Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

2/24/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Christians in the West have turned a blind eye to Middle Eastern Christians' plight, they say

Christians in the West must take seriously their duty to support those suffering in the Middle East, the birthplace of Christianity, said a team of filmmakers working on a documentary about the subject.

The filmmakers hope that Christians in the West will push their lawmakers to enact policies that help to protect their brethren in the Middle East.

The filmmakers hope that Christians in the West will push their lawmakers to enact policies that help to protect their brethren in the Middle East.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/24/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Middle East, Christians, documentary filmmakers


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Christianity began in the East, and Christians in the West seem to have forgotten that fact," said Drew Bowling, a Washington, D.C.-based writer working on the documentary project.

"It's tragic to see Christianity in the East under threat, and see Christians in the West who are not under such threats ignore it or fail to do what they can," he told CNA in a Feb. 4 interview, noting that many in the West simply do not realize the challenges being faced elsewhere.

See our stunning collection of crib medals -- by going here!


Bowling is working alongside writer Andrew Doran and filmmaker Jordan Allott to create a documentary about the violence and discrimination facing Christians in the Middle East.

Allott said he wants to bring attention to the matter and to put "pressure" on lawmakers in the West "to stand up for Christians." He hopes viewers of the documentary will "feel a connection with the subjects," and want "to help them in a time of need."

"Our faith is what it is here because of what their ancestors did there," Allott said, stressing the link between Christianity in the West and its roots in the Middle East.

The filmmakers hope to demonstrate the charity, resilience and determination of Christians in the region. Allott pointed to one man they met in Beirut, Lebanon, named George Maalouly. An Orthodox Christian, Maalouly was actively engaged in the Christian community, praying the Rosary and hosting prayer groups in his house.

Maalouly also helped those in need, regardless of faith, Allott said. He housed two Muslim Syrian refugees in a van, giving them electricity and food, and he "even came by with Christmas presents for the children."

This example is not isolated, Bowling said, pointing to the charity of the Good Shepherd Sisters in Lebanon's Beqaa valley, who work to shelter and feed Syrian refugees.

Many of the refugee camps have become sites for increasing extremism, due to radical rebels, lack of resources and dire situations; however, these sisters and other Christians caring for largely Muslim refugee populations "provide filters for radicalization" and an example of interreligious cooperation.

"Despite the fact that they are the ones marginalized, they are the ones serving Muslims" who are injured or displaced by conflicts in the region, Doran said. "They are bridges to peace for their own communities and for the outside world."

Bowling said that he was particularly struck by the resilience of a 12-year-old boy named Elias, who he met at the Turkey-Syria border. While walking to school one day, Elias was "seized from behind,
blindfolded and gagged" by al-Qaida affiliates. While he was later rescued, the kidnapping, combined with the loss of other family members in the Syrian civil war, compelled his family to flee the country.

Elias and his family are "now living in this Turkish refugee camp, completely impoverished, with no money to go anywhere," Bowling said. But "in spite of all these hardships, they remain hopeful they can one day return to their homeland in Syria."

"Elias and his family want to remain in the Middle East because they believe that is the homeland of Christians," he said, adding that many Christians he talked to in the region "did not want to emigrate."

"They have a history," with a multi-generational attachment to the land, he explained. "The idea of them disappearing entirely is heart wrenching."

But after years of violence and political unrest, Christians who choose to remain in the region face mounting difficulties. Bowling recalled that the day he arrived in Lebanon, al-Qaida affiliates "burned to the ground the most ancient Orthodox library in Tripoli."

"They talked about the flames coming from that library as being symbolic of the fate of all the Christians in that country," saying that the Christians would face damnation and hellfire for their beliefs, he said.

Doran described an encounter with an Armenian Syrian woman named Sita that has been "seared" into his memory. Now living after her husband was shot by snipers in the streets of Aleppo, Sita looked at Doran with a "face seized with anguish," pleading, "Help me."

"That just stayed with me," he said, explaining his "feeling of frustration, anger and helplessness" at being unable to aid the suffering woman.

Doran hopes Christians in the West will push their lawmakers to enact policies that help to protect their brethren in the Middle East.

"Christians in that part of the world and moderate Muslims are baffled that our government has taken the policies it has," he said, suggesting that Western policies supporting some revolutions and political groups have tended "to have predictable and negative consequences for Christians and moderate Muslims."

U.S. foreign policy "tends to blunder to the benefit of extremist groups" toward supporting governments and institutions that "contribute to the gradual erosion" of a Christian presence in the Middle East, he said. "On a basic human rights level we should not be giving money to
governments essentially enforcing apartheid" against Christian populations, he added.

Doran encouraged Western Christians not only to get involved in foreign policy concerns, but to reach out the Christians in the Middle East, particularly through their churches. While safety is important, he added, traveling to the Middle East is an opportunity for great witness on the behalf of Christians in the region - especially for clergy members.

"This is a part of the world that still respects men of the cloth, even if they're of a different faith," he said, encouraging clergy members to speak about persecution.

