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'Lord of the Rings' Actor John Rhys-Davies Slams Western Leaders for Turning Blind Eye to Islamic Extremism, Allowing 'Wiping Out' of Christianity

( [email protected] ) Aug 14, 2015 12:47 PM EDT
Hollywood actor John Rhys-Davies has accused Western leaders of losing their "moral compass" by failing to cast judgment on Islamic extremism and turning a blind eye to the persecution of Christians in the Middle East.
John Rhys-Davies, 71, is best known for his role as Gimli in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Getty Images

Hollywood actor John Rhys-Davies has accused Western leaders of losing their "moral compass" by failing to cast judgment on Islamic extremism and turning a blind eye to the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and Africa.

In a candid podcast interview with Adam Carolla, Rhys-Davies, who is best known for playing Gimli in the Lord of the Rings series, first condemned the "extraordinary silence in the West" amid the rising persecution of Christians at the hands of Islamic extremist groups like ISIS and Boko Haram.

"Basically, Christianity in the Middle East and in Africa is being wiped out - I mean not just ideologically but physically, and people are being enslaved and killed because they are Christians. And your country and my country (Wales) are doing nothing about it," the actor told Carolla, Breitbart first reported.  

In turn, Carolla identified political correctness as the source of the problem, asking,"Why is it so evolved not to judge?"

He continued, "This notion that we've evolved into a species that's incapable of judging other groups and what they are doing, especially when it's beheading people or setting people on fire or throwing acid in the face of schoolgirls... I like that kind of judging. That's evolved!"

According to CNN,  Rhys-Davis reportedly appeared on Carolla's show - which has been recognized by Guinness World Records as the world's most popular podcast - to promote the DVD release of Return to the Hiding Place, a film about Jews in Holland during World War II.

In continuing his comments, Carolla contended that the U.S. "crushing Hitler" in World War II was a "good thing", as doing so now would be impossible because people like Bill Maher would be "screaming" about tolerance.

"This is a unique age," Rhys-Davies explained. "We don't want to be judgmental. Every other age that's come before us has believed exactly the opposite. I mean, T.S. Eliot referred to 'the common pursuit of true judgement.' Yes, that's what it's about. Getting our judgments right, getting them accurate."

"Why can't we get the same nations on the same page?" Carolla asked. "There's a lot of nations that are never going to go down this road with us, but your nation, England, they're sane. Why can't we get them back toward sanity?"

"I think it's an age where politicians don't actually say what they believe," the 71-year-old actor responded. "They are afraid of being judged as being partisan. Heaven forbid we should criticize people who, after all, share a different 'value system.' But 'it's all relevant, it's all equally relative. We're all the same. And God and the devil, they're the same, aren't they, really? Right and wrong? It's really just two faces of the same coin.'"

"We have lost our moral compass completely, and unless we find it, we're going to lose our civilization," Rhys-Davies warned. "I think we're going to lose Western European Christian civilization anyway."

According to the Pew Research Center, Christians face persecution in 102 countries - more than any other religion.

Islamic extremist groups such as ISIS, Boko Haram and al-Shabaab drive much of the increase in Christian persecution, according to campaigners and church leaders.

"One of the 21st century's major challenges to freedom of religion or belief [is] the actions of non-state actors in failing or failed states," said the 2015 annual report from the Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)

According to a recent report from the New York Times, less than 500,000 Christians remain in Iraq today - a stark contrast from the 1.5 million in 2003. Additionally, nearly a third of Syria's Christians, about 600,000, have found themselves with no choice but to flee the country, driven out by extremist groups.

In north-eastern Nigeria, thousands of minorities have been killed or displaced by Boko Haram. Since launching military operations in 2000, the group often targets Christians in an attempt to rid the region of religions other than Islam, the BBC reports.

Lisa Pearce, chief executive of Open Doors UK and Ireland, recently told The Guardian that persecution of Christians continues to increase,  "and the rate of increase is accelerating."

She added, "It used to mean several years in a forced labour camp. Now it means watching your loved ones being beheaded."