The Vice President of the Jihad Watch Board of Advisors, Hugh Fitzgerald, on ongoing persecution and discrimination against non-Muslims in the Islamic world:
The kidnapping of Christian girls by Muslim Arabs and Kurds in Iraq in the last few years -- and the suicide of at least one Assyrian girl following rape by her Kurdish master -- is a subject that can be found discussed at Assyrian websites. None of this has been reported in the Western press.
This is not strange. The world press simply has not bothered to study Islam; as a consequence, it usually ends up offering “mere” reportage which does not delve, does not comprehend, and repeats the latest Arab or Muslim propaganda and shuns matter which might call into question the Muslim-friendly view of things.
Take, for example, the coverage of the “Palestinian” conflict with Israel -- that is to say, the Arab Jihad against Israel, where the local Arabs renamed themselves post-1967 the “Palestinian people,” and with a little help from Edward Said and a cast of thousands made everyone forget that 1) Jews in Israel came from Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Iran, and elsewhere in the Muslim world, where for more than a millennium and a half they were cruelly mistreated as dhimmis (and in some places, such as Yemen, as chattel slaves) and not only from Europe. 2) that more than 90% of the land of what became Mandatory Palestine was owned by the Ottoman state, and then passed to the successor authorities, first the government of Mandatory Palestine, and then to the state of Israel. The small amount that was privately owned was bought and paid for by the Jewish National Fund, and other Samaritan organizations, often at exceedingly high costs, from absentee Arab landlords not a single dunam of land was taken until the 1948 attack on the nascent Jewish state by five Arab armies. 3) the ruin and desolation in the area, which Edward Said so monstrously mocked, was a fact testified to by the very people whom he claimed stood for the opposite principle from Lamartine and Chateaubriand to Melville and Mark Twain. 4) the Treaty of al-Hudaibiyya is the immutable principle of all Muslim treaties with Infidels, yet not a single reporter has ever managed to allude to this treaty, much less to show that any research -- such as a reading of Majid Khadduri -- has gone into an understanding of the Muslim Law of War and Peace.
Now we come to the discussion of Christians. It was quite something to observe the evident want not only of sympathy, but of any understanding, of what the Maronites and other Christians were facing in Lebanon. They were consistently described as “right-wing” Christians, though that epithet was meaningless. What made Christian farmers and peasants in Damour, massacred by the hundreds, into “right-wingers”? Nothing at all, except that the Homeric epithet is used as an all-purpose damning device by a credulous press. And as for the Copts in Egypt, who bothered, under the reign of Saint Sadat (my, how quickly he passed, and his phony sainthood with him, but not before the Sinai was completely pocketed by Egypt in exchange for nothing), to note the self-imposed internal exile of Pope Shenouda? Copts in Egypt are persecuted; many of them, of course, parrot the Muslim Arab line about other quasi-dhimmi communities i.e. the Jews of Israel which has been, as Bat Ye’or said, a consistent pattern among the various dhimmi communities that, instead of identifying with and helping each other, each tried to strike a separate deal with the Muslim overlords who terrorized them (so much for the “protected peoples” idea).
And if the treatment of the Maronites in the world press was bad, and that of the Copts nearly as bad, so is that of the Assyrian and Chaldean Christians. They are the true indigenes, the descendants of those who were in Mesopotamia long before the Muslim Arabs arrived in small numbers, but nevertheless relentlessly managed to Islamize and to Arabize, non-Muslim and non-Arab peoples. The remnant that managed to survive is now being marginalized -- whether under Saddam’s direct rule or Sistani’s indirect rule hardly matters, for the key to the marginalization of all these indigenous Christian groups is Islam.
And the Kurds, themselves victims of Arab Muslims, have been painted in the American press as worthy of our sympathy and support. So they are, but less out of sentimental reasons, and more out of the cold calculation that a free Kurdistan will weaken various states -- Iraq, Iran, Syria, and even Turkey, if it does not behave itself in less Erdoganish a fashion (for America, too, can be fickle with its allegiances, and should begin to make clear that none of these so-called Muslim allies is an ally, but rather, a possible source of short term support and cooperation, and nothing more) and would also, merely by coming into existence, heighten the awareness that the so-called “Arab world” has a large number of minorities, either non-Muslim or non-Arab Muslim, that deserve sovereign states of their own. Lebanon, if put back, should once again become the focal point of Christian interest. Israel needs to be kept from Roadmap-assisted suicide (aided and abetted by the senile dementia, or at least crazed obstinacy, of Sharon). And an independent Kurdistan might give Berbers in North Africa the kind of ideas that Kateb Yacine, who hated the forced islamization and cultural oppression of the Berbers, thought they should entertain.
In the reports from Iraq about the treatment of Christians, aside from bombings of churches (that cannot be overlooked), the much more widespread, and insidious anti-Christian acts (there are no Jews to string up any more, as in the June 1-2, 1941 Farhud or Pogrom -- see Naim Kattan’s memoir -- or in the last show-hanging of “Zionist spies” early in Saddam Hussein’s regime, a hanging to which half-a-million delighted Iraqs came, in order to enjoy the spectacle), all over, from those Shi’a some (such as Stephen Schwartz) believe are so very meek and mild, and nothing to worry about (this would come as a surprise to many in the Islamic Republic of Iran), and who are currently praised because they went and cast their ballots for “democracy” (actually, they cast their ballots for something quite different -- in order to obtain power; had they been 20% of the population, they would have bitterly opposed the elections), who have watched Christian businessmen be assassinated in Basra, or in the Sunni isosceles or more accurately scalene triangle, where the last eight Christian families living in Ramadi saw the men killed, the women seized, the children forcibly Islamized (all with American army troops within rescue distance), or in the Kurdish territories.
