Free ePub novel They Say We Are Infidels by Mindy Belz to download. Mindy Belz’s ” They Say We Are Infidels” is a story that captures an emotional ride, unraveling in a non-linear fashion. Only near the conclusion, are secrets exposed. Full of secrets, loss, betrayal, death, forgiveness, redemption, love still stands out in this tale.
On March 17, 2016, US Secretary of State John F. Kerry declared ISIS (“Daesh”) to be committing genocide, listing Yezidis, Christians, and Shia Muslims as victims. Christians were afraid that they would be left out of the decision-making process because the State Department had stated for months that there was no strong evidence of Christian genocide. Christians were specifically excluded from the report of the United States Holocaust Museum. The report’s authors, however, “talked with Yezidis, Shia Turkmen, and Shia Shabak but not with any similarly offended Christians,” according to Nina Shea of the Hudson Institute in National Review. The report makes no mention of Christian leaders or documentary sources.”
Nobody who reads World Magazine editor Mindy Belz’s book They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East should ever wonder if Christians fall victim to ISIS atrocities. They’ll also discover that attempts to eliminate Christianity in the Middle East had been made before Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared himself Caliph of the Islamic State.
Belz is embedded with the local Christian community and documents the increasing suffering of an already suffering people. She explains, “I didn’t go looking for Christians in Iraq; I stumbled upon them when I went to cover a U.S.-led war. But the vitality of the Christian community there would draw me in, and their underreported plight would compel me to return again and again” (xix).
Belz had made friends with Iraqi and Syrian Christians by the time the ISIS genocide horror began. Her personal affairs are in conflict with her journalistic professionalism, which she has maintained during her 13-year stay in the region. As a result, no one writes about the predicament of Middle Eastern Christians with more zeal, authenticity, and understanding than Belz. Christians, Yezidis, and others are presented as individuals, fellow Christians, and representatives of historic imperiled cultures in Infidels.
The continued disrespect for Christian and minority communities by Western governments is as alarming as the annihilation of these communities. Belz reveals this heinous indifference, which nobody seemed to notice until ISIS sawed off the heads of Christian men on a Libyan beach. “We don’t think there is a wave of violence targeting Christians; it’s just happening as a byproduct of the general situation,” a State Department official informed her as she covered news of church bombs and other atrocities (99). However, by 2006, Baghdad’s St. George’s Church maintained a 24-page list of Christians who had been murdered or kidnapped.
“Iraq’s Christians and other minorities” had “long considered themselves allies of the United States,” according to Belz, but they “didn’t seem to figure into the calculation” for the US administration (168). Furthermore, Western forces dedicated to advancing Middle East freedom and democracy, according to Belz, failed to see the “strategic necessity” of assisting Christians. This prompted a young parent to ask Belz the same question that all the Christians in the neighborhood were asking: “Why is America standing up for the rights of Muslims but not for the rights of Christians” (167)?
Belz remembers a conference with American and European military leaders at which a NATO expert reported on the continuous persecution of Christians and other minorities. “Would you act if genocide is perpetrated against Iraq’s Christians?” the adviser asked the military leaders. “I would not deploy my soldiers to intervene,” the American response said. “No, we would not intervene,” the British responded. “With your history of liberty for all and commitment to do what is right, would you not intervene?” the adviser “even reframed the topic.” The leaders informed him once more that they would not act (220-21).
When they did perceive danger indicators, Western officials were hesitant to intervene, according to Belz. Starting with George W. Bush’s administration and continuing through Barack Obama’s, American leaders have traded an American legacy of standing up for minorities facing annihilation—Holocaust survivors, Russian Pentecostals, Rwandans, Congolese, and others—for a political advantage that has never materialized. For the ostensible benefit of looking nonsectarian, American policymakers traded the lives of individuals targeted by sectarian insurgents. (xvii)
Not only was this a tragic reversal of America’s past, but it was also a terrible error. The Christians’ experience may have aided the US and its allies in combating Islamist doctrine, but no one paid attention. As a result, Islam was named “the official religion of the State” and “a basic source of legislation” in Article 2 of Iraq’s new constitution. Individual rights and religious freedom should have been guaranteed for all Iraqis in the constitution. Instead, it “undermined the secular state itself” and paved the way for future conflict (94).
Similarly, despite rejecting natural allies, the United States courted freedom’s foes. The Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq is mentioned by Belz (SCRI). Even though this Iranian-backed political party had limited popularity among Shiites, the US handed these Iranian proxies a seat on the Iraqi Governing Council. “The Americans couldn’t—or wouldn’t—see that parties like SCRI wanted to establish a theocracy,” Belz says (25).
Surprisingly, Western forces had little awareness of indigenous Christians’ ancient, a rich legacy dating back to the days of Abraham, Jonah, and Jesus, and much before Islam was introduced. Most diplomats and military leaders, according to Belz, “thought [Christianity] was an import of British colonial rule or a fabrication of American evangelicals” (15).
Belz discusses the outright attack on Christians in the last part of the Infidels, “Inside the House of War.” She introduces ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi through the attack on Baghdad’s Our Lady of Salvation Church in October 2010, in which 58 people were killed and 75 others were injured in a four-hour siege (178). Baghdadi describes this depravity, which most people regard as insane, as “true Islam.” Adding to the “pure Islam”: The Islamist al-Nusra Front (later merged into ISIS) conquered Raqqa, Syria, in March 2013. Children were “killed or publicly executed, crucified, beheaded, and stoned to death,” according to a UN fact-finding mission.
