Archive for the tag “Christian”

Asia Bibi: The ignored Malala

asia bibiChelsen Vicari writes for the Institute on Religion and Democracy:

Malala Yousafzai survived the Taliban’s attack on her life. She rallies for a girl’s right to education. She is the youngest Nobel peace prize nominee and the winner of the European Union’s prestigious Freedom of Thought award. She is adored by media as she promotes her new autobiography. She is invited for special visits national leaders to discuss terrorism. At the tender age of 16, she is an international hero.

The world is cheering on Malala as she stands up for her beliefs, and rightly so. Malala’s bravery and passion for girls’ education is an inspiration to an entire generation. But all the international accolades, media attention, and political gushing over the heroic teenage activists begs the question: If Malala was a Christian standing up for girls’ right to believe in Jesus, would she still receive the same worldwide praise? Sadly, the answer is no.

Asia Bibi is an advocate from Pakistan too. But you probably have never heard her name. She is sitting in a Pakistani prison on death row. Her crime is her Christian faith. After being drug through the streets of her village, pelted with stones and beaten by Muslim extremists she was asked to either renounce Jesus Christ and convert to Islam for face death. Asia stood up for her right to place her faith in Jesus. Where are her prizes from the international community or her story featured on the on the nightly news? …

It is time the international community, national leaders, and the mainstream media acknowledge the suffering of Christians in the Middle East, North Africa, Southeast Asia, and dare I say, the United States. Too many Believers are being kidnapped, tortured, raped, murdered or ostracized for simply standing up for their faith in Jesus Christ. But most of all, it is time the church stand up for those persecuted in the name of Christ.

Religious liberties – Christian liberties – are their own unique culture battle. One in which Christians cannot afford to stay silent. …

Read the full text of this excellent article by clicking here.

Terry Waite: The awful plight of Christians in the Middle East

A Syrian man shows marks of torture inflicted after rebels took control of a Christian area of Aleppo. (CC AFP/Getty Images NC)

Terry Waite writes for The Guardian:

Last week I returned to Lebanon, a quarter of a century after being kidnapped and held captive for almost five years, most of the time chained to a wall and denied many basic comforts. You might think such a trip foolhardy, but the crisis developing there desperately needs attention.

I had been invited to go back to see for myself the plight of the many Christian refugees who are flooding across the Syrian/Lebanese border, and travelled to the Bekaa Valley to visit the refugees who have been forced into exile from Syria. The situation there is tragic. …

Worthy as the proponents of political change may be, there are now elements of the Arab spring that have been hijacked by Islamic extremists who want to impose sharia law and banish Syrian Christians, who make up about 10% of the population. This has created a very hostile environment for minorities. I met refugee families living in dire circumstances in Lebanese border towns, and heard first hand their harrowing stories.

In the early 20th century, Christians made up to 20% of the population in the Middle East; that figure has now dwindled to around 5%. Before the Arab spring Christians in Syria were businesspeople, engineers, lawyers and pharmacists. While Assad brutally restricted political freedoms, the regime did allow the Syrian people religious freedom – more so than elsewhere in the Middle East.

Now Christians are leaving the country. The occupied territories of Palestine are also rapidly losing their Christian communities. Egypt is in turmoil with a series of anti-Coptic Christian riots; Libya is a disaster. In Iraq 300,000 Christians have fled persecution since the downfall of Saddam Hussein.

An estimated 100,000 Christians have left Syria, many to border towns like al-Qaa. Lebanon is the last country in the Middle East where Christians can live in relative peace and security.

Al-Qaa is a dusty, somewhat ramshackle town which has been the scene of numerous border clashes across the years. It is here that many of the Christian families who have escaped from the terrors of warfare in Syria find a temporary home. More than 200 families are housed in and around al-Qaa, mainly being taken into the homes of other Christian families or renting properties. The people I met were not well off. Families I visited told similar stories. The conflict had become so severe that they had been forced to leave their homes. In one place, there were 15 people living in four small rooms. “The Arab spring is a joke,” said one of the refugees. “It has become another form of persecution.” …

From a Christian perspective, Lebanon is rapidly becoming the only remaining country in the whole of the Middle East where there is a significant Christian presence. It will take plenty of acts of reconciliation before Christians once again feel safe in their homeland.

Read the full text of this article by clicking here.
You can donate toward Syrian refugee relief by clicking here.

A whirlwind of post-election thoughts

Mark Kelly writes at kainos:

Facebook lit up tonight with fires of celebration and flames of damnation. Followers of Jesus ought not to be warming themselves at either blaze. The results of this election are not a cause to celebrate; the President’s re-election does not establish justice and will not ring in the Kingdom of God. By the same token, anyone who placed his hope for America’s future in the challenger was either deceiving himself or allowing others to do it for him.

So many thoughts are swirling in my head, I know there will be no sleep any time soon. Better to get them out of my head and onto “paper.”

Read the post by clicking here.

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