Blogs Coffee House

Will David Cameron stand up for persecuted Christians?

18 April 2014

10:00 AM

18 April 2014

10:00 AM

Last week, David Cameron surprised a number of people when, during a pre-Easter gathering at Downing Street, he spoke about religion. Not religion in general, the all-faiths-and-none diversity-speak of the political class, but his own Christian faith. James Forsyth writes about the implications in this week’s magazine.

But what was most surprising was that the prime minister went further by saying that ‘our religion’ is the most persecuted in the world and that ‘I hope we can do more to raise the profile of the persecution of Christians’. He added: ‘We should stand up against the persecution of Christians and other religious groups wherever and whenever we can, and should be unashamed in doing so.’

This is quite a development. The prime minister has on a number of occasions spoken about Islamophobia, and about homophobia, he’s given his opinion on the price of England football tops and Nigella Lawson. But on one of the greatest events of our age – the persecution of Christians – he and his senior colleagues have had nothing to say.

By the best calculation, some 7-8,000 Christians are killed for their faith each year. But aside from China and North Korea, the epicentre of persecution is the greater Middle East, and it is a story in which Britain has been not just negligent but complicit.

This Easter the prime minister, like most of us, will be with his family, and we all wish him some peace and relaxation. For the Christians of Homs it will be a very different story. The ancient city, which dates back to 2300BC and was the site of a great chariot battle between the Pharaoh and the Hittites, was home to more than 50,000 Christians at the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011. Today there are an estimated two-dozen left in the old city.

Last week a 75-year-old Dutch priest, Fr Franz van der Lugt, was murdered in the besieged rebel-controlled old city, becoming the latest Christian martyr in this bloodstained region; one theory is that Fr Franz was shot by an Islamist militia as punishment for helping a group of 20 people to cross the lines. Fr Franz, a Jesuit like Pope Francis, had spent 50 years in that beautiful country and had endured Homs’s three-year siege, choosing to stay when he could have left.

Across the land of St Paul, Christian communities have been scattered by Islamist militias. Jihadis seized the ancient city of Ma’loula in September; kidnapping 12 nuns and reportedly executing three Christians who refused to renounce their faith, just weeks after David Cameron and Barack Obama had tried to intervene military on the side of the rebels. In November, dozens of bodies turned up in the Christian village of Sadad after al-Qaeda-linked rebels had briefly occupied it.

[Alt-Text]


Next door in Iraq a Christian population of 1.5 million in 1991 is not much more than a tenth of that figure today, thanks to the work of those devout Christians George W Bush and Tony Blair. Last spring, Iraq’s patriarch declared that the country had just 57 churches left, down from 300 before the invasion; 70 churches having been bombed in that period. And while a total of 4,487 US and 179 British troops laid down their lives for Iraqi freedom, America has presided over the Islamisation of the country; the Iraqi constitution of 2005 incorporates elements of discriminatory Sharia law, to the distress of the country’s many ancient minorities.

Despite the Iraq disaster the British and American governments were keen to back the overthrow of President Bashar Assad right from the start. As with Iraq, anyone could have seen that, with the removal of the Assad regime, the country’s religious minorities would be extremely vulnerable to attack from Sunni extremists. And so in early 2012 militants expelled 90 per cent of Homs’s Christians; Salafists going door-to-door ‘ordering Christians to flee, without giving them the chance to take their belongings’; in April 2012 no Easter services were held in that city for the first time in centuries. Last September, a leading Syrian churchman stated that a third of the country’s pre-war Christian population of 1.75 million had now fled their homes.

And yet the British government has barely blinked. When Russia introduced a law banning the promotion of homosexuality, David Cameron met Stephen Fry for a drink to discuss Britain’s response. When the most prominent Christian leader in Syria, Patriarch Gregorios III, came to England to talk about persecution last September, he was offered only time with a junior foreign office minister. Okay, he doesn’t have so many Twitter followers; but surely a Christian prime minister could have found time.

The American government has been even worse. According to Nina Shea of the Center for Religious Freedom, the US government is ‘both ignorant and naïve’ about Islamism, and is willfully deceiving itself. In Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians, Shea and co-authors Lela Gilbert and Paul Marshall point out that after the October 31, 2010 Baghdad church massacre, in which 52 people were murdered, the White House issued a statement that made no mention of where the attacks took place, nor the religion of the victims. This is described as ‘the watershed moment for Iraqi Christians’ who now realised the West would not help.

After the October 2011 Maspero massacre, when the Egyptian army opened fire on unarmed Christians, killing 28, the White House stated: ‘Now is a time for restraint on all sides so that Egyptians can move forward together to forge a strong and united Egypt.’ There was no mention of the identity of the killers and victims or that there was even guilt to be apportioned.

An even odder illustration of US government thinking came on Easter Day 2012, when 39 civilians were slaughtered by a suicide bomb at a Protestant church in Kaduna, northern Nigeria. That day Secretary Hillary Clinton issued just one press release, on anti-Gypsy prejudice in Europe, stating that ‘today we celebrate the history, impact and culture of Romani people’.

