Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Christian Solidarity International

Christian Solidarity International - USA

From the Desk of Dr. John Eibner, CSI-USA CEO

A student beaten to death for wearing a cross necklace.  A pastor sentenced to death for the “crime” of leaving Islam.  Peaceful Christian protestors run over by tanks.  This is the reality for Christians in North Africa and the Middle East today.  Christians are under attack from radical Islamist groups and, in some cases, their own governments.  
CSI has issued a Genocide Warning for Christians and other religious minorities in the Islamic Middle East.  Violence against Christians in the region is gaining momentum, and the conditions are present for the eradication of the world’s oldest Christian communities.
CSI is committed to stand in solidarity with the Christians of the Middle East. We have launched an urgent petition to President Obama, asking him to announce a policy for preventing the eradication of Christians and other non-Muslim communities.
Please take a moment to sign this petition here. You can learn about the threat to Middle East Christians here.
You can also make a difference by helping CSI to Free, Feed and Heal the Captives. Your financial gifts no matter the size are so helpful in meeting the urgent needs of the victims of religious persecution.
Please pray and act, remembering the victims "as if we ourselves were suffering" (Hebrews 13:3).
Dr. John Eibner, CEO
Christian Solidarity International, USA

Why the President Should Speak Out Against Religious Persecution

Raymond Ibrahim

On January 24, during his State of the Union Address, the president of the United States has a chance to expose the plight of religious minorities living in Muslim majority nations.  Doing so would not merely shed light on one of the most ignored humanitarian crises of the 21st century; it would help alleviate it.
Why should the president speak up on the oppression of religious minorities?  For starters, because it is the right thing to do, and reflects American values and principles.
He should speak up because religious cleansing is currently underway in nations like Nigeria, where Boko Haram—“Western Education is Forbidden”—and other Islamic groups havedeclared jihad on the Christian minorities of the north, killing and displacing thousands, burning and bombing hundreds of churches, most notoriously this last Christmas, where over forty people were killed while celebrating Christmas mass. Since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, about half of Iraq’s one million Christians have been forced by targeted violence to flee their homeland.
He should speak up because churches are constantly being attacked, burned, or forced into closure, not just in Nigeria and Iraq, but in AfghanistanEgyptEthiopiaIndonesiaIran,SudanTanzaniaTunisia (click on country-links for the most recent examples). In Egypt alone, after several churches were burned, thousands of Christian Copts gathered to demonstrate—only to be slaughtered by the military, including by being run-over by armored vehicles.
He should speak up because Muslim converts to Christianity are regularly ostracized, beaten, killed, or imprisoned—recent examples coming from AlgeriaEritreaKashmirKenya,MalaysiaNigeriaPakistanSomaliaSudan, and even Western nations.  Iran’s Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, whose plight actually made it to the mainstream media, is but one of many people imprisoned and tortured for simply following their conscience and converting to Christianity.  Uganda offers a typical example: there, a Muslim father locked up his 14-year-old daughter for several months without food or water, simply because she embraced Christianity.  She weighed 44 pounds when rescued.
He should speak up because Christian girls are being abducted, raped, and forced to convert to Islam—recent examples coming from EgyptIndiaPakistan, and Sudan. In Pakistan alone, “a 12 year-old Christian [was] gang raped for eight months, forcibly converted and then ‘married’ to her Muslim attacker.”  Now that she has escaped, instead of seeing justice done, “the Christian family is in hiding from the rapists and the police.”  Earlier in Pakistan, a 2-year-old Christian girl was savagely raped and damaged for life because her father refused to convert to Islam.
The U.S. president should speak up because such persecution is not merely performed at the hands of “outraged Muslim mobs,” but is institutionalized in many Muslim governments, including those deemed “U.S. friends and allies”—such as Afghanistan, where the last church was recently razed; Egypt, where Islamists, supported by the U.S., openly speak of returning Copts into second-class dhimmi status; and Saudi Arabia, where churches are not permitted, and Bibles and crucifixes are confiscated and destroyed.
He should speak up because there is a pattern, one that is becoming increasingly harder to ignore—one that demonstrates great continuity over the centuries.  Past and present, from Morocco in the west, to Pakistan in the east—in countries that do not share race, ethnicity, or language, only a culture permeated with the spirit of Islamic supremacism—non-Muslims suffer.
He should speak out because calling out bullies and cutting out their financial aid is the most effective way to curb their bullying, even as giving in to bullies—or worse, pretending they are not bullies and forcing others to go along—is a sure way to guarantee they continue bullying their minorities.
Perhaps most importantly, the president of the United States should speak out because we live in a day and age where the reality of religious persecution under Islam is so well documented—unlike in the days of former U.S. presidents who may be excused—that to continue ignoring it is tantamount to abetting it.  Just as history has recorded the great sufferings of non-Muslims under Islam, so too will it record the complacency or complicity of those who are in a great position to end the persecution, but refuse to do so.
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

