In July of 2015, Eliza Griswold of the New York Times, wrote a comprehensive piece entitled “Is This The End Of Christianity In The Middle East?”
She wrote of ISIS militants in towns they had captured, marking certain houses with the Arabic letter “N” in red spray paint. It looks kind of like a one eyed smiley face, but looks are deceiving. The letter, pronounced as “noon,” is the first letter of the word Nasrani, or “one who believes in Jesus of Nazareth.” It was a marking of death to many, as was the “Juden” label or yellow Star of David stitched on clothing some eighty years ago.
On October 5, Breitbart’s Mary Chastain wrote the following:
The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) executed 12 Christians, including a 12-year-old boy, after they refused to abandon their faith and convert to Islam. The murders occurred on August 28 outside of Aleppo.
“In front of the team leader and relatives in the crowd, the Islamic extremists cut off the fingertips of the boy and severely beat him, telling his father they would stop the torture only if he, the father, returned to Islam,” revealed Christian Aid Mission. “When the team leader refused, relatives said, the ISIS militants also tortured and beat him and the two other ministry workers. The three men and the boy then met their deaths in crucifixion.”
And this, from the Christian Examiner in December:
The Gatestone Institute, chaired by former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, has issued a report that claims “one Christian is slaughtered every five minutes,” but little is being done to stop it by politicians and, ironically, church leaders.
“Throughout September, as more Christians were slaughtered and persecuted for their religion – not just by the Islamic State but by ‘everyday’ Muslims from all around the world – increasing numbers of people and organizations called for action. Meanwhile, those best placed to respond – chief among them U.S. President Barack Obama and Pope Francis – did nothing,” writes Raymond Ibrahim, also a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freeom Center.
Ibrahim, raised in both the U.S. and Egypt by Coptic parents, is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians.
In the report, which lists countries where abuses have and continue to occur, Ibrahim specifically criticizes Pope Francis, who on his visit to the U.S. in September spoke at the United Nations, but said little in his 50-minute address about the persecution of Christians. According to Ibrahim, only one reference was made to the plight of Christians in the Middle East, and this “in the same sentence with the supposedly equal sufferings of ‘members of the majority religion,’ that is, Sunni Muslims (the only group not to be attacked by the Islamic State, a Sunni organization).”
Yet, on January 2, 2016, an epic war of words broke out between leaders of nations. Violent protests, riots, Molotov Cocktails, threats, and now fire at the Saudi embassy in Tehran. The Arab world has come undone over the death of one Muslim Cleric. No life, or any unjust death, is insignificant, and the details of Arab Spring proponent Sheikh Nimr’s life and the accusations against him are, and will be debated around the world, yet the scale of silence, neglect, indifference, and hypocrisy regarding the death of many others in their midst, once again, is staggering.
Think about that, the scale of silence. Can pitch black be any blacker? Can a back turned be any broader? Deafening.
The State Department, thankfully, weighed in regarding a regime that for starters allows women nothing:
State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement that the U.S. is “particularly concerned” that al-Nimr’s execution risked “exacerbating sectarian tensions at a time when they urgently need to be reduced.”
He said the U.S. is calling on Saudi Arabia to ensure fair judicial proceedings and permit peaceful expression of dissent while working with all community leaders to defuse tensions after the executions.
While the world again focuses on sectarian strife in the “religion of peace,” with stories about it headlining every news outlet, the cleansing of those who would wear an “N” as believers in Jesus of Nazareth continues regardless, with indifference again, as throughout history.