As for the media, BBC news coverage of anti-Christian violence is very sparse; the September 2013 All Saints church massacre in Peshawar, in which 78 people, including 34 women and seven children were murdered, received two minutes on the Today programme, but was not even mentioned on BBC television news the next day.

Pakistan is Britain’s largest aid recipient, the country given £500m a year for various projects, yet this goes into their coffers without a word of protest over their treatment of minorities, not just Christians but unorthodox Islamic sects such as the Ahmadiyya; recently a 72-year-old British Ahmadi doctor was arrested in Pakistan on blasphemy charges after quoting an extract from the Koran.

In the government only Baroness Warsi, a Muslim, has raised the issue of Christian persecution, yet her recently devised advisory group on persecution might give the impression that the overwhelming majority of the victims of persecution are Muslim.

As well as representatives from Liberty, Amnesty and the British Humanist Association, the group includes Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss-Egyptian academic who has allegedly expressed admiration for hardline cleric Yusuf al Qaradawi; there is just one Christian representative among the 15, while Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, the country’s leading expert on religious persecution in Pakistan, was not even asked.

Why should Britain care? Even if we have no moral obligation, from a purely self-interested point of view Christians have long been a bridge between east and west, and helped to spread western ideas – significantly it was a Lebanese Christian, Charles Malik, who helped draft the UN Declaration on Human Rights. A Middle East without its minorities would be a more hostile place for us, and a worse place for the people there.

If David Cameron was serious about his faith, he would make this a foreign policy priority, and undo some of the terrible legacy of his predecessor, Tony Blair. Otherwise there may not be many more Easters left to celebrate in the faith’s cradle.

Ed West is the author of The Silence of Our Friends.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
  • denise smith

    Christians are being arrested all the time in Europe who criticise Islam,because of his PC government a he is a wolf in sheep,s clothing.

  • Guest

    The whole middle East was dominated by Christianity once before they were massacred and forced conversions. when the Turks entered Spain they were just like Isis, beheading raping burning. Its still going on.

  • cartimandua

    All of that quite right

  • David Hussell

    Well said, a good clear article. Cameron is merely tying to patch up the political damage, unrepairable damage, that he has done, over the redefinition of marriage, thereby losing a chunk of the Christian vote. He’s lost mine forever and turned me from a supporter into a Ukip activist – clever man Mr Cameron.

  • Frank

    “Will David Cameron stand up for persecuted Christians?” Ed, you are a tease.
    David Cameron doesn’t stand up for anything (in the sense of ever displaying backbone, or moral fibre) or indeed stand for anything (how can I comply with your wishes oh Angela Merkel / Vivian Reding / Obama / wind farm manufacturers / rich foreign crooks / oligarchs / etc).
    If you have to employ a Lynton Crosby type, you know that you are intellectually and ethically bankrupt (and that goes for the scumbags in Labour and the Lib-Dems as well).

  • MissDemeanor

    it’s Israel’s fault, innit?

  • Baron

    Yes, he will, if they convert to Islam.

  • Wessex Man

    I had hoped for grown up debate about how we can aid the presecuted Christians through-out the world but as usual is descended into point scoring.

    • cartimandua

      We give a senior minister to begin with.

  • Tony_E

    Even as a committed atheist I shudder at the terrorisation that Christians are subject to across the world.

    I would not give states that do not respect the Christian faith any aid whatsoever. I would not allow arms sales to any regime that subjugates Christians. I would make it a concrete condition of all help and assistance.

    • cartimandua

      Pakistan should dump blasphemy laws and it should enact protective laws towards Christians and women.
      Or we cut the aid right off.

  • The Laughing Cavalier

    Of course he won’t.

  • The PrangWizard of England

    Don’t be fooled by Cameron. He is not sincere, he sickens me, he’s merely desperate for more votes. He will do nothing.

  • David Prentice

    Great article, Ed. How about some of the £10 billion in foreign aid we pay for worthless wastes of time like “the reduction of radicalism in Pakistan”, actually being used for something good, such as setting up proper, hygienic camps for the Syrian refugees and, whisper it, assisting them in their search for a welcoming country.

  • Retired Nurse

    ….do they put something in their cocoa when they visit Israel to get a bail out? First Tony had Jewish heritage…then Dave & Ed…who next? Tony Blair was soo Jewish he ..oops….arranged his son’s wedding on Yom Kippur (so no Jewish guys could attend…http://www.algemeiner.com/2013/09/13/yom-kippur-wedding-for-tony-blairs-son-forces-jewish-friends-to-decline-invitation/)… David could polish his Pesach spats with his prepuce….and I seem to recall a few US presidents have pulled this too (the stunt, not the prepuce)…..#veyday loans

  • Bonkim

    Tens of thousands of other faiths are also persecuted/eliminated across the Globe. Wars in support of or against religious persecution are things of the past. I would not want Britain entangled in religious wars anywhere. often the lines are fussy and Christians are as gulty of persecuting others as any other believers. Religion is complicit in many flash-points on earth – outside intervention will only make it worse. Muslims are also persecuted/eliminated in many parts of the world – who will save them?

