Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Persecuted Christians in Iraq & World

Assyrian Christians, who belong to the Syrian Orthodox Church and a number of other small, ancient Churches, worship in (and sometimes speak) the mother tongue of Jesus, Aramaic. A few weeks ago, I had the honour of attending the liturgically rich and strange Syrian Orthodox Vespers in Westminster Cathedral.

I don't know if the Christian teenager who was crucified in Basra last October knew Jesus's language, but by the time the Islamists had finished with him he certainly knew a great deal about his suffering.

The West's lack of interest in the fate of the Assyrians is disgusting, as you can read in this brilliant article by Ed West in the Catholic Herald. Here is how the piece starts:

"When they cook a dish in the Middle East, it is traditional to put the meat on top of the rice when they serve it. They kidnapped a woman’s baby in Baghdad, a toddler, and because the mother was unable to pay the ransom, they returned her child – beheaded, roasted and served on a mound of rice.

"The infant’s crime was to be an Assyrian, but this story, reported by the Barnabus Fund, went unnoticed in the West, like so many other horrific accounts of Christian persecution in Iraq. Since the invasion of Iraq, Muslim militants have bombed 28 churches and murdered hundreds of Christians. Last October, Islamists beheaded a priest in Mosul in revenge for the Pope’s remarks about Islam at Regensburg."

The botched Allied intervention in Iraq has made the plight of the Assyrians infinitely worse - let us be in no doubt about that. But Western apologists for Saddam Hussein should note that it was his vile dictatorship that began the ethnic cleansing of Assyrians.

"Saddam destroyed over 200 of our towns and villages, but with our very limited resources, we have rebuilt hundreds of homes," says a spokesman for the Assyrian Aid Society.

But, unless the conscience of Western Christians is diverted from facile gestures such as apologising for the slave trade, the charity's efforts will be in vain.
--from "The Christian Victims of Iraq"

This is not new. Moslems the world over have been persecuting, torturing, falsely imprisoning, and murdering Christians and folks who are non-Islamic. Just google it up. It's been talked about by various religious organizations and Christian media (though not by the mainstream media, generally, who has never much seemed to care that Christians are slaughtered thither and yon. They mostly care about Anna Nicole Smith and Britney Spears.)

If you've never supported VOICE OF THE MARTYRS, I urge you to begin doing so TODAY. The Barnabas Fund (in the UK) also tends to the issues and needs of the persecuted Church. Start emptying those pockets and purses. They've got an Easter Appeal going right now.This holy week, when we remember that Christ gave ALL for us, let's give some back to Him by helping his hurting body. If you can afford DVDs, books, dinner out, and Starbucks, then you can afford to give. NO EXCUSES.

Blog about it. Donate. Pray.

hat tip to Claw Man.


SolShine7 said...

Excellent post!!!!!!

I wrote a couple blogs earlier last year on my MySpace blog about how the Chaldeans are treated over there. I grew up around a lot of Iraqi and Middle Eastern immigrants so this issue is close to heart.

Jules Quincy Stephens said...

Those interested in helping the persecuted church can buy what VOM calls "Action Packs." (Look on the Web site for more details.) Yes, these brothers and sisters need our prayers, but they have physical needs as well. Sending them necessities via these packs is a material way to show them that they are remembered.

The persecuted church is something that has been close to my heart the last few years, Mir. Thanks for blogging about it. :-)


Mirtika said...

I've blogged a few other times about the persecuted church and VOM since I began this blog.

I've never bought the action packs, but I have designated my money gifts for specific things, mostly the Families of Martyrs Fund. We donate about four times a year (seasonally), and I'm gearing up for an extra spring donation after reading the Iraq article.