Putin's Holy War vs. Obama's Jihad in Syria

The Christian Orthodox Church, which holds an important place in an insurgent Russia, has described its government’s fight against the Islamic State and other jihadi opposition groups in Syria as a “holy war.”

According to Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the Church’s Public Affairs Department:

The fight with terrorism is a holy battle and today our country is perhaps the most active force in the world fighting it.  The Russian Federation has made a responsible decision on the use of armed forces to defend the People of Syria from the sorrows caused by the arbitrariness of terrorists. Christians are suffering in the region with the kidnapping of clerics and the destruction of churches. Muslims are suffering no less.

This is not some new gimmick to justify intervention in Syria.  For years, Russia’s Orthodox leaders have been voicing their concern for persecuted Christians.  Back in February 2012, Vladimir Putin met with representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church.  They described to him the horrific treatment Christians are experiencing around the world, especially the Muslim world:

The head of External Church Relations, Metropolitan Illarion, said that every five minutes one Christian was dying for his or her faith in some part of the world, specifying that he was talking about such countries as Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan and India. The cleric asked Putin to make the protection of Christians one of the foreign policy directions in future.

“This is how it will be, have no doubt,” Putin answered.

Compare and contrast this with U.S. President Obama, who denies the connection between Islamic teachings and violence; whose policies habitually empower Christian-persecuting Islamists; who prevents Christian representatives from testifying against their tormentors; and who even throws escaped Christian refugees back to the lions, while accepting tens of thousands of Muslim migrants. 

The Russian Patriarch Kirill even once wrote an impassioned letter to Obama, imploring the American president to stop empowering Christian-persecuting jihadis.  That the patriarch said, “I am deeply convinced that the countries which belong to the Christian civilization bear a special responsibility for the fate of Christians in the Middle East” must have only ensured that the letter ended in the trash bin at the White House.

Of course, Russian’s concern for Christian minorities will be cynically dismissed in America by the major talking heads on both sides.  While such dismissals once resonated with Americans, they are becoming less and less persuasive to those paying attention, as explained in “Putin’s Crusade—Is Russia the Last Defender of the Christian Faith?”

For those of us who grew up in America being told that the godless communist atheists in Russia were our enemies, the idea that America might give up on God and Christianity while Russia embraces religion might once have been difficult to accept.  But by 2015, the everyday signs in America show a growing contempt for Christianity, under the first president whose very claims of being a Christian are questionable.  The exact opposite trend is happening for Russia and its leaders—a return to Christian roots.

Indeed, growing numbers of Americans who have no special love for Russia or Orthodoxy – from billionaire tycoon Donald Trump to evangelical Christians – are being won over by Putin’s frank talk.  

How can they not be?  After one of his speeches praising the West’s Christian heritage – a thing few American politicians dare do – Putin concluded with something that must surely resonate with millions of traditional Americans: “We must protect Russia from that which has destroyed American society” – a reference to the anti-Christian liberalism and licentiousness that have run amok in the West.

Even the Rev. Franklin Graham’s response to Russia’s military intervention in Syria seems uncharacteristically positive, coming as it is from the head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: “What Russia is doing may save the lives of Christians in the Middle East[.] ...  You understand that the Syrian government … have protected Christians, they have protected minorities from the Islamists.”

Should U.S.-supported jihadis (“rebels”) succeed in toppling the government of Syria, Graham correctly predicts that there will be “a bloodbath of Christians”:

There would be tens of thousands of Christians murdered and slaughtered and on top of that, you would have hundreds of thousands of more refugees pouring into Europe. So Russia right now, I see their presence as helping to save the lives of Christians.

It is, of course, an established fact that the “good rebels” – the moderates – are persecuting Christians no less than the Islamic State.

When asked why the Obama administration is ignoring the persecution of Christians, Graham, echoing Putin, said Obama is more invested in promoting the homosexual agenda than he is in protecting Christian minorities:

I’m not here to bash the gays and lesbians and they certainly have rights and I understand all of that, but this administration has been more focused on that agenda than anything else. As a result, the Middle East is burning and you have more refugees moving today since World War II. It could have been prevented.

