Tag Archives: Christian persecution

The Forgotten Genocide: Why It Matters Today


A still frame from the 1919 documentary film Auction of Souls, which portrayed eye witnessed events from the Armenian Genocide, including crucified Christian girls.

 

April 24, marks the “Great Crime,” that is, the Armenian genocide that took place under Turkey’s Islamic Ottoman Empire, during and after WWI.

Out of an approximate population of two million, some 1.5 million Armenians died. If early 20th century Turkey had the apparatuses and technology to execute in mass—such as 1940s Germany’s gas chambers—the entire Armenian population may well have been annihilated.  Most objective American historians who have studied the question unequivocally agree that it was a deliberate, calculated genocide:

More than one million Armenians perished as the result of execution, starvation, disease, the harsh environment, and physical abuse.  A people who lived in eastern Turkey for nearly 3,000 years [more than double the amount of time the invading Islamic Turks had occupied Anatolia, now known as “Turkey” lost its homeland and was profoundly decimated in the first large-scale genocide of the twentieth century.  At the beginning of 1915 there were some two million Armenians within Turkey; today there are fewer than 60,000….  Despite the vast amount of evidence that points to the historical reality of the Armenian Genocide, eyewitness accounts, official archives, photographic evidence, the reports of diplomats, and the testimony of survivors, denial of the Armenian Genocide by successive regimes in Turkey has gone on from 1915 to the present.

 

Indeed, evidence has been overwhelming.  U.S. Senate Resolution 359 from 1920 heard testimony that included evidence of “mutilation, violation, torture, and death which have left their haunting memories in a hundred beautiful Armenian valleys, and the traveler in that region is seldom free from the evidence of this most colossal crime of all the ages.”  In her memoir, Ravished ArmeniaAurora Mardiganiandescribed being raped and thrown into a harem (which agrees with Islam’s rules of war).  Unlike thousands of other Armenian girls who were discarded after being defiled, she managed to escape. In the city of Malatia, she saw 16 Christian girls crucified: “Each girl had been nailed alive upon her cross, spikes through her feet and hands, only their hair blown by the wind, covered their bodies.”  Such scenes were portrayed in the 1919 documentary film Auction of Souls, some of which is based on Mardiganian’s memoirs.

What do Americans know of the Armenian Genocide?  To be sure, some American high school textbooks acknowledge it.  However, one of the primary causes for it—perhaps the fundamental cause—is completely unacknowledged: religion.  The genocide is always articulated through a singularly secular paradigm, one that deems valid only those factors that are intelligible from a modern, secular, Western point of view, such as identity politics, nationalism, and territorial disputes. As can be imagined, such an approach does little more than project Western perspectives onto vastly different civilizations of different eras, thus anachronizing history.

War, of course, is another factor that clouds the true face of the Armenian genocide.  Because these atrocities occurred during WWI, so the argument goes, they are ultimately a reflection of just that—war, in all its chaos and destruction, and nothing more.  Yet Winston Churchill, who described the massacres as an “administrative holocaust,” correctly observed that “The opportunity [WWI] presented itself for clearing Turkish soil of a Christian race.”  Even Adolf Hitler had pointed out that “Turkey is taking advantage of the war in order to thoroughly liquidate its internal foes, i.e., the indigenous Christians, without being thereby disturbed by foreign intervention.”

It is the same today throughout the Muslim world, wherever there is war: after the U.S. toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the nation’s Christian minority were first to be targeted for systematic persecution resulting in more than half of Iraq’s indigenous Christian population fleeing their homeland.  [In recent years that war came] to Syria—with the U.S. supporting the jihadis and terrorists—the Christians there are on the run for their lives.

There is no denying that religion—or in this context, the age-old specter of Muslim persecution of Christian minorities—was fundamental to the Armenian Genocide.  Even the most cited factor, ethnic identity conflict, while legitimate, must be understood in light of the fact that, historically, religion—creed—accounted more for a person’s identity than language or heritage.   This is daily demonstrated throughout the Islamic world today, where Muslim governments and Muslim mobs persecute Christian minorities—minorities who share the same ethnicity, language, and culture, who are indistinguishable from the majority, except, of course, for being non-Muslims.

