Worldviews, Worship, and Wineskins

The Gospel at Work in Every Context

Book Review: The Silence of Our Friends, by Ed West

Ed West wrote a Kindle Single called “The Silence of Our Friends: The extinction of Christianity in the Middle East”. It is a wakeup call to the western world, Christian and otherwise. The past ten years have seen an alarming trend of Islamicization and increasing hostility and intolerance toward Christians in the Middle East. There is a genocide on, and no one is noticing.


West presents disturbing statistics and accounts of recent persecution toward the Christians community in the Middle East, as well as a survey of Christian history in the region. Unfortunately, violence is nothing new to the church. But the extinction of an entire minority group of society should be enough to concern even the most staunch opponents of Christianity. While many view the violence in places such as Syria and Egypt as politically motivated and irrelevant to American interests, Mr. West provides cogent reasons for everyone, relgious or otherwise, to be concerned.


The first reason is the apparent willfull ignorance of Western (read “American and British) media and leadership concerning Muslim actions against Christians. Whether because of fear of a Muslim backlash (a legitimate concern) or because of a desire to appear balanced and/or tolerant, the public voices of western media have been anything but balanced in their reporting of the genocide. Even the U.S. State department, in public comments concerning violence, has yet to identify the perpetrators, victims, or the extent of the problem. For example, hundreds of Churches in Iraq and Syria, many of them hundreds or thousands of years old, have been destroyed. Christian men, women and children have been massacred in droves and evicted from their ancestral homes, all without a peep from the State Department and hardly a stir from mainstream Media outlets. Yet, in response to an incident of vandalism at a Mosque in Israel, the State Department released the following statement: “The United States strongly condemns the dangerous and provocative attacks on a mosque in the northern Israeli town of Tuba-Zangariyye…Such hateful sectarian actions are never justified.”

The second reason that West gives us to be concerned over the situation is that the erosion of religious freedom, even the freedom of religious groups alien to our own, ultimately threaten everyone’s freedom. Says West, “religious freedom is a secular cause too, because it is intimately linked to the freedom of unbelief, an essential requirement of a good society and one Islamists threaten. And one does not need to be Christian or religious to care about anti-Christian violence, anymore than one has to be gay or black to care about homophobic or racist violence.”



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