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article imageOp-Ed: Global Christian persecution picks up during Lent

By John David Powell     Apr 11, 2011 in World
A few weeks ago, at the start of Great Lent, I told my wife I really should sit down and chart the negative news about Christians and Christianity that always seem to increase during the Lenten and Christmas seasons.
Maybe it’s just my heightened sensitivity, but then again, maybe not.
Sure enough, the so-called mainstream media did not disappoint me. Maybe I should rephrase that and say the mainstream media did exactly what I expected. And, they had help from an unfortunate source.
Terry Jones, who pastors a small Florida congregation, made good on his promise to burn a copy of the Koran. That ill-conceived action resulted in murderous outrage in many parts of the Muslim world and led to condemnations from religious, political, and military leaders in this country and around the world.
The hard truth is that Muslim extremists do not need a publicity-hungry, Koran-burning preacher from Florida to go on a murderous rampage. They are quite ready to unleash their violence for a variety of reasons, and not just against Christians.
You would be hard-pressed to find stories about the murder a few days after the UN killings of at least 41 Muslims in Pakistan by other Muslims. In this case, as reported by the BBC, suicide attackers carried out the attack near a Sufi shrine in Punjab during an annual three-day festival. Sufis are a minority Muslim group regarded as heretics by Muslim hardliners.
This attack, which killed five times as many Muslims, followed an attack last October that killed six Muslims at a shrine in Punjab province, and an attack on a Lahore shrine earlier this year that killed at least 42 Muslims.
Fox News tried to tie recent violence against Ethiopian Christians to the Koran burning, even though its own story reported an on-going Muslim persecution of Christians in that country. On March 24, Fox News reported that Muslims torched about 50 churches and dozens of Christian homes earlier in the month, forcing as many as 10,000 Christians to flee for their lives after accusations that a Christian in their community desecrated the Koran. At least one Christian was murdered in the violence believed to have been instigated by Muslims promoting religious intolerance in the area in Western Ethiopia.
I’ve written about global Christian persecution since I started writing columns back in the late 1980s. In fact, that’s how I was introduced to the Sovereign Military Order of the Temple of Jerusalem, the Knights Templar. One member compiling reports of Christian persecution for the Templars’ application to be a United Nations NGO found my online writings and asked if I would like to help out. That was back in the mid-90s when Web searches were not as easy as they are today.
I haven’t written as much in recent years, mainly because search engines have made it easier to find such tales and keep this issue in front of people who care. But it appears that the reporting of Christian persecution is like preaching to the choir.
Here are some more examples of global Christian persecution not connected to the Koran burning.
An affair between a Christian man and a Muslim woman caused Muslims to attack, plunder, and torch an ancient Coptic church near Cairo. While some of the attackers chanted “Allahu Akbar!”, others removed ancient relics of saints and martyrs and kicked them around in a soccer game before converting the church into a mosque. Thousands of Christians had already fled the village because of overall terrorism against the Coptic community, including the kidnapping and rape of Christian girls.
The Nigerian Compass reported that last Christmas Eve, Muslim bombers killed at least 30 people in the state of Borneo. One blast was in front of a Catholic church.
Last November, the Assyrian International News Agency reported that Muslim gunmen who took hostages in a Baghdad church killed at least 58 Christians, including two priests, and wounded 75 others before Iraqi forces rescued the survivors from their terrible ordeal. A group called the Islamic State of Iraq took responsibility, calling the church “the dirty den of idolatry.”
Here’s a side note to that incident. The church was surrounded with concrete barriers and razor wire because church leaders feared an attack if Jones made good on his first threat to burn the Koran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Apparently, the al-Qaeda-linked group did not need the specter of a burning Koran as a reason to attack and kill Christians.
The terrible truth is that the sun rises and sets on many countries around the world with Christians hunkered down in fear for their lives because they live among Muslim extremists. We in the United States cannot relate because we do not share this fear. At least not since 9/11.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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