Thursday, December 22, 2016

CHRISTIAN GENOCIDE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

by Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.


          We are lulled into thinking that a disaster like the Holocaust will never again happen.  But that is not the reality.  Since 1940 there have been a number of genocides.  And one is happening at this very moment.

          In the Middle East Christians are being eliminated wholesale.  In 2003 Christians were one of the largest minorities in Iraq numbering about 1.5 million.  By 2014 that number had diminished to about a half million because many fled violence or were forced to leave.  ISIS targeted them.  Now only 200,000 remain in Iraq, one of the oldest Christian communities in the world.  That means about 87 per cent have gone in only 13 years.  

          However, the Iraqi Christians are not the only people suffering persecution.  In Iran more than 550 Christians have been arrested and detained arbitrarily since
2010.  In Syria churches are being closed or destroyed by ISIS.  Christians are attacked and kidnapped.  In Turkey Christians continue to struggle against inequality.

          What is being done to correct this shameful abuse of our brothers and sisters in the faith?   Seemingly very little.  Today mention of the Middle East brings to mind war and constant conflict, inequality, and cities reduced to rubble. 

          The Middle East is the cradle of Christianity.  It is home to a devout Christian faith that is long-standing, that has nurtured many beautiful churches and loving communities, and that has undergone many trials.

          Just because this holocaust is not front page news does not mean it is not happening.  It is time to raise our voices and to martial forces to correct this crisis; to pray, to appeal to our legislators and government officials to take action.


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