  • Peter Stroud

    I am not a practicing Christian, but I shudder at the lack of interest, or support, leaders of so called Christian countries give to Christians persecuted by Moslem extremists. Cameron and Hague: especially Hague were luckily defeated in their attempt to support the ‘good’ Syrian rebels. Surely they must have known that virtually no ‘good’ rebels exist any more. Obama, Bush and Blair: all professing Christians, were/are no better. As to the BBC: they are either afraid of Moslem extremists, or they have been infiltrated.

  • lookout

    Walid shoebat has the latest on christian persecution in the middle east and who is doing it, any idea?

  • sonicboomboy

    Religion used to work as a method of socio-political control before democracy and secularism, this is the modern world now and most people appreciate the universe and humanity for what it is. Any half-educated person knows very well that religions are a legacy of the pre-scientific era; usually abused in order to control the political views of its believers. Though it’s pretty difficult to get a Jew to say the Hindu creation myth is based upon human imagination, or the other way around, they all know this is true. Either way, the one thing we all agree on: Cameron is doing this for votes.

  • Mynydd

    When will people understand that Mr Cameron is all talk and does not know the meaning of the word action. If he is really concerned about Christianity he would close all Mosques, in this country, until Saudi Arabia allowed the building of Churches and the practice of Christianity in their country. Also you will be turned away and not allowed to enter the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia carrying a Bible, therefore it is only right that anyone carrying a copy of the Koran should be turned away and not allowed to enter the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    • Bonkim

      You appear to be an Ukrainian Catholic.

  • Druth

    ROFL

  • leoinlisbon

    Will David Cameron stand up for persecuted Christians ?

    No. Voters have already made up their mind about him. They view him as a defective Blair clone.
    He does not really believe in anything very much, beyond his own career.
    If he is putting himself forward as a Christian, it will be because his spin doctors
    have told him to do so.
    In a few weeks, he will be saying something entirely different, probably in contradiction to what he is saying today.
    Again, it will be at the behest of others, rather than out of conviction.

    • Mynydd

      A good summation of Mr Cameron.

    • Bonkim

      Not many voters will want Cameron or any other British PM to start the next Crusade.

  • http://english-pensioner.blogspot.co.uk/ english_pensioner

    He needs votes.
    He’s a Christian just like those parents who attend church for a few years in order to increase the chances of their offspring getting into the local CofE school.

    • Alexsandr

      but blathering on about god bothering is a good way of turning a large part of the populace off.

    • Bonkim

      That is most of the population in Britain.

  • Kitty MLB

    Well this is a David and Golliath situation.
    our Christian hero ( should it not be George, our dragon slaying
    chancellor) defending the faith. And so he should against
    the Islamic terror. Some of them around the world really think
    they are bringing back the crusades. Although in reality
    Dave cannot do much on the world stage, but he must,
    and the Church of England must do more to support Christianity
    in this country.

  • Robertus Maximus

    I take it his obsessive desire to arm the Christian-murdering Syrian rebels was also a demonstration of how devout a follower of Jesus this charlatan is.

    • Bonkim

      Followers of Jesus keep away from worldly politics and religious wars.

  • saffrin

    Jesus Christ, what is it with this man?

  • la catholic state

    Thank you Mr West…..very well said.

    Mr Cameron is simply after votes. If he wanted to help persecuted Christians….why didn’t he do so before now?! As a Nigerian archbishop exclaimed about the British government……they ignore the charred bodies of burnt Christian women and children to bemoan the fact that Nigeria bans gay ‘marriage’. Says it all really.

    There must be some supernatural/demonic reason for this particular blindness on his part. An exorcism needed perhaps?!

    • telemachus

      Better to be a Jewish atheist
      Than a hypocritical Christian Tory

      • Alexsandr

        you are beyond belief.
        I am an athiest and I think all religious intolerance is wrong, and should have been left in the 15th century.
        But discussing the persecution of Christians by Mohammedans undoes the narrative that Islam is the religion of peace -clearly a lie.

        Maybe the speccie could run a real campaign about this instead of the odd piece at Easter?

        and perhaps discuss the passages in the koran that justify this persecution.

        • telemachus

          More people have died in the name of Jesus Christ than all of the other religious persecutions put together
          As a devotee of Guido of course you know that
          And did not your teachers at school tell you what a jolly good thing the Spanish Inquisition was
          Got rid of all those pesky Muslims from Iberia

          • Alexsandr

            are you implying because of the Spanish Inquisition centuries ago, its OK for the Islamists to ethnically clean Christians and Jews from the mid east?

            I am concerned with what is happening now. We need to wake up to the genocide across the world in the name of religion.

