By Michael Ireland, Senior Reporter, ASSIST News Service firstname.lastname@example.org
WASHINGTON, DC (ANS — June 26, 2015) — From Egypt, to Syria and Iraq, ancient Christian communities — among the world’s oldest — are under threat of extinction, writes Gary Lane, CBN News Sr. International Correspondent, for www.cbn.com.
Lane quotes Katrina Lantos Swett, chairman of the United States Commission on International Freedom, who delivered that message at the recent 6th Annual Coptic Solidarity Conference in Washington, D.C., on persecution in the Middle East. (See video at: http://www.cbn.com/cbnnews/world/2015/June/Christians-in-Deep-Danger-We-Dare-Not-Be-Silent/).
“Christians and other minorities are in deep danger and we dare not be silent. The time to speak is now,” she said.
Swett says religious extremism crosses oceans and continents, and that is reason enough for Americans, and other western nations, should get involved.
“When Coptic Christians in Egypt are jailed for blasphemy or attacked by extremists for supposedly violating such laws and we are silent, we should not be surprised when attacks commence in the streets of Paris or elsewhere,” she said.
Lane reports that Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, said,”America is in a place to stop the persecution of Christians in numbers never before seen in the world. God has allowed us to be at that place.”
However, before America and other nations can respond effectively, they must face the truth about what is happening and why, Lane comments in his CBN News report.
Middle East analyst and author Raymond Ibrahim blames the media.
“We know about this ISIS thing because ISIS wants you to know and the media if anything has responded by giving us a plethora of editorials trying to convince us that what ISIS is doing is not Islamic,” he explained.
Ibrahim says American leaders must speak the truth about the atrocities — like the beheading of Coptic Christians in Libya.
“According to the White House, it was just 21 Egyptians who were randomly killed, not because they’re Christians, not because of their faith and so forth,” Ibrahim said.
Lane reports that U.S. Religious Freedom Ambassador at Large, Rabbi David Saperstein, is urgently concerned about Iraqi and Syrian Christians. Their numbers have dwindled to a fraction of what they were just 20 years ago.
“Now, if we’re going to preserve those communities, we know what needs to be done,” Saperstein said. “First, until ISIL [otherwise known as ISIS, or Islamic State. Ed.] is pushed out, those displaced communities need to be able to live with a quality of life that will be an incentive for them to remain.”
Lane adds that means providing security and stability for them, along with better health care and schools for their children.
Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., says people of the United States need to act.
“We cannot stand by and watch this,” Black said. “We have a moral obligation to act in defense of our brothers and sisters abroad.”
Lane concludes that, “Christian activists in Washington are once again speaking loudly, reminding President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress that something needs to be done quickly to protect these ancient Christian communities from annihilation. And they say they’ll keep speaking until something is done — and they start listening.”
Photo One: Katrina Lantos Swett
Photo Two: Rep. Louie Gohmert
Photo Three: Michael Ireland
Michael Ireland is a Senior Correspondent for the ASSIST News Service, as well as a volunteer Internet Journalist and Ordained Minister who has served with ASSIST Ministries and ASSIST News Service since its beginning in 1989. He has reported for ANS from Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Israel, Jordan, China, and Russia. Click http://paper.li/Michael_ASSIST/1410485204 to see a daily digest of Michael’s stories for ANS.
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