Religious persecution of Christians

Ricardo Israel

By: Ricardo Israel - 09/06/2024

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A few days ago I came across information that Nazir Marsih, a 72-year-old Christian who was attacked by a mob in Pakistan, had died. He had been accused of political Islam's favorite instrument for persecuting Christians, that is, blasphemy, in other words, the desecration of the Koran in that case, since burned pages would have been seen “near” his house. Blasphemy or defamation of religion is the pretext used by extremists in the Muslim world in general, Pakistan in particular, for lynchings that intimidate religious minorities without any due process.

The real news is that what was mentioned is far from being an isolated incident, but rather occurs with devastating frequency throughout the world, with a striking complicit silence that includes the West. As should be of much greater concern, the “Christian Lives Matter” movement has appeared in imitation of the success achieved by African Americans.

There are many Christians, thousands of them, who have been persecuted and even massacred, not in the past, but in this 21st century, a little-known situation, without protests or massive marches of indignation, surrounded by a wall of global silence, rather of indifference.

This occurs, despite the fact that the different expressions of Christianity constitute the most numerous faith in the world, surpassing Islam. What strikes me most is that Christians suffer forms of persecution in dozens of nations, which if one adds arbitrary restrictions exceeds fifty countries. The information comes from the Center for the Study of Global Christianity in the US and its veracity has been corroborated by the Vatican.

For its part, the 2024 World Persecution List prepared by the Open Doors organization concludes that one in every seven Christians on the planet lives in countries where the law does not adequately protect them from discrimination. Let us add that Nicaragua figures prominently in Latin America, since as is public knowledge, the Catholic Church suffers persecution from the dictatorial regime of Ortega-Murillo.

They are not the only believers, since a significant percentage of the world's population suffers from some type of restriction on their religious freedom, but in the case of Christians four things are impressive: firstly, the quantity, since we are talking about millions of faithful of different denominations who have been stigmatized simply for their creed; secondly, that there is so much silence and indifference in the face of persecutions that even lead to murder; third, that this situation has worsened as the 21st century has progressed, and fourth, the indifference of so many governments where it should matter, such as Western countries, especially when there is participation or influence of Wokism in power, perhaps because the people themselves Christians do not use the greatest power that citizens have in democracy, which is the vote. Finally, in the specific case of Catholics, the Vatican State has remained silent for too long, including the Pope himself, who has not used his credibility and sounding board to transform the issue into one of universal relevance. .

The information available shows us that in North Korea there are more or less 50,000 Christians in re-education camps, that is, prisoners, including Western tourists convicted of the crime of having tried to give away Bibles. In Nigeria, almost a thousand Christians have been murdered in some years with a similar number of Christians (and Hindus) forcibly converted to Islam each year in Pakistan.

The list of countries is much longer and emblematic cases also occur in Afghanistan, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Sudan, and in general, throughout the Middle East, although the situation is far from being black and white, since, In countries like Syria and Egypt, Christians have generally supported military dictators, out of fear of groups representing political Islam such as variations of the Muslim Brotherhood (including Hamas) or the Islamic State. This is also the case of the “proxies” controlled by Iran such as Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad or Hamas. Furthermore, reality shows that Christians prefer to live in Israel over the territories controlled by the Palestinian Authority, whose numbers there are decreasing, even in Bethlehem.

There is Christian sympathy towards Israel, since it appears as a place where in the Middle East Christians are not persecuted or limited in their religious rights, nor are there forced conversions. It is also one of the few countries in the region where the number of Christians has increased.

Christian emigration from the Middle East is not new, since it began with the Ottoman Empire. They emigrated to many places, including Latin America, fleeing the situation of second-class citizens to which they were subjected. They arrived with Ottoman passports, and therefore were mistakenly called “Turks.” Through the twists and turns of life, his Christian origins and the reason for his emigration have been lost, and children and grandchildren today appear supporting Hamas, in places like Chile and other countries.

