John J. Metzler is a United Nations correspondent covering diplomatic and defense issues, including global Christian persecution. It is heartening to see the United Nations devoting some attention to this problem, which continues to be largely ignored. The crisis is real, but aside from this symposium, the international community remains largely indifferent. Ancient Christian communities in the Middle East have been decimated, and a significant Christian presence may never return there. This extraordinary article illuminates the full dimensions of that tragedy.
For previous ChristianPersecution.com coverage of the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere, and the imminent disappearance of Christianity from some of its ancient strongholds, see here.
“Unreported: UN symposium gives voice to victims of global Christian persecution,” by John J. Metzler, World Tribune, November 29, 2019:
UNITED NATIONS — The stunning silence of the mainstream media which often overlooks ongoing anti-religious violence has become a sad barometer of our secular societies.
Clearly, while most of the attacks are “somewhere else” be it the Middle East, Africa or South Asia, the media template seems preset to default to cover other issues.
The Holy See Observer Mission to the UN and Aid to the Church in Need co-sponsored a symposium allowing the voices of the persecuted to be heard — survivors who have personally witnessed recent carnages in Sri Lanka and the Philippines.
According to Aid to the Church in Need Report, Persecuted and Forgotten? “one out of seven Christians lives in a country where they face persecution.” Based on data from the PEW Research center given levels of world harassment, “Christians emerge as the world’s ‘most widely targeted’ faith group.”
In 2018, 73 countries with 245 million Christians “showed extreme, very high or high levels of persecution.”
The defeat of ISIS or Daesh in 2017 by the USA and its allies dramatically reduced killings and persecution of ancient Christian communities in Iraq and Syria. Nonetheless, as Aid to the Church in Need stresses, “the effects of genocide continued to play out long after the perpetrators had left.”
Christian migration, continuing psychological trauma and of course the economic disaster created by the Islamic State terrorists has dramatically reduced the population.
Statistics show that in Iraq the Christian population stood at 1.5 million prior to the U.S./Allied effort which toppled Saddam Hussein’s regime; now fifteen years later the enclave numbers 150,000. Historic Christian communities in Mosul and the Nineveh Plain have been decimated.
It’s the same in Syria. Prior to the conflict in 2011, Syria’s Christian community stood at 1.5 million; today it is estimated at below 500,000. In Syria’s storied city of Aleppo, an historic center of Christian culture, numbers have declined by 80 percent!
But it’s not just the Middle East. According to Ed Clancy of Aid to the Church in Need, “Jihadi terror is on the rise in Africa with 3,700 Christians being killed in Nigeria in 2018.”
When I look at the calendar, I see the year 2019; judging from the hideous anti-religious killings whether at Synagogues, Mosques or Churches, the time could be centuries ago.
Responding to the clear and present danger facing embattled Christian communities in the Middle East, the Hungarian government has offered special humanitarian and educational assistance.
Hungary’s UN Ambassador Katalin Bogyay told the seminar that “through the Hungary Helps program of human development assistance, $35 million has been given to Christian communities in the Middle East and Ethiopia.” An additional $5 million in scholarships has been offered. Ambassador Bogyay added that “Hungary has helped 70,000 internally displaced persons to return to their homes so not to have to leave their countries.”
Significantly, the U.S. government has launched a “Genocide Recovery and Persecution” initiative earmarking $300 million to rebuild and provide recovery for Christian and minority religious communities in Iraq’s Nineveh Plain.
Few recall that on Easter Sunday this year, ISIS terrorists carried out a series of coordinated attacks on Christian churches in Sri Lanka. More than 300 people were killed and 500 wounded in the bombing rampage on Catholic and Protestant churches and hotels….