Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Michael Terheyden

8/26/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The evil inflicted on these brave Christian souls fills me with sadness and anger, but their response to this evil inspires me and fills me with hope

The evil inflicted on these brave Christian souls fills me with sadness and anger, but their response to this evil inspires me and fills me with hope. I know it may seem strange to say, but there is a great good here as well as evil, and the good is stronger.

The persecution of Christians began shortly after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The ebb and flow of Christian persecution has since become a reoccurring theme in world history. At times Christians have persecuted other Christians. The United States has a history of persecuting Catholics. Photo: (Pakistani Christians 'live in fear')

The persecution of Christians began shortly after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. The ebb and flow of Christian persecution has since become a reoccurring theme in world history. At times Christians have persecuted other Christians. The United States has a history of persecuting Catholics. Photo: (Pakistani Christians "live in fear")

Highlights

By Michael Terheyden

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/26/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Christian persecution, Middle East, Africa, Indonesia, Muslim, Raymond Ibrahim, Michael Terheyden


KNOXVILLE, TN (Catholic Online) - There has been a great deal of focus lately on the persecution of the Coptic Christians in Egypt, and rightly so. As a result of the ouster of Morsi and the interim government's crackdown on protests led by the Muslim Brotherhood, revenge attacks against the Copts have escalated in frequency and intensity.

Yet, the evil being unleashed in Egypt also reminds us that the persecution of Christians is a major problem throughout the modern world. It is a stench spreading over the land like an evil mist. But signs of grace have also begun appearing, and they have the fresh, clean smell of morning dew.

According to Raymond Ibrahim, an expert on the Middle East and on Islam, the persecution of Christians is "reaching pandemic proportions." In his review of Ibrahim's book, Crucified Again, Bruce Thornton writes that "we are living through the largest persecution of Christians in history, worse even than the [infamous] attacks under ancient Roman emperors like Diocletian and Nero," and most of it is being brought about by Muslims.

As a consequence, Christianity is disappearing from its homeland. Christians represented twenty percent of the population in Middle East around 1900. Today, they represent less than two percent. 
 
Yet, the traditional media is not adequately covering this epochal tragedy, Ibrahim tells us. Therefore, in addition to his book, Ibrahim has begun publishing monthly articles that track the ongoing persecution of Christians around the world. He lists many examples in his article published by FrontPage Magazine on August 6, 2013. I have included some of them below.

Topping the list is Nigeria. More Christians were killed in Nigeria last year than the combined total for the rest of the Muslim world. This evil is mainly due to a Muslim group of homicidal thugs known as Boko Haram. Boko Haram means "Western education is sacrilege." They have been trying to destabilize the Nigerian government and impose sharia law on the country since 2009. Not surprisingly, Christians have been one of their major targets.

Just this past May, Boko Haram broke into the home of Pama Mysa, a Pentecostal pastor, and gunned him down. In another incident, Boko Haram thugs attacked the village of Midlu Shalmi in Northeastern Nigeria where they murdered 14 Christians, eight of whom were attending a prayer service. Many others were wounded. Vicious attacks like these have weakened Nigeria over the years. Now there is some concern that Boko Haram may be close to seizing control of the country.

It happened in another African country. This past March a group of Islamist criminals, Seleka rebels, gained control of the Central African Republic. Once in control, they initiated a reign of terror against Christians. Many Christians have fled the cities. As a result, more than 200,000 people have been displaced. Based on a report issued by Human Rights Watch in May, Seleka rebels have committed grave violations against the civilian population: pillage, rape, torture, and executions.

About five people were killed and about 60 others were wounded when a new church in a Christian suburb was bombed in the East African country of Tanzania. The bombing follows other attacks on churches and murders in previous months.

In Benghazi, Libya, Islamists attacked a Coptic church and killed its pastor. In a separate incident, Islamists bombed the courtyard entrance of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. As a result, a group of nuns who served the people have been forced to close their doors and leave.

