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December 23rd, 2010
02:10 PM ET

Christians face rising persecution, experts say

By Richard Allen Greene, CNN

A pastor sits on death row in Iran. His crime? Renouncing Islam  for Christianity.

A Christian mother of two faces execution in Pakistan - and a preacher  has put a price on her head in case the president pardons her. Her crime?  Insulting the Prophet Mohammed.

In Iraq, dozens of Christians lie in fresh graves. Their fatal mistake?  Going to church.

And these are not simply isolated incidents, but part of a broader  pattern, experts say.

"There does appear to be an upsurge in violence directed against  Christians," said Leonard Leo, the chairman of the U.S. Commission on  International Religious Freedom.

He says part of the problem is that "governments are not cracking down on  sectarian violence the way they should."

"We've got to have governments taking ownership of these problems and  enforcing the laws that exist," he said. Whether it's "Christians in Iraq or  Afghanistan, or Copts in Egypt, the government has to prosecute (people) and  put them in jail for killing people on account of their religion."

The problems are worst in the countries with the greatest amount of  division, he said. Anti-blasphemy and apostasy laws also are problems in some  countries, he said.

Asia Bibi, a Christian, is facing a death sentence for blasphemy in Pakistan.

The commission is particularly worried about Egypt, where plans to build  a church near Cairo sparked riots in November. A Christian was killed in  clashes with police.

That violence came on the heels of attacks on the homes and businesses of  Coptic Christians, Egypt's local Christian community, the commission said. The  burning and looting in Qena province, in southern Egypt, was sparked by rumors  of romantic relationship between a Christian man and a Muslim woman, a  commission statement said.

Bad as that violence was, "the worst place of all undoubtedly is Iraq,  where there was a recent church bombing," said Nina Shea, who also sits on the  religious freedom commission.

At least 70 people died in the attack on Our Lady of Salvation Church in  Baghdad on October 31. Fifty-three of them were Christians.

Iraq's al Qaeda affiliate, "the Islamic State of Iraq, vowed to kill  Christians wherever they find them," Shea said.

"As the (overall) violence has decreased in Iraq, it has gone up against  the Christians," she said.

Six weeks after the church attack, the United Nations High Commission for  Refugees said it was tracking a "slow but steady exodus" of Christians from  Baghdad and Mosul, two of Iraq's major cities.

Even relatively moderate Morocco has taken action against Christians this  year, Shea says.

"Morocco expelled foreign Christians who had long been in Morocco - the  head of the George Washington  School in Casablanca, the director of an orphanage, educators - about  100 people," she said.

"That followed a petition by Muslim leaders to stop the Christian influence in Morocco," she said. "There may be some pressure from more  conservative Muslims."

"I would not say that Christians are the only target," she added. "We are  seeing it against other groups as well, Shias and Ahmadiyyas in Pakistan, and  Baha'is in Iran."

But, she said, "this has been a very bad year for Christians worldwide."

Christians are one the largest religious minorities in the broader Middle East, she said, and they are a target "because they are there."

"Many of them want to stay. They have been in this region for two  millennia. They are indigenous. This religion started there," she said.

And they have a unique culture, she said.

The Chaldean Christians of Iraq still speak Aramaic, for example.

"If the Chaldeans are scattered to the four corners of the globe, the  language of Jesus will not be preserved," Shea warned. "It will die out."

CNN's Joe Sterling contributed to this report.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Christianity • Coptic • Egypt • Iran • Iraq • Middle East • Persecution • Religious violence • Violence

soundoff (477 Responses)
  1. Jon

    @GSA It is true KKK and Tim McVeigh are not Christians. For example, Tim McVeigh never claimed to be Christian – unlike numerous Muslim terrorists who claim to be Muslims and strictly practice Islam – they carry the Koran, attend the Mosque regularly, follow the 5 pillars of Islam including 5 prayers a day and live pious lives. Which aspects of Christianity did the KKK followed? KKK burned the crosses!! However, you should ask the same question about Islamic Terrorists.

    Another important question to ask is: Even if they were Christians (which is not true) were they following their religion correctly? The simple fact is that violent "Christians" are violent because of they do NOT follow the core teachings of Jesus while violent Muslims are violent because they ARE following the core teachings of Muhammad. The existence of many peaceful Muslims is NOT a proof that Islam is peaceful. There are peaceful Muslims because of three reasons 1) They live in a Muslim majority country and the non-Muslims are subjugated to second class citizens 2) They live in Western countries where they are not in majority and where they are not free to express their hatred 3) They are secular Muslims or follow Sufism and both these groups are not strictly following Islam or their prophet Muhammad.

    Jesus taught that "Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you, bless those who curse you". I challenge anyone to provide one similar unequivocal teaching from Muhammad on in the Quran. There is no comparision between Jesus and Muhammad.

    * Jesus never killed anyone.
    * Muhammad killed an estimated 3,000 people, including beheading 700 Jews of the Banu Qurayza tribe in Medina, A.D. 627

    * Jesus never owned slaves.
    * Muhammad received a fifth of the prisoners taken in battle, including women as slaves. (Sura 8:41)

    * Jesus never married.
    * Muhammad practiced polygamy and had many wives. He even married is own adopted son's wife!

    Just Google "The Religion of Peace Jesus Muhammad" to find more....

    December 23, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Jon, are you serious, are you really comparing one fantastical nonsensical concept to another fantastical nonsensical and concluding that one is better? How is it different than comparing an imaginary wool coat with an imaginary fur coat, then going out in 10 degrees and declaring that the wool coat is actually warmer?

      December 23, 2010 at 5:48 pm |
    • Jon

      @JohnQuest Yes I am serious. You obviously seem to have no clue. Therefore you seem to allude to your imaginary coat metaphor. May I ask you what do you believe?

      December 23, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  2. Letter Spray

    Christianity: The belief that a certain cosmic Jewish zombie who was born of a virgin can make you live for ever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him that you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree. Makes perfect sense really....

