Christians and non-Christians alike can draw inspiration from their courage, faith and perseverance.
The Lenten Season is here again and Christians the world over are preparing for Easter.
Though it receives little to any attention in the American media, the truth of the matter is that for a good number of contemporary Christians—approximately 215 million, or one in twelve, according to Open Doors, an organization dedicated to ministering to persecuted Christians—experience “high levels” of persecution in dozens of countries.
Today, in 2019, numerous Christians, adults and, yes, children, are regularly following the example of holy men and women from throughout the Church’s history who have died as testimony to their faith. Open Doors shares the following startling information:
Every month, 255 Christians are killed; 104 are abducted; 180 Christian women are raped, sexually harassed, or forced into marriage; 66 churches are besieged; and 160 Christians are detained without trial and imprisoned.
Just last year, 3,066 Christians were murdered, while 1,252 were kidnapped, 1,020 were raped or otherwise sexually abused, and 793 churches attacked.
Open Doors supplies the public with a “World Watch” list of 50 of the world’s most dangerous countries for Christians.
Eight out of ten of those countries are Islamic.
Rape is an especially common form of persecution for Christian women in Islamic lands—a fact that Open Doors substantiates via the testimony of several Christian females who have lived through it first-hand.
Take, first, Rita, a Christian woman who lived in the Qaraqosh, in Iraq. When she was in her mid-twenties, Rita was abducted by Islamic State zealots after they converged upon her city. Over the next four years, until she was freed and reunited with her family, Rita was sold as a sex slave four times. She was subjected to numerous beatings and rapes as her tormentors mocked and threatened her.
Then there’s Aisha, who was a 28 year-old wife and the mother of three children when her Nigerian home town of Kano was besieged by Fulani Islamic fanatics. The latter forced their way into Aisha’s family’s home. Upon seeing a Bible, her Muslim attackers knew immediately that Aisha and her family were Christians, and they suspected that her husband was a pastor. The predators seized Aisha’s husband and whisked him away while demanding sex from Aisha. She refused—but to no avail.
Two men would rape Aisha on that fateful evening.
Maizah was an Islamic, Libyan woman who converted to Christianity. She is especially courageous, knowing as she must have known that going public with her account promised to invite attempts on her very life—as they did. A group of older men attacked Maizah, beating her for her conversion to Christianity. They promised to spare her life if she agreed to become the fourth wife of one of her attackers.
Maizah, painfully aware that she couldn’t take refuge in her family members, who also might try to kill her for abandoning Islam, decided that her only option was to flee.
Today, Maizah lives somewhere in the West. She no longer has to worry about being murdered because of her allegiance to Christ. However, she continues to endure trauma over what she endured.
Esther was but 17 years-old when Boko Haram, a Nigerian species of Islamic militancy, raided Esther’s village and carried her, along with several other girls, off to captivity deep into the Sambisa forest. Their abductors pressured their victims to renounce Christianity and embrace Islam.
Esther, despite being repeatedly gang-raped, refused to repudiate Christ. And even after she conceived and gave birth to the child of one of her rapists, she still refused to abandon her Lord and Savior.
Sadly, when Esther and her baby finally made it home, her own family and fellow villagers ostracized her. She was referred to as one of the “Boko Haram women” and her daughter they called, simply, “Boko.”
Open Doors notes that the experiences of these women are all too common at present. In nearly 60% of the planet’s 50 most dangerous countries for Christians, sexual assault was identified as a feature of Christian persecution. In 47% of these countries, Christian women are selected as victims of rape.
Yet Christian women are also persecuted in other gender-specific ways. Thirty-five percent of the 50 most dangerous countries report that Christian women are subjected to “forced divorce” and, subsequently, denied custody of their children. On the other hand, 57% of these countries say that Christian women are subjected to “forced marriage.”
There are still other methods of persecuting Christian women. From Open Doors:
Persecution exploits all of a woman’s vulnerabilities, including (but not limited to): lack of education, [lack of adequate] healthcare, forced divorce, travel bans, trafficking, widowhood, incarceration in a psychiatric unit, forced abortions or [forced] contraception, being denied access to work and lack of choice to marry a person of similar faith.
In those societies within which women are of low stature, Christian women are especially vulnerable. The CEO of Open Doors, David Curry, explains:
To further complicate and degrade their value, Christian women specifically face and even greater challenge. They are targeted specifically for their faith and often are helpless to demand justice.
As the United States continues to focus on improving the lives of American women, let us not forget those who cannot even have a man arrested for violence against them.
Amen. And this Lenten season, let Christian and non-Christian alike draw inspiration from the example of strength, courage, and faith exhibited by persecuted Christians and persecuted Christian women like the young ladies mentioned here.
