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HOLY WAR: Bedouins kidnapping, torturing, enslaving Christians

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
July 11th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Slavery isn't just for women and children. Slavery is for Christians too. Across the Middle East, a thriving human trafficking ring is growing as Christians are being kidnapped, tortured, and sold into slavery by Muslims.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A story run by CBN News is telling the tale of a Christian man, who among others, was kidnapped and tortured just because he was Christian. Some are tortured to appease the sadistic pleasures of their kidnappers, or people who pay for the opportunity to torture a Christian. Others are sold into slavery.

The trade is thriving, particularly in North Africa where the Bedouin tribes are doing brisk business.

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The heart of this trafficking is in the Sinai desert, where Bedouin tribes crisscross the wasteland unchallenged and unmolested much as they have for millennia. Yet, often attached to their band may be individuals kidnapped from other North African countries, selected because they are Christian. These people are often tortured.

A torture victim, identified only as "Phillip" told CBN he was tied up by his hands and left hanging for three days. "By that time I had lost sense (sensation) in both my hands. It was a result of the accumulated torture but mainly because (both) of my wrists were tied up so tightly, (and I was) hanged up from the ceiling for three days, the blood was cut off from my hands and the flesh started to literally drip from my hands."

"In some cases, we were tortured simply because we were Christians," he added.

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Within the past two years, human rights observers have reported an increase in the number of people being trafficked through the region. Most of the kidnappings are being carried out for ransom, however as hapless victims wait for the money to be paid, they can be tortured with hanging from ceilings, electric shocks, or even by being burned.

Ransom fees, according to human rights observers, can exceed $40,000 or even $60,000. Far too much for many families in the region to ever pay. However, families will sometimes liquidate everything they own to rescue a loved one.

Phillip explained some of the methods kidnappers use. "What they make you do is call your family and ask them for the money. Usually they will do the asking. They will say, 'Either send this money or your brother will die or your father will die or your son will die.' It depends on whoever is picking up the phone."

"While you're talking to your family they would pour molten plastic on your body so that you would scream and perhaps they thought that would persuade your family to pay or collect the money faster," he told CBN.

Refugees in the Sudan region are also common prey for these people, since many are displaced and distressed. Many are fleeing persecution in Eritrea and Sudan. They may not be good for money, but they're good for torture and slavery since they can disappear without too many people asking questions. Swamped authorities can hardly investigate and certainly cannot track nomadic tribesmen who cross international borders and can range a thousand miles before anyone thinks of acting. In many cases, nobody seems to care other than the victim's family.

Sister Azzizam, a nun who has interviewed many Sinai survivors, told CBN that about ten percent lose their lives. Many more must live with physical scars and disfigurement after their ordeal. Families are left devastated by the ransoms.

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It would be easy to dismiss this problem as one more sign of government upheaval and lawlessness in a land that has been in turmoil for almost two years, but according to human rights observers, high officials, particularly in the Egyptian government, know all about the practice. They also know the locations of actual torture camps, organized centers where this trade is carried out.

For some Muslims, the kidnapping, torture, and enslavement of Christians is entirely acceptable. Many victims, like Phillip, are stolen from Eritrea, which is a predominantly Christian state.

Occasionally, some of these victims escape to tell their story, or their families actually manage to pay the ransom and they are released. What we now know from their experiences is that this is a major operation, worth millions of dollars annually, and involving thousands of victims per year.

CBN suggests political activism, in the form of calling representatives and asking them to suspend aid to Egypt as a solution. We think that's the least one can do for fellow Christians.

It's important to understand that a literal Holy War is being fought, as a matter of life and death, between Christians and Muslims from Syria, to Pakistan, to North Africa. Christian minorities are fighting for their lives. Imagine if Muslims faced a similar situation in the western world.

Of course that would never happen - despite our shortcomings in the West, we at least tolerate, and even embrace Muslims. The lawless parts of the Islamic world should take a lesson, or have one taught.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)