    December 23, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
    • Frank Cape Town

      You WILL bow, once you're before Him, believe you me, dear friend. Simply because He says you will. You still have time to decide whether you want to do that as a believer or a non-believer. What an easy decision.

      December 23, 2010 at 4:51 pm |
    • JohnQuest

      Frank Cape Town, it is not a decision, how can a person "decide" to believe something, you either believe or you don't. I can say I believe in the Great Space Ghost and I can convince you that I do, but does that mean that Space Ghost is real (although I may think it is real to me)? That is my fundamental issue with religion, if one person believed Space Ghost was real he would be locked for insanity, if many believed it, we would call it a religion and treat the delusional believers like there was nothing wrong with them or their beliefs.

      December 23, 2010 at 5:40 pm |
    • a

      John speaks logic and reason and Frank is simply a brain-washed zombie.

      December 23, 2010 at 10:32 pm |
  3. PJ

    You now folks where is the problem? Humans are simply the most outrageous creatures on this planet... Lets recall how many reasons and ways we have to kill others. This is not present among other species. We are a shame of Earth with all our 'ethics', 'morality', 'democracy' etc.
    Have everything Merry and Happy

    December 23, 2010 at 4:31 pm |
    • a

      ughhh... so dumb, i can't even respond!!!

      December 23, 2010 at 10:30 pm |
  4. Reality

    "Mohammed could not have known the size of the world, but several passages in the Koran show that he envisioned Islam dominating all of it, however large it might be: “He it is who sent his messenger . . . that he may cause it [Islam] to prevail over all religions´(Koran 9:33, M.M. Ali; see also 48:28 and 61:9). M.M. Ali designates these three passages as “the prophecy of the ultimate triumph of Islam in the whole world.”

    Mohammed’s successors, the caliphs, quoted passages like these to inspire Muslim armies as they advanced out of Arabia, imposing Islam by the sword upon a peacefully unsuspecting Middle East and North Africa, as I described in the previous chapter.

    Islamic armies, imbued with what Mohammed claimed was divine authorization, imposed Islam by force over vast areas, all the while extorting wealth from subjugated Jews and Christians to fund their ongoing conquests. As I noted, major defeats at Tours, France, in A.D. 732, and again at Vienna, Austria, in A.D. 1683, halted Islam’s attempt to take all of Europe by force. Gradually Islamic forces were forced to retreat from Europe, except for part of the Balkans. But Islam has again set its sights on a conquest of Europe and of European civilization, wherever the latter has spread to North and South America and other regions. Muslim strategists ask their followers, Why do we find in these modern times that Allah has entrusted most of the world’s oil wealth primarily to Muslim nations?

    Their answer: Allah foresaw Islam’s need for funds to finance a final politico-religious victory over what Islam perceives as its ultimate enemy: Christianized Euro-American civilization. So, Islam follows Nazism, fascism and communism as the world’s latest hostile takeover aspirant.

    Nazis, fascists and communists failed. Does Islam have a better chance at success? I believe it will flounder if we awaken to its threat in time; yet, if there is not adequate planned resistance, Islam does have a better chance of succeeding. Communism’s world takeover attempt was guaranteed to fail because its economic policy was naively contrary to human nature. Advocating the rubric What is mine is thine, and what is thine is mine, communism failed to see that human nature will not keep those two balanced propositions in equilibrium. Like a female black widow spider consuming her mate, the latter part of the formula makes a meal of the former, leading to the collapse of any system based upon that formula.

    In contrast, political systems do well if they can persuade people to adhere to What’s mine is mine and What’s thine is thine maxims.

    Only if a strong religious incentive is added does such an idealistic formula have any long-term chance. Even then success will be spotty. But communism (and Nazism, for that matter) excluded religion. And that mistake was the final nail eventually clamping a lid on communism’s coffin. Communism, on a historical scale, perished while still in its childhood.

    Islam is not repeating communism’s mistake. Mating political cunning and incredible wealth with religious zeal, Islam does have a chance to succeed and will succeed unless major parts of the Western world unite to take appropriate countermeasures. But many Western leaders, unable to believe that a mere religion could possible be a serious political threat, keep proclaiming themselves as Islam-friendly, reasoning that all religions are good-aren’t they?

    A Muslim strategist in Beverly Hills, California, declared several years ago, as quoted by a friend of mine: “Now that the struggle between Western democracies and international communism is winding down, it is time for the real and final struggle to begin, and we are going to win!”

    When will people realize that just as there are good doctors and quacks, good cops and rogue cops, there can also be good religions and bad religions?" – D. Richardson

    December 23, 2010 at 4:20 pm |
    • Frank Cape Town

      Jesus will continue to keep His church on earth intact and protect it, no matter what. Even though He says it will be very small when He returns. Every knee SHALL bow....

      December 23, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
  5. No Surprise

    Monty your last statement is typical of someone who blames religion for everything so I will respectfully disagree with you on that. But i fully agree that good people and bad people exist in all religions, no doubt.

    December 23, 2010 at 4:05 pm |
    • a

      Again.... are YOU the judge of "good" and "bad". oh, with your belief constaruct backing up your judgement of others... NOW I feel safe. About as safe as I felt with GWB as my president!!!!

      December 23, 2010 at 10:28 pm |
    • Monty Gaither

      No Surprise.

      I just stated facts and I do not blame everything on religion. As I have stated many times. Religion is not the sole problem, it is just the main problem with the world today. Eliminating religion will not make the world a paradise. It just gives us a chance at coming close to it.

