As the world marks 20 years since the genocide in Rwanda, it serves as another startling example of the staggering failure of the world community to prevent genocide. In 1948, the United Nations passed the, “Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.” Yet one of the longest genocides, taking place long before 1948, continues to be perpetrated today. This slaughter is gaining in momentum and brutality, and the world barely raises a murmur to prevent it. I am speaking of the ongoing genocide of Christians in the Middle East.
In the Modern Era, since the Ottoman Empires systematic campaign of murder against Armenian and Syriac Christians, the followers of Christ in the Middle East have lived a precarious existence. They’ve had their identity and cultural heritage destroyed, as they were forced to absorbed into each of the Islamic empires that swept through the Middle East. Such as the case of Aramain Christians, who through the program of cultural assimilation of minorities under their new rulers, became Arab Christians. Then, as now, reports of the massacres of Christians by the Ottoman Empire emerged in many newspapers in the Western world. One of the many articles highlighting the situation was a 1915 Headline in The San Antonio Light, Which read, ”Assyrians Massacred in Urmia.” Then, as now, the world did nothing.
The last few years have seen this genocide reach new heights in its brutality and a quickening in its pace. With the unrest in Syria, uncertainty in Egypt, and the general intolerant situation in much of the Arab and Muslim world, this catastrophe, our political leaders rushed to declare the “Arab spring”. Yet it has been devastating for the minorities in the Middle East. Now, this situation raises a number of interesting issues. While radical Islamists are butchering Christians for sport, each day grisly images of Christian corpses, young and old, male and female, emerge from the Arab world. Read more at The Times of Israel.
I met Mori in the basement of a Lutheran church in Berlin’s Zehlendorf district. A 28-year-old refugee who once ran a small business in Iran, he converted to Christianity five years ago and spoke to me on condition that I use only his first name in order to protect his identity. In 2011, delayed on the way to a secret Bible study session, he narrowly escaped when Revolutionary Guards raided his underground Evangelical church. He watched as his friends disappeared into Iran’s prison system; Mori suspects they’ve been killed.
“When you’re Christian in Iran, you can’t speak. You have to keep quiet and not talk about the truth that you know and that you believe in,” he told me. “There is no such thing as a comfortable life in Iran.”
Christianity of course is not alien to Iran. It arrived in ancient Persia not long after the death of Christ and has waxed and waned ever since. But in recent decades, especially in the last few years, things have grown worse. As Washington seeks rapprochement with Tehran over Iran’s nuclear and regional ambitions, the Obama administration must not let its protests over cruel treatment of Christians and other religious minorities fall by the wayside. Read more.
The Israeli Air Force launched airstrikes in the Gaza Strip shortly after 10 p.m. on Wednesday in retaliation for a massive rocket barrage earlier in the day, the largest of its kind since 2012.
Israeli planes struck 29 targets in the Strip, the army said in a statement. Palestinians said at least five strategic points were hit in the coastal enclave, primarily in areas around the cities of Khan Younis and Rafah.
Israel had warned that it would hit back hard at Gaza terror groups, after more than 50 rockets were fired at southern Israel.
Among the IAF targets were bases of the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, which had claimed the rocket attacks, and Hamas throughout the Gaza Strip, Palestinian witnesses said. No Palestinian casualties were initially reported. Earlier, IDF tanks fired shells at targets in the Strip. Read more at The Times of Israel.