The persecution of Christians by Muslims in the Middle East is not news. It is a continuous state of affairs, as much to be expected as unpleasant news is anywhere. It could even be said to be normal.
Among the few journalists who do not ignore it is Raymond Ibrahim. He reports on it frequently.
He recently wrote, at Canada Free Press, about a wave of attacks on Christians in Egypt:
Yet another murderous wave is taking Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority by storm, leading to yet another exodus from their homes.
Last week in al-Arish, Sinai, Islamic State affiliates killed a 65-year-old Christian man by shooting him in the head; they then abducted and tortured his 45-year-old son, before burning him alive and dumping his charred remains near a schoolyard.
The worshipers of “Allah the Merciful” gouged out his eyes, according to witnesses.
Perhaps because of its sensationalist nature — burning a human alive — this story was reported by some Western media. Yet the atrocities hardly begin or end there. Below is a list of Christians murdered in al-Arish in recent days and weeks:
- January 30: A 35-year-old Christian was in his small shop working with his wife and young son when three masked men walked in, opened fire on him, instantly killing the Copt. The murderers then sat around his table, eating chips and drinking soda, while the body lay in a pool of blood before the terrified wife and child.
- February 13: A 57-year-old Christian laborer was shot and killed as he tried to fight off masked men trying to kidnap his young son from off a crowded street in broad daylight. After murdering the father, they seized his young son and took him to an unknown location (where, per precedent, he is likely being tortured, possibly already killed, if a hefty ransom was not already paid).
- February 16: A 45-year-old Christian schoolteacher was moonlighting at his shoe shop with his wife, when masked men walked in the crowded shop and shot him dead.
- February 17: A 40-year-old medical doctor was killed by masked men who, after forcing him to stop his car, opened fire and killed him. He too leaves a widow and two children.
… This recent uptick in Christian persecution is believed to be in response to a video earlier released by the Islamic State in Sinai. In it, masked militants promise more attacks on the “worshipers of the cross”, a reference to the Copts of Egypt, whom they also referred to as their “favorite prey” and the “infidels who are empowering the West against Muslim nations”.
As a result of the recent slayings and threats of more to come, at least 300 Christians living in al-Arish have fled their homes, with nothing but their clothes on their backs and their children in their hands. Most have congregated in a Coptic church compound in neighboring Ismailia by the Suez Canal. …
Now here is a short list of measures NOT being taken to help Christian victims of religious persecution by Muslims:
The Pope is speaking out often, loud, and clear against the states that order, promote, sanction, allow, or tolerate the capture, rape, murder, enslavement and displacement of Christians.
The Archbishop of Canterbury is doing the same, and vigorously pressing the British government to demand that the governments of Islamic states put an end to this practice under threat of stopping financial aid. (Only 1% of Egypt’s aid comes from Britain, but the top recipients of British tax-payers’ money include the Islamic states of Pakistan, Nigeria, Syria, Afghanistan, Bangladesh. Nigeria is the country where Boko Haram – an affiliate of ISIS – has been burning, raping, abducting and mass-slaughtering Christians for years. We have posted often about Boko Haram. In particular, see here.)
The Evangelical Christians of America are pressing the US government to do likewise. (US aid to Egypt = $1.5 billion.)
The United Nations is passing resolutions against it, both in the General Assembly and the Security Council, and taking action to prevent and punish it wherever it is occurring.
Here’s a little more about what the Pope is doing in regard to this matter.
Robert Spencer writes at Jihad Watch:
AP reported … that Pope Francis “embraced the grand imam [Ahmed al-Tayeb] of Al-Azhar, the prestigious Sunni Muslim center of learning, reopening an important channel for Catholic-Muslim dialogue after a five-year lull and at a time of increased Islamic extremist attacks on Christians.” …
Muslims have massacred, exiled, forcibly converted or subjugated hundreds of thousands of Christians in Iraq and Syria. Have these “improved ties” [between the Vatican and the grand imam] saved even one Christian from suffering at the hands of Muslims? No, they haven’t. All they do is make the “dialogue” participants feel good about themselves, while the Middle Eastern Christians continue to suffer. In fact, the “dialogue” has actually harmed Middle Eastern Christians, by inducing Western Christian leaders to enforce silence about the persecution, for fear of offending their so-easily-offended Muslim “dialogue” partners.
Has the Pope welcomed any of the persecuted Christians to the Vatican? Or is that honor reserved only for this man, who will allow for “dialogue” only when his Christian “dialogue” partners maintain a respectful silence about Muslim massacres of Christians?
The Pope has not welcomed Christian refugees. He invited a pair of Syrian Christian refugee siblings to move to Rome, but changed his mind, disinvited them, and welcomed three Muslim families instead.
Judith Bergman’s article at Gatestone stresses the weakness of Christian leadership when Christians are being massacred. And for us, incidentally, it also vividly illustrates what’s wrong with Christian morality. It is sentimental. Sentimentality and cruelty are the two sides of the same coin.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, was interviewed recently about the Paris attacks and asked about his reaction. “Like everyone else – first shock and horror and then a profound sadness …” he replied. “Saturday morning, I was out and as I was walking I was praying and saying: ‘God, why – why is this happening?'”
He does not say what answer he received.
Welby is the principal head of the Anglican Church and the symbolic head of the Anglican Communion, which stands at around 85 million members worldwide and is the third largest communion in the world – after the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. This is a man with an extremely high public profile, and millions of Christians looking to him for spiritual guidance.
