Muslim Violence Toward Christians: Why the Long Silence?

It really is a cause for wonder that this news has taken so long to reach a mainstream publication. But kudos to Newsweek for finally breaking the silence last week with a feature story about what has been happening outside the west, where Islam is the majority religion. For those who have not heard about it, I encourage you to paste the link into your browser and read the report.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/02/05/ayaan-hirsi-ali-the-global-war-on-christians-in-the-muslim-world.html

What Ayaan Hirsi Ali writes is not new information to many Christians living in the United States; several organizations have been vigilant about the persecution of believers in various parts of the world, including but not limited to those with predominant Muslim populations. Prayer groups have formed specifically to join with the voices of the oppressed in a united cry to God for an end to the suffering, as well as for the softeneing of the hearts toward the gospel on the part of the persecutors. For whatever reasons in addition to the two suggested by Newsweek writer, however, neither the mainstream press nor the State Department has shown much interest in the plight of those who have suffered under these officially and unofficialy sanctioned acts of violence. Considering how the plights of other suffering people groups (and animal groups) have been highlighted at various times, this is a troubling omission.

One possible reason Hirsi Ali does not specifically mention is that such reporting of Muslim-on-Christian violence does not fit the narrative of the mainstream. In some segments thereof the reigning paradigm is that all religions are essentially equal (and equally bothersome when they interrupt that narrative with what they actually believe). It wants to believe that religious people are basically all alike, that religious belief is essentially a private matter with no bearing on the public square, and certainly not on official policy; all religions may have their radical elements, but they are always on the fringe and basically cancel each other out when assessing their total impact. To report on those incidents which call this narrative into serious question would not be beneficial to that mainstream way of thinking and directing public opinion. It might even get people to think about the importance of what people believe and why it matters.

The truth about Islam is that the truth about Islam is difficult to state. The Quran has two decidely different ways of being interpreted regarding the approach to non-Muslims, both attributable to the prohet himself. One strand encourages respect toward other people of the Book, meaning specifically Jews and Christians; the other highlights the infidels, also including Christians and Jews, and encourages their destruction. Contemporary Islam is a battle for the interpretation that will guide today’s and tomorrow’s Muslims. The fact that few Muslims know their holy writings, even far less than Christians know theirs, subjects them to what they are told by thir leaders. One does not find home Quran Study Groups.

I applaud Newsweek for stepping out of the silence. And I encourage Christians to continue praying for their brothers and sisters, and perhaps even asking their congressional representatives to ask some tough questions in ploicy discussions.

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3 thoughts on “Muslim Violence Toward Christians: Why the Long Silence?

  1. It is possible to read two different narratives in the Koran, while I have yet to read the textual criticisms of the Koran I have read their highlights and there are questions on how much redaction/addition happened about 200 years post its creation, including earlier versions that do not mention Mohammed at all.

    Even with two possible readings, is there any real question as to what narrative the leadership of Northern Sudan, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, and a few other places are running down? What will the narrative be in Egypt once the Muslim Brotherhood exercises its political hegemony?

    David Goldman’s position in “How Civilizations Die” is that the problem across all of Islam is that modernity has shaken its very foundations as a religion (and in their particular case) their culture. Bernard Lewis in his massive works on Islam and the West (book name as well) would not disagree.

    Goldman’s data on Iran from both the UN and Iranian state sources points to the end of their culture, with a child replacement rate a bit above 1.2. Women simply don’t want to have children, and Goldman feels whether in Europe or in Islam this is a problem of spirituality, though Islam is doing in 30 years what it took the west 300 years to run through. In Iran less than 5% of the population goes to weekly Mosque, their drug problem is much larger than America’s and prostitution is also huge and a significant part of their GNP especially for people under 30.

    Modernity with all its aspects from technology to freedom of choice (including very bad choices that we might agree with them on) has fully infected the population, made them feel “insecure” and filled (some) with rage, since we (the West) are the source of Modernity we are the target of the push back.

    One can almost sense the evangelical opportunity from the data sets, all we have to do is set aside our evangelical worship of consumerism and actually find a way between an incarnational God that covenants and tabernacles and is interested in us discovering all truth (including scientific) and living inside the moral truth (there is the rub). Then we’d have something real to offer instead of the NFL/Tebow/Madonna.

    Oh and the other thing we’d have to do is accept Martyrdom like many of our brothers and sisters in Africa.

    Piece of cake.

  2. I am currently writing a book about Islam and its comparison to Christianity with an apologetic focus defending the later. This topic has come up in my numerous books and journal research again and again.

    It appears to me that one of the main reasons the media does not choose to focus on this is that the idea of Christians being persecuted doesnt make great headlines and therefore not much money to be made about reporting on it. In other words, we are too consumed creating “buzz” about celebrities than to look at persecuted minorities in other countries whether they be Christian or not.

    Second, in order to prevent accusations against racism or anti-Islam, they will only mention these persecutions in passing and always have a Muslim apologist rush to the defense of the Western, more tolerant version of Islam which preaches peace toward followers of other faith and then further point out that these governments do no represent “true Islam”. The West loves this idea, not because there isn’t a large amoung of peaceful Muslims who do indeed live by a tolerance principle (and we as Christians can applaud them in this when we have failed to do so ourselves, but because it also seems that once Islam meets the West, the later triumphs by imposing democracy and tolerance over Islam making it passive.

    However, I challenge this idea by look as a historian at both the history of Islam and its practice in the world of its homeland. I know that the opinion seems to be split as to whether or not Muhammad spread his religion “by the sword only” or by the sword in combination with compelling with logic. The point is, today where there are countries that practice their version of Sharia law, whether it is Wassabi Saudi Arabia, Shia Iran, or Pakistan, that there is very limited tolerance of other religions to the point that they are often treated as second-class with not as many rights as those offered to Muslims. Plus, to convert into the religion of Islam is applauded while to convert out of it spells certain death under the “honor killing” laws which in the Koran and Hadith traditions disallow heresy to be a part of Islamic socities.

    This can be found in how Muhammad himself organized Medina and later Mecca after he returned in military victory to his home town. He was both pope and president. After that, tolerance dropped for individuals of other faiths and it seems to me that these countries are trying to bring the Dar-al-Islam to their home countries by structuring their governments after the umma model as best they can, and this includes coversion and maintaining all as Muslims by any means necessary.

  3. Our government shows little concern of Christians being persecuted. But if homosexuals are being mistreated…look out! We threaten to cut off aid to any country that discriminates against homosexuals. While we should stand up for the humane treatment of all people, these threats of action by both the U.S. and the UK in themselves discriminate one group over another.
    And again the Christian loses….that is, in this world.
    Pray for those who are in chains for the sake of the Gospel…the heroes of our faith. How long Lord until you avenge the blood of your servants?

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