CSI Lecture Series

Daniel Pipes speaking on Christian Persecution in the Middle East

Bern, Switzerland - March 7, 2012

Media Appearances


"Daniel Pipes: Religious Persecution in IslamicPR NewswireMiddle East "Acquiring Genocidal Characteristics"

By Daniel Pipes - March 9, 2012
Historian Daniel Pipes, the President of the Middle East Forum, warned yesterday at a CSI seminar in Bern, Switzerland, that the persecution of minorities in the Islamic Middle East is "acquiring genocidal characteristics."
The video of Pipes' 25-minute address on "Religious Minorities in an Increasingly Intolerant Middle East" can be viewed here.
Pipes stated that in medieval times, Islam was, "in relative terms, quite tolerant of religious minorities," despite occasional persecution and permanent second-class "dhimmi" status for conquered non-Muslims. However, during the past hundred years, he said, persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in the Islamic Middle East has become "more systematic," eventually leading to the destruction of the region's Jewish communities. Christians and other non-Muslim minorities are now also in danger of eradication.
Read Full Press Release PR Newswire

"PIPES: South Sudan, Israel’s new ally"

Washington TimesFive decades of solidarity cement relations

By Daniel Pipes - January 3, 2012
It’s not every day that the leader of a brand-new country makes his maiden foreign voyage to Jerusalem, capital of the most besieged country in the world, but Salva Kiir, president of South Sudan, accompanied by his foreign and defense ministers, did just that in late December. Israeli President Shimon Peres hailed his visit as a “moving and historic moment.” The visit spurred talk of South Sudan locating its embassy in Jerusalem, which would make it the only government anywhere in the world to do so. This unusual development results from an unusual story.
Today’s Sudan took shape in the 19th century, when the Ottoman Empire controlled its northern regions and tried to conquer the southern ones. The British, ruling out of Cairo, established the outlines of the modern state in 1898 and for the next 50 years separately ruled the Muslim north and Christian-animist south. In 1948, however, succumbing to northern pressure, the British merged the two administrations in Khartoum under northern control, making Muslims dominant in Sudan and Arabic the official language. Accordingly, independence in 1956 brought civil war as southerners battled to fend off Muslim hegemony. Fortunately for them, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s “periphery strategy” translated into Israeli support for non-Arabs in the Middle East, including the southern Sudanese. The government of Israel served through the first Sudanese civil war, lasting until 1972, as the primary source of moral backing, diplomatic help and armaments for the southern Sudanese.
View Full Story at The Washington Times

"After Arab Spring, danger arises for Boston GlobeChristians"

By Jeff Jacoby - December 7, 2011
IN THE first round of Egypt’s parliamentary elections, the hard-line Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party won 36.6 percent of the vote and the even harder-line Salafist party, Al-Nour, won 24.4 percent.The Egyptian Bloc — a coalition of liberal, social-democratic, and secular parties — drew only 13.4 percent. So now we know what the “Spirit of Tahrir Square’’ looks like when it’s put to a vote: In the world’s largest Arab nation, the forces of sharia and jihad are winning in a landslide.
The credo of the Muslim Brotherhood is explicitly illiberal and theocratic: “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. The Koran is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.’’ Abdel Moneim el-Shahat, a Salafist sheik and Nour Party candidate, demands a society in which “sharia is obligatory’’— an Egypt, as he explained in a public debate, with “citizenship restricted by Islamic sharia, freedom restricted by Islamic sharia, equality restricted by Islamic sharia.’’
View Full Story at Boston Globe

