Responding to a Fundamental Crisis Within Islam Itself

Jul 12, 2020 by

When US attorney Stephen Rasche left his practice and moved to northern Iraq to assist its long-suffering Christians, he confronted a grotesque reality that most Westerners have the luxury of ignoring. In The Disappearing People, Rasche paints a disturbingly vivid picture of the tragedy he witnessed in Iraq.

Rasche does not shy away from identifying the fundamental cause of Christianity’s disappearance from its historic birthplace in the Middle East. The calamitous fate of Iraq’s Christians—so diligently and movingly documented by Rasche’s irrefutable first-hand testimony—is simply the latest chapter in a long and tragic history of religious persecution in the Muslim world. From sub-Saharan Africa to South and Southeast Asia, religious minorities often experience severe discrimination and violence inflicted by those who embrace a supremacist, ultraconservative interpretation of Islam that has been widely propagated in recent decades by Middle East states, including long-time US allies Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

This stark reality confronts each of us with a profound moral choice: shall we remain silent and ignore the suffering of others, so long as it does not directly affect us? Or shall we pursue the truth and obey the dictates of conscience, whatever the consequences may be?

The horrendous violence that has engulfed so much of the Islamic world threatens not only those who dwell in Nigeria, Sudan, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, or Pakistan, but also those of us who live in seemingly tranquil societies far away. If we wish to end this primordial cycle of hatred, tyranny, and violence—which also periodically erupts, to tragic effect, on the streets of Jakarta, Mumbai, London, Paris, and New York—we must ask a number of questions that require difficult and honest answers.

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