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 November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Africa

China is taking the lead in the fight against Ebola with a brand new, 100-bed, medical facility Watch

Image of The Ebola outbreak continues to ravage West Africa, though China has built a new medical treatment center in Liberia's capital to fight the disease.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

China has stepped up its efforts in the battle against Ebola in West Africa, opening a new treatment center in Liberia that can hold 100 patients. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Liberia's president, Ellen Sirleaf, commended China and called the new center ... continue reading


Armed bandits make off with blood - tainted with Ebola - in Guinea Watch

Image of The theft is a reminder how hazardous the threat Ebola poses. Despite millions of dollars' worth of international support pouring into West Africa to fight a virus, many obstacles remain to the public health and safety.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Some armed thieves in Guinea are either going to make a most unwelcome surprise - or use it for nefarious ends. A minibus carrying blood samples was robbed by the bandits near the town of Kissidougou. The catch? The blood samples are tainted with the deadly ... continue reading


28 people pulled from Kenyan bus and shot dead execution-style by Shebab terrorists Watch

Image of Witnesses say that the terrorists separated the Muslims from the 28 victims by forcing them to read versus from the Koran. Those that failed were shot in the head at point-blank range.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A bus in Kenya was hijacked by Shebab terrorists before 28 non-Muslims were executed at point-blank range. The attack was in retaliation for police raids on mosques in the troubled city of Mombasa. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The bus, en route to Nairobi ... continue reading


Two Tuareg merchants found slain near Algerian border Watch

Image of Local people in the region say that the protectorates sent to restore order can't do anything.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

Two Malian Tuareg merchants on their way to Kidal, northern Mali were attacked by a terrorist group. Both were killed. Their bodies were later found near the Algerian border. ALGIERS, ALGERIA (Catholic Online) - The terrorist groups operating in the Sahel are ... continue reading


40 dead in Madagascar plague outbreak Watch

Image of Rats carry plague infected fleas, which are the prime carriers and transmitters of the disease to humans.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that a recent outbreak of bubonic plague has occurred in Madagascar and has so far killed 40 people. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Including the 40 dead, there have been 119 confirmed cases of the disease in ... continue reading


Land-locked African kingdom provides fish for Japan's sushi fix Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The small mountain kingdom of Lesotho in southern Africa would appear to be an unlikely place for commercial fishing. Land-locked and located high in the Maluti Mountains, "Lesotho provide(s) ideal, pristine environmental conditions for the farming of large trout," ... continue reading


Obianuju Ekeocha: Western Giants Launch Dangerous and Controversial Contraceptive in Africa Watch

Image of Obianuju Ekeocha - I am only one African woman, but from where I stand I choose today to speak up, to lament, to complain and to shed silent tears for my fellow African women, with the hope that by the end of today, my words and tears may reach and touch the hearts of people of goodwill around the world who will join me in defending the dignity of the African women.

By Obianuju Ekeocha

Who will speak up for the women of Africa? Who will lament the crass disregard for their well-being? Who will complain about the cruel disrespect with which they are being treated? Who will shed tears for the irreparable damage that could befall them? I am only ... continue reading


Boko Haram undermines stability of Nigeria Watch

Image of At least 45 people were killed in a Boko Haram reprisal attack on a village in northeastern Nigeria, the epicenter of the Islamists' five-year insurgency.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While the Nigerian army has made movies to retake two small villages overrun by the Islamist sect Boko Haram, another terrorist attack was launched by the terrorist group claimed the lives of 45 people. The mood here is one of confusion with the population ... continue reading


Humanitarian truce declared in Libya to evacuate civilians Watch

Image of The truce doesn't appear to have been respected.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

Forces loyal to the retired General Khalifa Haftar fighting Islamist groups such as Ansar Charia in Libya has reached a boiling point. The two sides have since agreed to a humanitarian truce in order to evacuate civilians from battle zones. ALGIERS, ALGERIA ... continue reading


Former African child slave speaks out Watch

Image of Anti-slavery campaigner James Kofi Annan is pictured at a school run by his charity Challenging Heights, which helps former child slaves.

By Emma Batha, Thomson Reuters Foundation

At six years old James Kofi Annan was sold into slavery. For seven years he risked his life diving into the murky waters of Ghana's vast Lake Volta to untangle fishing nets. LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Today Annan runs a charity which is credited with ... 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, Revelation 20:1-4, 11--21:2
1 Then I saw an angel come down from heaven with the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 84:3, 4, 5-6, 8
3 Even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:29-33
29 And he told them a parable, 'Look at the fig tree ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 28th, 2014 Image

St. Catherine Laboure
November 28: St. Catherine Laboure, virgin, was born on May 2, 1806. At an ... 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