Posts Tagged ‘Christians’

House of Lords debates the plight of Christians in the Middle East

December 15, 2011
Rowan Williams addresses House of Lords

Rowan Williams addresses House of Lords

Friday of last week, the House of Lords devoted an entire day to debate the plight of Christians in the Middle East.

The debate was opened by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams:

My Lords, many people these days have a short and skewed historical memory. It is all too easy to go along with the assumption that Christianity is an import to the Middle East rather than an export from it.

Lord Mackay was first to respond:

Today I want particularly to mention the position of Canon Andrew White as the vicar of Baghdad. He has played a very important part in maintaining Christian witness in Iraq under extremely difficult circumstances.

He went on to speak of time spent with Andrew White in Israel:

I have to say that the relationships he had with people from right across the community were very remarkable. He has shown in more recent times a fine example of Christian fortitude in the troubles that now beset Iraq.

I wish particularly to pay tribute to Andrew White’s work and I hope that he will be able to continue for a long time in his office.

This was greeted with cries of “Hear! Hear!” from the 80 Lords in the chamber.

Lord Patten urged both their Lordships and the Government to act in response to religious persecution:

There can be no walking on the other side of this road, even in the Palace of Westminster. I hope that our secular leaders in the coalition will restate religious freedom as a human right.

Lord Turnberg and Lord Palmer commended Canon Andrew White’s work, Lord Alton spoke of his “indomitable spirit and incredible courage” and Baroness Cox paid tribute to “his magnificent work in Iraq, especially in improving interfaith relations”.

Lord Carey praised Andrew’s “remarkable work [as] one of the key players in the Alexandria Declaration” bringing together parties for the religious track of the Israel Palestine peace process. He went on to state that Andrew “is currently making a powerful contribution to harmony in Iraq and the Middle East.”

Lord Hylton spoke at length about “my friend Canon Andrew White” and the work with the High Council of Religious Leaders in Iraq. “Lives have undoubtedly been saved as a result.”

The Minister of State, Lord Howell, stated that, in the view of the Government, religious freedom is a basic human right. He confirmed Government support for the Alexandria Declaration and “the High Council of Religious Leaders in Iraq, which seeks to bring together religious leaders and combat sectarian violence, and of course to continue the invaluable work of Canon Andrew White.”

Lord Howell concluded:

I end my comments by saying that, unlike Mr Richard Dawkins, I have faith in the faiths. We will continue to highlight and condemn all instances of violence and discrimination against individuals because of their beliefs, wherever they occur.

Archbishop Rowan Williams wound up the debate by thanking their Lordships for their high calibre contributions to the debate and observed:

Not the least among those was the admiration widely expressed for the work of Canon Andrew White in Baghdad, and I am happy to associate myself with that admiration.

Peter Marsden, FRRME Director, spoke to Canon Andrew White who was in the Lords for the debate:

It was wonderful that the House of Lords debated this issue and took seriously the plight of Christians in the Middle East. What really matters is that we must make sure that the political world gets behind the religious means of working at reconciliation. This is the only hope for all minorities in the Middle East.

It is good that the House of Lords devoted an entire day to the plight of Christians in the Middle East. For far too long churches in UK have turned a blind eye to what is happening to Christians in the Middle East, though they need to take care with their actions as it is the crass stupidity of Western Christian fundamentalists that have put the lives of Christians in the Middle East at risk.

End of Christianity in the Middle East?
Crass stupidity by Christian fundamentalists leads to persecution and massacre of Christians in the Middle East

Christianity is not an alien religion in the Middle East, this was was its birthplace as a Jewish sect.

House of Lords Debate on Christians in the Middle East
Christians in the Middle East: Motion to Take Note
Parliament TV coverage of debate

Canon Andrew White at the Boiler Room

December 4, 2011
anointing with oil

anointing with oil

books by Andrew White

books by Andrew White

Happy Second Advent, my friends. Love and peace — Rudolf Schenker

Suffer the children to come unto me. — Jesus

We are not the person other people wish we were. We are who we decide to be. — Paulo Coelho

Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander. — Holocaust Museum

A house has been blown up said Andrew somewhat nonchalantly after checking his phone as though commenting on the weather. Not quite an everyday conversation, but then I was not sat next to an everyday person, I was sat with Canon Andrew White aka the Vicar of Baghdad who as well as checking his phone was doodling with the children on the table cloth.