      January 13, 2011 at 8:20 am |
  6. No Surprise

    Peace be unto you as well Harley. Raoul you are an idiot who does not know anything about Islam. Let me educate you on what Shariah(Islamic code of conduct and way of living for a Muslim, NOT a fire breathing dragon you should fear) says about non-Muslims living in Muslim regions. Non-Muslims living in Muslim religions are referred to as Dhimmis in the shariah law and have every right to build churches and live in those lands as long as they pay the Jizya tax, which is a tax for non Muslims only. The tax amount is minimal as well and is more for their protection then anything else. In return the Muslim goverrment in that region is supposed to give the Dhimmis ALL the rights and protect them and THAT is mentioned as an even higher priority then protecting Muslims once the dhimmi has paid that tax. In this day and age none of the Muslim countries have implemented the Shariah law, they have all taken bits and pieces and put those in according to what they like. In no way shape or form are Muslims supposed to slaughter Dhimmis living in a Muslim country, this is all cultural or personal agendas, so the next time you or anyone else blame Islam with your sarcastic 'religion of peace strikes again' diatribe, do me a favor and educate yourself on Islam and Shariah before you open your mouth.

    December 23, 2010 at 4:01 pm |
    • been

      why Jiza why not equal .What does it say about peole of the book .What does it saying about killing of non belivers .What does it say when some harms to hit back or say We love you . WHat does it say about using the sword against unbeliever ,Why in your countries where most holy places ..your own citizens are allowed to chose therui own religion .What the book say a about freedom of a man to select his or her own religiona and till be citizens .When you are other countries you want to be treated as equal citizens why not your own country men when they become christians.
      If you belive in your God your prophet ur ways ...allow freedom to men to accept what they want .dONT FORCE

      December 23, 2010 at 5:19 pm |
    • Love Your Neighbor As Yourself

      @No Surprise – I'm glad you exposed the real issue but then quickly twisted the facts. Thanks for incorrectly "educating" everyone on the Jizya. The tax is not minimal and any tax on in impoverished society with the "free" option of converting to Islam is a no-win situation. Therefore, while Islam's numbers have grown rapidly because of the Jizya tax, the number of true followers hasn't kept pace...they just have no other option. That's why the converts who couldn't afford to be non-Islamic cut and run when another group has the strength and backing to stand up to the Islamic extremists. They don't stand and fight along side the Islamic terrorists because they didn't want to be a Muslim in the first place. Islamic leaders know it's a numbers game, but push come to shove, they know they don't have the backing of the people they forced into submission. Ask a peaceful, practicing American Muslim their thoughts on the Jizya tax and you'll get the same response.

      Take the least fortunate members of American society and charge them a tax to not be Christian and see how fast the Christian population increases. Christian belivers come by choice, not a threat.

      December 23, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  7. CalgarySandy

    The shoe is on the other foot. Christianity has been one of the most bigoted and brutal of the religions. It is a shame for these folks being persecuted and you can see from various comment streams that American Christians would dearly love to get rid of all Muslims. Given the chance and if allowed by the government, the Christians would be running many of us to ground. There are moderate Christians but they are lacking a backbone. They will not stand up against the radicals who spread hatred, lies and bigotry.

    December 23, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
    • been

      No body lack back bone i say as a christian . Christian has suffered persecution from theri own to stand for the truth of the Bible Love ,..Example Tyndale who trsalated the bible was killed by a Christian king right .. Even today we dont stand any goverment to forcibally convert nor we stand by persecuting other religions .Just Love .Love your neighbour as yourself ..

      December 23, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
    • a

      been's comment is a perfect example of the type of mentality of most religious people in this world. STU-PID

      December 23, 2010 at 10:25 pm |
  8. Monty Gaither

    No Surprise –

    While religion it not the sole problem, it takes the bulk of the responsibility for the problems in the world. There are good and bad people in all the different groups. You can be good with or without religion, and you can be bad with or without religion. But it takes religion to cause good people to do bad things.

    December 23, 2010 at 3:56 pm |
  9. Monty Gaither

    Hindus, Muslims, Jews, and xtians are all being killed and killing because of religion.

    For man to truely have a chance at "Peace on Earth" we need a religion free world, or at least a world free of fundamentalists and evangelicals.

    Raoul Machal

    "Christians, like Jews, are the original inhabitants of all the Middle Eastern countries from times immortal,"

    Not true, many different types of people have lived in what is now known as the "Middle East" and they were disposessed by the Jews and the xtians.

    December 23, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
    • Spitfire777

      Religion is not the cause of the problems in the world. Ban religion, leave everything else as it is. Failed again.

      The only cause of the problems are the wrong people in the wrong positions. Adolf Hitler banned the jewish religion and began to ban the christian religion. So you say he was the hero of history?

      You are only able to ban religion by death punishment, so history will repeat and after that humanity will see: "We failed again."

      On the other hand all the "haters" are not seeing, what religious people are doing good things to the world.

      December 23, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
    • Jon

      "When will people realize that just as there are good doctors and quacks, good cops and rogue cops, there can also be good religions and bad religions?" – D. Richardson

      Just Google "The Religion of Peace Jesus Muhammad" to find more....

      December 23, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
    • CRAIG

      True Christians are Christ followers, if they don't follow Christ they are not Christians, no matter what they call themselves.You will know True Christianity by the believers actions not just their words. Don't be fooled by imitations. Jesus is the real deal.

      December 24, 2010 at 2:51 pm |
  10. GSA

    Terrorists are not Muslims, KKK is not Christian and neither is McVey and Atheists will not go to "h-ell". All that is BS. Read the Bible and Koran or any other holy book and fully understand them or listen to an atheist and you will see that we can all co-exist and live in peace if the teachings are followed and if we respect each others rights to practice or not to practice any religion/ideology.
    The problem is ppl doing crazy things and instead of calling them crazy and handling the situation we say that person is a (insert religion, race, s-ex, ideology, belief, political view, etc. here) so all others like him/her must be evil as well.
    Pretty much everyone can come to the right conclusion themselves but it seems like many at the top with power and pull have there own interests in mind and are rather good at controlling the majority in its way of thinking.

    December 23, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
    • Jon

      @GSA It is true KKK or Tim McVeigh as not Christians. For example, Tim McVeigh never claimed to be Christian – unlike numerous Muslim terrorists who claim to be Muslims and strictly practice Islam – they carry the Koran, attend the Mosque regularly, follow the 5 pillars of Islam including 5 prayers a day and live pious lives. Which aspects of Christianity did the KKK followed? KKK burned the crosses!! However, you should ask the same question about Islamic Terrorists.

