The Islamic persecution of Christians 3

As the current wars of religion rage on, the mainstream media are chiefly reporting the war in Gaza. They put much stress on the number of Palestinian deaths – information they get only from Hamas, which has every reason to claim as many deaths as possible. Hamas’s tactic is to provoke attack and then show the wounds – the deaths of the women and children it uses as shields – and cry loudly until “the world” rescues them from defeat.

Is “the world” really concerned about the deaths of civilians in the Middle East? Or only concerned when they die because Israel strikes back at the Arab enemy after years of rocket attacks?

Is “the world” moved by Arab deaths if Israel can’t be blamed for them? Not so much. Shall we say Muslim deaths then? Also not so much.

What about Christian deaths at the hands of Muslims? The oppression and intense persecution of Christians? Christians being stripped of all they possess and expelled from lands their ancestors have lived in as Christians since the second century C.E?  Hardly at all.

No outcry about their treatment from Christian America? No. Not a word from those Presbyterians who have lately evinced so much interest in boycotting Israel? No.

The Pope? He’s praying for their persecution to end. No persecutor named. If he was expecting a quick response from his God now that Omniscient attention has been drawn to the issue, is he disappointed?

The Archbishop of Canterbury?  No –  the Anglican clergy likes Islamic sharia law and helped introduce it into Britain.

What about the UN? You must be joking! The UN is an agency of the Arab states.

David Singer writes at Canada Free Press:

The Syrian civil war has claimed 170,000 lives in three years; this past weekend’s death toll in Syria was greater than what took place in Gaza. By some accounts, the past week may have been the deadliest in the conflict’s grim history. Meanwhile, the extremist insurgents of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), have continued their ravages over a swath of territory stretching from eastern Syria to the environs of Baghdad, Iraq’s capital; the spike in violence in Iraq has led to more than 5,500 civilian deaths in the first six months of this year.” …

The newly-declared Islamic State (IS) – which includes Mosul – Iraq’s second largest city – already exceeds the area of Great Britain. …

Christians were given 24 hours to leave Mosul or convert to Islam and pay a tax – or die.

Nuri Kino – reported on Fox News – confirms the tragic situation in Syria and identifies those engaged in persecuting these ancient Christian communities:

Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, also has been nearly emptied of Assyrians, Armenians and other non-Muslims …

The prideful tone in which the perpetrators speak whenever I have interviewed them — both Al Qaeda and IS — is equally shocking. These are mostly disgruntled young men who were teetering on the edges of society in their own homelands, often in European suburbs, and now believe they have the power to do whatever they want in the name of Islam. They can claim any house in IS-controlled areas of Iraq and Syria as their own, and tell the owners to either leave or risk being killed. They can take any woman as their wife 

At least 700, 000 non-Muslims — Christians, Mandeans, Yezidis and others — have left Iraq by now. No one knows how many have left Syria.

Nina Shea reports in Fox News:

ISIS has set out to erase every Christian trace. All 30 churches were seized and their crosses stripped away. Some have been permanently turned into mosques. One is the Mar (Saint) Ephraim Syriac Orthodox Cathedral, newly outfitted with loudspeakers that now call Muslims to prayer. The 4th century Mar Behnam, a Syriac Catholic monastery outside Mosul, was captured and its monks expelled, leaving behind a library of early Christian manuscripts and wall inscriptions by 13th-century Mongol pilgrims. Christian and Shiite gravesites, deemed idolatrous by ISIS, are being deliberately blown up and destroyed, including on July 24, the tomb of the 8th-century B.C. Old Testament Prophet Jonah, and the Muslim shrine that enclosed it.

Patrick Coburn does not mince his words in The Independent:

It is the greatest mass flight of Christians in the Middle East since the Armenian massacres and the expulsion of Christians from Turkey during and after the First World War.

Yet the media show little interest in exposing the decimation and dispersal of the Christian communities in Syria and Iraq.