If Christians are thus being singled out today—in our modern, globalized, “humanitarian” age—are we to suppose that they weren’t singled out a century ago by Turks?

Similarly, often forgotten is the fact that non-Armenians under Turkish hegemony, Assyrians and Greeks for example, were also targeted for cleansing.   The only thing that distinguished  Armenians, Assyrians, and Greeks from Turks was that they were all Christian.  As one Armenian studies professor asks, “If it [the Armenian Genocide] was a feud between Turks and Armenians, what explains the genocide carried out by Turkey against the Christian Assyrians at the same time?”

Today, as Turkey continues moving back to reclaiming its Islamic heritage, so too has Christian persecution returned.  If Turks taunted their crucified Armenian victims by saying things like “Now let your Christ come and help you,” [A few years back], an 85-year-old Christian Armenian woman was repeatedly stabbed to death in her apartment, and a crucifix carved onto her naked corpse.   Another elderly Armenian woman was punched in the head and, after collapsing to the floor, repeatedly kicked by a masked man.   According to the report, “the attack marks the fifth in the past two months against elderly Armenian women,” one of whom lost an eye.  Elsewhere, pastors of church congregations with as little as 20 people are targeted for killing and spat upon in the streets.  A 12-year-old Christian boy was beaten by his teacher and harassed by students for wearing a cross around his neck, and three Christians were “satanically tortured” before having their throats slit for publishing Bibles.

Outside of Turkey, what is happening to the Christians of today from one end of the Muslim world to the other is a reflection of what happened to the Armenian Christians of yesterday.   We can learn about the past by looking at the present.  From Indonesia in the east to Morocco in the west, from Central Asia in the north, to sub-Sahara Africa—that is, throughout the entire Islamic world—Muslims are, to varying degrees, persecuting, killing, raping, enslaving, torturing and dislocating Christians.  See the book, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians for a comprehensive account of one of the greatest—yet, like the Armenian Genocide, little known—atrocities of our times.

Here is one relevant example to help appreciate the patterns and parallels: in Muslim-majority northern Nigeria, Muslims, led by the Islamic organization, Boko Haram (“Western Education is Forbidden”) are waging a bloody jihad on the Christian minorities in their midst.  These two groups—black Nigerian Muslims and black Nigerian Christians—are identical in all ways except, of course, for being Muslims and Christians.  And what is Boko Haram’s objective in all this carnage?  To cleanse northern Nigeria of all Christians—a goal rather reminiscent of Ottoman policies of cleansing Turkey of all Christians, whether Armenian, Assyrian, or Greek.

How does one explain this similar pattern of Christian persecution—this desire to be cleansed of Christians—in lands so different from one another as Nigeria and Turkey, lands which share neither race, language, nor culture, which share only Islam?  Meanwhile, the modern Islamic world’s response to the persecution of Christians is identical to Turkey’s response to the Armenian Genocide: Denial.

Finally, to understand how the historic Armenian Genocide is representative of the modern day plight of Christians under Islam, one need only read the following words written in 1918 by President Theodore Roosevelt—but read “Armenian” as “Christian” and “Turkish” as  “Islamic”:

the Armenian [Christian] massacre was the greatest crime of the war, and the failure to act against Turkey [the Islamic world] is to condone it… the failure to deal radically with the Turkish [Islamic] horror means that all talk of guaranteeing the future peace of the world is mischievous nonsense.

Indeed, if we “fail to deal radically” with the “horror” currently being visited upon millions of Christians around the Islamic world—which in some areas has reached genocidal proportions—we “condone it” and had better cease talking “mischievous nonsense” of a utopian world of peace and tolerance.

Put differently, silence is always the ally of those who would commit genocide.  In 1915, Adolf Hitler rationalized his genocidal plans, which he implemented some three decades later, when he rhetorically asked: “Who, after all, speaks today of the annihilation of the Armenians?”