      Another important question to ask is: Even if they were Christians (which is not true) were they following their religion correctly? The simple fact is that violent "Christians" are violent because of they do NOT follow the core teachings of Jesus while violent Muslims are violent because they ARE following the core teachings of Muhammad. The existence of many peaceful Muslims is NOT a proof that Islam is peaceful. There are peaceful Muslims because of three reasons 1) They live in a Muslim majority country and the non-Muslims are subjugated to second class citizens 2) They live in Western countries where they are not in majority and where they are not free to express their hatred 3) They are secular Muslims or follow Sufism and both these groups are not strictly following Islam or their prophet Muhammad.

      Jesus taught that "Love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you, bless those who curse you". I challenge anyone to provide one similar unequivocal teaching from Muhammad on in the Quran. There is no comparision between Jesus and Muhammad.

      * Jesus never killed anyone.
      * Muhammad killed an estimated 3,000 people, including beheading 700 Jews of the Banu Qurayza tribe in Medina, A.D. 627

      * Jesus never owned slaves.
      * Muhammad received a fifth of the prisoners taken in battle, including women as slaves. (Sura 8:41)

      * Jesus never married.
      * Muhammad practiced polygamy and had many wives. He even married is own adopted son's wife!

      Just Google "The Religion of Peace Jesus Muhammad" to find more....

      December 23, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
    • Todd

      Geez, are you people nuts? The KKK is not christian? Then why do they burn CROSSES on black people's property?

      And McVeigh is not christian only if you don't consider catholicism christianity.

      Wow, you people watch fox news way too much.

      December 23, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
    • Are you kidding me

      Todd...Do your own research. Timothy McVeigh was an agnostic. Not even close to being a Catholic except when he was about to go to the chamber. The cross is used by more than just christians. The KKK gets most of its rituals from Pagan type organizations. The Westboro group just as out there as the atheist group that tries to ban all religion including having Mother Theresa on a stamp. If you had your way, all beliefs except yours would be banned.

      December 23, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
    • Jawed

      Thomas Carlyle in 'Heroes and Hero Worship and the Heroic in History,' 1840

      "The lies (Western slander) which well-meaning zeal has heaped round this man (Muhammad) are disgraceful to ourselves only."

      "A silent great soul, one of that who cannot but be earnest. He was to kindle the world, the world’s Maker had ordered so."

      Reverend Bosworth Smith in 'Muhammad and Muhammadanism,' London, 1874.

      "Head of the State as well as the Church, he was Caesar and Pope in one; but he was Pope without the Pope's pretensions, and Caesar without the legions of Caesar, without a standing army, without a bodyguard, without a police force, without a fixed revenue. If ever a man ruled by a right divine, it was Muhammad, for he had all the powers without their supports. He cared not for the dressings of power. The simplicity of his private life was in keeping with his public life."

      Arthur Glyn Leonard in 'Islam, Her Moral and Spiritual Values'

      It was the genius of Muhammad, the spirit that he breathed into the Arabs through the soul of Islam that exalted them. That raised them out of the lethargy and low level of tribal stagnation up to the high watermark of national unity and empire. It was in the sublimity of Muhammad's deism, the simplicity, the sobriety and purity it inculcated the fidelity of its founder to his own tenets, that acted on their moral and intellectual fiber with all the magnetism of true inspiration.

      December 23, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
    • a

      ATHEISTS ARE NOT OUT TO BAN RELIGION! They just don't want it for themselves, don't want it pushed on them and don't want it in public school, or anywhere in the public sector. RELIGION SHOULD BE PRIVATE! Stop trying to put it on our money, buildings and brainwash our kids in public schools and we will be PERFECTLY HAPPY! Believe what YOU want and leave everyone else out of it!

      December 23, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
    • a

      TO: "ARE YOU KIDDING ME"... ummmm... Christians stole most of their rituals from pagans as well. DO YOUR RESEARCH.

      December 23, 2010 at 6:51 pm |
    • Jon

      @Jawed Why do you have to resort to clueless western authors to show greatness of your prophet Muhammad? Why don't you just use original sources such as Quran and Hadiths?

      Open your eyes and turn to Jesus because he says "you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be" (John 8:24). There is no comparison between Jesus and Muhammad.

      * Jesus never killed anyone.
      * Muhammad killed an estimated 3,000 people, including beheading 700 Jews of the Banu Qurayza tribe in Medina, A.D. 627

      * Jesus never owned slaves.
      * Muhammad received a fifth of the prisoners taken in battle, including women. (Sura 8:41)

      * Jesus never married.
      * Muhammad had many wives.

      Just Google "The Religion of Peace Jesus Muhammad" to find more....

      December 23, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  11. Letter Spray

    All religion should be banned. They are all stupid, all evil. Christians are no better than the others, they are resposible for as much evil – check your history. Gallileo said the world was round and the Pope had him tortured to death.

    December 23, 2010 at 3:33 pm |
    • Spitfire777

      You are confusing faith with church.

      December 23, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
    • doobismoobie

      Galileo wasn't tortured. Read your history.

      December 23, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
    • Ian

      @Letter Spray – Your words are ludicrous and a waste of bytes.

      December 23, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
    • Richard

      So what are you going to do? Persecute all religious people too like the Musilms do towards Christians or other religions? Kill us all? The next great Holocaust will be carried out by religion hating atheists... Is that a real solution? Not at all! Lets not repeat the mistakes of the past... Atheist are fast becoming almost Nazi-like in their world view and if they have their way they would killl all religious people and try to force us to give up our beliefs... scary indeed...

      December 23, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
    • a

      Atheists do "have" their way... their way is non-belief in fairy tales, and atheists do not want to kill anyone. Most are humanists, which is the opposite of that. It is ignorance like that ... that is really dangerous. Atheists don't believe in ANYthing- gods or demons/devils. They believe in the scientific method and they believe in themselves..... Try it.

