After the massacre of Muslims in two New Zealand mosques, The Australian newspaper announced: “Now we are all Muslims.” New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, widely praised for her correctly empathetic reaction, will have a 20 meter high mural in Brunswick (Melbourne, Australia) showing her, dressed in a hijab, in a grieving embrace with a Muslim woman. “A lantern of tolerance, love and peace” communicates the headline in The Age.
In February this year, the world witnessed the indignation of the French president during his visit to a Jewish cemetery in Alsace, where swastikas were painted on tombstones. President Macron promised: “We will act, we will pass laws, we will punish. The French Republic will intensify its fight against Antisemitism. ”
Responding to the call of French political parties, people took to the streets to protest against Antisemitism. The heads of the French government celebrated a minute silence at the Shoah Memorial in Paris. Newspaper headlines in the Australian Fairfax newspapers informed readers “France shocked by outbreak of Antisemitism”.
In the same month, on 5th February, the 800-year-old Saint-Alain cathedral in Lavaur was set on fire. The next day, vandals broke into the sanctuary of the Catholic church in Nimes. They scattered the consecrated hosts on the ground and used excrement to draw a cross on the wall. Just 3 days later, on 9thFebruary, the church of Notre Dame de Dijon in CÃ´te-d’Or was devastated. On 17th March, the historic Saint-Sulpice church in Paris was set on fire.
In March 2019, the French intelligence service, SCRC, informed the French government that in 2018 there were 885 acts of vandalism against Catholic churches. It means that in France, 17 Catholic churches are destroyed, vandalised or desecrated each week. The SCRC report did not motivate the French president to initiate a fight against Christianophobia.
And then there was the Holy Week. There is not enough space here to list even the major crimes committed against Christians or Christian property in those seven days. One of the events that received the attention of the world media was the fire of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.
The medieval jewel of France and Western civilization was extensively damaged by fire. Even before the fire was extinguished, city officials announced that the fire was not an act of terrorism or arson.
While Notre Dame was burning, Islamists murdered Christians who gathered in a Nigerian Baptist church for a name giving ceremony. The mother, her child and 15 others were murdered.
The Holy Week ended with coordinated bomb blasts in Sri Lanka. About 250 people were murdered and more than 500 wounded. The Catholic Shrine of St. Anthony in Colombo, Catholic church of St. Sebastian in Negombo and the Protestant Zion Church in Batticaloa were devastated by bombs detonated by the so-called Islamic State.
Politicians from the USA and Europe sent out messages carefully avoiding the word “Christian”. President Barack Obama and the former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, called the victims of explosions in the churches “Easter worshipers”. What a contrast with their messages, after the attack on New Zealand mosques, when they clearly identified the victims. Obama wrote, ” We grieve with the Muslim community” and Clinton ” My heart breaks for New Zealand & the global Muslim community.”
The world leaders and the mainstream media do not grieve so much for the global Christian community whose churches are destroyed, worshippers tortured, sold into slavery or killed by terrorists. “Open Doors” lists 50 countries where Christians are severely oppressed, denied religious freedom and threatened with death.
If Islamophobia and Antisemitism are rightly condemned by politicians and the mainstream media, shouldn’t Christians be given the same recognition as victims of violence and terrorism?
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This post was written by Andrew Balcerzak