Open Doors – an organisation of which I had not heard before a few weeks ago – is dedicated to helping Christians persecuted throughout the world simply for being Christians. It was founded in the 1950s to smuggle Bibles to Christians in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe (who were, if caught, likely to go on a one-way trip to Siberia) and later extended its activities to Communist China.
Since the 1990s Open Doors has extended its activities to the Muslim world. So far as I know, this body is totally on the level in what it tries to do, is not a “Christian Zionist” body, and has no connections with the State of Israel or with the American government. One interesting feature of its website is a list, updated annually, of “the top 50 countries where persecution of Christians is the most intense”, which makes for enlightening reading.
Every one of these, of course, officially totally or almost totally, Muslim. The next ten are as follows: Eritrea, Libya, Nigeria, Uzbekistan, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Qatar, Turkmenistan, and Laos. Five of these are predominantly Muslim, and two are residual Communist states. The persecution of Christians in Nigeria of course occurs in the predominantly Muslim north. The Central African Republic is a typical black African hell-hole, with a Christian majority, but wracked by civil war. So, too, is Ethiopia, a predominantly Christian state, where non-adherents of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church are persecuted.
And so it goes: of the remaining 29 states on the list, 20 are wholly or almost wholly Muslim. One of the most interesting of these is number 34, the “Palestinian Territories”, of which Open Doors has the following to say:
“There is noticeably more pressure on believers in Gaza than in the West Bank because the authorities are increasingly under the influence of Islamic extremists… On the West Bank the situation is different: the ruling Fatah party is based on secular principles.”Notably absent from Open Door’s list is Israel, which is given a clean bill of health. All in all, 36 of the 50 countries where Christians are most heavily persecuted are wholly Muslim, and many others (like Nigeria) have violent, terroristic Muslim minorities.
Can Islam coexist with secular, pluralistic democracy? It does in places like Turkey and in the Balkan states such as Bosnia where there are a plurality of Muslims; elsewhere, this appears impossible, despite guarantees of religious freedom in the constitutions of most (not all) of these states.
Even if the elites there favour toleration, the impoverished streets and small towns are hotbeds of anti-Christian bigotry, terrorism, and murder, as recent appalling cases in Sudan and Nigeria have shown.
“Political correctness” by the left must not stand in the way of telling the truth.
While we are on the subject of persecuted Christians, a robust leading article in yesterday's The Times (of London) which concluded that
"A Vatican official speaks of 100,000 Christians being martyred every year, more, surely, than at any time in history. We cannot be spectators at this carnage"has provoked this worth-reading blogpost on the website of grassroots members of the British Conservative Party. It concludes:
"It is not just politicians who are to blame. Many of the rest of us have been too reticient about the issue of international Christian persecution – not least in the media. This climate would now appear to be changing. The Times and The Spectator have helped to break the taboo. That is welcome but there is a lot of catching up to do."
How utterly bizarre it is, then, that Iran's notorious satellite propaganda channel, PressTV, has made a program excoriating Israel in the very field in which Iran (not Israel) is guilty, and that a certain Anglican vicar of this blog's acquaintance has taken a starring role in that program!
It would seem that Israel's enemies are so addled by the appearance in the West of Ms Christy Anastas that they are pulling out all the stops in an attempt to counter her brave veracious account.
Here, too, is something they won't like!