            (Personally I would rather everybody woke up to the fact there is no deity and that all this religion stuff doesn’t matter)

            • telemachus

              Of course it matters
              All that is necessary is for Christians to reach out to Muslims and gain understanding that we have the same God

              • Andy

                You are a deluded idiot. All across the Muslim world Christians are being persecuted and murdered for their faith. Even in supposedly secular Turkey the state persecutes the Orthodox Church. So how about you tell Muslims ‘to reach out’ to Christians and recognise ‘we have the same God’.

                • Alexsandr

                  they cant. the koran tells them to slay them.

                • telemachus

                  No one said it was easy
                  You need faith Andy

                • Andy

                  I have, but you are deluded Godless Fascist.

              • Alexsandr

                so you have not read quran 9:29 then?

                “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that
                forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge
                the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they
                pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

                • telemachus

                  Allah and our God and the God of Israel are the same
                  Our mission is to convince Muslims, Chritians and Jews of that truth

                • Alexsandr

                  i wish you well with that. but if you had looked at the koran, you would know thats impossible.
                  of course there is no god so its all futile really.

                • telemachus

                  You misunderstand
                  The fundamentalist Southern Baptist Christians find passages in the bible to justify their reprehensible driving of an Islamophobic ans anti Palestinial foreign policy
                  Likewise the Islamic fundamentalists the Koran
                  We need to get moderate Christians and Moderate Muslims to engage

                • Bonkim

                  All fakes – made in man’s image.

                • MissDemeanor

                  really?

                  maybe muslims should start by trying to live in peace amongst themselves first

                  after that we can talk

              • la catholic state

                Only we don’t have the same God……Christians believe in the Truine God, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit…..Muslims don’t.

                • telemachus

                  Theological claptrap

                • Alexsandr

                  thats a good phrase to get interdenominational dialogue going.

                • la catholic state

                  That’s only your opinion. It’s isn’t the Pope’s.

                • telemachus

                  One of the problems with the Church is the dominance of Rome and undue reverence to one man

                • la catholic state

                  There’s unity in one man as leader. And the dominacne of Rome is not a problem but a good thing.

                • telemachus

                  And the doctrine of Papal Infallibility?

                • Bonkim

                  I suppose the Holy Fathers and little boys and girls.

                • Hexhamgeezer

                  Is that Stalin or Balls?

                • Colonel Mustard

                  I think that is a good term to describe how you always comment on these matters. Theological claptrap wrapped up in Marxism with a relish for deploying violence against dissent.

                • Bonkim

                  Are Catholics with their Trinity real Christians? I thought the Convention of Nisia settled that and the Papists went on to succeed the Empire of Rome.

                  Catholics are as bad as Muslims when it comes to persecuting others and violent campaigns. Don’t try to hide your bloody history.

                • Tom Tom

                  Not all Christians are Trinitarians some are Unitarians

              • MissDemeanor

                who knows the pharmaceuticals for a severely delusional mind?

            • Bonkim

              Try convincing that to a Jihadist waiting for his vestal virgins.

          • Wessex Man

            I thought for a brief moment a couple of weeks ago that you were improving but no you are stil the same sick old f***** that you’ve always been.

            • telemachus

              From a man who wants Salmond as King for life
              I will take no lectures

              • Colonel Mustard

                You will take no lectures full stop. You only know how to give them based on a naive and stubborn belief in your own silly dogma and a tediously repetitive style. Wessex Man has you nailed..

                • telemachus

                  Folks will learn
                  The people will speak next May and Wessex and Mustard will wallow in disappointment

                • Colonel Mustard

                  zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

                • MissDemeanor

                  if these war medieval times, you’d be the town nutter, standing in the town square, ringing a bell and lamenting how nobody sees the truth

          • Andy

            More people have died at the hands of God less atheists and Fascists like you than at the hands of any Christian.

            • telemachus

              Read history from tha Crusades of the Middle ages to the Recent Bush Crusade in Iraq

              • Andy

                I know history. I know how many people Godless Fascist like you have murdered – millions, upon millions, upon millions. Question we all want to know is why you are now jumping into bed with Islamo-fascist who murder our own people on our streets.

                • telemachus

                  I guess you are talking about 2 deluded mentally ill English so called converts who very sadly attacked a soldier
                  The same week there were 46 other heinous murders perpetrated by other English folk who had never been in a mosque

              • Colonel Mustard

                You know nothing about the Crusades and your grasp of history is as appalling as you are.

                • telemachus

                  Richard (Our Christian King) personally oversaw and planned the massacre which took place on a small hill called Ayyadieh, a few miles from Acre. The killings were carried out in full view of the Muslim army and Saladin’s own field headquarters. Over 3,000 men, women and children, were beaten to death, axed or killed with swords and lances.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Yes, we can all cut and paste from Wiki.

                  It was 2,700 and the circumstances were very different to what is being peddled nowadays in general anti-Christian, anti-Crusades propaganda. The Wiki entry references a single book by Robert Payne which repeats a number of errors. I suggest you acquaint yourself with that author’s record.

                  Now do some proper research into Saladin and the dynastic struggles and many more massacres he was involved in.

