Anti-Christian persecution is spreading geographically and increasing in severity, a report commissioned by the British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt revealed.
According to the findings, Christians are the most widely persecuted religion in the world. In some regions, persecution is so severe, that it’s arguably coming “close to meeting the international definition of genocide, according to that adopted by the UN.”
In some parts of the Middle East, Christians are facing the possibility of extinction. The number of Christians in Palestine is now below 1.5 percent. The number of Christians in Syria has declined from 1.7 million in 2011 to below 450,000, while in Iraq that figure has dropped from 1.5 million before 2003 to less than 120,000 today.
Catholic organization Aid to the Church in Need, released similar findings last year, saying: “At a time in the West when there is increasing media focus on the rights of people regardless of gender, ethnicity or sexuality — to name but a few — it is ironic that in many sections of the media there should be such limited coverage of the massive persecution experienced by so many Christians.”
The Archbishop of Irbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, made an impassioned address in London last week suggesting “political correctness” and a fear of being labelled “Islamophobic” is why Christian persecution is largely ignored in the West.
Rt Rev Bashar Warda said, “Christianity in Iraq, one of the oldest Churches, if not the oldest Church in the world, is perilously close to extinction. Those of us who remain must be ready to face martyrdom.”
“Will you continue to condone this never-ending, organised persecution against us?” he added. “When the next wave of violence begins to hit us, will anyone on your campuses hold demonstrations and carry signs that say, ‘We are all Christians’?”
Rt Rev Philip Mounstephen, the bishop of Truro, and chair of the Independent Review into Foreign Office’s agrees.
Speaking to BBC News, Bishop Mounstephen said he believed a culture of ‘political correctness’ has prevented Western voices from speaking out about the persecution of Christians.
“I think though this is mainly to do with a reluctance borne of post-colonial guilt,” he said.
Juliana Taimoorazy, the president of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council and senior fellow of the Philos Project, told ‘America’s News HQ’ on Saturday that ‘political correctness’ is responsible for many deaths.
“The world turns a blind eye to this, and when we are politically correct, we are sympathizing with those terrorists that are destroying communities and erasing history,” she said.
Persecution is not an unexpected phenomenon for the Christian church. Speaking to his followers, Jesus warned, “A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). Paul said that it is “through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22). But that’s by no means reason to sit on our hands while others suffer.
In Luke 10:29-37 Jesus told the story of the “Good Samaritan” who came across a man he normally wouldn’t associate with. The man had been beaten, robbed and left for dead on the side of the road. The Samaritan, we’re told, had compassion on the man, so he bound up his wounds and brought him to an inn where he paid the innkeeper to take care of the man until he returned.
This, according to Jesus, is how we love our neighbour. We’re to show mercy to others, especially those who we wouldn’t necessarily associate with. So, what reason do we have for ignoring the suffering church in other parts of the world? The mainstream media might not want to draw attention to the plight of suffering Christians because it conflicts with their narrative, but you and I certainly can.