But why is a man who is the symbolic head of 85 million Christians worldwide expressing shock at yet another terrorist attack perpetrated by the Islamic State? Had the Archbishop of Canterbury paid more than just fleeting attention to his fellow Christians in Iraq and Syria, he would know that the Islamic State has been slaughtering Christians in the Middle East since 2006. Between 2004 and 2006, before the Islamic State evolved out of Al Qaeda in Iraq, it hardly showed less zeal to root out Christianity even then.
The Archbishop had eleven years to get used to the idea of people being made homeless, exiled, tortured, raped, enslaved, beheaded and murdered for not being Muslims. How much more time did he need?
The Archbishop of Canterbury had more wisdom to offer in the interview. “The perversion of faith is one of the most desperate aspects of our world today,” he said, explaining that Islamic State terrorists have distorted their faith to the extent that they believe they are glorifying their God. But it is unclear how he is as qualified an expert in Islam as Islamic State “Caliph ” Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, who possesses a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Baghdad. Christians, Yazidis and persecuted Muslims in the Middle East can probably point to aspects of the world more desperate than “the perversion of faith,” but then again, the Archbishop does not seem too preoccupied with the situation on the ground.
Fortunately, others are. In a piece for The Atlantic, “What ISIS Really Wants,” Graeme Wood spent time researching the Islamic State and its ideology in depth. He spoke to members of the Islamic State and Islamic State recruiters; his conclusions were the following:
The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam. Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls, in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery, and coins, “the Prophetic methodology”, which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail. Muslims can reject the Islamic State … But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it.
The West nevertheless continues to pretend that the Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam, and the Archbishop of Canterbury is apparently no different. It is noteworthy, however, that the Archbishop has no misgivings when it comes to Christians. “I cannot say that Christians who resort to violence are not Christians.,” he said to the Muslim Council of Wales two months ago. “At Srebrenica the perpetrators claimed Christian faith. I cannot deny their purported Christianity, but must acknowledge that event as yet another in the long history of Christian violence, and I must repudiate that what they did was in any way following the life and teaching of Jesus.”
During a debate in the House of Lords earlier this year, he also had no qualms in stating that “the church’s sporadic record of compelling obedience to its teachings through violence and coercion is a cause for humility and shame”.
If the Archbishop of Canterbury cannot deny the Christianity of Christian perpetrators who claim the Christian faith, how can he – not a Muslim scholar – deny the Islamic nature of Muslim perpetrators who claim the Muslim faith?
Just as mind-boggling is the refusal of Pope Francis I to speak the name of the perpetrators. In August 2014, when the Islamic State conquered the northern Iraqi city of Sinjar and began brutally to round up and murder Yazidis, and up to 100,000 Christians fled for their lives, Pope Francis could not make himself utter the name of the Islamic State. In his traditional Sunday blessing, he said the news from Iraq had left him “in dismay and disbelief’. As if every atrocity had happened for the first time! Christian Iraqis had at that point been persecuted by Al Qaeda in Iraq and the Islamic State for a full decade.Without referring by name to the Islamic State, and speaking as if some invisible force of nature were at play, the pope deplored “thousands of people, including many Christians, driven from their homes in a brutal manner; children dying of thirst and hunger in their flight; women kidnapped; people massacred; violence of every kind”.
A year later, in July 2015, he called the onslaught on Christians in the Middle East “a form of genocide”, but still without mentioning who exactly was committing it.
It is tragic that the Church has done so little to help its flock in the Middle East. Where, during the past decade, have the Archbishop of Canterbury and his colleagues from the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church been? Where now is their vocal and public outrage at the near extinction of this ancient Christian culture? Where are their forceful appeals to political leaders and military decision-makers to intervene on behalf of their suffering brethren?
The Pope, however, did find time last May to write a 180-page encyclical about climate change, and he has spoken passionately about the bizarre concept of the “rights of the environment”. In front of the UN and a joint session of the U.S. Congress, he again spoke of the persecution of Christians, as if it were a metaphysical event: “He expressed deep concern for the persecution of Christians in the Middle East, where they and other religious groups, have been ‘forced to witness the destruction of their places of worship, their cultural and religious heritage’ and been forced to flee or face death or enslavement.”
Christians in the Middle East are suffering and dying, and the world hardly pays attention.
The post-Christian West evidently has no moment of charity for the plight of people with whom it might feel at least a slight solidarity.
But in 2016, Europe will be receiving another three million migrants, according to the European Union. So far, most of those who have arrived are Muslims, and there is little reason to expect that those who will arrive next year will be persecuted Christians. Most of the refugees come from refugee camps near Syria; Christians stay away from the refugee camps because they experience persecution in them too. It is no different with the Syrian refugees coming to the US.
The Christians in the Middle East are thus still left fending for themselves.
… and David Hume, and Baruch Spinoza, and the US Constitution …
(We specially mention Hume and Spinoza because they were philosophers of atheism. But all the thinkers of the Age of Reason should be prescribed reading in all schools everywhere.)
THEY – the Muslims – are investing billions in trying to convince us that their ideas are good – though they aren’t. But we are doing nothing at all to persuade them that our ideas are good – which they are.
Ed West puts forward a very good plan. We quote from his Spectator (UK) article:
The persecution of Christians, the greatest story never told in the Western media, is finally building momentum as a story, after a year which has seen villagers massacred in Syria, dozens of churches burned down in Egypt’s worst religious violence for centuries, and the Peshawar atrocity in which the suicide-bombing of a church killed more than 80 people.
