The persecution of Christians around the world, but especially in the Muslim world, has reached an all-time high—with 2016 being the “worst year yet,” according to Open Doors, which recently released its annual ranking of the top 50 countries where Christians face the most persecution.
Among some of its more significant findings:
“Islamic extremism” remains the dominant force responsible for the persecution of Christians in 40 of the 50 worst nations;
Nine of the ten worst nations are Muslim (North Korea being the only non-Islamic);
“In the top 21 countries on the Open Doors World Watch List [18 of which are Muslim], 100 percent of Christians experience persecution”;
1,329 churches were attacked, damaged, or destroyed, mostly in Muslim nations;
Islamic Somalia is now the second worst nation; there, “If their [Christians’] faith is discovered it means instant death, executed without trial and often on rumor alone”;
In Nigeria—where more Christians have been slaughtered by Muslims than possibly in any other nation—the killing of Christians went up by 62 percent;
The nation where the most violent and sexual attacks on Christians take place—Muslim majority Pakistan—rose to the number four spot.
While everything points to Islam—or “Islamic extremism,” as Open Doors puts it—as the chief factor behind the global persecution of Christians, what does one make of the fact that North Korea continues to rank as the number one worst persecutor of Christians? Surely this suggests that Christian persecution is not intrinsic to the Islamic world but is rather a product of repressive regimes and other socio-cultural factors?
Here we come to some critically important but rarely acknowledged distinctions. While Christians are indeed suffering extreme persecution in North Korea, something as simple as overthrowing Kim Jong-un’s regime could lead to a quick halt to that persecution—just as the fall of Communist Soviet Union saw the end of religious persecution. The vibrancy of Christianity in South Korea, a nation virtually identical in ethnicity, culture, and language to its northern counterpart, is suggestive of what may be in store—and thus creates paranoia for—North Korea.
In the Islamic world, however, a similar scenario would not alleviate the sufferings of Christians by an iota. Quite the opposite; where dictators fall (often thanks to U.S. intervention)—Saddam in Iraq, Qaddafi in Libya, and attempts against Assad in Syria—Christian persecution dramatically rises. Today Iraq is the seventh worst nation in the world in which to be Christian, Syria sixth, and Libya 11. A decade ago under the “evil” dictators, Iraq was ranked 32, Syria 47, and Libya 22.
The reason for this is that Muslim persecution of Christians is perennial, existential, and far transcends this or that regime or ruler. It is part and parcel of the history, doctrines, and socio-political makeup of Islam—hence its tenacity; hence its ubiquity.
To further understand the differences between temporal and existential persecution, consider Russia. Under communism, its own Christians were persecuted; yet today, after the fall of the USSR, Russia is again reclaiming its Orthodox Christian heritage.
North Korea—where Kim Jong-un is worshipped as a god and the people are shielded from reality—seems to be experiencing what Russia did under the Soviet Union. But if the once mighty USSR could not persevere, surely it’s a matter of time before tiny North Korea’s walls also come crumbling down, with the resulting religious freedom that former communist nations have experienced. (Tellingly, the only countries that were part of the USSR that still persecute Christians are Muslim, such as Uzbekistan, #16, and Turkmenistan, #19.)
Time, however, is not on the side of Christians living amid Muslims; quite the opposite.
In short, Muslim persecution of Christians exists in 40 nations today as part of a continuum—or “tradition”—that started nearly 14 centuries ago. As I document in Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, the very same patterns of Christian persecution prevalent throughout the Muslim world today are often identical to those from centuries past.
A final consideration: North Korea, the one non-Muslim nation making the top ten worst persecutors list, is governed by what is widely seen as an unbalanced megalomaniac; conversely, the other nine nations are not dominated by any “cults-of-personalities” and are variously governed: including through parliamentarian democracies (Iraq), parliamentarian republics (Pakistan and Somalia), one-party or presidential republics (Eritrea, Sudan and Syria), Islamic republics (Afghanistan and Iran). Looking at the other Muslim nations that make the top 50 persecutors’ list and even more forms of governments proliferate, for example transitional/disputed governments (Libya #11) and monarchies (Saudi Arabia #14).
The common denominator is that they are all Islamic nations.
Thus, long after North Korea’s psychotic Kim Jong-un has gone the way of the dodo, tens of millions of Christians and other “infidels” will continue to suffer extreme persecution, till what began in the seventh century reaches fruition and the entire Islamic world becomes “infidel” free.
