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Friday, April 29, 2005

rioting without a cause...

And some ignorant souls say that Christians are no longer persecuted... They are - they absolutely are and pretty much anywhere in the world too. Different degrees of persecution of course - it escalates to rioting and murder only in certain countries, of course, where Christianity is in a minority... but really, it can be found anywhere. Public lynching is against the law here - in North America - that would be the sole reason why we don't see it here I suppose...
More frightening facts - and how gullible "infidel minds" are - or prone to jump on a bandwagon of prejudice and religious bigotry at the merest unfounded (not to mention ridiculous) accusation... are to be found in the comments section.

Christians Struggle to Adjust, or Flee after the Mughar Riot
By Chris Mitchell
Middle East Bureau Chief – MUGHAR, Israel - Last month, the village of Mughar in northern Israel became a battleground between Druze and Christians. A Druze teenager spread a rumor that Christians from Mughar were displaying pornographic images of Druze women on the Internet.

Although the rumor was false, it sparked three days of riots against the Christians. CBN News recently visited the village to see the effects of the riots, and what lies ahead for the embattled Christians.

During the riots, hundreds of Druze attacked Christians and their homes and businesses. The impact of the riots devastated the Christian section of the village. The Catholic Church in the center of town was attacked and its windows broken. Cars were burned.

Even days after the riots, the extent of the damage to Christian homes and businesses is stunning. Some areas look like a war zone. One hundred and twenty five homes and businesses were damaged, some completely gutted. More than 100 cars were damaged, many totally destroyed.

Israeli officials estimate the damage will run into the millions of dollars. Despite the damage, some Christians believe a miracle took place during the riots.

One Christian resident said, "Thousands of them attacked us and we were praying and fasting, and the miracle is that, despite the massive harm to this town, no one was killed and only a few people were slightly injured."

After the riots, Labor Minister Amram Mitzna visited Mughar and asked Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to set up a special task force to address the situation, including the possibility of compensation for the Christians. But for many Christians, a chill still remains in the village.

"We feel rejected. We feel threatened,” said a Christian resident. “We feel we're not really wanted. Even if we want to wear the cross, when I go out to the street, I feel like I have to hide [it]. Our children are afraid to say that we are Christians or belong to the Christian faith and the Christian family."

Since the riots, Christian schoolchildren still have not returned to school. While one leader of the Druze community condemned the attacks, a flyer recently distributed by some Druze troubled many Christians in the village.

Some excerpts from the flyer include:
"The trouble is small now, but you will see more and more troubles."
"Any Christian that wants to live here in Mughar Village needs to put a white flag on his house or leave the village."
"If we see any Christian in our streets, we will shoot him."

Some families have fled the village and not returned, a situation not uncommon in this part of the world.

In fact, the village of Mughar is a striking example of Christian flight in the Middle East. Local leaders say that, in the past 20 years, thousands of Christians have fled the area.

Arab Galilee Pastor Hani Shehadah hopes that Christians around the world, because of examples like Mughar, will remember the indigenous church in Israel.

Shehadah said, "What you have seen here today, is part of the persecution that people of Christ have been encountering in the Middle East, in general. We need the worldwide church to pray that we will not disappear from Israel, and that is what's happening - that our number is dropping dramatically, that people are leaving the country, leaving to Europe, to the United States. We need people to stay here as a witness, as I said, because we are the true salt of Israel."

He continued, "It is our message to the worldwide church that we have been living in Israel for over 2,000 years. We know Jesus as our personal Savior and Lord. We love the Jewish people, we love the Muslim people, and we love everybody."

That love was demonstrated by the attitude of a Christian man towards the Druze in the village. He said, "We have been praying as Christians for them. We would never, ever think of trying to harm any person who attacked us. We have forgiven them. We are praying for them, and that is our Christian standpoint -- to abide by the Word of God, to pray for those who attack us and harm us. Love thine enemy."

Lawyers for the Christians are appealing to the Israeli government to compensate the Christian families in the village. They argue that the police, many of whom are Druze, could have prevented most of the damage if they had responded more quickly.
I guess the tourist season slogan could be then...


I know - too easy...
A faithful blog reader sent in these comments via e-mail:

"I heard this Sunday at Church that Christians in China who went underground to practice their faith were shot right on the scene while Baptizing each other...that's pretty sad! One lady felt really deeply how it's one thing for a seasoned Christian to die for their faith...but it blew her mind that someone who was just being baptized would die for a faith that they are completely new to! There are other faiths too, don't forget, that are just as persecuted if not more...and I won't get into that."

These Chinese victims would be modern-day equivalents of TERTULLIAN and the like - the EARLIEST Christians (aside from the Apostles, of course).

As for other religions being persecuted, that is, indeed, just as sad. Any form of prejudice is reprehensible.
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