Who Cares about Persecuted Christians?
While many people applauded the Italian government, and the Pope, for granting asylum to the Christian Afghan convert, and perceived it as a show of strength, I see this peaceful resolution as a clear sign of either the weakness or the hypocrisy of Western Christianity.
Having converted from Islam to Christianity, Abdul Rahman had been arrested in Afghanistan, where the law stipulates, like in many other Muslim countries, the death penalty for any Muslim who would convert to another religion. Faced with intense public pressure, Western governments convinced the Afghan president to free the prosecuted convert, and transferred him to Italy where he was granted asylum.
Forcing the Afghan government to free Abdul Rahman and granting him asylum was the best way to avoid having to solve the deeper issue of persecuted Christians all over the world. Instead of confronting Afghanistan and of trying to build the very foundations of religious freedom, we chose to close this problematic file. Now that it has been closed, we are witnessing a deafening silence in both the Western press and among the Western governments regarding the treatment of Christians in the Muslim world. This case was just the tip of an iceberg that the Western world still refuses to confront.
For decades, Christian leaders, including the Pope, have been reluctant to speak up and actively protect the persecuted Christians. What have they done to stop the genocide that took place in South Sudan for years in which hundreds of thousand of Black Christians were slaughtered, displaced, enslaved, raped and forced to convert by their Arab Muslim attackers? Nothing, not even prosecuting the criminals after the genocide took place.
Similarly, when did we last hear a Christian head of a western government, or the Vatican, either complain, denounce or actively confront Saudi Arabia’s religious apartheid?
As we all know, Christians in Saudi Arabia have to worship secretly, or risk lashing, deportation, and torture. Publicly practicing Christianity is forbidden in this country, where more than a million Christians live. To preserve the sanctity of Saudi Arabia, no Church can be built and no non-Muslim can enter Mecca, where close to 1.5 million Saudis live. As in many other Muslim countries, the conversion by a Muslim to another religion is considered a crime punishable by the death penalty. On the other hand, conversion to Islam is highly encouraged, and there are dozens of centers throughout the country where civil servants are actively working to convert foreign residents.
Not only do we tolerate the Saudi Arabia’s religious apartheid, but we allow them to build and finance mosques all over the Western world, where they can freely spread their intolerant version of Islam. To add insult to injury, we even provided them, with great fanfare, a large site a few miles away from the Vatican to build European’s largest mosque. Our way to thank such a tolerant country…
For decades, leaders of the Western world have been silent despite the extreme Saudi’s religious apartheid and the widespread persecution of Christians in numerous countries (Afghanistan, Egypt, Pakistan, Sudan, Indonesia, etc.). One would have hoped that the case of Abdul Rahman and the high public awareness it generated would have encouraged such leaders to speak up and to try to solve these terrible issues that have cost so many lives and so much suffering. Instead, the case was quickly closed and the deafening silence of the Christian world is now back…