"In regards to Syria," Malik explained, "I don't think the Muslim Brotherhood will be able to take over the country, or even enjoy particular prominence in Syrian political life. First of all, you have to realize that there is a considerable non-Muslim population in Syria; the Christian minority makes up almost 10 percent of the population. In addition there is a very significant number of non-Sunni Muslim minorities - the Muslim Brotherhood is a Sunni Muslim organization - in Syria, equal to about 13 percent of the population. You also have another nine percent of the population that is Kurdish, so (Syria is) a very diverse and secular country. It is a lot more secular than other countries in the Middle East."
So was Iraq before the U.S. invasion.
Iraq was fairly secular as well under the boot of Saddam Hussein. He wanted absolutely no competition for control of Iraq, especially from Mullahs claiming the authority of the Almighty, so Hussein kept a lid on religious strife - brutally. With Saddam's authoritarian security services out of commission, for a time after the invasion it appeared as though the Iraqi insurgency was going to devolve into a full-scale, three-sided, civil war between the Sunni, Shia, and Kurds - a sectarian religious war - with Christians caught in the middle.
Since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom, nearly half of the one million Christians in the predominately Muslim country have either been killed by Muslim extremists, or they have fled the country to avoid being killed. Since 2003, four to six hundred thousand Iraqi Christians have fled to Jordan, Syria, Europe, and the United States.
For Christians living in Iraq, every day is filled with apprehension, worry, and sometimes outright terror; assaults, kidnappings, and murders - individually and en masse' - have claimed the lives of entire congregations. Over the past few years attacks by Sunni and Shia Muslim sects, both with well-armed militias at their disposal, have claimed thousands of lives with scores of churches blown up, sometimes while packed with worshipers. Christian churches now operate with armed guards at the entrances and on their Sunday School buses. One, St. George's in Baghdad, has been particularly hard hit; this post is from their Facebook page:
St. George’s Church in Baghdad is one of the few functioning churches left in Iraq. The church serves all denominations of Iraqi Christians from the surrounding neighborhoods. The congregation comes from Christian traditions that include Roman Catholic, Syriac Orthodox, and a mix of Protestants such as Anglican, Presbyterian and evangelical.
Because of the security situation in Iraq, several armed guards keep watch over the building and safeguard during services. A bus brings most members to the church helping to avoid the threat of kidnapping. Despite preventive efforts, the reality of violence remains.
Tragically, in September 2005 all of the lay church leaders were kidnapped and killed. Yet, despite the loss, the church members keep in good heart and continue to develop as a church body. It is a most wonderful gathering of people from many different backgrounds. Following the death of the initial leadership, a new team has been established in which women are playing a central role. ST. GEORGE'S ANGLICAN CHURCH - FACEBOOK WALL
From another post by St. George's:
I just spoke to our churchwarden -his nephew and his father had just been shot dead outside their house in Nineveh. The nephew Alhassan was due to be engaged on Friday. As I left church yesterday I was phoned again by church members, they had just heard that their family home in Nineveh had been totally blown up.
None of our people are traditionally Anglican but now in the midst of trauma denominations do not matter, all that matters is that that we believe in Jesus. In the last service I told our people what I regularly tell them: "There are no guarantees that we will not be killed this week, but there is one guarantee that when we see Jesus we will be like him." At this the people always cheer.
We cannot deny the success of the Surge; violence is still down in Baghdad. The sad reality though is that many of the terrorist groups like Al Qaida have moved north to places like Mosul. Who is responsible for the violence is still not clear. There is agreement that the violence is Sunni, some say it is Al Qaida types, others are placing the blame on the Kurds. This seems quite unlikely as many of the Christians have now escaped Nineveh / Mosul and are seeking refuge in Kurdistan.
Added to these many problems and dangers that the Christians are facing, there has also been the recent dismissal of the parliament to allow minorities to have representation reserved in the regional governments. So life is very hard at this time for the remaining Christians in Iraq. The majority of this minority have already fled. Those left are the ones who can't afford to leave or are refusing to. ST. GEORGE'S ANGLICAN CHURCH - We thought it could not get worse, it has.
The church has not updated its Facebook page since 2008. I have no idea if any of the congregants are even alive. I have sent emails to the listed contacts and even to some FB users who posted on the church's page, but have not yet received a reply.
