Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Genocide, Moderate Islam and Western Silence

The gunman, with reported ties to al Qaeda, and suspected of killing seven people, including three children at a Jewish school, has seemingly confessed to the shootings. Understandably,

·        Dalil Boubakeur at the main mosque in Paris told Europe 1 radio that no one should link the Toulouse events and the Muslim religion, which is "99 percent peaceful, responsible, non-violent and well-integrated into the country".

This assertion raises several questions:

  1. Are "99 percent peaceful, responsible, non-violent?”
  2. If this is so, why are religious minorities in all Islamic nations either persecuted and/or diminished by Shariah law?
  3. If Islam is a peaceful religion, why is the Islamic world so prone to violence and coercive attempts to impose Shariah?
  4. Why aren’t there any examples of Islam coexisting as equals with religious minorities?
Sadly, the French assassin seems to be just one of many instances of Islamic terror. Muslim-turned-atheist, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, reports:

  • Christians are being killed in the Islamic world because of their religion. It is a rising genocide that ought to provoke global alarm…In recent years the violent oppression of Christian minorities has become the norm in Muslim-majority nations stretching from West Africa and the Middle East to South Asia and Oceania. In some countries it is governments and their agents that have burned churches and imprisoned parishioners. In others, rebel groups and vigilantes have taken matters into their own hands, murdering Christians and driving them from regions where their roots go back centuries.
  • But a fair-minded assessment of recent events and trends leads to the conclusion that the scale and severity of Islamophobia pales in comparison with the bloody Christophobia currently coursing through Muslim-majority nations from one end of the globe to the other. 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.
  • As Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, pointed out in an interview with Newsweek, Christian minorities in many majority-Muslim nations have “lost the protection of their societies.” This is especially so in countries with growing radical Islamist (Salafist) movements. In those nations, vigilantes often feel they can act with impunity—and government inaction often proves them right. The old idea of the Ottoman Turks—that non-Muslims in Muslim societies deserve protection (albeit as second-class citizens)—has all but vanished from wide swaths of the Islamic world, and increasingly the result is bloodshed and oppression.
As an example of what Christians are facing in Islamic territories, the latest issue of World Magazine (March 10) cites the 12 northern provinces of Nigeria, under Sharia law since 2000. Boko Haram, the terror organization, meaning “Western Education is Sinful,” intends to drive Christians out of the north and to impose Sharia on all of Nigeria:

  • Christians throughout the Sharia states in the north faced post-election [April 2011] violence. In the Kaduna state [alone], Muslims destroyed 409 churches and pover 2,000 homes, killing 137. In Gombe state, they destroyed 39 churches and 74 homes, killing 20. (54)
  • In a Jan. 25 video on YouTube, Boko Haram leader Imam Abubakar Shekau took responsibility for the Jan. 20 attacks and said: “I am not against anyone, but if Allah asks me to kill someone, I will kill him and I will enjoy killing him like I am killing a chicken”…A Boko Haram posting from late last year says…nine…Christian denominations in the north, “must be bombed and leveled.” It also cites eight pastors, most Muslim converts to Christianity, as targets “to be eliminated.” (52)
In light of the fact that the 12 northern districts are already under Sharia and Christians have been made to submit to Sharia, it is hard to understand why the terror would continue. Already:

  • In those 12 states authorities prohibit Christians from holding office, discriminate against them in property and business activities, and subject them to Islamic law. Some districts in Kano state have Christian majorities, but district governments are run under the state’s Sharia system. That makes Christians subject to the Islamic court system and requires students to take Islamic courses.
Nevertheless, since the imposition of Sharia in 2000,

  • Over 13,000 mostly Christian Nigerians have been killed in religious-related violence, according to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom…”Boko Haram is not doing anything new,” said Peter Akinola, the retired archbishop of the Anglican Church of Nigeria. “More than terror attacks, this is part of an ongoing attempt to Islamize Nigeria. This country began as a democracy, but now in my own country I cannot live freely.” (52-53)
If world domination is the goal of Islam, perhaps we will soon be saying the same in the West. Even now, those who are doing ministry among the Muslims are facing intimidation and threats of violence. Consequently, if there are peace-loving Muslims who believe in a world where all religions can live at peace in equality, they need to speak up in a meaningful way. It is not enough to merely say, “Well, these terrorists aren’t really Muslim,” especially in light of the Islamic doctrine of “Taquiyya” which authorizes Muslims to lie to the non-believer on behalf of Islam. (See, fatwa 59879, where the Muslim can only have contempt for the non-believer). Therefore, we can’t help wondering if the claim to be peace-loving is merely a ploy.

We have not seen where peace-loving Muslims confront the extremists to insist that Sharia should allow religious freedom. Nor have we seen the Mainstream Western Media
confront those committing the atrocities done in the name of Islam. Mark Lipdo, director of the Stefanos Foundation, claims that,

  • “They have misrepresented violence as a clash when it was an outright attack from the Muslim minority.” Lipdo himself was on hand in 2010 when Muslim gangs raided three predominantly Christian villages near Jos on March 7, slaughtering hundreds of mostly women, children, and the elderly.
Lipdo claims that the Western media – they derived their information from Muslim sources - has wrongly reported that the various attacks were in reprisal for the killing of 150 Muslims. However, none of the media outlets were “able to provide eyewitness accounts of the attacks that killed 150 Muslims.” Instead, Lipdo reports:

  • “We were there when the whole conflict started. We saw the Muslim military commander release people caught carrying out the attacks with their weapons”…Local media reported police on the scene who did nothing to stop the Muslim attackers.” (56)
One victim had commented to the Daily Champion, “As they were killing and burning our homes, they were chanting, ‘Allahu Akbar,’ meaning ‘God is great.’” If this isn’t the real Islam, then the moderates have to publicly reclaim their religion, especially if we are to take them seriously. Likewise, the media, as well as the Western nations, have a responsibility to bring genocide to light. However:

  • The reporting slant shows up in the U.S. policy, as well. The 2011 report of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom describes “sectarian violence” in Nigeria driven by “religiously motivated actions” without ever saying that the overwhelming number of deaths involve Christians. (56)
If we are really concerned about peace and deeply troubled by genocide, then we have to speak up and shed light on the evil. If we fail to do this, then our silence speaks in favor of approval.

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