Christianity under siege as believers are persecuted

St. Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla, Nigeria, hit by a bomb on Christmas Day.

St. Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla, Nigeria, hit by a bomb on Christmas Day.

Worldwide, the attacks on Christians grow
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
28/12/2011

The sickening Christmas Day bombings of peaceful worshipers by Islamist terrorists in Africa’s most populous nation — including one blast that killed at least 35 people in a single Catholic church — were a fresh reminder of an underreported reality:

Christians are under attack around the world, for nothing more than their desire to worship God as they choose.

The Nigeria violence marked the second year in a row that the Boko Haram Islamists — who seek to impose strict Sharia law across the nation of 165 million — have turned a day of peace into one of horror.

And this in a 50-50 Christian-Muslim country — where the president, Goodluck Jonathan, is a Christian.

Throughout much of the world, Christians are an oppressed and suppressed minority whose struggles are utterly ignored by those in power.

Our own majority-Christian nation, where rights of free worship are protected to the hilt, forgets this at our peril.

In Pakistan, mobs in recent years have attacked churches and homes and schools of those who pray to Jesus Christ.

In India, Hindu fundamentalists have targeted Christians for years — a pattern that shows no sign of abating.

In Egypt this year, Coptic Christians — who make up about 10% of the population — have been targeted by ultraconservative Muslims who see no place for Christianity in their nation. A series of riots have left Copts dead, a dozen at a time.

In Iraq, Islamist gunmen last year killed 58 people in a church. Reports say about two-thirds of the nation’s 1.4 million Christians have fled.

In Iran in October, a pastor was sentenced to die for refusing to denounce his Christian faith. He has been offered leniency if he agrees to recant his Christianity.

In North Korea, Christianity, viewed as a tool of the West, is heavily suppressed. Worship is forced underground. Four churches stand in the capital — but all are shells, built for the occasional visit by foreigners under official government escort.

According to the secular International Society for Human Rights, four-fifths of the acts of religious intolerance in the world today are directed against Christians.

Among the Four Freedoms famously articulated by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on Jan. 6, 1941, was “freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world.”

In that decade, the words had special and haunting resonance.

Let us protect and defend that right, in every corner of the globe, in our own time.

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