"Fox News covers Ellen Ratner and the 'Goats for the Old Goat"

By Fox News - November 22, 2011

Fox News covers the 'Goats for the Old Goat' campaign, which gives goats to freed slaves and impoverished families in South Sudan. Christian Solidarity International is implementing this program for our friends at GFTOG.
View Full Story at Fox News

"CSI Urges President Obama: Help Free Blind Boy's Mother and Eradicate Slavery in Sudan"

PR NewswireCSI PRESS RELEASE - November 1, 2011
Today, Christian Solidarity International (CSI) urged President Obama to address the persistence of slavery in Northern Sudan. The appeal – conveyed in a letter from CSI-USA's CEO, Dr.John Eibner – follows testimony given to Congress by a former Southern Sudanese slave, Ker Aleu Deng, on October 4.
Ker was captured as an infant, and was taken, together with his mother, into slavery in Northern Sudan. Ker was liberated and repatriated to South Sudan through the efforts of CSI and Arab slave retrievers, but only after his master deliberately blinded him. Ker is receiving eye treatments in the U.S. His mother remains in captivity.
Full press release hosted by PR Newswire

"RATNER: Ending Arab slavery"

Washington TimesBy Ellen Ratner
Published on October 7, 2011
My life has been profoundly changed by a blind teenage boy. His name is Ker Deng. He belongs to the Dinka tribe in southern Sudan.
Arab raiders from northern Sudan enslaved Ker in his infancy. His mother later told him how they were captured and forced to leave their home in southern Sudan. Many of their relatives and neighbors, especially men, were killed. Homes were burned. Cows and goats were stolen. Ker and his mother were tied to a camel and taken to the north as booty of war.
Full article at The Washington Times

"Freed Sudanese Slave Testifies to USVoice of AmericaCongressional Panel"

By Cindy Saine
Published on October 4, 2011
A U.S. congressional panel is highlighting the plight of an untold number of Southern Sudanese people still being held as slaves in northern Sudan after being kidnapped in their southern villages by Arab militiamen.  18-year-old Ker Deng, who was blinded by his slavemaster while in bondage in Sudan, is now free and told his powerful story on Capitol Hill.
Republican Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey introduced a very special guest at a news conference on Capitol Hill.

"Ker Deng has suffered unspeakable treatment at the hands of people from the Republic of Sudan who kidnapped him and his mother and held them in slavery until very recently," said Smith.
Full article at Voice of America

Pr Newswire"CSI Facilitates Liberation of 412 Sudanese Slaves"

CSI PRESS RELEASE - October 4, 2011
Christian Solidarity International Board Member Michele Clark testified on Capitol Hill today about the continued abuse of Coptic females in Egypt, a nation struggling to come together in the aftermath of this Spring's Arab revolution.
The U.S. Helsinki Commission, more formally known as The U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, held today's hearing to examine the recent escalation of violence toward Coptic Christians in Egypt, as well as reports of disappearances, forced conversions and forced marriages of Coptic women and girls.
Clark, who also serves as an adjunct professor at the George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs, told the Commission that there is no denying these reports.
Full press release hosted by PR Newswire

Pr Newswire"CSI Sheds Light on Abuse of Coptic Christian Women In Egypt"

CSI PRESS RELEASE - July 22, 2011
Ker Aleu Deng, a blind former slave liberated by Christian Solidarity International (CSI) and its partners, testified today before Congress on the persistence of slavery in Sudan.
Addressing the members of the House Subcommittee for Africa, Global Health and Human Rights, Ker said, "From a time I can't remember until very recently, I slept with cattle and goats. ... Like them, I was property.  But the animals weren't beaten every day. I was." Ker was frequently tortured and eventually blinded by his master.  Ker, now a teenager, was released from slavery last year, but his mother, a victim of extreme violence, remained behind.
Ker begged the American people and government to find a way to free his mother and the other Southern Sudanese who remain in captivity in the north.  "You are powerful men and women," he said. "Please, find some way to help."
Full press release hosted by PR Newswire

"In South Sudan, the strength to overcome aWashington Postpainful past"