                • telemachus

                  Of all the religious wars in human history waged by any religion, at any place, and at any time, none have been bloodier, more genocidal, more barbaric, and more protracted than the 200-year “holy wars” by the Western Crusades against the Arabs and Islam. The Western Crusaders horrifically soaked Asia Minor and the Eastern Arab Mediterranean coast with Arab blood (both Muslim and Jewish). The objective of the Crusades was simple, to destroy the Arabs (whether Muslim or Jew) in the Holy Land of Palestine and its environs “…on the ground that they had no right to inhabit their part of the earth, while for a Christian the whole world is his country.”

                  Unlike Muslims (Arab and non-Arab) who have always tolerated Christians and Jews (Arab and non-Arab), married into them, and lived and worked with them side by side in peace as “People of the Book” in all Arab and Muslim lands as well as in old Arab Andalusia (Spain and Portugal), the Christian West has had no desire to coexist with Islam and the Arabs.

                • sonicboomboy

                  The closer two religions are, the more they hate each other.

                • telemachus

                  But we cannot leave it at that
                  I am not point scoring on this
                  I passionately believe we have a duty to bridge this divide
                  If not there will be a bloodbath on the streets of Wolverhampton

                • sonicboomboy

                  I know how to bridge the divide – don’t take your religious heritage so seriously, you must realise that gods and myths were prevalent in almost all cultures as they developed, and that we now know a lot more about the universe and humanity, enough to know what ‘creation myths’ are etc, appreciate the real world and its wonderful diversity etc, why can’t we all just get along : )

                • telemachus

                  Agreed
                  Problem is persuading those with entrenched dogmatic views to accommodate

                • Colonel Mustard

                  You have “entrenched dogmatic views”.

                • Bonkim

                  Can someone have loosely knitted dogmatic views?

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Ask telemachus. It is his term not mine.

                • Bonkim

                  you mean extreme fanatics – they were burnt at the stake in the middle-ages.

                • Alexsandr

                  Religion is the opiate of the masses – Marx. Its a tool of social control. always has been -always will.

                • telemachus

                  Not anymore
                  And not in our sophisticated Western Society
                  Cameron believes at this Eastertide it is an emotional tug on which he can capitalise
                  Reprehensible

                • Tom Tom

                  Marx was a Jewish boy in revolt against his father’s Judaism

                • Bonkim

                  Because some won’t and you have to eliminate them..

                • Colonel Mustard

                  There will be a bloodbath on the streets of Wolverhampton. And idiots like you will have contributed to it.

                • Hexhamgeezer

                  There already is a bloodbath you vile cnut, it’s just that it’s a one sided one.

                • MissDemeanor

                  is that why muslims are slaughtering muslims at the speed of light?

                • Colonel Mustard

                  But you don’t understand them at all. Both your first and second paragraphs are appallingly incorrect, subjective, simplistic and partisan.

                  You have a closed mind. Nothing anyone says about anything can or will penetrate the thick, indoctrinated matter that passes for your brain.

                  It is a complete waste of time even responding to your tripe.

                • telemachus

                  What you say about Saladin is true
                  *
                  My problem is with the Crusader mentality which as I started out saying has travelled down the ages and conditions American Foreign policy to this day

                • Colonel Mustard

                  You have no idea what a “Crusader mentality” is. None of us do. The context of that time, the piety and faith, is impossible for 21st Century “me me me” man to even contemplate let alone understand.

                  Christian populations in the Middle East at the time were in the majority and home grown. It is simply wrong to view Palestine as “Arab” and the Crusaders as aggressors. Many of the Crusaders gave up everything to depart on journeys (the peril of which are beyond our comprehension) to defend indigenous Christians against oppression and persecution. The ancient Christian churches of the Middle East were far older and more rooted in those lands than Islam. The tale of their persecution is not recent but has been gradual over 1,000 years, swinging between punitive tolerance and outright oppression.

                  But it is a sad indictment of modern Western values that the faith that motivates young British jihadis to go and fight in Syria has no parallel when it comes to Christians defending Christians in the Middle East. We will deserve everything we are going to get.

                • telemachus

                  “But it is a sad indictment of modern Western values that the faith that motivates young British jihadis to go and fight in Syria has no parallel when it comes to Christians defending Christians in the Middle East.”
                  *
                  Again you are correct in part
                  However we, in general have moved on from the barbarism that is represented by the muslim radicals you mention
                  I cannot agree that the Crusader spirit has not travelled down the years, albeit metamorphosed.
                  It is the spirit that we saw in the Camp David toothpaste moment that led to so many dead in Iraq
                  I fear for 2016 and the likelihood that Mike Huckabee or one of his other crackpot Southern Baptist Christian Jihadists will take the White House

                • Colonel Mustard

                  It’s not a question of agreeing or disagreeing. You just don’t understand or appreciate the subject matter. Best leave it and stick to Labour party propaganda.

