Obama’s Refugee Policy: Yes to Potential Terrorists, No to Genocide Victims

By Raymond Ibrahim, June 6, 2016:

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute

The Obama administration has been escalating a policy that both abandons Mideast Christians and exposes Americans to the jihad. Late last year it was revealed that 97% of Syrian refugees accepted into the U.S. were Sunni Muslims—the same Islamic sect to which the Islamic State belongs—while fewer than half-a-percent were Christians.

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This disparity has since gotten worse. From May 1 to May 23, 499 Syrian refugees—a number that exceeds the total number of refugees admitted during the last three years—were received into the U.S.  Zero Christians were among them; 99 percent were Sunni (the remaining one percent was simply listed as “Muslim”).

These numbers are troubling:

First, from a strictly humanitarian point of view—and humanitarianism is the chief reason being cited in accepting refugees—Christians should receive priority simply because currently they are among the most persecuted groups in the Middle East.  Along with the Yazidis, Christians are experiencing genocide at the hands of ISIS, as the State Department recently determined.  The Islamic State has repeatedly forced Christians to renounce Christ or die; has enslaved and raped them, and desecrated or destroyed more than 400 of their churches.

As Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) put it this March, “Without doubt, Syrians of all confessions are being victimized by this savage war and are facing unimaginable suffering.  But only Christians and other religious minorities are the deliberate targets of systematic persecution and genocide.”

Sunni Muslims are not being slaughtered, beheaded, and raped for refusing to renounce their faith since it is identical to ISIS’.  They are not having their mosques burned, nor are they being jailed and killed for apostasy, blasphemy, or proselytization.  On the contrary, non-ISIS affiliated Sunnis are responsible for committing dozens of such atrocities against Christian minorities every single month all throughout the Islamic world.[1]

Unsurprisingly, many Sunnis entering America and Europe—including the terrorists who killed 120 people in Paris, 32 people in Brussels, and 12 in California—share the sameSunni-sanctioned hate for and opposition to non-Muslim “infidels.”  Director of National Intelligence James Clapper admits that ISIS is “taking advantage of the torrent of migrants to insert operatives into that flow.”

Even if one were to operate under the assumption that refugee status must be made available to all Syrians, regardless of religion, the simple demographics of Syria expose the pro-Sunni, anti-Christian bias of the current Obama refugee policy:  Christians account for 10% of Syria’s total population—yet they account for less than .5% of the refugees.  Sunni Muslims are 74% of Syria’s population—yet 99% of those received into America.  In other words, there should be 20 times more Christians and about one-quarter fewer Sunnis granted refugee status than there already have been.

Finally, the excuse given by those who defend this disparity does not pass the smell test.  According to the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, Christian and other minorities “fear that registration might bring retribution from other refugees.” So supposedly they do not register and are left out of the process.  Indeed, as ongoing reports reveal, the majority of those at refugee camps—Sunnis—are persecuting the Christians in their midst, sometimes killing them.  During one Mediterranean crossing from Libya to Sicily, Muslim “refugees” shouted “Allahu Akbar!”  as they hurled as many as 53 Christians overboard.

Although the U.N and U.S. know that Sunni refugees are terrorizing Christians in their camps, they abandon the true victims who deserve sanctuary in the West, while “humanitarianly” taking in their persecutors.

The Catholic Church and several mainline Protestant denominations are equally guilty.  Most recently, “Christian refugees [were] ‘let down’ by Pope [Francis]: he promised to take them to Italy but then took only Muslims instead.”

Such hypocrisy has been on open display since the question of refugees was first raised in America.   Months ago, Barrack Obama—who was raised a Sunni Muslim—described the proposal that preference should be given to Christian minorities as “shameful”: “That’s not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion,” loftily added the American president.

Today, however, it is clear from the statistics alone that there is a very clear bias[2]  in the refugee program: it favors those most prone to committing acts of terror in America while ignoring those experiencing genocide.  It is the Obama administration’s own refugee policies that are “shameful,” “not American,” and do not represent “who we are.”

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[1] Even before ISIS’ new “caliphate” was established, Christians were and continue to be targeted by Muslims—Muslim mobs, Muslim individuals, Muslim regimes, and Muslim terrorists, from Muslim countries of all races (Arab, African, Asian, etc.)—and for the same reason: Christians are infidel number one.  See Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians for hundreds of anecdotes before the rise of ISIS as well as the Muslim doctrines that create such hate and contempt for Christians who are especially deserving of refugee status.

[2] These recent revelations of the Obama administration’s pro-Muslim and anti-Christian policies fit a clear and established pattern of religious bias within his administration.  Examples follow:

Also see:

Inconvenient Genocide

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Frontpage, Caroline Glick, April 8, 2016:

The Christian communities of Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Lebanon are well on the way to joining their Jewish cousins. The Jewish communities of these states predated Islam by a millennium, and were vibrant until the 20th century. But the Arab world’s war on the Jewish state, and more generally on Jews, wiped out the Jewish populations several decades ago.

And now the Christian communities, which like the Jews, predate Islam, are being targeted for eradication.

The ongoing genocide of Middle Eastern Christians at the hands of Sunni jihadists is a moral outrage. Does it also affect Israeli national interests? What do we learn from the indifference of Western governments – led by the Obama administration – to their annihilation? True, after years of deliberately playing down the issue and denying the problem, the Obama administration is finally admitting it exists.

Embarrassed by the US House of Representatives’ unanimous adoption of a resolution last month recognizing that Middle Eastern Christians are being targeted for genocide, the State Department finally acknowledged the obvious on March 25, when Secretary of State John Kerry stated that Islamic State is conducting a “genocide of Christians, Yazidis and Shi’ites.”

Kerry’s belated move, which State Department lawyers were quick to insist has no operational significance, raises two questions.

First, what took the Obama administration so long? Persecution of Christians in Iraq began immediately after the US-led coalition brought down Saddam Hussein in 2003. With the rise of Islamic State in 2012, the process of destroying the Christian community went into high gear. And now these ancient communities are on the brink of extinction.

In Iraq, Christians comprised 8 percent of the population in 2003. Today less than 1% of Iraqis are Christians. In Syria, the Christian community has lost between half and two-thirds of its members in the past five years.

One of the appalling aspects of ISIS’s deliberate, open targeting of Christians for destruction is how little resistance it has received from local Sunni populations. As Raymond Ibrahim from the David Horowitz Freedom Center has scrupulously documented, the local Sunnis have not stood up for their Christian neighbors, who have lived side-by-side with them for hundreds of years. Rather, in areas that have been conquered by ISIS, the local Sunnis have collaborated with their genocidal masters in raping and murdering Christian neighbors, plundering their property, destroying their churches, and driving them from their ancestral homes.

Although precise data is hard to come by, it is clear that thousands of Christians have been slaughtered. Thousands of Christian women and girls have been sold as sex slaves in ISIS slave markets, subjected to continuous, violent rape and beatings. Nuns and priests have been enslaved, crucified, mutilated, kidnapped and held for ransom, as have lay members of Christian communities. Christians have been burned alive.

For years, the administration said that the persecution doesn’t amount to genocide because according to ISIS’s propaganda, Christians are allowed to remain in their homes if they agree to live as dhimmis – that is, without any human rights, and subjected to confiscatory taxation.

But as Nina Shea from the Hudson Institute has reported, these claims were shown to be false in Mosul, Nineveh and other places where ISIS has claimed that such practices were instituted.

The jihadist genocide of Christians isn’t limited to Iraq and Syria. Boko Haram – ISIS’s affiliate in Nigeria – is undertaking a systematic campaign to annihilate Christianity in Africa. ISIS’s affiliates in Sinai and Libya have similarly targeted Christians, staging mass beheadings and other monstrous acts.

And of course, a region needn’t be under direct ISIS control for Christians to be targeted for destruction. The Easter massacre in Pakistan was further evidence that wherever radical Islamists gain power, they use it to murder Christians.

And as Larry Franklin from the Gatestone Institute noted in a recent article, the exodus of Christians from the Palestinian Authority is the direct consequence of deliberate persecution of Christians by the PA.

Given the prevalence of Christian persecution, why is the West – which is overwhelmingly Christian – so reticent about mentioning it? And why are Western leaders loathe to do anything to stop it? There are two ways to end genocide. First, you can defeat those conducting it on the battlefield.

If you destroy the forces conducting the genocide, then the genocide ends.

The second way you can stop genocide is by evacuating the targeted population and providing its members with refuge.

After stipulating that ISIS is carrying out a genocide, Kerry made clear that the US will not defeat ISIS to end it. Instead, Kerry said, “We must bear in mind… that the best response to genocide is a reaffirmation of the fundamental right to survive of every group targeted for destruction. What Daesh [ISIS] wants to erase, we must preserve. That requires defeating Daesh, but it also requires the rejection of discrimination and bigotry.”

Kerry then explained that the US’s plan is to cultivate the formation of a multicultural society in Syria. Given the brutal nature of the war, Kerry’s plan is tantamount to saying the US intends to defeat ISIS and rescue those it is currently exterminating by bringing unicorns and leprechauns to the slave markets of Raqqa. Substantively, Kerry’s plan is to deny Christians refuge, and to abandon them to the mercy of their murderers.