Published on July 9, 2011
It is one of the pleasures of travel to meet a young person in a foreign country who would be an example of character in any country. Ker Aleu Deng is a South Sudanese teenager I met in Aweil. He is learning English rapidly and likes to practice it on Americans. He is inquisitive and self-possessed — I saw him address a crowd, on short notice, as smoothly as a politician.  He has a high voice and a deep, frequent laugh.
He is also blind, for the most horrifying of reasons. Until last year, Ker was a slave. He had been taken by tribal raiders along with his mother during Sudan’s North-South war and held in captivity in Darfur. For failing to perform some duty, Ker’s master, Zacharia Salih, hung him upside down from a tree and rubbed hot peppers in his eyes. The boy was cut down and rescued by a local imam. Later he was redeemed from slavery through a Zurich-based charity called Christian Solidarity International.
Ker’s corneas are now white and opaque. He can see light and darkness, but little else. He suffers from nightmares — vague dreams of being attacked, or of something heavy falling. But Ker’s default attitude is cheerfulness. Led from place to place, he is uncomplaining. Unfair suffering has left no mark of brooding or anger.
Read the full article
Full article at The Washington Post

Fox News"Freedom Eclipsed"

Published July 09, 2011
Today marks the birth of an independent South Sudan. The celebrating had already begun in the South Sudanese region of Northern el Bahr Ghazal, less than 50 miles from Darfur, when I departed on Wednesday.
There was little for the new citizens to eat, no running water, or electricity. They live in grass huts if they are fortunate, but the expression of joy in these war-ravaged people was the deepest I had ever witnessed. It was as though they had been transfused with the lifeblood of the two million lives lost since the initiation of civil war in 1983. But just as the joy of July 4, 1776 was eclipsed by the brutality of slavery in our own nation, today, tens of thousands of South Sudanese citizens remain enslaved in Northern Sudan on this July 9, 2011.
The fate of those in captivity is unknown at this moment. For over a decade they have been brought in groups of no more than 200 at a time, a dozen times a year down from the north in exchange for cow vaccine.
Read the full article
Full article at Fox News

Additional coverage :