                • telemachus

                  I am rarely so patronised

                  There are few issues that trump our great movement

                  But the soul of mankind is one

                  Your scholarship no doubt runs to the inflammatory words of Urban the second

                  *

                  From the confines of Jerusalem and from the city of Constantinople a grievous report has gone forth and has -repeatedly been brought to our ears; namely, that a race from the kingdom of the Persians, an accursed race, a race
                  wholly alienated from God, `a generation that set not their heart aright and whose spirit was not steadfast with God,’ violently invaded the lands of those Christians and has depopulated them by pillage and fire.

                  God has conferred remarkable glory in arms, great courage, bodily activity, and strength to humble the heads of those
                  who resist you ? Let the deeds of your ancestors encourage you and incite your
                  minds to manly achievements:-the greatness of King Charlemagne, and of his son
                  Louis, and of your other monarchs, who have destroyed the kingdoms of the Turks
                  and have extended the sway of Church over lands previously possessed by the
                  pagan. Let the holy sepulcher of our Lord and Saviour, which is possessed by
                  unclean nations, especially arouse you, and the holy places which are now
                  treated, with ignominy and irreverently polluted with the filth of the unclean.
                  Oh, most valiant soldiers and descendants of invincible ancestors, do not
                  degenerate; our progenitors., but recall the valor of your progenitors.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Attributed rather than inflammatory. Do you know what penalties the Caliphate imposed on Jews and Christians?

                • Bonkim

                  You make some sense telemachus. But don’t you think the enlightened ones need to take out those that do mad things in the name of their religion.

                • Bonkim

                  The real reason Colonel is religion has gone its sell by date. Most people think religion is one great con-trick. They don’t believe in spirits and Genies any more and sectarian tribalism in the old sense is dead. Regrettably there are still backward human beings in many parts of the world that believe they will get celestial virgins to bathe them in heaven if they sacrifice on the altar of their one and only true God. Let them, the earth will be a better place without them.

                  Now if you are asking the present generation of enlightened people in the West to go back to the middle-ages, pack up and join the next Crusade, well – no further comment –

                  Now if you were to say bring back witch burning or trial by fire or such that would make more sense.

                • la catholic state

                  Very well said. In fact I see no reason why the Church shouldn’t set up a Christian peace-keeping force from young men throughout the world. They could be used in emergency situations where Christians lives are at risk. There are some Christian vigilante groups….but they are scattered, badly trained and badly armed. This should be remedied.

                • Tom Tom

                  Saladin was a Kurd and they are not Arabs

                • Wessex Man

                  now you’ve shown yourself in a dark place, why not stick to facts about the Crusades and there are plenty in nearly every seat of learning.

                • Bonkim

                  Sense in your points Herr Colonel.

                • la catholic state

                  Actually…..the Crusades were a just response to evil Jihadism….and they will come again.

                • telemachus

                  Not as such
                  They were a Christian jihad in response to a military aggressor that just happened to be Muslim
                  The problem lies in how they have conditioned thought down the centuries
                  And particularly how they condition the American Right today

                • Tom Tom

                  You are potty

                • Bonkim

                  The Crusaders killed, pillaged and raped their way through Christendom before they reached the Holy Land. The people of Europe were more afraid of the Crusaders than they were of the Muslims far away..

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Not true.

                • Bonkim

                  Do your research Colonel.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Have done and I dare say far more than you and for far longer and in many more languages. And still not true.

                  ” . . . killed, pillaged and raped their way through Christendom before they reached the Holy Land.”

                  is generalisation couched as hyperbole. Or, if you prefer, the usual bunkum from bonkim.

                • Bonkim

                  Live in your dark hole Colonel – belief is a wonderful blanket to shield oneself from knowledge and understanding. You need to look in from outside the box to be able to see reality.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Which is no answer just an arrogant presumption. No dark hole but the illumination and enlightenment of journeying far and wide with an open mind. The darkest hole of the modern world is the dogma of aggressive atheism based on an incredible certainty about the unknown. My disbelief in that modern cult is rooted in personal experience which you cannot hope to understand, let alone judge. Leave it be and go your way.

                  By scorning faith and seeking to dominate you are no better than the religious zealots of the past.

                • Bonkim

                  We were discussing the Crusades and Christian violence on Christians, and others.

                  Yes you make some good points – faith and belief are the opposites of rationality and we are all confident our reasoning is right. Best to comment on the substantive issues in the report rather than each other.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Fine, but it was you who wrote:-

                  “Live in your dark hole Colonel – belief is a wonderful blanket to shield oneself from knowledge and understanding. You need to look in from outside the box to be able to see reality.”

                  Which is a fairly lengthy comment on me!

                • Wessex Man

                  This is true Colonel, I normally agree with most of your views but you seem rather blinkered on the Fourth Crusade’s sacking of Constantinople the brutal killing and rape just because they were Orthodox Christian rather than Catholic.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Not blinkered at all. Know it well and also the reasons for it. But that is not:-

                  ” . . . killed, pillaged and raped their way through Christendom before they reached the Holy Land.”

                  as a generalisation of all Crusading armies.

                • Baron

                  What’s your point, Bonkim, that we should lined up, invited the Muslims to slaughter us to level the scores.

                  This is the most idiotic argument Baron has come across. The middle ages were incredibly, sickeningly brutal, in this country, up to and many decades after the times of Elizabeth I condemned men whilst fully conscious had their guts pulled out, tongues, hands cut out, penises snipped stuffed in their mouth, women were burnt slowly if convicted of witchcraft, bear baiting was the top of the entertainment list, effigies of Gay Fawkes got stuffed with cats to make them scream when they burnt ….

                  That was what Christians did to Christians. Baron doesn’t know what the Muslims did to each other in those times, but is certain their brutality towards other Muslims wasn’t that much different. Why should the two families of the Abrahamic faith treat each other differently then, ha?

                  The key point remains: The Christian parts reformed, separated religious from the secular, the other lot hasn’t. Get this in your cranium, please.

                • Bonkim

                  No problem Baron – it was all barbaric – why do you expect the other Abrahamic Faiths to reform? There are many Christian Sects that still hold the genuine unadulterated teachings of the Bible to be true and abide by them – they would call today’s established Churches to be worshipping the Devil. Christians are not expected to be part of worldly powers or indulge in politics and war. Those that do cease to be Christians by definition.

                • Baron

                  Come on, get real, Bonkim, you tell Baron which one of the unreformed sects that follows the Good Book wants to wage a jihad on us? You know of any?

                  If someone believes in private the world was created in six 24 hour days, Baron’s the last one to object, anyone can believe in anything provided he doesn’t let that belief to interfere with the public discourse on things secular.

                  It’s also fine with Baron for you to hold the view that Christians who take part in a war shouldn’t be Christians provided you allow the barbarian to disagree with you. Fair, isn’t it?

                • Bonkim

                  man shapes God and religion to suit his transient motives. Don’t see an end to this now going on for Millennia. Christians were battling with Pagans of different colours before the followers of Allah came to the scene – one might say Judaism and Christianity begat Islam and now does not know what to with it.

                • Baron

                  How about filing every religion under the label ‘for use in private only’? A deal?

                • Bonkim

                  A christian will not be a Christian unless

                  Matt 28:18-20
                  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
                  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you…

                  Victorian Missionaries (and Allah’s soldiers) took that seriously – and used all means available to reach their quotas – bowls of rice or gentle coercion or schools, bribery, etc,

                  http://agnosticreview.com/mission.htm

                  As a bemused observer of religions – my God is greater and stronger than yours. Man being a competitive animal builds ever larger Mosques, temples or Churches to proclaim that.

                • Bonkim

                  One Example – “This sort of action was not an isolated event – indeed, it was repeated throughout Europe by all sorts of crusading hordes. The lucky Jews were given a last-minute chance to convert to Christianity in accord with Augustine’s doctrines. Even other Christians were not safe from the Christian crusaders. As they roamed the countryside, they spared no effort in pillaging towns and farms for food. When Peter the Hermit’s army entered Yugoslavia, 4,000 Christian residents of the city of Zemun were massacred before they moved on to burn Belgrade.”

                  Papist mobs killed off Byzantian Christians by the thousands, and Byzantium was sacked by returning Crusaders more often than by the Turks that finally took it over.

                • la catholic state

                  No they didn’t. Granted they weren’t as disciplined as a regular army….but they were in the main good men. The people of Europe loved the Crusaders. And the Crusaders will come again.

                • Bonkim

                  Just one of the many examples.

                  “In 1208, Pope Innocent III raised an army of over 20,000 knights and peasants eager to kill and pillage their way through France. When the city of Beziers fell to the besieging armies of Christendom, soldiers asked papal legate Arnald Amalric how to tell the faithful apart from the infidels. He uttered his famous words: “Kill them all. God will know His own.” Such depths of contempt and hatred are truly frightening, but they are only possible in the context of a religious doctrine of eternal punishment for unbelievers and eternal reward for believers.”

                  “One of the most famous examples of religious violence in the Middle Ages is of course the Crusades – attempts by European Christians to impose their vision of religion upon Jews, Orthodox Christians, heretics, Muslims, and just about anyone else who happened to get in the way. Traditionally the term “Crusades” are limited to describing massive military expeditions by Christians to the Middle East, but it is more accurate to acknowledge that there also existed “crusades” internal to Europe and directed at local minority groups.”

                  Christian propaganda is insiduous and one sided and the Catholic Church the least Christian of them all. It is simply a continuation of a resurgent Roman Empire bent on taking over the world – little different from the Islamic Jihadists and applying similar tactics through history.

                • Baron

                  But, Bonkim, it was a cruel age altogether, it wasn’t only religious zealots of the Christian and Muslim kind that killed each other, plundered and burnt the innocent, the killing fields were the norm for other splinter groups, sects, schisms as well kingdoms, principalities and stuff, too.

                  Christianity has reformed since, people in the Christian dominated countries separated that which was Caesar’s from that which was His (for inst. the Act of Toleration of 1689 here), the other major Abrahamic faith hasn’t yet undergone any such separation,

                • Bonkim

                  Yes Baron – simply pointing out the huge gap between theory and practice. All religions expand using whatever means exist and more often than not latch on to prevailing political forces. Christianity expanded across the Globe on the back of European colonialism as was the case with Islam on the back of the expanding Arab and Persian invasions across the then known world. Most forget that Christianity was not native to Europe and expanded on the back of the Papacy (inheritors of the Roman Empire sent emissaries to convert the Chieftains and Kings of the barbaric tribes that ruled the land. More often than not the early Church heads became martyrs and soon Christianity became native in Europe and most forgot it was a Mid-East religion same as Judaism, and subsequently Islam.

                  The Roman Church used tactics no different from that by Islam in pushing its Sect through the colonial territories, the barbarity of the Conquistadores in the Americas being the worst sort.

                  You point out an important point – Judaism and Islam still cling to their founding principles and retain a middle-ages flavour, whereas development of technology and science in Europe steered so called society into rationality and later modernity. Many of today’s Christians disown the Old Testament although Jesus and his disciples base their theology as a continuation of the Old.

                  You are also thereby questioning whether God and religion made man or whether man shapes both in his own image through generations. This also shows why the same religion manifests differently at different locations – and history and culture form a major part of religion and its practice.

                • Baron

                  You are enlarging the issue unnecessarily, Bonkim, on the shaping man and stuff.

                  There is nothing Baron would disagree with you on the initial contention though, the age was barbaric altogether, both sides committed atrocities. As time went by, one of the branches reformed, was taken a peg down, has no say in things secular. The other still clings to what the societies that live with the reformed religion neither like nor are willing to stomach. Whilst we cannot tell the worshipers of Allah what to do, we are not members of that club, we can insist that when live amongst us they obey our rules. Simple, don’t you think?

                • Bonkim

                  Agrre but I would be more proactive in a democratic way – push for those still living in the middle-ages to alter their ways.

                  The fundamental flaw in this argument is that either you believe in your religion – warts and all or say religion is trash. My view is that all religions are superstitions – then again if people are bent on believing superstition you can do little in a democratic system to stop them believing what they do. Not just followers of Allah – there are many Christians that take their Bible – old and new Testaments seriously. There was a civil war in England on that.

                • Baron

                  Relax, there won’t be a civil war because of the New Testament.

                  And it’s your lot that jumps on Christians, but why? Baron isn’t a member of any of the religious clubs (he acknowledges his upbringing in conditions of Christianity though), but he is astute enough (even if he says so himself) to figure that kicking them ain’t the smart thing to do. Sorry to bring the Russian who loves to strip to the waist, but Baron reckons he’s on to something using the church to push his agenda, and he is not dong that badly, is he?

                  The Christians have been around for some time, neither plaques, pestilence nor the Austrian corporal or the communist thugs succeeded in finishing them off, why on earth would you think Dawkins and your lot can do it? Arghhh

                • Bonkim

                  Contrary to your view – I believe everyone has a right to their beliefs – regards Christians or any other religions prospering – rot always sets in from inside. External persecution only reinforces faith however misplaced.

                  Look at Viet Nam, Iraq or Afghanistan, even the mighty give up once doubt sets in. Britain – Christianity as it existed a hundred or even fifty years back is no more. People have stopped believing in the Bible or what it can do for them. The rot is internal and outsiders and their alien cultures or bigotry have little to do with that. Let us face it God and the Bible are not the first thing one rushes to when in trouble – they did so in the past.

                • Tom Tom

                  There was no reason for Muslims to be in Jerusalem or Constantinople

                • Jim Station

                  Your comment about the Crusades fails to consider the reason why the Muslims had invaded the Holy Land, and how they were treating the Christians once they had taken over.
                  Your statement that Muslims have always tolerated Christians and Jews is simply not true. Saudi Arabia for example bans Jewish people from entering the country, bans all churches, Christian ministers and priests, bibles and so on. Any priest who does get into the country is under constant threat of arrest. Churches in Pakistan and Egypt for example are regularly firebombed. In other countries the number of churches is strictly limited. There is no need to mention the way Christians in Iraq and Syria have been treated….
                  Non Muslims who live in Muslim countries also often have less rights than Muslims do.
                  Your point about marriage between Muslims and non Muslims fails to point out that non Muslim men are not allowed to marry Muslim women, and that non Muslim women who marry Muslim men must convert to Islam.
                  To say that countries who treat Christians and Jews in this way ‘tolerate’ them is a gross misunderstanding of the situation.

              • Tom Tom

                How did Muslims get to Spain ?

          • la catholic state

            More people have died in the name of atheism and Islam than in Christ. Christ is the Prince of Peace……and those who don’t like Him won’t get to Heaven. They wouldn’t like it anyhow.

            • telemachus

              Now that is not conciliatory

      • Tom Tom

        You cannot be a Jewish Atheist

  • Tom Tom

    Ed West has said it clearly: we are ruled by godless charlatans kow-towing to Saudi gold and Cultural Marxist Shibboleths

Close