      December 23, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
    • Pete

      Galileo was tortured to death by the Pope? Nope...he stayed a Christian, lived to a ripe old age, and his daughter was a nun. Did you graduate from high school?

      December 23, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
    • David Johnson

      @a

      Way to sing it Preacher! Cheers to you!

      December 23, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
    • Arick

      So we should ban religion? Is it not the same thing as banning ideas? Where do we stop? Maybe you have some ideas that aren't popular, should we ban those? Legal enforcement of ideas and beliefs is a terrifying concept.

      December 23, 2010 at 7:07 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      While Galileo was not torutured (he was sentenced to house arrest for the rest of his life), the important thing to remember is that "the church" and its infallible pope at the time was 100% wrong and Galileo was 100% right. Of course the church has a history of being wrong on most earthly matters, only to change their tune, and come up with some mumbo-jumbo saying the church is not in conflict with science, when it becomes obvious they need to do something to prop up thier house-of-cards fairy tales. A few iterations of this behaviour should cause all thinking persons to conclude the church is jsut wrong and THERE ARE NO GODS – NOT EVENT JUST ONE!

      December 23, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
  12. No Surprise

    This has been coming for a while. I dont condone it i certainly think that both sides are wrong but can you blame them? This whole time the media has thrown the Muslims this Muslims thats regarding the situation in the middle east instead of Afghanis this or Pakistanis or Iraqis. Blaming the religion for everything, without anyone trying to understand that the religion is just being used here and that all the references to war in the Quran were regarding certain situations and not the situations these ppl are in. The result is ppl hating each other based on religion now and so you are you really surprised that some of theose people are hating Christians that have lived there for years and years with them, just like in America people are hating on Muslims that have lived here for decades and decades and call it home.

    December 23, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
  13. Alexander

    Every man may confidence everyone religeons wich they wants it is do not depends there he lives in.

    December 23, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
    • mo

      seriously? WHAT are you trying to say?

      December 23, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  14. Jack Cell

    As far as I know they go after any religion that's not theirs. Then they come to the West and want to dictate new orders.I can't stand these guys. It's a pitty that world citzens can't visit some beatiful places out there anymore.

    December 23, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
  15. Ricky From Kentville

    Yes Christians are being prosecuted in the middle east and other places on this earth,Jesus said this would happen.I live in Canada and I sometimes take my liberty for granite and I ma sorry for that.Iam allowed to worship Jesus and not have to worry about somebody coming to kill me and my family in the night because I don't except their religion and their way of life and if somebody leaves their religion and is Baptized in The name of Christ Jesus ,then they are beheaded.Yes but if somebody leaves my religion, we are told to love them and bless them and pray for them.so life is not that bad over here in the West and I live in Nova Scotia,U.S.A'S tight friend to the North.We need to pray for our friends who live places in the world where they are not allowed to live in total freedom and Liberty, every day is like hell on earth because they follow Jesus and will not turn their back on him ( Jesus ) and except Islam so they will not be hurt,no they are willing to die for Christ, they live their lives for Jesus sand are not afraid to show..! Can I say the same !

    December 23, 2010 at 3:13 pm |
    • Frank Cape Town

      Yes Ricky, our Bible tells us the persecusion is bound to get worse, and it is getting worse globally. The devil is definately not going to let up. Quite a piece of work, not very clever but extremely hard working!!! Keep believing!!

      December 23, 2010 at 4:25 pm |
    • Todd

      You take liberty for granite? Shoddy construction.

      December 23, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  16. mike

    If the good christians didn't go around killing people in the name of their god, this probably wouldn't happen so much.

    December 23, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      IWhere are getting your info from? What GOOD Christians are killing people in the name of their God? Secondly, Christians have been persecuted since the start of Christianity! You might recall the thingy with the lions in Rome!

      December 23, 2010 at 3:04 pm |
    • doobismoobie

      I'm with Mike. These isolated instances of "persecution" are nothing when compared to what Christians are doing all over the world. Remember, to the average Muslim all Americans are Christians. They don't have a secular view of the world. We all think it's about Oil, they think it's a Crusade.

      December 23, 2010 at 4:21 pm |
    • Todd

      Hi Steve. So young, so naive. You want to see christians killing? I could quote the bible (death to shrimp eaters, mixed blend clothing wearers, children who speak out, women who aren't virgins when married), or I could mention history (the inquisition, Nazism), but I think I'll just mention recent history like the fun in Uganda, or maybe the Westboro Church, or some fun things the Family Research Council, or Maggie Galliger, or Tony Perkins say.

      Christian hands are not clean. Deal.

      December 23, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
    • Larry Lupus

      and where does that happen? Azzjack. You don't know what the phuck your talking about. Moron

      December 23, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Todd
      Hi Steve. So young, so naive. You want to see christians killing? I could quote the bible (death to shrimp eaters, mixed blend clothing wearers, children who speak out, women who aren't virgins when married),....
      ------------------
      Young? Not so much But i do appreciate it. Naive? Somethings yes, somethings no! Speaking of naive, you do know what you are quoting from the Bible is not directed towards Christians, right? Why you might ask? (that would be a great question, BTW). Todd, Christianity did NOT exist then! It was written to the Hebrews to separate them from the gentile nations (the Chosen people thing)! So my friend, it appears my question stands. What Good Christians are killing? Please don't tell me you are using Hitler as your Christian example. He turned from his faith to embrace the black arts (witchcraft) he tuned his back on his faith! So Todd, once again, my question stands!

      December 23, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
    • jdjdh

      Steve You are still very naive, christians have killed more people in the history of mankind than muslims. Remember, Hiroshima Nagasaki bombing, church going christians decided to blanket bomb those cities, remember nazis (christians), KKK (carried crosses and hunted for blacks and jews to kill), President Bush (a chrisitan), God told me to attack Iraq, Serbs (christians), British (christian) colonization of muslim India, Slavery (condoned by christian bible) Go ahead and say that it was all political not done in the name of christianity but no matter what Al Qaeda say, thery are really fighting for political causes and trying to give it a religious color to make their cause more powerful.