While delusional, Kerry’s statement was in line with the Obama administration’s timid, feckless military campaign against ISIS. Everyone knows that the US military could take down ISIS in a matter of weeks if Obama ordered it to do so.

But rather than act decisively, the US has limited its operations to timorous aerial bombing.

By conducting a barely there campaign, Obama tells the world that although he will be happy to take credit for any defeat ISIS suffers, he will not allow the US to lead the fight against the jihadist death machine.

As for providing refuge to the populations targeted with genocide, the raw data make clear that Obama does just the opposite. He is providing refuge for Sunni Muslims, who are not being targeted for genocide, which is being conducted by Sunni Muslims.

As Ibrahim has documented, although Christians made up 10% of the Syrian population in 2011, they comprise a mere 2.7% of the Syrian refugees the Obama administration has allowed into the US. And when presidential hopeful Senator Ted Cruz called for the US to provide refuge to Christians, who pose no security threat and are targeted with genocide and persecution while banning Muslim immigration, Obama accused him of bigotry.

Despite the fact that FBI Director James Comey told Congress that the US lacked the capacity to effectively screen Muslims from Syria for ties to jihadist groups, Obama said that a policy of saving those marked for extinction over those who come from the population conducting the genocide is “shameful,” and “not American.”

Beyond refusing to take the necessary steps to ensure that persecuted Christians are rescued from annihilation, the State Department has been rejecting visa requests from Christian activists and leaders from persecuted communities to visit the US to share information about their suffering with the American public. This, at the same time that the administration has welcomed Muslim jihad sympathizers, including Muslim Brotherhood members, to Washington.

For instance, last May, the State Department denied a visa to Sister Diana Momeka, an Iraqi nun and ISIS survivor. Momeka was the only Christian member of a delegation of persecuted minorities. Representatives of every other group received visas. It took a public outcry to force the State Department to reverse its decision.

Also last year, the State Department gave visas to all Muslim regional governors in northern Nigeria to participate in a conference sponsored by the US Institute of Peace. They denied a visa to the region’s only Christian governor, Jonah David Jang. Christian activists alleged that Jang was denied a visa because he spoke up to US officials about anti-Christian persecution in 12 states in northern Nigeria that have instituted Sharia law.

What accounts for this behavior? The answer is not ignorance, but ideologically- motivated bigotry. The Aid to the Church in Need organization explained in its 2015 report on Christian persecution, “Christians have been targeted [because]… Christianity [is seen] as a foreign ‘colonial’ import. Christians are seen as linked to the West, which is perceived as corrupt and exploitative.”

In another report, the group explained that the Western media has avoided covering the story of the Islamic genocide of Middle East Christians because of “misplaced embarrassment about the 19th-century colonial powers evangelizing ‘the natives’ in far flung places.”

In other words, Middle Eastern Christians, whose communities predate Islam, are targeted because they are perceived as Western implants.

And the West ignores their suffering, because the Left in the West perceives them as Western implants.

In both cases, prejudices, rooted on the one hand in jihadist Islam, and on the other hand in Western self-hatred and post-colonialism, reach the same bigoted conclusion: the only “authentic” people in the Middle East are Muslims.

Everybody else is a colonial implant. And as such, they deserve what they get.

This then brings us back to Israel, and the Jews.

The same ideological prejudice that refuses to recognize that the Islamic State is Islamic, refuses to recognize that jihad is unique to Islam, refuses to recognize that Christians as religious minorities are being targeted for annihilation, and refuses to recognize that the Christians of the Middle East are ancient peoples who have lived in their communities since the dawn of Christianity, also refuse to recognize the rights of the Jewish people as the indigenous people of the land of Israel.

This is the reason that Western governments, led by the Obama administration, are unwilling to defeat ISIS. This is why they are giving preference to Muslim asylum-seekers, who they are incapable of screening, over Christians, who it is unnecessary to screen.

This is the reason that the same governments are far more willing to attack Jews for living beyond the 1949 armistice lines, in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria – the cradle of Jewish civilization and the heartland of the land of Israel, than they are willing to end their support for the PA which sponsors and celebrates terrorism. This is why the same governments eagerly embrace every allegation of Israeli racism, real or imagined, while they ignore, or even fund racist Palestinian efforts to deny Jewish history, a history which leads to the inevitable conclusion that the Jews are the indigenous people of the land of Israel.

The reason Obama refuses to protect Middle East Christians from extinction is because he cannot rescue them – either on the ground or by ensuring they can flee to safety – without abandoning his ideological faith that the only “natives” of the Middle East are the Muslims.

Caroline Glick is the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s Israel Security Project and the Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post. For more information on Ms. Glick’s work, visit carolineglick.com

Also see:

‘The target was Christians,’ Pakistani Taliban says of Lahore Easter attack

56f8fde8ad768Long War Journal, by Bill Roggio, March 28, 2016:

The spokesman for a faction of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan said that the group intentionally targeted Christians in a suicide bombing which killed and wounded hundreds of women and children on Easter Sunday.

“The target was Christians,” Ihsanullah Ihsan, the official spokesman of the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, said according to a statement obtained by The Long War Journal.

Ihsan also said that Jamaat-ul-Ahrar wanted to “send a message to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that we have entered Lahore.” The group has been operating in Punjab province for nearly two years.

At least 72 people, mostly women and children, were killed and more than 300 were wounded after a suicide bomber detonated his explosives at the entrance of the Gulshan-i-Iqbal park in the eastern city of Lahore, according to Dawn. Many of the people at the park were said to have been celebrating Easter Sunday.

The brutal Lahore suicide attack took place just one day after the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the official name of the Afghan Taliban, released a statement entitled “Only Islamic rituals can be celebrated in an Islamic country” on its official website, Voice of Jihad. The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan has given an oath of allegiance to the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar has targeted Christians in Lahore in the past. In March 2015, the group claimed responsibility for the bombings at two churches in Lahore. At least 14 people were killed and 70 more were wounded.

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar launched at least two other suicide attacks in Punjab. In November 2014, a suicide bomber killed 50 people at the Wagah border crossing with India. And in August 2015, another of the group’s suicide bombers killed Punjab province’s home minister and 16 other people in an attack at his house.

The Pakistani military responded to the Easter Sunday massacre in Lahore by announcing the beginning of a wide security operation in Punjab to root out Jamaat-ul-Ahrar. But, as noted, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar has been active in the province and has conducted several high-profile suicide attacks there since November 2014.

A dangerous jihadist group

The leadership of Jamaat-ul-Ahrar is known to have ties to multiple jihadist groups operating in the region. Omar Khalid al Khurasani, a top leader of the group, is closely linked to Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s emir, and has called for the imposition of sharia law and the establishment of a global caliphate. Khurasani has also said that a primary goal of the Pakistani Taliban is to obtain nuclear weapons. [See LWJ reports, Taliban commander wants Pakistan’s nukes, global Islamic caliphate, and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar celebrates 9/11 attack.]

Jamaat-ul-Ahrar split from the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan in the summer of 2014 after a leadership dispute emerged in the wake of the killing of Hakeemullah Mehsud, the previous emir of the Pakistani Taliban alliance. But Jamaat-ul-Ahrar rejoined the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan in March 2015. Lashkar-e-Islam, a group based in Pakistan’s tribal areas, also joined the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan.

The Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan is also known to have integrated key al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi leaders into its organization. In May 2014, three jihadist groups – led by Matiur Rehman, Ehsanul Haq, and Muhammad Shamil – merged with the group. Matiur Rehman, who was put in command of all three factions, is a senior al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi leader. The US Treasury Department described Rehman as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s “chief operational commander” and as “a planning director for al Qaeda” in his 2010 designation.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of The Long War Journal.

Also see:

ISIS Genocide against ‘People of the Book’ — How Long Will Kerry Continue to Talk around It?

John Kerry

National Review, by Nina Shea, March 16, 2016:

For five months, the State Department has indicated that Iraq’s Yazidi community should be declared a target of ISIS genocide but meanwhile has been less sure about ISIS’s intentions toward Middle East Christians. Tomorrow is Secretary John Kerry’s congressional deadline for officially determining whether Christians, along with the Yazidis and possibly others, face genocide by ISIS. Insisting that department lawyers need a little more time to struggle with the evidence, Kerry promises his decision soon, if not this week.

This shouldn’t be a hard case. Few groups have publicized their brutality toward Christians in real time and in technicolor as ISIS has. Christians, among others, have been declared genocide victims by Pope Francis, the EU Parliament, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and the U.S. House of Representatives, in a bipartisan, unanimous vote on March 14, in the heat of election season.

All along, the State Department has demonstrated that it is not just being abundantly cautious and slow in ruling that the atrocities against Christians is genocide but that it is simply unwilling to use that designation specifically for Christians. Rather than carefully reviewing the evidence, as it claims, it has ignored it.