We were both at the Boiler Room in Guildford, not to be confused with the Boiler Room in Guildford. We were at a rather drab function room well passed its sell-by date at the Stoke Pub where Andrew was about to give an eagerly anticipated talk.

In the Middle East it is very tribal, it is too in the West, it is just that we do not notice.

A little girl Amy, Canon Andrew White had worked with both her grandfathers, as a medic and as a cleric.

We are at the Second Sunday of Advent. It involves a little more than getting the chocolate out of the Advent Calender, it is not preparation for Christmas, but rather to mark the return of Jesus, the Second Coming.

Isaiah chapter 40, prepare for the Second Coming, a message repeated in Mark.

On this day we also remember the birth of John the Baptist.

No matter how bad a situation there is always hope.

In Iraq today, houses blown up, shops blown up, not that we would know if we relied on the news (though try Al Jazeera which has far better news reporting).

Iraq: Muslim mob shouting “Allahu akbar” attacks, ransacks, burns Christian-owned shops and hotels
Christians Attacked in Iraq by Kurdish Extremists
Kurdish leader: Clerics ‘instigated … acts of sabotage,’ wounding 25

Iraq is an amazing place, the setting for many Biblical stories.

The Garden of Eden was in Iraq, between the Euphrates and the Tigris. Abraham was born in Iraq. Job came from Iraq and his tomb or shrine can be found in Iraq.

We know Job was in Iraq, because although it is not explicitly recorded that he was in Iraq, it is recorded that he was killed by the Chaldeans or Mandeans and they were only in Iraq.

Mandeans are followers of John the Baptist. They hold their services in water, they even get married in water.

The Second Exile (the First Exile was to Egypt) was to Babylon.

According to the children in Iraq, Jesus was also in Iraq, he was the fourth person who was seen in the flames.

If you want something, pray!

An Ayatollah sought from Canon Andrew White some meat, when told he had no meat, he said pray.

Please God, send me some meat. Amen.

Next morning at a breakfast, a burly American asked, Father, do you want some meat? How much? Over 100 tons of meat!

Think BIG!

In 2003, St George’s in Baghdad re-opened. Until then, its congregation was a few pigeons. The first service was for military and diplomats. Soon it became too dangerous. Then the Iraqis started to come. First Sunday 100, next week 200, then 300, then 400, then a thousand, then two thousand, then three thousand, then four thousand.

When many of the congregation were killed or fled, it was thought there would be less mouths to feed, but not so, the Christians were replaced by 500 Muslim women. For them it was the same God, the God of Abraham.

Many, many people have been killed, kidnapped, tortured.

The entire church leadership were kidnapped one night and killed.

Last October, when Canon Andrew White was in Guildford to give a talk, he heard the tragic news that 58 people had been massacred in a neighbouring Catholic Church including the priest. It was a period when many Christians were killed, their homes and businesses destroyed.

Dinner with Canon Andrew White

St George’s is no longer a church, more a city. It has an associated clinic which is better than you would find in England. It provides a school, welfare, food. After Sunday service, everyone is given a bag of groceries to take home.

The Curate at the church is the first ever Iraqi Anglican!

24-7 Prayer is run from the church.

Angels appear, or what are believed to be angels. Even when asked to go away, even if only for a few minutes in order that photos can be taken they stay and appear as blobs in photos. An example can be found in Faith Under Fire.

In Iraq, you cannot just walk down the street, knock a few doors and ask would you like to come to church this Sunday? Too dangerous.

But there is no need. They turn up anyway.

Muslims are made very welcome in the church.

In the Middle East you show respect by inviting to dinner and having plenty of food on display to eat.

Special place for children, of which there are several hundred, 21 of who form a special inner circle.

Several of these children are in the book Suffer the Children telling their stories.

One of these girls now works as Andrew’s PA.

Occasionally a few of the children are brought to England.

