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ISIS is slaughtering Arab Christians. Why are churches in the West so quiet? Here’s one way you can help.

In Uncategorized on October 16, 2014 at 3:17 pm
Are you praying for the persecuted Christians in the Mideast? Is there more you can do?

Are you praying for the persecuted Christians in the Mideast? Is there more you can do?

(Central Israel) — When my family and I moved to Israel in mid-August, we did so amidst a jihadist onslaught against the Jewish State. The third Gaza war was underway. Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza were firing more than 4,000 rockets, missiles and mortars at Israeli civilians, including Jews, Muslims and Christians.

That said, Israel was (and remains) one of the safest places to be in the Middle East this year, and not just for Jews but for Christians, as well.

Christians are being persecuted and even slaughtered throughout the epicenter. Israel and Jordan are safe havens. But from Syria to Iraq to Iran and beyond, the Radical Islamic jihadist offensive against followers of Jesus Christ is fierce and unrelenting. Indeed, as I’ve written about in recent months, we are seeing genocidal conditions emerging in this region against the Christians.

Why then are so few pastors and Christians leaders in the West coming to the defense of our brothers and sisters in this region who are in such grave danger? Why aren’t pastors rallying their congregations to pray for the persecuted Church in the Mideast? Why are so few Christian lay people giving financially to ministries that are making a difference in the region in the name of Christ in the midst of the chaos and carnage?

The epicenter is on fire. Yet I’m stunned by how few Christians are paying attention, or trying to help. Some are, and may God deeply bless this wonderful, heroic remnant. But so much of the Church is asleep.

How about you? Are you moved by the suffering of our brethren? Are you and your congregation looking for a way to help in a practical way?

The Joshua Fund team is working hard to provide prayer, encouragement, funds, and other resources to Arab Christians fleeing from the ISIS rampage. We are doing this even as we continue to provide humanitarian relief and other help in Israel. The Bible certainly commands believers to love and bless Israel and the Jewish people, and this is more important than ever. But the Scriptures also command us to love and bless Israel’s neighbors, and even her enemies. Is it easy? No. Is it safe? Not always. But the Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to love everyone in this region and He set the example for us.

Would you like to join us? We need your prayers. We also need your financial support, especially at this time. You can learn more about what The Joshua Fund is doing by clicking here.

You can also learn more about what is happening to the Christians in the epicenter by listening to this podcast — “I have just interviewed an Iraqi pastor on the terrible persecution Christians in Iraq are facing. Please listen & share with others” —  and by reading this excellent article by columnist Kirsten Powers. I cite it here in full.

A Global Slaughter of Christians, but America’s Churches Stay Silent

By Kirsten Powers, The Daily Beast, September 27, 2014

Christians in the Middle East and Africa are being slaughtered, tortured, raped, kidnapped, beheaded, and forced to flee the birthplace of Christianity. One would think this horror might be consuming the pulpits and pews of American churches. Not so. The silence has been nearly deafening.

As Egypt’s Copts have battled the worst attacks on the Christian minority since the 14th century, the bad news for Christians in the region keeps coming. On Sunday, Taliban suicide bombers killed at least 85 worshippers at All Saints’ church, which has stood since 1883 in the city of Peshawar, Pakistan. Christians were also the target of Islamic fanatics in the attack on a shopping center in Nairobi, Kenya, this week that killed more than 70 people. The Associated Press reported that the Somali Islamic militant group al-Shabab “confirmed witness accounts that gunmen separated Muslims from other people and let the Muslims go free.” The captives were asked questions about Islam. If they couldn’t answer, they were shot.

In Syria, Christians are under attack by Islamist rebels and fear extinction if Bashar al-Assad falls. This month, rebels overran the historic Christian town of Maalula, where many of its inhabitants speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus. The AFP reported that a resident of Maalula called her fiancé’s cell and was told by member of the Free Syrian Army that they gave him a chance to convert to Islam and he refused. So they slit his throat.

Nina Shea, an international human-rights lawyer and expert on religious persecution, testified in 2011 before Congress regarding the fate of Iraqi Christians, two-thirds of whom have vanished from the country. They have either been murdered or fled in fear for their lives. Said Shea: “[I]n August 2004 … five churches were bombed in Baghdad and Mosul. On a single day in July 2009, seven churches were bombed in Baghdad … The archbishop of Mosul, was kidnapped and killed in early 2008. A bus convoy of Christian students were violently assaulted. Christians … have been raped, tortured, kidnapped, beheaded, and evicted from their homes …”

Lela Gilbert is the author of Saturday People, Sunday People, which details the expulsion of 850,000 Jews who fled or were forced to leave Muslim countries in the mid-20th century. The title of her book comes from an Islamist slogan, “First the Saturday People, then the Sunday People,” which means “first we kill the Jews, then we kill the Christians.” Gilbert wrote recently that her Jewish friends and neighbors in Israel “are shocked but not entirely surprised” by the attacks on Christians in the Middle East. “They are rather puzzled, however, by what appears to be a lack of anxiety, action, or advocacy on the part of Western Christians.”