Observing a silver lining amid the violence confronting Middle East Christians, Doran said that the oppression has created a "growing sense of a single identity" that transcends old theological and historical disputes between different Christian denominations. He also said that he had witnessed "moderate Muslims identifying with Christians" in the region.

Despite the current turmoil and persecution, Doran predicted that "there will never be a Middle East without Christians." He believes the Christian communities in the region will "absolutely survive" the violence and oppression they are currently facing.

"The only question that remains is how much suffering are they going to endure in the next 25 years."

Pope Francis calls for your 'prayer and action'...

---


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


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2016
Universal:
Respect for Women: That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.
Evangelization: Holy Rosary: That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace.



Comments


More Middle East

70-year-old Christian woman stripped and beaten by Muslim mob Watch

Image of The mob attacked the mother of a man who was rumored to have had an affair (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A mob of roughly 300 Muslim men attacked a 70-year-old Christian woman in the Egyptian village of Al-Karm and broke out into religiously motivated acts of violence, including the burning of seven Christian family homes. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Rumors spread ... continue reading


New Taliban leader to refuse peace talks and continue terrorizing reign Watch

Image of New Taliban leader as ruthless as the last (Pinterest).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the death of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammed Mansour by U.S. drone strike - but another leader has risen. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Days after burying Mansour in an undisclosed location in ... continue reading


Why YOU should care about the anti-American elected to lead Iran's most powerful religious body Watch

Image of Ahmed Jannati has been elected to lead Iran's Assembly of Experts (Iran Human Rights Organization).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

After a Tuesday vote, Iran's Assembly of Experts elected 89-year-old Ahmed Jannati as its next supreme leader.Jannati is famous for his extremely conservative views of Islam and is now in a position to choose Iran's next Supreme Leader. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


ISIS leaders punished with NEW EXECUTION METHOD using DOGS Watch

Image of ISIS leaders who fail their duties are now sentenced to death by dogs (HWT Image Library).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

It's a bad time to be an ISIS commander. In response to the continual failures on the battlefield, ISIS commanders are now being executed by being fed to aggressive dogs. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A Kurdish commander spoke to the Iranian media outlet ... continue reading


Are we in danger? Islamic State calls for attacks on Europe and US during upcoming Muslim holy month Watch

Image of Abu Mohamed al-Adnani released a 31-minute speech to call ISIS supporters to fight (ISIS video).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

ISIS followers have been urged to strike at Europe and the United States by a 31-minute speech Abu Mohamed al-Adnani posted online. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In his speech, al-Adnani told his followers: "The tiniest action you do in the heart of their land is ... continue reading


Iran gleeful: Israel is just eight minutes away from destruction Watch

Image of Iran has precision ballistic missiles which can strike Israel.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A senior Iranian military adviser has said that Israel can be destroyed within eight minutes, if the order is given. The estimate is based on the amount of time it will take for a missile to reach Israel. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Ahmad Karimpour, an ... continue reading


'Isil runs a normal state ... where there are disabled people and so on': Man shot then crucified in public square by wheelchair Jihad Watch

Image of ISIS' wheelchair executioner at work again.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

An ISIS militant confined to a wheelchair has made headlines once again for executing an innocent. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to <a ... continue reading


ISIS desecrates Christian headstones Watch

Image of ISIS militant stands with the help of crutches beside destroyed Christian headstone.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

In a newly released video, an ISIS militant, supporting himself on crutches, stood beside the remains of a destroyed Christian headstone. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The video, shown on <a ... continue reading


Al-Qaeda's new hit list includes Bill Gates Watch

Image of Al Qaeda issues new hit list aimed at American economic leaders.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The latest issue of Al-Qaeda's propaganda magazine 'Inspire' claims the assassination of several American business leaders can be of use in the Prophet's holy war. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Daily Mail, a hit list was released for lone wolf jihads ... continue reading


Jesus' baptism site to be cleared of landmines Watch

Image of Christian pilgrims often come to get baptized in the same river Jesus was baptized (Alamy Stock Photo).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Barbed wire, 5,000 landmines and danger signs written in Arabic, English and Hebrew surround the site believed to be the area Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Though the Israeli and Jordanian armies concluded their war in ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Your Daily Inspirational Meme: He will never leave you
  • WARNING: Exorcist claims demon is targeting families
  • Advent Prayer HD Video
  • Woman diagnosed with 'nightmare bacteria' in US
  • St. Maximinus of Trier: Saint of the Day for Sunday, May 29, 2016
  • Daily Reading for Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 HD Video
  • Daily Readings for Sunday, May 29, 2016

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Kings 8:41-43
41 'Even the foreigner, not belonging to your people Israel but coming ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 117:1, 2
1 Alleluia! Praise Yahweh, all nations, extol him, all ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 7:1-10
1 When he had come to the end of all he wanted the people to hear, he ... Read More

Reading 2, Galatians 1:1-2, 6-10
1 From Paul, an apostle appointed not by human beings nor through any ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 29th, 2016 Image

St. Maximinus of Trier
May 29: Bishop of Trier, Germany, from 332, and a miracle ... Read More