REMARKS: National Religious Broadcasters Presidents Council
From Boston to Zanzibar, Christians are under attack. The President tries to gloss over who is attacking and killing Christians. The media describes the killings as "sectarian." But the truth is the truth, there is a worldwide war on Christians by a fanatical element of Islam.
Ever since 9/11, commentators have tried to avoid pointing fingers at Islam. Rightly, pointing out that most Muslims are not committed to violence against Christians. But this is not the whole truth. True, a minority of Muslims condone killing of Christians, but that minority numbers in the tens of millions.
Pew Research did a poll which indicated that 21 percent of Egyptians, 15 percent of Jordanians, 13 percent of Pakistani, six percent of Turkish and two percent of Lebanese Muslims find terrorism acceptable if not laudable. A minority to be sure but if you add up the population you find that the percentages in just five countries add up to over 47 million Muslims!
Maalula, Syria is an ancient Christian city where they still speak Aramaic the language that Jesus spoke. They have been Christian since the time of Christ. They are a small final outpost of Christians in the Middle East. In August, the town was over-run by the Islamic rebels. Rebels, who at the very least are allies of the rebels we are arming and the very worst may be armed by the Obama administration.
As the Islamic jihadists swarmed into town they demanded everyone convert to Islam or die. Sarkis el Zakhm stood up and answered them, "I am a Christian and if you want to kill me because I am a Christian, do it." Those were Sarkis last words. Sister Carmel of Damascus said of Sarkis: "His death is true martyrdom, a death in odium fidei (the hatred of faith).
Elsewhere in Syria, Islamic rebels have filmed beheadings of their captives and celebrated by eating the heart of an enemy soldier. Two Christian bishops have been kidnapped and one priest recently killed.
In Zanzibar, a priest was shot in the head on his way to church by two Muslim youths. A message by the Muslim Renewal said, "We thank our young men, trained in Somalia, for killing an infidel. Many more will die. We will burn homes and churches. We have not finished: at Easter, be prepared for disaster."
In Kenya, motorcycle assailants hurled bombs in the Earthquake Miracle Ministries Church injuring 15 people including the pastor who had both of his legs broken.
In Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, three girls were beheaded on their way to their Christian school.
In Guinea this year a Muslim mob attacked and killed 95 Christians and injured 130.
In Egypt, 82 churches were recently attacked hundreds killed and wounded.
In Cameroon, recently, two Christians who had converted from Islam were murdered.
In Iran, American pastor Saeed Abedini has been imprisoned indefinitely facing physical and psychological torture at the hands of his captors who have demanded that he renounce his faith.
Across, the globe Christians are under attack as if we lived in the middle ages or as if we lived under early pagan Roman rule.
In Libya, the country we freed from oppression. Benghazi militias raided a Christian church rounding up over a hundred Christians accusing them of being missionaries because they possessed Bibles and crosses. Many were tortured and one Christian died while being tortured.
In Pakistan, last week 75 Christians were killed and several hundred injured in a church bombing.
Not long ago in Pakistan, Younas Masih, a 55 year-old Christian, died after being shot five times because he would not renounce his Christianity. A 19 year-old Christian accused of dating a Muslim girl was killed with an axe and knives in his bed.
Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian, sits on death row for blasphemy. She says it all began when she drew water from a Muslim well. As she was filling her bowl of water, a crowd formed chanting, "Death! Death to the Christian!"
She pleaded for her life.
She was pelted with stones, punched in the face and drug through the streets. The local Imam finally intervenes only to say, "If you don't want to die, you must convert to Islam."
The crowd descends on her again beating her with sticks. Finally, the police stop the attackers only to arrest her. For over a year now, Asia Bibi has been on death row for the alleged crime of blasphemy.
Many of you have heard of Malala, the precocious 14-year-old who was shot in the head by the Taliban for the crime of wanting to go school. Malala is not a Christian but even so the radical Islamists can not stand to hear her advocate for letting girls go to school.
If you haven't listened to her, just pull up one of her YouTube videos and you will be amazed at her poise and elegance.
What bizarre distortion of religion would compel someone to shoot a little girl to make a religious point?
The Urdu poet, Praveen Shakir wrote, "The children of our age have become clever. They wish to examine the firefly in the daylight."
Only when Islam begins to police Islam. Only when Islam allows her children to examine the firefly in the daylight will knowledge and enlightenment begin to glow and grow and religious violence recede. We should all pray for that day to come sooner rather than later.
The war on Christians is not just abroad. It came to Boston this year just in time for the race. Two Islamic radicals blew up dozens of civilians. I guess they thought killing women and children would somehow make a religious or political point.
You might argue that they didn't target Christians but they certainly didn't target a mosque either. Their motive if you can perceive one was not against our government but against us as a people, a Christian people.
How someone could believe that killing innocent people would further one's cause is beyond me.
Shortly after the attack, I met one of the Boston policemen who responded to the scene. He described his feelings as he witnessed the horror of a war zone. He described his sadness as he applied tourniquets and tried to save people. He described his anger as he helped pursue the bombers through the streets of Boston.
But he also described a special appreciation for American justice after the younger bomber was apprehended.
He said, "We didn't drag him through the streets. We didn't beat him to death with tire irons. He will get a lawyer. He will get a trial. That's what separates us from them. That's the essence of the freedom our young soldiers fight for.
Some politicians hear of this war on Christianity and argue that we must fight a conventional war against radical Islam. I see things a bit differently. I believe we must defend ourselves against jihadists. We must actively use our intelligence capabilities to foil their terrorist plots and on occasion, such as Afghanistan we may need to militarily defend against terrorists. But I see less and less likelihood that conventional wars and armies will defeat 50 million Muslims spread across the planet. Make no mistake, we should actively defend ourselves but the ultimate answer must come from Islam itself.
These Islamic republics see us as invaders and infidels. They will never accept us through force of arms. Somehow, though, they must come to understand that they must police themselves, that they must root out and destroy the sadists and killers who distort and contort religion to justify killing civilians and children.
In the meantime, to defend ourselves we need to understand that the war on Christians is not being waged by rare anomalies in the Muslim world but by a significant minority that numbers in the millions.