      December 23, 2010 at 6:44 pm |
    • Steve

      Um yeah Mike I'm sure they would just leave them alone.

      December 23, 2010 at 6:56 pm |
    • a

      Steve... WHO gets to choose who are the GOOD christians, and who are the BAD ones!?!?! YOU?... YOUR religion? Do you not see the self centeredness?

      December 23, 2010 at 10:20 pm |
  17. Raoul Machal

    No doubt the religion of peace is on a roll. You just picked a few crumbs fr your article, but look to a number of provinces in the Philippines and Southern Thailand and East Africa, where local Christians are murdered in droves by Islamic terror groups. Look to Pakistan and India, even look to your own country, where Christians and Jews in Muslim-dominated areas run a gauntlet. These days you can say anything and everything about Christians and Jews and Hindus and Buddhist, you can hackle, smear and insult, no worries. But mind you draw a cartoon about this so-called prophet. Oh my, all hell brakes loose and police and politicians have their tails between the legs. Seems the bombing and random violence works quite well. Strange times.

    December 23, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
    • K. Hammad

      Wa alakoom ilsalam. Happy holidays and a very happy new year. May Allah keep Satan away from all of us. And may we follow allahs religionA the way he meant it.

      December 23, 2010 at 6:28 pm |
    • Randy

      What IS the actual number for a "drove"?

      December 23, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
    • Matt

      Mohamed is dead, killed by the west, Jesus is dead, killed by the middle east, long live Zen

      December 23, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
  18. Edward

    Step 1) Christians leave Iraq
    Step 2) Muslims leave the western (civilized) world.
    Step 3) Peace.

    December 23, 2010 at 2:37 pm |
    • Raoul Machal

      Only trouble is Edward, while Muslims are not indigenous to the civilized West, Christians, like Jews, are the original inhabitants of all the Middle Eastern countries from times immortal, long before Islam was invented and spread out by greed, lust and sword.
      Shouldn't indigenous people, at least the small minority which has resisted the onslaught on their culture and religion, have a right to a homeland and protection?

      December 23, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
    • LV_nonanon

      Good idea. Won't happen, because everyone, even those who preach jihad, wants to live in the USA. Satan indeed. As for the Christians, look at where this story is buried. Doesn't matter, because it is not a popular liberal issue to defend (gasp) anyone but the PLO, Hamas or Iran.

      December 23, 2010 at 4:16 pm |
    • doobismoobie

      Yeah, Raoul, but only if it's convenient. No one is indigenous. Before the Jews were Jews and Christians christian there were others. Just because you're an older culture doesn't mean you have rights. Just ask the Native Americans.

      December 23, 2010 at 4:17 pm |
    • MJ

      Good deal. I am Muslim but I am in favour of your deal but one more condition dont forgot to take your military from Afghanistan and all Muslim lands and dont forgot to take the jews back.

      December 23, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
    • Todd

      Hey MJ, Jews have been in Israel a lot longer than Muslims, and they don't intentionally destroy 1000 year old statues, either.

      December 23, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
    • monica bendele

      yes, why don't they just trade houses? so easy!

      December 23, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
    • George

      Raoul, Why do you say: "Christians, like Jews, are the original inhabitants of all the Middle Eastern countries..."

      There was a huge span of time between the Jews inhabiting the area and Christians coming along, way more then 700 years.

      So for you to say Jews and Christians can live there but not Muslims shows a tremendous amount of ignorance.

      Besides Jews, Christians and Muslims...they are the exact same people, just different religions. I mean is there really a difference between Christian Iraquis and Muslim Iraquis? No. They are the same race.

      December 23, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
    • Randy

      @ Raoul: sorry, Christians are NOT the indigenous inhabitants of the Middle Eastern countries along with Jews. Most of the indigenous people were pagans, and Christianity in its present form, more or less, has been with us for less than 1,700 years, not "time immortal". The earliest Christians were Jewish. The split with Judaism began in the 50s CE, and Constantine insured the schism in the 300s when he combined proto-orthodox Christianity with Mithraism/sun god worship so that he might have "order". Jewish-Christians, the closest followers to what Jesus actually taught, melted into the background over the next 700 years. Pauline, Romanized Christians took the lead. The indigenous groups in the Middle East remained primarily pagan until the coming of Islam in the 600s and 700s, less than 400 years after the Council of Nicea. "Don't know much about history...."

      December 23, 2010 at 6:38 pm |
    • History teacher

      @Raoul
      Too bad your "history" is fuzzy. Lol. Just like Bushs' math. There were many ppl in that region before the jewish ppl. Fool

      December 23, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
    • CN

      amazing, no one here even suggests the correct solution.

      realize that all religions are the invention of man, not divine order, and lift the yokel of the ancient scribblings of illiterate sheep herders. realize that we are all of us human, that we are all in this together; that we know that the history of our planet is that 99% of its inhabitants have been wiped out, and the same will happen to us in the blink of an eye if we don't wake up and realize the truth, and that no invisible being in the sky will sweep down and give us all a second chance after we nuke each other into oblivion.

      but by all means, keep squabbling over who was where first and whose book of fairy tales is most true.

      December 23, 2010 at 7:43 pm |
    • sdfsdf

      The only things related to religion that are worth preserving are the music, art, architecture, literature, etc.

      The compulsion of faith and the beliefs themselves are of no value to an enlightened culture.

      December 23, 2010 at 8:02 pm |
    • Rich

      Of COURSE they are going to attack Christians...there were no christians before we invaded....you can't just go into an area that has been the same way for thousands of years and think the love of Jesus will save them...this is why I hate religion...people are fools and divide themselves over some pretend old guy watching us suffer, die and feel great pain....but he loves us. To the average person, that makes him a sadistic, vengeful, deviant

      December 25, 2010 at 9:20 pm |
    • Rich

      Raoul:

      you are a fool..all religious sheep are fools...

