Iraq is in the news again. Ancient Bablyon is stirring as rival Islamic factions clash. Caught in the middle are Christians who may become all but extinct in the region according to the Barnabas Fund, a NGO organized for the relief of the persecuted church worldwide. A recent article posted by Christian Today describes some of the conditions:
Earlier this year, Christians in Raqqa were threatened with death unless they converted to Islam and paid the jizya tax for non-Muslims, which effectively renders them second class citizens…The militants are imposing strict sharia rules and carrying out brutal penalties, including beheadings and crucifixions,..
Elsewhere in the world, conditions seem little better. Statistics compiled by Open Doors are unsettling:
In all countries where Christians are persecuted, researchers recorded 3,641 churches and Christian properties destroyed, and 13,120 other forms of violence against Christians such as beatings, abductions, rapes, arrests, and forced marriages.
Open Doors researchers also released information in the category of faith-related killings. On the Top 10 Violence List during the reporting period. Nigeria was No. 1 with a total of 2,073 Christian martyrs. Nigeria is followed by Syria 1,479, CAR 1,115, Pakistan 228, Egypt 147, Kenya 85, Iraq 84, Myanmar (Burma) and Sudan: 33 each, and Venezuela 26.
Of the overall compilation of 5,479 Christians killed for their faith around the world, Nigeria, Syria, and CAR make up 85% of the total. Researchers say that the total number of martyrs is “a very minimum count and could be significantly higher.”
Here in the US, we seem largely unmoved. Help me out here. Is the US uninformed or indifferent? I have wondered if evangelicalism’s attempt to seize political advantage in the past has resulted in Christianity being seen as “in power” and therefore in need of chastening. Is that why we hear so little in the mainstream media? So, why are Christians not seen as a persecuted minority?