Earlier this week several MPs discussed the issue in Parliament, Fiona Bruce saying that ‘We should be crying out with the same abhorrence and horror that we feel about the atrocities towards Jews on Kristallnacht.’ And Baroness Warsi …
… a token Muslim woman on display in the House of Lords …
… will say in a speech in Washington today that: ‘A mass exodus is taking place, on a Biblical scale. In some places, there is a real danger that Christianity will become extinct.’
Warsi made the same point on the [BBC’s] Today programme this morning, and I applaud her, but an aspect rather missing from the coverage was the fact that the vast majority of serious anti-Christian violence is carried out in the name of Islam. It would be like discussing anti-Semitic pogroms of the medieval period without mentioning Christianity, its theology, history and practice.
No surprise there.
That is telling, since one of the reasons for the media’s voluntary blackout on this issue is our fear of appearing to be inciting hatred against Muslims. This allows the persecutors to get away with it, which is ironic since most violence carried out against Muslims is also done in the name of Islam.
The simple fact is that Islamic law as it is applied in Egypt (where apostasy is extremely difficult and dangerous, and family law was based on Sharia even before the revolution), Iraq and the Gulf States is incompatible with religious liberty. There is no way around that. In Iraq, most bizarrely, the US government presided over a constitution that introduced elements of Sharia.
Such are the vicissitudes of world management. When the British illegally gave three-quarters of the land in their Palestine mandate to the Emir of Transjordan, they found themselves in charge of a polity that allowed and practiced slavery. British law forbade this to happen, but it happened, and they didn’t do a thing about it while they had the power to do anything they chose. And now Britain deliberately allows sharia law to run parallel with British law inside the United Kingdom itself. That too should never have happened, but it has.
The issue therefore is not just that Christians are being punished because of anger at the West. It is the specific application of Islamic law, and most centrally [anger at the West’s] ideas about freedom of religion [which include] freedom of un-religion and the freedom to deviate from the rulers’ particular interpretation. …
He mentions also the intolerance by each Muslim sect of all other Muslim sects, in particular “the horror inflicted on the unorthodox Ahmadiyya Muslims in Pakistan”.
Much of the intolerance in Pakistan stems from the influence of the Saudis, who are trying to reshape Islam in their image, and are helped by Westerners because of their vast reserves of money. Shamefully the British Museum put on an exhibition on Mecca funded by the Saudis, even while those iconoclasts were vandalising the city; I can’t think of anything so contrary to the spirit of that fine institution.
But they’re not the only ones – universities and organisations all over the West take Saudi money, and they should be publicly shamed … Likewise countries that do not allow freedom of religion should be made pariahs …
At the heart of the problem is that we’re too scared of even admitting that the problem is within Islam, perfectly illustrated by the BBC’s coverage of events.
Then he proposes his brilliant idea:
This is perverse, because our belief in equal rights before the law stems from the liberal tradition, yet while the Saudis spend millions promoting their beliefs abroad, we don’t. According to human-rights lawyer and advocate for Christian religious freedom Nina Shea, many of the classical liberal western works, such as John Locke, have no modern Arabic translations. Why isn’t one of the west’s many liberal billionaires paying for translations, to be made available free on Kindle?
“Many” have not been translated? How many have been? And who reads them? Are they in the university libraries of the Muslim countries? Are there objective lecturers in Western Thought? Why don’t some of the wealthy who endow subversive academies like Harvard, Yale, Princeton wake up and instead endow chairs, or whole faculties, or even entire universities in the Islamic world dedicated to the teaching of Western Philosophy, Politics, History, Ethics, Economics, Literature, Law, and Science? (Not Religion – there’s no sense in opposing one irrationality with another.) They should be taught not as they are seen through Marxist distorting lenses in most American universities, but the way John Locke himself, and Benjamin Franklin would do it.
Oh, of course. No Islamic country would allow it. Still, we should try every way we can think of to get our ideas into as many Muslim heads as we possibly can.
Ed West concludes:
Time may be running out, for one of the many tragic results of Christian persecution is that a vital bridge between the Middle East and Europe is being wrecked. Of the 60 scholars who translated the ancient Greek classics into Arabic during the [falsely so-called] Islamic Golden Age, according to scholar Dr Suha Rassam, 58 were Syriac Christians (and of the others, one was Jewish and the other a Sabian), since generally only Syriacs could speak both Arabic and Greek.
Not one of them was a Muslim.
Without these 60 men the Renaissance would never have happened, and the very ideas that gave us liberalism would never have emerged.
Classical liberalism that is – the belief in tolerance and individual freedom.
What Muslims are doing to Christians is atrocious. The Muslims must tell themselves to stop it.
The hole in the political theory of libertarians is foreign policy. One of them is trying to fill it in. Senator Rand Paul has been speaking up for the Christians persecuted in Muslim lands, especially those in Syria. He’s still for non-intervention. But he’s showing that he’s not unconcerned about what’s going on out there in the dim and irrelevant Rest Of The World. He rightly analyses that what’s going on is – nasty. And he has advice for how that Muslim-on-Christian persecution problem should be fixed.
Cliff May reports and comments at Townhall:
Last month, at the Values Voter Summit, a gathering of conservative activists from around the country, Senator Rand Paul gave a speech [you can hear it all on this YouTube video] on what he called “a worldwide war on Christians by a fanatical element of Islam”.
