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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?.
1. Bill Guerin, “Poisoning the Peace in the Spice Islands,” Asia Times Online, January 24, 2003, www.atimes.com
2. Amy Chew, “Militant Laskar Jihad group disbands,” www.cnn.com, October 16, 2002; Daniel Pipes, “What is Jihad,” New York Post, December 31, 2002; Rod Dreher, “Do Christians Bleed?,” National Review, September 16, 2002.
3. Rod Dreher, “Do Christians Bleed?: Unreported persecution in the Muslim world,” National Review, September 16, 2002.
4. Sameer N. Yacoub, “Christian Priest Killed in Baghdad,” Associated Press, April 5, 2008.
5. Sameer N. Yacoub, “Archbishop kidnapped in Iraq dead,” Associated Press, March 12, 2008.
6. “Iraq: Kidnappers Behead Priest In Mosul,” Compass Direct News, October 12, 2006.
7. “Muslims Forcing Christian Assyrians in Baghdad Neighborhood to Pay ‘Protection Tax,’” Assyrian International News Agency, March 18, 2007.
8. “Iraq: Militant Group Threatens Female Students in Kirkuk,” AKI, June 6, 2006; Nimrod Raphaeli, “The Plight of Iraqi Christians,” Middle East Media Research Institute, Inquiry and Analysis Series No. 213, March 22, 2005.
9. Aid to the Church in Need, “Religious Freedom in the Majority Islamic Countries 1998 Report: Iraq.” http://www.alleanzacattolica.org/acs/acs_english/report_98/iraq.htm
10. William Dalrymple, “The final place of refuge for Christians in the Middle East is under threat,” The Guardian, September 2, 2006.
11. “Love rumour sparks Muslim-Christian clash in Egypt,” Reuters, February 13, 2007.
12. “Egypt Christian activists held for ‘insulting Islam,’” Middle East Times, August 9, 2007.
13. “Egypt: Mobs Attack Churches Near Alexandria,” Compass Direct News, June 15, 2007.
14. Jubilee Campaign, “Muslim Extremists Pressure Egyptian Christians to Convert to Islam,” February 23, 1999. http://sikhnet.com/sikhnet/
15. Jubilee Campaign, “Christian Girl Kidnappped and Forced to Marry Muslim,” March 19, 1999, op. cit.
16. Sara Pearsaul, “When Hell Broke Loose,” http://www.persecutedchurch.org/know/story/story.htm.
17. “Priest: Pakistan Short on Religious Freedom,” Zenit News Agency, August 21, 2007.
18. “Pakistan: Religious Minorities Told To Convert Or Die,” Compass Direct News, August 16, 2007.
19. “18 dead in Pakistan church shooting,” BBC, October 28, 2001.
20. “Pakistan: Christmas Season Tense for Christians,” Compass Direct News, December 14, 2001.
21. Brian Saint-Paul, “The Crescent and the Gun,” Crisis, January 2002, p. 15.
22. Khaled Abu Toameh, “Gaza’s Christians fear for their lives,” Jerusalem Post, June 18, 2007.
23. John Eibner and Charles Jacobs, “France and Germany Abet Genocide,” Boston Globe, March 18, 2003.
24. “Islamists burn to death Christian pastor, family,” WorldNetDaily.com, June 4, 2003.
25. “Religious rioters torch 10 buildings in Jigawa,” The Guardian (Nigeria), September 21, 2006; “Muslim Fundamentalists Attack Xtian Female Students in FUT,” Daily Champion (Lagos), reprinted at AllAfrica.com, September 24, 2005.
26. “Nigeria: Death Toll Mounts in Religious Conflict,” Compass Direc News, December 14, 2001.
27. Yara Bayoumy, “Beirut car bomb kills anti-Syrian MP,” Reuters, September 19, 2007.
28. Aid to the Church in Need, “Religious Freedom in the Majority Islamic Countries 1998 Report: Algeria,” http://www.alleanzacattolica.org/acs/acs_english/report_98/algeria.htm
29. “Malawi: Christian Teachers Threatened,” Compass Direct News, January 28, 2002.
30. Aid to the Church in Need, “Religious Freedom in the Majority Islamic Countries 1998 Report: Bangladesh,” http://www.alleanzacattolica.org/acs/acs_english/report_98/bangladesh.htm
31. Aid to the Church in Need, “Religious Freedom in the Majority Islamic Countries 1998 Report: Libya,” http://www.alleanzacattolica.org/acs/acs_english/report_98/libya.htm
32. Aid to the Church in Need, “Religious Freedom in the Majority Islamic Countries 1998 Report: Cyprus,” http://www.alleanzacattolica.org/acs/acs_english/report_98/cyprus.htm
33. Aid to the Church in Need, “Religious Freedom in the Majority Islamic Countries 1998 Report: Turkey,” http://www.alleanzacattolica.org/acs/acs_english/report_98/turkey.htm
34. Aid to the Church in Need, “Religious Freedom in the Majority Islamic Countries 1998 Report: Indonesia,” http://www.alleanzacattolica.org/acs/acs_english/report_98/indonesia.htm
35. “Indonesia: 110 Churches Closed In Three Years,” Compass Direct News, April 2, 2008.