In the Kingdom of Morocco, the top Islamic authority has issued a fatwa that calls for the execution of Christian converts from Islam. And in Iran, Christians have been arrested for worshiping in their homes.

In Kashmir, Christians were beaten and arrested for "distributing pamphlets and publications with biblical passages." The United Jihad Council has warned all Christian missionaries to leave Kashmir immediately or "they will suffer the consequences."

And in Indonesia, a Muslim mob attacked a Christian church during the Christmas Eve celebration. As the pastor was leaving the church with his wife, the leader of the mob attacked them. The pastor blocked the attacker's blow and was charged with assault. According to Islamic law, Christians are not allowed to raise their hands against Muslims, even when it is in self-defense. 

These are just some of the examples of persecution against Christians in Muslim countries, but we also find many acts of true courage hidden in them. I am referring to Christian martyrs who were willing to suffer and die for the truth, for what is good, and for the love of God.

For instance, one of the 14 Christians Boko Haram murdered in the Nigerian village of Midlu Shalmi was Bulus Paul Buba. According to Thliza, his cousin, Bulus was dragged out of his house at gunpoint. Boko Haram thugs then demanded money. Three times they asked him to renounce his faith. Bulus refused each time, so they executed him.

After the Islamist criminals seized control of the Central African Republic and initiated their reign of terror, they began attacking Christian churches. In one instance, the pastor was inside. Although he had every reason to fear for his life, he did not try to run or hide. Instead, he confronted the evil threat waiting outside. "He went out holding the Bible aloft as a sign of peace," and they shot him dead.

Thirsty and tired from long travel, a teenage boy named Javaid Anjum stopped for a drink of water outside an Islamic seminary in Pakistan. When some of the seminarians found out he was a Christian, they forced him inside. Then they tried to force him to convert to Islam. They "electrocuted him, broke his arm, and pulled out his fingernails," but he refused to convert. After five days, his kidneys began to fail from the electric shocks, and he eventually died.

Then there was an incident in May of this year when 1000 Copts risked their lives by standing up to an angry mob of 20,000 Muslims. The Muslims were throwing Molotov cocktails and bricks at Saint Mary's Church in Alexandria, Egypt while they were shouting "Allahu Akbar," which means  "God is Greater."

We could also add the Copts' participation in the Tamarod protests which led to the ouster of Morsi. Although people did not know the extent of the evil that Islamists would unleash upon the Coptic Christians, the Copts surely knew the risk they were taking.

The evil inflicted on these brave Christian souls fills me with sadness and anger, but their response to this evil inspires me and fills me with hope. Inspiration and hope are the signs of grace that I alluded to at the beginning of this article. They are the clean smell of morning dew.

I know it may seem strange to say, but there is great good here as well as evil. The Bible says, "where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more" (Rom 5:20). However, this grace is much greater than I can comprehend. I can only comprehend it on a personal level.

On this level, it inspires me not to take my faith lightly, to value my faith as something precious. It gives me a sense of unity with Christians who are suffering persecution and a desire to pray for them. This grace also inspires me to protect what is good in my country and not fear the cost to myself. It also gives me hope that my small sacrifices will please God and profit my country and my suffering brethren throughout the world.

 -----

Michael Terheyden was born into a Catholic family, but that is not why he is a Catholic. He is a Catholic because he believes that truth is real, that it is beautiful and good, and that the fullness of truth is in the Catholic Church. He is greatly blessed to share his faith and his life with his beautiful wife, Dorothy. They have four grown children and three grandchildren.

