Silence as the Christians Die

This article first appeared in the Boston Jewish Advocate.

Why is the West so shamefully silent in the face of the onslaught against Christian peoples and communities throughout the Islamic realm?

If the reasons for this are not understood – and if the silence continues – we are almost sure to witness bloody religious/ethnic “cleansings,” if not actual genocides.

The Syrian Christians in Damascus, whose church has just been bombed by anti-Bashar al-Assad rebels, know their community will be wiped out if Assad is toppled. The Christian Copts in Egypt can see what the Salafists have in store for them as the Muslim Brotherhood assumes more and more control. The Copts’ daughters are already being raped, their priests beaten, their churches set aflame. From Nigeria to Malaysia, from Pakistan to Iraq, from Uzbekistan to Tanzania, Christians are arrested, harassed and threatened. Murder is in the air.

Some in the West see what is coming. The Middle East Forum recently launched a monthly update on Christian persecution in Islamic lands. Last year, Christian Solidarity International (CSI) issued a “genocide warning” concerning the endangered non-Muslim minorities (mostly Christians) in North Africa and the broader Islamic Middle East. John Eibner, President of CSI’s USA branch, asked President Barack Obama to speak out on behalf of the endangered Christians.

Obama has not spoken out. But neither have the “human rights” community and other “caring and compassionate” people who endlessly talk about social justice. And sadly, neither have Christian pastors and priests. Why are both the left and the Christians abandoning these people to their fate? I can see 10 reasons.

The left’s silence

1. Crime by non-Westerners distracts from the left’s message.

For many Western progressives, guilt over past Western crimes of colonialism and slavery narrows their focus to horrors committed by Westerners. This enables them to cast themselves as “the good whites” and be exonerated of Western sin. Apartheid committed by South African whites moved them greatly; to protest Arab/Muslim attacks today on Christians would distract from their message and blunt their purpose.

2. Christians cannot be seen as victims.

Progressives perseverate on the notion that Christian missionaries were an arm of Western colonialists, and tricked Asian and African natives with religious mumbo jumbo. Also uppermost in their minds: Christians allowed – and Christian teachings abetted – Hitler’s genocide of Europe’s Jews. The progressives’ history, however, omits centuries of Islamic conquest (by the sword, not the work of missionaries), slaughter, and enslavement of pagans and subjugation of Jewish and Christian communities – which, by the way, preceded Islam in Egypt and of course Israel. Few progressives ever understood that “the tragedy of Sudan” was a murderous anti-Christian (and anti-tribalist) jihad.

3. Pointing to crimes by one’s adversaries hinders “peace.”

Apart from their incomplete and biased view of history, progressives have a PC/therapeutic view of peacemaking: Discussion of Islamist human-rights crimes is barred as “unhelpful” at best and “racist” at worst. To make peace, their theory goes, we must appease and not offend “the other,” and we must think of our adversaries as no different from ourselves. One should not describe cultures that wish only to dominate, encourage men to rape, and force others to reject their own religious faiths. In other words, progressives would object to reporting on what is happening to the Christians in the Muslim world.

4. Many progressives see themselves in a culture war with Christians.

Many progressives may not wish to help persecuted Christians in the Middle East and in Asia because they are at war with Western Christians here over such things as gay marriage, women’s clergy inequality, and abortion. Why help your “enemies?”

Christians’ silence

5. Ignorance, which is sometimes willful.

For the sake of peaceful relations, the media (see “progressives” above) fails to fully inform Christians about Christian suffering at the hands of Muslim radicals. Christian pastors, some of whom have been told by their Muslim “dialogue partners” that any such talk threatens to harm interfaith harmony here, opt for a similar silence. The Diocese of Worcester recently cancelled a talk on Christian persecution by renowned scholar Robert Spencer of for precisely that reason.

6. Fear of doing further harm.

The Christian communities in the Islamic realm are effectively hostages. Popes and preachers have known for centuries that Western agitation for Christian rights under – and protection from – their Muslim overlords pose threats to the very lives of the people they wish to help.

7. Christians are not a “people.”

Christians here don’t identify with other practitioners of their faith as “family” – in the way, for example, that Jews do. Recently, Christian students at Gordon College, a Christian school in Wenham, Massachusetts, explained to me that unlike the Jews who mobilized throughout all their communities when one Jew – Gilad Shallit – was kidnapped, Christians are not “a family like the Jews who all come from Abraham and who carry his blood.” (I suggested that the global jihad might cure them of this viewpoint – that their fate was tied now to all Christians.)

8. Few available victims as spokespeople.

When the American Anti-Slavery Group organized mass American support for freeing the slaves of Sudan, our effort was helped immeasurably by escaped slaves who told their personal stories eloquently in English at American churches, synagogues and on campuses. Without such powerful voices here, awakening and mobilizing the Christians – and all Americans – will be much more difficult.

