Thursday, November 18, 2010

Christian oppression rising in Islamic nations

In the past month, persecution has increased greatly against Christians in Islamic countries. Why? Because of fear, reports Ryan Mauro of Frontpage Magazine. Christianity is making major inroads among Muslims who have become disillusioned with their faith.

And, Muslims are not pleased.

Yesterday, the Assyrian International News Agency posted Mr. Mauro’s story about the rise in persecution against Christians in Islamic countries.

He describes the recent attacks in Baghdad and how they are just the latest episode in the sad persecution of the Iraqi Christian community. Pakistan, the Palestinian territories, Iran, Azerbaijan and other Muslim countries are reporting an escalation in persecution as well. A member of the Central Council of Iranian Churches claims that about one Christian is arrested per week on average now.

The motivation for this increased persecution, says Mr. Mauro, is a desire to stop the conversion of Muslims. It is estimated that before the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the number of Christians in Iran numbered in the low hundreds. This month, Ayatollah Khamenei publicly called the "network of house churches" a threat to Islam.

Todd Nettleton, the director of media development for VOM-USA, told Frontpage that the church in Iran is growing at a phenomenal rate: "The thing to realize about Iran is that the 'man on the street' equates the government with Islam. It is the mullahs, after all, that are in charge of the country," Nettleton said. “So failure, injustice and corruption in the government are seen as failure, injustice and corruption in Islam itself, which is creating a populace that is very open to other ideas, including the gospel message of Jesus Christ.

The irony? The increased oppression of Christians in the Islamic world is a sign of success. If they weren't effective, such government measures against Christians would not be necessary. The political shifts, like those related to terrorism and democracy, are making the headlines, but a potentially decisive religious shift is also underway and the world could look very different in the coming decades because of it.

You can read Mr. Mauro's story in entirety by visiting the Assyrian International News Agency.

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