Raymond Ibrahim

CBN News Contributor, Middle East and Islam Expert


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The Existential Elephant in the ‘Christian Persecution’ Room

Open Doors USA recently released its widely cited 2014 World Watch List—a report that highlights and ranks the 50 worst nations around the globe persecuting Christians.

The one glaring fact that emerges from this report is that the overwhelming majority of Christian persecution around the globe today is being committed at the hands of Muslims of all races, languages, cultures, and socio-political circumstances: Muslims from among America’s allies (Saudi Arabia) and its enemies (Iran); Muslims from economically rich nations (Qatar) and from poor nations (Somalia and Yemen); Muslims from “Islamic republic” nations (Pakistan) and from “moderate” nations (Malaysia and Indonesia); Muslims from nations rescued by America (Kuwait) and Muslims claiming “grievances” against America (fill in the space __).

A common denominator, a pattern, exists, one that is even more extensive than Open Doors implies. According to that organization’s communications director, Emily Fuentes, “of the 50 worst nations for persecution, 37 of them are Muslim,” or 74 percent.

In fact, while this number suggests that the other 13 countries making the top 50 are not Muslim—for example Kenya and Ethiopia—those doing the persecution there are.

In other words, those persecuting Christians in 41 of 50 nations are Muslims; that is, a whopping 82 percent of all persecution around the globe is being committed by adherents of Islam—sometimes in Christian majority nations, for example, the Central African Republic which, after the 2013 Islamic takeover, now ranks No. 16, “severe persecution” (the Christian-majority nation did not even appear in the previous year’s top 50).

As for the top ten absolute worst nations, where, according to the 2014 World Watch List, Christians suffer “extreme persecution,” nine—that is, 90 percent—are Muslim.(Indeed, Open Doors’ global map of Christian persecution can easily be confused with a global map of the Islamic world, with the exception of China (ranked 37, “moderate persecution”) and some sporadic countries dominated by crime and godless tyranny, Colombia, North Korea, etc.)

Similarly, a recent Morning Star News report listing 2013’s ten most horrific anecdotes of Christian persecution around the world finds that nine out of ten—again, 90 percent—were committed at the hands of those professing Islam.

Still, considering that the 2014 World Watch List ranks North Korea—non-Islamic, communist—as the number one worst persecutor of Christians, why belabor the religious identity of Muslims?

Here we come to some critically important but blurred distinctions. While Christians are indeed suffering extreme persecution in North Korea, these fall into the realm of the temporal, the aberrant, even. Something as simple as overthrowing the North Korean regime would likely end persecution there almost overnight—just as the fall of Communist Soviet Union saw religious persecution come to a quick close.

In the Islamic world, however, a similar scenario would not alleviate the sufferings of Christians by an iota. Quite the opposite; where dictators fall—Mubarak in Egypt, Qaddafi in Libya, and ongoing attempts to oust Assad in Syria—Christian persecution rises.

The reason for this dichotomy is that Christian persecution by non-Muslims (mostly communists) is often rooted to a temporal regime or ideology. Conversely, Muslim persecution of Christians is perennial, existential, and far transcends this or that regime or ruler. It is part and parcel of the history, doctrines, and socio-political makeup of Islam—hence its tenacity; hence its ubiquity.

Still, the significance of all this is often overlooked. Thus, “Dr. David Curry, CEO and president of Open Doors USA, told The Blaze ‘Not every circumstance is the same. For example, in North Korea, you have a quasi-Stalinist government that is the most difficult place to call yourself a Christian on the planet — and has been for the last 12 years,’ he noted. But while North Korea’s government is the real culprit, in places like Iraq, ‘roving extremist groups’ are waging attacks against Christians, while government officials are seemingly powerless to stop the carnage, he explained.”

True; but atheistic Stalinism/communism is a relatively new phenomenon—about a century old—and, over the years, its rule (if not variants of its ideology) has greatly waned, so that only a handful of nations today are communist.

On the other hand, “roving extremist groups” (also known in other contexts and countries as “Islamists,” “terrorists,” “mujahidin,” “mobs,” “radicals,” “people-with-grievances,” etc.) attacking and killing “infidel” Christians have been around since the dawn of Islam. It is a well-documented, even if suppressed, history

To further understand the differences between temporal and existential persecution, consider: Russia, once a staunch Orthodox Christian nation, led the communist movement and persecuted its own Christians; yet today, a century later, it is becoming more orthodox again, prominent among Western nations for showing support for persecuted Christians

North Korea—where its leader, Kim Jong-Un, is worshipped as a god and the people are shielded from reality, including outside their borders—seems to be experiencing what Russia did under the Soviet Union and thus living in a delusional state.

But if the once mighty USSR could not persevere, surely it’s a matter of time before tiny North Korea’s walls also come crumbling down, with the resulting religious freedom that former communist nations have experienced. Tellingly, the only countries that were part of the USSR that still persecute Christians are Muslim, such as Uzbekistan (ranked No. 15, “severe persecution”) and Turkmenistan (ranked NO. 20, also “severe persecution”).

