While most Americans may not be mindful of the day-to-day persecution of Christians by the Islamic State, the founder of ISIS, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, specifically targets Christians for execution, rape and crucifixion, promising to march to Rome “breaking the crosses” of Christians.
Steve Wagner, founder and president of a new group, Solidarity with the Persecuted Church (SPC), says, “It’s hard for Americans to get our arms around this level of hatred.”
In this exclusive interview for The Daily Caller News Foundation, Wagner discusses the well-known Coptic Christians executed on a Libyan beach, the martyrdom of Father Jacques Hamel in Normandy, France this summer, the murder of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity nuns in Yemen, among many other Islamist attacks.
Busy living their lives, Americans probably expect that the U.S. government, the United Nations or a multitude of non-government organizations (NGOs) are mobilizing to help persecuted Christians in the Middle East, Africa or elsewhere.
But Wagner says Christians he speaks with feel abandoned.Sadly, to Christians under attack in Iraq, Syria and Nigeria, “the number one villain in the minds of the Christians there is the U.S. Government,” according to Wagner’s discussions with local leaders of the persecuted Christian church.
In Iraq and Syria, most locals believe “the United States is the sponsor of the Islamic State” because of what we did in Iraq, Wagner explains.
Other “villains,” he says, are Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and Iran. Wagner is also highly critical of the United Nations, which has excluded Christians from peace talks about Syria happening in Geneva. Welcoming the role Russia is playing for Christians under attack, Wagner says “It’s a tremendous irony that the best friend that the Christians have in Syria there may be Russia.”
His group is struggling to fill the void by working with church leaders who spell out specific needs to endure and fortify against this genocide. Leaders who inspire Wagner include Nigerian Bishop Oliver Doeme, who shows bravery on the front lines by walking the streets wearing his cassock, giving others courage.
In Iraq, Father Benam saved multitudes of Christians from certain death when, Wagner says, he acted like the “Paul Revere of Iraq” to Christians two years ago, warning them to leave before ISIS arrived. While Patriarch Aphrem in Syria, “a beautiful and holy man,” according to Wagner, survived an assassination attempt by ISIS, three of his body guards were killed in the attack.
Domestically, Wagner condemns the failure of our own government to keep Americans safe by embracing political correctness, which allowed Islamic terrorists to kill in San Bernardino, Calif.
“To the extent Donald Trump was saying it is unacceptable that we admit to this country people who are going to do violence to our citizens, I agree completely [with his immigration policy to screen Muslims],” Wagner says.
In this video interview, Wagner makes note of an Atlantic Monthly piece that explains how jihadi strategy is not necessarily abhorrent for the Islamic faith. For more information, the Associated Press has recently added the discovery of numerous mass graves to its compilation of ISIS’s atrocities.
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