March 10, 2012

Exodus From North Signals Iraqi Christians’ Slow Decline

TENNA, Iraq — Iraq’s dwindling Christians, driven from their homes by attacks and intimidation, are beginning to abandon the havens they had found in the country’s north, discouraged by unemployment and a creeping fear that the violence they had fled was catching up to them.
Their quiet exodus to Turkey, Jordan, Europe and the United States is the latest chapter of a seemingly inexorable decline that many religious leaders say tolls the twilight of Christianity in a land where city skylines have long been marked by both minarets and church steeples. Recent assessments say that Iraq’s Christian population has now fallen by more than half since the 2003 American invasion, and with the military’s departure, some Christians say they lost a protector of last resort.
Their flight is felt in places like the wind-scoured village of Tenna, which has sheltered dozens of Christian migrants over the past nine years. The families fleeing Baghdad’s death squads and bombings found safety here beneath the hulking mountains, but little else besides poverty, boredom and cold. Villagers estimate that half of the 50 or so Christian homes are now empty, their families abroad.
Walid Shamoon, 42, wants to be the next to leave. He said he left Iraq’s capital in January 2011 after a confrontation with Shiite militia members set off a nightmare of escalating death threats and an attempt on his life. A brother had already been killed in a mortar attack six years earlier, so he said he quit his contract job with the Australian Embassy, giving up a $1,500 monthly salary, and came here.
These days, all he can think about is his application to emigrate to Arizona.
“This is not a life,” he said one recent afternoon, as a blizzard raced down from the mountains. “There is no improvement. There is no work.”
Many of the people now struggling in Iraq’s Kurdish north came in the wake of a suicide attack in Baghdad at Our Lady of Salvation Church in October 2010. It was the single worst assault on Iraq’s Christians since the war began, one that left 50 worshipers and 2 priests dead and that turned the church into a charnel house of scorched pews and shattered stained glass.
Christian families in Baghdad grabbed clothing, cash and a few other provisions and headed north for the Christian communities along the Nineveh plain and Kurdistan’s three provinces. They joined tens of thousands of other Christians from the capital, Mosul and other cities who traced similar arcs after earlier attacks and assassination campaigns.
“They traded everything for security,” said the Rev. Gabriel Tooma, who leads the Monastery of the Virgin Mary in the Christian town of Qosh, which took in dozens of families.
The Christians in northern Iraq make up a tiny fraction of Iraq’s legions of displaced people. In all, there are 1.3 million of them across the country, according to the most recent United Nations estimates. Many live in garbage dumps, shanty towns and squalor far worse than anything facing the Christian families in Kurdistan.
Still, Christians and other minorities were singled out in the years of sectarian cleansing that bifurcated a once-diverse Baghdad into pockets of Sunnis and Shiites. Estimates by the United States and international organizations say that Iraq’s prewar Christian population of 800,000 to 1.4 million now stands at less than 500,000.
“The consequence of this flight may be the end of Christianity in Iraq,” the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom wrote in its most recent annual report, summarizing the concerns of church leaders.
In January, the International Organization for Migration found that 850 of 1,350 displaced Christian families it was tracking in northern Iraq had left in the past year. Many cited fears about security as well as the strains of finding work, housing and schools in an unfamiliar place where they had few connections and spoke only Arabic, and not Kurdish.
“No one has done anything for us,” said Salim Yono Auffee, a member of the Chaldean/Assyrian Popular Council, a Christian group in northern Iraq. “These people are trying to figure out how to build their futures, to find homes, to get married. And they are leaving Iraq.”
Even in the relative safety of Kurdistan, some Christians say they still live in apprehension. A kidnapping of a Christian businessman in Erbil, the Kurdish capital, and a recent outbreak of riots and arson attacks against Christian-owned liquor stores in Dohuk Province — the northernmost in Iraq, along the Turkish border — have deeply unsettled Christian migrants to the area.
Seven years ago, after retrieving his son from kidnappers, Salam Meti Abdul Karim moved his family from Mosul to the small Christian community of Shioz, a half-hour’s drive from the center of Dohuk Province. The years passed quietly, until one night in December, when a pickup truck full of men pulled up at the edge of town and set fire to a liquor warehouse.
“I felt like history was repeating itself,” Mr. Abdul Karim said. “We worry the situation is just going to devolve into violence. I was thinking to just take my family and go up to the mountains.”
The village hired armed guards after the attack, Mr. Abdul Karim said.
No Christians were killed in the riots against Christian store owners. Local officials say they were not specifically targeted because of their religion, but because the mobs who burned their stores — and the conservative clerics who had incited them — viewed the alcohol sales as un-Islamic.
Still, Kurdish officials, who have welcomed Christians to the region, rushed to defuse fears conjured by the clash. Massoud Barzani, the Kurdish president, visited Christians in Zakho, the city where the riots were centered, and a parade of government officials and religious leaders emphasized Kurdistan’s historical tolerance, and its deep ties to Assyrians, Chaldeans and other branches of Christianity.
“They are part of us,” said Fadil Omar, the head of the provincial council in Dohuk.
The Kurdish government has offered land, free fuel and other assistance to Christians as they have arrived from Baghdad, and it has opened its universities to students from Mosul, officials say. And Christians do not lack a political voice. They sit on local and provincial councils throughout the north, and hold seats in Parliament in Kurdistan and Baghdad.
Despite the help, many families say they are straining to stay afloat. Those close to cities have found jobs, but those in villages are largely unemployed, and they subsist on government pensions or relief payments of about $200 per month. They skip meals and share heating fuel. They are often miles from schools that teach in Arabic, and some parents say their children have dropped out.
The mountain village of Dawudiyah is a study in trade-offs, a place whose residents share similar stories of fear and flight from their homes in Baghdad. One man was threatened with death if he did not hand over his daughter to militants. A couple’s son was killed on his way home from work. Another family’s son was gunned down with three friends. They gave little thought to the consequences of leaving. They just had to get out.
“It was unbearable,” said Berkho Odeesho, the village’s mayor. “We found safety in Kurdistan, but things are getting unstable. We don’t know where to go.”
But like others here, Mr. Odeesho has a plan. He has applied for an immigration visa, and he is now busy preparing for his consular interview. Uprooting his family from Iraq may be difficult, he said, but it would be in service of a new future, away from Iraq, in a distant place called Illinois.

Omar al-Jawoshy contributed reporting.

No comments:

Post a Comment