Confronting this discomforting fact is the first real step to alleviating the sufferings of the overwhelming majority of Christians around the world; for seldom can anything be fixed without first acknowledging the root of the problem.
Last year, when Donald Trump won the presidency against all odds and triumphed over the more experienced and seemingly better prepared Hillary Clinton, Democrats were at a loss as to what to do — not only had they lost the presidency, but they had failed to retake majorities in either house of Congress and seemed destined to lose any hope of advantage in the Supreme Court.
Now, more than three months into the presidency, Democrats are feeling better despite their losses, because Trump and the Republicans have been stymied in terms of accomplishing their legislative goals, and Trump hasn’t been allowed to push through all of his agency and cabinet appointments. National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn was forced out of his job after just 24 days, and Trump’s picks for Secretary of the Army and Secretary of the Navy were forced to withdraw from their appointments due to conflicts of interest. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been accused of lying to Congress in his confirmation hearings.
And even for Cabinet appointees who eventually settled into their positions without controversy, the process of confirmation has been dragged out much longer than necessary, resulting in a frustratingly slow start for the Trump administration in terms of having its personnel in place.
Despite the fact that Republicans hold a majority in the Senate, Democrats retain 48 seats, and thus can filibuster legislation they object to. They can reject confirmations of Supreme Court nominees and block treaties and appropriations bills, which all require a 60-vote majority for passage (barring Republicans’ use of the so-called “nuclear option” to change Senate rules to allow passage via a simple majority instead).
Thus far, this lack of a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate has doomed the replacement of Obamacare by the American Healthcare Act (AHCA) (although its prospects in the Senate may have been dead on arrival due to conservative Republicans’ own objections to the bill).
Most recently, the nomination of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch has been held up by the Democrats, tempting Republicans to enact the nuclear option (which President Trump is strongly in favor of), despite Republicans’ reticence to do so.
Democrats have threatened to block passage of an appropriations bill that would keep the government running if funding for Trump’s Mexican border wall is included. If a showdown occurs over the wall, Democrats are hopeful that Republicans would take the blame for the government shutting down, due to their majority control in Congress and obstinacy in trying to satisfy the desires of their conservative base.
And finally, Democrats (and even some establishment Republicans like Arizona Senator John McCain) have been crying wolf over Trump’s supposed ties to Russia during his presidential campaign. Prominent Democrats have used this and other charges to push calls for Trump’s impeachment.
This is despite the fact that top leaders in the intelligence community have said there’s no evidence to back up such connections. But why let that get in the way of a good media story? Certainly, Democrats have been enjoying every chance they’ve gotten to bash, smear, perturb and impugn Trump and Republican Congressional leaders.
There’s been no end of Democratic finger-pointing at Trump’s missteps and exaggerations on everything from the size of his inauguration crowds to the number of immigrants who have committed terrorist attacks on American soil.
But at the end of the day, beyond Trump-bashing, appointee obstructing and legislation killing, Democrats can point to just about nothing in terms of positive accomplishments. Trump has managed to undo President Obama’s executive orders on everything from pipeline building to transgender bathrooms, and cutting funding for sanctuary cities and climate change policy reform are next on the agenda. Congress appears ready to give Trump what he wants in terms of military spending, immigration reform, business deregulation and child care initiatives.
Trump has managed to bring back thousands of jobs that American companies had shipped (or threatened to ship) overseas and on top of that has convinced foreign companies to invest in American labor and American production plants. He’s supported American workers in industries from coal-mining to automobile manufacturing.
These actions are a far cry from what President Obama achieved, with the ex-president being better known for overseeing tremendous job losses, downward-falling incomes, economic malaise and the further loss of American competitiveness.
In fact, if Democrats aren’t lucky, their accusations regarding Russia could come back to haunt them in the form of evidence that the FBI or other agencies spied on Trump and his associates prior to the presidential election, either under orders from President Obama or at least with the explicit knowledge thereof.
Even worse, if a special prosecutor is ultimately assigned to look into Russian connections, trails may end up leading to Obama-era intelligence officials, the Clintons and their Foundation, or worse. There are many media commentators who correctly assess that the Democrats are only digging themselves a deeper ditch and have found their way into Trump-set traps with their calls for investigations, special prosecutors and eventual impeachment.
