Christian life in Palestine (as in most Muslim societies) is no holiday

Christians in Muslim-dominated societies like Palestinian-ruled Bethlehem
"Today as Christmas is celebrated in song, gift-giving and remembering days of old, at the same time Christians are under tremendous threat, not only in the Middle East but in places like Pakistan, Sudan, Indonesia and beyond. Christmas celebrations are precious to us in terms of family, nostalgia, music and spiritual inspiration. But let's not forget our brothers and sisters around the world. Let's keep them in our prayers as we celebrate the coming of our Lord into this broken world."- Lela Gilbert, author, "Persecuted: the  Global Assault on Christians."

Lela Gilbert, an adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute residing in Jerusalem, contributes to the Jerusalem Post, Weekly Standard Online, National Review Online, and other publications. We recorded this interview with her in Southern California in the summer of 2016 in advance of the U.S. presidential election.

According to studies by the Pew Research Center, Newsweek, and the Economist, Christians are the world’s most widely persecuted religious group.

Many Americans do not understand that Christians today are victims in many parts of the world. Even many Western Christians, who worship and pray without fear of violent repercussions, are unaware that so many followers of Christ live under governments and among people who are often openly hostile to their faith. They think martyrdom became a rarity long ago.

Persecuted soundly refutes these assumptions. This book offers a glimpse at the modern-day life of Christians worldwide, recounting the ongoing attacks that rarely make international headlines.

As Western Christians pray for the future of Christ’s church, it is vital that they understand a large part of the world’s Christian believers live in danger. Persecuted gives documented accounts of the persecution of Christians in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and former Soviet nations. It contains vivid stories of men and women who suffer abuse because of their faith in Jesus Christ, and tells of their perseverance and courage..

"Persecuted" is far more than a thorough and moving study of this global pattern of violence—it is a cry for freedom and a call to action.

In an exclusive interview with Muslim journalist Khaled abu Toameh (at Gatestone Institute), the prominent Christian figure, Samir Qumsieh (who founded the private Nativity TV Station in Bet Sahour) accuses the Obama Administration of failing to combat ISIS and radical Islam. Qumsieh says he is convinced that President-elect Trump will "terminate" ISIS. Qumsieh discloses that a "Muslim mafia" has been stealing Christian-owned lands in the Bethlehem area.  

"I fear the day will come when our churches will become museums. It is my nightmare." — Samir Qumsieh.

  • Samir Qumsieh at work
    For the past four decades, Samir Qumsieh, who hails from a large and well-respected Christian family in the town of Bet Sahour, near Bethlehem, has fought for the rights of the region's miniscule Palestinian Christian minority. He has even dared to speak out against the subjugation of Christians living under the rule of Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
  • He regularly receives death threats, and he has been the target of a petrol bomb attack.
  • "The solution to extremism starts with the kindergarten, with elementary school. It begins with the churches, with the mosques and the school curricula. Curricula are very important – Jewish, Christian and Muslim ones. They should concentrate on accepting the 'other.' If this idea is adopted, the future generation will be liberal and open-minded." — Samir Qumsieh.
  • "Every day we hear and see some radical Muslim clerics speaking strongly against Christians. Just recently, one of the sheiks was saying that Christian Copts should be slaughtered like sheep. Where is the Egyptian security? If I were in charge of Egyptian security, I would have this sheikh arrested immediately, and have him rot in a dark underground cell." — Samir Qumsieh.
  • "To understand the severity of the situation is, let us recall that in the 1950s about 86% of the population of the Bethlehem area was Christian. Today, we are only 12%. In Israel, by contrast, we have 133,000 Christians and the figure is stable. Of course, I am worried about the future of Christians here." — Samir Qumsieh.
We recorded this interview in May through the assistance of Pastor Roger and Diane Cochran of Calvary Chapel in Long Beach, California. Pastor Roger was awaiting surgery to replace his heart-valve- and boasted pride that it was developed in Israel. Shortly after we recorded his testimony of support for Israel, he collapsed with ventricular fibrilation. We called an ambulance whose technicians saved his life, got him an expedited valve replacement, which enabled him to live an additional one-third year. We dedicate this story to the memory of Zionistic Christian Pastor Roger Cochran. May his memory be an inspiration for all.

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