The Washington Times
Sunday, December 27, 1998
SILENCE OVER PLIGHT OF PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS
By Bob Djurdjevic
|The message is clear: Washington's foreign affairs establishment is not only un-American; it is anti-Christian.
"Materialism Without Idealism" seemed like a fitting epithet for this Asian city-statelet. A short while later, we also wrote the column, "Christianity Under Siege: Toward a One World Religion," which was published by the WASHINGTON TIMES on Jan. 4, 1998. Now, almost a year later, here is another look at the position of Christians around the world.
Let us start with an example from Israel. Aliza Arbeli, a Haaretz correspondent, reported in that Israeli publication on Sunday, Nov. 29, that a mob of several hundred ultra-Orthodox Jews besieged an old Arab structure in Be'er Sheva on Nov. 28, after a rumor spread in the city's synagogues that missionaries were baptizing Jewish children.
"The Haredim (Jews) stopped their prayers to go to the house, where they found about 40 people, including women and children, who are members of the messianic movement 'Jews for Jesus' (www.jews-for-jesus.org). The movement has met in the same building for 17 years.
Police Chief Superintendent Kobi Cohen, who headed the police force that arrived at the scene, said police rescued the trapped worshipers and escorted them past the singing and dancing demonstrators.
A messianic Jew who was in the area described the experience as terrifying. 'A mob of men in black surrounded us and were shouting and throwing stones and they tried to jump over the fence. We were especially scared for the children. We're not missionaries. We are Jews just like those who want to kick us out. We all believe in the same god, but we also believe in love and tolerance,' he said.
A few days ago in Kiryat Malachi, several dozen youths from a Chabad high school attacked an American couple whom they suspected were missionaries.
The boys hurled stones at the house of the new immigrants, who moved to the city three months ago. The couple denied engaging in any missionary activity and said they belonged to a humanitarian organization based in Switzerland and came to Kiryat Malachi to work with Ethiopian immigrants.
Two weeks ago, a mob of 500 ultra-Orthodox men attacked and ransacked an apartment rented by three Swiss Christian women they accused of conducting missionary activity in Jerusalem's ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea She'arim. The women denied the accusations."
So what even if they were Christian missionaries? Hasn't the West sent its various missionaries all over Russia, China, Africa or Latin America, for example? And then harped if some of those countries' tried to protect their indigenous religions? So what's different about Israel? Where are the outcries in this instance? Of course, it is hard to protest against something if you don't hear about it. Enter the U.S. establishment media's silence when it comes to stories like this. Which proves at least one point - that Israelis have freer press than the citizens of the "land of the free."
Nor is the above story an isolated case of the establishment media's news distortion by omission. Rarely, if ever, does one see anything published about the persecution of Christians in many parts of the world. Yet, there has been plenty of it, as documented by other countries' media. And by some U.S. regional press, too.
The London Telegraph, for example, published on Oct. 25 a gut-wrenching story about the plight of Christians in Egypt, where some "have been subjected to horrific crucifixion rituals, raped and tortured by the security forces during a crackdown on the ancient Coptic community, according to international human rights and Christian groups."
"Apart from the crucifixions, teenage girls have been raped and babies as young as three months savagely beaten," the Telegraph reported. The Egyptian embassy in London refused to comment to the British daily. But Egyptian police had reportedly detained about 1,200 Christians in Al-Kosheh, near Luxor in Upper Egypt during the month of October.
"Seized in groups of 50 at a time, many were nailed to crosses, or manacled to doors with their legs tied together, then beaten and tortured with electric shocks to their genitals, while police denounced them as 'infidels.' An 11-year-old boy, Romani Boctor, was hung upside down from an electric ceiling fan and tortured as the fan rotated. Young girls were raped and mothers were forced to lay their babies on the floor of police stations and watch police beat them with sticks," the Telegraph said.
The Copts, of course, were the original inhabitants of Egypt before the Arab invasions in the seventh century, but have been surrounded for centuries by a hostile Muslim majority. Kind of like the Lebanese Christians, who also used to be a majority (54%) in their country as recently as 1975. Now they are merely an oppressed minority. As for the Copts, they now need a presidential permission even to open a church; their history cannot be taught in schools; and people can be arrested under the (Egyptian) National Security Act for converting to their faith.
So what's the self-righteous, human rights-minded Clinton administration doing about all these human rights violations; about all these alleged crimes against Christians in Egypt? Threatening to have NATO bomb Egypt (as it did to Serbia over Kosovo?). Applying the sanctions against Egypt? Or at least giving its president, Mubarak, a verbal lashing?
No, no and no. There has been not a peep from either the White House or the State Department pulpits which seem always ready, able and quick to criticize alleged mistreatments of minorities in predominantly Christian countries, such as Russia or Serbia, for example. On the contrary, the Clinton administration continues to send over $2 billion of U.S. taxpayers' money to help prop up the Mubarak regime, as if nothing had happened.
Israel, which is a recipient of an even greater amount of annual aid from the American taxpayers, at least has had its police try to protect the "Jews for Jesus" worshippers from its own Orthodox Jewish extremists (per the Haaretz story). In Egypt, however, the Jesus Christ followers seem to be the "Vogelfrei" (German term for "birds free to shoot"), as the state security forces reportedly carried out the crimes.
Despite the troubling silence from the East Coast establishment, there are some indications that freedom of the press is still alive in certain parts of this "land of the free." But one has to look for them away from the major U.S. metropolitan centers, and the New World Order-controlled media.
The Oregonian is one such example. In late October, this regional West Coast paper ran a five-part series of articles about the persecution of Christians around the world. The stories, written by its staff reporter, Mark O'Keefe, covered Pakistan, Burma, Egypt, Sudan and China.
And then, every once in a while, a decent journalist even within the establishment media gets conscience pangs. is one of them. In his year-end 1997 piece, "A Year of Awakening," the New York Times columnist, A.M. Rosenthal, was critical of the "Americans of great power and standing, almost all Christian themselves," for opposing the American Christians' desire to help the persecuted Christians abroad.
Trouble is that even Mr. Rosenthal limited his outrage only to "half-dozen Muslim countries and China" in his annual soul-searching/cleansing confessional. In other words, his conscience pangs and lamentations were selective, while the persecution of Christians around the world is pervasive.
Still, Mr. Rosenthal was right to blame Bill Clinton and "those who serve him to obey him, and the chiefs of America's major companies and trade associations... The Administration-business partnership has dredged up some classic pieces of hypocrisy. Most shameful is that opposing persecution would just bring more. Once that was said about the Nazis. Ask the prisoners."
Washington's silence speaks louder than words. As TiM concluded its 1997 Lebanon piece, "the message is clear: Washington's foreign affairs establishment is not only un-American; it is anti-Christian." And just think, such is the state of affairs in a "democratic" country in which over 80% of voters are Christians.
Bob Djurdjevic is a Phoenix-based writer and founder of Truth in Media (www.truthinmedia.org); e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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