Archbishop testifies on 'flagrant' Christian persecution in Middle East

In a rare appearance on Capitol Hill by a Vatican representative, Archbishop Francis Chullikatt testified Tuesday before a House subcommittee on the “flagrant and widespread persecution” of Christians in the Middle East.
“No Christian is exempt, whether or not he or she is Arab,” Chullikatt said.
Chullikatt was among seven speakers discussing the escalation of threats to Christians. Specifically, testimony focused on underreported assaults, the plight of impacted Christian communities and the need to protect religious freedoms and civil rights.
“Arab Christians, a small but significant community, find themselves the target of constant harassment for no reason other than their religious faith,” Chullikatt said.

Let us pray for our Christian brothers and sisters… Lord, look. Look and see the violence done to your people. Help us put an end to such horror. I ask this because of my trust in thy great mercy. Heart of Jesus, once in agony, have mercy on the dying…

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end. Amen.


St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Father in Heaven, you make your sun shine
on good and bad alike.
Your Son Jesus Christ died for us all
and in his glorious Resurrection
He still retains the five wounds of his Passion.
With his divine power he now sustains
all those who suffer persecution and martyrdom
for the sake of their fidelity
to the faith of the Church.
Merciful and mighty Father,
do not allow Cain to return again to murder
helpless Abel, innocent Abel.
May persecuted Christians around the world
remain, like Mary, their Mother,
together at the foot of the cross
of Christ the Martyr.
Comfort those menaced by violence
and those oppressed by uncertainty.
May your Holy Spirit of love
make fruitful the witness and the blood
of those who die forgiving.


i am happy that the archbishop was allowed to testify. what about the Christians in Africa that are also being persecuted?

i am surprised that the msm has avoided this news.

They don’t really cover Christian persecution of Hindus, Buddhists, or Muslims in Africa and India either so I’d say its a fairly balanced approach. The media wants clearly identifiable villains and victims in these sorts of stories and its a very grey area.

Christians make up 80% of all those who are persecuted (so how is this a balanced approach), i.e., if Christians are persecuting others it’s likely in retaliation (moreover, they are living in countries where they are in the minority, so I have a hard time believing they would begin persecuting larger groups).

According to the International Society for Human Rights, a secular observatory based in Frankfurt, Germany, 80 per cent of all acts of religious discrimination in the world today are directed at Christians. Statistically speaking, that makes Christians by far the most persecuted religious body on the planet.

Here’s more from that article:

According to the Pew Forum, between 2006 and 2010 Christians faced some form of discrimination, either de jure or de facto, in a staggering total of 139 nations, which is almost three-quarters of all the countries on earth. According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts, an average of 100,000 Christians have been killed in what the centre calls a ‘situation of witness’ each year for the past decade. That works out to 11 Christians killed somewhere in the world every hour, seven days a week and 365 days a year, for reasons related to their faith.

In effect, the world is witnessing the rise of an entire new generation of Christian martyrs. The carnage is occurring on such a vast scale that it represents not only the most dramatic Christian story of our time, but arguably the premier human rights challenge of this era as well.

Here is the : Testimony of Khataza Gondwe, Ph.D. Team Leader for Africa and the Middle East, Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

The Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram and its off shoot Ansaru . . . .During 2013, 46 villages were destroyed, around 14,000 Christians displaced in the Gwoza area of Borno State, close to the Cameroon border. An unknown number of Christians were murdered, with women and girls captured and forced into sexual slavery. On 26 January at least 138 people are now known to have died in attacks by members of the Islamist terror group Boko Haram on a Catholic Church and village in Adamawa and a farmer’s market Borno States in north east Nigeria. … prior to attacking the church in Adamawa, the gunmen mounted a roadblock in a nearby area and killed many Christians. This tactic of blocking highways and screening, murdering or kidnapping of travellers is being employed increasingly by the insurgents.

Events in Tanzania appear to provide early warning signs of freedom of religion violations similar to those that occur in Nigeria…Of particular concern are regular threats issued via text message or leaflets naming Christian leaders targeted for assassination…The attack on Father Mwang’amba was the latest in a series of increasingly frequent assaults on
churches and church leaders…In an emblematic case, the family of a Pentecostal pastor beheaded in March 2013 … the Tanzanian president described the bombing of the inaugural service of Arusha’s new Roman Catholic Cathedral in May 2013 as “an act of terrorism…”

No, it’s not “a very grey area” at all. But you’ve brought up an interesting point, why is the worldwide persecution of Christians is so often wrapped in silence? John Allen’s testimony is worth reading.

I believe we have a problem with narrative. In the West, we are conditioned to think of Christianity as an all powerful, all controlling, wealthy, vastly influential social institution, which makes it very difficult for ordinary Americans to get their minds around the idea that Christians can actually be the victims of persecution. The demographic and practical truth is that the typical Christian in this world is not an affluent, American male pulling up to church in a Lincoln Continental. The typical Christian in the early 21st century is a poor woman of color and mother of four in Botswana or a poor, Dalit grandmother in Orissa.

This is the best source I’ve found for people who want to learn more about the hearing. It contains links to testimonies and video.

Christians Worldwide Targeted for Their Faith; Topic of House Hearing

I recall reading that in the latter days of the Ottoman Empire, Christians (and even Jews) had a fair amount of protection against local persecution because the western powers would threaten reprisals and were so overwhelmingly more powerful that they could make it stick.

Undoubtedly, religious minorities under the Raj in India were protected by threat and the occasional use of force as well.

Maybe if now and then a state that sponsors religious persecution could find its accounts or ships or planes or trade goods detained pending payment of damages to victims of it, we would see it curtailed.

