Thursday, July 19, 2007

Being crucified for their beliefs

SO DID someone take your spot in the church parking lot? The audacity of such an act boggles the mind. It's enough to take it to the church board and complain about such an utterly, unholy act.
Or, perhaps, you didn't get to sit beside the pastor and his wife at the annual church picnic or the fact that Sister So-and-So didn't greet you in the manner you were accustomed to ... such blasphemy will definitely be reported to the district superintendent.
Those slights are common whether you are regular attendee or only manage to darken the church door at Christmas time or at Easter and they stretch from the most devout Catholic to even the most fired-up evangelical.
Am I hitting a raw nerve, oh pious one?
Of course, I'm preaching to myself after reading the BosNewsLife exclusive concerning Christians being crucified in Iraq.
The news service's Eric Leijenaar, who reports from Iraq and Syria, has detailed the findings of senior Dutch parliamentarian Joel Voordewind of the Christian Union (CU), who learned about these atrocities from a reliable source within the United Nations.
Voordewind was quoted as saying, "several Iraqi Christians were nailed to a cross and their arms tied with ropes. The ropes were put on fire."
The BosNewsLife article went on quote Voordewind as saying the victims of the cruxificions are "in most cases Christian converts who abandoned Islam or people who, religiously speaking, are involved in mixed marriages."
These reports come on the heels of thousands of Christians fleeing Iraq because of hideous persecution.
Earlier, Ken Timmerman, the executive director of the Foundation for Democracy of Iran, and author of Countdown to Crisis: the Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran, wrote a thought-provoking expose, entitled Blood of Iraqi Martyrs for Front Page Magazine.
Timmerman, who was nominated for the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize along with John Bolton for his work on Iran, has been one of the few voices to point out the continuing terror against ancient Christian communities from Iraqi Muslim extremists.
In May, Timmerman wrote about the fire bombing of St. George's Assyrian Church in the Dora neighbourhood of Baghdad and pointed out it was the 27th church to have been destroyed by Muslim gangs since the so-called "liberation" of Iraq from Saddam's tyranny.
Perhaps, the most startling quote came from Rev. Dr. Keith Roderick of Christian Solidarity International, who told Timmerman, "the bombing of St. George's Church should leave no doubt in any one's mind that a process of ethnic cleansing has begun."
While fire bombing churches has become a familiar pattern in Iraq and elsewhere throughout the Middle East, Al-Qaeda terrorists are known to force their way into the neighborhoods and demand they pay something called "jizya." Apparently, this "jizya" or "protection" tax was instituted by the Prophet Mohammad and it's known that anyone who refuses pay it are told to convert to Islam "or leave the house within 24 hours or else be killed," according to Timmerman's article.
Peter BetBasoo of the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA) was quoted in Timmerman's story as saying Al Qaeda is demanding that "Christians pay 250,000 dinars (around $200) for the right to stay in their own homes."
While the anti-Christianity wave has swept through Iraq, it is not the only nation which has been under the cloud of persecution.
Others which have been listed are: Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Sudan, China, Yemen, Morocco, Iran, Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Chechnya, Pakistan, Laos, Maldives, Qatar, Turkmenistan, North Korea, and Somalia.
And in one of the most startling statistic available, some 465 Christians are reportedly being murdered daily for their faith, while North American churches, with few exceptions, wallow in a sea of apathy.
In 2006, an Afghan named Abdul Rahman brought the plight of persecuted Christians to world attention.
He was an unknown until his wife filed a complaint against him in a child custody dispute, and accused him of rejecting Islam -- an offence which carries the death penalty under his country's Islamic Sharia law.
Although he was condemned by the Taliban with the obvious threat of death hanging over his head, Rahman stood his ground and after a number of diplomatic manoeuvres, he was able to escape to Italy, which gave him political asylum.
After arriving in Rome from Kabul, he said: "I have been suffering for 11 years, but I was never scared of dying because I have the faith."
Rahman, according to an article in the Afghan Times, said he had converted to Christianity after spending nine years in Germany, and working for a Christian relief agency in Pakistan.

No comments: