Jewish leader blasts indifference to persecuted Christians

A young refugee rests after having fled from ISIS and arrived in Ankawa in the northern part of Erbil, Iraq. Credit:

The leader of the World Jewish Congress slammed global apathy to persecution of Christians in the Middle East and other parts of the world, saying more countries should be moved to action.

“The general indifference to ISIS, with its mass executions of Christians and its deadly preoccupation with Israel, isn't just wrong; it's obscene,” wrote Ronald S. Lauder in an Aug. 19 New York Times editorial.

“The Jewish people understand all too well what can happen when the world is silent,” he said. “This campaign of death must be stopped.”

Lauder stated that while the international community has rallied to defend the persecution of other minorities in other conflicts, as well as to protest Israel's attacks against Hamas when the organization is known to be using civilians as human shields, “the barbarous slaughter of thousands upon thousands of Christians is met with relative indifference.”

Noting a range of offenses against “Christian communities that have lived in peace for centuries” in the Middle East and parts of Africa, he decried a lack of action.

Lauder also noted that recently, militant groups in Nigeria have “kidnapped and killed hundreds of Christians” in Nigeria, and that half a million “Christian Arabs have been driven out of Syria during the three-plus years of civil war there,” and have faced persecution and murder in Lebanon, Sudan and elsewhere.

“Historians may look back at this period and wonder if people had lost their bearings,” Lauder warned.  He noted that international organization have mostly remained quiet  on “the Nazi-like wave of terror that is rolling across” Iraq.

Additionally, he said, celebrities of public figures have not spoken on the persecution, and he wondered “why doesn’t the slaughter of Christians seem to activate their social antennas?”

In his letter, Lauder commended President Obama for “ordering airstrikes to save tens of thousands of Yazidis,” but said that the airstrikes were not enough to counter the the economic resources and military force of the Islamic State. Saying the organization was “perhaps the wealthiest Islamist terrorist group in the world,” he noted that “where it truly excels is in its carnage,” where it “has ruthlessly targeted Shiites, Kurds and Christians.”

“They actually beheaded children and put their heads on a stick,” he said, quoting a CNN report on violence in Mosul, Iraq with a Chaldean-American businessman, Mark Arabo. “More children are getting beheaded, mothers are getting raped and killed, and fathers are being hung.”

Lauder reiterated an earlier promise he made in June, that as he “will not be silent in the face of the growing threat of anti-Semitism in Europe and in the Middle East, I will not be indifferent to Christian suffering.”

Good people of all faiths, but particularly Christians and Jews, he continued, “must join together and stop this revolting wave of violence.” Lauder stressed that the two faiths share “ much more than most religions,” including a Bible and “moral and ethical core.”

“Now, sadly, we share a kind of suffering,” he added. “Christians are dying because of their beliefs, because they are defenseless and because the world is indifferent to their suffering.”

Lauder pressed people around the world to act. “It's not as if we are powerless,” he said, pointing out that he was writing “as a citizen of the strongest military power on earth,” as well as “as a Jewish leader who cares about my Christian brothers and sisters.”


Things beyond our imagination

Father Ronald Rolheiser, OMI

Recently, at an academic dinner, I was sitting across the table from a nuclear scientist. At one point, I asked him this question: Do you believe that there’s human life on other planets? His answer surprised me: “As a scientist, no, I don’t believe there’s human life on another planet.


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October 4, 2015

  • Sunday, October 4

    Gerard Thomas Straub Book Signing, 9 a.m.- 1p.m., Holy Family Bookstore, 1519 Fremont Ave., South Pasadena. Straub will discuss his newly re-released book, “The Sun and Moon Over Assisi.” (626) 403-6133.

    St. Kateri Mass, 11 a.m., St. Marcellinus Church, 2349 Strong Ave., Commerce. Everyone is welcome to honor and follow in the footsteps of St. Kateri Tekakwitha. Potluck and raffle immediately following – bring a favorite dish to share!

    Faith Support on Our Cancer Journey, 2-4 p.m., Mary & Joseph Retreat Center, 5300 Crest Rd., Rancho Palos Verdes. This afternoon of reflection will explore ways for those struggling with cancer can nurture their spirits and seek divine guidance and support. $25 ($20 if paid in full by September 25). (310) 377-4867.

    “Come and See” Vocation Event, 2-7 p.m., Heart of Jesus Retreat Center, 2927 S Greenville St., Santa Ana. Single women of high school and college age are invited by Sacred Heart Sisters to learn more about religious life. Dinner will be provided. RSVP by Oct. 3 at (714) 557-4583 or 

    Once Upon a Time: Stories to Awaken the Mysteries of the Heart, 3-5 p.m., Mary & Joseph Retreat Center, 5300 Crest Rd., Rancho Palos Verdes. $25. (310) 377-4867.

    Rosary and Mass for Life, Rosary: 4:30 p.m., Mass: 5 p.m., St. Cornelius Church, 5500 E Wardlow Rd., Long Beach. Contact Sylvia Aimerito (562) 429-1965.

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