple act of condemning violence and the blasphemy laws of Pakistan.”
Sweden: According to Charisma News, “Christians in Iran face arrest, torture, even death. But that doesn’t seem to matter to Swedish immigration officials.  Sweden wants to send Iranian Christian asylum seekers, who left Islam, back to Iran where they could be killed. Iran is one of the most dangerous places in the world for Christians. As apostates from Islam, they face grave danger in this country. But their requests for asylum status that could save their lives have been denied.”
Syria:  According to a Catholic leader, up to 30,000 Christians have fled the city of Aleppo, and two priests were abducted and held for a ransom of 15 million Syrian pounds each.  Christians are regularly kidnapped and beheaded by jihadi rebels.  Also, a short English-language video appeared where Fr. Fadi al-Hamzi told of how his uncle was recently murdered: “They killed him because he is Christian, they refuse to have any Christians in Syria. … I’m not afraid; my uncle died, he’s immortal now.  I can be like him.” When asked if he was worried if Christians would be massacred if the U.S.-supported jihadis overthrew the government, the priest said , “Yes, yes, this will be… they don’t want us here.”  Christians were in Syria 600 years before Islam conquered the nation.
About this Series
Because the persecution of Christians in the Islamic world is on its way to reaching pandemic proportions, “Muslim Persecution of Christians” was developed to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that surface each month. It serves two purposes:
1)      Intrinsically, to document that which the mainstream media does not: the habitual, increasingly chronic, Muslim persecution of Christians.
2)     Instrumentally, to show that such persecution is not “random,” but systematic and interrelated—that it is rooted in a worldview inspired by Sharia.
Accordingly, whatever the anecdote of persecution, it typically fits under a specific theme, including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; apostasy and blasphemy laws; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam; theft and plunder in lieu of jizya (tribute); overall expectations for Christians to behave like cowed “dhimmis” (barely tolerated citizens); and simple violence and murder. Oftentimes it is a combination thereof.
Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and locales—from Morocco in the west, to India in the east, and throughout the West, wherever there are Muslims—it should be clear that one thing alone binds them: Islam—whether the strict application of Islamic Sharia law, or the supremacist culture born of it.
Previous Reports: February, 2013January, 2013December, 2012November, 2012October, 2012September, 2012August, 2012July, 2012June, 2012May, 2012April, 2012March, 2012February, 2012January, 2012December, 2011November, 2011October, 2011September, 2011August, 2011 -
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