They Say We Are Infidels: On the run from ISIS with persecuted Christians in the Middle East by Mindy Belz
About this book: (from the publisher) 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.
About the author: Mindy Belz is the senior editor of WORLD magazine. Writing for the publication since 1986, she has covered war in the Balkans, Sudan, Iraq, and Afghanistan—and has reported also from Nigeria, Syria, Turkey, Haiti, and elsewhere. Her reporting has been published overseas and in the United States in The Weekly Standard and other publications. She has appeared on Fox News, ABC News, and radio talk shows. Mindy is a contributing author of Sorrow and Blood: Christian Mission in Contexts of Suffering, Persecution, and Martyrdom and speaks frequently about persecution and survival in the Middle East. She enjoys engaging with younger audiences on a broad range of current events, as well as teaching journalism both abroad and closer to home under the auspices of the World Journalism Institute. Mindy worked on Capitol Hill and attended George Washington University, but for more than thirty years has lived in Asheville, NC, where she is a wife and mother of four children.
Genre: Non-fiction/Current Events/Middle East
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Reflection: You know that handful of books you read every year, not for entertainment, but because they’re important? Because they increase your compassion, understanding, and world-wide awareness?
This book is one of those.
Reporter Mindy Belz’s They Say We Are Infidels is not a fun read. In fact, it’s pretty tough. It takes some courage to read the details news headlines don’t reveal. True stories of how people are suffering for their faith, forced to leave their homes, losing their friends and family — and quite often, their lives — simply for believing in Jesus Christ. This book confronts readers with these hard truths.
Mindy Belz spins her story with the care of someone who loves the people she is writing about. She is a reporter, yes, and so she pays attention to detail — but she has built relationships with those she is writing about, and this brings emotional texture to her complicated tale. Sometimes she gives more detail than the casual reader can readily absorb, but it’s there for a reason: to expose the truth. She is a reporter, after all, not a novelist.
Two parts of her story in particular continue to haunt me: the tale of the Keeper of the Keys (to Nahum’s tomb), emblematic keeper of Jewish and Christian legacy, forced to flee his post in Iraq for Turkey; and the desecration of the Nineveh Plains — truly, “a monstrous holocaust.” Oh, my heart aches for all that has been lost.
We who live in North America are so far removed — physically, culturally — from the Middle East that sometimes it’s hard to imagine what it’s like. This book helps to paint that picture in Technicolor. Christians who live in the relative safety of the West need to read this book. It contains a wealth of history of our faith, while it also serves to warn us about what can yet happen here.
Thanks to Tyndale Momentum/Tyndale House Publishers for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
After words: What other titles would you recommend as “important” books to read?
Stay tuned…tomorrow, an excerpt from They Say We Are Infidels.