And who speaks today of the annihilation of Christians under Islam?

 

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Christian Woman in Eastern Uganda Coerced into Taking Poison

infochristian-persecution2

Muslim relatives of a young woman in eastern Uganda who put her faith in Christ at a Christmas service coerced her into taking poison at a New Year’s celebration, she said.

Sandra Summaya, 24, of Bugayi village in Pallisa District, told Morning Star News that she converted to Christianity at a worship service on Christmas Day.

“I had great peace when the pastor prayed for me to take Jesus as my savior,” she said. “I later shared my testimony with my brother, who outrightly accused me of being an infidel and an outcast from the family and the Muslim community. I felt great pain inside me because of the insults.”

On Sunday (Jan. 1) Summaya’s immediate family and a few other relatives gathered in the predominantly Muslim village in Kamuge County to celebrate the New Year with a meal. At the high point of the gathering, Summaya said, a paternal uncle read to her a Bible verse and suggested it meant God would protect her from harm, including illness from ingesting poison.

“He said, ‘Do you believe that Issa [Jesus] is able to protect your from poison as written in the Bible?’ and I answered ‘Yes,’” she said. “Immediately I was forced to take the poison to confirm my faith in the Bible, at around midnight. I could not deny the Bible, so I took the rat poison.”

Soon she became seriously ill.

“I started having severe stomach pains together with vomiting and cried for help,” she said. “I was taken away from the homestead to a nearby bush. I was tied with a rope to a tree and left to die.”

Her loud cries woke a Christian neighbor who rushed to the site.

“I found Summaya unconscious, and we rushed her to a Kamuge nursing home, where the doctor saved her life,” said the neighbor, whose name is withheld for security reasons.

Summaya remains at the hospital and her condition has stabilized, a nurse told Morning Star News.

“She will still be in the hospital for some few days as we monitor her situation,” said the nurse, who requested anonymity.

An area source requested prayer that Summaya be healed and protected, and that she not doubt God’s love and provision.

The incidents are the latest in a series of anti-Christian attacks in eastern Uganda. On Christmas Day Muslims in eastern Uganda beat Christians at a worship service and wrecked the home of a single mother on Christmas Eve, sources said.

On Dec. 8, relatives of a former Islamic teacher attacked his 60-year-old mother for becoming a Christian, wounding her head and breaking her hand, sources said. Aimuna Namutongi sustained a deep cut on her forehead. She and her son, 30-year-old Malik Higenyi, were trying to gather cassava at 10 a.m. on the homestead he had been forced to abandon in Bufuja village, Butaleja District, after Muslim relatives threatened to kill him if he returned.

Higenyi, whom Muslim relatives had beaten unconscious on Nov. 13 after he publically confessed having embraced Christianity, managed to escape the fury of those who arrived at his farm on Dec. 8 while he and his mother were trying to harvest something to eat, he told Morning Star News.

Namutongi became a Christian after visiting her ostracized, injured son on Nov. 26 and listening to his faith journey, a local source said. He has continued to receive threatening messages, he said.

On Oct. 20, Muslims in Kobolwa village, Kibuku District gutted the home of a Christian family for housing two boys who had been threatened with violence for leaving Islam.

Stephen Muganzi, 41, told Morning Star News that the two teenaged boys sought refuge with him on Oct. 16 after their parents earlier in the month learned of their conversion, began questioning them and threatened to kill them. The two boys, ages 16 and 17, had secretly become Christians nearly seven months before.

On Sept. 18, 2016, a Muslim in Budaka District beat his wife unconscious for attending a church service, sources said. Hussein Kasolo had recently married Fatuma Baluka, 21-year-old daughter of an Islamic leader in a predominantly Muslim village, undisclosed for security reasons.

On Aug. 10, a Christian woman in eastern Uganda became ill after she was poisoned, she said.

