In today’s media-saturated America, everyone has an opinion. From Bill O’Reilly to Chris Matthews, Rush Limbaugh to Rachel Maddow – and everything in between – there is no shortage of viewpoints. But how many of those perspectives bring you back to a place of passionate, persistent prayer for the nation?
“Viewpoint” allows your Prayer Team’s talented writing team to express their opinions on the political, social and moral issues of the day. At times, you may not agree with all they have to say. But in the end, you will be energized to pray for America, with the prism of Scripture and a decidedly Godly direction as your guide. Plus, you can blog your comments to every article, have your say, and perhaps even receive a response back from the writer.
Read – then pray with an enlightened, more informed viewpoint for your nation and its leaders.
Persecuted Into Extinction
Mass exodus of Christians becoming humanitarian crisis
By Bill Noles Jr.
All around the world – in nations that promote only Islam – Christians are being physically abused into extinction. Maltreatment by Muslims has forced the mass exodus of Christians from Afghanistan, Iraq and Egypt. “This matter of Muslim persecution of Christians is a humanitarian crisis at this point,” Middle East and Islam expert, Raymond Ibrahim said in a recent interview. Ibrahim is the author of the newly released book, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians.
“It’s something that is little known of or heard of or acted upon,” said Ibrahim, who is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum. “In fact, not only is the Obama administration ignoring it, but it is actually exacerbating it, making it worse, a la the Arab Spring and other matters.”
“We are reliving the true history of how the Islamic world, much of which prior to the Islamic conquests was almost entirely Christian, came into being,” Ibrahim wrote in a recent article. “The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recently said: ‘The flight of Christians out of the region is unprecedented and it’s increasing year by year.’ In our lifetime alone ‘Christians might disappear altogether from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt.’”
Christianity has existed in Egypt six centuries longer than Islam, yet Christians comprise about 12 percent of the total population while Muslims are about 87 percent. The country’s constitution gives preference to the Muslim majority and Christians are often treated as second-class citizens.
“Iraq was the earliest indicator of the fate awaiting Christians once Islamic forces are liberated from the grip of dictators,” Ibrahim said. “The 2010 Baghdad church attack, which saw nearly 60 Christian worshippers slaughtered, is the tip of a decade-long iceberg.”
“Ten years ago,” Ibrahim pointed out, “at least one million Christians lived in Iraq.”
“Today fewer than 400,000 remain – the result of an anti-Christian campaign that began with the U.S. occupation of Iraq, when countless Christian churches were bombed and countless Christians killed, including by crucifixion and beheading,” Ibrahim wrote.
“Now, as the U.S. supports the jihad on Syria’s secular president Assad, the same pattern has come to Syria: entire regions and towns where Christians lived for centuries before Islam came into being have now been emptied, as the opposition targets Christians for kidnapping, plundering, and beheadings, all in compliance with mosque calls telling the populace that it’s a ‘sacred duty’ to drive Christians away.”
While the most publicized persecutions have taken place in the Arab world, it is now becoming more common in African and European countries with Muslim majorities:
- In Ethiopia, after a Christian was accused of desecrating a Koran, thousands of believers were forced to flee their homes when Muslim extremists set fire to roughly 50 churches and dozens of Christian homes.
- In Libya, Islamic rebels forced several Christian religious orders, serving the sick and needy in the country since 1921, to flee.
- In European Bosnia, Christians are leaving en mass amid mounting discrimination and Islamization. Only 440,000 Catholics remain in the Balkan nation, half the prewar figure.
Even though the USCIRF’s 2013 Annual Report points out the disparity of the Christian plight in Muslim countries, there is hope.
In the aftermath of the October 2011 Maspero violence, the transitional government took steps to reduce discrimination by issuing a decree amending Egypt’s Penal Code to prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion, gender, language, faith, or race.
In February 2013, Christian groups in Egypt came together to form – for the first time ever – an Egyptian Council of Churches. Furthermore, over the past two years, the government began to re-open more than 50 existing churches that had been closed, in some cases for years.
Currently, there is very little good news on evangelizing in Muslim controlled countries. This should be an area of concern for Christians around the world.
Ultimately, the story has already been told and those who follow Christ will persevere. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10).
This week pray:
- For Christ’s protection over the Christians who live in Muslim dominated countries
- For Christians who continue to spread the gospel in those countries, despite the dangers
- For the Obama Administration to place religious freedom at the forefront of its foreign policy
Bill Noles Jr. is an entrepreneur, author and writer. Married for 30 years, he is a father of two sons and grandfather of three children. He and his wife Diann live in Tucson, AZ.
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