One of Andrew’s sons said he wished to go to Iraq. Why? He wished to update his facebook profile and wanted a picture with big guns.

His request was acceded to. He spent most of his time with the soldiers who guard Canon Andrew White. One day when asked where he had been when he vanished for three hours, he had apparently been with the soldiers learning how to strip and reassemble an AK-47!

Isaiah spoke of a chosen people: Egypt, Iraq (Assyria) and Israel.

There is a t-shirt in Iraq: Don’t worry it can only get worse

Another t-shirt shows a smiley face with a bullet hole in the head and blood dripping down the face with the slogan: Have a nice day some place else

Canon Andrew White had with him two very special objects: a little bottle of anointing oil and a very old Bible. Both had belonged to Smith Wigglesworth, who his grandfather had worked for as an assistant.

The oil was used to anoint everyone present. One person invited forward, hand held out, who then anointed those at their table.

After talking Canon Andrew White led a singing session, then chatted with the children and signed books.

I picked up three more signed copies of Faith Under Fire.

I came bearing gifts.

I gave a copy of a talk Andrew had given a few weeks earlier in Guildford.

Canon Andrew White at Guildford Baptist Church

To Andrew too a copy of the talk within a Christmas card plus to take back to Baghdad: Aleph, The Alchemist and The Valkyries, all by Paulo Coelho. As the people there cannot read English, I will see what I can do to arrange for copies in Arabic.

Smith Wigglesworth (1859-1947), was a leading light in the Pentecostal Church. He was known as the Apostle of Faith, moved in mighty signs and wonders and it was even claimed raised people from the dead!

Smith Wiggleworth Prophecy for Britain Coming to Pass!

Guildford Boiler Room is a Christian community that meets at Stoke Pub in Guildford.

Creative Arts @ Costa evening Tuesday 6 December 2011 at Costa, Swan Lane, Guildford.

An African Christmas The Occam Singers evening Saturday 10 December 2011 at St Nicoals Church (bottom of High Street over the bridge), Guildford.

Guildford Boiler Room Carol Service evening Sunday 11 December 2011 at Stoke Pub, Guildford.

Keystone Spirit evening Tuesday 13 December 2011 at Keystone Pub (behind St Nicolas Church), Guildford.

To heaven with Scribes and Pharisees

November 21, 2011
Ecce Homo - Tony Mujica

Ecce Homo - Tony Mujica

It was as a Galilean Jew that he befriended the poor and the despised. It was as a Galilean Jew that he thundered against the powerful and the haughty. — Howard Jacobson

Jesus was living like a good Jew, going to the synagaoge, praying and living according to the Law of Moses in his house. — Fr Eugenio Alliato, Studium Biblicum Franciscanum

Yeshua was a Jew and an observant one … He stressed Torah and love – but in this he drew upon the Jewish tradition. — Leonard Swidler, American Roman Catholic scholar

To heaven hell with Scribes and Pharisees: A priest and a rabbi take a fresh look at the Jewish religion and its leaders at the time of Jesus.

Speakers:

– Rev Marcus Braybrooke, author of Meeting Jews
– Rabbi Jackie Tabick, chair World Congress of Faiths

The Revd Marcus Braybrooke, a retired parish priest, was awarded a Lambeth Doctorate of Divinity by the Archbishop of Canterbury in recognition of his more than 40 years contribution to the development of inter-religious co-operation and understanding throughout the world. He is a former Executive Director of the Council of Christians and Jews and is a Co-Founder of the Three Faiths Forum and also President of the World Congress of Faiths, of which Jackie Tabick is the chair.

Jackie Tabick, rabbi at the North West Surrey Synagogue at Weybridge is also on the executive of the Interfaith Network. When Jackie studied medieval history at the University of London, her speciality was church history. She went on to study for the rabbinate at Leo Baeck College.

A Jewish-Christian double act.

Jesus was a Jew! He was a faithful Jew, brought up in a Jewish household, adhered to the Jewish faith.

Pharisees insisted on the letter of the law, legalism.

We need a historical reappraisal of Jesus as a Jew.

From a Christian perspective, Jewishness is seen as compliance with the law.

