The BLOG: Politics

Christians disenchanted by Western police and politicians

Iben Thranholm, left, interviews Massoud Fouroozandeh, a former Muslim who became a Christian minister. (Courtesy of Iben Thranholm)

Iben Thranholm, left, interviews Massoud Fouroozandeh, a former Muslim who became a Christian minister. (Courtesy of Iben Thranholm)

Last weekend, an immense annual Danish book fair took place in Copenhagen. As a journalist, I was invited to conduct an interview with a former Muslim who is now a Christian minister, Massoud Fouroozandeh. Our topic was an American book, recently translated into Danish, entitled “Defying ISIS” by Johnie Moore. The author’s main concern is to point out how ISIS has declared that they intend to kill all Christians, first in the Middle East, then throughout the world.

As the interview progressed and Foorouzandeh started to relate how his address remains a secret and how he always carries a personal attack alarm in his pocket — he has been a victim of harassment from Muslims in Denmark due to his conversion to Christianity — I realized how completely irresponsible it was that we had not been offered police protection for the interview.

In February 2015, Denmark witnessed a terror attack on a meeting attended by Lars Vilks, the controversial Swedish artist who has faced death threats for caricaturing the prophet Muhammad. The young gunman, who shot and killed two people, swore fidelity to the ISIS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in a posting made on his Facebook page a few days before the shooting.

For the same reason, armed policemen were guarding the entrance of the conference center, where the book fair was held. Later that same day, the police escorted and protected Danish members of Parliament, who were invited to give a critical talk about Islam.

Taking ISIS’ goal of wiping out all Christians from the surface of the earth into consideration, I suppose the Christian minister and I, an outspoken Catholic religion reporter, were just as much in need of protection, if not more, as the secular-minded politicians were.

According to Ole Wæver, professor of International Relations at the Department of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen, the radical Islamic movement has taken a new turn within the last couple of years. From strongly opposing secularism, as seen during the Mohammed cartoon crisis, radical Islamists now have a clear anti-Christian agenda.

Sitting on stage talking about the horrible crimes committed against Christians by ISIS without any protection from the police and therefore extremely vulnerable, we became the symbol of how Europe ignores the persecution of Christians.

No one sees it as a real problem and nobody really cares. Despite the fact that at no time in history has the persecution of Christians been as intense and widespread as it is at this moment. There is a global war on Christians, but the foreign policy of both the USA and Europe has turned a blind eye to beheadings, rape of children, and the unspeakable atrocities carried out by ISIS. The West pretends to be deaf, dumb and blind to the problem.

A survey shows that one in three Christians in Danish asylum centers (Use Google Translate) feel harassed because of his or her faith. The Danish authorities have not yet made any serious effort to offer special protection to those Christian refugees, who are currently abandoned to fear and threats on a daily basis.

Recently the German media reported (Use Google Translate) how Christians are spat on, verbally abused, accused of being infidels, beaten and Christian women are raped in German refugee centers. They are terrorized and threatened with death. Among the asylum seekers are Islamists, who try to enforce sharia law on the other refugees. Chairman of the German Police Union Rainer Wendt states for the newspaper Passauer Neue Presse, “Christians especially need protection at the centers, because they are the victims of gross harassment.”

But so far, Europe consistently chooses to ignore the ferociously aggressive incidents involving refugees, and absolutely refuses to acknowledge the religious issues — just as we were ignored by the police at the book fair, in spite of the explosive topic of the interview.

One is actually tempted to believe that the political elite in Europe in fact sympathizes with ISIS’ goal of eliminating Christians.

Iben Thranholm

Iben Thranholm

Iben Thranholm examines political and social events with focus on their religious aspects, significance and moral implications. She is one of Denmark’s most widely read columnists on such matters. Thranholm is a former editor and radio host at the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (DR), at which she created a religious news program that set a new standard for religious analysis in the newsroom. She has traveled extensively in the Middle East, Italy, the United States and Russia to carry out research and interviews and has been awarded for her investigative research into Danish media coverage of religious issues. She can be reached by email or on Facebook.