The senator was careful [as almost all Western politicians always are] not to paint all Muslims with the brush of fanaticism. He stressed that only a minority of Muslims read Islamic scripture as mandating an armed struggle against Christians and other “unbelievers.”
How does he know that? If it were the case, it would mean that only a minority of Muslims read the Koran. Or that the majority of those that read it don’t take in what it says.
But because the global Muslim population is so large — more than 1.5 billion — even a relatively small percentage translates into tens of millions of jihad supporters.
Paul cited a few of the atrocities not making the evening news: a priest shot in the head in Zanzibar; churches bombed in Kenya; the beheading of three girls on their way to a Christian school in Indonesia; converts to Christianity murdered in Cameroon; churches burned and worshipers killed in Egypt; a pastor in Iran tortured and ordered to renounce his faith. …
All true. And he did not mention Nigeria, where thousands of Christians have been killed by a Muslim terrorist group calling itself Boko Haram (“book-learning is forbidden”), and where the random slaughter is on-going.* It is one of the few places where the Obama administration had something to say about the Muslim-on-Christian violence: it warned the Nigerian government, when it attempted to take military action against the Boko Haram terrorists, that it must not “violate their human rights”.
Syrian Christians, more properly called Syriacs, are widely believed to be pro-Assad. But that’s not quite accurate. A recent newsletter of the European Syriac Union states proudly that they were among those asking Assad for “their rights.” As a consequence, they have been seen as “the enemies” of the regime that continues to “attack, arrest, torture and imprison Syriac people.”
Syrian Christians have appealed to the U.S. government for assistance and … have been turned down. Paul argues: “We must work to ensure our country, our policies, our tax dollars, are on the side of ending this violence rather than encouraging those who perpetrate it.” But he never gets around to saying who or what he has in mind.
What he says instead: “How someone could believe that killing innocent people would further one’s cause is beyond me.” Is that really so hard to fathom? Both the Nazis and the Communists killed innocent people by the millions to further their causes. By now we should understand that totalitarianism is totalitarianism — whether [the ideology] is based on race, class, or religion.
It’s not entirely true that he didn’t say what might be done to discourage violence against Christians: he sensibly said that “not one dollar of US money” should go to any place where they burn the US flag, and no money should go to Pakistan where Christians are being held in jail – at least one of them on death row – for the offense of being Christian.
He also, interestingly enough considering the general pacifism of the libertarian movement, declared that “there are times when it is right to use military action”, for instance “after 9/11”. But he thinks (and we do too) that it would be wrong for the US to intervene militarily in the Syrian civil war.
“Radical Islam will end only when Islam begins to police Islam,” Paul adds. Can you imagine Churchill saying Nazism will end only when Germans begin to police themselves? Can you imagine Reagan saying Communism will end only when Russians begin policing themselves?
Paul insists that “Islam needs to remember and recreate the good in their history.” But those waging jihad believe the best in their history was when there was an Islamic empire as extensive as Rome at its zenith, dominating, and often destroying, communities of Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Hindus, and other “infidels”.
The presumption of radical Islam, wrote Bernard Lewis (the world’s leading scholar of the Middle East before that field of study became extensively politicized and compromised), is that “the duty of jihad will continue, interrupted only by truces, until all the world either adopts the Muslim faith or submits to Muslim rule”.
Western politicians have been reluctant to acknowledge this reality and act on it by developing a strategy aimed at defeating revolutionary Islam in both its Sunni and its Shiite variants. The best President Bush could do was to declare a global War on Terrorism — as if we objected only to the jihadis’ weapon [method, tactic] of choice. President Obama insists we’re fighting “violent extremism,” a term so nebulous as to be meaningless.
Yes, but it enables him to dissolve events like the Boston marathon bombing in the general problem of violent extremism soon to be practiced his administration alleges – by the Tea Party and US army veterans. But while those potential terrorists are named and pre-shamed in DHS reports and military training guides, Islam goes unmentioned. If you were to accuse him of never saying anything against Islamic terrorism, he’ll get members of the press to point out that he has emphatically condemned “violent extremism”.
Senator Paul has yet to improve on these flawed conceptual frameworks. “The ultimate answer must come from Islam itself,” he told his audience. “They will never accept us through force of arms. …
We don’t want them to accept us. We want to be rid of them.
“Somehow, though, they must come to understand that they must police themselves, that they must root out and destroy the sadists and killers who distort and contort religion to justify killing civilians and children.”
So Rand Paul found out nothing about Islam before making this foreign-policy speech! It is no distortion or contortion of Islam, the killing of civilians and children. It’s what Islam does. It’s what the Koran – a military manual for ruthless conquerors and enslavers – requires Muslims to do. It’s what Islam is all about. He seems to think of “religion” as one big bundle with the golden rule and cheek-turning instructions tucked up inside it.
“Somehow, though, they must come to understand” is neither a policy nor a strategy. Senator Paul is to be commended for speaking out about the plight of Christians in Muslim-dominated lands at a time when so many other voices are silent. But if he would step back from the trees he’d see a deep and dark forest: attacks on Christians are battles in a “War against the West” being waged by the 21st century’s most lethal imperialists. If Paul seriously aspires to be a world leader, he would be well-advised to begin developing a response not based on retreat, passivity, and drift.
