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At a historic event to address what Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn described as a "satanic evil" reminiscent of Nazi Germany, prominent faith, business and military leaders called on the United Nations Friday to take action against what many are calling the worst persecution of Christians in 2,000 years.
Cahn, the New York Times bestselling author of The Harbinger and The Mystery of the Shemitah, told the audience that a holocaust similar to the one that took place during World War II is now underway in the Middle East with hundreds of thousands of Christians dying in horrific manners.
"Seventy years after the bystanders of Nazi Germany walked through the death camps of the holocaust, another stream of victims are being led to their deaths," Cahn told the audience. "Again it involves a satanic evil of hatred, violence and sadistic cruelty.
"And again it involves an innocent people marked for destruction—the followers of Jesus, known throughout the world as 'Christians,' those who are taught, when struck to turn the other cheek, when cursed to bless, and when persecuted to forgive those who oppress them. These constitute, by far, the most persecuted religious group on earth, oppressed, afflicted, hunted down and killed—men, women and children—the sacrificial lambs of the modern world."
The event, sponsored by the Global Strategic Alliance, the Eng Aja Eze Foundation and the National Israel Hispanic Coalition, was entitled, "The Persecution of Christians Globally: A Threat to International Peace and Security." The purpose of the conference is to raise awareness that the persecution of Christians in the Middle East is a threat to international peace and security.
"With the rise of ISIS, along with concerns that Iran is developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technologies, all eyes are on the Middle East," said Steve Strang, the founding editor and publisher of Charisma magazine. "As the world witnesses the beheadings, crucifixions and torture of thousands of Christians, it's become clear that this will have far-reaching consequences for not only Christianity, but the entire world.
"Left unchecked, the inhumane carnage we are watching in the Middle East and other parts of the world will eventually come to the United States and other western nations. It will pose a threat to international peace and security."
The event comes amid growing international concern about the widespread crucifixions, beheadings, immolations, kidnappings and torture of Christians in the Middle East by the Islamic State, or ISIS.
Today, the Middle East is at the top of the international agenda and the fate of the region's religious minorities has prompted alarm by an increasing number of prominent figures worldwide. As tens of thousands are butchered, the mass exodus of Christians who have been an integral part of the Middle Eastern mosaic for centuries is drawing growing concern.
A century ago, Middle Eastern Christians represented about 20 percent of the population. Today, that percentage has dropped to about 4 percent. Prior to the Gulf War, there were about 1.4 million Christians in Iraq. Those numbers have dropped to about 200,000 and the head of the Catholic Chaldean Church in Kurdistan has said Christians have "little time left."
"We are literally watching the genocide of Jesus' followers in the Middle East," Strang said. "From kidnappings and the execution of journalists and aid workers to beheadings, crucifixions and the burning of Christians, the Islamic State is exhibiting shocking cruelty."
Meanwhile, the war in Syria is continuing and Syria has turned into a hotbed of international terrorism. Foreign fighters, gathered from around the world, are creating mayhem and an atmosphere of intolerance. Recent studies reveal that Christians are the most persecuted religious group today, with the direst form of persecution occurring in Muslim lands at the hands of extremists. Middle East Christians in Syria and Iraq are facing more persecutions than ever with the political upheaval in the region and the emergence of ISIS.
A majority of Christians in Syria and Iraq belong to the ancient Assyrian or Chaldean churches. They trace their spiritual heritage to the prophet Jonah whose preaching in Nineveh ultimately led to the mass conversion to Christianity in the region.
Beyond the carnage wrought by the Islamic State, Christians are being persecuted throughout the world—often by their own governments in North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Nigeria, Pakistan, Vietnam and Indonesia, Cahn said.
"In North Korea, Christians are imprisoned, sent to labor camps, tortured and killed, for the crime of owning Bibles," Cahn said. "In Nigeria entire Christian village populations have been massacred. In Orissa, Indian, 70,000 Christians have been forced to flee their homes. In Syria, 80,000 Christians have been quoted 'cleansed' from their homes. In Indonesia, Muslims have put 10,000 Christians to death.
"And now, after almost 2,000 years, some of the most ancient communities of Christians, from the Copts of Egypt, to the Nestorians and Assyrian believers of Syria, to the Chaldean and Assyrian believers of Iraq are now in danger of extermination, genocide. As the evil of ISIS and its allies sweep across the Middle East, an ancient civilization is being annihilated, its people perishing, crucified, decapitated, and buried alive in their ancestral soil. The Vicar of Baghdad recounted this year how ISIS ordered four Christian children to renounce Jesus and follow Mohammed. 'No,' they said, 'We love Yeshua ... He has always been with us.' These were the last words the children were ever to speak in this life as ISIS beheaded them."
Each year, 100 million Christians suffer persecution, imprisonment and even death for their faith in Jesus Christ. According to The Voice of the Martyrs, "more people have died for their faith in Christ in the last 100 years" than in the previous 19 centuries combined.
"This very body, the United Nations, adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which declares that everyone has the right to 'manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance,' Cahn said. "In the World Summit Outcome Document of September 2005, paragraph 139, the United Nations declared that the international community has the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity.
"So the question must be asked, 'Where are all the resolutions?' 'Where are all the troops?' 'Where are all the actions taken to protect the most persecuted people on earth?' 'And where's the universal outcry?' It's a strange and immoral silence, the same strange and immoral silence that allowed 6 million Jews to be delivered to their deaths. We must not repeat the mistake of the last century. Evil never stays put. The same darkness that destroyed 6 million Jewish lives would end up destroying over 60 million lives throughout the world. The evil that first warred against the Jewish people was a harbinger of what would soon overcome the earth."
Strang pointed out how the media, until recently, has largely ignored the plight of persecuted Christians in the Middle East and elsewhere.
"It should have shocked the conscience of the world, but it registered barely a blip on the media's radar for decades," Strang said.
Kevin Jessip, president of the Global Strategic Alliance, a Wellington, Florida-based ministry that helped host the event, said the U.N. was born in the midst of a "horrific global conflict, sparked by outrageous, murderous political ideologies—which led to the slaughter of millions around the world ... ."
"Today, we stand on the precipice of the greatest holocaust-like aggression of world domination, as the extreme Islamic ideologies of ISIS has declared Christianity as its No. 1 enemy," Jessip said. "The plight of Christians globally is a growing threat and the frightening situation facing Christian minorities in Muslim countries and elsewhere should cause grave concern for all peace loving free societies."
Those speaking at the event, including Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, Family Research Council Executive Vice President Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William G. Boykin, Archbishop Bernadito C. Auza, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the U.N., and many others, called on the U.N. Security Council to sponsor a resolution regarding the protection of Christians and religious minorities in the Middle East. They also called on President Obama to appoint an envoy to begin taking action against persecution around the globe and for an International Day of Prayer in solidarity for the plight of Christians.
"It's no coincidence that you are here today, or that you are listening at this time," Strang said. "The Lord will not hold us blameless if we pretend this isn't happening. We must act and we must act soon. We have been called by the Lord to serve at this critical time, not only in the history of our nation, but in the history of the world.
"Allow me to close with two thoughts—one from Edmund Burke and the other from Moses. Burke, the Irish statesman, is best remembered for saying, 'The only necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.' Moses, who received the Ten Commandments from God, offers us this encouragement down through the mists of time: 'Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.'
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