Time, however, is not on the side of Christians living amid Muslims; quite the opposite. Since the 7th century, when Islam came into being, Muslims have been invading and conquering Christian lands so that more than half of the territory that was once Christian in the 7th century—including all of North Africa and the Levant—are today the heart of the “Muslim world.”

Muslim persecution of Christians exists in 41 nations today as part of a continuum that started nearly 14 centuries ago. As I document in Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, the very same patterns of Christian persecution prevalent throughout the Muslim world today are often identical to those from centuries past. The facts speak for themselves.

Put differently, long after North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un has gone the way of the dodo, Islam will still be here and—short of a miraculous “reformation”—still treating Christians and other “infidels” like it did for centuries.

Confronting this understandably discomforting and better-left-unsaid fact is the first real step to alleviating the sufferings of the overwhelming majority of Christians around the world.

Unfortunately, however, while some are willing to point out that Christians are being persecuted around the Muslim world—why that is the case, why 82 percent of the world’s persecution is committed by Muslims from a variety of backgrounds and circumstances—is the great elephant in the room that few wish to address. For doing so would cause some long held and cherished premises of the modern West to come crashing down.

CBN News contributor Raymond Ibrahim is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians. He is a Shillman Fellow, David Horowitz Freedom Center; Associate Fellow, Middle East Forum; and 2013 Media Fellow, Hoover Institution.

Print     Email to a Friend    posted on Friday, January 17, 2014 10:56 AM

Comments on this post

# RE: The Existential Elephant in the ‘Christian Persecution’ Room

A Christian knows that the "Persecution" comes from Satan. His hatred of God is alive, and it exists in those who have a overwhelming desire to "kill" the Christian, and Jew. This hatred they have is a very real and forceful entity living within them. The Muslim that has had a conversion to Christianity will be the first to tell you that he "hated" Christians and Jews all his life. Without actually knowing "Why" they felt that way. Aside from being taught that all their lives, it was a true "feeling within them" that they did not really understand. Satan and his demons are attacking the Believers all over the world today, with a force greater than ever before, because "he knows his time is short", and Revelation 12 tells us he is angry and full of rage against God and God's children. He has used the Religion of Islam as his main army against God. The glorious outcome about this, is he is a defeated enemy. And soon he will be 'no more'.
Left by bygrace on Jan 17, 2014 3:46 PM

# RE: The Existential Elephant in the ‘Christian Persecution’ Room

And the irony is where Christians can live freely like in America , Europe - seldom they visit churches , they are into alcohol and drugs , in the name of freedom they are wanting laws to be passed where a man can marry a man which is not Biblical and abominable in the eyes of God. It is time Christians in these countries first cling to God and not not sway away from their Christian faith . That is the most urgent need else even the few true Christians in the so called Christian countries will find persecution knocking at their own door steps.
Left by ray on Jan 17, 2014 11:20 PM

# RE: The Existential Elephant in the ‘Christian Persecution’ Room

A violent Muslim extremist is only obeying his Quran.
Peaceful Muslims are called "hypocrites" by the Quran.
Once the world understands this, the response should be to consider all of Islam a functioning terrorist organization, each particular group either currently active, or currently inactive but surely potentially dangerous, destructive.
Left by Anonymous on Jan 18, 2014 6:05 AM

# RE: The Existential Elephant in the ‘Christian Persecution’ Room

It is high time that an accurate English version of the Quran was published and all the verses that call for violence and intolerance of other faiths by Muslims be highlighted in the text by the printer. Any verses that talk about love or forgiveness and acceptance be highlighted in another color.

Then print a similarly highlighted Bible.

Compare the two in the public arena and encourage reading and comparison. It is time for ignorance of ISLAM and it's deadly teachings to end. No educated person should ever say that the Bible and the Quran are similar books and the Religious Faiths they teach are alike or similar, in any way
Left by BuckE7 on Jan 18, 2014 10:53 AM

# RE: The Existential Elephant in the ‘Christian Persecution’ Room

No mention here of the draconian laws in Uganda and other nations where missionaries using Christ's name have persuaded oppressive legislation against LGBT's, including execution and life imprisonment. Why is that?
Left by CantTouchThis! on Jan 21, 2014 10:56 AM

# RE: The Existential Elephant in the ‘Christian Persecution’ Room

I am living in Canada. I believe we are living the end times. I have seen persecution in every country concerning Christian people. Persecution is also going on in Canada, the US state and across the world. I was locked up in 2006 for my faith in God, and hearing God and for having special spiritual gifts from God above. Also for pain in my body that could not be explained against my will, and considered mentally ill. Put on medication and treated very badly, in fact like a criminal, in London Ontario Canada, and in Vancouver B.C Canada. Latter proved I was not mentally ill, but through tests of a Christian physician, I was born with Arthritis in my pelvic bones, and because of sexual and system abuse it spread throughout my body. The Bible plainly states that Gods sheep, hear His voice. See visions and dreams of end times. Not mentally ill, but is a fact. Yes in Canada persecution is a factor and being used daily against Christian believers in the Canadian health systems.
Left by NinaM on Feb 21, 2014 1:29 PM