Violence against Christians ignored by press

Christ icon bloodPersecution of Christians across Islamic nations goes largely unreported, according to Lawrence J. Hass.

In this article from The Commentator, Hass, former Communications Director and Press Secretary for U.S. Vice President Al Gore, makes the case for better reporting of the Christian purge taking place in some nations, where deaths and displacement seem to have slipped under the radar as far as some media outlets are concerned.

Time to air Muslim violence against Christians

Violence against Christians is mounting across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Unfortunately, America’s top newspapers find it too hot to handle

Christian Copts have fled Egypt in numbers since Mubarak’s downfall
By Lawrence J. Haas

Did you read about Sheik Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, and his call this month to “destroy all the churches of the region?”

You might think that’s big news – big enough to garner some attention from America’s leading media – especially because the Grand Mufti is among the Muslim world’s leading authorities. He is President of the Supreme Council of Ulema [Islamic scholars] and Chairman of the Standing Committee for Scientific Research and Issuing of Fatwas, according to the Middle East Forum’s Raymond Ibrahim.

A Kuwaiti delegation had asked the Grand Mufti about a Kuwaiti parliament member’s call for the “removal” of churches in his country, later clarified to a ban on new ones. In response, the Grand Mufti called it “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region.” He reportedly relied on the famous tradition, or “hadith,” that the Prophet Mohammed ruled on his deathbed, “There are not to be two religions in the [Arabian] Peninsula.”

But, the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today apparently didn’t find it newsworthy. It was relegated to conservative media (e.g., Washington Times, FOX online), Muslim-focused websites, and lots of blogs.

However appalling, mainstream media reticence to cover that news is understandable in one sense. Its coverage would force public discussion of dicey issues that challenge the political correctness that all-too-often pervades our thinking about relations between the West and the Muslim world.

We’d have to ask the inconvenient question of whether the Grand Mufti’s call is but one element of a “war on Christians” across the Muslim world.

And if we did that, we’d have to ask whether such intolerance, and the violence against Christians that has swept Muslim-dominated nations in recent months, reflects a fringe element or more mainstream attitudes.

Consider the events of recent weeks (as drawn from the monthly compilation that Ibrahim categorizes under “Muslim Persecution of Christians”):

“Half of Iraq’s indigenous Christians are gone due to the unleashed forces of jihad,” he wrote. Many fled to Syria where, alas, “Christians are experiencing a level of persecution unprecedented in the nation’s modern history.”

Meanwhile, 100,000 Christian Copts have fled Egypt since Hosni Mubarak’s downfall unleashed Islamic forces, while 95 percent of Christians have left northern Nigeria where the Islamist group Boko Haram has been slaughtering them. The group announced recently that it’s planning a “war on Christians” in the coming weeks to, a spokesman said, “end the Christian presence in our push to have a proper Islamic state.”

Elsewhere of late, a dozen armed Muslim men stormed a church in Pakistan, seriously wounding several Christians; armed men ransacked a church in Algeria after threatening and attacking the pastor and his wife repeatedly since 2007; and 50 Palestinian Muslims stoned Christian tourists on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

Muslims attacked one pastor with acid and shot another in Uganda; Al-Shababb Muslims beheaded a Muslim convert to Christianity in Somalia (marking the third such beheading there in recent months); and Iran sentenced a Christian convert to two years in prison, arrested as many as 10 others while they met to worship at a home, and is preparing to execute a pastor for refusing to renounce Christianity.

One person who is not afraid to term the violence a “war on Christians” is Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the former Somali Muslim who fled to the West, served in the Dutch Parliament, wrote the controversial film “Submission,” and lives in hiding in the United States due to her views about Islam.

“We hear so often about Muslims as victims of abuse in the West and combatants in the Arab Springs’s fight against tyranny,” she wrote in a February 6 piece for The Daily Beast. “But, in fact, a wholly different kind of war is underway – an unrecognized battle costing thousands of lives. Christians are being killed in the Islamic world because of their religion. It is a rising genocide that ought to provoke a global alarm.”

Hirsi Ali is a polarizing figure, so we shouldn’t be surprised that her piece drew fire from such individuals as Joyce Dubensky, CEO of the Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding, and John Esposito, Founding Director of Georgetown University’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.

Yes, they agreed, anti-Christian violence in Muslim lands is real. But, they said, Christians are not the only minorities who face attack, nor is Islam the only religion with fundamentalists who espouse violence. Phrases like “war on Christians,” they said, are inflammatory and overblown.

With violence against Christians mounting across the Middle East, Africa, and Asia – with thousands dead and millions fearing they may be next – this seems like an issue that deserves some attention.

Unfortunately, America’s top newspapers find it too hot to handle.

Lawrence J. Haas was Communications Director and Press Secretary for Vice President Al Gore. He writes widely about foreign and domestic affairs

5 thoughts on “Violence against Christians ignored by press

  1. Steve.

    It’s an old site I used when exiled from Signposts02, and the key-site for commenting here under my email.

  2. I doubt that Coptic Christians would meet Steve’s criteria for being Christian. They would be a pagan/hybrid version of Christianity.

    So what is the point of this post?

    Theologically, Coptic Christianity is very similar to Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. They profess to be genuine followers of Jesus Christ and a part of His worldwide Church. But, as with Catholicism, they tend to emphasize meritorious works in salvation along with liturgical ritual rather than salvation through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

  3. So you agree with the Western media’s reluctance to report on Coptic or Christian persecution by Islam on the basis of personal spite?

  4. Yes, well I posted on this some time ago. Last century some 20 million Orthodox Christians were exterminated which has received very little press. Much was made of the Jewish Holocaust of 6 million and rightly so. We should never forget.

    But the Orthodox Church was the anvil on which much persecution was wrought last century and they are in all the trouble spots. Russia, Serbia, Greece, Egypt, Armenia.

    How many Christians would know that over a milion Greek and Armenian Christians perished due to Turkish Islamic persecution?

    Not many.

    Why don’t they get reported on?

    Possibly because in the West, Orthodox Christianity is a very minor section of Christianity and no one really gives a fig.

  5. I also think the press needs to be wary that through reporting Islamic persecution in the Middle East, the reverse doesn’t happen here and Christians start attacking peaceful Muslims.

    I’d say after Egypt, the UN will be very wary of supporting regime change based on democratic ideals and the support of the people. Which was triumphed by the press. Which is why nothing is being done about Syria.

    The tyrants in the Middle East may be ruthless and corrupt but in many instances they have controlled religious fanaticism and mandated religious equality. Hence Saddam Hussein’s Deputy PM being a Christian.

    Better the Devil you know….

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