by Bruce S. Thornton
While Western diplomats wring their hands over trivial insults to Islam, a slow-motion genocide of Christians has been unfolding in the Muslim world. The latest attack occurred on Christmas day in Nigeria, where the terrorist sect Boko Haram bombed two Catholic churches in the towns of Abuja and Jos, killing at least 39 worshipers. This same group killed 32 Christians last Christmas Eve. In this year alone, Boko Haram has murdered 491 people.
The killings in Nigeria are just one example of continuous violent attacks on Christians and their churches. Yet our Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been nearly silent about this war on Christianity. When the Egyptian military participated in the murder of 25 Egyptian Copts, her State Department rejected a request from the US Commission on International Religious Freedom to put Egypt on its list of countries that violate religious freedoms. Instead, Secretary Clinton issued a generic warning to the generals ruling Egypt “to ensure that the fundamental rights of all Egyptians are respected, including the rights of religious freedom, peaceful assembly and the end of military trials for civilians, and that efforts be made to address sectarian tensions.” Compare this reflexive diplo-speak to her more passionate reaction to the recent beating of Egyptian women during a demonstration, one of whom was publicly stripped: “This systematic degradation of Egyptian women dishonors the revolution, disgraces the state and its uniform and is not worthy of a great people,” she said. Apparently, exposing a woman’s blue bra is a more heinous crime than running over a Copt’s head with a military vehicle.
In fact, our official spokesman for American views on foreign behavior hasn’t had much to say about a modern persecution of Christians redolent of those perpetrated by the Romans. Nor have we heard anything about the sectarian cleansing that has been going on for decades. Christians who date their presence in the Middle East to several centuries before Islam was created are fast disappearing from the region, choosing exile and emigration over harassment and murder. In Iraq, where American blood and treasure were spent to create “democracy” and “human rights,” eighteen priests and two bishops have been kidnapped, and the archbishop of Mosul murdered. In the last six years, mobs have attacked over 70 churches, 42 of them in Baghdad. In October 2010, attackers murdered 58 Christians during evening mass at the Syrian Catholic Cathedral in Baghdad. The Christian population, which once numbered 1.5 million, has dwindled to less than 150,000. The story is the same in Pakistan, Lebanon, the so-called West Bank, Syria, and across the Middle East. A region Christian for six centuries before the rise of Islam will soon be emptied of Christians.
And what has been Secretary Clinton’s response to this assault on Christians? A conference in December to implement the so-called “Istanbul Process,” itself the mechanism for implementing the UN Human Rights Council Resolution 1618 on religious stereotyping and “stigmatization.” That resolution was a diplomatic effort to keep the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s ongoing efforts to globalize Islamic blasphemy laws from impinging on free speech. Clinton no doubt thought she was finessing the OIC’s drive to censor speech about Islam, but the OIC saw the meeting differently: “The upcoming [Washington] meetings … [will] help in enacting domestic laws for the countries involved in the issue, as well as formulating international laws preventing inciting hatred resulting from the continued defamation of religions.” As the Hudson Institute’s Nina Shea reported, “By standing ‘united’ (as the OIC head put it in a Turkish Daily op-ed) with the OIC on these issues, America appears to validate the OIC agenda, thus demoralizing the legions of women’s rights and human-rights advocates, bloggers, journalists, minorities, converts, reformers and others in OIC states who look to the United States for support against oppression.” Having intimidated most of Europe into legally repressing opinions or even statements of fact about Islam, the OIC is obviously using “diplomacy” to pressure US government officials into censoring themselves when it comes to Islam.
Of course, such self-censorship has long been taking place among government officials who take every opportunity to whitewash Islam’s tradition of violence and intolerance. Witness the Department of Defense’s report on Fort Hood jihadist Nidal Malik Hassan, which called his murders an instance of “workplace violence,” and despite copious evidence to the contrary, omittedany reference to jihadist ideology as a motivation of Hassan’s attack. But this sort of government self-censorship is nothing new. The doctrine of jihad, which for 14 centuries has meant waging war against the enemies of Islam, has been redefined as a vague “striving in the path of God,” as the National Counterterrorism Center claimed in 2008. Then there’s John Brennan, Obama’s assistant for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, who in 2009 likewise defined jihad as “to purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral goal.” That would be news to Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini, who said, “Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all,” in line with the Koran’s injunctions to “slay the idolaters wherever you find them,” “fight those who do not believe in Allah,” “fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness,” “kill them [unbelievers] wherever you find them,” and to execute Allah’s threat: “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads.”
Yet Secretary Clinton seemingly is unaware of these facts of traditional Islamic doctrine. Instead, at the conference she indulged the Western pathology of moral equivalence to avoid facing that truth: “Now, I know that in the world today, intolerance is not confined to any part of the world or any group of people. We all continue to deal with different forms of religious intolerance. That’s true here, that’s true in Europe, that’s true among countries in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, everywhere in the world. It’s true where people, if they are discriminating or intimidating, they’re doing it against Muslims or Jews or Christians or Buddhists or Baha’is or you name it. There has been discrimination of every kind against every religion known to man.”
This statement is factually false. Clinton cannot point to any modern persecution of Muslims, or violence against them and their holy places, that comes close to the incessant violence against Christians on the part of Muslims. In no nominally Christian country are there formal laws against Muslims akin to those in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, and other Muslim countries that institutionalize discrimination against Christians and Jews. Nor is there anywhere in the Bible injunctions that legitimize intolerance and persecution of Muslims like those in the Koran and other Islamic scripture that stigmatize Christians and Jews and subject them to poll taxes and Jim-Crow like restrictions on their lives. Yet despite these facts, despite the absence of widespread pogroms against Muslims in the West, we have created and worry over the “hate crime” of “Islamophobia,” even while rampant Muslim “Christophobia” is slaughtering Christians to the point of extinction, and threatening Israel with a new holocaust, all with the support and encouragement of government officials and religious authorities.
Such moral equivalence is not just intellectually bankrupt; it is moral idiocy. And it is dangerous, for it blinds us to the true causes of jihadist terror: the theologically sanctioned intolerance, violence, and chauvinism of Islam that has driven Muslim behavior for 14 centuries.
©2011 Bruce S. Thornton