By Jim Kouri
As Americans prepare to celebrate the Christmas holiday, many are unaware that religious observances are practically a luxury when compared with nations that continue to oppress, persecute and even kill followers of Jesus Christ, according to evangelical Christian leaders.
Christians in several countries find it difficult to practice even the fundamentals of their faith. To openly celebrate the birth of the man they believe is their Savior could be nothing short of a death sentence.
For example, officials in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea continue see Christianity as a threat to their philosophy of state control. While North Korean authorities deny imprisoning, torturing and killing Christians — in the same way they denied working on a nuclear weapon — Christians living North Korea have suffered government-sanctioned persecution since the brutal communist regime came to power.
A Christian human-rights group — Open Doors — reports that North Korea is number one on its annual World Watch List (WWL), which “ranks countries by the intensity of persecution that Christians face for actively pursuing their faith.” However, North Korea is not the only country in which the Christian population are mistreated, abused and killed on a daily basis.
Syriac Christians have lived in the Muslim-dominated region for centuries and are but a small minority in countries such as Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Turkey. The protest march was organized in the wake of several violent attacks against the Christian community in Iraq, a segment of the population that fell from about 1.5 million to only 400,000 over the past decade.
As previously reported by the Law Enforcement Examiner, at least 52 Iraqi Christians were killed and over 60 injured in a terrorist inspired bloodbath at Baghdad’s Our Lady of Deliverance Catholic Church. U.S. special forces troops, together with Iraqi security forces, launched a rescue operation to free as many of the Christians being held hostage by their terrorist captors as possible.
The Al Qaeda-linked “Islamic State of Iraq” claimed responsibility and threatened to “exterminate Iraqi Christians.” This shadowy jihad terror network justified the savagery on religious grounds, claiming that the church was an “obscene nest of the polytheists [infidels]” and a “base for their struggle against the religion of Islam.”
Since the collapse of Saddam Hussein’s regime, more than half of Iraq’s Christian population has been forced by targeted violence to seek refuge abroad or to live away from their homes as internally displaced people.
While President Barack Obama visited India, he was careful not to mention the ongoing persecution of Christians in that predominately Hindu nation. Few Americans know about the growing violence against Christians in places like India today and U.S. political leaders fail to address the brutality and persecution Indian Christians are enduring.
Believers are cut off, out of sight, and forgotten, according to Christian human rights group Open Doors.
According to James S. Robbins in a Washington Times editorial, U.S. President Barack Obama has “refused to highlight Christian suffering, even while being widely outspoken about much less compelling cases of purported discrimination against Muslims.”
“Among the cases noted in the State Department report is that of Maher el-Gohary, an Egyptian Christian convert from Islam who is being persecuted for his beliefs. More than a year ago, his then-15-year-old daughter, Dina, wrote an emotional appeal to Mr. Obama asking him to use his influence to save her father. There was no response.” (Washington Times editorial, 12/22/10)
“It’s time for Christians in the United States to help in protecting their brothers and sisters overseas,” says political strategist and Christian Mike Baker.