Editors Note: This is a next in a series of speech texts from last Friday’s conference at the United Nations titled, “Not Peace but a Sword: The Persecution of Christians in the Middle East as a Threat to International Peace and Security.” Here’s Pastor Mario Bramnick, the Senior Pastor of New Wine Ministries Church in Cooper City, Florida..”
Hispanic Israel Leadership Coalition (HILC) as a subsidiary of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC).
NHCLC and HILC will build a firewall against anti-semitism and the campaign to delegitimize the nation of Israel, raise awareness of the critical intersection of Israel and America’s future, and activate Hispanics as the most “pro-Israel, pro-Jewish” demographic.
HILC’s vision is to build bridges of reconciliation between Jew and Arab, to create a firewall of protection against the persecution of the Arab Christians throughout the middle east, to educate the church about the Christian persecution and to spread the gospel to the Muslim Arab world. “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance” (Is. 19:25)
Many Arab Christians feel that their history, culture and heritage have been hijacked by Islamists in the region.
Hispanic Israel leadership coalition will stand up for the Christian Arabs who suffer great persecution in Muslim countries. HILC will bring light to the plight of Christian Arabs, including Palestinian Christians.
Christians are the most persecuted religious group today, with the most dire form of persecutions occurring in the Muslim lands by extremists. A majority of Christians in Syria and Iraq belong to the ancient Assyrian or Chaldean churches. They trace their spiritual heritage to the prophet Jonah, whose preaching in Ninevah led to the mass conversion to Christianity in the region.
Last year saw the highest level of persecution of Christians the world has seen since the fall of the soviet union, according to an Open Doors USA report by a Christian persecution watchdog group released Wednesday.
Open Doors USA highlighted that in the 24 years that open doors has been tracking numbers on global persecution, 2014 was the most violent year of Christian persecution and was far worse than the year before.
During the past reporting period we can confirm that 4,344 people were executed or murdered for their faith in Jesus Christ. Over twice that of the previous reporting period.
Three major driving forces of Christian persecution in the modern world, which were post-soviet union communist states, nationalistic ideologies and Islamic extremism as seen in most of the states found on the world watch list’s top 50 list.
Although ISIS has been condemned by Muslim religious leaders in nations like Saudi Arabia and Egypt, these entities’ strict Islamic ideology helped to create the ISIS group.
Saudi Arabia has been very counterproductive in its actions. Funding and encouraging and spreading an ideology of hate. Saudi Arabia did create its own monster.
The Islamic state are the most potent threat to the world since the Nazis.
The extremist Muslim organization is comparable to Adolf Hitler’s regime in its fanaticism and barbarity. Isis calling for its “military annihilation,” ISIS is “dedicated to a contemporary holocaust” has a belief in its own “racial superiority.”
However, the particular fundamentalist ideology of “Islamist” groups that have dedicated themselves to terror—such as al-Qaida, Boko Haram and now in its most vicious, barbaric and threatening form the Islamic caliphate, ISIS or the Islamic state (IS).
Like the Nazis, ISIS fanatics are anti-Semitic, with a belief in their own racial superiority. They are anti-democratic: the Islamic state is a totalitarian state, absolute in its authority. Goebbels would have been proud.
The politicians, who say “these atrocities have nothing to do with Islam” are making a false statement.
Canon Andrew White, is president of the foundation for relief and reconciliation in the Middle East. He was the Anglican chaplain to the international zone in Baghdad and was the vicar of St. George’s Anglican Church, Baghdad.
He also became actively involved in helping to lead the negotiations bringing together key religious leaders of Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths.
Until all this happened, none of us knew ISIS. We lived together, Christians, Jews and Muslims. We helped each other, we cared for each other. Suddenly this group appears, who wants to slaughter all of our people, to murder, massacre and remove them from their homeland, destroy the entire Christian community in Iraq. For most of the people, if they didn’t leave, they would be killed. People need to realize that this is such an extreme form of terrorist activity that all that we have worked for and achieved was just being banished overnight.
These Iraqis have lost everything but haven’t lost God. They have nothing. They have no housing, no food, no education, so currently in Erbil, Kurdistan and in Amman, Jordan, we’re providing a major relief program to give them food, education program and we’ve established a school for them.
This provision has changed the lives of those most in need. These are not far flung distant people. They are our family and our people. I give thanks to the Almighty for the privilege of serving these people. Finally there is the issue of reconciliation to God. The very fundamental thing of what we are providing is loving them. It’s fine to provide them food, to give them housing, to provide education but at the end of the day, at the beginning of the day, throughout the day, you have to love them. You have to show that you are loved by God. We are here because God has sent us here because He loves them.
Western Christians lead comfortable lives. Even the poorest among us has tremendous comparative wealth, and few have experienced anything remotely akin to persecution. Softened by prosperity, distracted by entertainment and consumed by ambition, we ignore the plight of those who live less magical lives. After all, we are very busy.
We Westerners inhabit a world that is quite alien to that of Iraq, Syria, and Egypt.
Though we may read of Mosul in the news, words will never convey what it’s like to hear armed men surround our house or a hooded jihadi demand that we recant or be executed. It’s just not our world.
We see their plight, we share their pain, and we desire to do something to help them—but we just don’t know how. Without any government position, public voice or significant financial resources, we doubt that we possess any conceivable means of transforming the situation.
Mario Bramnick has been appointed as the President of the Hispanic Israel Leadership Coalition (HILC) and as regional vice president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC). As the NHCLC Justice Division Director, Pastor Bramnick helped coordinate a Justice Summit for NHCLC in Washington, D.C., and hosted a bipartisan Congressional Reception on Capitol Hill with 14 Congressmen and Senators.