Menachem Begin in December 1942 wearing the Polish Army uniform of Gen. Anders’ forces with his wife Aliza and David Yutan; (back row) Moshe Stein and Israel Epstein
(photo credit: JABOTINSKY ARCHIVES)
During the inauguration of a memorial to the victims of the Siege of Leningrad in Jerusalem’s Sacher Park on January 24, 2020, before the climax of Holocaust remembrance events at which Russian President Vladimir Putin was given a central platform, we were stunned to hear a rendition of The Blue Kerchief (Siniy
Giant figures are seen during the 87th carnival parade of Aalst February 15, 2015
The annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium, is expected to take place on Sunday with even more antisemitic elements than in previous years.
Aalst’s organizers have sold hundreds of “rabbi kits” for revelers to dress as hassidic Jews in the carnival’s parade. The kit includes oversized noses, sidelocks (peyot) and black hats. The organizers plan to bring back floats similar to the one displayed in 2019 featuring oversized dolls of Jews, with rats on their shoulders, holding banknotes.
Pope Francis waves as he arrives at the Basilica of Saint Nicholas in the southern Italian coastal city of Bari, Italy February 23, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Remo Casilli.
Pope Francis on Sunday warned against “inequitable solutions” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying they would only be a prelude to new crises, in an apparent reference to US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace proposal.
Francis made his comments in the southern Italian port city of Bari, where he traveled to conclude a meeting of bishops from all countries in the Mediterranean basin.
Palestinians walk past a shop selling fruits in Ramallah, Feb. 20, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Mohamad Torokman.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have reached an agreement to end a five-month long trade dispute, officials said on Thursday.
The dispute, which opened a new front in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, began in September when the PA announced a boycott of Israel calves. The PA exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank under interim peace deals.
Antisemitic caricatures on display at the annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium. Photo: Raphael Ahren via Twitter.
Disturbing images emerged on Sunday of the annual carnival at Aalst, Belgium, showing an astounding number of antisemitic themes, costumes, displays and statements.
Israeli journalist Raphael Ahren documented people dressed as caricatures of Orthodox Jews, a fake “wailing wall” attacking critics of the parade, blatantly antisemitic characters and puppets wearing traditional Jewish clothes and sporting huge noses.
Feb 02, 2020 0The remarks from the US official came in wake of the Palestinian decision to reject the administration’s peace plan. US PRESIDENT Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrive to...
The stench of anti-Semitism always hovers over Switzerland’s Lake Geneva when the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is meeting there. The foul emanations reached a new nadir last week with UNHRC’s publication of a “database” of companies doing business in the disputed territories in Israel.
Following the publication of the list, Bruno Stagno Ugarte, deputy director for advocacy of NGO Human Rights Watch, stated, “The long-awaited release of the U.N. settlement business database should put all companies on notice: To do business with illegal settlements [sic] is to aid in the commission of war crimes.”
One of the many things that annoys me about politicians is how sure they are of themselves. Everything is black and white. Every idea is good or bad. Take globalism, for example. You either love it or hate it. It works or it doesn’t.
Another thing that annoys me is how so much of a politician’s life revolves around power: Do everything you can to get it, and everything you can to keep it.
Why am I ranting? Because, while our politicians have been consumed with power and the media with the fights over power, a threat to our nation has been virtually ignored.
Blue and White Party leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid are establishing their diplomatic credentials in the immediate run-up to Israel’s March 2 election with an insult to a U.S. administration that has arguably provided Israel with more diplomatic gains than any previous administration.
The Times of Israel reported that at a campaign stop in front of English-speaking Israelis, Gantz accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “of neglecting bipartisan ties in favor of exclusive support from U.S. President Donald Trump’s Republican Party,” under the headline “Gantz pledges to mend ties with U.S. Democrats if elected.”
Bipartisanship was in short supply at the State of the Union address earlier this month—with one notable exception.
Nancy Pelosi had been looking dyspeptic, shuffling the papers she would later rip to shreds, when President Donald Trump reminded his audience that “the United States is leading a 59-nation diplomatic coalition against the socialist dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro.”
Suddenly, the House Speaker applauded. Trump then introduced “the true and legitimate president of Venezuela: Juan Guaidó.”
The law professor Alan Dershowitz has thrown a legal hand-grenade into America’s political civil war by claiming to have evidence that former President Barack Obama “personally asked” the FBI to investigate someone “on behalf” of Obama’s “close ally,” billionaire financier George Soros.
He made his cryptic remark in an interview defending U.S. President Donald Trump against claims he interfered in the prosecution of his former adviser, Roger Stone.