Was Jesus a Pharisee or an Essene? He was sufficiently conversant with the law to argue with the Pharisees on equal terms.

Jesus’ arguments with the Pharisees, as reported in the Gospels, were no greater than the arguments amongst the Pharisees themselves. There were sharp differences amongst the Rabbis, for example, between Hillel and Shammai, and their respective followers. It needs also to be remembered that the Gospels were written down at least thirty years after the death of Jesus and in part reflect the growing tension between the synagogue and early church, which is clearly illustrated in the Acts of the Apostles.

On the death of Jesus and the fall of Jerusalem and destruction of the Temple, there were two main religious groupings, the followers of Jesus a Jewish sect were one. These slowly draw apart until by 134 AD they could be seen as separate and distinct.

It is worth emphasizing that the split between church and synagogue took place over a long period and only in part for theological reasons. There was no sudden break. Rather, Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism are two developments, drawing on similar sources in first century Judaism, which gradually moved further and further apart, rather like a couple becoming estranged, who discover that in more and more ways their lives have drifted apart. By the end of the second Jewish revolt in 134 CE, despite some remaining links, ‘Christian and Jew were clearly distinct and separate.’ Over the centuries bitterness and hostility between the two communities increased and has only begun to be reversed in the twentieth century.

Jews were blamed for the death of Jesus. This is a bit like calling all Germans Nazis.

Pontius Pilate was a cruel Roman governor. He was recalled to Rome because of his cruelty. Judaea was a troublesome province. Any hint of insurrection, a leader of a revolt claiming to be the King of the Jews, would have attracted the death penalty. The Gospels, aiming at a Roman not Jewish audience, attempt to shift the blame onto the Jews.

It was not until 1965 that the Vatican issued a statement that the Jews were not responsible for the death of Jesus.

Did Jesus claim to be the Messiah, is that how his followers saw him? Later yes, but during his lifetime no. Son of God did not mean what we think today. It was a title.

The great Jewish New Testament scholar David Flusser was once asked after a talk to a group of clergy, ‘What do you pray for when you pray for Christians?’ He replied, ‘I pray that you will be more like your Master Jesus.’

Torah should be seen as teaching not the law.

Why did Pharisees get a bad press, and this was not only from the followers of Jesus, it was also in the eyes of other Jews?

It was a period of change and turmoil, out of which rose Judaism and Christianity. There were two other great Jewish teachers apart from Jesus, but these are unknown to Christians. The Jewish teachings did not end with the Old Testament, The Torah, to be replaced by the New Testament. Jews were developing their own scriptures in parallel with the New Testament.

What is known as The Torah came out of Babylon.

The High Priests were corrupt. An understanding of Jewishness was needed outside of the Temple which was central to what it was to be a Jew.

Jewishness had to be re-invented outside of the Temple. This became even more important after the Temple was destroyed.

Synagogues existed at the time of the Temple. They were centres of learning not prayer.

It is a Jewish tradition to argue for the sake of heaven. One does so with good heart, not enmity.

Jesus argued, he was following a Jewish tradition, he was a Jew!

Pharisees and Christians become the two main groups. Pharisees could exist outside of the Temple, the High Priests no longer existed. A whole new set of sacred literature was developed.

It is self-evident Jesus was a Jew. To understand his teachings one has to place them in their first century Jewish-Roman-Greek context. Many churches fail to understand this. Jesus behaved like a Jew. He nearly always answered a question with a question. That was the Jewish way. The Gospels were written for different groups, some more Jewish than others. Often the emphasis was on the difference to separate what were two competing religious groups, each claiming their Jewish heritage.

A common heritage, Jews, Christians and Muslims. For Jews the written word is the path to God, for Christians it is through Jesus, for Muslims it is the Koran.

The Bible speaks with many voices, often contradictory voices. What cannot be found in one source can often be found in another.

We hear a lot of Islamic fundamentalists, less of Christian fundamentalists. Those who lack doubt, who do not question, are bigots. We learn by talking to people of other faiths.

Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho is a devout Catholic, but he recognises there are many paths to God, no one person has a monopoly. As he describes in Aleph, he questioned his faith.

