Sri Lanka's Easter Attacks Highlight the Ongoing Persecution of Christians

© AP Photo / Chamila KarunarathneA view of St. Sebastian's Church damaged in blast in Negombo, north of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, April 21, 2019.
A view of St. Sebastian's Church damaged in blast in Negombo, north of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, April 21, 2019. - Sputnik International
The horrific Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka, which targeted three packed churches and five hotels and which at time of writing have claimed the lives of at least 290 people, represent yet another blood-stained chapter in the on-going persecution of Christians which is taking place all over the world.

Ironically, it's been the governments of western countries in which Christians are the majority, and whose leaders declare themselves as Christians, which have contributed greatly to the rise of violent anti-Christian extremism.

READ MORE: Easter Mass Sri Lanka Blasts: What is Known So Far

Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton greets President Barack Obama after he delivered his State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington. - Sputnik International
Fury as Obama, Clinton Avoid Word 'Christians' in Sri Lanka Blast Tweets
Just consider the neocon-inspired 'regime-change' policy in the Middle East and North Africa and its disastrous consequences.  The toppling of the secular Baathist strong-man Saddam Hussein in Iraq by  George W. Bush and Tony Blair, plunged that country into chaos and led directly to the rise of IS/Daesh. Saddam may have been a dictator, but he was a bulwark against religious fundamentalists. His long-serving deputy and Foreign Minister, Tariq Aziz, lest we forget, was a practising Christian, and Saddam protected Aziz's fellow worshippers in Iraq during his long rule. Since he fell, an estimated 100,000 Christians have been forced out of the Nineveh Plains, their ancestral home, by fanatical jihadists. Thousands more have been slaughtered, included 60 who were killed while celebrating Sunday Mass in a church in Baghdad, in October 2010.   The Christian population of Iraq in 2003, before the US and Britain illegally invaded, stood at around 1.5m. Today it's just 250,000. Have Bush and Blair ever said sorry in their prayers for what they helped bring about?   

In Libya, the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi helped Islamic State and al-Qaeda affiliates establish a presence in the country as well as aiding the spread of religious extremism into other African countries including Kenya and Tanzania, which were hit by a wave of church bombings in 2013.  In June 2015, 38 tourists (including 30 Britons), were slaughtered as the relaxed on the beach or around their hotel when on holiday in Port El Kantaoui in Tunisia. The gunman was reported to have trained in neighbouring 'liberated' Libya.  In 2018, the group 'Open Doors', which monitors the worldwide persecution of Christians stated: “Since the downfall of Gaddafi, the situation for Christians in Libya has deteriorated…The main threat Christians face is from militant Islamist groups; violence against Christians has continued on a large scale and with impunity.' 

A view of St. Sebastian's Church damaged in blast in Negombo, north of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Sunday, April 21, 2019. - Sputnik International
'Genocide Against Christians': World Politicians React to Sri Lanka Bombings
Libya is currently number four on the list of the fifty countries where Christians face most persecution, behind only North Korea, Afghanistan and Somalia. Well done, NATO and the 'humanitarian interventionists' who cheered the bombing of Libya on. 

The plight of Christians in Syria (number eleven on the 'World Watch list'),  has also been adversely affected by western 'interventionist' foreign policy. Weapons meant for so-called 'moderate rebels' ended up in the hands of genocidal salafist-jihadist groups. Again, we had a government which protected Christians, (Assad's), and observed their religious festivals and holidays, targeted for regime-change by 'Christian' western leaders.

Of course, we can't put all the blame  for the upsurge in the global persecution of followers of Jesus Christ on the policies pursued by western leaders. But there's no doubt that the genocidally-minded groups which target Christians have received a big boost by 'regime change' wars against secular governments.

READ MORE: Moment Sri Lanka Church Exploded Captured on Camera (VIDEO)

While Sri Lanka was where the extremists struck this Easter, we should not forget that  45 Coptic Christians were killed when two churches were bombed in Egypt on Palm Sunday in 2017.  A year before that a bomb in a park in Lahore, Pakistan, where Christians were celebrating Easter, killed 75. Last year, Christian pastors and worshippers were threatened and attacked by Hindu extremists in India, while four members of a Christian family in Pakistan were shot dead at Easter, with ISIS claiming responsibility.

READ MORE: Denmark's Wealthiest Man, Asos Owner Loses Three Children in Sri Lanka Attacks

Massacring Christians at Easter- the holiest time of the year in their calendar, has become an  annual event. How much of an indictment is that, of the world we're currently living in?

It's not just Christians who are in danger at their places of worship or travelling to and from them. Only last month 49 people were killed in attacks on two mosques in New Zealand. Shiite mosques have been regularly targeted by Sunni extremists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere. One of the worst  attacks of all time, but which seems to have disappeared down the memory hole, was the one on the Sufi-associated Al-Rawda mosque in Sinai, Egypt, in November 2017, which killed 311.  How do we allow such atrocities to happen?

No one in the world should feel in danger when he/she is at their place of worship, or travelling to or from it. The freedom to practice your own religion, without persecution, is an inalienable human right.  

The Sri Lankan attacks are therefore not just an attack on Christianity. They are an attack on all humanity. And in the name of humanity, the  terrorists, extremists and those who target peaceful worshippers for slaughter must be defeated, and certainly not aided.

Follow Neil Clark @NeilClark66 and @MightyMagyar

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The views and opinions expressed by the contributor do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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