Mollie Z. Hemingway has been around a while, and writes great stuff. Particularly about subjects that are poorly reported, underreported, misreported, or outright ignored. She’s really hitting her stride in the last few years–don’t miss this savage career advice–now one of my favorites. Look for more links to her work here.
We’re not talking enough about the situation for Christians in Mosul, Iraq. I am guilty of this, too. Yes, my pastor is sending out reminders for us to pray for our brethren in the region. Yes, we include petitions for the ancient Christian community there, which has now been wiped away, in our prayers. We discuss their plight in Bible Class. But the world is not speaking much about — much less thinking much about — what this religious cleansing means and what we should be doing about it.
As comedian Penn Jillete elegantly pointed out, the way people avoid giving offense to Islam amounts to a damning condemnation in itself. It is perhaps the worst Western insult offered to Islamic people in the Middle East that we almost universally assume there’s not much point in asking them to recognize the human rights of Christians. We don’t even expect polite reciprocity. Italy is expected to welcome one of the largest mosques in the world, funded by Saudi Arabia. But no one can build even a modest church in Saudi Arabia. In Egypt, Christians can’t even repair a wall in a church without explicit permission from the sovereign. Qatar has laws that punish people who convert from Islam to Christianity with death, but there’s no planned boycott of their upcoming World Cup because of it. We watch ISIS blow up what many consider the tomb of the prophet Jonah and just sigh, helplessly. If silence permits Islamist persecution to grow and criticism only enflames its violent zeal, France’s gesture of solidarity with Iraq’s Christians has to be joined by many more countries in the West. It might as well start with the United States, which has played such a large role across this region over the last three decades while taking so little responsibility for the results.
It’s time for more Americans to learn about what happened to the Christians of Mosul and think about what we can do to help.
Kirsten Powers on Iraqi Christian Nightmare: ‘Thanks to ISIS Persecution, Mosul is Without Christians for the First Time in 2,000 Years’Posted: July 30, 2014
Iraq’s Christians are begging the world for help. Is anybody listening?
For USA Today, Kirsten Powers writes: Since capturing the country’s second largest city of Mosul in early June, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has ordered Christians to convert to Islam, pay jizyataxes levied on non-Muslims, or die. The extremist Sunni group is also persecuting and murdering Turkmen and Shabaks, both Muslim religious minorities.
“This is a crime against humanity.”
Human rights lawyer Nina Shea described the horror in Mosul to me: “(ISIS) took the Christians’ houses, took the cars they were driving to leave. They took all their money. One old woman had her life savings of $40,000, and she said, ‘Can I please have 100 dollars?’, and they said no. They took wedding rings off fingers, chopping off fingers if they couldn’t get the ring off.”
“There is nothing to go back to even if ISIS left“
“We now have 5,000 destitute, homeless people with no future,” Shea said. “This is a crime against humanity.”
Nina Shea, co-author of Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians, and director of Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom has an item in The Corner about religious persecution in Syria that caught my eye, go here for the full story. Here’s a preview:
The religious persecution in Syria deepened this week, as evidenced by a written ultimatum purportedly distributed by the rebel jihadist group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) to Christians in the northern provincial capital of Raqqa. Rejecting conversion to Islam or death, some 20 Christian leaders of that city held firm in their faith and submitted to the Islamists’ demands to live by as dhimmis.
Under this arrangement, in exchange for their lives and the ability to worship as Christians, they must abide by purported seventh-century rules of the Caliph Umar. According to the Raqqa ultimatum, these include bans on renovating and rebuilding churches and monasteries, many of which need repair because they’ve been shelled and blown up over the past three years, and bans against the public display of crosses and Christian symbols and the ringing of bells. They are forbidden from reading scripture indoors loud enough for Muslims outside to hear, and the practice of their faith must be confined within the walls of their remaining churches, not exercised publicly (at, for example, funeral or wedding processions).
They are prohibited from saying anything offensive about Muslims or Islam. The women must be enshrouded, and alcohol is banned.
Mollie Hemingway writes: Wealthy Kenyans and Westerners bustled about Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi on Saturday. Families ate lunch in the food court. A radio station targeting Kenyan Asians was hosting a children’s event on the roof of the parking lot.
Around noon, armed gunmen stormed the mall and exploded grenades. Thousands of terrified people dropped to the floor, fled out of exits and hid in stores. The gunmen began lining people up and shooting some of the five dozen people they would slaughter and 240 people, ages 2 to 78, that they would wound.
Al-Shabaab, which is claiming credit for the attack, is reported to have singled out non-Muslims. “A witness to the attacks at Nairobi’s upscale mall says that gunmen told Muslims to stand up and leave and that non-Muslims would be targeted,” according to the Associated Press.
To weed out the infidels, according to news reports, the terrorists asked people for the name of Muhammad’s mother or to recite a verse from the Quran.
Lela Gilbert reports: The sights, sounds and scents of Jerusalem are kaleidoscopic and ever changing. When I first arrived in Israel in 2006, I realized that it would take a lifetime to see and appreciate the endless array of cityscapes, holy sites, museums, gardens, archeological digs and – most wonderful of all – the colorful people that surrounded me.
I suppose that’s why I wasn’t all that impressed at the sight of some ugly, spray-painted graffiti a friend pointed out to me in Bethlehem. “It’s Arabic,” she explained. “And it means, ‘First comes Saturday, then comes Sunday.’”
“And that means…what?”
“It’s a jihadi slogan. It means, more accurately, ‘On Saturday we kill the Jews; on Sunday we kill the Christians.’” Read the rest of this entry »