A Christian media analyst spoke at Cedarville on Tuesday about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East. Dexter Van Zile, who is from the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, was brought to Cedarville by Students for Israel.
According to the World Evangelical Alliance, over 200 million Christians in at least 60 countries are denied fundamental human rights solely because of their faith.
“Muslim teachings about women and non-Muslims are one of the greatest human rights challenges that we face today,” Van Zile said.
Historically, the campaigns of ethnic cleansing that Muslims have done against Christians have occurred because those Muslims believed that they were acting according to God’s will for them. Along with this, Muslims are consistently preached the message that they have been given the right to dominate over the rest of the world and that they are the supreme race.
This message has been especially evident in the dhimmi contract, Van Zile said. Underneath this contract, Christians and Jews who refused to convert were forced to pay the tribute poll tax, or jizya.
When they would come to pay the tax, they were often given a blow to the head or neck to remind them they were subject to Muslim rule. They were also banned from having a role in the government or serving in the army but were granted protection of life and property by the Muslim state, Van Zile said.
“The dhimmi contract is a central aspect in Islamic conquest. The spread of Islam is a history of forced conversions,” Van Zile said.
In countries such as Turkey, Egypt and Syria, Christians indigenous to those areas held on to their territory when the Muslim forces came sweeping through. However, to enforce the idea that they were the victorious conquerors, Van Zile said they imposed the dhimmi system on the Christians.
Van Zile said when the Europeans weakened the Ottoman hold over the Middle East, they were able to gain concessions from them toward the Christians. This included a lessening of the high jizya tax that the Christians had been paying.
Yet this emancipation did not last into the 20thcentury, and Christians are now being forced to accept the dhimmi system.
“If a Christian refuses to obey this system they become a target for Jihad,” Van Zile said.
Van Zile said another way Muslims display their supremacy is through their anti-Semitism.
“This symbol of their dominance is playing itself out with lethal effect,” Van Zile said. For example, the Christian church in Iraq was once estimated to contain 1.5 million believers, but now the numbers are more likely around 500,000. It is widely thought that the Christians who do remain are alien, don’t belong and should be extirpated.
Van Zile encouraged those who were in attendance that through becoming better educated, they would be more equipped to raise awareness on what is occurring in the Middle East. Two books he made a point of mentioning were “The Dhimmi” by Bat Ye’or and “The Third Choice” by Mark Durie.