Indeed, at day’s end, it is not Russian claims of waging a holy war to save Christians from the sword of jihad that deserve to be cynically dismissed, but rather every claim the Obama administration makes to justify its support for the opposition in Syria (most of which is not even Syrian).

There are no “moderate rebels” – only committed jihadis eager to install Islamic law, which is the antithesis of everything the West used to hold precious.  If the “evil dictator” Assad kills people in the context of war, the “rebels” torture, maim, enslave, rape, behead, and crucify people solely because they are Christian.

How does that make them preferable to Assad? 

And, based on established precedent – look to Iraq and Libya, the other countries U.S. leadership helped “liberate” – the outcome of ousting the secular strongman of Syria will be more atrocities, more Christian persecution, more bombed churches and destroyed antiquities, and more terrorism, including in the West, despite John Kerry’s absurd assurances of a “pluralistic” Syria once Assad is gone.

Thus, and once again, the U.S. finds itself on the side of Islamic terrorists, who always reserve their best for America.  The Saudis – the head of the jihadi snake that U.S. presidents are wont to kiss and bow to – are already screaming bloody murder and calling for an increased jihad in Syria in response to Russia’s audacious call to holy war. 

Will Obama and the MSM comply, including through an increased propaganda campaign?  Top Islamic clerics like Yusuf Qaradawi – who once slipped on live television by calling on America to wage “jihad for Allah” against Assad – seem to think so.  Already the U.S. “welcomes” the new cruel joke that Saudi Arabia – one of the absolute worst human rights violators – will head a U.N. human rights panel.

At day’s end and all realpolitik aside, there is no denying reality: what the United States and its Western allies have wrought in the Middle East – culminating in the rise of a bloodthirsty caliphate and the worst atrocities of the 21st century – is as unholy as Russia’s resolve to fight it is holy.

Raymond Ibrahim, author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

The Christian Orthodox Church, which holds an important place in an insurgent Russia, has described its government’s fight against the Islamic State and other jihadi opposition groups in Syria as a “holy war.”

According to Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the Church’s Public Affairs Department:

The fight with terrorism is a holy battle and today our country is perhaps the most active force in the world fighting it.  The Russian Federation has made a responsible decision on the use of armed forces to defend the People of Syria from the sorrows caused by the arbitrariness of terrorists. Christians are suffering in the region with the kidnapping of clerics and the destruction of churches. Muslims are suffering no less.

This is not some new gimmick to justify intervention in Syria.  For years, Russia’s Orthodox leaders have been voicing their concern for persecuted Christians.  Back in February 2012, Vladimir Putin met with representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church.  They described to him the horrific treatment Christians are experiencing around the world, especially the Muslim world:

The head of External Church Relations, Metropolitan Illarion, said that every five minutes one Christian was dying for his or her faith in some part of the world, specifying that he was talking about such countries as Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan and India. The cleric asked Putin to make the protection of Christians one of the foreign policy directions in future.

“This is how it will be, have no doubt,” Putin answered.

Compare and contrast this with U.S. President Obama, who denies the connection between Islamic teachings and violence; whose policies habitually empower Christian-persecuting Islamists; who prevents Christian representatives from testifying against their tormentors; and who even throws escaped Christian refugees back to the lions, while accepting tens of thousands of Muslim migrants. 

The Russian Patriarch Kirill even once wrote an impassioned letter to Obama, imploring the American president to stop empowering Christian-persecuting jihadis.  That the patriarch said, “I am deeply convinced that the countries which belong to the Christian civilization bear a special responsibility for the fate of Christians in the Middle East” must have only ensured that the letter ended in the trash bin at the White House.

Of course, Russian’s concern for Christian minorities will be cynically dismissed in America by the major talking heads on both sides.  While such dismissals once resonated with Americans, they are becoming less and less persuasive to those paying attention, as explained in “Putin’s Crusade—Is Russia the Last Defender of the Christian Faith?”

