The Crucifixion of Christianity in Islam
the American battleships, the musicians on board were ordered
to play as loudly as they could to drown out the screams of the
pleading [Christian] swimmers.
The English poured
boiling water down on the unfortunates who reached their vessel ...”
Yemeni Christian Crucified
“The jihadis shouted: Convert to Islam, or you
will be crucified like Jesus,” Youssef said with a shaky voice
in his daughter's al-Qassaa apartment.
Beleaguered Syrian Christians Fear Future (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=241404075)
The Brutal Persecution, Displacement
and Death of Christians in Islamic States
“If the world hates you, know
that it hated Me before you ... If they have persecuted Me, they will
also persecute you." (John 15:18-20)
“He was a Christian
walking in a Muslim enclave, carrying wood to sell. In these tense
days, that is enough reason to die in the Central African Republic.
A Muslim mob confronted Pumandele, 23, on a side street and pushed
him around. Then, they threw him into a ditch. At least one man
stabbed him before his throat was slit. ...The Muslims did this,”
one of his relatives screamed. “They cut his neck like a cow. They
are going to kill all of us.”
For some much
needed perspective, let us go back a mere 90 years to the week of September
13, 1920, when:
“... the persecution of Christians culminated
in their final expulsion from the newly founded Republic of
Turkey in the early 1920s [and] churches [were] demolished or converted
into mosques, and the communities that used to worship in them [were]
dispersed or dead. The burning of Smyrna and the massacre and scattering
of its 300,000 Christian inhabitants is one of the great crimes
of all times. It marked the end of the Greek civilization on Asia
Minor. ... Sporadic killings of Christians, mostly Armenians, started
immediately after the Turks conquered it on September 9, 1922 and
within days escalated to mass slaughter ... Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Chrysostomos remained with his flock. ... The Muslim mob fell upon
him, uprooted his eyes and, as he was bleeding, dragged him by his
beard through the streets of the Turkish quarter, beating and kicking
him. Every now and then, when he had the strength to do so, he would
raise his right hand and bless his persecutors, repeating,
“Father, forgive them.” A Turk got so furious at this gesture
that he cut off the metropolitan's hand with his sword. He fell
to the ground and was hacked to pieces by the angry mob.
carnage culminated in the burning of Smyrna ...
inhabitants were trapped at the seafront, from which there was
no escaping the flames on one side, or Turkish bayonets on the
other ... English, American, Italian, and French ships were
indeed anchored in Smyrna's harbor. Ordered to maintain
neutrality, they would or could do nothing for the 200,000
desperate Christians on the quay ... occasionally, a person
would swim from the dock to one of the anchored ships and tried
to climb the ropes and chains, only to be driven off. On the
American battleships, the musicians on board were ordered to
play as loudly as they could to drown out the screams of the
pleading swimmers. The English poured boiling water down on the
unfortunates who reached their vessel ... that was the end of
Christianity in Asia Minor.” 1
The great “Christian” nations of that time: America, England, France,
and Italy — fully able to prevent this atrocity that claimed the lives
of over one quarter million innocent Christians — were not only witness
to it, but by their carefully calculated political neutrality were complicit
in it. In that fearful and unmitigated slaughter of Christians
by Muslim Turks in 1920, not only had Christianity ceased to be in
Asia Minor, but it had ceased as a religious and moral conscience
in the West. Political expedience trumped ... and trampled ...
the very fabric of Western culture that had been woven by Christianity
for 2000 years. For short-sighted political gain it forfeited — and
repudiated — the very patrimony from which it sprung in the false belief
that placating Islam redounded to the benefit of the West. After nearly
20 years of unrelenting war in Muslim countries (remember ... to purportedly
defend Muslim “civilians” against fellow Muslim “militants” — not to
defend helpless third-class Christians deprived of nearly all rights
against Muslims and absolutely intolerant Islamic courts and states)
... that continues to this day, we have come to understand that we cannot
placate Islam, nor, sadly, appear able to peacefully co-exist with it.