Another thing Rand Paul said was, ‘Make no mistake – this is about religion.” He’s right of course. Ever more human suffering because of religion. (But that was not what he meant.)
The part of his speech with which we thoroughly disagree, and strongly object to, is an extended eulogy (as routine for politicians, when they make any criticism of Islam, as proclaiming that most Muslims are peaceful persons full of goodwill towards the infidel) on a purely mythical Medieval Islam, a beacon of cultural light; caliphates bristling with scientists and mathematicians, steeped in Greek and Latin learning, irreproachably tolerant.** Either he was only repeating this nonsense because he felt the politician’s need to do so, or he has really swallowed all that deceitful Muslim propaganda. He makes the case that as such an Islam existed once, it could exist again. Which would be a persuasive argument, if it were not untrue that it had ever existed at all.
* We have posted a number of articles on the murder of Christians by Boko Haram, the Muslim terrorist group in Nigeria. See for instance: More acts of religion in Nigeria, January 19, 2012; More Christians burnt to death by Muslims, July 11,2012; Another murderous act of religion in Nigeria, May 10, 2013; More Christians slaughtered by Muslims in Nigeria, September 30, 2013.
**There is a large body of literature refuting the Muslim claim to an enlightened Islamic Civilization in the Middle Ages. Some of the best articles are: The Real Islamic ‘Golden Age’ by John O’Neill, who also wrote a book on the subject titled Holy Warriors: Islam and the Demise of Classical Culture; Who Is Really Being Dishonest About Islam? By Robert Spencer; ‘Islamic Civilization’ – The Biggest Lie Known to Man by Ali Hassan. On the intolerance of Islam throughout its rule over Christians and Jews the leading authority is Bat Ye’or. Among her magisterial books on the subject are: The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians under Islam, 1980; Islam and Dhimmitude, 1984; The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam: From Jihad to Dhimmitude, 1996. This great historian was chiefly responsible for making the word “dhimmi” known to the West.
Christians are being severely persecuted in Islamic countries. The only country in the Middle East where they are completely safe from religious persecution is Israel, which is also the only country in the region where Muslims are protected in both law and practice from victimization by other Muslims. But Israel-haters – ie anti-Semites, including the Jewish ones – can and do enjoy transports of Schadenfreude as the Jews are blamed for the suffering of Christians and Muslims at the hands of Muslims.
This is an extract from an article by Bruce Bawer at Front Page:
Perusing these friends-of-Palestine websites, one discovers certain phenomena over and over again – among them a staggering naivete and sentimentality, a colossal ignorance of history (or a remarkable determination to block it out), and a reflexive, vicious hatred of Israel and, yes, Jews. On these sites, Palestine often seems less like a real place on the map, a place where real people live out their lives, than some perverse combination of a poverty-and-suffering theme park for idle, affluent Americans, a laboratory in which Peace Studies practitioners can carry out their experiments, and a destination for left-wing Christian pilgrims in search a virtue fix. On none of the websites I looked at was there so much as the slightest hint of awareness that more than a few Palestinians are in the grip of a self-destructive psychopathology that has been instilled in them by terrorist movements and on which they have brought up their children, almost surely guaranteeing that their people, however much “help” they may receive from all over the Western world, will not develop a normally functioning society or a productive economy in any of our lifetimes, but will continue to be fixated on murder and mayhem.
There’s one running theme in many of the accounts by the “friends of Palestine.” They’ve gone to the Holy Land to observe and get upset about Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinians, and in one case after another, to judge by their own accounts, the only thing they actually find to get worked up about is the security procedures that Palestinians have to undergo when they cross from one side of the famous “wall” to the other. Overwrought accounts of what it is like to endure this purportedly insulting, arduous, and humiliating ritual are ubiquitous on these sites. They do not convince. Compared to any number of things that people are being put through in various parts of the world right now on a daily basis, the security procedures at the “wall” seem tame indeed. Virtually never, of course, do any of these websites even admit in passing that the reason for these procedures is the same reason why laborious security procedures have been instituted at international airports in countries around the world: in a word, jihad.
A final point. The websites of several of the Christian friends-of-Palestine organizations note the dramatic decline in the number of Christians in Palestine over the last couple of generations. A typical plaint: “Christians are the minority in this land where the faith was born*. Many Palestinian Christians are suffering and leaving the country.” The implication is always that Israel is at fault. At none of these sites is there any mention of the fact that the number of Christians is declining across the Muslim world, and for one reason only. “Christianity ‘close to extinction’ in Middle East,” read a December 23 headline in the Daily Telegraph. No religious group, theTelegraph noted, is more persecuted around the world than Christians, and their chief oppressors are Muslims, thanks to whom “between a half and two-thirds of Christians in the Middle East have left [the Muslim world] or been killed in the past century.” It’s a phenomenon on a massive scale – but one that the mainstream media rarely report on, and one that all the smug, self-satisfied Christians who profess to fret endlessly about the Palestinians don’t show any sign of giving a damn about.
*Footnote: Contrary to the fixed belief of an overwhelming majority, Christianity was not born in “the Holy Land”. It was born in St. Paul’s mind in Syria, and preached in Greek in the eastern lands of the Roman Empire. It’s extremely unlikely that there were any Pauline (Catholic) Christian communities in Judea until well into the second century. The misnamed “Jewish Christians” (Nazarenes or Ebionites) – the followers of the crucified man Paul called “Jesus” – remained in Jerusalem as long as they could, but did not believe in the divine “Son of God”. Almost everything you read in the New Testament about “Jesus”, “James”, “Peter” and “John” is Paul’s and his converts’ make-believe. (See our series on the birth and growth of Christianity: A man named Jesus or something like that, September 23, 2011; The invention of Christianity, October 28, 2011; Tread on me: the making of Christian morality, December 22, 2011; St.Paul: portrait of a sick genius, January 7, 2012; Pauline Christianity: a mystical salad, February 26, 2012; Christian theology: “the Word made flesh”, December 25, 2012.)