Here is a short PBS documentary about Iraq's "Disappearing Christians."
Christians are facing religious persecution in many Islamic countries. We're not talking about being called names now, this is honest-to-goodness life and death. People are being killed in the most horrible ways for the the crime of professing faith in Jesus Christ, and some of them are just children; like this young girl who was beheaded in Indonesia simply because she was a Christian.
This past Christmas Day in Nigeria three churches were blown up with worshipers inside, killing at least 40 of them. The following information comes from John Hinderaker's post at Powerlineblog.com: "A Month of Christian Persecution."
The so-called “Arab Spring” continues to transition into a “Christian Winter,” including in those nations undergoing democratic change, such as Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis dominated the elections—unsurprisingly so, considering the Obama administration has actually been training Islamists for elections.
Arab regimes not overthrown by the “Arab Spring” are under mounting international pressure; these include the secular Assad regime of Syria, where Christians, who comprise some 10% of the population, are fearful of the future, having seen the effects of democracy in neighboring nations such as Iraq, where, since the fall of the Saddam regime, Christians have been all but decimated.
Meanwhile, it was revealed that “Christians are being refused refugee status [in the U.S.] and face persecution and many times certain death for their religious beliefs under Sharia, while whole Muslim communities are entering the U.S. by the tens of thousands per month despite the fact that they face no religious persecution.”
Categorized by theme, November’s batch of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed according to theme and in alphabetical order by country, not necessarily severity.
Hindraker's blog goes on to detail attacks on Christians - just for the month of November, 2011 - in countries throughout the Muslim world: Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Indonesia, Nigeria, Kenya, Pakistan, Kashmir, Iran, Algeria, and Afghanistan where Afghani Abdul Rahman narrowly escaped execution - by the AFGHAN GOVERNMENT - for apostasy; abandoning Islam for Christianity. According to Christianitytoday.com, there are still 10,000 more Afghan Christians literally living under the knife.
Religionofpeace.com has a much more inclusive list, though admittedly not complete as "many incidences of violence go unreported," of attacks on Christians since 9/11. I had toyed with the idea of embedding that list in this post, but on further reflection, aesthetically it's probably not a good choice. Check out the list for yourself and you will see why.
What is it about those Muslims who choose violence as a way to get their point across? They murder their victims when they are at their most vulnerable (at prayer,) the age and sex of their victims seems not to matter one bit (old ladies, little girls, babies,) and it is all too shockingly apparent that the ways they choose to murder their victims is as horrific as they can make it.
If you have never seen a beheading video, please don't go looking for one; trust me, it is the most horrible thing you will ever witness. I've seen a few of them, and the sounds and images that were seared into my brain will haunt me until my dying day. Funny thing is - funny odd, not funny haha - 99 times out of a hundred the victims of Islamic extremism are other Muslims; but I digress. Sunni vs. Shia violence is a topic for another day.
So what does this disturbing trend bode for Christians in Syria? Ironically, the only protection that Christians have had in Middle-Eastern countries are dictatorships that have kept an iron boot on the neck of Islamist parties. In all fairness to Malik, when we spoke he was unaware of the fact that Hakim Abdel Belhadj, the al-Qaeda terrorist that helped overthrow Moammar Gadaffi (with help from the CIA and Qatari government,) was slipping into Syria with a cadre of 1,000 battle-hardened terrorists fresh from the Libyan killing fields.
However it is my belief that TPTB, using the CIA and al-Qaeda terrorists as their muscle, have embarked on a program of sweeping change in the Middle-East. They are setting up a new paradigm, a new source of income for the next 50 years for the Miitary-Industrial-Complex: The Abrahamic Wars.
For those who are unaware, al-Qaeda is the military arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. Ayman al-Zawahiri, AQ's Top Dog, was a member of the Brotherhood from the age of 14. When Sayidd Qutb was executed by the Egyptian government, Zawahiri swore to spread the Brotherhood's message - and Islam - all over the world.
But if what's been happening across the Muslim world repeats itself in Syria, then hundreds of thousand of Syrian Christians may find themselves having to make the same decision that their Iraqi counterparts have had to make: Flee or die.
Since the MSM has done their best to ignore this issue, I guess it now falls under my purview. I'll keep an eye on developments and keep you updated.