People in Africa and the Middle East express concern that they have been forgotten while the western world's attention is drawn to terrorism in France. I'm not sure if that is true, but I am sure that it is important not to forget the suffering of others elsewhere in the world. Sometimes I think the U.S. news media responds more slowly than European news sources in reporting it. Sometimes I think that is for the best, since the American response to that news, when reported, often begins with the question of sending troops.
While that is often necessary, prayer, food, caring, and voicing concern are all things the average person is more capable of providing.
American Christians, of all people, ought to realize that there is another way to turn hearts and minds. The civil rights movement in our own country did not bring change that way. It brought change peacefully by drawing people's attention to the consciences of those who thought mistreatment of others was wrong. Some of Jesus's disciples thought he was going to enter Jerusalem and militarily overthrow the Romans. He told them that was not the sort of revolution he had in mind. It took centuries, not days, and the message of the Gospel eventually transformed the Romans. Americans, of all people, ought to understand that a march in Paris in favor of free religion, free speech, and non-violent opposition to terrorism, is a message that was spread throughout the world on television and radio. It was a voice of conscience calling to conscience throughout the world, the sort of voice that can bring lasting change that no military force has the power to bring.
With those thoughts in mind, here are links to a few news articles and posts on the persecution of Christians in the rest of the world:
From Aid to the Church in Need, U.S. on Syria:
News: Jesuit laments car bomb attack in Homs, Syria: 'Young people were deliberately targeted"
"Where is the reaction from the rest of the world? After the attacks in Paris all eyes were on France. But here? As far as I am aware, there has not been any reaction by anybody. Not a word. Only silence. Syria and the daily sufferings of its people are forgotten."
French priest from African Missions of Lyon on Niger:
"Pray. Rebuilding churches and especially hearts will be long and painful."
A chuch built last year was burned earlier this month, along with every other Catholic and Protestant church in Niamey, Niger, except that the cathedral was saved. Boko Haram-influenced rioting was a reaction to Charlie Hebdo. Priests and religious were ordered to leave their homes and go to a safe place, and some of their Muslim neighbours helped them get out safely.
Timothy Cardinal Dolan on Nigeria:
I have heard my friend Archbishop Ignatius eloquently insist that these extremists are not representative of genuine Islam, as he describes how Moslems and Catholics in his own area of Nigeria work together as neighbors, and how members of both groups have been slaughtered by the jihadists.
His plea, “Please don’t forget us,” wakes me up at night, dominates my prayers, and prompts my advocacy. Can I ask you to listen to him as well?