For months, State officials claimed they lacked facts about the Christians and then did nothing about it. Rather than follow the precedent of Secretary Colin Powell, who collected evidence for determining genocide in Darfur, Kerry refrained from dispatching fact finders in the case of the Middle Eastern Christians. When some 30 Christian leaders wrote on December 4 to request an opportunity to brief Kerry, he failed to answer. With only a month remaining until its March deadline, State Department officials asked the Knights of Columbus, which had been running TV spots on the Christian genocide, to prepare a written report of the facts. Before it was even completed, those same officials, meeting with Iraqi Chaldean Catholic leaders, told them that a genocide determination for Iraqi Christians was not in the offing. State suggested that terms such as “persecution,” “ethnic cleansing,” or “crimes against humanity” — terms that carry less moral and legal weight — be used instead.

The Knights on March 9 presented their weighty, 300-page report, based in part on a fact-finding mission that used the Darfur fact-finders’ questionnaire. The Knights list over a thousand instances of ISIS’s deliberately massacring, killing, torturing, enslaving, kidnapping, or raping Christians. This catalogue of horrors, however, may still not be enough.

Genocide is a crime of intent, and State Department officials, overlooking such ISIS declarations as “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women,” have had trouble determining whether ISIS aims to destroy all or part of the Christian communities in its territory and is thereby committing genocide as defined in the United Nations’ Genocide Convention. State’s troubles may be explained in part by its reliance on a 30-page trip report of the Holocaust Museum’s office of genocide prevention. That report finds that ISIS, far from intending to destroy Iraqi and Syrian Christian communities, respects them as “People of the Book,” and seeks to peacefully coexist them.

The report takes at face value ISIS’s claims of a jizya option, as does the State Department in its annual religious-freedom report for 2015. The museum report uncritically asserts that “IS specifically notes that its treatment of the Yezidis differs from its treatment of ahl al kitab, the ‘people of the book,’ Christians and Jews, who had the option of paying the jizya (tax) to avoid conversion or death.”

The museum report repeats such ISIS claims and lets them stand unchallenged. Purporting to quote ISIS fighters on why they reject a Mosul Christian’s attempt to stay and pay the jizya — “we wanted to meet with your priests and they said no” — the report neglects to give the Church’s side of the story. It gives the impression that ISIS gave Iraq’s Christians a reasonable deal but that Christian leaders refused it and therefore have themselves to blame.

That conclusion is reinforced in another passage in the museum report: “It is unknown whether Christians who were given the option to pay a jizya or leave, instead of convert or face death, would still be given this option should they return now.” This speculation, of course, is preposterous. ISIS doesn’t respect Christians. It beheads or enslaves them. The museum report is compromised by its failure ever to present the viewpoint of Christian leaders.

Also see:

U.S. Policy Made 2015 the Worst Persecution of Christians “in Modern History”

Gatestone Institute, by Raymond Ibrahim, March 15 2016:

  • In 35 nations, Islamic extremism “has risen to a level akin to ethnic cleansing” of Christians.
  • Something else stands behind this rise of genocidal “Islamic extremism”: U.S. foreign policy. In every Muslim nation where the U.S. has intervened in the name of “freedom and democracy,” Christian life has exponentially worsened.
  • For years, the Obama administration has refused to list Boko Haram as a terrorist organization, and has argued that its violence had nothing to do with Islam and was a result of poverty and grievances. Instead, the U.S. pressured the Nigerian government to make concessions.
  • The primary achievement of U.S. foreign policies, apart from wasted American blood and treasure — is the unprecedented rise in Muslim nations of Islamic forces outspokenly bent on destroying America.

2015 was the “worst year in modern history for Christian persecution,” according to Open Doors, a human rights organization that has been documenting the persecution of Christians since 1955.

According to its latest data, more than 7,000 Christians were killed for their faith in 2015 — almost twice as many as in 2014. In addition, more than 2,400 churches were attacked, damaged or destroyed — again, more than double the number of the previous year.

In the words of Open Doors’ CEO, David Curry:

The 2016 World Watch List [which ranks the 50 nations where Christians are most persecuted] documents an unprecedented escalation of violence against Christians, making this past year the most violent and sustained attack on Christian faith in modern history. … This research has concluded that after the brutal persecution of Christians in 2014, 2015 proved to be even worse with the persecution continuing to increase, intensify and spread across the globe. … The level of exclusion, discrimination and violence against Christians is unprecedented, spreading and intensifying.

Who or what is behind these unprecedented levels of persecution? Some of it is related to the tendency of non-Western nations to associate Christianity with the “hated West.” Four are Communist nations — Vietnam (ranked #20), Laos (#29), China (#33), and North Korea (#1), where “Christianity is not only seen as ‘opium for the people,’ as is normal for all communist states, it is also seen as deeply Western and despicable,” notes the report. Three are reclaiming their religious heritage in contradistinction to what is portrayed as a depraved West — Hindu India (#17), Buddhist Bhutan (#38) and Myanmar (#23). And two — Mexico (#40) and Columbia (#46) — are fueled by organized crime and drug cartels.

“Islamic extremism” is cited as the source of persecution for the remaining 41 nations that make the list of 50 worst persecutors of Christians. North Korea aside, the rest of the eight nations where Christians experience the worst form of persecution (“extreme persecution”) are all Islamic. In 35 nations, Islamic extremism “has risen to a level akin to ethnic cleansing” of Christians.

A close examination of the report indicates that something else stands behind this rise of genocidal “Islamic extremism”: U.S. foreign policy. In every Muslim nation where the U.S. has intervened in the name of “freedom and democracy,” Christian life has exponentially worsened. Put differently, those who most despise “freedom and democracy” — radical and jihadi Muslims — tend to be the ones most empowered by U.S. foreign policies.

Iraq today, according to the report, is the second worst nation in the world in which to be Christian. Afghanistan is fourth, Syria fifth, and Libya tenth. A decade ago, none of these countries even made the top 10 list. Syria and Libya — when they were ruled by secular autocrats who were eventually demonized by U.S. politicians and media, and then underwent U.S. intervention — did not even make the top 20.

In 2004, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was ranked 32 and scored only 35.5 (out of 100). After a decade’s worth of American lives and treasure were wasted, Iraq now scores 90 and is the worst Muslim nation in which to be Christian. The situation is the same in those other Muslim nations that the U.S. government brought “freedom and democracy” to — and with Syria, which it continues trying to bring “freedom and democracy” to:

  • Syria: A decade ago it was ranked #47 and scored only 24.5. A nation must score at least 50 to count as containing “sparse persecution.” Today it is ranked #5 and scores 87 , or “extreme persecution.”
  • Libya: A decade ago it was ranked #22 and scored 41; today it ranks #10 and scores 79.
  • Afghanistan: A decade ago it ranked #11 and scored 53; today — a decade after the U.S. declared “victory” over al-Qaeda and the Taliban — it is ranked #4 and scores 88.

Even in nations where U.S. intervention is not obvious, Christian persecution has reached unprecedented levels. In Nigeria, Boko Haram — an Islamic group possibly more savage than ISIS — slaughtered more Christians in 2015 than any other terrorist group. Yet for years the Obama administration has refused to list Boko Haram as a terrorist organization, and has argued that its violence had nothing to do with Islam and was a result of poverty and grievances. Instead, the U.S. pressured the Nigerian government to make concessions, including by building more mosques — the very structures, as the Nigerian lawyer Emmanuel Ogebe said, where Muslims are radicalized and recruited for the jihad.

Some of the hundreds of Christian Nigerian schoolgirls who were abducted last year by Boko Haram. (Image source: Boko Haram video)

In May 2013, soon after Nigerian forces killed 30 Boko Haram members in a particularly strong offensive, Reuters reported that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry “issued a strongly worded statement” to the Nigerian president: “We are … deeply concerned by credible allegations that Nigerian security forces are committing gross human rights violations, which, in turn, only escalate the violence and fuel extremism” from Boko Haram.

Those many Americans indifferent to all this persecution “over there” would do well to connect the dots: Globally empowering forces hostile to Christians is synonymous with globally empowering forces hostile to America. Those Muslims who hate and persecute Christians also hate, and seek to persecute, Americans for exactly the same reason: Westerners all are hated non-Muslim infidels.

In short, the primary achievement of U.S. foreign policies, apart from wasted American blood and treasure — is the unprecedented rise in Muslim nations of Islamic forces outspokenly bent on destroying America.

Raymond Ibrahim, author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War in Christians (a Gatestone Publication, published by Regnery, April 2013), is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Nigeria: 500 Christian Villagers Slaughtered by Islamist Extremists

A torched Nigerian village after a previous attack by Boko Haram (Photo: © Reuters)

A torched Nigerian village after a previous attack by Boko Haram (Photo: © Reuters)

Clarion Project, March 17, 2016:

Extremist Muslim herdsmen have slaughtered close to 500 Christian farmers in central Nigeria in a series of ongoing attacks over the last month.

The attackers are reportedly still hiding out in the villages, making it too dangerous for survivors to return and bury the dead.

“We have corpses littered in the field like a war fought in the Roman Empire by Emperor Nero,” said Steven Enada, a development advocate campaigning against the killing, speaking to Morning Star News.

