The Crime of Silence of Human Rights Groups
What Justus Reid Weiner, an international human rights lawyer, stated in December 2007 about Christians in Palestinian areas applies to Christians in the Islamic world generally: “The systematic persecution of Christian Arabs living in Palestinian areas is being met with nearly total silence by the international community, human rights activists, the media and NGOs.” He said that if nothing were done, no Christians would be left there in fifteen years, for “Christian leaders are being forced to abandon their followers to the forces of radical Islam.”
The nearly total silence manifests itself in the curiously euphemistic manner in which human rights groups report on the plight of Christians, when they notice that plight at all. For example, Amnesty International’s 2007 report on the human rights situation in Egypt dismisses the suffering of Coptic Christians in a single sentence so filled with euphemism and moral equivalence and so lacking in context that it almost erases the crime it describes: “There were sporadic outbreaks of sectarian violence between Muslims and Christians. In April , three days of religious violence in Alexandria resulted in at least three deaths and dozens of injuries.” In reality, the strife began when a Muslim stabbed a Christian to death inside a church, and when armed jihadists attacked three churches in Alexandria that same month.
The passive voice seems to be the rule of the day where jihad violence against Christians is concerned. The 2007 Amnesty International report on Indonesia includes this line: “Minority religious groups and church buildings continued to be attacked.” By whom? AI is silent. “In Sulawesi, sporadic religious violence occurred throughout the year.” Who is responsible for that violence? AI doesn’t say. Amnesty International seems more concerned about protecting Islam and Islamic groups from being implicated in human rights abuses than about protecting Christians from those abuses. It appears that Christianity – even indigenous Egyptian Christianity, which of course predates the advent of Islam in that country – is too closely identified with the United States and the West for the multiculturalist tastes of the human rights elite.
The situation is dire. Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregory III, who lives in Damascus, declared in April 2006 that “after 11 September, there is a plot to eliminate all the Christian minorities from the Arabic world….Our simple existence ruins the equations whereby Arabs can’t be other than Moslems, and Christians but be westerners…. If the Chaldeans, the Assyrians, the Orthodox, the Latin
Catholics leave, if the Middle East is cleansed of all the Arabic Christians, the Moslem Arab world and a so-called Christian Western world will be left face to face. It will be easier to provoke a clash and justify it with religion. That is why I wrote a letter in July to all the Arab rulers, to explain how important it is that this small presence, 15 million Arab Christian scattered among 260 million Moslems, not be swept away.”
Yet some American Christians and non-Christians are surprised just to discover that there are ancient communities of Christians in Islamic lands at all, and have no idea that Christians in the Islamic world are being persecuted. Others are indifferent because of the growing movement of chic atheism which sees all religions as equally objectionable, whatever their individual behaviour, and all victims of religious persecution as getting what they deserve. And many Westerners, particularly those in the human rights elite, are wedded to a moral paradigm in which only non-Western non-Christians can possibly fit into the human rights groups’ victim paradigm – a sad situation when the position of Christians all over the Third World is increasingly precarious.
And so Islamic jihadists and Sharia supremacists, with ever increasing confidence and brutality and virtually no protest from the West, continue to prey on the Christians in their midst. It’s a crime that is growing in consequence, and it has created a bloody ground where Islam and Christianity meet in the Third World.
Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic History, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch, a program of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is the author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Religion of Peace?.
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69. This sermon is undated. Like the others quoted here, it was posted at the Saudi website Al-Minbar (www.alminbar.net).
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74. “We are the Church of Islam,” Interview with the patriarch of Antioch Grégoire III Laham by Gianni Valente, 30 Days, April 2006.
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