We have come to understand — but we have learned nothing.
we deliberately close our eyes and pretend that what is happening is
not happening and that our pretension will magically culminate
in reality. It will not. Our brothers and sisters living under the menace
of Islam know this painfully — and if those who continue to propagate
the illusion that Islam is compatible with Christianity (despite
what Muslim clerics, courts and states maintain to the contrary)
or that it is benign toward the values — especially the secular
values — they most cherish in the West, then they justly deserve, by
their indifference, to live under a Caliphate ... instead of under Christ.
Boston Catholic Journal
Report on Christians oppressed for their Faith
by Gregorios III, Patriarch of Antioch and All the East
Of Alexandria and of Jerusalem
of Aid to the Church in Need, UK
click on image above to begin video
Iraq — “How can we live our faith in a time of great difficulty?
What can we do for those who are persecuted because of their faith?
To ask this question means above all interrogating ourselves about the
meaning of our faith. In order to be able to speak about the time
of persecution Christians must really know their own faith.
In 2010, when I was appointed bishop of Mosul, I knew that I would be
coming to a city facing an extremely critical situation with regard
to security — for many Christians had already been killed, and many
had been forced to leave the diocese. Brutal violence took the life
of a priest, as well as a bishop, my predecessor: both were murdered
in extremely gruesome fashion.
I came to Mosul Jan. 16, 2010. The very next day a series of reprisal
murders of Christians began, starting with the killing of father of
a young man who was praying with me in church. For more than 10 days
extremists continued to kill, one or two people each day. The faithful
left the city to seek refuge in the small towns and villages nearby,
or in the monasteries.
Since then almost half of the faithful have now returned. What can we
do for these people? What can one do for those who are living the difficult
life of persecution?
These questions tormented me, forcing me to reflect on the right path
to follow so I could fulfill my mission of service. I found the answer
in the motto of my episcopate — namely, hope. I came to this conclusion:
during a time of crisis and persecution we must remain full of hope.
And so I remained in the city, strengthened in hope, in order to give
hope to the many persecuted faithful who likewise continued to live
Is this enough? To remain with the faithful in hope is a crucial start,
but it is not enough — there has to be something more. Saint Paul reminds
us that hope is linked to love, and love to faith. To remain with those
who are persecuted is to give them a hope founded in love and faith.
What can we do build up this faith? I began to ask myself how our faithful
were living out their faith, how they were practicing it in the difficult
circumstances of every day. I realized that, above all — in the
face of suffering and persecution — a true knowledge of our own faith
and the cause of our persecution is of fundamental importance.
By deepening our sense of what it means to be Christians, we discover
ways to give meaning to this life of persecution and find the necessary
strength to endure it. To know that we may be killed at any moment,
at home, in the street, at work, and yet despite all this to retain
a living and active faith — this is the true challenge.
From the moment when we are waiting for death, under threat from
someone who may shoot us at any moment, we need to know how to live
well. The greatest challenge in facing death because of our faith is
to continue to know this faith in such a way as to live it constantly
and fully — even in that very brief moment that separates us from death.
My goal in all this: to reinforce the fact that the Christian faith
is not an abstract, rational theory, remote from actual, everyday life,
but a means of discovering its deepest meaning, its highest expression
as revealed by the Incarnation. When the individual discovers this possibility,
he or she will be willing to endure absolutely anything and will
do everything to safeguard this discovery — even if this means
having to die in its cause.
Many people living in freedom from persecution, in countries without
problems like ours, ask me what they can do for us, how they can help
us in our situation. First of all, anyone who wants to do something
for us should make an effort to live out his or her own faith in a more
profound manner, embracing the life of faith in daily practice.
For us the greatest gift is to know that our situation is helping others
to live out their own faith with greater strength, joy and fidelity.
