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Thursday, 4 January 2018

Hope and despair

His Beatitude Raphael Sako and Chaldean Bishop Shlemon Warduni celebratingthe first Mass  in
 Mosul since 2014, with Syriac Catholic Archbishop Mouche and Syriac Orthodox Archbishop
Nicodemus Dauod Matti Sharaf participating.  Source: ACN UK

Aid to the Church in Need reports: "The bells rang out in Mosul for the first time in more than three years when a church in Iraq’s second city opened its doors for Mass on Christmas Eve.

Up to the last minute, plans for the service at St Paul’s Church in Mosul’s Al-Mundshen suburb hung in the balance – until a group of young Muslims helped clean the church and make it ready – including erecting the cross [my emphasis - Ed.]

This is not what we have come to expect. Individual Muslims and Christians have lived peaceably side by side in many areas of the Middle East for generations but Christianity and Islam have fundamental differences - see Muslim-Christian Relations summary - which have led to endless conflict resulting in the death of many Christians and destruction of their churches.

In May last year, Egypt carried out airstrikes in Libya after at least 26 people, including children, were killed and 25 wounded in a gun attack on a bus carrying Coptic Christians south of Cairo, the latest in a series of terrorist incidents targeting the religious minority (here).

More than 100 Christians have been killed in Egypt in the past year. Most attacks have been claimed by 'IS militants'. In December, Coptic Christians in Egypt experienced a different version of Islam than that experienced by Christians in Mosul when nine people were killed in two attacks on Coptic Christians in Helwan district, south of Cairo, according to Egypt's interior ministry (here).

Egypt is regarded by many Christians as the home of Christian monasticism. Christianity in Egypt dates back to the beginnings of Christianity itself (here) but Christians, mainly Copts, are now a minority, estimated to be between 10% and 20% of the population.

Believed to be funded by religious leaders with cash from Saudi Arabia, Christian girls in Egypt are being targeted for kidnapping, forced marriage and conversion, according to Release International, which supports persecuted Christians around the world.

Coptic Christians in the south of Egypt renewed calls on local authorities for an end to discrimination after a number of churches were closed down it was reported last October. Two churches in two separate villages in the southern province of Minya have been shut down by the authorities, a statement by the Minya diocese said. It said worshippers were harassed at both churches and pelted with rocks at one of them.

While faithful Christians abroad risk their lives to attend church services, church attendance continues to dwindle in Great Britain. Photographs are cropped to exclude empty pews and video coverage, such as it is these days, invariably shows a few old ladies comprising congregations.

In most churches, gone are the daily Eucharist and the alternative service on Sundays for those mainly young people unable to attend the main service so they drift away, unlikely to return. I hear that even the Cathedral church in Bangor closed after the service on 31st and apart from a funeral Friday will remain closed until next Sunday.

Many of the old ladies making up Anglican congregations will be dead by 2035 when according to the Pew Research Center "Babies born to Muslims will begin to outnumber Christian births".

The plight of Christian minorities in Muslim countries should be plain for all to see. Individual acts of kindness are outweighed by repression and ruthless action in Islamic states, even against Muslims who seek free expression of their religious human rights.

The Pew Center forecasts that "In the next half century or so, Christianity’s long reign as the world’s largest religion may come to an end... Muslims will grow more than twice as fast as the overall world population between 2015 and 2060 and, in the second half of this century, will likely surpass Christians as the world’s largest religious group."

The spread of Islam needs no help from Christian leaders, examples here, here and here.

The Washington National Cathedral and five Muslim groups hold the first celebration of Muslim
Friday Prayers, Jumaa, in the Cathedral's North Transept in Washington, Nov. 14, 2014.
Larry Downing | Reuters | BDN

Writing for the International Business Times Yasmin Alibhai-Brown portrayed Muslims as the victims, "Why do Muslims get picked on at Christmas?" She finishes her piece with the words "Christ for us Muslims is a messiah sent by God. Why would we not remember and celebrate his story?"

Because, according to Saudi cleric Sheikh Abd Al-Aziz Fawzan Al-Fawzan , "while there is more leniency regarding secular or national holidays, participating in Christmas celebrations, congratulating Christians on their holiday, and sending them gifts is not permitted because Christmas 'is based upon a corrupt dogma that was refuted by the Quran'." His comments were broadcast on the Kuwaiti Al-Resala TV channel on December 3, 2017. More clerical objections here and here.

As the Saudi cleric says in his video broadcast, individual acts of kindness are just that but instead of challenging an ideology which is anti-Christian, from Archbishops downwards Anglican clerics are embracing Islam as a valid alternative faith.

Census figures for England and wales show that "the percentage of Muslims among the under-fives is almost twice as high as in the general population". Validating Islam in the wake of immigration and high birth rates is likely to make the ideology more acceptable when leaked documents reveal even ISIS recruits have poor grasp of Islamic faith.

Perhaps when the country is predominately Muslim sympathetic Anglican clerics will abandon their Christian faith altogether as they have scripture and tradition to become Imams.





Egypt's Coptic Christians to consecrate huge new cathedral


Europe’s Growing Muslim Population

Muslims are projected to increase as a share of Europe’s population – even with no future migration.

Source: Pew Research Center

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for that article. But how can you convince your critics that the Muslim clerics you feature are mainstream and not extremists?