The Koran tells us that God made Man of many faiths and we should respect them.

Guildford Seeking Common Ground Lecture for Interfaith Week at Trinity Centre, Holy Trinity Church, top of Guildford High Street Monday 21 November 2011.

Behold! The Jewish Jesus
Christianity: A History – Episode 1: Jesus the Jew
Oneness of Humanity and the Unity of Religion
Choosing the best road
The Bible A Biography
What a Rabbi Learns from Muhammad
The Gospels
Where does the New Testament come from?
– Jesus Wars
Love Wins

What is it with evangelical Christians?

August 12, 2011

What is it with evangelical Christians? Why are they so unpleasant and obnoxious?

This lunchtime at the gates of Farnborough Abbey I had a very unpleasant encounter with an evangelic Christian. He became so aggressive and unpleasant that he was literally foaming at the mouth.

According to his perverse worldview, the Gospels were written by Mathew, Mark, Luke and John. Paul knew Jesus and had met him.

The original gospels were not attributed to their authors, this came later, the names are by convention. They were written after the death of Jesus, possibly first hand or second hand accounts by those who knew him. Originally verbal accounts.

Unlike the Gospel writers, Paul did not write of the life of Jesus, he wrote of the teachings in letters to a scattered church community.

According to the man I encountered, the New Testament was put together by the people who knew Jesus, who lived in his lifetime, that is why we know it is all accurate and correct.

Sadly not the case. It was put together as a recognised collection of books much later.

The early Christians did not slaughter each other in the first 400 years of Christinaity and any writer who says so is false as Christians would not slaughter each other, nor would Christians carry out the Inqusition!

I suggested he read the excellent Jesus Wars.

I did not raise it, but I dare say had I done so, I would have been told Christians did not carry out the Crusades, or maybe that would have been ok as it was slaughtering Muslims who had the audacity to occupy Christian Holy sites.

The excellent talks Canon Robert Cotton gave on the Gospels and the Bible this spring were wrong and he clearly did not know what he was talking about!

The Gospels
Where does the New Testament come from?

Nor does Karen Armstrong. Both her and Canon Robert Cotton are clearly influenced by 20th century German philosophers who also do not know what they are talking about.

The Bible A Biography

I daresay had I raised the issue of heaven I would have been told only a select chosen few would gain entry, the rest would be cast into hell for all eternity, and no doubt he would be one of the chosen few.

I was at a lovely Scandinavian church in Puerto de la Cruz in the spring. The pastor told me they do not let people from the UK preach at the church as they do not know what they are talking about. It is easy to see why.

As Rob Bell says in Love Wins these people do a lot of damage, they quite literally destroy people’s lives.

I was grateful to be able to gain access to Farnborough Abbey and enjoy the peace and quiet of the grounds.

Why are evangalists such a pain in the arse?
A lack of grace

Muslims and Christians working together

February 14, 2011

The Quran does not simply preach tolerance of other religions, it also acknowledges that salvation can be achieved in all monotheist religions. Freedom of choice, especially in matters of faith, is a cornerstone of quranic values. — Benazir Bhutto

Tyrants and peddlers of hate always try to divide people, divide and conquer. But when people work together even tyrants can be defeated.

Hosni Mubarak has gone!
Egypt in revolt

In the New Year we saw a Coptic Church In Egypt attacked. Last year we saw a Catholic Church in Iraq attacked. I was with Canon Andrew White a few days after the attack and he spoke of his pain at seeing his friend the priest lying in a pool of blood.

Coptic Christians in Egypt
Dinner with Canon Andrew White

But when people work together there is hope.

Muslims guarded the Coptic Churches in Egypt. When the brothers and sisters took to the streets of Egypt, flooded into Tahrir Square, they worked together, Muslim and Christian embraced on the streets. The Christians guarded the Mosques during Friday prayers. The Christians linked arms and formed a protective circle around the Muslims when they prayed in the street.

When the Mubarak Rent-a-Thugs attacked the peaceful protesters in Tahrir Square Wednesday and Thursday two weeks ago, it was the Muslim Brotherhood who mobilised their supporters on the Friday and secured the square.

