The Islamic State is at it again. More stories of atrocities against Christians continued to surface. In one, a Christian man, Meghrik, said the bus in which he was riding in Syria was stopped at what turned out to be an ISIS checkpoint. Three men dressed in black entered and began checking all the passengers’ identification papers. “Are you a Christian?” they asked him. “No,” he said. He explained that he was raised by Christian parents and his family name was Christian, but that he was not. “You’re lying,” the fighter said. “Your name says you’re a Christian. Come with me.” He was taken to an ISIS judge who “concluded that he was a Christian” and said “You’re sentenced to death.” Thereafter Meghrik was severely whipped and tortured. At one point, he was thrown in a hole in the ground and surrounded by an execution squad prepared to fire. After 10 days of this treatment and for unknown reasons — Meghrik cites a miracle and is now a devout Christian — he was released.
While much of the world acknowledges that the Islamic State is engaged in acts of genocide against religious minorities such as Christians and Yazidis, in other Muslim states, such as Pakistan, Christians and other non-Muslim minorities are experiencing a “drip-drip genocide“, said the noted author, journalist and Pakistani politician Farahnaz Ispahani:
“Right before the partition of India and Pakistan, we had a very healthy balance of religions other than Islam. Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Zoroastrians. Pakistan goes from 23 per cent [non-Muslim at the time of partition in 1947], which is almost a quarter of its population, to three per cent today. I call it a ‘drip drip genocide’, because it’s the most dangerous kind of wiping out of religious communities…. It doesn’t happen in one day. It doesn’t happen over a few months. Little by little by little, laws and institutions and bureaucracies and penal codes, textbooks that malign other communities, until you come to the point of having this sort of jihadi culture that is running rampant.”
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Turkish newspapers have recently reported that plans are underway to restore the historic Greek Hagios Georgios Church, referred to as “Aya Yorgi” in Turkish. The church will be converted into a museum and a cultural site.
Osmaneli Mayor Munur Sahin said that the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, also visited the region, and said:
“We re-evaluated the situation of the church. This place will never be opened to worship again. It will serve as a museum and a cultural venue. We obtained the necessary permits; we will bring movable cultural artifacts from around Osmaneli and keep them here.”
The restoration project, approved by the Council of Monuments, is set to be finished in two years. The church lies in ruins — largely because the congregants were either murdered or forcibly deported during and after the 1914-1923 Greek genocide.
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Egypt‘s Christians flee Sinai amid Islamic State killing spree
Christian families and students fled Egypt’s North Sinai province in droves on Friday after Islamic State killed the seventh member of their community in just three weeks. A Reuters reporter saw 25 families gathered with their belongings in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia’s Evangelical Church and church officials said 100 families, out of around 160 in North Sinai, were fleeing. More than 200 students studying in Arish, the province’s capital, have also left.