No religion can argue with any other religion about the truth of its doctrine because none can prove its truth. There’s no point in opposing one irrationality with another irrationality.
There’s little enough point in anyone’s trying to reason with the religious, since they haven’t come to their beliefs by reason.
The logic of any religious belief can only be that any other religious belief is wrong. To pretend otherwise is foolish. If a person of some particular faith says that other faiths are also true and that he respects them equally with his own, he’s either lying or he’s an idiot. Why does he believe what he believes if all other faiths are equally true? Perhaps only because his daddy told him to – the amazing excuse that the otherwise really impressive and amusing philosopher Kierkegaard gives for believing in (a personalized version of) Christianity.
There can be no wonder that Christians and Jews who live in Muslim lands are persecuted. The Muslim faith includes commandments to make life hell for Christians and Jews, by taxing them exorbitantly and murdering them at will.
The same must be said about Jews living in the old Christian lands. Christians were terrible persecutors, almost every branch of the Christian Church as intolerant and cruel as every other, until in very recent times – since the Second World War – Christianity began to bore most people in the West.
The ancient Jews, according to their own mythology, were intensely intolerant – far more than were the Greek and Roman pagans. What’s remarkable is that in the modern Jewish state, Christians and Muslims are not persecuted. (No, despite the propaganda, Muslims are NOT persecuted in Israel in any way whatsoever, and that eccentric break with custom is an historical anomaly, bound to irritate world opinion.)
Of course we sympathize with the unjustly persecuted, even though we think they should know it’s coming to them; and, in the case of Christians, even though their own doctrine reveres suffering.
This is from Front Page, by Raymond Ibrahim:
No matter how violent or ugly, no matter how many Islamic slogans are shrieked — thus placing their behavior in a purely Islamic context — Muslim violence against the West and Israel will always be dismissed as a product of the weak and outnumbered status of Muslims — their status as underdogs, which the West tends to romanticize. …
They may be screaming and rioting, firing rockets and destroying property — all while calling for the death and destruction of the “infidel” West and/or Israel to cries of “Allahu Akbar!” Still, no problem. According to the aforementioned array of pundits, apologists, academics, and politicians, such bloodlust is a natural byproduct of the frustration Muslims feel as an oppressed minority, “rightfully” angry with the “colonial” West and its Israeli proxy.
Indeed, that is precisely how even the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. by al-Qaeda were rationalized away by many “experts” — even as al-Qaeda’s own words exposed their animus as a direct product of Muslim doctrine not temporal grievances.
Most recently, the New York Times, in the context of the rocket attacks on Tel Aviv, asserted that Israel “needs a different approach to Hamas and the Palestinians based more on acknowledging historic grievances,” thus taking all blame off the “aggrieved” and “underdog” Muslims and Palestinians.
But if Muslims get a free pass when their violence is directed against those currently stronger than them, how does one rationalize away their violence when it is directed against those weaker than them, those who have no political influence whatsoever? Consider the most obvious of these scenarios, the growing epidemic of Muslim persecution of Christians. From one end of the Islamic world to the other — whether in Arab lands, African lands, Asian lands, or Sinic lands, wherever Muslims are a majority — the largest non-Muslim religious group, Christians, suffer untold atrocities.
These Christians are often identical to their Muslim co-citizens in race, ethnicity, national identity, and language; there is no political dispute, no land dispute. The only problem is that they are Christian—they are the other—and so must be subjugated, according to Sharia’s position for all “others,” for all infidels—including Israel and the West.
Such is the true nature of Muslim rage throughout the world: it is a byproduct of doctrinal intolerance if not downright hatred for the other, who must always be kept in a state of subjugation and humiliation, according to the letter of the Quran. …
Consider: Christians and Jews are both constantly castigated in the Quran: Muslims are admonished not to befriend either of them (5:51) and to fight and subjugate them “until they pay tribute with willing submission and feel themselves brought low” (9:29). Christians under Islam are suffering accordingly—as despised dhimmis, abused and “brought low,” routinely plundered of their lives, dignity, and possessions.
[But] Israel — the dhimmi that got away—actually has authority and power over Muslims. Now, if dhimmis are supposed to be kept in total submission to Muslims, how then when one of them actually lords it over Muslims? Hence Islam’s immense and existential rage against the Jewish state.
It could hardly be more obvious that if organized religion were to be universally abandoned, a major cause of human strife and misery would be removed. Which isn’t to say that strife and misery would cease. There will always be a rich store of other causes. But few as superfluous and absurd as religion.
In the light of all this, the efforts of some non-Muslim believers to make peace between religions, to bring sweetness and light where there there has always inevitably been hatred, fury, disgust and fear, strikes us as a particularly futile endeavor. It can only be attempted by clergymen keeping themselves in the rankest ignorance of what “the other’s” faith teaches.