Aisha Twanza, a 25-year-old convert from Islam, ingested an insecticide put into her food after family members upbraided her for becoming a Christian, she told Morning Star News. She and her husband, who live in Kakwangha village in Budaka District, put their faith in Christ in January 2016.

In Busalamu village, Luuka District, eight children from four families have taken refuge with Christians after their parents beat and disowned them for leaving Islam or animism, sources said. The new-found faith of the children, ages 9 to 16, angered their parents, who beat them in an effort to deter them from sneaking to worship services, and on June 29, 2016 the young ones took refuge at the church building, area sources said.

About 85 percent of the people in Uganda are Christian and 11 percent Muslim, with some eastern areas having large Muslim populations. The country’s constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one faith to another, but Christians in eastern Uganda are suffering continual attacks by non-state figures.

 

If you would like to help persecuted Christians, visit http://morningstarnews.org/resources/aid-agencies/ for a list of organizations that can orient you on how to get involved. 

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Persecuted Christians in North Africa receive smuggled Bibles

Constant prayer has helped Christians to smuggle in Bibles and training materials for pastors in a North African country where believers face persecution.

Open Doors helps facilitate smuggling Bibles and other Christian books into places where Christians face the most severe persecution.

According to persecution charity Open Doors, a 24/7 prayer meeting has been running constantly in the country, which cannot be identified for security reasons, since 2003. Local Christians believe they have seen miracles as a result of the constant stream of prayer.

UK volunteer Holly (name has been changed) recently took more than 30 Bibles and other Christian books into the country, where it is illegal to print Christian literature.

“There are church leaders who only have a few pages of scripture that they own,” she said. “The church is growing so rapidly and people are just coming to know Jesus so quickly, they need to get Bibles in as quickly as they can and as many as they can. And not just Bibles, but also training materials for pastors and church leaders.”

The materials would have been confiscated if found by officials, but airport security checked every single bag except Holly’s.

“Maybe God just did what he did with Brother Andrew and ‘blinded their eyes’ to it. It was amazing that we were the only ones who didn’t get searched,” she said.

If local people are found with the Bibles, they face at least two years in prison. But when Holly handed the Bibles over to Open Doors’ partners, they weren’t fazed.

“They were telling us that when they take the materials backs to their churches and to whoever needs these books, they have to go through 20 checkpoints, and at every single checkpoint they could be searched. The whole car can be searched; they might look inside the boot, under the bonnet, even cut open the spare tire if there’s one in the back and look inside it to see if there’s anything illegal in there. But it was amazing because [the Open Doors partners] said, ‘We can keep the Bibles on the back seat of the car, they’ll just never see them’,” Holly said.

“They said it was because, in 2003, they started a 24/7 prayer meeting. It was meant to only last for a week, but then they decided to just not stop! And so since 2003 there’s never been a single moment where there hasn’t been someone praying in that church, every second is covered in prayer.

“That’s when they started seeing lots of people coming to know Jesus, and they were able to bring in so many more Bibles and training materials.”

Open Doors was founded by Brother Andrew, a Christian missionary who smuggled Bibles into communist countries at the height of the Cold War.

 

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Pakistan’s Schoolbooks Deliver ‘Public Shaming’ to Christians

Textbooks in Pakistan’s public schools have become more antagonistic toward Christians and other religious minorities in the past five years, a new report says.

“The trend toward a more biased curriculum towards religious minorities is accelerating,” it says. “These grossly generalized and stereotypical portrayals of religious minority communities signal that they are untrustworthy, religiously inferior, and ideologically scheming and intolerant.”

 

The source

The report, scheduled to be released 12 April in Washington, D.C., is sponsored by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an advisory body to the U.S. Congress and state department. By law, the commission’s assessments of religious freedom in other countries are required to figure in to American diplomatic relations around the globe. Click here to download the report.

 

Why it’s important

1. Textbooks are an expression of national policy. According to the report: “School textbooks represent the political perspectives and national ideologies of whole educational and government systems. As such, school textbooks are one of the most important indicators of official and popular perspectives of the cultural and political communities they depict both in words and images.”