That’s an idea. There are many things that could be done.
Obama made a big point of not going to the Sochi Olympics because of LGBT pressure. He could surely find something similar to boycott to try to get the Pakistanis and Saudis to respect Christian rights. “Christian rights are human rights,” aren’t they?

A first step would be to at least appoint a new Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom within the Department of State.

the United States can “take action against individual members of a foreign government who are involved in religious persecution—officials of that government, officials of provinces, officials of units of that government—to be able to name names and say, for example, those individuals will never be admitted to the United States. So there’s lots of flexibility, and I’m afraid we’re not using it.”

The Obama administration was not the only target of criticism at the hearing, however. Abrams said that USCIRF has repeatedly raised the importance of annually designating “countries of particular concern” (CPCs) and that “neither Republican nor Democratic administrations have fully utilized the CPC mechanism as the key foreign policy tool it was intended to be.”

“Vietnam seeks entry, and if we focus on the utility and profits of increased trade without holding Vietnam to account for its human rights record, we miss an opportunity to better the lives of those who are beaten, imprisoned, and even killed for their faith,” he said.

Abrams also recommended taking a lesson from the Cold War and being specific in speaking about political prisoners. “People in the Gulag told us that the mentioning of names was critically important, when they heard it from a president, a secretary of state, members of congress. … Adopting political prisoners of conscience, which about 20 members of have done, is a great idea too.”


Might be nice if our elected civil servants actually did something about this…

The bold- So Wrong + Wrong = Right? There are Christians out there who do bad things and who do bad things in the name of their faith. Defending their immoral behavior does nothing but dilute the truth of the faith. Immoral behavior is immoral behavior regardless of who does it; and it shouldn’t be defended.

It’s a good idea, but these types of persecutions are increasingly taking place in failed states (in which doing the above wouldn’t really work even if we could find it’s government), in places already under restrictions/boycotts, or have at least one strong ally that will support them regardless (how long have we been boycotting Cuba and it’s still around?).

Please don’t get preachy with me, i.e., I neither said it was good nor bad, i.e., I can only begin to imagine though the horrors that most of our Christian brothers experience. And being that 8 out of 10 people who are persecuted for their faith are Christians, it’s obvious that they are not retaliating (for the most part). Mind you, by retaliation, I meant self-defense, there’s only so much violence a Christian community can experience without fighting back (I should have put the word “persecuting” in quotations).

Well, maybe if other Christian nations had boycotted Cuba something could have been done, i.e., it needed additional pressure put on to it.


We’re undoubtedly still living under the Kennedy/Khruschev agreement on Cuba, whatever it was. There are probably things we can do and can’t do.

Even failed state actors have interests. Sometimes it might only be to not have a cruise missile come out of nowhere and blow somebody’s ill-gotten mansion. Sometimes it can be a few multi-million drug-carrying boats sunk without a trace. Sometimes it might be interdiction of a load of diamonds before it lands in Amsterdam. I suspect Mossad has a list of things to do even if we don’t. Maybe we could borrow the list.

-Explain to me how 80% of those being persecuted are Christian leads you to the conclusion that Christians aren’t defending themselves (for the most part).
-Persecution in quotes- So there aren’t Christians that persecute non-Christians? The Christian majority in the CAR aren’t persecuting the Muslim minority, they’re “persecuting” them?

That claim has been made for years, but as far as I can tell no one has ever brought forth a copy of this alleged study. It cant be found anywhere on ISHR’s website and I can’t find a source citing or quoting it. Even if it does exist, how do we know what they actually studied without being able to read it? What are they classifying as persecution? That may seem like an odd question, but when you actually read the fine print of other studies which make such claims you find out that they never establish, or admit, the motive behind the crimes and they are really defining “persecution” as anything bad that happens to a Christian.

This is where such assertions start to unravel. If the authors of these studies never establish the motive for the crimes then how do they know that they constitute persecution against Christians? I think that, more often than not, the religion of the victim(s) is incidental. For example, priests and bishops are targeted in Latin America for assassination, not because of their religious beliefs, but simply because they are influential people in their communities who oppose the drug trade. They’d be just as dead if they were Pastafarians because religion has nothing to do with it. Yet, somehow, people consider that religious persecution.

Many conflicts around the world are misinterpreted as being the result of religious zealousness, just because the people fighting them tend to be of differing religious backgrounds, even though religion isn’t even the point of contention. Others are tit-for-tat conflicts with barbarous acts of terrorism committed by the Christians who then cry persecution when there is a response to that action. So, before people start claiming that Christians are the most persecuted people in the world, they need to not only define what that means, but also provide context for the situations and conflicts they describe.

Are you familiar with the Lords Resistance Army or the National Liberation Front of Tripura?

The first is about as Christian as the Druse religion is Islamic. It’s a mishmash of Christianity and local paganism. The second is a tiny secessionist group. Little nut-case quasi-religious groups can be found in all sorts of nooks and crannies of the world. But neither group you mention is anything other than that.

But if one looks at anything of any scale, it’s quite different.
In how many Christian countries is it illegal to practice, say, Islam openly? In how many has the Muslim population been shrinking for years, sometimes dramatically? How many Muslim refugees are there from France; from Germany, from the U.S.? How many mosques get burned down in New York? How many Muslim girls are forced to become Christians and married off to some Christian man they don’t know? In how many Christian countries does one get sentenced to death for converting from Christianity? One who proclaims himself agnostic before Christians certainly knows there’s no cost to doing it.

But it’s an undeniable fact that those things are inflicted on Christians in virtually every Muslim country on earth. Christians are not alone in being persecuted in China for their beliefs, but they are persecuted. They are persecuted in the residual communist regimes and in large swaths of India.

At some point one has to acknowledge that the obvious is reality. And one should not make excuses for bad behavior either.

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