And here’s Mark Steyn:

Baghdad used to be 40% Jewish. Tripoli used to be 40% Jewish. And the Jews were all chased out there. And now it’s the turn of the Christians. … ISIS are effectively doing every day what the European media and American campuses accuse Israel of doing. Everyone thinks Israel is slavering with blood and wants to eliminate every last Muslim in Gaza. No, they don’t. They just want to live with them. The difference is ISIS actually wants Iraq cleansed of Christians in the way it was cleansed of Jews, just as the Muslim Brotherhood wants Egypt cleansed of Coptic Christians the way it was cleansed of Jews.

But still the West, Christian by tradition if not in belief or observance, shows little concern.

This can be seen not only in the dearth of comment from governments and churches, but also among the people who seek their information and spread their opinions on the “social media”.

David Singer adds this statistic to his article:

Google reports on the Israel-Gaza war outnumber reports on the ISIS-Christian conflict by about 20:1.

That dangerous thing – education 5

Crisis Magazine is a Catholic site.

But –

William Kilpatrick makes some points there that we agree with, among some that we do not. We quote:

Question:  What does Boko Haram, the Nigerian terrorist organization, have in common with Western educators?  Answer:  Both think that Western education is sinful.  Fortunately, Western educators will not burn down your church or school with you inside as Boko Haram does to those who persist in their Western ways.  Unfortunately, the type of education provided by Western educators will leave you totally unprepared for the likes of Boko Haram.

Agreed.

Roughly translated, “Boko Haram” means “Western education is sinful”.  So there’s little doubt about where it stands.  But in what way can it be said that Western educators believe the same thing?  I don’t know if any educators have actually declared that Western education is sinful, but it’s not unfair to say that contemporary educational theory in the West is built upon a rejection of traditional Western education.  Beginning with Rousseau’s Emile (1762), Western intellectuals began to challenge the Judeo-Christian view of the child and along with it traditional ideas about how children should be educated.

 He describes what he thinks of as Christian education approvingly: 

According to the earlier conception, one which still endures in some corners of our society, the child is born in original sin and, therefore, a good part of his education should be devoted to helping him overcome his natural tendencies to laziness, selfishness and pleasure-seeking.  The goal of such education was the transmission of hard-learned cultural lessons through the study of history, literature, scripture and science.

All good subjects (though about scripture, see our last paragraph).

Two comments. One: “original sin” was disobedience followed by lust – not laziness, selfishness and (oh, dear!) pleasure-seeking. Two:  For a thousand years, most children in Christendom were taught Christianity but not literacy. Once Christianity descended darkly over Europe, replacing the Roman Empire with the Catholic Church, most children received no education at all except the Christian myth along with the fear of Hell.

But what the writer says next is right on:

According to the Romantic tradition which began with Rousseau and which by the late 1960s had become the dominant philosophy in American education, the child is born in a state of original innocence with trustworthy impulses that should be followed, not denied.  Romantic thinkers believed in nature with an almost religious fervor; in their view, man had fallen not from a state of grace but from the state of nature.  Sin was a product of civilization, and if there were such a thing as evil, it lay in placing unnatural constraints on the child’s natural spontaneity and wisdom.

The Romantic emphasis on the child’s inner wisdom led to a corresponding de-emphasis on the acquisition of factual knowledge.  Learning was thought to be a natural process and the child could therefore be trusted to learn what he needed to know by following his natural instincts.  Consequently, book-learning came to be looked upon by Romantic poets and philosophers as an unnatural imposition on the child’s natural development. Take Wordsworth’s poem, The Tables Turned:

Up!  up!  my Friend, and quit your books;
Or surely you’ll grow double:
Up!  up!  my Friend, and clear your looks;
Why all this toil and trouble?

The third stanza extends the anti-book argument a bit further:

Books!  ‘tis a dull and endless strife:
Come, hear the woodland linnet,
How sweet his music!  on my life,
There’s more of wisdom in it.