2. The textbooks “continue to violate the constitutional rights of religious minorities by integrating Islamic ideology into most subjects and to promote a national Islamic identity at the expense of Hindu, Christian, and Sikh children.”

 

About the study

It was conducted for USCIRF by the Peace and Education Foundation, a Pakistan-based non-governmental organization. It claims to have “trained more than 11,000 religious actors in Pakistan, including madrasah teachers and faculty, mosque imams, and interfaith leaders.”

The researchers started by consulting a 2011 USCIRF review of textbook bias. From that review, the researchers took 25 examples of religious bias, and examined 78 current textbooks to see if they had changed. The books are used in grades 5-10 in four Pakistan provinces: Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Together, those four encompass 95 percent of Pakistan’s population. Pakistan has more than 260,000 schools where more than 1.5 million teachers have contact with 41 million students.

 

What it found

  • 16 of the biased elements had been removed
  • 9 remained, either in their 2011 form or changed in ways that did not remove the bias
  • 70 new examples of religious bias in 24 textbooks

Pockets of improvement were found in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Why? Researchers said they had been able to meet directly with the Punjab governor, and with education ministers in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

More than eight of every 10 new examples of bias were found in Balochistan and Sindh.

 

Examples:

Removed by 2016

“Anti-Islamic forces are always trying to finish the Islamic domination of the world. This can cause danger for the very existence of Islam. Today, the defense of Pakistan and Islam is very much needed.”

 

Grade 5, Punjab

A 2011 example that was changed but without removing bias

2011: “Christian Missionaries took full advantage of the British occupation of Asia and, under their patronage, started converting people of different religions to Christianity.”

2016: “The influence of Christian pastors had increased immensely and they were openly preaching their religion aided by their rule. They freely visited the cities and villages, organized gatherings to describe the qualities of Christianity and degraded other religions.”

 

Grade 8, Sindh

Added since 2011

“After getting rid of the proscribed and ignorant rule of the Church, Europeans progressed in the fields of knowledge/education, political acceptance and in arts and crafts.”

 

Grade 6, Punjab

Key findings

Heavy emphasis on pre-partition period. A major thrust of Pakistan’s public-school curriculum is “the desire to teach a sense of patriotism and nationalism and instruct students about the rationale for creating Pakistan,” the report said. The result is a focus on the “alleged animosities Hindus have of Muslims and tensions between Muslims and the British (and Christian) colonial power in pre-partition India.”

Islam is key to Pakistani identity. “Students are taught a version of history that promotes a national Islamic identity of Pakistan and often describes conflicts with India in religious terms,” the report said.

Overemphasis of military war heroes, “educating Pakistanis in the most superficial way.”

Suspicious of Christians. “Christians also are portrayed as untrustworthy missionaries, and as aligned with British oppressors who were colonizers and continue to conspire against Muslims.”

In sum: Pakistan’s curriculum “places religious minority students in a precarious status of either inherently flawed Pakistani citizens at best, or foreigners and enemies of the state at worst. If the theme is carried further, religious minority students are not only outsiders, but also dangerous contaminants to the Islamic national identity by virtue of their non-Muslim faith.”

 

Conclusion

“The public school system is still fundamentally intolerant of religious minorities and Christian children are taught that ‘Christians learned tolerance and kind-heartedness from Muslims.’ This represents a public shaming of religious minority children that begins at a very young age, focusing on their religious and cultural identity and their communities’ past history.”

 

Recommendations

“Constitutional guarantees provided to all Pakistanis of religious freedom should be reflected in textbooks’ contents.

“Negative indoctrination must end and impartial content for better critical learning should be adopted.

“The curriculum should inculcate a sense of constructive patriotism rather than a sense of fear.

“Overemphasis on Islam as being the ‘only correct’ faith must be eliminated from the textbooks. “Historical omissions and misrepresentations of different events must be eliminated to avoid controversial historiography, and diverse viewpoints should be included.”

 

Read Original Article Here

 

Keep praying for our brothers and sisters in Pakistan.

