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The persecution of Christians

The persecution of Christians

I recently met a woman who works with the International Christian Consulate (ICC), an organisation founded in 2015 to provide a “physical consulate” for Christians in the Middle East.1 As well as telling me about the sexual assaults (assaults, plural) she herself had endured at the hands of migrants on the streets of Athens, she pointed me to a report that the ICC has produced detailing the truly shocking treatment Christians are subjected to by Muslims in refugee camps across Europe.

The report is entitled ‘A Survey of Christian Refugees in Greece to Determine their Condition as a Minority Group within the Refugee Population’ and provides data taken from a sample group consisting of 65 Christian refugees at an un-named camp in Attica, Greece (60% male, 40% female). Respondents were 94% Iranian Christian, 6% Afghan Christian. Many were apostates who had lived covertly as Christians in their home countries. Their primary reason for leaving was persecution as a result of their faith.

This survey revealed many shocking realities, but the most shocking is this: Christians are terrified in refugee camps and try to hide their religion. This is solely due to violent attacks by Muslim refugees.

Conditions in the camps are generally dreadful and one doctor reported an increase in tuberculosis. Reports of ethnic gang-violence were also numerous. The UN, the report claims, is “notable by its absence. Not a single respondent .. had received any aid or support from the UN and laughed when asked how the UN had helped them since they left their home countries. One respondent answered by genuinely asking “what’s the UN?””

An American doctor working with Christian refugees said “these people are seriously threatened, because they are forthright about their faith, and that is extraordinarily dangerous in these camps”. He also claimed that the camp at which he worked “would have been fine if you were a Muslim. I wouldn’t even think of going there as a Christian trying to live there…. If you’re a Christian in there, you can forget about it – it would be really dangerous”. He added “unfortunately, they left Iran and showed up in Iran. These camps are like mini Iran or mini Afghanistan, with the same persecution as what they left in their home countries. I can see that even from what I’m looking at medically”.

Another volunteer testified that “Christian women had been raped by Afghan Islamists in the camps”. This anonymous witness also complained that the “use of Muslim Afghan translators by the UN and other agencies [was] making it difficult for Christian refugees to be open about their situations when applying for asylum”.

The report is littered with examples of Muslim violence against Christians, including testimony that Islamists in the camps warn that they will be killed. A staggering 87% of respondents had either witnessed this or experienced it first hand. Threats of death to apostates are common and Christians take these seriously. Gangs of Islamists were reported to have deliberately singled out Christians for violent attack: “We saw fanatic Muslims fighting against Christians. There were so many of them I couldn’t count how many there were – they purposefully came together to attack Christians”.

The refugee camp situation is dire across Europe. Women are routinely attacked and raped such that they are now effectively claiming asylum from the asylum centres, but the treatment of Christians is largely escaping the notice of the media in the West, and indeed Christian leaders.

None of this should come as any surprise, attacks on Christians are happening all over the world and with complete impunity. In Iran and Afghanistan, persecution is the norm2 but once again our leaders appear to believe that when migrants from these countries come to Europe, they will leave their beliefs and attitudes behind. Beliefs and attitudes prompt behaviour, and that doesn’t change en route to Europe either.

All over the Muslim world, the situation is the same. In Pakistan, Christians can be executed on trumped up blasphemy charges3 (that ‘tiny minority of extremists’ again). In Sudan, a woman was sentenced to death for marrying a Christian.4 In fact, converting to Christianity carries the death penalty in many Islamic states.

In the UK, a report this year revealed that “young Muslims are too scared to let go of their religion over fears of violent backlash from their community”.5 Former Muslim Sadia told documentary makers: “I remember saying to my mum, I don't believe in God any more. And her saying, 'you can't tell anybody else because they'll kill you, we are obliged to kill ex-Muslims'”.

This is real, it’s serious, and it’s growing. I myself have known ex-Muslims living in fear in Britain, some on the run from their families. These attitudes are ingrained across the Muslim world and now they have come to Europe. Open borders have made Europe so unsafe that that world is losing its havens. Muslim apostates are subject to the death penalty in Islamic countries, and now for many, in Europe as well. Is this supposed to be progress?

To add insult to injury, Christian leaders in the West continue to welcome Islamic clerics and to sanitise Islam as a religion of peace. In August, the leader of the Church of England, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, welcomed to Britain “two Pakistani preachers who celebrated the killer of a politician who campaigned to protect the nation’s Christians.” According to Breitbart, the men Welby “welcomed to his home are some of Pakistan’s most prominent supporters of Mumtaz Qadri, who was executed this year for murdering the governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, for campaigning against the country’s brutal blasphemy laws used to target Christians.”6

While all of this is going on, the Pope has contributed by insisting that “it is not right to identify Islam with terrorism” and “I think that in nearly all religions there is always a small fundamentalist group." A small fundamentalist group? The law of the land in several countries is a small fundamentalist group?

This cowardly reaction simply mirrors the response to all Islam-related injustices and atrocities across the globe; first silence, then defence of Islam. This is what happens when people are murdered by Muslims, raped by Muslims, attacked in the streets by Muslims. The world is bowing down to Islam, it is allowing the bully to win.

The only response to all of this is courage. We must tell the truth and stand up to this bully. More importantly, we need to replace our weak and cowardly leaders. It is the only solution and it has to happen soon.

Centuries of secularism have made Europe in to a place where religions cannot dominate and religious aggression is not tolerated. Now that is going in to reverse – just like gay rights, women’s freedom and Jewish safety. We have brought catastrophe to Europe, but still those who say so are the ones who are considered to be the problem.

1 http://www.internationalchristianconsulate.com/about-us1/index

2 http://www.dw.com/en/what-its-like-to-be-a-christian-in-iran/a-19002952

3 http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/720545/Christian-woman-SEVEN-YEAR-de...

4 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/sudan/108...

5 http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/717347/British-Muslims-attacked-abused-...

6 http://www.breitbart.com/london/2016/08/29/archbishop-canterbury-welcome...