36. Tim Johnston, “Three Indonesian girls beheaded,” BBC News, October 29, 2005.
37. “Indonesian militants get jail terms for beheadings,” Reuters, March 21, 2007.
38. Aid to the Church in Need, “Religious Freedom in the Majority Islamic Countries 1998 Report: Saudi Arabia,” http://www.alleanzacattolica.org/acs/acs_english/report_98/saudiarabia.htm
39. Quoted in Martin Edwin Andersen, “For One Diplomat, the High Road Is a Lonely One,” WorldNetDaily, February 11, 2002, www.wnd.com.
40. “Saudi Arabia — Amnesty International Report 2001,” http://www.web.amnesty.org/web/ar2001.nsf/webmepcountries/SAUDI+ARABIA?Open
41. “Saudi Firm on Church Ban,” Associated Press, March 15, 2003.
42. “Saudi Arabia: No churches unless prophet Mohammed recognised, says expert,” AKI, March 20, 2008.
43. Sahih Muslim, book 19, number 4366.
44. ‘Umdat al-Salik, o11.6.
45. Bukhari, vol. 9, book 84, number 57.
46. ‘Umdat al-Salik, o8.1, o8.4.
47. Robert Spencer, “Death to the Apostates,” FrontPageMagazine.com, October 24, 2006.
48. Sayed Salahuddin, “Man faces death over Christianity,” Reuters, March 19, 2006.
49. Afghanistan Constitution, Adopted by Grand Council on January 4, 2004. http://www.servat.unibe.ch/law/icl/af00000_.html
50. Tim Albone, “Anger over Christian convert in Kabul who faces death,” The Times, March 21, 2006.
51. “Sudanese Prisoner Released From Hospital,” Compass Direct News, June 1, 2001.
52. Aid to the Church in Need, “Religious Freedom in the Majority Islamic Countries 1998 Report: Morocco, http://www.alleanzacattolica.org/acs/acs_english/report_98/morocco.htm
53. Aid to the Church in Need, “Religious Freedom in the Majority Islamic Countries 1998 Report: Jordan,” http://www.alleanzacattolica.org/acs/acs_english/report_98/jordan.htm
54. Robert Hussein, Apostate Son, Najiba Publishing Company, 1998, p. 120.
55. Anh Nga Longva, “The apostasy law in the age of universal human rights and citizenship: Some legal and political implications,” The fourth Nordic conference on Middle Eastern Studies: The Middle East in globalizing world, Oslo, 13-16 August 1998, http://www.hf.uib.no/smi/pao/longva.html.
56. Anh Nga Longva, “The apostasy law in the age of universal human rights and citizenship: Some legal and political implications,” The fourth Nordic conference on Middle Eastern Studies: The Middle East in
globalizing world, Oslo, 13-16 August 1998, http://www.hf.uib.no/smi/pao/longva.html.
57. Maggie Michael, “Threats force Egyptian convert to hide,” Associated Press, August 12, 2007.
58. Abdallah Daher, Sarah Pollak & Dale Hurd, “Ex-Muslim on the Run for Conversion,” CBN News, March 27, 2008.
59. “Government paints bull’s-eye on Christians,” WorldNetDaily, February 15, 2008.
60. Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), “Friday Sermons in Saudi Mosques: Review and Analysis,” MEMRI Special Report No. 10, September 26, 2002. www.memri.org.
61. Abdullah Yusuf Ali, “On the Injil,” The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an, Amana Publications, 1999, p. 291.
62.Quoted in David Pryce-Jones, The Closed Circle: An Interpretation of the Arabs, Ivan R. Dee, Publisher, 2002, pp. 31-2.
63. Stephen Farrell and Rana Sabbagh Gargour, “‘All my staff at the church have been killed - they disappeared,’” The Times, December 23, 2006.
64. Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), “Islamist Leader in London: No Universal Jihad As Long As There is No Caliphate,” MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 435, October 30, 2002.
65. Jonathan Adelman and Agota Kuperman, “Christian Exodus from the Middle East,” Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, December 19, 2001. Reprinted at: http://www.defenddemocracy.org/publications/publications_show.htm?doc_id=155713.
66. Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), “Friday Sermons in Saudi Mosques: Review and Analysis,” MEMRI Special Report No.
10, September 26, 2002. www.memri.org. This sermon is undated, but it recently appeared on the Saudi website www.alminbar.net.
67. Sonia Verma, “First Catholic Church Opens in Qatar, Sparking Fear of Backlash Against Christians,” FoxNews, March 14, 2008.
68. Carmel Crimmins, “Philippines’ Islamic city proud to be different,” Reuters, March 17, 2008.
69. This sermon is undated. Like the others quoted here, it was posted at the Saudi website Al-Minbar (www.alminbar.net).
70. Etgar Lefkovits, “Expert: ‘Christian groups in PA to disappear,’” Jerusalem Post, December 4, 2007.
71. Amnesty International Report 2007: Egypt. http://thereport.amnesty.org/eng/Regions/Middle-East-and-North-Africa/Egypt
72. “Sectarian tensions flare in Egypt,” BBC News, April 16, 2006.
73. Amnesty International Report 2007: Indonesia. http://thereport.amnesty.org/eng/Regions/Asia-Pacific/Indonesia
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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