“Neither shalt thou stand idly by the blood of thy neighbor” (Leviticus 19:16)
The Zionist Organization of America issued a press release on Wednesday harshly condemning the international community for its neglect and silence over the ongoing persecution and violence against Middle Eastern Christians. The organization said that the persecution and flight of these Mideast Christians have reached historical highs.
According to the release, “. The ZOA is drawing attention to this neglected problem because it strongly believes that justice calls for action to pressure Middle Eastern governments to desist from the persecution of Christians and other minorities and that increased public awareness will assist the cause of stronger action by governments, including the U.S.”
The release then goes on to mention a number of specific events hurting Middle East Christians in the recent past. Among the list is “violence of all types – killing, kidnapping, forced conversions and destruction of church property,” of Christians in Gaza at the hands of Hamas. According to the ZOA, “Between 2007, when Hamas seized control of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority, and 2012, Gaza’s small Christian population shrunk from 3,500 to 1,500. Forced conversions of Christian children have occurred increasingly and Hamas has spoken of reintroducing the jizya, the discriminatory tax imposed on Jews and Christians by Muslim rulers in past centuries.”
In Egypt, the ZOA reported a surge of fleeing Christians since the departure of Hosni Mubarak and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, with 100,000 Coptic Christians feeling the country, as well as a large rise in Church attacks. Additionally, “ Christian women and girls raped in increasing numbers and the incidence of forced conversion of Christians to Islam have dramatically increased.”
Christians in Syria have not been able to protect themselves from the ongoing bloodbath within the borders either. The ZOA called attention to the fact that “before the Arab Spring uprisings, the city of Homs had around 80,000 Christians. In October of 2012, jihadists murdered the city’s last Christian. Just last month, Syrian rebels killed Catholic priest Francois Murad as he tried to protect a group of nuns. The ongoing violence has caused an estimated 300,000 Christian Syrians to flee the nation in the past two years.”
Similar horrific numbers and facts are presented by the ZOA about Christians in Iraq, Iran, Libya, Lebanon, Pakistan and Mali.
ZOA National Chairman of the Board Dr. Michael Goldblatt said, “The ZOA shares the anguish and concern shared by many, but not nearly enough, people at the deteriorating predicament, suffering and danger engulfing the Christians of the Middle East and beyond.
“The U.S. should be pressuring where possible the governments concerned to afford better protection to Christians and other minorities. This we have not been doing consistently. To the contrary, in its apparent anxiety to sever any perceived link between Islam and the violence committed by some Muslims in its name, the Obama Administration rarely if ever speaks of radical Islam or of the crimes committed by radical Islamists as having anything to do with Islam. One of the corollaries of this is that we tend to ignore the pronounced pattern of Islamist violence directed at Christian communities in Muslim majority countries.
“This silence should end now. We call upon the Obama Administration and the U.S. Congress to condemn the war waged by radical Muslims against the Christian communities of the Middle East and to start pressuring the relevant governments to protect its Christian citizens, reverse legal disabilities and the discrimination they face and to aggressively prosecute those groups and individuals that carry out assaults.”