ICC Note: As the Middle East continues to experience increasing turmoil and instability, one issue stands out as all too often overlooked: the violent persecution of Christians. Each Christian community across the region is facing threats, whether from governments seeking to silence them, or violent extremists bent on establishing a land cleansed of religious dissent. Many have left their homes in places like Iraq and Syria. Iranian and Egyptian Christians fear being imprisoned for meeting together to worship or under the guise of blasphemy laws. In the wake of all of this oppression, the Obama Administration is largely silent on so many of these egregious cases of human rights abuses. Many are asking, “Where is the justice?”
By: Raymond Ibrahim
07/14/14 Middle East (Gatestone Institute) – Why is the U.S. downplaying or denying attacks against Christians?
“What about the churches which were desecrated? Is this not blasphemy? Where is justice?” — Fr. James Channan OP, Director of The Peace Center, Lahore, Pakistan.
Members of the Islamic group al-Shabaab publicly beheaded the mother of two girls, ages 8 and 15, and her cousin after discovering they were Christians. The girls “were witnesses to the slaughter.” — Somalia.
“Christian teaching is extremely harmful to the mental health of the people.” — Kazakhstan.
Five years’ imprisonment and up to $20,000 in fines for educators if they…speak to a Muslim child of religions other than Islam. — Brunei
Along with an especially jarring list of atrocities committed against Christian minorities throughout the Islamic world, March also saw some callous indifference or worse from the U.S. government.
President Barack Obama was criticized by human rights activists for not addressing the plight of Christians and other minorities during his talks with leaders in Saudi Arabia, where Christianity is actively banned.
According to the Washington-based International Christian Concern [ICC] advocacy group, Obama did not “publicly broach the subject of religious freedom” when he spoke on March 28 with Saudi King Abdullah, despite a letter from 70 members of Congress urging him to “address specific human rights reforms” both in public and in direct meetings with the king and other officials.
“This visit was an excellent opportunity for the president to speak up on an issue that affects millions of Saudi citizens and millions more foreign workers living in Saudi Arabia,” said Todd Daniels, ICC’s Middle East regional manager. He added that it was “remarkable that the president could stay completely silent about religious freedom,” despite pressure from Congress “to publicly address the issue, as well as other human rights concerns, with King Abdullah…”