When ISIS seized Mosul in June 2014, Infidels follows the exodus of Christians and others in the early morning hours. Iraqi soldiers abandoned their posts and disrobed, leaving civilians vulnerable. Christians who refused to leave or pay the massive fine (jizyah) imposed on infidels were executed on the spot by ISIS. Hundreds of thousands of people fled, abandoning their homes, companies, and everything else. “We have lived in Mosul and had a civilization for thousands of years, and suddenly some strangers came and removed us from our homes,” one Christian told Belz. (219) “The Christians thought that their Muslim neighbors had shown ISIS the way to Christian homes,” Belz writes, “and no one in the army or police had come to their aid.” (220)
ISIS invaded Sinjar, the home of the Yezidis, a few months later, snatching boys to serve as fighters and girls to sell as sex slaves. ISIS trapped 40,000 people at the summit of Mt. Sinjar, predominantly Yezidis but also Christians, with no food, water, or shelter. 7,000 Yezidis and Christians were killed on Mt. Sinjar before U.S. helicopter rescue missions, and 500 girls were sold as sex slaves. ISIS sexually assaulted women, girls, and even little children. Some committed suicide to escape the misery, while others pleaded with the US to “bomb them” so they could die. Belz returns to Christians and Yezidis who have been scarred by murder, rape, or kidnapping and have been forced to leave time and time again.
To aid in their rescue, Christians established Assyrian militias. “It’s not acceptable to watch our lands be taken over by terrorist groups and then expect Kurds to come in and reclaim them while we stand by and watch.” We have to be involved because it’s our land and our people,” Odisho Yousif told Belz. (258)
Despite the fact that Iraqi Christians receive little aid from the government, Belz claims that American, British, and other military veterans fight alongside them. “The foreign warriors were a mishmash of Christians, atheists, and others who were religiously agnostic,” she says. “What they shared was a belief that the US and its allies owed something to the Iraqis, and that they had sat on the sidelines for far too long, waiting for the West to act.” (261)
Infidels has the potential to be a very gloomy, hopeless story. However, this is not the case. Belz’s book has a lot of clout because of the Middle East Church’s clout. Belz explains how the same God who is willing to die for Middle Eastern Christians also nourishes them in their pain. Their faith is strong; they receive assistance and support from local churches to which they have fled, and they are coming together and cooperating like never before. Belz was astounded by the tenacity and bravery of Christians in the Middle East, such as Nicodemus Daoud Sharaf, Syriac Archbishop of Mosul. “They can take everything from us, but they can’t take God from our hearts—they can’t,” Sharaf, one of the last to leave Mosul, said (220).
Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo, Syria’s head of the Chaldean Church and Bible translator, told Belz that it was critical for Eastern churches to stay in the Middle East and “maintain a presence of Christians among Muslim people.” He claimed he was fulfilling his role as a witness by “showing the Lord’s presence and serving him joyfully” (165).
In 2007, Father Ragheed Ganni of the Mosul Church of the Holy Spirit, together with three deacons, were martyred. “We identify with Christ, who entered Jerusalem well aware that the cost of His love for mankind would be the cross,” Ganni wrote. As a result, while bullets shattered our church windows, we offered our pain to Christ as a sign of love. This is a real war, but with Divine Grace’s support, we hope to carry our cross to the very end” (161-2).
According to Belz: As I watched these believers discover water in this desert, I sought to comprehend the depths of Christian brotherhood… It was one thing to care for displaced families when they initially came, but it was quite another to assist them six months, a year, or eighteen months later. The long years of war and persecution leading up to ISIS’s invasion had honed a muscular response that instead of pushing their hands away from the blazing flame, drew them closer to it—and closer to each other. (291)
Belz reflects, there is a chance for American Christians to create good out of evil. A church in Indiana contributed $60,000 to cover the cost of six months’ rent for 80 families staying at the Erbil hotel. Yusuf Matti, an Iraqi pastor, could require assistance in establishing schools for Yazidi, Muslim, and Christian youngsters. “If churches in the United States pooled their resources against such a simple need,” Belz argues, “American Christians might make a genuine difference in the lives of ISIS victims” (280).
“Christians confronted face-to-face and door-to-door by ISIS had run, certainly,” Belz adds, “but they had run only when staying meant giving up their religion.” In all their suffering and grief, the beautiful, nearly forgotten reality was this: they had hung on to the one thing that mattered most to them” (295).
What counts most to the Syrian Orthodox monks of Mar Matti, a 4th-century monastery approximately 12 miles from Mosul, is to stay. “A shepherd cannot leave his flock,” Yousif Ibrahim, the head monk, said Belz, “as long as there are any Christians left in Iraq.” The monastery, one of the few cultural institutions not destroyed by ISIS, is presently occupied by three brave monks and six students and is defended by a special unit of the Peshmerga Kurdish militia. From atop Mar Matti’s Mt. Alfaf, the continuing battle can be seen well. “The sky lights up at night,” Ibrahim said Belz, “but we’re not terrified.” God guards us” (266-67).
Despite their suffering and death, despite their perplexed disappointment with a silent West and a silent Western Church, Infidels demonstrates that Middle Eastern Christians confide in the love of the God they serve and to whom they have given everything, Infidels demonstrates that Middle Eastern Christians are confident in the love of the God they serve and for whom they have given everything. They play a crucial role in His Sovereign design when they work together.
Details About They Say We Are Infidels by Mindy Belz ePub
- Name: They Say We Are Infidels
- Author: Mindy Belz
- Language: English
- Genre: Literary Fiction
- Format: PDF/ePub
- Size: 1 MB
- Page: 210
- Price: Free
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