As they should be. It is inexplicable. American Christians are quite able to organize around issues that concern them. Yet religious persecution appears not to have grabbed their attention, despite worldwide media coverage of the atrocities against Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East.

It’s no surprise that Jews seem to understand the gravity of the situation the best. In December 2011, Britain’s chief rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, addressed Parliament saying, “I have followed the fate of Christians in the Middle East for years, appalled at what is happening, surprised and distressed … that it is not more widely known.”

“It was Martin Luther King who said, ‘In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.’ That is why I felt I could not be silent today.”

Yet so many Western Christians are silent.

In January, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) penned a letter to 300 Catholic and Protestant leaders complaining about their lack of engagement. “Can you, as a leader in the church, help?” he wrote. “Are you pained by these accounts of persecution? Will you use your sphere of influence to raise the profile of this issue—be it through a sermon, writing or media interview?”

There have been far too few takers.

Wolf and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) sponsored legislation last year to create a special envoy at the State Department to advocate for religious minorities in the Middle East and South-Central Asia. It passed in the House overwhelmingly, but died in the Senate. Imagine the difference an outcry from constituents might have made. The legislation was reintroduced in January and again passed the House easily. It now sits in the Senate. According to the office of Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), the sponsor of the bill there, there is no date set for it to be taken up.

Wolf has complained loudly of the State Department’s lack of attention to religious persecution, but is anybody listening? When American leaders meet with the Saudi government, where is the public outcry demanding they confront the Saudis for fomenting hatred of Christians, Jews, and even Muslim minorities through their propagandistic tracts and textbooks? In the debate on Syria, why has the fate of Christians and other religious minorities been almost completely ignored?

In his letter challenging U.S. religious leaders, Wolf quoted Lutheran pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was executed for his efforts in the Nazi resistance:  “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

That pretty well sums it up.

Fact or fiction: Is ISIS using chemical weapons against its enemies? New headlines echo plot lines of “The Third Target.”

In Uncategorized on October 16, 2014 at 11:32 am
Fact or fiction? Releases January 6th.

Fact or fiction? Releases January 6th.

Chilling new headlines — and gruesome new photographs — from the Middle East increasingly suggest ISIS not only has chemical weapons, but may already be using them against its enemies in the region.

Thus, disturbing new questions are being raised:

  • Are these reports and photographs legit?
  • If so, where did ISIS get the weapons?
  • How many WMDs do they have?
  • What are their next targets?
  • Could the U.S. and Israel bit hit with chemical weapons soon?

As readers of this blog know, these are fictional plot lines in my forthcoming thriller, The Third Target, which releases in the U.S. and Canada on January 6th.

In the novel, a New York Times reporter pursues rumors that ISIS has captured chemical weapons in Syria and is preparing a genocidal attack against an unknown target.

In August, however, it appeared the premise of my novel had been overtaken by events. The U.S. government declared that it had completed the destruction of all of Syria’s chemical weapons. Thus, it seemed impossible that ISIS could capture such weapons.

But in September, officials in the Obama administration began to backpedal. They started to publicly express doubts that all the Syrian WMDs had been disclosed and destroyed. This raised fears that that Assad regime or ISIS or other Radical jihadist groups could seize such weapons and use them against their enemies. That led me to write a blog on September 11th headlined, “What If ISIS Obtains Chemical Weapons?”

Now, in mid-October, we are getting reports that ISIS has indeed captured chemical warheads, and may be using them against the Kurds in Iraq.

What’s more, we’re hearing reports that even though for more than a decade the Western media told us there were no WMD in Iraq, that such weapons were there after all. A newly published New York Times investigation this week reports the following: “From 2004 to 2011, American and American-trained Iraqi troops repeatedly encountered, and on at least six occasions were wounded by, chemical weapons remaining from years earlier in Saddam Hussein’s rule. In all, American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs, according to interviews with dozens of participants, Iraqi and American officials, and heavily redacted intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

There are also reports that ISIS forces have captured a chemical weapons production facility in Iraq, and may be using Iraqi WMD against the Kurds.

At the moment, I’m not sure we can say definitively whether ISIS has such deadly weapons. But I wanted to bring the latest headlines to your attention.

For my part, I pray the reports are not true, and that The Third Target remains merely a work of fiction.

