UNITED NATIONS – Ambassadors, businessmen and religious leaders of all faiths gathered at the United Nations in New York on Friday for a high-level summit on the persecution of Christians around the world and the threat it poses to international peace and security.
Some 200 million Christians in 60 countries have been oppressed, abused or murdered solely because they are Christian. Fourteen of the world's 15 most repressive countries for Christians are Muslim countries. Churches are bombed, often while worshipers are inside. Christians are kidnapped, brutalized, raped, sold into sex slavery, mutilated, shot, beheaded or burned alive.
Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, retired Lt. Gen. William Boykin and activist Brigitte Gabriel delivered keynote speeches. Panels of faith leaders delivered personal reports from the front lines of persecution and addressed issues including ISIS, the media's role in the plight of persecuted Christians and what churches are doing globally to bring attention to the problem.
In his opening speech, Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, best-selling author of "The Harbinger," drew a parallel between the persecution of Christians and the case of Kitty Genovese, a New York woman who was murdered outside her apartment while her neighbors ignored her screams outside their windows.
TRENDING: Not WWJD, but 'What Will God Do?'
"Another crime is taking place outside our closed windows," Cahn said.
He described Christians as "the most persecuted religious group on earth."
"They are oppressed, they afflicted, they are hunted down, they are killed men women and children, the sacrificial lambs of the modern world," he said.
While calling for global action to stop the slaughter, Cahn told WND there is another lesson to be learned.
"This is a sign of the last days," he said. "The Bible says there will be persecution. Not only do we have to speak up for those in chains, the Bible says, but we have to realize that this is a harbinger of things to come. We have to learn from the persecuted believer how to be strong in a society and culture that is against the gospel. So we have to speak up for them, but we have to be ready to walk in their shoes."
Donning a prayer shawl, Rabbi Cahn delivered the Hebrew blessing for those persecuted for the faith.
"May the Lord hold you in the palm of His hand" and bring "peace in the midst of conflict," he said.
Watch Rabbi Cahn at the U.N.
Brigitte Gabriel, founder and CEO of ACT for America, one of the organizers of the summit, brought the audience to tears. Growing up Christian in Lebanon where Islamists bombed her home, she learned "that only three kinds of people existed in the world: killers, victims and bystanders."
She said her experience gave her a fierce determination to fight evil, apathy and indifference. Gabriel shocked the assembly with the story of a mother searching for her kidnapped son in ISIS-held territory.
"ISIS fighters gave her some meat to eat and water to drink," she said. "When she asked about her son, they answered laughing, 'You've just eaten him.'"
But she leveled the harshest condemnation at the organization hosting the gathering.
"Christians slaughtered by evil feel abandoned by humanity, forsaken by the world's conscience and rendered dead by the apathy of the United Nations," Gabriel said.
"The United Nations' Security Council is, as usual, impotent. And while the Human Rights Council ceaselessly foams at the mouth about perceived Israeli violations of Palestinians' rights, it doesn't seem to notice documented massacres of Christians by Muslims all over the world."
Gabriel said it's "time to call evil by its name: Islamic jihadists killing in the name of their religion."
"It's time to throw political correctness in the garbage. It's time to silence the apologists for evil including members of the United Nations," she said.
The issue, she said, is actually greater than the persecution of Christians.
"Radical Islamists seek to subjugate everyone who does not adhere to its version of 'religion,'" she said. "Just because we are not at war with radical Islam does not mean that radical Islam is not at war with us. Pretending that war does not exist only ensures our defeat. The consequences of that defeat will be catastrophic for the civilized world."
Retired Lt. Gen. William Boykin, executive vice president at the Family Research Council, served with the U.S. military in the Balkans to enforce the peace agreement that ended the Bosnian-Serb civil war.
He talked about the slaughter of thousands of Bosnian Muslims at the U.N. safe haven of Srebrenica, an outrage that drew the U.S. into the Balkan conflict.
"But when you wipe out an entire city like Maaloula in Syria, the oldest Christian city in the world, there is hardly even a bleep on the radar," he said. "Why is that? Why is there no outrage? Christians don't seem to matter."
Boykin told WND he hopes the event will lead the international community to stand up against the attacks on Christians.
"This event is long overdue," he said. "Persecution and brutalizing of Christians is not new. But today, given the pace at which Christians are being killed and the numbers in which they are being killed, this is overdue."
"A global outrage is essential," Boykin said.
He concluded with Psalms 94 Verse 16: "Who will rise up against this evil for me? Who will take a stand against these evildoers?"