Rorate Caeli

The Christian Genocide

Family members in the funeral of one of those killed in the bombing of
All Saints' Peshawar (Anglican), Pakistan
Is there any other name for what is happening? Yes, the time has come to use the G word: what is happening is Genocide, the small Christian minorities in several Muslim countries are being targeted in order to attain their disappearance from where they live and have lived for centuries.

The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was signed in 1948 and entered into effect in 1951. Its definition of genocide is clear, and includes any single one of the following.

Article 2. In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

Day after day, thousands upon thousands of Christians are being object of (a), (b), and (c) throughout the Muslim world, and even outside it: this past weekend, the largest massacre of Christians in Pakistani history included the death of at least 85 in the northwestern city of Peshawar. Numerous were maimed in Kirkuk, Iraq, when the home of a Christian MP was bombed. This in two days. The martyrdom in Nigeria by Boko Haram (the deadliest in the world) and that in Syria by Al-Qaeda-related forces continue unabated, and the suffering is far from over in Egypt. Christians, a "religious group", are being "killed", are being "serious harmed bodily and mentally", and the sole intent is clearly to "inflict on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part", either by forced migration and uprooting or direct annihilation. This is Genocide.

And, while the ongoing attack in Nairobi, Kenya, is not on the same level of threatening the existence of a group (Kenya being a Christian-majority nation), the genocidal intents of the Somalian Islamist group could not be clearer: "Are you Muslim or Christian? We don’t want to kill Muslims." 

When Polish-Jewish lawyer Rafał Lemkin first coined the word in 1944, he declared that the defining example of Genocide in the 20th century (a model for the one being perpetrated at that exact moment throughout Europe) had "first" been that of "the Armenians" (source) - the targeted execution or expulsion of Christian Armenians by Muslims from the lands they had occupied for millennia in Anatolia. The almost complete elimination of Christians from East Thrace and Anatolia during the first half of the 20th century provides Muslims everywhere with a clear template: it is possible to completely uproot Christians from their ancestral lands.

It is past the time for the Church in her highest representation, all Catholics, all Christians, and responsible governments to at least recognize the Genocide (or rather, Genocides) taking place against different Christian populations in Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, with the help, or, in many (most?) cases, with the complicity of Muslim-dominated governments. It is indeed impossible for this giant genocidal enterprise to "be maintained without broad and deep support from the Muslim population".

Even if only words are said, the truth must be said, in a firm and unmistakable recognition: the Genocide of Christian minorities is taking place.