I first of all express my solidarity with my Bishop who uses Facebook rather than the blog as a part of his teaching ministry. He has written an article on our Diocesan website – Bishop Condemns Violence Against, and Persecution of Christians.
A symbol has been doing the rounds on Facebook, the Arabic equivalent of the Hebrew Nun character. Muslims make this the sign of Christians, the “followers of the Nazarene”. This sign has been adopted by a number of Christians showing solidarity and prayerful sympathy with the persecuted Christians in Iraq and Syria among other places where fanatical Muslims want rid of them.
We should read Iraqi Christians are raped, murdered and driven from their homes – and the West is silent. I have also read that the same thing is happening in Syria with burnings of churches and refugees being killed, raped and robbed of their possessions and money. Is their present our future?
How do we react? Fight back? We and whose army? Many arguments for an intolerant Christianity come from the point of view of saying that if we tolerate others, they won’t tolerate us. I don’t think the kind of death the Islamists would inflict on us would be a pleasant one! For most of us in the west, there is very little we can do other than pray and express ourselves publicly where we can, especially the Internet. It is too tempting to respond to hatred by hatred – especially if it is a member of our family who meets a horrible death by those barbarians.
The west is keeping a shameful silence about this pogrom against Christians, which can justly be compared with the way the Nazis dealt with Jewish people! Countries like Syria and Iraq need to be put under secular rule like western Europe or the USA, so that members of any religion who commit terrorist acts and atrocities would be punished as they would in any modern western country. We seem to be as afraid of the Islamic threat as our ancestors were of Nazi Germany.
Maybe our countries will do something, but what good has warfare ever done? As it was in 1944 and 1945, it is now whenever America or Europe goes to war in the Middle-East. Certainly the perpetrators of the atrocities need to be put on trial and hanged. But at what price?
It comes back to the same thing. There is little we can do other than pray for the victims and for the conversion of the barbarians.