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Lydia Canaan's United Nations (UN) speech on the Christian holocaust, 34th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland, March 14, 2017.
(Partial Speech) Beheadings, draining of human blood, crucifixion, sexual slavery—these were some of the barbaric methods used to persecute religious minorities in the Middle East. And no, I am not referring to world history; sadly, this is our nightly news!
The Yazidis, an ethnically Kurdish religious minority in Iraq and Syria were targeted by ISIS; thousands of Yazidi civilians were massacred—others were tortured, enslaved, or sold into sex slavery. United Nations investigators concluded that the Islamic State committed genocide and war crimes against the Yazidis in order to exterminate them; Amnesty International described how ISIS committed atrocities by systematically targeting Shia Muslims in Iraq and destroying their places of worship.
But the most persecuted of religious minorities in the Middle East today are Christians. The Middle Eastern Christian communities—who trace the origins of their churches to the 1st Century Christians—are paying a heavy price for their faith; they are executed, raped, expropriated, forcibly converted to Islam, archeologically victimized, and erased by assimilation, to name just some of the egregious acts ISIS and other Islamic extremist groups have and are committing against them. Christians have endured persecution for many years in occupied Palestine, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and Saudi Arabia, and their numbers have been greatly reduced; less than four per cent of the Christian population live in the Middle East today.
Over one million Syrian Christians have been displaced and dispersed all over the world; those who could not leave were sexually enslaved, imprisoned, tortured, and brutally executed by gunshot, rigged explosives, and crucifixion; their villages, which date back to the time of Jesus Christ, were destroyed along with ancient holy sites and their symbols of Christendom desecrated and destroyed by Islamic extremists.
In Egypt, Christian Copts are threatened daily, harassed, attacked, murdered, and their churches burnt and destroyed under the watchful, complacent eye of the international community.
The persecution of Christians in Iraq by the hands of radical Islamic militants is labeled extreme by international human rights organizations; Iraqi Christians who have lived there for two millennia are currently on the verge of extinction. Ninety percent of the country's Assyrian-Christians have fled or died as a result of Al-Qaeda and ISIS; Assyrian-Christians have been reduced to less than one percent of the general population.
In the Middle East, Christian converts from Islam suffer severe persecution by their families and the authorities and are frequently exposed to verbal, physical and sexual abuse.
In Saudi Arabia, it is illegal to evangelize to Muslims; conversion to another religion is punishable by death. There are no church buildings at all, and house churches are raided; Christians live out their faith in complete secrecy, but risk arrest, imprisonment, torture, lashing, and deportation.
Even Lebanon, known as the prime sanctuary for Christians in the Middle East is threatened by Islamic extremists and terrorists. Seeing and witnessing what's happening to their Christian brothers and sisters in neighboring countries, the Lebanese Christians fear for their lives and future.
Intentional or not, the mainstream media—a weapon of mass deception—itself acts as global persecutor, responsible for downplaying—and failing to adequately report upon—Christian persecution, thus allowing for the expansion of extremism, extremist groups giving rise to tyrannical dictatorships, and tyrannical dictatorships in turn propagating religious intolerance.
But the biggest global impact that the persecution of religious minorities in the Middle East has is fear—there is a reason that it is called terrorism. For those who are crucified can die only once, but merely hearing that other Christians have been martyred terrifies the living for life. Even those Christians who have for the moment survived the sword—or the nails of a cross—must live with the fear that they are next; hence, perpetual psychological and spiritual warfare.
Execution is the height of human rights violations. What does it say about our persecutors that their preferred method of execution is the way by which our Messiah was put to death? And what does that say about our Messiah?
I'm not ashamed to be Christian—I'm ashamed to be human! Why would I want to deny Jesus Christ? It is us—the human race—with whom I am embarrassed to be associated with! When I see Christians crucified side by side for believing that Jesus Christ had been crucified for them in just such a manner, I demand an end!