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With U.S. air campaign against ISIS not working, fmr. Delta Force commander offers five-point plan. Here it is.

In Uncategorized on October 12, 2014 at 7:20 pm
Former Delta Force commander, Lt-General (ret). Jerry Boykin, offers five-point plan to defeat ISIS.

Former Delta Force commander, Lt-General (ret). Jerry Boykin, offers five-point plan to defeat ISIS.

Media reports increasingly suggest the U.S.-led military effort crush ISIS is not working.

ISIS is close to capturing the city of Kobane on the Syrian-Turkish border. There are fears ISIS will slaughter every person in the city if they defeat coalition forces.

Meanwhile, ISIS is only eight miles from Baghdad and gaining ground on other fronts.

  • “General [Martin] Dempsey [the President's top military advisor] painted a decidedly mixed picture of the campaign against the Islamic State, describing a nimble foe that has adjusted rapidly to coalition air attacks by blending in better with local populations,” reports a leading American newspaper, adding that ISIS attacks could soon begin inside the capital city of Baghdad.
  • “Waves of U.S.-led air strikes against Islamic State fighters appear to have done little to stem the terrorist army’s advance in Syria, and now the militants are close to overrunning key positions on the outskirts of Baghdad,” reports one U.S. cable news network. “With the world’s eyes on the terrorist army’s siege of the Syrian border city of Kobani, where U.S.-led airstrikes are backing Kurdish fighters, some 500 miles southeast, Islamic State fighters are within eight miles of the Iraqi metropolis.”
  • “America’s plans to fight Islamic State are in ruins as the militant group’s fighters come close to capturing Kobani and have inflicted a heavy defeat on the Iraqi army west of Baghdad,” reports a key British newspaper. “The US-led air attacks launched against Islamic State (also known as Isis) on 8 August in Iraq and 23 September in Syria have not worked. President Obama’s plan to ‘degrade and destroy’ Islamic State has not even begun to achieve success. In both Syria and Iraq, Isis is expanding its control rather than contracting….In the face of a likely Isis victory at Kobani, senior US officials have been trying to explain away the failure to save the Syrian Kurds in the town, probably Isis’s toughest opponents in Syria.”

Why is the much-heralded U.S. and Arab military campaign announced by President Obama last month not having success?

There are several reasons, says retired three-star General Jerry Boykin, who used to command the U.S. Army’s elite Delta Force and later served as U.S. Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence.

Over the weekend, Boykin offered a five-point plan to improve the U.S. campaign against ISIS. I quote it here in full.

Wrote Boykin:

I have hesitated to write this posting because I have been trying to find an alternative to what I will propose here.

The situation with ISIS is very serious now as I am sure that everyone is aware. The Obama administration is totally inept and not serious about reducing the threat to America and American interests. These airstrikes are not effective because they have not been well directed at real targets in most cases and they have not been in large numbers.

So what do we need to do now? I hate to recommend this but I have considered the alternatives and I find none acceptable.

We need to do five things right now:

1. Put forth a significant intel effort against ISIS. This includes flying drones throughout the ISIS area of operations as well as a big Human Intel and Signals Intel effort. The idea is to find ISIS targets and kill them including the leaders and the command and control nodes.

2. Put as many Special Operations teams on the ground as the US Special Operations Command calls for. They should operate with the Kurdish Peshmerga and any Sunni tribal entities who can reasonably be assessed as true anti-ISIS entities. They should be equipped with SOFLAMS (Laser Designators) for controlling air strikes.

3. Deploy ground forces of at least one full US Army Armor or Mechanized division with supporting assets to go into the urban areas and to ferret out ISIS an kill them with anti-tank systems and attack helicopters. Yep, I know this is controversial and I don’t like it either but we have to destroy ISIS and reduce them as a threat. The US division must go in order to convince and persuade other nations to do the same. Even the NATO nations have to see that they either stop these pigs in Iraq and Syria or they will fight them on their home turf in Europe. The same applies to America. Now we cannot deny that they are coming across the US southern border since members of congress are now acknowledging the same thing.

4. Arm the Kurds directly and not through the Iraqi government. Anything going through the Iraq government never gets to the Kurds. Fly plane loads of arms and equipment into the city of Irbil and off load it there where the Kurds will get it themselves.

5. Cancel all foreign aid and foreign military sales of US arms and equipment to any nation that will not fight with us. Start with Turkey. Turkey is not a reliable ally and Erdogan is an Islamist himself. He has no intention of ever doing anything to stop ISIS. He wants Bashar al-Asaad’s head and has no interest in destroying ISIS because they are his strongest allies in the fight against al-Asaad. NO MORE US $ for nations that will not stand with us in the fight against ISIS.

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