The slaughter has also left 7,000 Christian villagers displaced.

One survivor said he took the risk of coming to one of the villages with a delegation from the Nigerian president. “Entire villages were burned down completely by Fulani herdsmen. Unidentified corpses of these Christians were discovered, properties were looted by these Fulani invaders. As I speak to you, Fulani herdsmen are living in the deserted villages. I couldn’t believe what my eyes saw,” he said.

“Our people were massacred and houses burned down by the Fulani herdsmen,” said another survivor.

Leaders of the herdsmen said that the killings were in retaliation for the slaughter of 10,000 cows by the Christian farmers, a claim vehemently denied.

However, Emmanuel Ogebe, a human-rights lawyer who was part of a fact-finding mission, said logistically, killing such a large number of cattle would have been physically impossible for the Christian farmers.

“Such a mass slaughter would take weeks, and the skeletal remains of the cows would completely dot the landscape of Agatu, and the stench would permeate the air,” he said.

Rather, Ogebe said he feels the motivation was religious jihad, with extremists planning to take over the villages, as evidenced by the fact that the herdsmen were still occupying the villages.

Andy Obeya, who was part of a relief team that visited the villages along with media and activists, said only Christians and church buildings were destroyed in the attack. “There was not a single burnt mosque, where everything else was razed,” Obeya said.

While corpses were found everywhere, Obeya noted the team observed thousands of live cattle grazing on people’s farms.

Sources report the killings are continuing in the area where survivors fled.

Meanwhile, in the northeastern Nigerian state of Borno, the Islamist terror group Boko Haram was believed to be responsible for an attack on a mosque in the city Maiduguri.

Authorities report at least 22 people were killed and 18 wounded when a female suicide bomber sneaked into the mosque during early morning prayers, detonating a bomb. Another bomber blew herself up outside the mosque as survivors were fleeing.

Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is forbidden,” originated in Maiduguri and has been responsible for 20,000 deaths since 2009. Over two-million Nigerians have been internally displaced due to the group’s attacks.

A year ago, the group pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.

Watch: Boko Haram Is Deadlier Than ISIS. Why Don’t We Care?

Al Qaeda Kills 5-Year-Old for Not Being Muslim, 15 Others

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by Counter Jihad, March 14, 2016:

An attack in the Ivory Coast left 16 dead, including a young boy who was shot after begging for his life.  (Warning:  graphic photos at the link.)

One survivor who saw the attack unfold said: ‘They killed a child despite him kneeling down and begging. They shot a woman in the chest. They’ve killed innocent people.’

Another witness, Marcel Guy, said a man with a long beard spoke to two children in Arabic and spared the life of the one who was able to recite an Islamic prayer.

‘The Christian boy was shot and killed right in front of my eyes,’ Guy said.

The practice of asking people to recite these prayers or die is common to several Islamic terrorist organizations.  In Nairobi, gunmen killed only those who could not recite the Islamic prayers:  39 died in that attack, with 150 more injured.  Also in Kenya, 28 bus passengers were killed by gunmen for failing to accurately recite the Islamic prayers.  In Niger, five traders were shot dead by terrorists after they were ordered to recite Koran and could not.

There is some evidence that the practice may spread to Europe.  Robert Spencer reported on a sign in Sweden that threatened, “Pray to Allah or Die.”  (Pictured above.)  Pamela Geller reported on a similar banner in Germany that translates, “Your children will pray to Allah or die.”

Have you ever wondered what such prayer say?  The American Thinker reports:

It is crucial that Westerners discover what Muslims are saying when they recite the Islamic mandatory prayers before sharing their places of worship…. The very first Koranic chapter, considered the most exalted of all chapters, is a prayer directed to Allah asking him to keep Muslims away from the misguided path of Jews and Christians. This chapter is a necessary part of the five mandatory daily prayers, and is recited not once, but anywhere from 17 to 100 times a day by devout Muslims (or in a broader sense, 6200 to 36,500 times a year).

Friday prayers also include recitation of Koranic chapters 62 and 63 where Jews who reject Allah’s commandments in the Torah are loathed and compared to “the likeness of a donkey carrying books but understands them not.” Jews are told to “long for death” if they pretend to be Allah’s favorite.  Nonbelievers are condemned to a state of error until Mohammed is sent by Allah to purify them “from the filth of disbelief and polytheism” with his verses or revelations from Allah.  “Hypocrites” or apostates from Islam are considered enemies, “so beware of them, may Allah destroy them!”

You will need to learn to say them in Arabic if you want to try to save yourself this way.  There are other alternatives than submission, however.

Muslim Responsibility and Western Inaction

bloody-crossAmerican Thinker, by  Eileen F. Toplansky, March 7, 2016:

In the March 2016 issue of National Geographic it is noted that a marble dolphin with a fish in its mouth turned up at a site in the Negev Desert in Israel. The 16-inch statue was embedded in the floor of a seventh-century building. Although some archaeologists believe it may have been part of a statue of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, others maintain that “a dolphin eating a fish symbolizes the persecution of early Christians [.]”

And thus, persecution and murder of Christians continues into the 21st century. In Nigeria, violent killings of Christians are up 62 percent according to Open Doors which monitors religiously motivated violence and persecution. In 2015 there were 4,028 killings and 198 church attacks, nearly double those of the previous year. Since 2009, 11,500 Christians were killed, 13,000 churches were destroyed and 1.3 million Christians have fled to safer areas of Nigeria or have attempted to reach Europe.

According to Rose Gamble, “the persecution of Christians is carried out by three groups: Islamist terror group, Boko Haram, Muslim Fulani herdsmen; and the Muslim religious and political elite that dominate northern Nigeria. In fact, several areas of northern Nigeria have seen Christianity virtually wiped out.”

The ongoing ISIS slaughter of Christians has resulted in the European Parliament unanimously passing a resolution referring to the Islamic State’s (ISIS) killing of religious minorities under its control as “genocide” in the Middle East. But the Obama administration dithers and when asked, White House spokesman Josh Earnest claims that the word genocide “involves a very specific legal determination that has, at this point, not been reached.” This should come as no surprise since the FBI has “released a new edition of its anti-terror video game, ‘Don’t Be a Puppet’ that scrubs all references to Islamic terrorism” per the demands of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR). Thus, as Clare M. Lopez explains, “Islamic jihad is now excluded from a list of potential terror threats.”

Additionally, in Canada “Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant has called out Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over his refusal to recognize as ‘genocide’ the sweeping targeting of Christians by ISIS in the Middle East.” And so, “[t]housands of Yazidis have been summarily executed, killed, or, in the case of Yazidi women, kidnapped and sold into slavery by ISIS.

In a report titled “Our Generation is Gone: The Islamic State’s Targeting of Iraqi Minorities in Ninewa” [sic] published by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, one learns that the Yazidis, Christians, Sabaean-Mandaeans, Shabak, and Turkmen minorities face genocide. One month after the invasion of Nineveh, ISIS issued “a decree saying that Christians had three options: (1) convert to Islam; (2) pay a jizya, a fee levied on non-Muslim residents; or (3) leave the city by noon [.] On the day of the decree, ISIS labeled Christian homes with an ‘N’ for Nasrani, denoting Christian and Shia-Shabak homes with an ‘R’ — for Rafida, denoting Shia.”

Nina Shea, Director, for the Center for Religious Freedom at Hudson Institute has repeatedly publicized the plight of these people and emphatically asserts that

[t]he Islamist genocide — and there can be no doubt that it is genocide, despite world silence — of the Christians, Yazidis, Mandeans, and other defenseless ethno-religious minorities of Syria and Iraq continues. The killing of these peoples is deliberate and brutal and is rooted in religious hatred of the ‘infidel.’ It is meted out in sudden violent executions, mass deportations, and the gradual, methodical destruction of their civilizations.

Washington is blind to this genocide that occurs alongside, but is separate from, a sectarian Muslim power struggle. It has failed to defend them militarily. Now it is failing to provide humanitarian help in the only manner left: resettling the survivors out of harm’s way, in countries where they will be able to rebuild their families and preserve their unique ancient cultures without fear.

As of November 2015, the United States “admitted a… total of 53 Syrian Christian refugees, a lone Yazidi and fewer than ten Druze, Baha’is and Zoroastrians combined.” In fact, there is a “gross under-representation of the non-Muslim communities in the numbers of Syrian refugees into the United States.”

In February of this year, over 100 NGOs sent a letter “urging the administration to declare Islamic State atrocities as genocide against all minorities, including Christians, and not just Yazidis.” Apparently, the State Department leaked “word that an official genocide designation would be forthcoming” but it would only recognize a “Yazidi genocide and not one against Christians.”

Apart from exposing the horror of the situation, why is this designation of “genocide” important? According to Shea, “a genocide designation would have significant policy implications for American efforts to restore property and lands taken from the minority groups and for offers of aid, asylum, and other protections to such victims.” Otherwise, “the United States and other governments would not be bound to act to suppress or even prevent the genocide of these Christians.” But given that Obama invokes the Crusades and the Inquisition, as a means of ignoring Islamic terrorism, the antipathy against Christianity is not surprising.

