Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
Not only does the West facilitate the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, but in the West as well.
According to a recent NPR report, the U.S. supported “moderate” coalition fighting both Bashar Assad and the Islamic State in Syria “has extremists in its own ranks who have mistreated Christians and forced them out of their homes”—just as IS has done.
Christian minorities forced out of their homes who manage to reach Western nations—including the United States—sometimes encounter more trouble.
Despite having family members to sponsor them, a group of 20 Christians who fled the Islamic State in Iraq have been imprisoned indefinitely at the Otay Detention Facility in San Diego, even though they have local family members and Christian leaders who vouch for them (the primary way that the majority of detained foreign nationals are released is to the supervision of American citizens vouching for them).
Activists say that the men and women in detention have been held indefinitely for too long, including by the U.S. government’s own standards. Some have been imprisoned for over seven months with no hearing date set for their release.
Mark Arabo, a spokesman for the Chaldean community in San Diego said “they are being held without a real reason…. They’ve escaped hell [IS]. Let’s allow them to reunite with their families.”
The detainees include a woman who pleaded to see her sickly mother. The mother died before being reunited with her daughter who escaped the clutches of IS. “She had been begging to be let out” of the U.S. detention center and see her dying mother, said a priest aware of her case.
Discussing the ongoing plight of these Iraqi Christians, San Diego’s East County Magazine concludes: “Why the federal government has failed to take steps to expedite such reunification in cases where family and religious leaders are willing to vouch for and help those seeking asylum here, then, remains an unfathomable mystery.”
Such “unfathomable mysteries” are reminiscent of the U.S. State Dept.’s habit of inviting Muslim representatives but denying visas to Christian representatives. Since the start of 2015, 4,205 Muslims have been admitted into the U.S. from Iraq but only 727 Christians. For every one Christian the U.S. grants asylum, it grants asylum to five or six Muslims—even though Christians, as persecuted “infidel” minorities, are in much greater need of sanctuary, not to mention more assimilating to American culture than Muslims.
As Faith McDonnell, director of religious liberty at the Institute on Religion & Democracy, put it:
This [detainment of Iraqi Christians in San Diego] follows the disturbing pattern that we have seen from the State Department of ignoring the particular targeting of Christians by ISIS while giving preferential treatment for asylum to other groups with expedited processing—like Somalis, Iraqis, and Syrians, some of whom could very well be members of jihadist movements.
The same is happening in the United Kingdom. Church leaders accuse David Cameron of “turning his back” on Christians facing genocide in Syria and Iraq by failing to grant them refuge in the UK—even though thousands of Muslims have been allowed entry.
Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, signed a petition calling on the UK government to “welcome Christian refugees and give them priority as asylum seekers,” emphasizing that “Syrian and Iraqi Christians are being butchered, tortured and enslaved.”
Similarly, Lord Weidenfeld, 95, who fled Nazi-occupied Austria in 1938 with the help of British Quakers, said:
Why is it that the Poles and the Czechs are taking in Christian families and yet the British government stands idly by?
This mood of indifference is reminiscent of the worst phases of appeasement, and may have catastrophic consequences. Europe must awake and the Conservative British Government should be leading from the front.
Most European governments, especially those that are Christian explicitly or implicitly, are failing in their duty to look after their fellow Christians in their hour of need.
This is not necessarily true of central and east European nations. Along with countries like Poland and Czechoslovakia, Slovakia recently went so far as to say it will only accept Christians when it takes in Syrian refugees under an EU relocation scheme. The Slavic nation argues that “Muslims would not be accepted because they would not feel at home,” including because there are no mosques in Slovakia.
Meanwhile, many of those Christians who are granted asylum in Western countries arrive there only to be further persecuted by Muslim asylum seekers—demonstrating, once again, who does and who doesn’t deserve asylum; who does and who doesn’t assimilate in Western culture.
Most recently in Sweden, two small families of Christian asylum seekers from Syria were harassed and abused by approximately 80 Muslim asylum seekers also from Syria.
The Christians and Muslims—described by one Swedish newspaper as “fundamentalist Islamists”—resided in the same asylum house. Among other humiliations, the Muslims ordered the Christians not to wear their crosses around their necks and not to use communal areas when in use by Muslims.
After continuous harassment and threats, the Christian refugees who had managed to escape the Islamic State left the Swedish asylum house “fearing for their own safety.” A spokesman for the government migration agency responsible for the center they had been staying in said:
They dared not stay. The atmosphere became too intimidating. And they got no help… They chose themselves to organize new address and moved away without our participation because they felt a discomfort.
Western nations are not merely ignoring Muslim persecution of Christians in the Middle East, they are actively supporting it by sponsoring “moderate” rebels who in reality are as “radical” and anti-Western as the Islamic State. And when these persecuted Christian minorities manage to flee the Islamic State and come to the West for asylum, they are imprisoned again. All the while, Muslims—in the Mideast and in the West—are being empowered and welcomed in the West with open arms.