The Attacks on
the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington
are a reminder of the existence of evil in the world. It is very
clear that Islamic extremism has made its way to America and Europe.
In 1995, there were a series of bombings in France related to
the civil war in Algeria between the military government and Fundamentalists.
Yet, for the past
1,400 years Eastern Christians have lived with, endured, and coped
under Sharia (Islamic law). The first Islamic conquests took place
during the last decade of the rule of Byzantine Emperor Heraclius
(610-641). Syria, Egypt, and Palestine were lost to Christianity.
Christian leaders such as Patriarch Sophronius of Jerusalem made
deals with Caliph Omar for the protection of his flock and of
Christendom's Holy places.
claim of tolerance, Greek Orthodox, Armenian, Coptic, and other
Eastern Christians found themselves under terrible conditions.
While not immediately forced to convert, Christians were forced
to submit and to accept their new rulers as their masters. Economic
pressures and discrimination contributed to the eventual conversion
of millions of Christians to Islam.
The losses of
Eastern Christianity continued following the invasions of Byzantium
that were begun by the Seljuk Turks in August 1071. Steadily,
Greek Christians were converted to Islam and adopted Turkish and
Arabic as their languages. In 1453, Sultan Mehmed II achieved
one of Islam's most notorious conquests when he conquered Constantinople
and defeated the Christian Empire's last Emperor Constantine Paleologos.
made peace with the Sultan at the expense of Christian Greeks,
Serbs, Rumanians, Bulgarians, Albanians, and Armenians. Christian
boys were kidnapped and taken to the Janissaries for conversion
to Islam and political indoctrination. Women were taken into harems,
Churches were converted into Mosques and Christians were forced
to acknowledge the superiority of their rulers. "Zakat"
a special tax was imposed on Christians. Disputes between Christians
and Muslims were heard in Islamic Courts.
At the dawn of
the twentieth Century, there were still millions of Christians
in the Turkish Ottoman Empire. In 1915, the Young Turks began
a process of slaughtering one and a half million Armenian Christians.
Furthermore, the Greeks of Pontus and Asia Minor were likewise
targeted for extermination.
In 1919, the Greek
Army liberated the ancient city of Smyrna. Smyrna is one of the
seven Churches that St. John wrote to in the Book of Revelation,
the last book of the Bible. The Greek and Armenian Christians
who sought their right to self determination were denied not only
by Turkish Muslims such as Muftapha Kemal and Noureddin Pasha,
but by the western powers looking to protect their economic and
geostratic interests at the expense of the Eastern Churches. In
September 1922, the Metropolitan of Smyrna, Chrysostomos was butchered
and thrown into the sea. French soldiers who witnessed this horror
did not intervene.
In fact, the French,
Italians, British, and Americans armed the Turks while denying
the Greek army the means to effectively fight Kemal's forces.
In 1923, Asia Minor was ethnically cleansed when over one million
Greeks were expelled upon the orders of Mustapha Kemal. The region
where the Seven Ecumenical Councils took place was cleansed of
On September 6,
1955 the Turkish government (now secular but as fanatical and
anti-Christian as is predeccessors) sponsored a vicious pogrom
against the Greeks of Constantinople. Most Greeks fled the former
Christian Capital and there are only 2,500 left today. Over the
past eight years, there have been four bombings of the Ecumenical
Patriarchate by fundamentalist extremists. There is no coverage
of this in western media just as the slaughter of Turkey's Christian
populations is virtually unknown by most westerners.
Since 1984, over
two million Christians in the Sudan have been killed in genocidal
assaults by the country's Fundamentalist regime. There have been
wide reports that black Christians are literally slaves who are
purchased like property, owned, and then sold. Yet, the United
States, Europe, NATO, and CNN have been rather quiet.
In Egypt, the
ancient Coptic Church has been suffering for centuries. Christians
are discriminated against, beaten, terrorized, and murdered while
their Churches are desecrated and destroyed. When Fundamentalist's
embarked on a terror campain against western tourists a few years
ago, these attacks were widely reported. The Copts were not mentioned.
have been fighting for their survival in Nagorno Karabakh against
Azerbaijan since 1988. The Armenians were almost annihilated as
a result of the Turkish Genocide, yet western companies are looking
to placate Turkey by lobbying to prevent recognition by the United
States of the Armenian genocide and are interested in Oil in areas
like Azerbaijan which leads them to oppose the humanitarian interests
The last decade
has been a painful one for Eastern Orthodox Christians. The 1990's
began happily enough with the collapse of Communism and the liberation
of Orthodox Churches in Russia, Ukraine, Byelorussia, Georgia,
Bulgaria, Romania, and Serbia. However, when Serbs reacted to
the revival of fascism in Croatia and of Islamic Fundamentalism
in Bosnia, and proceeded to defend themselves they were condemned
by the entire world.
It was during
the Bosnian war that the Clinton administration chose to allow
mass murderers like Osama Bin Laden, Afghanistan, Saudia Arabia,
and Turkey to invade the Balkans to fight the Serbs were seeking
to fulfill their right to self determination. The madness of the
west's policy in the Balkans reached its apogee when it declared
war on Christian Serbia in 1999 and NATO proceeded to bomb not
only military targets but civilian targets such as Monastaries,
Hospitals, and trains. Furthermore, the use of depleted Uranium
by NATO has been the cause of Cancer and Leukemia among soldiers
In December 1998,
the Clinton administration announced it would not bomb Iraq during
the month of Ramadan when Muslims fast. This was despite claims
by the administration that Baghdad was developing weapons of mass
destruction. Yet on Orthodox Easter 1999, NATO bombs continued
to fall on Serbia without interruption.
It must be noted
that Osama Bin Laden, the architect of mass murder and human suffering
had established a base in Albania, Bosnia (who's government is
said to have given him a passport) and NATO occupied Kosovo. In
fact, the detaching of Kosovo from Serbia by NATO is the west's
most recent sacrifice of Eastern Christianity.
It should be noted
that there is tolerance for Christianity in the Islamic world.
Iran has a large Armenian community and allows its Christians
to be elected to Parliament and to be sworn in on a Bible. Syria
has long been known for its tolerance of Christianity. The Greek
Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch is located in Damascus and has
a flock of at least half a million or so. Iraq likewise tolerates
its Christian communities. In Palestine, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
recently received the support of the Palestinian leadership against
the intervention of the Israelis in its recent election.
Over the last
several years, there have been various anti-Orthodox commentaries
in the western media. The Serbs in particular have been demonized.
Some writers have accused Greece of being "Muslim hating".
This is particularly bizarre in light of the history of suffering
that Orthodox Christians have experienced.
The attack on
the World Trade Center was an act of barbarism. Religion should
not be confused with political extremism. Yet, barbaric acts like
this by religious fanatics are routine for Eastern Christians
struggling to survive in some Muslim countries. It is my fervent
wish and hope that America will recognize the fanatical zeolots
and what they are capable of, and that America and Europe will
finally not only acknowledge Eastern Christianity and its bloody
experiences, but it will stop sacrificing the Eastern Churches
and their flocks to the likes of Turkey, (has a strong fundamentalist
movement and an Islamic partner in government) Egypt, Bosnia,