In short, why bother with books [boko haram? – ed]) when you can find all you need to know in the book of nature?  That is the [we would say “one of the] basic principle[s] of Romanticism.  For a very long time, most educators ignored this highly unrealistic approach to education.  Wordsworth, Emerson, Whitman and other Romantics were taught in schools, but they were celebrated for the beauty of their poetry and prose, not for their anti-bookish prescriptions.  Eventually, however, these ideas about natural learning came to exert a powerful influence on the imagination of educators — particularly those of the American variety.  By the 1930’s, under the name “progressive education”,  the Romantic theory had spread to teacher’s colleges throughout the U.S.  By the late 1960’s, it was the dominant philosophy in American classrooms.

The triumph of natural schooling theories did result in significant change — for the worse.  SAT scores began a long decline and the U.S. students soon ranked near the bottom of developed countries on international assessment tests.  The progressive movement did, however, produce a number of catchy slogans such as “holistic learning”, “child-centered schooling”, “at their own pace”, “self-esteem”, and “critical thinking skills”.  Those were the terms of approbation.  On the other hand, teachers were warned to avoid “memorization”, “rote-learning”, “mere facts”, “textbook-learning”, and “culturally biased curriculums”.

The progressives failed to realize, however, that you can’t think critically unless you have something to think about.  But, having been deprived of “mere facts”, students have very little material with which to “construct knowledge” (another popular piece of educational jargon).  How, for example, can students think critically about World War II if they’ve never heard of Roosevelt, Churchill or Stalin or if they have no idea where Germany, Japan, Poland and France are located?

What, you may ask, does this have to do with Boko Haram?  Just this.  Boko Haram is one of the more violent manifestations of the global resurgence of Islam in our times.  Although it is marginally more brutal than other jihadist groups, it is not untypical.  There are dozens of such groups all over the world that seek by force to restore Islam to its former dominance.  The problem is, today’s anti-knowledge curriculums do not prepare students to think critically about what is happening in the Islamic world and what it means for the rest of us.

The disparagement of “mere facts” ensures that today’s graduates will know very little about the history of Islam.  And the Romantic elevation of non-Western traditions means that they will know even less about the bloody nature of that history.  Although American students will hear a great deal about Western imperialism, they are not likely to realize that Islam was one of the great imperial powers of all time.  At one time, the Islamic Empire stretched from Spain, across North Africa, and all the way to India.  The Empire was created by conquest, but high school and college texts tend to avoid that word in favor of euphemisms such as “the spread of Islam” or the “expansion of Islam.”  And how was this expansion accomplished?  According to one widely used high school history text, “The persecuted people often welcomed the [Muslim] invaders and chose to accept Islam.  They were attracted by the appeal of the message of Islam which offered equality and hope in this world.” …

– A  lie constantly repeated by Muslim propagandists.

Indeed, many accounts of Islamic history in American textbooks look like they could have been written by the Saudi Ministry for Propaganda and Whitewash.  Many world history textbooks, for instance, take great pains to inform readers that jihad has little to do with holy war but rather is best understood as “overcoming immorality,” “a personal inner struggle to achieve spiritual peace”, or a “striving … to achieve personal betterment”.  Moreover, in line with the Western habit of romanticizing non-Western cultures, textbooks present a highly romanticized (some would say, largely fictitious) portrait of Islam’s “Golden Age” in Spain and Baghdad.  According to one widely-used college text, “The Muslims created [in Baghdad and Cordoba] a brilliant urban culture” where libraries abounded and where “judges, merchants, and government officials, rather than warriors, were regarded as the ideal citizens”.  Meanwhile, over in the Christian Carolingian Empire, “Both gluttony and drunkenness were vices shared by many people…. Everyone in Carolingian society, including abbots and monks, drank heavily and often to excess.” …

It is necessary to remember that Christians burnt piles of volumes from the great library of Alexandria centuries before the Muslims came and destroyed it utterly. (It was ravaged by Christians in 391 CE, and completely destroyed by Muslims in 642 CE.)

