By Grazie Pozo Christie
For Christians around the world, Holy Week, beginning on Palm Sunday and ending on Easter, is spent contemplating the scandalous story of the torture and execution of an innocent man. Although here in the U.S. we live a comfortable distance away from the kind of wickedness and misery so vividly captured in the Gospel narrative, many are not so fortunate. This past Palm Sunday, the Egyptian church bombings served as a shocking reminder that in many parts of the world, notably the very region where those biblical scenes took place two millennia ago, religious intolerance rages, and innocent followers of that same Jesus suffer simply for peaceably remaining in the faith.
It was just over year ago that then-Secretary of State John Kerry took the historic step of designating the violence against Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East as an ongoing genocide. Just prior to his official announcement of recognition, the Knights of Columbus commissioned and published a comprehensive report on the genocide against Christians in the Middle East. This report affirms Kerry’s declaration, containing many individual accounts of torture, rape, enslavement and deportation and includes documentation of public statements by the Islamic State group that make no bones about their intent: to rid the areas they control of indigenous Christians, Yazidis and other minority groups.