Raymond Ibrahim publicizes atrocities against Christians in the Moslem world and his January 2016 update includes the following:

Iraq: The Islamic State blew up the country’s oldest Christian monastery, St. Elijah’s. The 27,000-square-foot building had stood near Mosul for 14 centuries.

Kosovo: Muslims urinated in an Orthodox Christian church in Pristina, the capital.

Algeria: On January 7, unknown vandals damaged, robbed and wrote jihadi slogans on a church.

Kuwait: Lawmakers rejected an initially approved request to build churches because it ‘contradicts Islamic sharia laws.’

No location is immune, so that in Mongolia, “days after a church celebrated Christmas, explosives were thrown into the stove chimney of a Kazakh house-church.” In Pakistan, the Apostolic Church was burned. In Kasur, Pakistan, “several Christians are on death row… due to accusations of blasphemy against Islam.” In Germany the Father Superior of St. George the Victorious Monastery in Gotschendorf wrote that “Christian refugees from Syria, Eritrea, and other countries are exposed to humiliation, manhunts, and brutal harassment at the camps for refugees by their Muslim neighbors. This also relates to the Yazidi religious minority.”

A Terror Threat Snapshot document produced by the Majority Staff of the House Homeland Security Committee highlights 81 total ISIS-Linked arrests in America and 21 ISIS-Linked plots to launch attacks in America with 6,600 Western fighters having traveled to the conflict zone to join ISIS. In fact, the United States faces the highest Islamist terror threat since 9/11. Yet, the Obama administration has surged the release of terrorists from Guantanamo Bay despite alarming rates of recidivism. And the Iranian regime which gained access to $100 billion in cash as a result of the nuclear deal continues to fuel its global network of terror. In the Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchestan, the Islamists executed every man in a village. In fact, the Islamic Republic of Iran continues… to execute more individuals per capita than any other country in the world.

U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s testimony to Congress on current security threats clearly indicate that Obama’s approach of “strategic patience” has not worked; instead, his leading from behind has unleashed more global terrorism, nuclear proliferation, diminished global freedom, and human suffering. Leading “threat actors” are Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and non-state actors who “continue to use the internet to organize, recruit, spread propaganda, collect intelligence, raise funds, and coordinate operations.” Sunni violent extremism has been on an upward trajectory since the late 1970s and has more groups, members, and safe havens than at any other point in history.” Moreover, “Al -Qa’ida’s affiliates have proven resilient.”And, finally, homegrown violent extremists pose the most significant Sunni terrorist threat to the US homeland in 2016.”

Those who insist that concerned Americans are either racist or exaggerating the danger would do well to ask themselves “[w]hat if Christian terrorists were blowing up Muslims” as liberal Saudi journalist Nadine Al-Budair posits. She asserts that Muslims consistently “absolve [themselves] of guilt and she pointedly asks the following:

Imagine a Western youth coming here and carrying out a suicide mission in one of our public squares in the name of the Cross [.]

Imagine hearing the voices of monks and priests from churches and prayer houses in and out of the Arab world, screaming on loudspeakers and levelling accusations against Muslims, calling them infidels, and chanting: ‘God, eliminate the Muslims and defeat them all.’

Imagine that we had provided an endless number of foreign groups with visas, ID cards, citizenships, proper jobs, free education, free modern healthcare, social security, . . . and later a member of one of these groups came out, consumed by hatred and bloodlust, and killed our sons on our streets, in our buildings, in our newspaper [offices], in our mosques and in our schools.

It is strange that we condemn [the West] instead of addressing what is happening in our midst – the extremist ways in which we interpret the shari’a and our reactionary attitudes towards each other and the world. It is strange that we condemn instead of apologizing to the world.

Strange, indeed.

Also see:

Muslims Claim Lion’s Share of Christian Victims

ws

Frontpage, by Raymond Ibrahim, March 7, 2015:

Open Doors, an organization that advocates for persecuted Christians, recently released its latest World Watch List—a report that highlights and ranks the 50 worst nations to be Christian.  It found that 2015 was the “worst year in modern history for Christian persecution.”

Who claims the lion’s share of this unprecedented persecution?  Muslims—of all races, nationalities, languages, and socio-political circumstances: Muslims from among America’s closest allies (Saudi Arabia #14 worst persecutor) and its opponents (Iran #9); Muslims from economically rich nations (Qatar #21) and from poor nations (Somalia #7 and Yemen #11); Muslims from “Islamic republic” nations (Afghanistan #4) and from “moderate” nations (Malaysia #30 and Indonesia #43); Muslims from nations rescued by America (Kuwait #41) and Muslims from nations claiming “grievances” against the U.S. (fill in the blank __).

The report finds that “Islamic extremism” is the main source of persecution in 41 of the top 50 countries—that is, 82 percent of the world’s persecution of Christians is being committed by Muslims.  As for the top ten worst countries persecuting Christians, nine of them are Muslim-majority—that is, 90 percent of nations where Christians experience “extreme persecution” are Muslim.

Still, considering that the 2016 World Watch List ranks North Korea—non-Islamic, communist—as the number one worst persecutor of Christians, why belabor the religious identity of Muslims?  Surely this suggests that Christian persecution is not intrinsic to the Islamic world but is rather a product of repressive regimes and other socio-economic factors—as the North Korean example suggests and as many politicians and other talking heads maintain?

Here we come to some critically important but rarely acknowledged distinctions.   While Christians are indeed suffering extreme persecution in North Korea, these fall into the realm of the temporal and aberrant.  Something as simple as overthrowing Kim Jong-un’s regime could lead to a quick halt to the persecution—just as the fall of Communist Soviet Union saw the end of religious persecution. The vibrancy of Christianity in South Korea is suggestive of what may be in store—and thus creates such fear for—its northern counterpart.

In the Islamic world, however, a similar scenario would not alleviate the sufferings of Christians by an iota.  Quite the opposite; where dictators fall (often thanks to U.S. intervention)—Saddam in Iraq, Qaddafi in Libya, and ongoing attempts against Assad in Syria—Christian persecution dramatically rises.  Today Iraq is the second worst nation in the world in which to be Christian, Syria fifth, and Libya tenth.  A decade ago under the “evil” dictators, Iraq was ranked 32, Syria 47, and Libya 22.

The difference between Muslim and non-Muslim persecution (e.g., communist) of Christians is that the latter is often rooted in a particular regime.  Conversely, Muslim persecution of Christians is perennial, existential, and far transcends this or that regime or ruler.  It is part and parcel of the history, doctrines, and socio-political makeup of Islam—hence its tenacity; hence its ubiquity.

Moreover, atheistic communism is a relatively new phenomenon—about a century old—and, over the years, its rule (if not variants of its ideology) has greatly waned, so that only a handful of nations today are communist.

On the other hand, Muslim persecution of Christians is as old as Islam. It is a well-documented, even if suppressed, history.

To further understand the differences between temporal and existential persecution, consider Russia. Under communism, its own Christians were persecuted; yet today, after the fall of the USSR, Russia is again reclaiming its Orthodox Christian heritage.

North Korea—where Kim Jong-un is worshipped as a god and the people are shielded from reality—seems to be experiencing what Russia did under the Soviet Union.  But if the once mighty USSR could not persevere, surely it’s a matter of time before tiny North Korea’s walls also come crumbling down, with the resulting religious freedom that former communist nations have experienced. (Tellingly, the only countries that were part of the USSR that still persecute Christians are Muslim, such as Uzbekistan, #15, and Turkmenistan, #19.)

Time, however, is not on the side of Christians living amid Muslims; quite the opposite.

In short, Muslim persecution of Christians exists in 41 nations today as part of a continuum—or “tradition”—that started nearly 14 centuries ago.  As I document in Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, the very same patterns of Christian persecution prevalent throughout the Muslim world today are often identical to those from centuries past.

A final consideration: North Korea, the one non-Muslim nation making the top ten worst persecutors list, is governed by what is widely seen as an unbalanced megalomaniac; conversely, the other nine nations are not dominated by any “cults-of-personalities” and are variously governed: including through parliamentarian democracies (Iraq), parliamentarian republics (Pakistan and Somalia), one-party or presidential republics (Eritrea, Sudan and Syria), Islamic republics (Afghanistan and Iran), and transitional/disputed governments (Libya).  Looking at the other Muslim nations that make the top 50 persecutors’ list and even more forms of governments proliferate, for example monarchies (Saudi Arabia #14).

The common denominator is that they are all Islamic nations.

Thus, long after North Korea’s psychotic Kim Jong-un has gone the way of the dodo, tens of millions of Christians and other “infidels” will continue to suffer extreme persecution, till what began in the seventh century reaches fruition and the entire Islamic world becomes “infidel” free.

Confronting this discomforting and better-left-unsaid fact is the first real step to alleviating the sufferings of the overwhelming majority of Christians around the world.

Unfortunately, however, while some are willing to point out that Christians are being persecuted around the Muslim world—why that is the case, why 82% of the world’s persecution is committed by Muslims from a variety of backgrounds and circumstances—is the great elephant in the room that few wish to address.  For doing so would cause some long held and cherished premises of the modern West—chiefly the twin doctrines of religious relativism and multiculturalism—to come crashing down.

