Recently, the surviving head of Al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahri, sent out an order instructing his followers to stop attacking churches and focus on other targets. His statement was telling as it reflected the current struggle to keep Al-Qaeda functioning. American assaults have fundamentally disabled the group and fragmented its affiliates. The destruction of this organization has been a major victory for America. Of course, this has not stopped the ideology of the terrorist group from spreading across the Middle East and spawning subsidiary groups. However, Zawahri’s statement reflects the fact that terrorists had made Christians and churches one of their targets.
Christians have been under attack!
As reported earlier, across the Middle East Christians are a religious minority controlling no territory and are at the mercy of whatever country they reside in. At the beginning of the 20th century, Christians comprised 20% of the Middle Eastern population. Today, the number is 2% to 5% and dwindling fast. For decades, Egyptian Christians (called Copts) have liven in fear of assaults and mob killings. Christian women have been forced to marry Muslim men in order to reduce the Christian population.
Following the Orthodox calendar, the Copts recently celebrated Christmas amid unusually tight security. Across Egypt, fear that Islamic militants loyal to ousted President Mohammed Morsi would target churches created the need for armed protection. Churches held the usual Midnight Mass several hours early to allow congregants time to get home before late night raids would target them. Services were held in the town of Dalgar, south of Cairo, in a building with no roof or windows. Muslims had looted and burned the church in August. Such conditions have created the exodus from countries like Syria, Iraq, and certainly Iran.
On Christmas Day, 137 people were killed in the Christian districts of Baghdad. Such attacks brought responses from Canterbury and Rome. Pope Francis recently said, “We won’t resign ourselves to a Middle East without Christians.” England’s Prince Charles recently noted that his efforts to build bridges between Muslims and Christians have been deliberately destroyed. The time has come for the West to recognize the Sunni-Shiite religious war also includes assaults on Christians because of purely religious reasons.
Regardless of what the west seeks in planting democracy, the rule of liberty and freedom is squashed in countries that have become Islamists societies. Whether it is Sunnis or Shittes, whoever prevails will impose their ideals and positions on the rest of the society. Sorry. That’s what the past reveals. Muslim theology emphasizes fidelity to its conception of divine law. The emergence of social pluralism has not been possible in states where this ideology prevails.
The United States government appears to shy away from this issue. Unfortunate. It’s time to wake up to the fact that a war is currently being waged against Middle East Christians.