A century ago, 15 percent of the Middle East were professing Christians. Today only 4 percent remain. Following bloody murder, violence and mass persecutions, millions have left the region. Most of the changes have taken place in recent years. The Jews went first. Nearly a million were expelled from Arab and Muslim counties after WW2.
Barnabas Fund for persecuted Christians says 80 percent of Christians in Iraq have fled the country. Why? It says:
“During the 1970s, western politicians tended to view Islam as a gentle, peaceful, primarily eastern religion, a naïve view that ignored the periodic massacres of Christians that had been happening in the Middle East over the previous 150 years. This view still informs the policies of the Obama administration who even now flatly deny that there is any link between Islamic ideology and violence against non-Muslims. Consequently when it talks about being committed to seeing a “whole, unified, pluralistic, nonsectarian Syria”, it unwittingly embraces jihadist groups who routinely target Christians.”
How did a relatively peaceful region become such a cauldron of violence? The Barnabas Fund report says:
“During the 1980s, at the height of the Cold War, the US supplied vast amounts of arms to radical Islamist groups fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, notably the Taliban. It was the Pakistan Taliban who later carried out attacks on Christians such as the 2013 bombing of the All Saints Church in Peshawar that killed over 80 and injured more than a hundred others.
After the 9/11 attacks George W. Bush assumed that military intervention – initially in Afghanistan and then Iraq – would bring about western-style democracy that would in turn neutralise radical Islam.
In fact, almost the exact opposite was true.”
Today Christians and Jews worldwide are faced with another pernicious attack — that of changing or destroying Jewish and Christian history. Muslim clerics are destroying archaeological facts by the truck load. Four hundred trucks of them! Tons of archaeological earth was removed from under what in the West is commonly called “The Temple Mount” in Jerusalem and thrown on the city’s dumps. After patient sifting of this rubbish, Israeli archeologists found bullae or seals, coins and arrowheads of the Roman Tenth Legion dating back to the Israelite kings and their Secretaries of State, mentioned in the Bible and the Roman siege of Israel’s capital.
Ancient churches on the “Temple Mount” built by the Byzantine Romans and later by the Crusaders were destroyed. Muslims re-used the Dome of the Rock or columns for their own purposes. The Dome of the Rock retains an onion-shaped dome typical of its earlier Byzantine architecture. It has the octagonal structure of Byzantine churches and contains features and texts some scholars take to be pre-Islamic.
It was reconstructed half a century into the Muslim era by Abd al-Malik on a Christian church site, the Church of the Holy Wisdom. Texts are mainly non-koranic and contain many propagandist references to Jesus on the inside. They encourage Christians (then by far the majority in Jerusalem) to turn to Islam and physically face south towards Mecca.
History cannot be buried with propaganda. Truth is unearthed, even in our times. On the mounts of Jerusalem a bulla of King Hezekiah of Judah was found. It dates the legality of Jewish occupiers to around 2700 years ago.
Jerusalem is the capital of Judeo-Christian and European civilization, its education, science and culture.
United Nations agencies now collude in the Muslim propaganda that undermines Western culture. Both the USA and Israel have refused to fund UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) any more. Why? Because It has thrown out objective rule books about education, science and culture. Faced with Muslim disinformation attacks, UNESCO and the World Heritage Committee have passed resolutions denying Hebrew or Christian names for sites in Jerusalem.
It reiterates that Israel is an occupier. That is true in the sense Israel is the legal occupier as I am of my own house. But the resolutions imply that there is something nasty, illegal or unjust about it. That is rubbish. Israel is recognized as a Jewish Homeland.
An Arab who claims that his house was given him by Saladin in the twelfth century has no rights. Saladin was a foreign military invader. This Kurdish leader was born in Tikrit, (in modern day Iraq, the home of Saddam Hussein). He founded the Ayyubid dynasty in the twelfth century and was proclaimed sultan of Egypt and Syria. He conquered Syria and fought the Crusaders.
Saladin, like the Romans before him, had no legal rights. Nor has the pope. Nor has anyone in Poland who says the land of a former synagogue is his because the Nazis gave it him! The highest courts of Europe re-affirm this principle of legitimate ownership.
It makes absolutely no sense to deny the fact that the Jewish and Israelite capital was at Jerusalem from the time of Israelite King David. He bought it. He paid for it in gold and silver. No one disputed in the coming centuries that David was the legal occupier and owner. It remained legally occupied by Jews until centuries after Jesus Christ walked and worked in the Temple.
After Jerusalem was conquered and burnt by pagan Rome, the Byzantine Roman Empire built churches and ruled the land. The Persians also tried to conquer it. Muslims have no patent to change the names and heritage of places.
If the names of the places in Jerusalem should be defined by military conquest, they should all be in English. British forces were the last major power to conquer the land in 1917 during the First World War. The global powers meeting at San Remo after WW1 decided by law what to do. They recognized that the land of Israel was the Jewish Homeland. It did not belong to Turks, Arabs, Muslims or the Roman Empire. That international decision has recognition by scientific, cultural authorities. It is a historical fact. It has the force of international law. Those who disagree with it must also disagree with the Iranian State, the State of Syria, the kingdoms of Iraq and Saudi Arabia which were founded by the same authorities at the same time.
Jerusalem and Israel were not made by the League of Nations. The League and later the United Nations recognized the legitimacy of Jewish ownership. The same principle of international law is used after any military conqueror has left a country. Departing armies have no rights on the property of the owners who lived there before the conquest. That is what happened in Nazi-occupied Poland. It is what European courts affirm today about property rights in Cyprus, where the Turkish army intervened and Greek-speaking owners abandoned their houses.
The UNESCO resolutions thus attack the foundation of European law. They attack the Educational principles of Western society that says “might is not right”. They attack the Scientific principles that say archaeology and historical documents give proof of ownership, not the fables about dreams of peacock-winged mules who supposedly flew to an area then without either mosque or Temple. The UNESCO resolutions attack the founding Culture of Western civilization.
Robert Schuman in creating the European Community helped define real democracy that has brought a diverse, warring Europe its longest peace. The European Commission holds a regular dialogue with high-level religious leaders. So I put these questions to them. Here are their answers.
Besides Vice-President Frans Timmermans, those attending included:
H. E. Archbishop Polycarpus Augin AYDIN, Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch in the Netherlands – Arie FOLGER, Chief Rabbi of Vienna – Bishop Heinrich BEDFORD-STROHM, Chairman of the Council of the Evangelical Church of Germany (EKD) – Imam Yahya PALLAVICINI, Vice-President of the “Comunità religiosa Islamica” in Italy – Jan FIGEL, Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion and Belief outside the European Union – H. E. Albert GUIGUI, Chief Rabbi of Brussels and Permanent Representative to the EU Conference of European Rabbis – Antje JACKELEN, Archbishop of the Protestant Church in Sweden – Elder Patrick KEARON, First Counsellor in the Europe Area – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints – Imam Benjamin IDRIZ, Islamische Gemeinde Penzberg – Bishop Robert INNES, Anglican Bishop in Europe
David Heilbron Price