Kerry Having ‘Additional Evaluation’ Done to Decide if Slaughter of Mideast Christians is Genocide

156021_0002By Terence P. Jeffrey | February 24, 2016:

(CNSNews.com) – Secretary of State John Kerry told the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of State and Foreign Assistance today that he is having an “additional evaluation” done to help him determine whether the systematic murder of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East—at the hands of the Islamic State and others—should be declared “genocide.”

“I will make a decision on it as soon as I have that additional evaluation and we will proceed forward from there,” Kerry said.

Kerry was responding to a question put to him by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R.-Neb.), who is the sponsor of a resolution that would declare on behalf of Congress that it is in fact genocide.

The resolution expresses “the sense of Congress that those who commit or support atrocities against Christians and other ethnic and religious minorities, including Yezidis, Turkmen, Sabea-Mandeans, Kaka‘e, and Kurds, and who target them specifically for ethnic or religious reasons, are committing, and are hereby declared to be committing, ‘war crimes,’ ‘crimes against humanity,’ and ‘genocide.’”

As a preface to his question, Fortenberry told Kerry about a young Syrian man who had been murdered by jihadists after refusing to renounce his Christian faith.

“I had the extraordinary privilege of being in the room with Pope Francis when he, in a very powerful moment, was given a small cross, a Christian crucifix,” said Fortenberry. “That crucifix had belonged to a young Syrian man who had been captured by the jihadists, and he was told to choose: Convert or die. And he chose his ancient faith tradition. He chose Christ, and he was beheaded.”

“His mother was able to recover the body, recover this cross, and bury him,” said Fortenberry. “She fled to Austria, which set the stage for this moment which I witnessed.”

“Mr. Secretary, this is repeating itself over and over and over again against Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities in the region,” said Fortenberry.

“What I’m urging here today,” said Fortenberry, “is that you use the authority and power of your office to call this genocide, to help restore the rich tapestry of the ancient faith traditions in the Middle East, to stop this assault on human dignity and civilization itself.”

Kerry said he is now considering declaring the targeting of Middle East Christians and other religious minorities in the region a genocide.

But, Kerry said, he has asked for “further evalution” to be done before he makes a final decision.

“I share just a huge sense of revulsion over these acts, obviously,” Kerry said. “None of us have ever seen anything like it in our lifetimes. Although, obviously, if you go back to the Holocaust, the world has seen it.

“We are currently doing what I have to do, which is review very carefully the legal standards and precedents for whatever judgment is made,” he said.

“I can tell you we are doing that,” he said. “I have had some initial recommendations made to me. I have asked for some further evaluation. And I will make a decision on this. And I will make a decision on it as soon as I have that additional evaluation and we will proceed forward from there.”

Here is the transcript of the exchange between Fortenberry and Kerry:

Fortenberry: Mr. Secretary, I had the extraordinary privilege of being in the room with Pope Francis when he, in a very powerful moment, was given a small cross, a Christian crucifix. That crucifix had belonged to a young Syrian man who had been captured by the jihadists, and he was told to choose: Convert or die. And he chose his ancient faith tradition. He chose Christ, and he was beheaded.

His mother was able to recover the body, recover this cross, and bury him. And she fled to Austria, which set the stage for this moment which I witnessed.

Mr. Secretary, this is repeating itself over and over and over again against Christians, Yazidis, and other religious minorities in the region. In 2004, Colin Powell, when he was secretary of state, came before Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and I believe you served on that committee at that point, and declared what was happening in Darfur to be a genocide.

There are 200 members of Congress in a bi-partisan fashion, we’ve put our names on a resolution that is forthcoming that declares this genocide. There is a growing international consensus in this regard. The European Parliament has passed something similar. The U.S. Catholic Bishops, Pope Francis has spoken out, Hillary Clinton has called it such, Marco Rubio, the international association of genocide scholars.

I want a note as well a word of thanks to you and President Obama for the quick action on Mount Sinjar that actually saved the lives of women and children, countless persons who would have been wiped out and victimized.

So, what I’m urging here today is that you use the authority and power of your office to call this genocide, to help restore the rich tapestry of the ancient faith traditions in the Middle East, to stop this assault on human dignity and civilization itself. And to set potentially the conditions that we are all hoping and praying for that re-establishes stability and reintegration of these ancient faith traditions into the fabric of the communities in the Middle East entirely.

I think the stability, the future stability, of the entire region depends upon this.

Kerry: Well again Congressman thank you for a very moving and eloquent description of the problem. And I appreciate, you were lucky to be in that room to witness that, and I certainly appreciate your reactions to it. And I share just a huge sense of revulsion over these acts, obviously. None of us have ever seen anything like it in our lifetimes. Although, obviously, if you go back to the Holocaust, the world has seen it.

We are currently doing what I have to do, which is review very carefully the legal standards and precedents for whatever judgment is made. I can tell you we are doing that. I have had some initial recommendations made to me. I have asked for some further evaluation. And I will make a decision on this. And I will make a decision on it as soon as I have that additional evaluation and we will proceed forward from there.

I understand how compelling it is. Christians have been moved in many parts now of the Middle East, I might add. This is not just in Syria, but in other places there has been an increased forced evacuation and displacement, which is equally disturbing, though it’s not—you know, they aren’t killing them in that case, but it’s a removal, and a cleansing ethnically and religiously, which is deeply disturbing. So we are very much focused on this. And, as I say, I will make a judgement soon.

Fortenberry: They have taken the conditions for life as well as life away from Christians, Yazidis, and religious minorities. And I bring up the declaration by former Secretary of State Colin Powell to demonstrate the power that the declaration actually has, because in doing so he helped put a stop to that grim reality there in Darfur.

I know you share deep sympathies in this regard. I just urge you, and plead with you, partner with us. There is a growing consensus that this is not only true and real but I think, again, it sets the condition for whatever the future settlement we have to have.

***

Watch this powerful video put out by Center for Security Policy. And be sure to check out their new website counterJihad.com

The End of Christianity in the Middle East?

Christian Persecution in 2015 at ‘Levels Akin to Ethnic Cleansing’

Police beat a Pakistani Christian. (Photo: © Reuters)

Police beat a Pakistani Christian. (Photo: © Reuters)

Clarion Project, Jan. 20, 2015:

Persecution of Christians is on the rise, with 2015 the most violent year in modern history for members of the faith. That is the conclusion of a new report by Open Doors USA, a non-profit group that has been monitoring Christian persecution worldwide since 1955.

The group says last year persecution of Christians reached “a level akin to ethnic cleansing,”

The report notes, “Islamic extremism remains by far the most common driver of persecution: in eight out of the top 10, and 35 out of the top 50 countries, it is the primary cause. A rise in Islamic extremism sees Pakistan at its highest position ever, and Libya entering the top ten for the first time.”

Worldwide, the report notes, according to conservative estimates and excluding North Korea, Syria and Iraq (where records do not exist), over 7,000 Christians were killed for faith-related reasons in this past year  – a rise of almost 3,000 from the previous year.

Close to 2,400 churches were attacked or damaged – over double the number for last year.

In addition, the report also states “all the time, beneath these ‘headline’ events, there is constant, low-level, localized persecution. Christians are driven out of their communities, refused burial, denied jobs or education. Churches are torn down because of local opposition or mob rule. For millions of Christians, the everyday persecution happens in their village, or even among their family.”

The following are some of the main outtakes from the report:

Islamic extremism has been crossing borders:

The Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL) has moved beyond Syria and Iraq and into Libya. Boko Haram has spread to Cameroon and Chad, and al-Shabaab into Kenya. Meanwhile, many smaller extremist movements have declared themselves part of the ISIS group of caliphates. Even the West has felt the tremors. Bombs in Paris, gunfights in California, holidaymakers killed on a Tunisian beach: in a globalized world, there is no such place as abroad anymore.

Many parts of the Muslim world are becoming more Islamic:

All over the Middle East especially, Muslims are becoming more fundamentalist, partly out of fear that extremists may take over. However, there is a counter-trend as many Muslims search for a new identity as they turn away in disgust from extremism. Many are choosing Christianity as a faith instead.

African countries continue to move into the top 50:

Islamic extremism in the world today has two hubs, one in the Middle East, the other in sub-Saharan Africa. Sixteen countries in the top 50 are from Africa, seven in the top 20. In numerical terms, if not in degree, the persecution of Christians in this region dwarfs what is happening in the Middle East.

More states are lawless, and minorities suffer violence:

Much of Syria and Iraq has become effectively lawless, with Christian communities especially targeted. In lawless Libya, migrant Christians from Sudan, Egypt and Eritrea were brutally executed, and the tiny Muslim-background believer church has been driven even further into hiding. In Yemen, Saudi-led forces make it even harder for the few Christians remaining.

