Global Religious Persecution
"It's tragic because it's the largest Christian city in Iraq; it was what you call the nucleus of Christian presence for many centuries."
"And we have at least 25 churches in that city. All are abandoned. No more prayers, no services, no more Masses on Sundays in Mosul because no clergy, no people there that are Christian."
Syriac Christian patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan
|Syriac Christian patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan walking with a Christian and Muslim delegation during a visit to the old city of Homs, Syria - CNS photo/EPA|
"It seems like we're living in a world where there are all these perfect storms of religious persecution. There's definitely been an increase in religious persecution in the world."In Pakistan last week a mob rampaged in a ghetto of the minority Ahmadi Muslim sect in Gujranwala City. A rumour had circulated that the Ahmadis had blasphemed against Islam. In Pakistan, Ahmadi Muslims are viewed as apostates. It is considered criminal for them to call themselves Muslim, for uttering the traditional Salaam Aleikum greeting, for preaching their version of Islam; and they may not call their places of worship mosques.
"What we're witnessing in the Middle East right now is the wiping out of close to two thousand years of Christianity, and sometimes it feels like it's not politically correct to talk about Christian persecution."
"That has to end."
Andrew Bennett, Canadian ambassador for religious freedom
When the Pakistani mob ran through the ghetto they looted homes and shops and set fire to them. During the pogrom a 55 year old woman and her two young granddaughters were burned to death. A Canadian Ahmadi doctor who had temporarily returned to his hometown in Pakistan last year to try to help his co-religionists was killed. In the past few decades some 700 Pakistanis were charged with blasphemy. Fifty of them were slaughtered before they even appeared in court.
In Cameroon, also last week, Boko Haram Islamists looted and burned a town. They murdered a few people, then withdrew back across the border into Nigeria taking with them a number of hostages, including the wife of Cameroon's deputy prime minister, a local mayor and five members of his family. This is the infamous group, of course, that has kidnapped hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls and maintains them in captivity, as 'wives' for the terrorists.
In China the government has begun a clampdown on the 60 million Chinese Christians. Demolition orders have been issued for about one hundred churches. Congregations have been instructed to remove crosses from other church buildings. The government is clamping down on its Muslim Uyghurs, whose unrest related to their perceived persecution has led to sporadic attacks against ethnic Han Chinese. China also is known for its persecution of Tibetans and Falun Gong practitioners.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights reported on Monday that close to 2,500 Syrian were killed during the month of Ramadan, increasing the over 170,000 Syrians who have died during the three-year-old civil war, mostly as a result of the regime waging a war against its own people; the Shiite offshoot Baathist Alawite regime slaughtering its Sunni-majority population. And causing almost half its population to be displaced as internal and external refugees.
In Iraq, the Syrian-Iraqi hybrid al-Qaeda inspired-and-rejected Islamist caliphate of the Islamic State fanatics continue their terrorist campaign of firing squads, beheadings, and crucifixions, which succeeded in impressing the Iraqi army to such a degree that the military fled, leaving the field, Mosul banks and their military base weapons in the hands of the jihadists. Who have now also cleared the ancient Christian population out of Mosul.
Mobs in Europe, reacting to Israel's defensive assault on Hamas in Gaza have seen fit to attack synagogues in Paris. Rioters in Sarcelles scream "Death to the Jews". Nearly one third of Europe's Jews no longer feel safe living there, and as a result are considering relocating, leaving their ancient homes where an increasing number of immigrant Muslims have made life unsafe for a Jewish presence.
Newsweek has published a cover story of the plight of Europe's Jews suffering under a new wave of anti-Semitism; the headline: "Exodus: Why Europe's Jews are fleeing once again." The key finding of this week's released global study of trends in religious persecution published by the U.S. Secretary of State was: "In 2013, the world witnessed the largest displacement of religious communities in recent memory."
A January report by the Pew Research Center concluded that Christians and Muslim minorities are equally victimized, and these blatant incidents of repression, oppression and attacks take place in Muslim majority countries. Canada established the Office of Religious Freedom a year ago. Now six additional countries have undertaken like enterprises; joining the U.S., France and Britain in identifying religious freedom as a priority in their foreign policy.
Canada has taken in 20,000 refugees in recent years, responding to the Iraqi Christian emergency. Iran, China and Saudi Arabia are viewed as religiously rigidly incorrigible, impervious to opening their societies to embrace the rights of other religions and people who embrace those other faiths