For those of us who grew up in America being told that the godless communist atheists in Russia were our enemies, the idea that America might give up on God and Christianity while Russia embraces religion might once have been difficult to accept.  But by 2015, the everyday signs in America show a growing contempt for Christianity, under the first president whose very claims of being a Christian are questionable.  The exact opposite trend is happening for Russia and its leaders—a return to Christian roots.

Indeed, growing numbers of Americans who have no special love for Russia or Orthodoxy – from billionaire tycoon Donald Trump to evangelical Christians – are being won over by Putin’s frank talk.  

How can they not be?  After one of his speeches praising the West’s Christian heritage – a thing few American politicians dare do – Putin concluded with something that must surely resonate with millions of traditional Americans: “We must protect Russia from that which has destroyed American society” – a reference to the anti-Christian liberalism and licentiousness that have run amok in the West.

Even the Rev. Franklin Graham’s response to Russia’s military intervention in Syria seems uncharacteristically positive, coming as it is from the head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: “What Russia is doing may save the lives of Christians in the Middle East[.] ...  You understand that the Syrian government … have protected Christians, they have protected minorities from the Islamists.”

Should U.S.-supported jihadis (“rebels”) succeed in toppling the government of Syria, Graham correctly predicts that there will be “a bloodbath of Christians”:

There would be tens of thousands of Christians murdered and slaughtered and on top of that, you would have hundreds of thousands of more refugees pouring into Europe. So Russia right now, I see their presence as helping to save the lives of Christians.

It is, of course, an established fact that the “good rebels” – the moderates – are persecuting Christians no less than the Islamic State.

When asked why the Obama administration is ignoring the persecution of Christians, Graham, echoing Putin, said Obama is more invested in promoting the homosexual agenda than he is in protecting Christian minorities:

I’m not here to bash the gays and lesbians and they certainly have rights and I understand all of that, but this administration has been more focused on that agenda than anything else. As a result, the Middle East is burning and you have more refugees moving today since World War II. It could have been prevented.

Indeed, at day’s end, it is not Russian claims of waging a holy war to save Christians from the sword of jihad that deserve to be cynically dismissed, but rather every claim the Obama administration makes to justify its support for the opposition in Syria (most of which is not even Syrian).

There are no “moderate rebels” – only committed jihadis eager to install Islamic law, which is the antithesis of everything the West used to hold precious.  If the “evil dictator” Assad kills people in the context of war, the “rebels” torture, maim, enslave, rape, behead, and crucify people solely because they are Christian.

How does that make them preferable to Assad? 

And, based on established precedent – look to Iraq and Libya, the other countries U.S. leadership helped “liberate” – the outcome of ousting the secular strongman of Syria will be more atrocities, more Christian persecution, more bombed churches and destroyed antiquities, and more terrorism, including in the West, despite John Kerry’s absurd assurances of a “pluralistic” Syria once Assad is gone.

Thus, and once again, the U.S. finds itself on the side of Islamic terrorists, who always reserve their best for America.  The Saudis – the head of the jihadi snake that U.S. presidents are wont to kiss and bow to – are already screaming bloody murder and calling for an increased jihad in Syria in response to Russia’s audacious call to holy war. 

Will Obama and the MSM comply, including through an increased propaganda campaign?  Top Islamic clerics like Yusuf Qaradawi – who once slipped on live television by calling on America to wage “jihad for Allah” against Assad – seem to think so.  Already the U.S. “welcomes” the new cruel joke that Saudi Arabia – one of the absolute worst human rights violators – will head a U.N. human rights panel.

At day’s end and all realpolitik aside, there is no denying reality: what the United States and its Western allies have wrought in the Middle East – culminating in the rise of a bloodthirsty caliphate and the worst atrocities of the 21st century – is as unholy as Russia’s resolve to fight it is holy.

Raymond Ibrahim, author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.