Never have so many Christians been on the move:

The “migrant crisis” is not limited to the Mediterranean. Tens of thousands of Christians fled the 12 Islamic Sharia states of northern Nigeria. In Kenya, Christians are fleeing the Muslim majority areas. Every month, thousands leave Eritrea, braving desert and trafficking gangs. Even Pakistani Christians are fleeing to countries in South East Asia.

Ethnic cleansing is back as an anti-Christian tactic:

In the Middle East and Africa, persecution increasingly takes the form of ethnic cleansing. In middle-belt Nigeria, Christians have been forcefully removed from their homes and indigenous land by the Hausa-Fulani settlers. In Sudan, Nuba Christians have been indiscriminately targeted and killed. The intent is to remove or even exterminate Christians.

Get a preview of Clarion Project’s upcoming film, Faithkeepers, about the violent persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East. The film features exclusive footage and testimonials of Christians, Baha’i, Yazidis, Jews, and other minority refugees, and a historical context of the persecution in the region.

***

Ryan Mauro on Newsmax TV: ISIS Destruction of Oldest Christian Monastery Shows Church Must Wake Up

Also see:

Former Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf Presses Administration on ISIS Genocide

Source: The Investigative Project

Source: The Investigative Project

New English Review, by Jerry Gordon, Nov. 20, 2015:

Frank Wolf, former Northern Virginia Congressman in the US House of Representatives, and veteran human rights advocate, has been in the forefront of pressing the Administration to issue a rumored State Department ruling against ISIS for Genocide against Yazidis and hopefully threatened Christian and other non-Muslim Minorities in Syria and Iraq. We revealed the stalemate over including Syrian and Iraqi Christians in the proposed Genocide ruling in a post on a report by Nina Shea of the Hudson Institute Center for Religious Freedom, “State Department May Exclude Middle East Christians from ISIS Genocide Victim Ruling.”  Ann Patterson, Assistant Secretary of State who heads the Bureau of Near East Affairs, had allegedly excluded threatened Christian minorities from the proposed order. Patterson is the former US Ambassador to Egypt, who had supported the ousted Morsi regime backed by the Muslim Brotherhood. We are pleased that our Lisa Benson Show colleague, Dr. M. Zhudi Jasser, Vice Chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom supports inclusion of threatened Syriac and Assyrian Chaldean Christians in the proposed State department ISIS Genocide ruling.

Wolf’s campaign in support of the Genocide ruling against ISIS was reported in article by John Rossomando of Steve Emerson’s The Investigative Project, “Wolf Encouraged by Reported Administration Plans to Label ISIS Atrocities, Genocide:”  

“The administration from what we can gather is taking this very, very seriously,” Wolf said.

Wolf, a former Republican congressman from Northern Virginia, doesn’t agree with the Obama administration on many things, but the genocide issue may be one in which common ground is in sight.

“I commend them,” Wolf said. “I’m really pleased that they are moving ahead and doing this, but now that the administration is doing this, Congress ought to do something.”

A bipartisan resolution pending in the U.S. House describes crimes being perpetrated against Christians and other ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria as genocide under international law. It calls on the United Nations to “to assert leadership by calling the atrocities being committed in these places by their rightful names: ‘war crimes’, ‘crimes against humanity’, and ‘genocide’.”

In September, Wolf sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch asking that the genocide label be applied. He also asked that the U.S. prosecute ISIS’s self-proclaimed caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and Mohammed Emwazi, aka “Jihadi John,” for killing American journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley, and American aid worker Kala Mueller.

That was before a drone strike in Syria killed Emwazi last week.

Wolf’s investigation in Iraq reveals Genocide and threatened Yazidi and other religious minorities.

Wolf interviewed 75 Yazidi girls last winter during a trip to the region with the 21stCentury Wilberforce Initiative, where he is a distinguished fellow.

“When we got back, it was clear to me that what we saw was genocide, particularly against the Yazidis, but even the Christians,” Wolf said.

In addition to the Yazidis, Shiite Muslims and Turkomen also are genocide victims, Wolf said. Wolf’s quest received an added boost from the U.S. Holocaust Museum, which issued a report last week also calling on the administration to label the atrocities against the Yazidis as genocide.

The report stated:

“Our findings also suggest there is sufficient reason to assert that in addition to committing crimes against humanity and war crimes, IS perpetrated genocide against the Yezidi population living in Ninewa in August 2014. The determination of genocide against the Yezidi population is based on a preponderance of the evidence, and does not reflect the standard necessary for individual criminal responsibility. Any formal determination that genocide was perpetrated needs to be made by a court and based on careful consideration of the evidence.”

Why the Genocide ruling is important.

“It would help trigger the indictment of … Al-Baghdadi,” Wolf said. “Al-Baghdadi was directly responsible for the deaths of the four Americans, including the assault of the poor woman from Arizona.

“That would almost have to follow through because it would force the Justice Department … to indict Al-Baghdadi.”

A genocide declaration would open the way to prosecuting anyone who helps ISIS. It also could pressure the U.N. to similarly classify the atrocities as genocide, Wolf said. Such people could be brought before the International Criminal Court in The Hague for war crimes tribunals similar to those that followed the Holocaust or the Yugoslav wars in the 1990s.

“Anyone who did anything at all would be guilty of genocide,” Wolf said. “They would be a participant in genocide, so that will kind of chill a lot of the support for ISIS.”

The curious role of Qatari and Saudi culpability in support of ISIS Genocide.

This could potentially ensnare the ISIS supporters in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and even Turkey, the latter of which failed to stem the tide of foreign fighters into Syria.

Numerous people warned Wolf during his trip of Qatari funding for ISIS. Wealthy Qataris who bankrolled ISIS’s predecessor, al-Qaida in Iraq, have maintained their financial support for ISIS. U.S. authorities repeatedly have cited Qatar for its failure to crackdown on terrorism financing.

“Qatar’s overall level of [counter-terrorism] cooperation with the U.S. is considered the worst in the region,” a top level State Department official wrote in a secret Dec. 30, 2009 State Department cable.

Saudi citizens “have funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to Syria in recent years, including to ISIS and other groups,” Washington Institute Fellow Lori Plotkin Boghart wrote in a June 2014 report.

Turkey’s Intelligence Facilitates ISIS Smuggled Oil Sales.

A declaration also could turn those involved in black market ISIS oil sales into accessories to genocide.

“Trucks are rolling out of ISIS-controlled territory up into Turkey,” Wolf said.

ISIS earns an estimated $50 million per month from selling oil, Iraqi and American officials told the Associated Press. Turkey’s shadowy intelligence agency, MIT, is alleged to be helping manage ISIS’s oil smuggling operation.

Wolf also condemned Turkey for failing to shut down the flow of foreign fighters into its territory.

“Anyone aiding and abetting [genocide] could be prosecuted,” Wolf said.

Jasser on the Problem of Excluding Christians from the ISIS Genocide Ruling.

“There is no doubt that that designation meets the parameters of the definition of genocide because of the declaration by ISIS that they wanted to wipe those (Christians) out,” said Zhudi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Form for Democracy. “Their policies really do not fit together.

“This designation becomes meaningless if it’s not applied in a consistent and rational way,” said Jasser, who also serves as vice-chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. ”

Christians must be included in any final declaration, Wolf said, but added that he was unaware of any effort to omit them.

A State Department spokeswoman would not comment on which minority groups might be covered in a genocide declaration, saying the agency did not want to “comment on any internal discussions.”

“We certainly continue to be horrified by ISIL’s atrocities against the Yazidi people, as well as its continuing appalling atrocities against other minority communities including Christians, Shabak, Turkmen, Sabean-Mandean, Kakai and other minority populations through its horrific campaign of murder, kidnapping, sexual slavery and forcible transfer of populations,” State Department spokeswoman Julia Mason said in an e-mailed statement.

Wolf and Jasser’s comments and those of Ms. Mason of the State raise questions of what’s behind Ms.Patterson’s reluctance to include Syrian and Iraqi Christians in the Genocide ruling. Is it perhaps because, as Shea, Joseph Kassab of the Iraqi Christian Advocacy and Empowerment Institute contend that it would force the State Department Refugee Admissions Program (RAP) under Assistant Secretary Ann Richards to issue P2/P3 visas for Family Reunification to tens of thousands of accredited Christians?  This disputed State Department ISIS Genocide ruling comes amidst the roiling Congressional debate with the Obama White House over admission of an initial allotment of allegedly vetted Syrian Refugees.  Arkansas US Sen. Tom Cotton revealed that the RAP “inadvertently” discriminates against Christians. Of the 2000 Syrian Refugees that have been admitted under RAP during the last three years, less than 3 percent were Christians. That is due  UN High Commissioner for Refugees Program excludes virtually all Christians as they are “urban refugees” avoiding those detention camps because of threats on their lives from Muslim residents, some alleged ISIS sympathizers.

The Refugee Resettlement Process is Already Discriminatory

obama-600x315Center for Security Policy, by Kyle Shideler, Nov. 17, 2015:

President Obama made headlines today in reaction to a question from the press regarding the possibility of taking in Syrian Christian and other religious minorities ahead or in place of Syrian Muslims (Syria is majority Sunni Muslim.) The President responded aggressively claiming such a policy was, “… not American. That’s not who we are. We don’t have religious tests to our compassion.”

