Strange how the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and Africa- described at times as “genocide”- elicits no such Southern African Anglican Church angst!
By David E. Kaplan
The highest and most prominent decision-making body of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA) voted this past September to join and support the international BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions) movement against Israel.
Representing the Anglican Christian communities in southern African countries including South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and Angola, the church passed the resolution in Johannesburg during its Provincial Synod, which takes place every three years.
The wording in the motion passed included “the situation in the Holy Land demands the attention of the Christian Church precisely because that is the place where Jesus Christ was born, nurtured, crucified and raised.”
The Holy Land where Jesus was “born, nurtured, crucified and raised” lies located mostly in the Muslim Middle East – the precise region where the Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Rev. Justin Welby expressed in 2018, “Christians Face Imminent Extinction” and not by the hands of Israelis.
Writing at the time in the Telegraph, the Pope revealed that “Christians face daily the threat of violence, murder, intimidation, prejudice and poverty. …..Many have left. Hundreds of thousands have been forced from their homes. Many have been killed, enslaved and persecuted or forcibly converted. Even those who remain ask the question, ‘Why stay?’”
He concluded with “Across the region, Christian communities that were the foundation of the universal Church now face the threat of imminent extinction.”
Why did the SA Anglican Church focus its “demands” on Israel?
The bias and antisemitism was all too evident with the Anglican church outlining “the differences between the Biblical Israel and the modern State of Israel,” and warning its members “not to conflate the two entities, as well as the ideology of Zionism and Judaism.”
It also described the situation in Israel and Palestine as “… worse than apartheid.”
This proved music to the ears of Hamas – which strives for the destruction of the State of Israel and directs rockets at Israel’s civilian population whenever it sees fit – whose spokesman Basem Naim responded with glee to the Anglican decision as it “encourages us to continue our struggle against the occupation.”
Excepting, Gaza is not occupied other than “occupied” by Hamas who have turned the lives of its residents there into a living nightmare.
Ask the former Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Rami Hamdallah, who narrowly survived a suspected Hamas assassination attempt in 2018 while visiting the Gaza Strip from the West Bank. He hurriedly retreated from the “occupation”, never returned and then resigned as Prime Minister in January 2019.
Report Of ‘Revelations’
As much as Palestinians attempt to hide the reality of persecution of Christians – or blame Israel – it’s difficult to refute the truth and the math.
A sure barometer of dwindling Christians in the region is ‘revealed’ in the very birthplace of Jesus – Bethlehem. Once a predominantly Christian city where Christians formed an 86% majority, today that figure stands at fewer than 10% and dropping.
The situation is even worse in Gaza, where among the thousands of Christians who used to live there, only a few hundred remain under the constant threat of persecution, with serious limitations on Christian ceremonies and holidays, and effectively without human rights.
While the future of Christians living under the PA and in fact the entire Middle East is uncertain – even the Pope fears “Christians will disappear from the Middle East lamenting “a Middle East without Christians would not be the Middle East” – the situation is different in Israel which not only allows but protects the safe life for all religious minorities.
Nightmare In Nigeria
What’s more, as the Southern Africa Anglican Church set its sights northerly at the Holy Land, they could have looked far less north to see what was happening to their fellow Christians in Nigeria.
Note the following outcries in quotes:
- “It’s tough to tell Nigerian Christians this isn’t a religious conflict since what they see are Fulani fighters clad entirely in black, chanting ‘Allahu Akbar!’ and screaming ‘Death to Christians”,” reported Sister Monica Chikwe to John. L. Allen Jr., Crux, August 4, 2019.
- “Hundreds of indigenous Numan Christians in Adamawa state were attacked and killed by jihadist Fulani herdsmen. When they tried to defend themselves, the Buhari government sent in the Airforce to bomb hundreds of them and protect the Fulani aggressors. Is this fair?!” asks Femi Fani-Kayode, former Minister of Aviation in the Daily Post (Nigeria), December 6, 2017.
- “Buhari is openly pursuing an anti-Christian agenda that has resulted in countless murders of Christians all over the nation and destruction of vulnerable Christian communities,” said Bosun Emmanuel, the secretary of the National Christian Elders Forum, 2018.
Between 2011 and 2015, the jihadi group Boko Haram committed ISIS-type of atrocities even before ISIS came into being, terrorized and slaughtered thousands of Christians, mostly those living in the Muslim-majority north. When in 2015, Nigeria’s Muslims finally got what they wanted – a Muslim president in the person of Muhammadu Buhari, taking over from Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian, the violence did not subside but got worse. Muslim Fulani herdsmen – the ethnic tribe from which Buhari hails – joined and even surpassed Boko Haram in their slaughter of Christians.
Reports reveal that between June 2017 and June 2018 alone, Muslim Fulani slaughtered approximately 9,000 Christians and destroyed at least a thousand churches. (It took three times longer for the Fulani to kill a fraction [1,484] of Christians under Jonathan’s presidency.) In just the first six months of this year, 52 lethal terror attacks targeting Christian villages occurred. “Nearly every single day, I wake up with text messages from partners in Nigeria, such as this morning: ‘Herdsmen stab 49-year-old farmer to death in Ogan,” human rights lawyer Ann Buwalda said in July.
License To Kill
In short, it appears that its hunting season in Nigeria with Christians as the prey. And by all accounts, it appears the hunters have a “license”!
Continuing, says former Minister of Aviation Femi Fani-Kayode, “The Muslim president Buhari has only awarded the murderers with impunity rather than justice and has staffed his government with Islamic officials, while doing essentially nothing to give the nation’s Christians, who make up half the population, due representation.”
While Christians were once the majority of Nigeria’s population, “the ongoing genocide against them” has caused their population to drop to a level that Christianity in Nigeria is, according to the National Christian Elders Forum, “on the brink of extinction”.
How come the pious delegates in Johannesburg for the Anglican Church’s Provincial Synod in September spewed their wrath at Israel but failed to show concern closer to home for their fellow Christians in Nigeria?
Then again look what transpired in South Africa during September, the same month the Anglican Synod met and deliberated. In a spate of xenophobic attacks, mobs attacked foreign-owned businesses in cities across the country. Although no Nigerians were killed in the violence, Nigerian-owned shops and businesses were targeted resulting in Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari travelling to South Africa, to resolve the issue of the welfare of his citizens. Nigeria repatriated around 600 of its citizens living in South Africa.
Of all the issues on the Anglican Churches agenda, the only one that it made “demands” of and will be well remembered as it made international news was its resolution in support of BDS to boycott Israel.