They Say We Are Infidels
I was interested in reading They Say We Are Infidels:On the run from ISIS with persecuted Christians in the Middle East by Mindy Belz because it's such a timely book and subject. Tensions around the world are rising between Christians and Muslims, and the increasing terrorist attacks around the world signal an impending crisis. Having an insider such as Belz is incredibly rare, and I was eager to read what she's learned through her extensive travels in the Middle East and unparallelled access to the Christians in Syria and Iraq. I've heard reports that ISIS is targeting, attacking, and killing Christians, but the mainstream media tends to gloss over or shy away from these stories. Therefore, I was anxious to learn the "inside scoop". The book description reads:
""Everywhere militants were blowing up Christians, their churches, their shops. They threatened them with kidnapping. They promised to take their children. The message to these 'infidels' You have no place in Iraq. Pay a penalty to stay, leave, or be killed."Sweeping from Syria into Iraq, Islamic State fighters (ISIS) have been brutalizing and annihilating Christians. How? Why? Where did the terrorists come from, and what can be done to stop them? For more than a decade, journalist Mindy Belz has reported on the ground from the Middle East, giving her unparalleled access to the story no one wants to believe. In "They Say We Are Infidels," she brings the stark reality of this escalating genocide to light, tracking the stories of real-life Christians who refuse to abandon their faith--even in the face of losing everything, including their lives.As "Reading Lolita in Tehran" did for Iran and "We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families" did for Rwanda, "They Say We Are Infidels" shines light into the Middle East through the stories of everyday heroes and heroines who will not be silenced. A must-read for anyone seeking a firmer grasp on the complex dynamics at play in war-torn Iraq and Syria, "They Say We Are Infidels" is the eye-opening and revelatory testimony of a journalist who heads into a war zone--and is forever changed by the people she encounters there."
Now, when I opened this book to the first page, I was expecting to be swept up in a complete page-turner, and unable to put it down until I was finished. I mean, how could a book that is subtitled "On the run from ISIS with persecuted Christians in the Middle East" possibly be boring? Well, I'm not sure how it's possible, but unfortunately, this one just wasn't the page-turner I expected. We are immediately dropped into the middle of the story in the prologue, which makes little sense and it's very difficult to figure out how, if, or when this will figure into the story later. We then wind back a few years to 2003. Mindy is inexplicably meeting a woman who asks her to carry money through customs. I think the main problem with this book is that we are given no explanations, no backstory, no reason why she is where she is or why she's meeting with the particular people she's meeting with. The story is rather disjointed and hard to follow at times, which adds to the difficulty of reading it.
Now, my review isn't all negative. About halfway through the book it does pick up a bit and becomes more interesting. I enjoyed getting a peek into the lives of Christians in Iraq and Syria. It's a rare glimpse into a world that we don't get to see much of here in America. It's easy to forget that we have brothers and sisters in Christ who are, at times quite literally, fighting for their lives against ISIS. The hardships and difficulties they are suffering should be put under a much bigger spotlight, and this book does give them that spotlight. I'm very glad Mindy has written this book, because hopefully it will open people's eyes to the persecution and danger that Middle Eastern Christians are facing. I do recommend this book to every Christian, but don't expect a thriller. It's a slower read that will educate you on the plight of Christians around the world.
I received a copy of this book from Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.