-----

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Africa

Health team butchered in Guinea as Ebola outbreak accelerates Watch

Image of Health workers in Guinea being decontaminated after handling potentially Ebola infected materials.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Eight members of a medical team attempting to raise awareness about Ebola have been killed by villagers using machetes and clubs in Guinea. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The bodies of health workers, local officials and journalists were found in a septic tank ... continue reading


A new name for terror: Djounoud Al khalifa Watch

Image of Created this month by Khaled Abu Suleiman, whose real name is Gourou Abdul Malik, a 50-year-old man who left al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in order to pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi as the commander of all followers of Islam.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

"Djounoud Al khalifa," or Soldiers of the Caliph is the given name of the new pivot of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, which has been freshly created by the Islamic State in Islamic Maghreb. North Africa is now bracing for a spate of new ... continue reading


Death toll isn't the only toll: Ebola outbreak will cause untold economic damage Watch

Image of Aid workers in protective suits deal with Ebola infected patients.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new report from the World Bank has revealed that the West African Ebola outbreak could cost affected nations billions of dollars and slash economic growth rates by double digits if the virus continues to spread. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Besides just ... continue reading


PRAY FOR NIGERIA - Catholic Church reports as many as 20 priests hiding from Boko Haram in Nigeria Watch

Image of Nigerian Christians are under serious threat from Boko Haram.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Catholic Church is warning the world that 25 villages, all with large Catholic populations, remain under the firm control of Boko Haram, an Islamic militant groups that has aligned itself with the Islamic State. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Catholic ... continue reading


World bank loans $105 million to combat Ebola Watch

Image of The grant, approved on the same day U.S. President Barack Obama pledged to send 3,000 military troops to the region, will also pay for training programs for international staff going to the countries, and basic supplies for quarantined areas.

By Stella Dawson, Thomson Reuters Foundation

The World Bank approved a $105 million grant on Tuesday to speed up delivery of emergency supplies and provide support for healthcare workers in the three West African countries worst affected by the Ebola crisis. (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The disease has ... continue reading


SECURITY THREAT: U.S. troops to join in fight against Ebola Watch

Image of Liberia, a nation founded by freed American slaves and the hardest hit of the countries affected by the crisis will be the focus of the U.S. military deployment.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

West Africa's deadly Ebola outbreak has been declared a threat to global security by U.S. President Obama and has since announced a major expansion of the U.S. role in trying to turning the deadly tide. In response, the president has deployed 3,000 troops to ... continue reading


Has Ebola gone airborne? Fears spread that virus could mutate Watch

Image of The World Health Organization has reported that the West African outbreak of Ebola has caused 2,500 deaths since it began in early 2014.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Concerns have been raised that the federal government is anticipating a rapid spread of the Ebola virus, as evidenced by the U.S. State Department ordering 160,000 hazmat suits. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Market Watch posted a press release in which ... continue reading


Obama declares war on Ebola! 3,000 U.S. Marines and soldiers head to Liberia Watch

Image of 3,000 U.S. soldiers and Marines are going to be sent to Liberia to help stop the current Ebola outbreak.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Thousands of U.S. troops will arrive in the West African nation of Liberia as part of President Barack Obama's response to the Ebola outbreak that is wreaking havoc in the region. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "U.S. Africa Command will set up a Joint Force ... continue reading


Traditional methods of fighting disease are not working in West Africa Watch

Image of Health workers transport the body of an Ebola victim wrapped in a plastic bag. Ebola victims are burned in the bags they're collected in.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa, which continues to ravage countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, has so far proved resistant to traditional methods of combating epidemics, notably contact tracing. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Lt. Rebecca Levine, ... continue reading


STUDY: Ebola outbreak could shortly infect surrounding African nations Watch

Image of Bats are being blamed for the transmission of the Ebola virus -- adding to the urgency is the fact that bats are eaten, frequently raw, in parts of Africa.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The organ-melting virus known as Ebola tearing through West Africa will most likely grow to infect other African nations, according to a worrisome new study. According to research by the University of Oxford, the deadly virus threatens to spread - not necessarily ... continue reading


All Africa News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Proverbs 3:27-34
27 Refuse no kindness to those who have a right to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 15:2-3, 3-4, 5
2 Whoever lives blamelessly, who acts uprightly, who ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 8:16-18
16 'No one lights a lamp to cover it with a bowl or ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 22nd, 2014 Image

St. Thomas of Villanueva
September 22: Augustinian bishop. Born at Fuentellana, Castile, Spain, he was ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter