Why are we turning a blind eye to Christian genocide?
Christians are under constant attack, all over the Middle East and Africa. Meanwhile, if you raise the issue in the West, Islamic extremists will send you hate mail
The news that President Obama has finally confirmed the use of airstrikes in Iraq to protect Christians from ISIS Islamic militants is too little, far too late. For many months now the US and Britain have sat back and watched Iraq transform into an extremist state, overrun by vicious Islamist fighters who have ruthlessly persecuted tens of thousands of Christians.
Churches have been bombed, men, women and even children have been dragged into the streets and beheaded and houses have been marked with ‘death stamps’. In addition to these atrocities, around 40,000 people from Iraq’s various religious minorities have found themselves stuck on Mount Sinjar after fleeing for their lives, with hundreds dying of heat and thirst.
The wave of terror sweeping across an already deeply troubled country is another reminder of the very real threats posed by Islamic extremism in the Middle East. As so often in these situations, there has been much verbal public condemnation from the United Nations and other establishments but little practical action has been taken to prevent it.
Christian leaders have spoken at length to call for action with a spokesperson from Pope Francis calling on the international community, “to protect all those affected or threatened by the violence, and to guarantee all necessary assistance – especially the most urgently needed aid – to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others."
The situation in Iraq and the lack of action around, appears to be reflective of a deeper and much more widespread trend of Christian persecution by Islamic extremists across the globe.
From the abduction of over 200 Christian schoolgirls in Nigera by Boko Haram to the relentless car bombings in Kenya and Somalia or the spate of acid attacks on Catholic priests in places like Zanzibar, Christians are under constant attack.
Both the nature of these violent attacks and the frequency of them underlines a much wider trend of anti-Christian violence which must be dealt with immediately before it can spread any further.
Earlier this year, I released a report into violent attacks on Christian leaders in the UK, which revealed some of the horrors experienced by Priests and Vicars across the country. From gang attacks, to beatings in Church, over 200 of Britain’s Christian leaders have been violently assaulted over the last five years.
As part of this campaign I called for all violent attacks on members of the clergy to be classified as hate crimes to send a signal that our country will not tolerate the mistreatment of people that dedicate their lives to society. The campaign received support by several MPs and was examined by senior figures in the Church of England, but our clergy still do not have the protection they deserve.
Having spent a great deal of time campaigning for protection of Christians both at home and abroad, I have been shocked by the vitriolic attacks I have come up against.
From threatening emails sent by Islamic extremists to verbal abuse and intimidation from atheists, attacking those who stand up for Christian values is now so commonplace that it barley warrants attention from politicians or the media. It is within this culture that extremism thrives, whereby turning a blind eye is much easier than doing the honourable thing and taking action.
The global community needs to wake up not only to the horrors in Iraq but to the widespread persecution of Christians around the world.
No longer can it turn a blind eye to these attacks and no longer can we allow such atrocities to go unpunished. Britain and the US have failed to deliver meaningful action on the Iraq crisis and this sends out the wrong signal to the many thousands of Islamic extremists seeking to do harm to those who practice their Christian faith.
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