One is now in the habit of exaggerating the wonderfulness of the Kurds, simply because they were victims of Saddam Hussein, and because they have been, for good and sufficient reasons of their own, much more favorably disposed towards the American effort. Indeed, American soldiers in Iraq often in the last two years have taken to referring to “the Iraqis” and “the Kurds” as if the former were the enemy, and the latter our trusted friends. Quasi-trusted, semi-friends.
Behavior over a long period of time, sufficiently consistent, and having been prompted by impulses that have not changed (Islamic tenets have not changed) may be a reasonable guide to present and future behavior. The behavior of the Muslim Kurds toward non-Muslims has been, over time, sufficiently consistent, and prompted by the same Muslim doctrines that have caused Jihad-conquest and the imposition of dhimmitude to be so similar in time and space, over 1300 years (or perhaps a little less, as Islam likely got its start not in the 7th but rather in the 8th or even early 9th centuries, as is now becoming apparent from Western scholarly efforts).
As is well known, the European powers attempted to force the Ottoman government to begin treating its non-Muslim populations with decency. That government proved most reluctant to do so, and again and again European pressure had to be brought to bear long after the famous Tanzimat "reforms" were initially declared. In the meantime, the Muslim masses were happy to engage in the massacres and rapine which punctuated this period "reform."
And those Muslims were not only Turks, or Arabs. Kurds were among them. The victims were Maronites, Armenians, asin the case of the attacks on Christians in Damascus in 1860 (which led the Christians, in turn, to attack not the Muslims who had been murdering them, but the the entirely inoffensive community of Jews -- simply because the latter could not fight back) or in the 1869 attacks on Armenians. For the latter, see pp. 281 ff. of Bat Ye'or’s The Dhimmi, which offers a number of reports from Western diplomats, travellers, and missionaries, detailing as one eyewitness noted, “the abject terror the Koords have driven into the Christians."
The 1869 massacre of Armenians and of other Christians (chiefly Maronites, who were not limited to Lebanon) by Kurds, was followed in 1894-96 by the massacres of Armenians that served as a kind of prelude to the 1915-1922 genocide. Eyewitness accounts by American missionaries testify to the “leadership role” (as business schools like to call it) of the Kurds in this massacre, as a number of such books appeared brimful of such collections of American outrage in the 1890s. In the later genocide, Kurds took part enthusiastically and why not? It was a war not of Turk against Armenian, but of Muslim against “giavour,” which is why the Turks could, if they wish, blame the promptings of “fanatical Islam” which, they could (falsely) claim, is no longer observed in Turkey. But they can’t; they won’t; Islam can never be disowned, not in the slightest, by Believers.
As is well known, many of the Jews in the Middle East endured the status of virtual slavery, chattel slaves who could be killed at will (see R. S. Serjeant’s articles, which discuss Yemeni Jews even into the 1950s, and Serjeant was, remarkably, an apologist for Islam, as his subsequent attack on Crone and Cook’s Hagarism makes clear). But in Kurdistan, too, the Jews lived as virtual slaves. differently than they now do, after centuries of Islam. But how many are aware that the so-called “Kurdish Jews” were in fact simply Jews who were owned as slaves by Kurdish masters, and whose lives, and property, were disposed of virtually at will.
American soldiers and officials in Iraq may be aware that the Iraqi Christians, both Chaldeans and Assyrians and Armenians, have to be extremely careful what they say and what they do. While Saddam Hussein was in power, his household staff, including his food-tasters, were largely comprised of Christians who have fulfilled the same function for American officials in the Green Zone. He did this not because he was a wise and tolerant man, but because he was cunning, and knew that alone of all the groups in Iraq, it was the Christians who were most helpless, and would be no threat to his regime they needed him, he did not need them. No doubt the Iraqi Christians, as dhimmis, will continue to be craven in the protective mimicry of some of the attitudes they adopt (noe, for example, within Iraq, will dare to demonstrate any sense that their treatment, as dhimmis, has something to do with the implacable hostility of Arab Muslims to the non-Muslim sovereign state of Israel how could they, after all?).
But the American soliders in Iraq were more fully informed about the historic persecution of non-Muslims, by Arabs, Turks, Persians, and Kurds alike, they might be more keenly aware of the need to make sure that such things as the preventing of Assyrian voting were strongly protested, and those guilty made to suffer. The Kurds, at the moment, may think that in American eyes they can do no wrong and so are prepared to get away with murder. They have to have another think coming. Soon enough the momentary triumph of the election will be put into perspective; the jostling for power begin, and the whole business of “democracy” as the key to Infidel self-defense be seen as the naïve business it is, even if it is promoted by someone as admirable as Natan Sharansky (whose experience, and knowledge, are of Communism, and who knows nothing of the very different history of Jihad-conquest and dhimmitude), whose views have apparently had a big influence on the impressionable President.
Would that instead of Sharansky’s book, Bat Ye’or’s The Dhimmi or The Decline of Eastern Christianity Under Islam or Eurabia could be sent to the Bush Book Club, as described in today’s New York Times. It would do some good, and get us out of Iraq faster, for then the full extent of the problem, which “democracy” will not alleviate and may even worsen, would lead to a more thoughtful and cunning deployment of anti-Jihad resources around the world.