By Kamil Toume
Islamists are planning on committing a major genocide on Christians. How do we know this? History is a portal into the future. The Muslims committed one of the greatest genocides on Christians in history: The Armenian Genocide.
The Armenians, a Christian group, had lived in the rugged mountain region of eastern Turkey within the Ottoman Empire for more than a thousand years. The Armenians had grown in size and power over the years.
By the mid-1800s, the Ottoman Turks had become fearful about the Armenians’ growing independence and were determined to solve the “Armenian Question.” In 1908, a new group called the Young Turks overthrew the sultan and took control of the Ottoman Empire. The Young Turks seemed, at first, to reach out to the empire’s minorities but then turned on the Armenians. The Young Turks believed the Armenians to be rejecting their rule and culture because Armenians, having never converted to Islam, had their own culture and language
During World War I, the Ottoman Empire joined forces with Germany and Austria-Hungary against Russia, Serbia, France and England. The Young Turks saw the war as an opportunity to take care of its “Armenian Question” without foreign influence.
Some Armenians lived in Russia, just across the Ottoman border and joined the Russian army. The Ottoman Turks feared the Armenians would help the Russian army invade, so in 1915, orders were given to resettle the Armenian people away from the borders. The Turks rounded up most of the military-age men and marched them to a remote location to be murdered.
The other men and women were marched in caravans to unknown destinations through deserts with no food or water. Those that didn’t die from starvation or heat stroke were killed by bayonet.
World War I ended in November 1918, with the defeat of Germany, Austria-Hungary and the Ottoman Empire. Out of the 2 million Armenians who lived in the Ottoman Empire at the start of the war, more than 1 million were murdered through actions now termed genocidal.
Seven Turkish officials were tried and sentenced to death, but as they had fled the country, the sentences were not carried out. Since the creation of a United Nations convention to prevent and stop genocide, the survivors of the Armenian genocide and their families have sought to have these events recognized as genocide. Most scholars agree that this was the first genocide of the 20th century, and many countries have passed resolutions recognizing it as such. In the United States, attempts to pass just such a resolution in Congress have been limited as the government of Turkey refuses to recognize the events as genocide and works to halt discussion of the topic.
Now the history repeats itself in Syria with Christians, mass massacres were reported over many cities in Syria but the most horrendous one was committed against the Christians in Sadad.
The greatest holocaust in history is coming, and we must all that we can do to save Christians in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, and numerous other areas. Please donate to save the lives of helpless Christians.
On 21 October 2013, the town, which is strategically located between the city of Homs city and the capital Damascus, was reportedly overrun by Islamist militants belonging to the Al Nusra Front.
In the same context, Here are the words of Archbishop Selwanos Boutros Alnemeh, Syriac Orthodox Metropolitan of Homs and Hama describing what happened in Sadad, a Christian area in Homs, Syria.
What happened in Sadad is the most serious and biggest massacre of Christians in Syria in the past two years and a half… 45 innocent civilians were martyred for no reason, and among them several women and children, many thrown into mass graves. Other civilians were threatened and terrorized. 30 were wounded and 10 are still missing. For one week, 1,500 families were held as hostages and human shields. Among them children, the elderly, the young, men and women…. All the houses of Sadad were robbed and property looted. The churches are damaged and desecrated, deprived of old books and precious furniture… What happened in Sadad is the largest massacre of Christians in Syria and the second in the Middle East, after the one in the Church of Our Lady of Salvation in Iraq, in 2010.
The effect of this campaign of violence and intimidation has been devastating for Christianity in Syria. Syria boasted a flourishing Christian population of at least 3 million. Today the high-end estimate for the number of Christians left is around 700,000, and realistically many believe it could be as low as 350,000. Most of these Syrian Christians have fled the country, but a staggering number have been killed.
In effect, the world is witnessing the rise of an entire new generation of Christian martyrs. The carnage is occurring on such a vast scale that it represents not only the most dramatic Christian story of our time, but arguably the premier human rights challenge of this era as well.
There may be no question about the destiny of Christianity in the early 21st century but now it is deserving a compelling answer.
What else is well deserved is our attention to tending to the persecuted Christians. I ask you too look into your own soul, and realize that we must help the helpless Christians. Please donate to save a life in Pakistan, in Syria, and in Iraq.
Kamil Toume is a Syrian Christian whose father and sister were both murdered by jihadists in the horrific Massacre of Dweir, in which almost 40 Christians were butchered. He now works with us as our Syrian correspondent.