Christianity is the faith with the most followers in the world, but also the most repressed with acts of savagery that includes human beings who have been burned alive in their churches as has happened in Nigeria and Iraq. The case of Sudan has been particularly serious, since, in Darfur, there was international disinterest in the terrible case of forced Islamization by Arab militias that attacked black-skinned Christian tribes for years.

Statistics from the World Persecution List Report 2024 show that the number of Christians killed for their faith was 5,898 in 2022 and 5,621 in 2023, while the number of Christians imprisoned without trial was 6,175 in 2022 and 4,542 in 2023.

More than surprising, it is depressing how much it costs to find a minimum of information in the media, even if it is not about participation in political conflicts, but simply cases related strictly to their faith. In this regard, the silence of the international community makes noise, since it includes organizations such as the United Nations and human rights organizations, despite situations of concentration camps for those “suspected” of being followers of Christ, as occurs in North Korea.

These are situations that far exceed the two Catholic churches in China, one allowed by the regime and the other persecuted (sometimes clandestinely), including the silence of Pope Francis in the face of the arrest of none other than Cardinal Joseph Zen (Infobae, 28 May 2022). The severity of the persecution also surpasses the situation in Saudi Arabia, which poses difficulties for any faith other than the Wahhabi variant of Islam sponsored by that country, which also poses enormous obstacles to authorizing places of worship for other religions, which creates a situation of double standards in relation to Europe, where Islam grows and grows in comparison to the Christian presence, whose cathedrals are increasingly more of a tourist attraction than a place where sacraments are delivered.

The case of a Europe denying itself and the Christian tradition of its history is an example of the deterioration of Christianity, which is added to those rather shameful situations, where MEPs have not agreed to approve resolutions that criticize the hostility against Christians in other parts of the world.

Not only in Europe, but in the Middle East and North Africa there has been a true religious cleansing, since in many countries that today have an Islamic majority, Christians arrived fourteen centuries before the Muslim expansion took place from the desert sands, imposing themselves by force on believers of other religions, with Assyrians, Copts and other groups being a testimonial reminder of the survival of their faith, despite the difficulties.

The International Criminal Court did not act well in the face of crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by the Islamic State against the Christian community, after they took over almost a third of Iraq in 2014, including slavery and like Hamas on September 7 October in Israel, sexual violence as a weapon of war.

The process of expansion of Islam was accompanied for centuries by the jizya or protection tax and the humiliation of the dhimmi or inferior status applied to other non-Muslim minorities, also during Ottoman rule, all aggravated when there was nowhere to go, no one to go. defend them against a power that considers them inferior, without rights, and that imposes Sharia law on them.

Therefore, the process did not begin today by any means, and in this regard it is enough to remember the Armenian Genocide that began on April 24, 1915 and that Turkey still does not recognize as such or ask for the corresponding forgiveness. In recent years, the Syrian civil war shocked when mass graves of tortured women and children appeared after the destruction of their churches, a reason that in itself explained the support of Christians for Bashar al-Assad's regime.

It also explains the words some years ago of Antonio Chedraui Tannous, Metropolitan Archbishop of the Apostolic Church of Antioquia when he criticized an international community that "has covered its ears and does not want to listen", when reacting to the dissemination of images of crucified people. orthodox He scares a situation where so many people do not want to find out what is happening, starting with the so-called Western world, whose apathy begins with its leaders, and also scandalizes.

The topic is serious and the silence inexplicable. The questions are varied. Why are there no massive demonstrations? Where are the United Nations and regional organizations? Why don't Christians themselves organize in places where they are free to show solidarity and denounce this situation? Where are the big media? Why isn't there a more determined attitude on the part of the Vatican?

Where, in short, is human consciousness?

To do?


Ph.D. in Political Science (Essex), Law Degree (Barcelona), Lawyer (U. de Chile), former presidential candidate (Chile, 2013)

«The opinions published herein are the sole responsibility of its author».