Due to a confluence of circumstances and an alarmingly busy year and a half of work, two books that I authored/co-authored have been launched in the course of the last three months. In late December, my own book Saturday People, Sunday People: Israel through the Eyes of a Christian Sojourner was released by Encounter Books. And last week, Persecuted: The Global Assault on Christians, which I co-authored with Paul Marshall and Nina Shea (published by Thomas Nelson), was launched.
Saturday People, Sunday People is part memoir and part history — it relates to numerous stories I have come across while living in Jerusalem. One that continues to unfold is that of 850,000 Jews who fled or were expelled from eleven Muslim countries between 1948 and 1970. Very few Jews remain in those countries today; they have resettled in Israel and elsewhere. This largely unreported story has a sequel now, as Christians in most of those countries — along with believers in many other Muslim lands — are facing ferocious persecution all-too-similar to what the Jews experienced half a century ago. This reflects the jihadi slogan, “First the Saturday People, then the Sunday People.”
Which brings me to the second book, Persecuted. In the introduction, we write, “Our book focuses on an underreported fact: Christians are the single most widely persecuted religious group in the world today. This is confirmed in studies by sources as diverse as the Vatican, Open Doors, the Pew Research Center, Commentary, Newsweek and the Economist. According to one estimate, by the Catholic Bishop’s Conferences of the European Community, 75 percent of acts of religious intolerance are directed against Christians.”
Perhaps the key word here is “underreported.” Why is the horrific expulsion of 3/4 of a million displaced Jews so little known? And why is it that, when it comes to Christian persecution, so little interest is expressed within the western Christian community on behalf of millions of co-believers across the world who face violence, imprisonment, rape, torture and death explicitly and entirely for their faith?
Ricochet seems like an ideal place to discuss these troublesome questions.