Believe it or not, this , written by one of Australia's better journalists , not born here , but appreciates what we have , have lost , and can lose ... smart man
has made it into the MSM here !!! someone slipped up , maybe because of Christmas !
Saturday, December 25, 2010 at 10:45pm
AROUND much of the Western world, Christmas hymns are still echoing in the ears of happy holidaymakers, but elsewhere, Christians, for whom Christmas is one of the holiest days, are being persecuted.
While Australian troops are dying in Afghanistan in a war with Islamist forces, the Afghan Government which our forces are supporting seems incapable of implementing policies that respect fundamental principles guaranteeing real religious freedoms.
Afghanistan is not alone. Islamic nations which regularly issue calls for the West to respect Islam and show tolerance for its traditions, rarely practise what they preach.
A 200-page study of religious freedom reveals that Christianity is under siege in the Islamic world and that the dwindling number of Christians still living in Islamic nations remain among the most oppressed.
Pope Benedict, who released the study last month, called for all nations to guarantee freedom for all to practise their faith publicly, with authentic respect for each person.
Although this freedom is assumed in Australia, the US, the UK and other European nations, it is paid scant regard in the Islamic world and across China. India is rife with divisions between the many religions followed.
But it’s the fate of Christians under Islamic rule that is most concerning, particularly as Islamic nations play a greater role within the UN and are granted an unearned tolerance by the Left in the West.
In calling for religious freedom to be respected, the Pope appealed for reciprocity - full rights for Christians in Islamic states where laws ban them from practising their faith openly. Such a call does not sound unreasonable. No Christian state bans the practising of Islam, but the 3.5 million Christians of all denominations who live in the Gulf Arab region, the birthplace of Islam, are barely tolerated and any form of non-Muslim worship takes place in private.
In Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest sites, the report notes, conversion of Muslims is punishable by death, though such sentences are rare.
The Vatican expressed particular concern about the fate of Christians in predominantly Muslim Iraq, where 52 hostages and police were killed last month when a church was seized by al Qaeda-linked gunmen.
“Armed groups go into neighbourhoods where Christians live and kill indiscriminately everyone they find in their way,” Monsignor Philip Najim, representative of the Chaldean Church to the Holy See, reported.
“These are cold-blooded murders in broad daylight, before dozens of witnesses, as if these groups wanted to show that they can act with impunity; that they are in control of the city.”
Monsignor Louis Sako, Archbishop of Kirkuk, Iraq, said: “We are the target of a campaign of violence and liquidation with political goals.”
The West’s tolerant approach to religion is mocked by Islamic governments, most of which claim to observe the Universal Charter of Human Rights’ Article 7, stating that religions are “free to exercise their faith and perform their religious rites within the limits of the provisions of the law,” but also declare Islam as the state religion. This contradiction gives them a fig leaf whenever the issue of persecution of Christians arises.
In Afghanistan, courts apply Islamic Sharia law to the interpretation and judging of individual cases concerning, for example, blasphemy or apostasy - crimes which are not covered by the penal code.
Under Islamic law, the death penalty applies for these crimes.The same applies in Bangladesh, where Christians and Hindus suffer extreme violence and persecution.
Marriage between Muslims and non-Muslims is forbidden in Brunei and Iran, and any non-Muslim man who wishes to marry a Muslim woman must convert. The law of blasphemy is the worst instrument of religious repression in Pakistan, with the penalty of life imprisonment for all who offend the Koran, and the death penalty for those who insult the prophet Mohammed.
According to the report, accusations against alleged blasphemers are often false or motivated by petty interests, which result in scandals and encourage enraged crowds to inflict justice on their own.
Even if arrested on the basis of accusations from only one witness, the unfortunate person risks violence and torture inflicted by the police. Under pressure from crowds incited by local mullahs, a number of judges have imposed the death sentence even in the absence of any evidence against the accused.
The report says the penal law, based on the Koran, punishes with floggings and stoning all behaviour incompatible with Islamic law, such as adultery, gambling or drinking alcohol. This law on blasphemy provides an example of one of the most sectarian and extremist forms of legislation, in addition to paving the way for a radical Islam- isation of the country.
How is it possible for Christians, even nominal Christians who hum hymns and visit churches once or twice a year, to be so oblivious to the fate of those who stake so much more on their Christianity than many in Western countries today?
In large part it is due to the insistent demands for tolerance made by the political Left, a tolerance which embraces Islam, but denies Christianity the same comfort.
It’s obvious to the most casual observer that there are no refugees fleeing the West, but the same cannot be said for the Islamic nations, or the totalitarian Asian states.
The difference lies in the Judeo-Christian cultures which formed the core of Western culture, the source of rallying cries of freedom and liberty.
Standing up for those suffering persecution in oppressive nations because of their Christian belief is a small price to pay for the historic liberation this religion has bestowed on so many around the world today.