There is nothing romantic about Boko Haram, and the facts concerning it don’t fit into the rose-colored narrative that is fed to our students about gentle Islamic expansion, interior spiritual struggles, and a library on every corner. …  Absent knowledge of Islam’s 1400-year history of jihad, the Boko Haram campaign to exterminate Nigerian Christians must seem like an aberration — something completely unrepresentative of the true Islam.  And so will the attacks on Christians in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan, the Central African Republic, Kenya, and elsewhere.  They will be perceived as discrete, disconnected events that have “nothing to do with Islam” because American citizens are largely unfamiliar with the historical pattern that would help to make sense of these supposedly senseless actions.

What does that pattern look like?  Islam scholar Raymond Ibrahim provides this brief description of the European experience with Islam:

Among other nations and territories that were attacked and/or came under Muslim domination are (to give them their modern names in no particular order):  Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Sicily, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Greece, Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Lithuania, Romania, Albania, Serbia, Armenia, Georgia, Crete, Cyprus, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Belarus, Malta, Sardinia, Moldova, Slovakia, and Montenegro.

It seems well past time to wake up from the romantic dream and reacquaint ourselves with that once-familiar, now forgotten pattern.

We agree of course with his abhorrence of Islam, and with his objections to Romanticism.

We see Romanticism as the (admittedly godless but nevertheless mystical) religion that replaced Christianity when the Enlightenment broke the power of the Churches and brought Christianity into open question.

We see it as the enemy of Reason, scorning proper education, and science, technological innovation, the nation state, free trade, the free market, capitalism, individual freedom, the productive middle-class, prosperity, rule of law, civilization. Also skepticism. And humor.

At present Romanticism is hammering the Western world with two dogmas that are in an improbable alliance, that of Leftism and that of Islam.

Some Catholics, it seems, can share this understanding with us to an extent, though they would no doubt want the Church to rule again, and the irrationalities of Christianity to replace those of Socialism and Mohammedanism.

We agree with William Kilpatrick that our Western culture should be handed down. That means teaching facts, as he says – and critical examination of all opinion.

We want education to be  secular.

The Jewish and Christian scriptures should be taught as literature, and religion in history classes, because they have had a huge effect on our culture. But (as our frequent commenter Frank has urged inspirationally) they should be taught only by atheists.

The immaculate innocence of Islam 3

The persecution Christians are suffering in Islamic countries is apparently of little or no concern to the ever-bleeding hearts of the American Left.

The Obama administration is positively ignoring it.

We quote from an article by Raymond Ibrahim at Front Page:

The Obama administration’s support for its Islamist allies means lack of U.S. support for their enemies, or, more properly, victims — the Christian and other non-Muslim minorities of the Muslim world. …

On May 24 this year the US State department released the Country Reports on Human Rights.

For the first time ever, the State Department simply eliminated the section of religious freedom …

The State Department “refused to list Egypt as ‘a country of particular concern,’ even as [Coptic] Christians … were being murdered, churches destroyed, and girls kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam. ”

Legislation to create a special envoy for religious minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia … has been stalled by Sen. James Webb (D-Va). In a letter sent to Webb Wednesday night, Rep. Frank Wolf [R-Va, who introduced the envoy bill] said he “cannot understand why” the hold had been placed on a bill that might help Coptic Christians and other groups “who face daily persecution, hardship, violence, instability and even death.” … Webb spokesman Will Jenkins explained the hold by saying that “after considering the legislation, Senator Webb asked the State Department for its analysis.” In a position paper issued in response, State Department officials said “we oppose the bill as it infringes on the Secretary’s [Hillary Clinton’s] flexibility to make appropriate staffing decisions …  The new special envoy position is unnecessary, duplicative, and likely counterproductive”.

The word “flexibility” has a special meaning when used by the Obama gang. Obama quietly informed the Russians that after he’d won the election in November he would have more “flexibility” – presumably to meet Putin’s demands more fully than he can before it. So the word may be taken to mean “ability to accommodate the wishes of America’s enemies”.

