Friends and foes of the Jewish people
Israel & Christians
The following is taken from an interview of David Parsons, ICEJ Media Director, by Manfred Gerstenfeld for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs examing the complex cultural, theological and political relationship between the State of Israel and the worldwide Christian community.
Under siege and without protection, the Christian population under Palestinian rule has dwindled with each passing year. In October, 2007, after repeated threats, Rammi Ayyad was brutally murdered outside the only Christian Bookstore in Gaza. In 2008, a bomb was set off at one Christian school in Gaza, while at another, run by the Baptist Church, guards were assaulted and a bus hijacked.
Even though Hamas denies involvement in the attacks and claims that it is attempting to protect the small, ancient Christian community in Gaza, attacks on the 3,000 Christians residing there have increased since the Muslim terror militia came seized power.
Basing his findings on ten years of research, an Israeli expert on international human rights law has warned that the shrinking Palestinian Christian community could disappear within 15 years due to the threat of Muslim extremism. “The systematic persecution of Christian Arabs living in Palestinian areas is being met with nearly total silence by the international community, human rights activists, the media and NGOs,” said Justus Reid Weiner, a lawyer and scholar at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
Given current trends of Muslims persecution, he fears Christian communities within Palestinian-run territories are likely to completely disappear in 15 years.
“Christian leaders are being forced to abandon their followers to the forces of radical Islam” Weiner lamented in a public lecture on the subject. Unless governments or other such organizations intervene, soon the Christian communities will consist solely of top clergy officials, with a few Western Christians. Some 50 years ago, the Palestinian Christian population stood at an estimated 15%, but today it has dropped to 1.5%. Bethlehem once had a strong Christian majority, but that figure today stands at only 20% Christian. In the Gaza Strip, there are only around 3,000 Christians amongst some 1.4 million Muslims. “In a society where Arab Christians have no voice and no protection it is no surprise that they are leaving,” said Weiner.
These brothers of ours in Christ need our prayers and support as never before.
Islamic Persecution of Christians
Islam dominates the Middle East, subjecting minorities, women and children to widespread oppression. Christians and Jews are especially targeted, reduced to a state of subservience or dhimmitude. In 2006, the ICEJ established ‘Operation Hope’ to initially meet the urgent needs of some of the 2,500 Sudanese refugees that crossed into Israel from Egypt fleeing the Khartoum regime’s genocide and ethnic cleansing campaign in the South and the western Darfur region. Since then, we have been actively involved in providing humanitarian relief to the Christian victims of Muslim persecution, providing aid to African victims of human trafficking and sending humanitarian relief to the Syrian Christian community.
More recently, the world has been shocked beyond words by the inhuman carnage and brutality being exhibited by the Islamic State terror militia in Iraq over recent months, especially against the ancient Iraqi Christian community and other minorities.
The ISIS jihadists are carrying out public beheadings, hangings and crucifixions on a daily basis all across northwest Iraq, just like in eastern Syria. In village after village, its militiamen have swept in and executed the men, raped the women, and enslaved the children. These beastly tactics have led some world leaders, despite widespread war fatigue from the prolonged conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, to urge that the West re-engage militarily in Iraq.
Sadly, few of these global statesmen are citing the plight of the embattled Christians of the Middle East as sufficient cause for standing up to the jihadists. They are more worried about terror finding its way to Western shores, as it did in 9/11 or the London Underground bombings. The region’s Christians have largely been abandoned, just as they have been for decades.
We must speak out on their behalf like never before. Please pray for our fellow Christians in the Middle East. And make your voice heard in your own countries that the slaughter and hemorrhaging of these ancient Christian communities must be stopped!
If you would like to donate to the ICEJ’s relief efforts on behalf of Iraqi, Syrian and Lebanese Christians, please give today to our Operation Hope fund, which helps Middle East Christians facing Muslim persecution.