Standing up for Christians in Qatar, and Beyond
Washington, DC – The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), a faith-based coalition of 34,000 Churches comprised of 15 denominations and 15.7 million African Americans, has issued a stern warning to the government of Qatar concerning the persecution of Christians.
Rev. Anthony Evans, President of the National Black Church Initiative said, “As a member of the African American clergy and President of the National Black Church Initiative, I have every reason to be concerned with the fate of the Christian Church communities of the Arab World. From Qatar to Iraq, these ancient churches have not only survived through centuries of hardship, foreign invasions, and domestic repression, they have also played an important role contributing to Christian culture and Islamic civilization.
‘“We are heartbroken to learn of the extent of the persecution of our brothers and sisters in Christ in Qatar,” Evans said. “They are being treated as slaves. They are being persecuted for their belief in Jesus Christ our Lord and our Savior. They are being overworked, underpaid and disrespected all at the same time.”
“The National Black Church Initiative will not sit by quietly and allow this persecution to continue. We are organizing our churches across the country to contact their representatives in Congress and we want the severest sanctions against the government of Qatar, for the continued persecution of religious minorities simply because of their faith,” said Evans
The National Black Church Initiative is concerned because we are an African American Church Coalition who believes that our country, and the West in general, has, on too many occasions, negatively contributed to the conflicts that are unsettling the Middle East today. We are concerned lest we err again taking steps, out of blind ignorance, that would only make the regional situation more volatile and precarious.
Given the unsettling hostilities of the Middle East, Christian minority religious groups find themselves at great risk. Caught in the midst of sectarian conflicts brought on by war, occupation, repression, and severe social and political dislocation, Christian communities have paid a terrible price, most especially in Qatar, and Iraq. Whether forced to flee the violence of the civil wars that have ravaged these countries, or expelled by Muslim Brotherhood as part of genocidal “cleansing” campaigns, the size of these once vibrant Christian communities has been so depleted, that some rightly fear their extinction in their homelands.
Since these ancient churches date back to the time of Christ, it is inconceivable to imagine a Middle East without Christian communities. In a real sense, what is at stake is not just the survival of these important minorities; it is the future of the region, itself. Intolerant and violent extremist groups like Muslim Brotherhood, and their kin, pose an existential challenge not only to Christians
Of course, given the horrific displays of violence and intolerance in Qatar, the immediate question before us is what is to be done now to defend Christians and other minorities put at risk by the raging conflict. For several reasons, we are participating in the International debate both as concerned citizens as well as members of the National Black Church Initiative.
We also acknowledge and also decry increases in intolerance against Muslims. Just as it is important that we be concerned not to allow the defense of Christians to serve as a cover for the agenda of the war-hawks, we must also not allow it to degenerate into Muslim-bashing.
The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI) is a coalition of 34,000 African American and Latino Churches working to eradicate racial disparities in healthcare, technology, education, housing, and the environment. NBCI’s mission is to provide critical wellness information to all of its members, congregants, Churches and the public. Our methodology is utilizing faith and sound health science.
NBCI’s purpose is to partner with major organizations and officials whose main mission is to reduce racial disparities in the variety of areas cited above. NBCI offers faith-based, out-of-the-box and cutting edge solutions to stubborn economic and social issues. NBCI’s programs are governed by credible statistical analysis, science based strategies and techniques, and methods that work. Visit our website at www.naltBlackChurch.com.