This is also from Front Page, by Hillel Zaremba, who has become understandably exasperated with such efforts:
While it is all well and good to encourage the commonalities that unite Americans of all faiths –
What commonalities would those be, we wonder? We’ve not been able to discover any (unless secular values and loyalties are meant).
– it is equally important to inquire into the bona fides of organizations that only claim to promote tolerance. Philadelphia presents a sorry but enlightening example of how groups whose agendas directly challenge American values get a free pass from the interfaith establishment due largely to the firmly held belief that “diverse” (and disquieting) viewpoints must be respected — as long as they are Muslim.
A prime example of this is the Mayor’s Office of Faith-based Initiatives (MOFI), “the primary liaison between the Office of the Mayor and Philadelphia’s diverse communities of faith and their leaders.” Despite being provided with evidence of the U.S. government’s case against one of its partners, the terror-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the office’s interim director, Reverend Malcolm Byrd, declared: “We will engage with CAIR. … We don’t have to endorse you to work with you.” After reviewing the evidence, MOFI decided to maintain the relationship. According to this twisted logic, MOFI [welcomes] the Nation of Islam, whose leader Louis Farrakhan unabashedly declares Jews to be part of “the Synagogue of Satan.”
A similar approach is exhibited by the Interfaith Center of Greater Philadelphia (ICGP), “dedicated to interreligious dialogue, education, and community building.” It seemed reasonable to assume that the organization would want to vet its members to some degree, to be sure they truly embrace tolerance and respect for diversity. The ICGP … soon disabused us of that notion.
By ignoring the ideologies held by Muslim groups, the ICGP and others afford cover for those whose beliefs would otherwise be abhorrent to them, like the Villanova-based Foundation for Islamic Education (FIE) … [whose] leaders and faculty have sanctioned suicide attacks against Israeli civilians, defended the execution of Muslims who convert out of their faith, and threatened Copts for questioning the Qur’an. …
Another Walk congregation is the Quba Institute (QI), aka the “International Muslim Brotherhood, Inc.” (IMB). … According to QI’s old website … the IMB “forged partnerships with the Muslim Student Associations [MSA] of local Universities” in the late 1960s, an organization identified by federal investigators as subscribing to the goal of teaching Muslims “that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands.”
This interfaith partner has hosted major Brotherhood ideologues … An older version of the mosque’s website referenced the congregation’s core principles [as] including a commitment to U.S. law and rejection of terrorism … with one important caveat: armed jihad is permitted “in the context of self-defense or guarding the sacred, holy lands of Islam.” This is the same rationale used by Hamas to target Israel since it considers the entire state’s territory to be sacred to Islam. Bin Laden similarly justified his attacks against the U.S. in this way, viewing any American presence in Islamic lands as a form of infidel “occupation.” …
Interfaith organizations ought to, at the very least, probe the statements and associations of their constituent members or facilitate others’ attempts to do so.
The same admonition should be heeded by the Religious Leaders Council of Greater Philadelphia (RLCGP), another interfaith group which includes important Christian and non-Christian clergy, such as the archbishop of Philadelphia, the head of the Southeastern PA Lutheran Synod, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Pennsylvania … , [and which] welcomes into its fellowship … Imam Isa Abdulmateen …. [who has said]:
“Today, Arabs, Pakistanis… and other immigrants use the Qur’an [and] they tell us “Islam means peace” because they are afraid to upset the status quo, so we abandon jihad. … Our great leaders have become tame after 9/11. … When black men think of homos we think of weak, effeminate, flaming fags who disgust our sensibilities but are relatively harmless to all except themselves. Wrong! Homosexuality for whites is their heritage. … For blacks, homosexuality is crippling. … A black homosexual will never support revolution against the capitalist, racist republic because the capitalist, racist republic protects his homosexual lifestyle. …”
… What is particularly maddening is that key players in these interfaith groups were presented with this information and the best they could muster was a vague assurance that they would look into it.
The moral bankruptcy at the heart of such feel-good organizations is clearly on display. Like their fellow travelers in government and the mainstream media who ignore all available evidence, the collegial world of interfaith do-gooders burnish the credentials of bad actors, in an increasingly one-sided sense of tolerance, embracing the very haters they would otherwise oppose.
Our advice to all these feel-good organizations is, give it up. Interfaith dialogue never has, never will, never can achieve anything worth achieving.
And don’t say that ignorance of this or that faith breeds intolerance of it. The more a reasonable person knows about any religion, the less tolerable he is sure to find it.
Religion has always been a principal cause – perhaps the principal cause – of Manmade Human Suffering.
Christians of all stripes practiced religious intolerance for hundreds of years. At present, however, Christians are the victims of it. They are being persecuted and killed in large numbers, mostly by Communists and Muslims.
In an article in this month’s issue of Commentary magazine, The Worldwide Attack on Christians, David Aikman writes:
A Pew Forum study in 2011 estimated that Christians are persecuted, either by government or hostile social forces, in an incredible 131 of the world’s 193 countries, and they constitute 70 percent of the world’s population. The World Evangelical Alliance believes that 200 million Christians are being singled out for persecution at any one time. At a 2011 Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) conference in Lithuania on the topic of Christian persecution, one delegate estimated that approximately 105,000 Christians lose their lives every year for their faith — a figure that translates into approximately one Christian killed every five minutes.
The informative article is let down by an absurd conclusion:
However much it helps those being persecuted is a matter of debate. But, still, we can pray.