In St George’s in Baghdad before Christmas, a Shia cleric was invited by Canon Andrew White to address the congregation. The congregation is not only Christians of all denominations, it includes Muslims too.

Last month Canon Andrew White brought together Shia and Sunni religious leaders and they issued a fatwa condemning violence against Christians.

Copenhagen fatwa

The Koran teaches tolerance and that followers respect other religions. People are given a choice, all are created equal in the eyes of God. Those who try to impose or coerce are unIslamic. The Koran sanctifies those who believe in the one true God but it does not deny other religions as the route to slavation, does not say Islam is the only route. [see Reconciliation]

Surely those who believe, and those who are Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabians, whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, and does good, they shall have their reward from their Lord, and there is no fear for them, nor shall they grieve.

What better message of hope and love can we give on St Valentine’s Day!

Muted Christmas in Iraq

December 29, 2010

Threats against Christian churches in Iraq forced the cancellation of many Christmas celebrations. Religious leaders advised worshippers to mark the occasion only with prayer. Thousands of Iraqi Christians fled to safer areas for the festive season.

But still the churches in the West remain silent.

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

Also see

Christmas in the Middle East

Tragic plight of Christians in Iraq

The plight of Iraqi Christians

End of Christianity in the Middle East?

Nativity scene at Lincoln Cathedral

December 27, 2010
nativity at Lincoln Cathedral

nativity at Lincoln Cathedral

nativity at Lincoln Cathedral

nativity at Lincoln Cathedral

nativity at Lincoln Cathedral

nativity at Lincoln Cathedral

nativity at Lincoln Cathedral

nativity at Lincoln Cathedral

This wonderful almost life-size nativity scene can be found just inside the main door of Lincoln Cathedral.

Also see

Capturing Lincoln Cathedral

Midnight Mass at St John’s

Christmas in the Middle East

Midnight Mass at St John’s

December 25, 2010
nativity at Lincoln Cathedral

nativity at Lincoln Cathedral

I had not been to Midnight Mass before nor a service at St John’s, not that is if I do not count two weddings, thus a first on both counts.

I was tempted by a Christingle Service in the afternoon, curious how it compared with Christingle at St Mark’s a couple of weeks ago, but I could not make the effort to attend, so Midnight Mass it was.

I walked there in the sub-zero temperature, crunching through the snow, slipping and sliding on the ice. The church bells were pealing and the church lit up against the dark sky. The moon was shining brightly, the stars too in the dark sky.

The church was fairly full. It seemed little warmer inside than outside, though the Vicar assured us it was. I thought it was a very nice touch to invite the minister from the local Methodist church at the bottom of Church Hill to share the service. A very moving solo performance of Silent Night in German.

I thought of St George’s in Iraq. An Anglican Church with no Anglicans other than the vicar Canon Andrew White, many denominations and Muslims too.

Why shepherds? In The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho it is a shepherd who has the courage to follow his dreams.

On leaving a brief conversation with the Rector of Bethlehem today. Two thousand years ago under Roman occupation, today under Israeli occupation. Encircled by the Apartheid Wall, Bethlehem is little more than an open air prison. Christians, and even priests, are prevented by the Israeli occupiers from celebrating Christmas in Bethlehem. [see Christmas in the Middle East]

St John’s is the village church of Washingborough, sadly never open outside of church services and church fêtes and other special occasions.

It was a pleasure to be able to see in Christmas at St John’s

I would have loved to have attended The Messiah by Handel in Lincoln Cathedral. Maybe one day.

For my lovely friend Sian who could not be there. For Diane and Den who would usually be there but were Down Under.

Also see

Christmas Carol Service at St Peter’s

Victorian Christmas Carol Concert St Mark’s

Christingle at St Mark’s

Handel – Messiah – For unto us a child is born

Christmas in the Middle East

December 24, 2010
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

Israel blocks Christians going to Bethlehem at Christmas

December 20, 2010

Israel blocks Christians going to Bethlehem at Christmas, including clergy. Why, because they are Palestinians.

Bethlehem itself is an open-air prison encircled by an Apartheid Wall.

Also see

Bethlehem Hidden from View