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International (Deep End)

Three days after 9-11, the American controversialist Ann Coulter had this to say about the scenes of jubilation in certain parts of the Middle East:

“We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”

As things turned out, we did invade some of “their countries” and we did kill some of “their leaders”. But as for “converting them to Christianity,” that, thank God, was never part of the mission. In fact, the shameful truth is that Western intervention has been a catastrophe for the ancient Christian communities of Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries:

“…between 2004 and 2011 the population of Chaldo-Assyrian Christians fell from over a million to as few as 150,000. In 2006, Isoh Majeed, who advocated the creation of a safe haven for Christians around Nineveh, was murdered in his home. The number of churches in Iraq has declined to just 57, from 300 before the invasion. The decline of Iraq’s Christian population since the first Gulf War is roughly 90 percent, with most of the drop occurring since the 2003 invasion.”

These figures from a timely article by Michael Brendan Dougherty for The Week, which draws on Ed West’s ebook publication The Silence of Our Friends:

“West’s book touches on the clueless and callous behavior of Western governments in these episodes. U.S. reconstruction aid to Iraq is distributed according to Iraqi laws that discriminate against Christian Iraqis. The U.S. pours billions of foreign aid into Egypt, and yet the Christians in that country are not allowed to build churches (or even so much as repair toilets in them) without explicit permission from the head of state, almost never granted. Last September, the U.S and Britain attempted to make their support of Syrian rebel groups explicit and overt, but at the same time some of these militias were executing a pogrom against Christians.

“A Christian shopkeeper in Ma’loula summed it up in a quote to the BBC: ‘Tell the EU and the Americans that we sent you Saint Paul 2,000 years ago to take you from the darkness, and you sent us terrorists to kill us.’”

Given the damage done by previous interventions, is there anything we can now do to help? Well, we could stop helping the persecutors:

“Western countries should make clear that our friendship, cooperation, aid, and help depends on: 1) Religious freedom, which includes the right to change or leave religions; 2) A secular law that treats all people the same. That was not the case in Mubarak’s Egypt, which the U.S. helped to prop up with $500 million a year. That is not the case in Iraq, which under U.S. control instigated sharia into its constitution. That shouldn’t be acceptable. In 2022, Qatar will host the World Cup, a country where death for apostasy is still on the statute books. Why aren’t we all boycotting it?”

Of course, we won’t boycott the Qatari World Cup for the same reason that we’re not boycotting the Sochi Olympics. After all, who cares about the violation of human rights when there’s some sport to be had (not to mention a supply of fossil fuels)?

However, at least the persecuted homosexuals of Russia have some prominent voices in the West to speak up for them. The same cannot be said for the persecuted Christians of the Middle East:

“…the Western world is largely ignorant of or untroubled by programmatic violence against Christians. Ed West, citing the French philosopher Regis Debray, distils the problem thusly: ‘The victims are ‘too Christian’ to excite the Left, and ‘too foreign’ to excite the Right.’”

There are a few exceptions. Nigel Farage, for instance, said that Britain should be generous in granting asylum to Christians fleeing persecution in Syria. He was, however, criticised by his own members for encouraging immigration and by the liberal left for showing partiality to a particular religion. Indeed, the very notion that Britain might, given our history and traditions, show particular concern for Christians in other countries is now seen as politically incorrect.

Clearly, there’s more than one way of destroying a Christian society. I guess we should be grateful that ours is the nice way.

31 comments for: Does anyone care about the destruction of Christianity in the Middle East?

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