 

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Norway Officials Place Children Seized From Parents Over ‘Christian Indoctrination’ Up for Adoption

bodnariu-compressed

Officials in Norway have moved to place five children that were seized from their parents on charges that included “Christian radicalization and indoctrination” up for adoption, reports state.

As previously reported, on Nov. 16 and 17, Norway’s child welfare services, the Barnevernet, seized Marius and Ruth Bodnariu’s two daughters, two sons and their baby, Ezekiel. The two eldest children were reportedly removed from school without their parents knowledge, and then Barnevarnet representatives arrived with police at the Bodnariu home, where welfare services seized the remaining children, minus the baby.

The organization returned the following day and removed the infant as well after the family tried to resolve the matter after being arrested.

On Nov. 18, the Barnevernet told Ruth Bodnariu that the children had been split up with three separate families.

Marius Bodnariu’s brother, Daniel, who is a pastor, explained in a recent statement that the matter began when the children’s principal contacted welfare services after expressing concerns over how they were being raised, including in regard to the family’s Christian beliefs.

“The process of confiscating the Bodnariu children started when the Vevring School principal, the middle school attended by Eliana and Naomi, called the Barnevernet and expressed her concerns regarding the girls’ religious upbringing, her understanding that the girls are being disciplined at home, and that she considers the parents and grandmother to be radical Christians; an overriding concern that the principal’s perception of the parents’ and grandmother’s religious beliefs inhibit and handicap the girls’ development,” he outlined.

“In the same call to the Barnevernet, the principal stressed that she was only requesting the Barnevernet’s counseling services, as the girls are intelligent and creative, and that she, the principal, doesn’t believe that the girls are being physically abused at home,” Bodnariu said. “This same principal had previously scolded and categorically forbid one of the Bodnariu girls from singing as a result of the girl singing a Christian song to her schoolmates.”

But despite the principal’s request for counseling only, the Barnevernet instead pursued proceedings against the parents, alleging that they had abused the children.

“The Barnevernet ordered extensive medical examination of the children, as there was no evidence to support the allegations of physical abuse, but the medical reports emphasized that there was no sign of physical or mental abuse,” Bodnariu states.

He says that Norwegian officials claim that the children told them that they were abused, but the family rejects the notion.

The situation has sparked protests in the country and beyond, including on Dec. 21, when over 300 people protested at the Embassy of Norway in Bucharest, Romania. Supporters of the family held signs and banners such as “Norway, return the children to the Bodnariu family” and “Norway, give us back the children you stole.” On Dec. 26, over 400 protesters gathered in Madrid, Spain in support of the Bodnariu family, and other events are planned in the UK, Poland and Belgium.

In the meantime, the Romania Insider reports that Norwegian authorities have opened the adoption process for the children, which some believe is unlawful.

“Barnevernet is going ahead with the process of adoption because they say that such a long time has passed and now it is going to be traumatic for the children to be returned to their parents,” Cristian Ionescu, pastor of Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church in Chicago, told the Christian Post.

A gathering in support of the Bodnariu family has been scheduled for Jan. 8 at the Norwegian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

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Are You “N”?

Our brothers and sisters in northern Iraq have been given an ultimatum: convert to Islam, pay a high tax, leave the area or die. The terrorist group IS (Islamic State) has painted a large Arabic letter “N” (nun), from the Arabic word nasara (meaning “Nazarene” to indicate Christians), on their homes to identify them as Christians.One-eyed-willy

The Voice of the Martyrs is now serving Iraqi Christians who have fled the terrorists by providing them with daily necessities and assessing their future needs. Many of these believers fled with only the clothes on their backs.

You can help support your Iraqi brothers and sisters by designating a contribution, purchasing one of VOM’s new i-am-n shirts, or both.

VOM’s new i-am-n shirts feature an image of the Arabic letter “N” similar to those painted on the homes of Christians in northern Iraq by IS (Islamic State). $10 of each purchase will go directly to support Christians facing Islamic extremists.

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