ICC Note: “The West is sleep-walking into a tragedy,” says Lord Alton of the UK. The reality of persecution of Christians in the Middle East and beyond is occurring with near daily frequency and yet the response to these attacks is muted at best. While structures exist to protect Christians and to prosecute those responsible for the acts they are often not enforced.
By Lord Alton
04/24/2014 Middle East (World Review) – THE WEST is sleep-walking into a tragedy with implications beyond the Middle East unless it exposes the ideology behind radical Islamist thinking, writes Lord Alton.
Reports of religiously-motivated atrocities against Christians appear almost daily but the West, including some Christian leaders, seems to be in a state of denial.
Persecution in Nigeria, Syria, Pakistan, Indonesia, Sudan, Iran, Egypt and many other countries is relevant to us and by denying it, the nature and intensity of the suffering is minimised.
The West has to challenge a conspiracy of silence surrounding religious persecution.
Religious illiteracy among policy-makers in Western nations has led to serious mistakes in how conflicts in the Middle East are viewed. Those same mistakes could have consequences in our own back yard.
Article 18 of the 1948 Declaration of Human Rights was fashioned in the aftermath of the annihilation of millions of Jews in Nazi concentration camps in the Second World War (1939-1945). It states that, ‘ Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.’
But where is Article 18 in Syria, where Christians, some fleeing persecution in neighbouring Iraq, have been caught in the cross-fire and targeted by radical Islamist groups?