      December 25, 2010 at 9:22 pm |
  19. harleyroy

    PS. to all those who face toward Mecca 5 times a day, In my world it's Christmas Eve and supposedly "Peace on earth and goodwill to all men. So A'salam walaikum, and may peace be upon you all.

    December 23, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
    • LV_nonanon

      I noticed that you provided them with the attribute of finding peace a preference.

      December 23, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
    • Jon

      Unfortunately, for many of those who face Mecca 5 times a day (which means they are trying to follow Islam strictly) peace comes only when the rest of the world is conquered physically and people of other religions completely subjugated.

      Just Google "The Religion of Peace Jesus Muhammad" to find more....

      December 23, 2010 at 4:50 pm |
    • Babak from LA

      HAPPY HOLIDAYS BROTHER......

      December 23, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
    • Only Way

      Those who bow towards mecca 5 times are UNKNOWINGLY worshipping the Black Stone idol 5 times. What a way of idol worship in a disgised fashion.

      December 23, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
    • Rags

      Try facing the other way 10 times a day and let us know when you finally discover it doesn't make any difference.

      December 23, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
    • Corbijn

      Where were those 1000 year-old statues again? It's those little ignorant lies Christians say with fervor that get people angry but hey, Christianity forgives right?

      December 23, 2010 at 6:16 pm |
    • Corbijn

      Sorry "Only Way" wrong link. Christian's don't worship idols right? Crucifixes, holy water, blood and flesh of Christ, Mother Mary, shroud of Turin, Christmas nativity scenes, etc. Oh wait, these are symbols not idols. I get it now.

      December 23, 2010 at 6:23 pm |
    • K. Hammad

      Peace to you as well. To some of the clueless ones out there. We don't worship a black stone, please get a clue. Second more Muslims have been killed by Christians then the other way around. Funny thing is more Christians have been killed by Christians. WW1 2 all the murders that happen here every day. So please save the victim crap.

      December 23, 2010 at 6:33 pm |
    • what the heck

      I am muslim and Merry Christmas to you

      December 23, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
    • jesus

      It's Festivus for the rest of us! Where can I buy my aluminum pole? Meanwhile all the Christians and Muslims can have at each other.

      December 23, 2010 at 7:36 pm |
    • markjuliansmith

      "..more Muslims have been killed by Christians.." So that makes it OK? Feel better? So lets sit down and count the numbers. One life is worth what/ The life or your mother, your daughter, your son,... Lets even it up – feel better?

      December 23, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
    • ICEMAN

      @ Corbijn i'm a christian, i would rather use a more fitting word but i don't do any of that crap you are talking about, all of that pagan stuff you listed other than mary came from the RCC and even Mary worship came from The rcc, i don't even do christmas, easter and so forth. I know alot of you who don't believe in a God celebrate christmas

      December 24, 2010 at 2:02 am |
  20. harleyroy

    Tell me news and not history !!!!

    December 23, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
    • Tom

      Should I care more if they are Christians and less if they are Muslims or Jews?

      December 23, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
    • Matt

      @Todd
      Your assumptions are a bit intense. As a christian, I can promise you the bible does not teach us to wish death on anyone. Lots of things have been done in the name of christianity that were not christian (exactly as Jesus said it would happen) and you are obviously familiar with some of those. I beg you not to base your entire view on those things though, just like I wouldn't base my entire view of you on something other than getting to know you. Merry Christmas!

      December 23, 2010 at 6:11 pm |
    • Kolby Gwingoir

      Todd: The Christians who call for the deaths of gays aren't the groups that are facing persecution

      December 23, 2010 at 6:13 pm |
    • alexQW

      Todd, I am a pro-gay atheist but I find your comment offending. "How does it feel to be on the other side, maggots?" That Pakistani woman who was sentenced to death for an imaginary crime has done you no harm, why is she a "maggot" for you? And Tony Perkins is the last person on planet to care about people like her.

      December 23, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
    • Charlie Wharmby

      I don't see anyone else commenting on the fact that before Sadaam was overthrown, Christians lived in relative peace in Iraq. I am certainly not suggesting he was good guy, but as we can see the Iraqis are not clammoring to share power with those of different beliefs whether religious or political. I would also like to ask how did we look when we raised such a ruckus about an Islaamic Center being built near ground zero in NYC? There are no simple answers to these problems we're facing, but reducing entire groups of people to the level of the worst amongst them is certainly not going to help. It would also appear that democracy cannot be put into a country from without. If must grow from within.

      December 23, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
    • Rob

      Imagine there's no countries
      It isn't hard to do
      Nothing to kill or die for
      And no religion too
      Imagine all the people
      Living life in peace

      December 23, 2010 at 6:41 pm |
    • Rob

      Wise words Charlie Wharmby

      December 23, 2010 at 6:46 pm |
    • Paul Ronco

      It must be because we are making them free and they hate our freedoms.

      December 23, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
    • Tom

      Religion is so retarted. It's one of the scourge's of mankind, not to mention manlkind itself.Intelligent People killing each other over some hocus pocus nonsense.

      December 23, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
    • jdjdh

      am sick and tired of reading about this paksitani chrisitan woman, nothing is going to happen to her, she will be safe. Govt does not want to open a can of worms, right now. They are fighting the extremists, they don't want them to give this whole things more attention right now. She and her family is safe, her family has been given money and a place to hide and live. She will be released soon, president has already promised that. These people were extremely poor to begin with so they will probably be come out richer and stronger from this. Also, the lives of muslims in Pakistan is not very good either, more muslims are being persecuted right now by these terrrorists than christians. Did you guys know that Pakistani muslims were on the streets just a few months ago, when they thought a pakistani christian maid was abused (physically not se$$ually) by a rich and famous person in Pakistan. That did not make it into news, because it showed muslims as good and kind people.

