Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the Christian Media Summit on Sunday and he spoke passionately in defense of religious freedom and of Christian minorities in the Muslim world.
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s entire speech is well worth listening to, but his comments about Iran’s persecution of Christians is particularly moving.
Iran is a threat to the entire world, but today I want to focus on Iran’s war against Christians. As you all know, Christians are brutally persecuted in the Islamic Republic. Pastors are jailed for no reason, no reason other than for being Christian leaders. Christians have been lashed. You hear this? Christians have been lashed for sipping wine during prayer services; Christians have been brutally tortured for doing nothing more than practicing their faith.
Now, some world leaders are willing to ignore this repression and seek to appease Iran, but I am not one of them.
I think that how a country treats religious minorities is a very good indicator of how it will treat its other citizens and its neighbors.
So today I have a simple request for the media outlets in this room: Dedicate this week to highlighting the plight of the countless Christians suffering under Iran; profile the brave Christian leaders jailed for practicing their faith; sit with the families of the school teachers jailed for years merely for converting to Christianity; call out the lie and the lies of President Rouhani, who promised in 2013 that all religions would, quote, feel justice in Iran, while so many Christians live there in constant terror.
(Netanyahu’s comments on Christian persecution begin at about 1:43 into the video.)
The Prime Minister is right, but the problem isn’t just in Iran, it’s all over the Muslim (and the communist) world.
In Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, and almost every other Muslim-majority world nation, Christians live in constant fear. They are harassed, beaten, tortured, raped, falsely accused, falsely arrested, falsely imprisoned, and murdered… simply for being a Christian. Sadly, world leaders continue to ignore a problem that they could have great influence in fixing. If the leaders of the Western World took a stand against Islamic persecution of Christians, by imposing economic sanctions, Muslim governments would be forced to protect their Christian minorities.
But it’s not just in the Muslim world, is it? No, in North Korea and China, Christians face heavy persecution as well. Practicing their faith leads to torture and execution in North Korea and to torture, imprisonment, and ostracization in China.
In fact, it seems that the entire world is growing ever-more hostile towards the faith and culture that produced the greatest age the world has ever seen. Christianity is truly under fire all across our planet today.