It is the season of “peace on Earth,” but Sister Hatune Dogan has a chill in her spirit that could be felt only in a time of war.
The Orthodox Christian nun feels it with each new atrocity committed against the Yazidi and Christian minorities of Syria and Iraq. She feels it in the church burnings across Egypt and the slaughter of innocent children in Pakistan.
For this reason she brought a word of warning to Americans in a visit last week to Minnesota, where she spoke to several church groups.
Today’s political climate draws her back to 1915 and her native Turkey, when her family experienced the cruelty of the Ottoman caliphate, which slaughtered 3 million Christians and reduced others to second-class status under subjugation, or “dhimmitude.”
ISIS is nothing new, she said, just the re-emergence of Islam’s dark side.
“ISIS is not fanatic. ISIS is not more terrible. ISIS is real Muslim believers who like to follow the Quran and Muhammad,” said the founder of Warburg, Germany-based Sister Hatune Foundation, a worldwide relief organization that has been honored by the German government for its dedication to human rights. “Others say they are Muslim. They say they believe Quran, but they don’t follow it.”
Armenian Christians accounted for about half of the 3 million victims in Turkey, but the other half were Christians of various ethnic backgrounds–Greek Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox and Protestants. All felt the boot of jihad against their heads.
She believes Christians in the West should learn what is written in the Muslim holy book. If they did, they would realize that the Islamic State, also called ISIS, is not doing anything that hasn’t been done in the past by devout Muslims who have conquered a people they see as “infidels.”
Where are all the Christians?
Sister Hatune points to the fact that 96 percent of the people who populated the Middle East at the turn of the eighth century were Christian. Now, that Christian population has dwindled to 6 percent. Turkey was once almost all Christian, but now it is 0.03 percent Christian. Iraq had 1 million Christians under Saddam Hussein, but now only a few thousand remain, and the churches of Baghdad will be mostly empty this Christmas.
“Where are these Christians? Where are these people? Just ask yourself,” said the fiery nun, whose native tongue is Aramaic.
The Sister Hatune Foundation works in 35 countries with Matthew 25:34-40 as its mission statement–feeding, clothing, sheltering and providing medical care to the poor and persecuted of the world. She has been making regular trips to the Middle East since 2005, and ISIS presents a new challenge: trying to rescue orphaned children from its clutches.
Sister Hatune returned to her home convent in Germany for only a few days before she will make another trip to the Middle East to celebrate Christmas with persecuted Christians. She was with them in November when she visited refugee camps in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. She also sneaked into Syria to meet with Christians there.
Drawing on her own family background, Sister Hatune has recently finished work on her 13th book, “I Believe in Action,” written to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Christian genocide in Turkey. In this book she compares the life of Jesus to that of Muhammad, Islam’s main prophet.
“I not write from my head. All facts,” she said. “Muhammad came and he brought killing, beheading, pedophilia. He slept with a 9-year-old girl, he married when she was 6 years old. We know because she says it herself in the Hadith. In Yemen today, where Shariah is the law, they have to marry the girl before her first menstruation, maximum of age 13, because it is written.”
Sister Hatune thumbs through her Quran and finds another verse that she says leads Muslims to murder Christians in the Middle East.
“Twenty-five times in Quran it says to kill Christians because we are involved in polytheism,” she said, explaining that Muslims do not understand the concept of the Holy Trinity. “Also it says to not make friends with Christians.”
Europe is on its way to becoming the next battleground for Islam, especially Belgium and France, where Muslims make up 6 to 10 percent of the population. Sister Hatune’s adopted country of Germany is at least 4 percent Muslim and has more than 4,000 mosques.
“A mosque is not just for prayer,” the nun said. “It is to prepare to kill the unbeliever and control the world.”
In the Quran there are 97 verses against the unbeliever.
“And there are verses against the Christians who say God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, or that Jesus is the Son of God. They have to be beheaded, the head cut off from the neck; no other interpretation. This is what the Muslims are doing. Normal Muslims, who are really Muslims, have to follow this rule,” she said. “There will never be peace on Earth if these verses of the Quran are not stopped. It is in the Quran, Hadith and sunna 36,800 times, the words ‘cut,’ ‘kill’ or ‘attack.’ How can there be peace on Earth?”
The Quran also gives Muslim men permission to rape girls and women who are held captive as slaves (Sura 23:5-6).
In conquered cities, ISIS has marked the homes of Christians with a red symbol of the Nazarene. They are then visited by ISIS militants who bring unspeakable horrors upon the families.
Sister Hatune says it is justified under Sura 5:33 in the Quran, which states:
Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land.
Muslim apologists in the West say the verse is taken out of context by “Islamophobes,” but Sister Hatune believes otherwise.
“Those of us Christians from Middle East. We know them. We know their rules,” she said.
Today there are 57 Islamic countries living under Islamic law.
The Pope’s Christmas message.