Strength in daily life; joy in everything we encounter along the path
of life; confidence that the Christian faith holds the answer to all
the fundamental questions of life, as well as helping us cope with all
the relatively minor incidents we confront along our way. This must
be the overriding objective for all of us. And to know that there
are people in this world who are persecuted on account of their faith
should be a warning—to you who live in freedom — to become better, stronger
Christians; a spur to demonstrating your own faith as it confronts the
difficulties of your own society; and the recognition that you too are
confronted with a certain degree of persecution because of your faith,
even in the West.
Anyone who wishes to respond to this emergency can help those who are
persecuted both materially and spiritually. Help bring our situation
to the notice of the world — you are our voice. Spiritually, you can
help us by making our life and our suffering the stimulus for the promotion
of unity among all Christians. The most powerful thing you can do in
response to our situation is that you should rediscover and forge unity
—personally and as a community — and to work for the good of your own
societies. They are in great need of the witness of Christians who live
out their faith with a strength and joy that can give others the courage
We are victims, and we suffer at the hands of fundamentalists
coming from distant countries to fight against what they consider to
be the infidels (us Christians), using as an excuse that their brothers
are being persecuted in various countries. Their reaction is to kill
others. Our reaction to persecution must be that of becoming more loving,
more united, ever stronger in showing the world the true image of life,
as taught us by Jesus Christ.
The Christian world defends its persecuted faithful through the revelation,
the realization and the strength of the love which is the foundation
of faith and which embraces everyone — even our persecutors.
There is a great temptation to which persecuted Christians can
fall victim and which I myself never tire of warning against: namely
that because of being persecuted, we can, with the passing of time,
end up becoming persecutors ourselves — turning to violence in our way
of thinking, in treating our neighbour, in our way of living.
This temptation is very powerful: the sentiments that we develop in
a climate of persecution can change our way of living — rejecting the
Christian way which is imbued with love — to a manner similar to that
of those who demand and speak of justice only, but never of love. Let
us be very careful not to live out our faith feebly because other Christians
are suffering. The difficulties of Christians should be a prompting
to demonstrate true faith.
When Christians are persecuted, we should take on more firmly the responsibility
of our own faith to joyfully give expression to love, fidelity and justice.
If there are Christians in trouble, I should love my neighbour
still more; I should be more positive in my way of looking at the business
of life, in order to show those suffering the strength of my own faith.
You in the West are living in a way that persecuted Christians
cannot: since they do not have freedom, you must live out the true meaning
of freedom; since they cannot publicly celebrate their faith, you must
give public witness of your faith in your own societies; since
the women in our countries do not have the possibility of feely choosing
to go outside their houses, women in the West should become witnesses
to true Christian freedom.
Still, we are happy, because we have the chance of reflecting on our
choice to be Christians. We are happy because we have the opportunity
of making our freedom concrete — by defending with love the one who
attacks us with rancour and hatred. Ultimately, persecution
cannot make us sad or despairing, because we believe that human life
deserves to be always embraced in a perfect manner, as Jesus showed
us — even if death stares us in the face and we have no more than
a minute left in this world.
Saint Paul says that
“where sin abounded, grace
did still more abound”
(Rom 5:20). With him, we may also say that wherever there is persecution
there too will be the grace of a strong faith — and therein lies our
Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Nona heads the Diocese of Mosul, Iraq.
His letter was made available Oct. 24, 2013 to
Aid to the Church in Need, an
international Catholic charity under the guidance of the Holy See, providing
assistance to the suffering and persecuted Church in more than 140 countries.
See also: THE DYING SHEEP AND THE DEADLY
Why we try to stop Muslims from killing Muslims ... but not Muslims
from killing Christians
Printable PDF Version
The Report: Persecuted
and Forgotten? A Report on Christians oppressed for their Faith 2011-
To assist Aid
to the Church in Need in their vital apostolate, please visit:
1 The Sword of the Prophet:
Islam History, Theology, Impact on the World, Serge
Trifkovic, pp.124-125 (Regina Orthodox press, Inc. 2002)