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Abandoning their flocks

Click photo to download. Caption: Dexter Van Zile.
Click photo to download. Caption: Dexter Van Zile.

One of the great scandals of the past few decades is the manner in which would-be Christian peacemakers have failed to confront the problem of Muslim anti-Semitism and the role it plays in promoting ongoing violence against Israel and Jews throughout the world.

These so-called peacemakers are simply unwilling to confront the ugly Jew-hatred that is present in the Koran, the hadiths and in descriptions of the life of Mohammed. They have also been unwilling to confront how Islamists have used Jew-hatred as a unifying political agenda in the modern era.

In light of the mistreatment the Jewish people have endured at the hand of Christians over the past 2,000 years, the silence of Christian peacemakers about Muslim doctrines regarding the Jews and Islamist anti-Semitism is simply inexcusable.

If Christians in the West have any warning to offer to Muslims, it is simply this: “Supersessionism is a murderous theology. Anti-Semitism is a suicidal ideology. Abandon them both. Find another path. Find a place in your heart for the Jewish people, regardless of what your scriptures say about them and what your theologians and scholars have told you through the ages. Do what we failed to do.”

It may be impossible for many Muslims to hear this message, given the role of the Koran and of Mohammed’s life the Muslim faith, but it’s a message that Christians are obligated to offer in light of their own history. Christians owe it to themselves, to Jews, and to Muslims to offer this warning.They owe it to God.

There is another scandal. Just as Church leaders abandoned the Jews to Islamist hostility, they have abandoned their fellow Christians who face this threat.

Several hundred thousand Christians have been driven from Iraq since the ouster of Saddam Hussein in 2003. Assyrian Christians in Iraq are calling for the creation of an autonomous province as a refuge for all of Iraq’s religious and ethnic minorities in the Nineveh Plains, and yet their plight and their cause has gotten little more than lip-service (if that) from Christians in the West.

More than 100,000 Christians have fled Egypt since the ouster of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Coptic Christians have been murdered by both Muslim extremists and Egyptian soldiers charged with protecting them. Coptic women have been raped and forcibly converted to Islam and the government has failed to prosecute the perpetrators. While their plight has gotten some attention in the West, it is still eclipsed by the situation of the Palestinians, who have been the authors of their own suffering in ways many Christians in the West insist on ignoring.

Hundreds of thousands of Christians have been killed in Sudan over the past three decades, and Christians are murdered on a regular basis in Nigeria, where Islamists have imposed inhumane laws that subject Muslim and non-Muslim alike to cruel punishment. Christians are subjected to terrible acts of oppression in Muslim-majority countries in Asia as well.

These acts of violence by Muslims—which insult the name of God—are perpetrated by people who claim to be acting in the name of a compassionate, merciful and just God. In other words, they are driven by theological beliefs similar to those that contributed to the near destruction of Jews in Europe.

In any event, the Body of Christ is under systematic attack by people who seek to either subdue or eradicate Christianity altogether.

And yet, the Christian institutions that are in the best position to respond to this attack, namely the Vatican, the World Council of Churches and the World Evangelical Alliance, have yet to offer up a united and common word of outrage and lamentation.

This is not to say they have said nothing. They have responded individually to attacks as they happen, but they have yet to issue a joint statement about the Islamist violence their flocks have endured. In 2011, these institutions issued a joint statement on the correct approach to sharing the Christian faith in a multi-religious environment. This is an important subject, to be sure, but it raises a question: When will these institutions speak a common Christian word about the assault on the sheep they are called to protect?

Until they do, Christians living in the face of Islamist violence have every reason to shout, in a loud voice, “Why have you forsaken us?”

Dexter Van Zile is Christian Media Analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

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