      December 23, 2010 at 6:59 pm |
    • jdjdh

      Continue–
      Later they found out that Pakistani christian maid was sick and died from her sickness. Persident awarded her family a large sum of money anyway. I am not saying that minorities are treated very nicely in Pakistan and there is not persecution, but right now an average pakistani whether muslim or not is suffering. And these blasphemy laws were put into law by general zia (supported by US govt), also during saddam's rule these christians were much safer. Because of the Iraq ware, all this began, most of these christians are moving out of IRaq and moving to Syria and Jordan (other muslim countries) where thye will have freedom of religion.

      December 23, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
    • Timthesocialist

      Look, I am never for abuses of human rights, but when does CNN talk about all the people persecuted BY Christians? Christians always want to play the victim's card even though most of the world's ills are caused or exacerbated by themselves. Gays being killed in Africa, destruction of other cultures and religions under the onslaught of foreign missionary invaders and on and on. So Christians, cry me a freaking river. I have a hard time feeling bad when Christians are such giant hypocrites.

      December 23, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
    • Gumby

      All I ever see from religion is hatred and discrimination against those who do not believe as they do. Religion is the most poisonous construct ever conceived by the mind of man. It is an evil plague on humanity, and has been for millennia.

      December 23, 2010 at 7:18 pm |
    • markjuliansmith

      News is History

      December 23, 2010 at 7:43 pm |
    • PhillyFlyer

      As a roman catholic this is so stupid if it wasn't for the jews and the catholics you wouldn't have islam. Islamic extremist are a bunch of baby's. They need to respect people for who they are. Come mess with me the catholic and college educated and see what happens.

      December 23, 2010 at 7:44 pm |
    • ManyPaths

      Murder in any form is abhorrent whether it is done by the state in a convenient fashion or in war

      So is the prosecution for ones beliefs. There are many paths to God and many people including American fundamentalists still cannot see this. All the religions start to point the way but then get lost -for instance " well it says in this book that gays are sinning" instead of following a heartfelt spirituality that all are equal and love between a man and man is still the same thing -love
      Fundamentalist hypocrites that support the death penalty, military might, neglecting the poor (no healthcare, no social safety net) are the "lost sheep" while proclaiming they are "saved"

      December 23, 2010 at 7:45 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      @Charlie Wharmby

      And the sad irony is that the hero of the christian right, George "The Junior Idiot" Bush, could have used the US's might to impose a const-itution on Iraq that gauranteed freedom of/from religion, but oh no, he allowed Iraq to continue to have a state religion. So maybe this is just one more thing that Junior got wrong about Iraq and others (christians in Iraq in this specific case, Americans and American Forces in the more general case) get to pay for. I'm not the first to say it, but it is too bad god forgot to tell Junior there were no weapons of mass destruction – that would have prevented a lot of misery and anti-American hatred.

      December 23, 2010 at 7:50 pm |
    • Joey

      Unfortunately, foolish liberals and atheists don't just get it. They seem to kiss the ass of Muslim terrorists. They are quick to support and provide cover for Muslim terrorists and Islam but if a "Christian" does something wrong they jump on it to accuse all Christians and Christianity. They don't have a clue that radical Muslims will not even think twice before blowing them up.

      "An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last." ~Winston Churchill

      December 23, 2010 at 7:54 pm |
    • Sixoh

      Yeah, because we will fight back.

      December 23, 2010 at 7:56 pm |
    • Andrew

      This board is truly frightening. What happened to "restoring sanity?" Talking in absolutes will get us nowhere as a country or a species. "All religions are evil?" Seriously? Take away religion and watch what happens to charity around the world. Not only that, but to label someone as "naive" or "ignorant" purely based on religion is shallow and, supposedly, the exact kind of blind, knee-jerk thinking you find repulsive. As for myself, I am a practicing Catholic. Do I subscribe to every piece of dogma the church puts forth? No, I do not. I am also a Dartmouth grad, attended med school, conducted 2 years of cloning research in pursuit of HIV vaccines, and now a practicing surgeon (you can mix religion and science in your life, it is possible). The reason I'm laying this out is to show how pointless it is to try to pigeonhole billions of people. You can't. Let's try to understand that everyone comes from somewhere different.

      It also doesn't take a history major to know that many atrocities have been carried out in the name of religion. And they were all horrible. But this story is happening now. The question we should be asking is not "Did this religion have it coming?" but "Do I want this happening in my world?" The same question should be asked no matter the religion/country/whatever involved. Trying to "zing" each other with random examples of historical atrocities isn't discussion – it's a shouting match.

      December 23, 2010 at 8:02 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I think it's news that atheists are not involved in any of this violence, at least not according to this brief article. On the other hand, it probably isn't news 'cause I don't think, as in I have never heard a report of, a group of atheists (not corrupt politcal regimes – please don't trot out the very tired stories about Russia, China, South East Asia, etc) have ever physically attacked another group.

      December 23, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
    • a

      Andrew....

      Everything you said sounded PRETTY intelligent except your comment about charity...ignorant ignorant ignorant.

      Many... (MOST!) atheist/agnostic/non religious groups are very active in charity. Charity is self-preservation of the species.... It's an innate drive. In most cases, religion just uses "charity" as an excuse to witness to impoverished/desperate/vulnerable beings. At least Atheist/Agnostic/non-religious charity has NO ulterior motive

      December 23, 2010 at 10:13 pm |
    • jonathan

      Jesus said rejoice when you are persecuted for righteousness sake....Christians have always suffered persecution..and will continue to suffer for the Gospel of Christ....the sufferings are in part , a reason for the comforter to come to prove himself to us...The apostle Paul said , "that he would glory in sufferings and in weaknesses for when he is weak then he is strong; that strength comes for God, it is a foretaste of the glory that is set before us...it is an opportunity to see the unseen..through faith and understanding by the Word of God; When we actually see God Himself in our lives we are over joyed to know that the gospel is true..we are experiencing the kingdom of God while we live in this present evil world..and all of these things empower us even more.. 🙂

      December 24, 2010 at 12:05 am |
    • ICEMAN

      @ Matt how you going to say something like that and end it with Merry Christmas? Do you know who came up with this Pagan Copy Cat Holiday? The same so called christians you are talking about!

      December 24, 2010 at 1:31 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.