This is a must-read piece by Cranmer. Seems that our Iraqi friends have been busy. When they’re not killing each other, it seems that there is something that can unite Shiite and Sunni: hatred of Christians. The basics from Cranmer:
It is perhaps one of the great ironies of the whole Iraq debacle that President Bush and Prime Minister Blair – two of the most avowedly Christian leaders of recent times – should have created a situation which has not only destabilised the entire region, but imperils the very existence of Assyrian Christians. In the liberation of the majority Shi’ia from their Sunni oppressors, the Christians, who once lived and worshipped freely under the regime of Saddam Hussain, now face genocide in their own country at the hands of determined Islamist fanatics. The Rev Canon Andrew White, vicar of the 1300-strong St George’s Anglican Church in Baghdad, recently spoke in Washington, and said: “The situation is more than desperate. The Coalition has failed the Christians. We have done nothing to support the Christian community or the increased Christian suffering.”
This appears to be s.o.p. for us in the Middle East. We turn a blind eye to the attempts at genocide by Muslims. Think genocide is too strong a word? Some facts from what passes for current events in the timeless Middle East:
But for the past 150 years, martyrdom has been their fate. In 1915, the Turkish junta viciously murdered some 750,000 Assyrian Christians and 1.5 million Armenians. Turkey has still not acknowledged this atrocity; indeed, it is a criminal offence to do so. Prior to 1915, Christians were 20% of Iraq’s population; today they are barely 2%.
Today, Muslims in Gaza and the West Bank want to kill all the Jews; Muslims all around the world are waging violent jihad, whose goal is to convert or kill us. Not all Muslims, to be sure. But when you’ve got a billion or so Muslims, it takes only a very small percentage to be a threat to Christians. And Jews. And Buddhists. And Hindus. And all who are not Muslims.
As disciples, we are expected to pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:44). But, as Cranmer also reminds us in Hebrews 13:3 and 1 Corinthians 12:26, when Assyrian Christians suffer, so too do we. And whilst we may pray for our enemies, that does not relieve us of the obligation to also protect fellow Christians and lend them aid.