9. Christians cut off from their history.

In the American psyche, as Henry Ford suggested, “history is bunk.” Among American Christians there is not much interest in keeping foreign, ancient Christian communities alive, even the cradles of Christian civilization. In Bethlehem, Christians are disappearing at an alarming rate due to Arab/Islamist pressure, with no audible protest in the West.

10. Christian Zionists are otherwise occupied.

Christian Zionists know more than most about Christian suffering under the Islamists. But, strange as it may seem to us Jews, they are motivated overwhelmingly by the duty they feel toward the Jewish people. They have not been convinced that mobilizing here for their own Christian brethren in the Middle East would do more for Israel (I believe it just might) than continuing to “just” be the amazing Zionists they are.

Eibner put it this way in his letter to President Obama: “At the Holocaust Museum, Mr. President, you repeated a truth of which American policymakers must never lose sight: “Preventing mass atrocities and genocide is a core national security interest and a core moral responsibility of the United States of America.”

Americans of all political stripes and religious denominations need to remind ourselves of whom we are – and ask ourselves whom we would be if we leave the Christians to what so clearly seems a terrible, terrible fate.

Charles Jacobs is President of Americans for Peace and Tolerance (

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  • truebearing

    The Left hates Christianity and sees its demise as their penultimate goal. The fact that another political cult is doing the dirty work leaves them feeling blameless. They aren't blameless, however, they are accessories to murder and the most reprehensible bigotry on earth.

    Christians have spent so much time quarreling over sectarian differences, they seem incapable of condemning anyone but each other. Maybe when the scimitar is flashing toward one's own head the truth will become fleetingly, but starkly, apparent.

  • AdinaK

    The silence is akin to a collusion, an omerta of sorts, between leftist leaders and their Islamic cohorts. Both are seeking an anti-American result, and taking care of the "Sunday people", in tandem with the "Saturday people", is necessary.
    Never mind that Islam poses as a "religion". It is first and foremost a totalitarian political construct/dogma, and leftists recognize it for what it is. As to Sharia Law, the left thinks they will be able to wish it away.

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel

  • SAM000

    Iranian Resistance calls to save life of Pastor Saeed Abedini

    • stern

      Thank you for this link. For those who don't want to take the time to read this story, I quote just one phrase: "condemned to eight years imprisonment with hard labor for setting up a church in a house". That's imprisonment in Iran's horrendous Evin prison.

      We should all be screaming our heads off about this!

  • loseyateefa

    The author makes many good points but his group openly supports "interfaith" here with a Muslim Sheik on the board to represent Islam. There is no "moderate" peace loving Islam. You must go to the heart, to Saudi Arabia to really understand "interfaith" objectives. They outlaw anything and everything associated with any religion other than Islam. How insane for us to believe they come to America and cry "interfaith dialogue" and build "interfaith" centers????? This is only another example of Islamic taquiya and our willingly ignorant masses to drink their Koolaid. Mr. Jacobs, if you really care about your topic, I suggest you distance yourself from "Americans for Peace and Tolerance" as it is a ONE WAY street to an Islamic caliphate. Perhaps you could benefit from

  • JHM

    Prophecy is being fulfilled before our very eyes; and ethnic slaughter is part of that prophetic fulfillment, so is the coldness or indifference of mankind. Not condoning it, not promoting it – just stating a Biblical truth and it will only get worse the days unfold. For Christians, knowing what we believe and Whom we believe is the best preparation for we are constantly told in scripture to not lean on man, but to lean solely upon the Lord our God..

  • JHM

    One additional thing, Thank God for you FPM for publishing this article and so many like it. True Christians are bound together as a family and do support each other, it is the command of Christ to love the brethren – we don't necessarily broadcast it to the world – nor seek the help of man directly, we leave that up to God for He knows how to glorify Himself. What is the chief end of man?

    • Cathy

      I am a believer and I disagree. Have you ever reached out for assistance for yourself or a loved one? Have you never defended another person … verbally or physically?

      • Cathy

        James 2:17
        In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

  • cynthia curran

    Another thing a lot of Eastern Christians support the PlO , the copts who have trouble with Islam in Egypt where opposed somewhat to Isreal since Isreal has killed some Orthodox Christians in their conflict with the Palestinians and some Eastern Christians are Palestines, so they will say the Jews are treating them bad as well.

  • Cathy

    Where is worldwide Christian outrage? Where is American outrage?

    Torture, beatings, worsen condition of American pastor held in Iran
    By Lisa Daftari
    Published April 15, 2013

  • Cathy

    Christian Indifference to Christian Suffering
    April 12, 2013 By Michael Finch

  • pinnie


  • Parenthetical Phrase

    "Christians are not a people". This reminds me of something I read from a Christian about the situation for Christians in the Middle East. She said roughly, "Christians have a relationship with Christ as individuals only — not as a group." To me, that means that if Christians see harm being done to other Christians but not themselves, they believe in remaining silent. However, the Presbyterian, Methodist and Episcopal Churche organizations see nothing wrong with condemning Israel as on behalf of Muslims. Seems like there's some inconsistency here.