Journalist Speaks Out Against Media Silence on Christian Persecution
(Photo: Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah)
A Christian woman who fled Iraq in June pictured above.
Notable American journalist Georgie Anne Geyer has condemned media reports that have left out the persecution of Christians in stories that have made major headlines, including news on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Ebola.
Geyer noted in an editorial piece published in The Columbus Dispatch that the two biggest news stories in the past months have both involved the plight of Christians.
"Consider first the American doctor Kent Brantly, whose work confronting Ebola in Nigeria resulted in being infected himself. He became the very symbol of the disease when he was flown back to the U.S. and was healed at Emory University Hospital. Dr. Brantly is an impassioned member of the medical wing of Samaritan's Purse, the Protestant overseas missionary group led by Billy Graham's son, the Rev. Franklin Graham, and yet I never saw him referred to as a Christian missionary," Geyer said.
When Brantly recovered from Ebola, he continued to be vocal about his faith in Jesus. "I will never grow tired of talking of this. I'm going to keep telling my story, so I can remember what God has done in my life," Bradley told the group.
The second story that Geyer mentions is the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East with ISIS. She said that many stories have consistently mentioned the Yazidis, a religious minority in the region, as the main target of the Islamic militants. However, she noted that Christians have been targeted just as much as the Yazidis, stating that the militants have been marking the homes of Christians in order to destroy them.
"Pre-2003, the Christian population of Iraq was about 1.5 million or 5 percent of the population, according to The Economist; today it has fallen to under 400,000, and is falling every day," Geyer said.
More than 120,000 Christians fled the largely Christian city of Mosul after ISIS militants invaded in June and left Christians with an ultimatum: convert to Islam, pay a religious fine, or face death by the sword. The militants have declared cities in Iraq and Syria as their "Islamic Caliphate." In total, about 1.2 million people have been affected by the conflict in Iraq.
Geyer mentioned that "the most complete and moving article on the media's silence" was a piece written by president of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald S. Lauder, published in The New York Times.
"Historians may look back at this period and wonder if people had lost their bearings," Lauder wrote in his article. "Few reporters have traveled to Iraq to bear witness to the Nazi-like wave of terror that is rolling across that country. The United Nations has been mostly mum. World leaders seem to be consumed with other matters in this strange summer of 2014. There are no flotillas traveling to Syria or Iraq. ... Why doesn't the slaughter of Christians seem to activate their social antennas?"
Geyer called on Catholic and Christian leaders to follow in the footsteps of the Pope who has been vocal about the persecution of Christians by the hands of ISIS.
"If the word Protestant is not heard here, then perhaps one should not be surprised when one day it becomes as rare as the Chaldeans, the Melkite Greek Catholics, the Syrian Orthodox, the Nestorians or the Assyrian Church of the East, only a few of the churches that have constituted the rich Christian tradition in what was once the true world of the Bible."