What sort of a god have they invented who needs to be asked to protect his suffering faithful before he’ll take any notice of what’s happening to them and do something about it? And how many centuries of his failing to live up to his reputation for infinite goodness will it take to convince them that he isn’t going to do what they ask anyway?
But to return to the human persecution of Christians: suddenly it’s become a topic in the mass media, or at least in Newsweek.
Nina Shea reports in the National Review:
Best-selling author, film director, women’s-rights advocate, former Dutch parliamentarian, Islamist death-threat survivor, refugee from a Somalian forced marriage, and a fierce champion of individual freedoms — that of others as well as her own — Ayaan Hirsi Ali has demonstrated her courage once more. In the cover story she penned for the current issue of Newsweek, entitled The War on Christians, … Hirsi Ali gives a tour d’horizon of the most politically incorrect subject of all human-rights reporting: the ongoing religious persecution of Christians in the Muslim world. … She criticizes the media for giving short shrift to this development, favoring instead the [totally false – JB] narrative that Muslims are the victims of religious persecution by the West. …
She asserts: “The conspiracy of silence surrounding this violent expression of religious intolerance has to stop. Nothing less than the fate of Christianity — and ultimately of all religious minorities — in the Islamic world is at stake.”
Nothing less. And nothing more.
We deplore religious persecution. We deplore religion.
We don’t say religion has never been good for anyone, but we do say it has done incalculable harm.
We don’t imagine that wars and persecutions would never happen again if religion were to vanish from the earth. But we profoundly wish it would. By as much as human suffering would be reduced by its going, happiness would be increased.
The immoral ideology of Islam is not just tolerated in the West, it is actively and even passionately encouraged, by Western leaders, to spread and gain privilege and power. Yet the noisy, persistent, lying myth is propagated that Muslim populations in the West – particularly in the US – are victims of “hate crimes”, or what is called “Islamophobia”.
In stark contrast, Christians in Islamic states are continually persecuted. Massacres of Christians by Muslims are increasing in number and ferocity. The absurd morality that their religion teaches them not only prevents Christians from complaining too loudly or too often about this state of affairs, it encourages them never to retaliate but proudly to consider themselves heroic martyrs; which simply means that Islamic evil triumphs.
From Creeping Sharia, January 9, 2011, quoting Christian Newswire:
Despite Communist North Korea topping the annual Open Doors World Watch List (WWL) for the ninth consecutive year, the most dangerous countries in which to practice Christianity are overwhelmingly Islamic ones. … Of the top 10 countries on the 2011 WWL, eight have Islamic majorities.
Notably, one of the Islamic-majority countries where Christians are in extreme danger, is Iraq. What then has the US and its coalition partners won, what has it poured out blood and treasure for through 8 years of war in that incorrigible country? Was it not to make it “democratic” and consequently peaceful and tolerant?
The country that saw the greatest deterioration of Christian religious freedom in the reporting period from Nov. 1, 2009, through Oct. 31, 2010, was Iraq … The country has seen a Christian exodus in recent years, with an estimated 334,000 Christians remaining in this ancient cradle of Christianity, a drop of more than 50 percent since the 2003 toppling of Saddam Hussein’s regime. The main reason why Christians are fleeing is organized violence by an extremist militia, especially in the northern city of Mosul and in the capital Baghdad, in an attempt to cleanse these areas of its Christian presence. At least 90 Christians were martyred last year in Iraq while hundreds more were injured in bomb and gun attacks. More killings have taken place in the past two weeks. …
The country with the largest Christian community on the WWL’s top 15 is Pakistan with more than 5 million believers. Pakistani Christians also faced a sharp erosion of their religious liberty … Twenty-nine Christians were martyred in the reporting period with at least one killing occurring every month. …
Egypt … could be a focus of persecution this year as 21 Christians were killed in a bomb blast on New Year’s Day outside the Church of Two Saints in Alexandria. [Latest reports say more than 30 were killed, about 100 injured – see our post immediately below, J’accuse.]
In the light of that information, now contemplate this report concerning religion-inspired aggression in the US, also from the very useful site Creeping Sharia, December 29, 2010:
Without serious debate or examination, the Los Angeles City Council recently passed a resolution that opposes “Islamophobia” and “repudiates” random acts of violence against Muslims.
This … resolution apparently accepts the premise that residents of the city commit acts of hate against Muslims so often that it warrants an official resolution from city leaders condemning and repudiating these acts. Is this really the case?
According to the latest hate crime report from the Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations, 88 percent of all religiously based hate crimes in 2009 were against Jews. [Most of which – suspicion has it not unreasonably – were committed by Muslims, though no official report says so or gives the identity and numbers of the perpetrators – JB.] Hate crimes that targeted Muslims (3 percent) ranked slightly above those directed at Scientologists (1 percent). In fact, the commission found that attacks against Christians (8 percent) outnumbered attacks against Muslims.
In any case, the actual number of reported hate crimes based on religion is quite small. In a county that has more than 10 million highly diverse residents, only a total of 131 crimes based on religion took place in all of 2009. … [Against atheists for being atheists? Figures hard to come by. Total of 6 recorded in 2007 – JB.]
Since only 3 percent of 131 hate crimes during 2009 was directed against Muslims, it’s difficult to understand why city leaders would pass a resolution that zeroes in on the category that has the next-to-lowest numbers recorded by the County’s Human Relations Commission.
Is it really difficult to understand? We could suggest a few probable causes: cowardice; ignorance; gullibility; Leftist ideology; Christian pusillanimity …