Already, there have been embarrassments in the press, such as when Rachel Maddow claimed she had a “scoop” on her hands with Trump’s tax return from 2005 that turned out to be a non-story at best.
Cases like this may be a harbinger of what’s to come if progressives keep pushing for Trump’s head on a platter. Although Democratic lawmakers are well aware that their constituents have been loudly baying for Trump’s blood, their angry insistence on obstruction and resistance may ultimately be a losing strategy, as it sets the Republicans up not to compromise an inch on a conservative agenda.
In fact, it’s liberal voters who may need to “wake up and smell the coffee” regarding fighting the Trump administration. Instead of trying to attack the president with everything they’ve got, it may be wiser to try to compromise and at least (hopefully) get a piece of what they want.
Trying to paint Trump as an out-of-control or incompetent madman is ineffective, as the president’s successful and nearly universally well-received State of the Union address proved. Making up false claims about figures such as Attorney General Sessions, White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon or Trump himself is ill-advised, as such claims inevitably roll off these people like Teflon.
It may be time for Democrats to realize that although they’d like to think they’re winning victories, their “achievements” are all in the negative column, and their position politically is no better (in fact, it’s arguably worse) than it was following the November elections.
Democratic leadership appears to have no new ideas in its heads and few, if any, new candidates for top jobs that will become vacant in the next five to ten years as current leaders retire. For Republicans, this is nothing but good news, and constituents can only hope this stagnation continues well into 2018.
(Zero Hedge) Early this morning we reported that as part of its response to the Syrian attack, in addition to suspending communication with U.S. forces designed to stop planes colliding over Syria, the Russian frigate Admiral Grigorovich would be deployed to the Tartus naval base in Syria. The Russian Black Sea Fleet’s frigate The Admiral Grigorovich, currently on a routine voyage, would enter the Mediterranean later on Friday, a military-diplomatic source in Moscow told TASS, adding that the ship would make a stop at the logistics base in Syria’s port of Tartus.
Russia wasted no time, and as FN reports, moments ago, the Russian frigate, Admiral Grigorovich RFS-494, crossed through the Bosphorus Strait “a few hours ago” from the Black Sea, according to a U.S. defense official.
The Russian warship is now in the eastern Mediterranean steaming in the direction of the U.S. warships. The Admiral Grigorovich is armed with advanced Kalibr cruise missiles…
A British nuclear submarine is patrolling the Mediterranean and NATO forces were on high alert throughout the region.
As the region teetered on the brink, world leaders, including Theresa May, backed the American strikes at al-Shayrat base, but there were calls for talks in a bid to prevent the crisis turning into a wider conflict.
Russia’s Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev claimed the US missile strike was illegal and warned Mr Trump had been “one step away from military clashes with Russia”.
But the US president insisted it was time the Assad regime was reined in from its barbarous attacks on innocent Syrians…
(Breitbart) PolitiFact has pulled a 2014 fact-check on remarks about Syria by former Secretary of State John Kerry after the claim the Obama administration “got ‘100 percent’ of chemical weapons out of Syria” turned out to be false.
Photo by Center for American Progress
In a post about the recent chemical weapons attack in Syria, PolitiFact admitted, “The outcry leads us to revisit a 2014 claim from former Secretary of State John Kerry.”
“Kerry said in a television interview that in Syria, ‘we got 100 percent of the chemical weapons out.’ Syria had agreed in 2013 to an ambitious program to destroy its chemical stockpiles under international supervision, as part of a deal brokered by Russia,” they explained. “When Kerry spoke in July 2014, the process seemed far along. Based on reports from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons — which later won the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts — we rated that claim Mostly True. There were caveats about incomplete information, but at the time, international experts said the claim largely held up.”
“Given recent events, we have pulled that fact-check (you can read an archived version here) because we now have many unanswered questions,” the fact-checking site declared. “We don’t know key details about the reported chemical attack in Syria on April 4, 2017, but it raises two clear possibilities: Either Syria never fully complied with its 2013 promise to reveal all of its chemical weapons; or it did, but then converted otherwise non-lethal chemicals to military uses. One way or another, subsequent events have proved Kerry wrong.”
PolitiFact is often heralded as a reliable and neutral fact-checking source by the mainstream media and political establishment, despite numerous revelations over the past few years that the site is largely biased towards the left-wing….