PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Please note that these are very few documented of numerous atrocities happening in the middle east.

May 7th 2015

Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox Christian leaders joined forces on Wednesday in Washington DC to call for an end to the silence over persecuted Christian communities in Egypt, Iraq and Syria.

Ecumenical cleansing of Christians in the middle east is going on right now; This region is the unsafest place in the world for Christians. Ecumenical cleansing that is forcing people who are Christians, by whatever label, out of countries where their roots are from the beginning"

Christians in this region wonder if Christians in Western counties and other free countries and regions have forgotten them because they see very little outrage, support and action to preserve the body of Christ.

Christians in Iraq has dropped in number from a high of 1.5 million to about 200,000. The same in Syria, Yemen and Egypt.

This current trajectory, marked by political violence and, in the cases of Iraq and Syria, full-blown war, risks a Middle East largely emptied of the millennia-old presence of Christians, Executed Christians, demolished churches, school and homes,sexual enslavement of Christian women, kidnaps of Christians and clergy is now forcing conversions.

It is not an exaggeration to state that today Christians in the Middle East are experiencing one of the darkest days since the persecutions during the early years of Christianity; When Christians were forced to renounce their faith or die. The same is happening now.

SYRIA

Convert. Submit to Islam. Or face the sword.

Recently, the besieged Christian community in Raqqa - a city in northern Syria – has faced those three stark alternatives.

The terrorist group known as ISIS – the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – made their demands after seizing control of the region. They required the local Christians to renounce their faith and embrace Islam, assent to extreme subjugation, or face death.

On February 27, ISIS published a statement that an agreement had been signed by 20 of Raqqa’s Christian leaders.

Faced with losing their lives or denying their Christian faith, the community opted for dhimmi status – suppression as a “protected” minority – which requires them to submit to an array of demands, including the notorious jizya tax, which can be compared to Mafiosi protection money: purchasing their safety, but under strictly enforced regulations.

Christian Communities destroyed. Churches, schools and homes burnt down. Many Assyrians men beheaded, some crucified in public. Christian women sexually enslaved. Unspeakable atrocities are happening to Christians in Syria right now.

IRAQ

Ancient Treasures Destroyed; others at risk

There are few places on earth where Christianity is as old as it is in Iraq. Christians there trace their history to the first century apostles. But today, their existence has been threatened by the terrorist group that calls itself Islamic State. More than 125,000 Christians -- men, women and children -- have been forced from their homes over the last year.

This terrorist group stormed into Iraq's second largest city, Mosul, last summer and took control. From there, it pushed into the neighboring villages and towns across this region, known as the Nineveh Plains, a vast area that's been home to thousands of Christians since the first century after Christ.

Much of what took almost 2,000 years to build has been lost in a matter of months. For the first time in nearly 2,000 years, there are no Christians left inside Mosul.

Ancient treasures have been decimated ; On the side of a mountain, overlooking the Nineveh Plains of ancient Mesopotamia, is the Monastery of St. Matthew. It's one of the oldest on earth. The voices of its monks have echoed here since the fourth century, uttering prayers that have not changed in words or language.

As it seeks to erase Christianity from the landscape, the Islamic state terrorist group allows no Christian symbols. It just released photographs which show the desecration of the church at what is believed to be the monastery of Mar Gorgis, just north of Mosul.

Monastery of Mar Gorgis was founded in 363, and has survived the Persian and Ottoman empires, Mongol invaders and Kurdish conquests. Today, it's threatened by the Islamic State, whose fighters advanced towards St. Matthew's gates shortly after taking Mosul last summer. Kurdish soldiers pushed them back to this village where their flag still flies only four miles from the monastery.

EGYPT

21 men slaughtered by Islamic extremist terrorist declared martyred.

Village residents inside the Virgin Mary Church in al-Our, Egypt, on Feb. 16, 2015, mourn Egyptian Coptic Christians who were captured in Libya and killed by ISIS militants.

In the yard of the Coptic church in the village of al-Our, dozens listen to the words of a preacher speaking into a microphone. His words rise and fall as he says: “The life we live is but numbered days that will quickly pass, the Bible says.”

His words were intended to comfort a congregation mourning 13 of its members who were among the 21 men slaughtered on a Mediterranean beach in a video released last week by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS). Al-Our is in Egypt’s Minya province, 150 miles south of Cairo, a farm community of some 6,000 Muslims and Christians living in brick, mud and stone houses. Following the spectacular murders of its residents, the town was thrust to the center of the crisis emanating from Libya, where ISIS has established a foothold in the chaos of a civil war.

I felt peace knowing that they died as martyrs in the name of Christ,” says Bashir Estefanous Kamel, 32, whose two younger brothers and one cousin were among the victims. Kamel says he watched the video depicting the men’s execution as soon as it was available. “Of course, the first reaction was sadness at being separated from family.”

In Christianity, a person is considered a martyr if they are killed because of their faith. Christian martyrs include many early Christians such as St. Peter and St. Paul and more recent examples are priests and nuns killed in German concentration camps or during the Spanish Civil War. Egypt’s Coptic Christians, who make up between 10% and 20% of Egypt’s population of 80 million, are among many of the recent Christian martyrs. In two recent attacks by Muslim gunmen and mobs, eight Copts were shot in Nag Hammadi in 2010 and 21 killed in rioting in Kosheh in 2000. The ISIS victims are depicted next to the throne of Jesus on banners, which are suspended inside and outside the church in al-Our.