As World Mourns Mosque Killings, Christian Genocide Continues
Hundreds of Christians have been murdered for their faith just in the last few weeks.
The world last week rightly reacted with shock and horror when a sadistic mass murderer attacked two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, killing 50 and wounding many more. The attacker was a radical, self-described “eco-fascist” who advocated “Green Nationalism” and, like socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, wanted state control of corporations and railed against capitalism, free markets, and overpopulation, among other things. He forthrightly admitted using guns on his murderous spree to catalyze the Left into pushing for more gun control.
The story of the mosque attacks dominated news headlines and social media, with millions expressing sorrow and anger at the cowardly act. Again, rightly so, as such attacks must be condemned by all decent, peaceful men and women.
Yet the attention given this story also exposes a darker parallel in which even more vicious, violent attacks go all but unnoticed. And why might that be?
Because the victims are Christians, members of a religion for which it is increasingly acceptable to persecute its adherents.
In Nigeria, from February to mid-March, 280 Christians were murdered in violent attacks by Fulani militants. The Fulani are nomadic Muslim herdsmen, herding cattle across vast swaths of central Africa. As they drive their cattle, they have driven out the Christian minority, setting their homes on fire and leaving large groups of women, children, and the elderly to suffer.
In a single day last week, the Fulani killed 52 people and destroyed 100 homes in two villages. Another 43 homes were destroyed later that same day. Since 2016, tens of thousands of Nigerian Christians have been displaced and thousands murdered. The Fulani militants have become so murderous, in fact, that they have now killed more innocent Christians (and others) than the infamous African Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram.
Detailing the evil of the Fulani attacks, Andrew Boyd of UK-based charity Release International described a common tactic where Fulani militants “would fire shots at night and lie in wait with machetes for them — these are men, women, and children” to kill them, and worse. “The government seems to be doing very little.”
But the attacks on Nigerian Christians barely scratches the surface. In fact, according to the Open Doors USA 2019 Watch List, which tracks oppression of Christians worldwide, Nigeria is only the 12th worst country for the persecution of Christians.
In India, which ranks 10th on the list, a militant Hindu nationalism has taken root after the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has not only discriminated against Christians but is associated with vandalism against Christian churches, raids on worship services, and attacks on those who convert from Hinduism.
Likewise, the Communist Chinese government is once again cracking down on Christians, restricting the sale of Bibles, shutting down large congregations, arresting pastors, and engaging in surveillance of churches. China has moved from 43rd to 27th on the list, which is deeply concerning considering the history of brutal suppression the Chinese government has used against any it sees as a threat to its power. That includes Muslims, too. The U.S. State Department says between 800,000 and two million Muslims have been forced into internment camps by the Chinese government.
While the majority-Hindu India comes in at #10 on the list, the next eight most oppressive countries are all Muslim-majority — starting with #9 Iran, and then Yemen, Eritrea, Sudan, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, and Afghanistan. In these Middle Eastern, African, and Asian countries, attacks against Christians commonly include rapes, beheadings, murders, and enslavement. Iraq, also Muslim-majority, dropped to #13 on the list, primarily due to the U.S. driving the radical Islamic terrorist group ISIS out of the country.
Unquestionably, the most evil, heinous persecution of Christians is found in North Korea, ruthlessly controlled by the insane dictator Kim Jong-un. There, the crimes against Christians are almost too horrific to be believed, including, as our Caroline C. Lewis noted last year, “forced starvation, forced abortion, crushing Christians with a steamroller and reports of Christians being crucified over fire.”
According to Open Doors, of the 150 countries monitored for religious persecution, 73 are categorized as having “high” to “extreme” levels of persecution of Christians, up from 58 countries the previous year. Five years ago, only North Korea qualified for the “extreme” category, while today 11 countries do. The persecution is not only spreading, it is intensifying.
The United States plays an enormous role in mitigating and reducing religious persecution globally. As Andrew Boyd of Release International explained, “The United States is so important. When the U.S. declares a country of particular concern the world sits up and takes notice. … Your role really matters when it comes to religious persecution. You give out a message that the world is watching.”
All told, an estimated 215 million Christians worldwide face at least “high” levels of persecution. In the United States, the persecution of Christians has not yet descended to violence for the most part, but in recent years religious freedoms have unquestionably been restricted.
So while we properly mourn the dead in the cowardly, sociopathic attacks on Muslims in two New Zealand mosques, we shouldn’t ignore the far greater persecution and killing of Christians around the world. It is past time to act.