Christmas in the Middle East

nativity at Lincoln Cathedral

nativity at Lincoln Cathedral

The Council of Churches in Iraq has asked the faithful to limit Christmas celebrations for reasons of “caution and sadness” due to attacks and threats against them… please pray for persecuted minorities everywhere and freedom for all people this Christmas. – Laura Abraham

As we celebrate Christmas please spare a thought for Christians in the Middle East, who are are not able to or at great personal costs to themselves are able to celebrate Christmas.

In Iraq, where many Christians have already been forced to leave the country, the Council of Churches has warned Christians to down play Christmas for their own safety.

At Christmas our thoughts turn to Bethlehem, as then it is under occupation. Then Roman occupation, now Israeli occupation. Bethlehem today is an open air prison surrounded by an Apartheid Wall. Christians, including priests, are being prevented by the Israeli occupiers from visiting Bethlehem at this special time of year.

Two thousand years ago Jesus and his followers were persecuted by the Jewish Authorities. Today, two thousand years later, the followers of Jesus are persecuted by Zionists.

I was able to attend midnight service Christmas Eve to see in Christmas Day. It is something I have never done before. I did so because I could. A freedom many in the Middle East lack.

The Church in the Middle East pre-dates the Church in Europe. In Iraq, the services still use Ameraic, the language Jesus and his followers used.

An Islamised Turkey is trying to recreate the Ottoman Empire. They are meddling in the former Soviet Republics, meddling in Iraq, meddling in Palestine. Human Rights do not exist in Turkey. We have Europeans taking cheap holidays in occupied northern Cyprus, providing hard currency to the occupiers. Tourists also help support the Islamist regime when they holiday in Turkey. Cheap holidays come with a hefty price tag.

Local Cyprus TV and radio are reporting since Christmas evening that troops in northern occupied Cyprus entered at least seven Greek Orthodox churches, stopped the worship services, threw out the people, and in at least one case forced a priest to remove his clerical dress.

Why in the West are the Churches so silent about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East? Coverage on Channel 4 news a couple of days ago of the plight of Christians in Iraq as they prepare to celebrate Christmas is the exception not the norm.

Even worse than the silence is the hypocrisy shown by St Mary’s in Guildford which has on sale Israeli so-called Peace Oil. [see Peace oil or taking the piss?]

Also see

Muted Christmas in Iraq

Gloomy Christmas for Iraq’s Qaeda-hit Christians

O Little Town of Bethlehem Today

Israel blocks Christians going to Bethlehem at Christmas

Bethlehem Hidden from View

Turkish Muslim troops stop church services in Cyprus on Christmas

Tragic plight of Christians in Iraq

The plight of Iraqi Christians

End of Christianity in the Middle East?

Muslims converting to Christianity

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