Once this reasonable deduction is made it is easy to see that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s need for “flexibility to make appropriate staffing decisions” means she does not want to have a pro-Christian or anti-Muslim envoy. (The same thing in the circumstances.)

In regard to which it should be recalled that among Hillary Clinton’s closest advisers – possibly standing alone as her closest adviser – is Huma Abedin, a Muslim with close ties (see here and here) to the Muslim Brotherhood.

With that fact in mind, no one should be surprised when “flexible” decisions are  seen to be implemented.

The administration … had nothing to say when Islamic terrorists bombed Nigerian churches on Easter Sunday, killing some 50 Christians and wounding hundreds. And when the Egyptian military indiscriminately massacred dozens of unarmed Christians for protesting the nonstop attacks on their churches, all the White House could say is, “Now is a time for restraint on all sides”—as if Egypt’s beleaguered Christian minority needs to “restrain” itself against the nation’s military, a military that intentionally ran armored-vehicles over them at Maspero.

In light of all this, naturally the Obama administration, in the guise of the State Department, would oppose a bill to create an envoy who will only expose more religious persecution for the administration to suppress or obfuscate.

Such is the current state of affairs. In its attempts to empower its Islamist allies, the current U.S. administration has taken up their cause by waging a war of silence on their despised minorities — the Christians and other non-Muslims of the Islamic world.

The Obama administration cannot allow Islam to be guilty of anything, even of deeds carried out insistently in its name. It will have America and the world know that Islam is irreproachably innocent of any aggression, persecution,  intolerance, or terrorism.

As an example of the administration’s campaign to “suppress knowledge” both of “the sufferings of religious minorities under Islam”  and of “knowledge concerning Islam itself” in connection with them, Raymond Ibrahim provides a link to this instructive video clip:

 

These wars of religion 0

Christians in Islamic states are being continually and ruthlessly persecuted and slaughtered.  Heads of the various Christian churches, Western Governments, the big political parties, and the mainstream media are pretending it’s not happening.

Click on the video (from David Horowitz’s Freedom Center) to learn how bad it is. 

 

 

 

 

Meanwhile, because European governments and political parties are refusing to acknowledge that there is any threat to the survival of their indigenous cultures as Muslim numbers grow by birth and conversion, neo-Nazi parties are gaining support among the electorates. Angry voices are calling for the forceful expulsion of Muslims. There is reason to fear outbreaks of Muslim and anti-Muslim violence this summer in many parts of Europe. The stench of genocidal hatred is in the air.

What should be attacked are not Muslims but the ideology of Islam. Not people, but ideas. The fight should not be with clubs, fists, boots and guns, but with words. Islam should be argued against, rationally, strongly, persistently in every public forum, actual and electronic, that our civilization has at its disposal.

Yet the UN is trying to stop all criticism of that cruel, intolerant, oppressive, murderous creed.

Furthermore, it’s hard to argue against the nonsense Mohammed taught without also pointing out that all other religious belief  is equally absurd. True, Judaism and Christianity do not preach moral evil as Islam does.  But Christianity has practiced it (both the Catholic and Protestant branches have burnt their heretics), and besides, any insistence on irrational belief is corrupting.

But as the Taliban take over Pakistan and its nuclear arms; as Ahmadinejad prepares his nuclear bombs to destroy the Jewish state; as the Sunni fanatics of Hamas gain support from the Shias of Iran (as well as from Obama’s administration); as Hizbollah takes control of Lebanon; as Turkey turns Islamist; as Somalia ferments jihad on the high seas; as terrorists train under Somali and Pakistani jihadis in camps scattered through the US; as Christians are slaughtered in Indonesia, Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Sudan; it would seem clearer than ever that the  human race would be better off without religion. 

Posted under Atheism, Christianity, Commentary, Islam, Judaism by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, May 13, 2009

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