Our perceptions of the world form where we are formed. That’s neither good nor bad, but from time to time, we need to consider other perspectives. A white American from the Midwest, raised in the church, is in truth raised in privilege: plenty of the basics and no shortage of Bibles, fellowship or freedom to practice religion.
Not so in most of the rest of the world. Nowhere is this more true than in the chaos now known as Egypt.
Thank God for the witness of Raymond Ibrahim; otherwise most of us would still be in the dark about what’s going on there with our brothers and sisters. His new book, “Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians,” tells in excruciating detail the plight of Christians under the heel of jihadists.
Ibrahim sheds light on history that many of us don’t know: “When it comes to churches, Islamic history is a testimony to Islamic doctrine. Under Muslim rule, from the seventh century to the present, tens if not thousands of churches once spread across thousands of miles of formerly Christian lands have been attacked, plundered, ransacked and destroyed or converted into mosques.”
The issue is this: where Islam dominates, Christians and other minorities suffer immense persecution. It is happening now in Egypt, in the wake of Muhammad Morsi being removed from power. Not only are churches being burned and Christians killed –Muslim Brotherhood operatives use sexual terror as a weapon.
Ibrahim, a Copt now living in the U.S. (and a fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center) is perhaps the leading expert on Christian persecution at the hands of jihadists. Readers opening “Crucified Again” will be literally stunned by the revelations. Rank-and-file evangelicals should read the book, but one would hope that center-left members of the church would add this shocking story to their list of social justice issues.
It’s that important.
In Part Four of “Crucified Again,” the section entitled “Climate of Hate,” is particularly chilling. In it, Ibrahim outlines the radical environments put in place by jihadists, not only in countries like Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan … but also in the U.S.
Citing a Fox News question from 2002, “Can it be true? That Islamic schools in the United States teach hatred towards American Christians and Jews?” Ibrahim reports that Saudi-financed schools only blocks from the White House teach hatred toward Jews and Christians.
Ibrahim also provides ghastly information from Egypt, where his Coptic family lived. The pages of “Crucified Again” cite many grotesque examples of human rights abuses in Egypt, such as that of 58-year-old Maher Al-Gohary, who simply tried to officially convert to Christianity; he was accused of apostasy and prosecutors called for the death penalty.
Al-Gohary said: “Our rights in Egypt, as Christians or converts, are less than the rights of animals. We are deprived of social and civil rights, deprived of our inheritance and left to the fundamentalists to be killed. Nobody bothers to investigate or care about us.”
Shockingly, at a time when much of America’s emerging evangelical leadership decries the alleged “apartheid state” of Israel (where freedom to worship as one sees fit is firmly in place), the plight of Christians under the heel of Islam is shamefully, seemingly a non-issue. The record set forth by Raymond Ibrahim is so compelling, and so well-documented, that it sits as one of the biggest stories of our time. If Christian brothers and sisters in America don’t rise up and demand rights and freedom for the people being persecuted under Islam … they indict themselves.
Ibrahim also spotlights the persecution going on all over the world, including Africa.
He reveals what happened to a Nigerian church: “On August 7, 2012, Muslim gunmen stormed the Deeper Life Bible Church, where Christian worshippers were gathered in prayer, ‘and surrounded the church in the middle of a worship service and opened fire with AK-47 assault rifles on the worshippers.’”
Nineteen were murdered that day, including the pastor.
It seems that only a handful of Christians in the U.S. are sounding the alarm about this global terror. Extraordinary writers and researchers like Dexter Van Zile (CAMERA), Lela Gilbert (Saturday People, Sunday People) and Ibrahim are working mightily to rescue as many persecuted Christians as they can. I urge you to check out RaymondIbrahim.com and see for yourself the extent of persecution of those many of us call brothers and sisters in the faith.
Most of all, I urge you to not only get a copy of “Crucified Again,” but also get one for your pastor and implore him to read it and mention this issue from the pulpit. Organize study groups, hold readings, blog about it, lead the charge for your church to help do something about it.
“Crucified Again” is one of the most important books I’ve ever read. We can no longer be silent.