The reality however is that the Refugee Resettlement system already has “a religious test of their compassion”, to quote the president. And that’s a test which actively disfavors Christians, according to figures released by the State Department:

Of 2,184 Syrian refugees admitted into the U.S. since the Syrian civil war erupted in 2011, only 53 (2.4 percent) have been Christians while 2098 (or 96 percent) have been Muslims, according to State Department statistics updated on Monday. The remaining 33 include 1 Yazidi, 8 Jehovah Witnesses, 2 Baha’i, 6 Zoroastrians, 6 of “other religion,” 7 of “no religion,” and 3 atheists.

The CIA Factbook for Syria gives the stated percentage of Christians in Syria at 10%. Estimates by Christian aid groups have suggested between half a million and 700,000 Syrian Christians have fled the country, making them between 16% to 23% of the estimated 3 million Syrian refugees who have fled the country. This seems reasonable, given that Christian groups in the Middle East face aggressive discrimination from a wide variety of the factions fighting across the Middle East, including especially the Islamic State, and so could reasonably be conceived to make up a disproportionate percentage of refugees.

So depending on calculation method Christian refugees could fairly be between 10% to 23% of the total refugee flow from Syria, ignoring any other questions of preference such as propensity to support groups like Islamic State.

But they are only 2.4%. That is heavily suggestive that there is a systematic bias against Christian refugees within the system.

One of the elements at play is the fact that for the most part, the United States does not get to select its own refugees. As Nina Shea highlights at National Review, The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is typically the deciding agency, and recommends to the United States which refugees will be resettled. So the selection process hits several snags. Firstly, Christian refugees almost overwhelmingly avoid United Nations refugee camps out of legitimate fears of possible violence against them.Reports of attacks on Christians refugees by their Muslim counterparts have been reported, such as when Christian refugees on a boat in the Mediterranean were thrown overboard, and German police have openly urged publicly separating Christian and Muslim refugees, due to attacks. In one case a Christian convert was beaten unconscious by a metal baton.

Secondly, the United Nations itself is strongly beholden to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), it’s largest voting bloc, which has its own views on the refugee situation that are unlikely to conform with U.S. interests and equally unlikely to favor Christians, given that at the OIC’s home headquarters, in Saudi Arabia, the practice of Christianity is itself largely illegal.

Thirdly, and perhaps most largely problematic, is the appearance of overt anti-Christian bias by the State Department itself. As good friend of the Center, Institute for Religion and Democracy’s Faith McDonnell notes in her recent piece on the state of Christian refugees, the State Department has explicitly declared they, “would not support a special category to bring Assyrian Christians into the United States,” in response to a plan by a private aid group to fund, entirely free of taxpayer dollars, the transport of Assyrian Christians facing extermination by Islamic State.

In other words, even when its free, no cost to them, the State Department has preferred to snubbed Christians rather than save them.

So it’s true that there is a “religious test” for refugee admittance into the United States, but it is a deck stacked against Christians, not for them. President Obama is treating efforts to address this ongoing discrimination as if it, and not the original policy, is based in bias.

It is highly disingenuous that the President is treating any criticism of a discriminatory system of resettlement as itself discriminatory, in order to shut up debate about the plight of Middle Eastern Christians.

The Indonesian Jihad on Christian Churches

Gatestone Institute, by Raymond Ibrahim, November 11, 2015:

  • “We will not stop hunting Christians and burning churches. Christians are Allah’s enemies!” – Islamic leaders, Aceh region.
  • In other parts of Indonesia, where Islamic law, or Sharia, is not enforced, churches, even fully registered ones, are also under attack
  • On Dec. 25, 2012, with all required paperwork in place, when the congregation assembled on empty land to celebrate Christmas, hundreds of Muslims threw rocks, rotten eggs, and bags filled with excrement at the Christians. Police stood by and watched.
  • For Indonesia, the country once hailed as the face of “moderate Islam,” the “extremist” behavior one would expect of ISIS has apparently become the norm.

In compliance with Islamic demands, Indonesian authorities in the Aceh region have started to tear down Christian churches. Their move comes after Muslim mobs rampaged and attacked churches. At least one person was killed; thousands of Christians were displaced.

On Friday, October 9, after being fired up during mosque sermons, hundreds of Muslims marched to the local authority’s office and demanded that all unregistered churches in Aceh be closed. Imams issued text messages spurring Muslims from other areas to rise up against churches and call for their demolition.

On Monday, October 12, authorities facilitated a meeting with Islamic leaders and agreed to demolish 10 unregistered churches over the course of two weeks.

Apparently this was not fast enough to meet Muslim demands for immediate action. On the following day, a mob of approximately 700 Muslims, some armed with axes and machetes, torched a local church, even though it was not on the list of churches agreed upon for demolition.

church burning

The Muslim mob then moved on to a second church, an act that led to violent clashes. One person, believed to be a Christian, died after being shot in the head. Several were injured, as Christians tried to defend their church against the armed mob.

Approximately 8,000 Christians were displaced; many fled to bordering provinces. Their fears were justified: Islamic leaders continued issuing messages and text messages saying, “We will not stop hunting Christians and burning churches. Christians are Allah’s enemies!”

Instead of punishing those who incited violence and took the law into their own hands by torching and attacking churches, local authorities demolished three churches (a Catholic mission station and two Protestant churches) on October 19. In the coming days, seven more churches are set to be demolished; in the coming months and years, dozens more.

Authorities had originally requested of church leaders to demolish their own churches. “How can we do that?” asked Paima Berutu, one of the church leaders: “It is impossible [for us to take it down] … Some of us watched [the demolition] from afar, man and women. It was painful.”

The situation in Aceh remains tense: “Every church member is guarding his own church right now,” said another pastor

As for the displaced Christians, many remain destitute, waiting for “desperately needed clean water, food, clothes, baby food, blankets, and medicines.” As Muslim militants were reportedly guarding the border with an order to kill any Christians crossing the line, reaching the Christians is difficult.

Many Muslims and some media try to justify this destruction by pointing out that the churches were in the wrong for not being registered. In reality, however, thanks to Indonesia’s 2006 Joint Decree on Houses of Worship, it is effectively impossible to obtain a church permit. The decree made it illegal for churches to acquire permits unless they can get “signatures from 60 local households of a different faith,” presumably Muslims, as well as “a written recommendation from the regency or municipal religious affairs office” — that is, from the local sheikh and council of Muslim elders: the same people most likely to incite Muslims against Christians and churches during mosque gatherings. Christian activists say there are many mosques that are unregistered and built without permits, but the authorities ignore those infractions.

Others try to justify these recent attacks on churches by pointing out that they took place in Aceh, the only region in Indonesia where Islamic law, or Sharia, is officially authorized, and where, since 2006, more than 1,000 churches have been shut.

Yet in other parts of Indonesia, where Islamic law is not enforced, even fully registered churches are under attack. These include the Philadelphia Protestant Church in Bekasi — nearly 1,500 miles south of Sharia-compliant Aceh. Even though it had the necessary paperwork, it too was illegally shut down in response to violent Muslim protests. On December 25, 2012, when the congregation assembled on empty land to celebrate Christmas, hundreds of Muslims, including women and children, threw rotten eggs, rocks, and plastic bags filled with urine and feces at the Christians. Police stood by and watched.

A church spokesman stated, “We are constantly having to change our location because our existence appears to be unwanted, and we have to hide so that we are not intimidated by intolerant groups. … We had hoped for help from the police, but after many attacks on members of the congregation [including when they privately meet for worship at each other’s homes], we see that the police are also involved in this.

Bogor is another area where Islamic law is supposedly not enforced. Yet the ongoing saga of the GKI Yasmin Church there illustrates how Islamic law takes precedence over Indonesian law. In 2008, when local Muslims began complaining about the existence of the church, even though it was fully registered, the authorities obligingly closed it. In December 2010, the Indonesian Supreme Court ordered the church to be reopened, but the mayor of Bogor, refusing to comply, kept it sealed off.

Since then, the congregation has been holding Sunday services at the homes of members, and occasionally on the street, to the usual jeers and attacks by Muslim mobs. On Sunday, September 27, the church held its 100th open-air service.

The Indonesian jihad is taking place in varying degrees all throughout the East Asian nation and is not limited to Sharia-compliant zones such as Aceh. For the country once hailed as the face of “moderate Islam,” the “extremist” behavior one would expect of the Islamic State (ISIS) — hating, attacking, and demolishing churches — has apparently become the norm.

Raymond Ibrahim is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War in Christians (published by Regnery in cooperation with Gatestone Institute, April 2013).

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Raymond Ibrahim on Russia’s “Holy War” on ISIS

nby Raymond Ibrahim on October 27, 2015

I was recently interviewed by Erick Stakelbeck on The Blaze TV regarding my article, “Russia Declares Holy War on Islamic State.”  Are Russian claims concerning persecuted Christians sincere or propaganda?  What of Russia’s alliance with Iran?  I respond to these concerns and more in the 7-minute video below: