If you visit this site every day, you know that there are three kinds of news stories related to or about Islam. There are the stories that, within a day or a week, will make it to the New York Times, and NPR, albeit in less intelligible and often tendentious form. Then there are the stories that only appear months later, and you can’t quite figure out why it takes so long for the editors at The New York Times or the Washington Post to recognize the significance of such Jihad News. And finally, there is a third kind of story, the kind of story that you read here, that appeared in places quite obscure, and that you will never read again, unless the story put up here is publicized so that others who write online pick it up and force the major news organizations to start reporting about such things.
Here, for example, are two stories about what took place in the Chittagong Hills of Bangladesh recently. The Chittagong Hills (or “Chittagong Hill Tract”) have for centuries been lived in by the indigenous Jumma people, who are the last remaining indigenous Buddhists (the Tibetan refugees not being “indigenous”) on the entire subcontinent, though it was in India that Gautama Buddha was born and Buddhism first flourished. In 1947, at the time of Partition, 85% of the population was Buddhist and 10% Hindu. Now, in 2010, 50% are Buddhist and 48% are Muslim settlers.
The two stories:
#1. Chittagong – Muslim violence against Buddhists
Five groups of ethnic minorities have demanded a probe into violence by Muslim settlers in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) in Bangladesh. The leaders of the affected communities, who are Buddhists, have made the request to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Office. In a memorandum, they sought a ‘people’s inquiry commission’ to investigate the violent attacks in Rangamati and Khagrachari districts and the arrest of the attackers.
They also demanded taka two million ($6,800) compensation for each affected family, reconstruction of damaged shrines and rehabilitation of the victims, New Age newspaper reported Tuesday. The government says one person was killed in the violence but the tribals say six people died in attacks by Muslims settled by the government in the two districts. Hundreds of houses were burnt and several places of worship vandalised.
Two visiting members of the Japanese parliament met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday and urged her to fully implement the 1997 Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord.
They submitted a petition signed by 35,757 people from 105 countries and 12 autonomous territories. The statement also has peace messages from 2754 people including 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Corrigan-Maguire.
The peace message by Nobel laureate Mairead says, “After more than 30 years of violent conflict and deep suffering, the Jumma people have a right and deep desire for justice and peace. I hope therefore that you and your Government and all parties to the conflict will increase and sustain your important efforts to move to the fulfillment of the 1997 Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord. Peace in the Chittagong Hill Tracts will give hope not only to the people of Chittagong, and Bangladesh, but also to people around the world, that peace is possible”.
The signatories include 62 members of the Japanese parliament, four members of parliament and legislative assemblies of Australia, a member of constituent assembly of Australia, a member of constituent assembly of Nepal and civil society representatives of Bangladesh.
And here is a statement issued by the Bangladeshi Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council on March 20, 2010:
Bangladesh: Barbarous Attack and Massacre of Indigenous Hill-People by Military Forces & Bengali Settlers
The long-suffered indigenous non-Muslim Jumma people of hilly region of Southern Bangladesh recently came under new attack by Muslim settlers and the army, killing unknown number of indigenous villagers and burning their houses to ashes…
Introduction: On 19-20 February 2010, military forces and Bengali Muslim settlers unleashed a massive communal attack and massacre on the indigenous Jumma villages at Baghaihat area of Sajek union under Baghaichari Upazila in the hill-district of Rangamati. It is reported that at least 8 Jumma villagers, including a woman, were killed and 25 villagers wounded in this barbaric attack. Some 200 houses of Jumma villagers, including Buddhist temple and church, were completely burnt into ashes.
Background: The indigenous Jumma people, who have almost exclusively lived in the hilly regions (Chittagong Hill Tracts, CHT) in Southern Bangladesh for hundreds of years, have been reduced to a minority in just a decade after the Bangladesh government, in the 1980s, started massive settlement of Bengali Muslims from all over the country. Apart from turning the indigenous people into a minority, they have suffered mass-eviction from their homes and properties, and it has also robbed their livelihood as they have to share their resources and land with the settlers. In the process, the Jumma people have faced massive violence at the hands of the settlers and their ally, the Bangladesh army.
Beginning of the incident: On 19 February 2010 afternoon group Bengali settlers went to the Gangaran Duar area and put pillars on the land of indigenous Jumma villagers for construction of house there. The Jumma villagers protested and opposed the Bengali settlers. Thereafter, around 8.30 pm at night, hundreds of Bengali settlers, led by leaders of the so-called Sama Odhikar Andolon, under full-protection of an army squad from Baghaihat Zone of 8 Bir Bengal, gathered at Gangaram Duar area, and started to set the houses of Jumma villages on fire. That night, at least 35 houses, including 7 shops, a church and a UNDP-run village centre in three Jumma villages of Gangaram Duar, Chaminichara and Baluchara, were burnt down.
Jumma villagers alleged that Bengali settlers also looted the valuables as they burned the houses. The villagers fled into the jungle when the attack took place.
After the first attack, the villagers returned to their devastated villages the next morning and gathered in Gangaram to protest the barbaric act.
The Bengali settlers returned in the next morning, equipped with sharp weapons, machetes and sticks. Tension mounted throughout the area as the army and armed settlers ordered the Jumma villagers to leave the area, but they refused to comply. At around 10.00 in the morning, the army started to beat the Jumma people indiscriminately. One Jumma villager, as he was being beaten brutally, attacked an army officer, named Sergeant Rezaul Karim, with a knife. Thereupon, the army officer shot him dead on the spot.
Following this, the army opened fire upon the Jumma villagers, indiscriminately, leaving at least 6 dead and 25 wounded. They army also arrested three persons. Since the start of shooting, Bengali settlers, under protection of the army, set the Jumma on fire houses at Hajachara, Guchchha Gram, Balughat, Simanachhara, Baipaichhara, Suranganala, Kerekkaba Retkaba, Jarulchhari, Dane Bhaibachhara, Bame Bhaibachhara, MSF Para and Purbapara villages. It is reported that at least another 160 houses were torched at that time. Bengali settlers also burnt Banani Bana Vihar, a Buddhist temple. The monk of the vihara, Ven. Purnabas Bhikkhu, fled the temple. One statues of Buddha, one given by the Thai government, were looted. As the settlers continued the arson-attack, the indigenous community began resisting them. During this resistance, six indigenous persons were injured.”
Background of the incident: In 2005, Bangladesh military forces undertook the plan to settle the Bengali infiltrators along the sides of Sajek road from Baghaichari to Gangaram Mukh. It is worth mentioning that thousands of indigenous Jumma families have been living in this area for decades. Hence, Jumma villagers of these areas have been protesting against this illegal settlement program.
Despites the protest, Bengali settlers illegally constructed some houses at Gangaram area on the land owned by Jumma villagers in 2008. At that time, on 20 April 2008, the Bengali settlers, with the direct support of the army of Baghaihat Zone, attacked seven villages of indigenous Jumma peoples, which saw at least 76 houses of indigenous villagers burned to ashes.
Again, since beginning of January 2010, Bengali settlers, with support of the army, resumed expansion of their settlement in Sajek area under Baghaichari upazila in Rangamati District. Bengali settlers have already erected a number of houses on the land of Jumma villagers. The villagers, under the banner of Sajek Bhumi Rakkha Committee (Sajek Land Protection Committee), submitted a memorandum to the Baghaichhari Administrative Officer on 10 January 2010, demanding that their lands be returned by 16 January 2010. As the deadline expired without any fruitful outcome, Jumma villagers started agitation and started boycott of the Baghaihat market from 18 January 2010. On the other hand, on 25 January 2010, the PCJSS sent a letter to the Home Minister with copy to State Minister of CHT Affairs Ministry and other concerned government authorities demanding to stop the settlement program, and to withdraw Bengali settlers from Baghaihat area. However, government did not take any action in this regard.
Mock attack upon Bengali settlers: It is learnt that Bengali settlers and the army staged a mock exercise to conceal real fact of the attack and to divert the incident to other direction. The purpose was to put blame on the indigenous people as instigator and initiator of the violence.
As part of this mock exercise, Bengali settlers set fire on a few of their almost-abandoned houses. The army also staged a mock gunfight. At a press conference at Rangamati Reporters Unity, the Parbatya Bangalee Chhatra Parishad, a settler student body, also protested the mock-incident and blamed indigenous people for it. They declared the Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission unwanted and blamed it for working in favour of the indigenous people.
Fabricated Media Report: It is reported that most of news media, both electronic and print, primarily reported fabricated news on the incident. They reported that tribal miscreants fired first, clash started since tribal villagers attacked the Bengali settlers and ser settlers’ houses ablaze etc. For example, the leading English newspaper, Daily Star, reported the news on 20 February under the headline: “Criminal killed in gunfight with security forces in Rangamati”. However, it later replaced the headline with “2 indigenous men killed as troops open fire in Rangamati”. The Prothom Alo, a Bengali daily, reported the incident as firefight between Paharis and Bangalis. Most of the media report, reflecting the statements of military authority as well as local administration, aired the news that naturally went against the Jumma people and in favor of the Bengali settlers.
Reaction: Processions have been brought in Rangamati, Khagrachari and Dhaka protesting the attack and massacre. At 11.00 a.m. on 20 February 2010, PCJSS, an indigenous organization, brought out a procession in Rangamati. PCJSS claimed that Bengali settlers, led by the so-called Sama Odhikar Andolon (a fanatic organisation of Bengali settlers) and Parbatya Bangali Chhatra Parishad, torched the houses of the tribal people in a pre-planned manner. PCJSS demanded judicial investigation into the incident, immediate arrest of the people responsible for the incident, and compensation for the victims. It warned of tougher agitation programs if their demand is not met. On the other, Pahari Chatra Parishad (Hill Students Council) also brought out procession at the Dhaka University campus.
A protest rally in front of the UN headquarter in Geneva, protesting the attack on Jumma people
Urgent Action Needed: Tension is ongoing at Baghaihat area of Sajek union and surrounding areas in Baghaichari upazila. With this circumstance, please write letter to the government of Bangladesh demanding the following issues:
1) To conduct impartial judicial investigation into the incident and to send a parliamentary team to inquire about the incident;
2) To arrest the responsible Bengali settlers immediately and to punish the involved military personnel immediately, and to provide compensation to the victims;
3) To stop expansion of Bengali settlement and to close Bengali settlers from Baghaihat areas and return back land and homesteads occupied by Bengali settlers to Jumma villagers;
4) To close Baghaihat Zone army units, and to withdraw all temporary army camps, including the de facto military rule, ‘Operation Uttoran’, as per CHT Accord;
5) To implement the CHT Accord and to declare a roadmap with specified timeframe for speedy and proper implementation of the CHT Accord.
This report appeared in the Unity Bulletin on 16 March 2010, published by the BANGLADESH HINDU BUDDHIST CHRISTIAN UNITY COUNCIL (BHBCUC).
Why did I reprint these stories, with these strange names, hard to read and impossible to remember?
Because I want to make a point. I want you to remember. I want you not to overlook, and not to forget, that along with the big countries, and the larger peoples, who are the victims of Muslim aggression – such as Christians in Nigeria — of Muslim violence and Muslim demands for changes to accommodate Islam, that there are other wars against the Infidels going on, unreported or underreported, involving the tiniest and most helpless of peoples. In the Chittagong Hills Tract, where the Jumma people, almost all Buddhists (though a few are Christians and a few Hindus) had survived for centuries, now that Muslims are firmly in control they are moving in, burning down Buddhist shrines and temples, attacking, terrorizing, killing when they feel like it the Jumma People. And they are being aided in this, as the report above makes clear, by the Muslim army of Bangladesh.
And this is Bangladesh, the country that Tarek Fatah describes as peopled by Muslims who will, whenever they are given a chance, vote for the “secular” parties and, impliedly, against the Muslim fanatics.
These attacks in February are not the first, and will not be the last, launched by Muslims against the Buddhists (and Hindus, and Christians) of the Chittagong Hills, or of Bangladesh. And the most important detail is that the army does not defend non-Muslims, the police do not defend non-Muslims, but collaborate with Muslim attackers. How many times have you read about how, in Pakistan, when Christians are being besieged, or raped, or tortured, or killed, the police do not rescue them, but join in? How many times have you read about Pakistani policemen who killed Christians who were in their custody? And when have you ever read of a national address, by any Muslim leader anywhere, denouncing attacks on any non-Muslims within the borders of his country? Has anyone “taking a leadership role” in Iraq done so? Has Mubarak gone on television to denounce attacks on Copts? Would anyone in the Sudan dare to denounce the attacks on Christians and animists in the south? Who in the Indonesian government has said that the attacks on Christians in the Moluccas must stop? Who said that the Hindus of Bali must be extended every protection? Who? Where? It hasn’t happened. Not in any Muslim country. Not once, not anywhere. Nor does the O.I.C. call on its members to ensure the “safety and well-being” of non-Muslims, much less even raise the subject of legal equality for non-Muslims. How could it, after all, given what the Qur’an and Sunnah say?
You are among the best-informed. You have, at this website, run repeatedly across mention of the Buddhists in the Chittagong Hills area of Bangladesh (just search for “Chittagong Hills” here at Jihad Watch for confirmation). But even you may have passed quickly over the phrases, because it becomes so difficult to remember everything, to hold in your head everything about Islam and its texts, and what has been said about it by Tocqueville and John Wesley and Churchill and John Quincy Adams, and so hard to figure out what these various names – Ahmadiya, or Ibadiya, say – may mean. One becomes overwhelmed with it all, because in the end, it’s almost as if the whole world is implicated in Jihad, and so – nowadays – it is, it has so become.
There are two reasons for bringing these attacks to the attention of as many people as you can.
The first is to expand the list of those who are watching, who are monitoring, who are capable of putting pressure, on the government of Bangladesh to begin to behave decently, and to protect non-Muslim citizens from the depredations, the raiding, the killings, the every-sort-of-viciousness, to which they have been subjected, not once, but over many years. Bangladesh is a poor country. It relies mostly on agriculture – and on the production of clothing (shirts, for example) for the Western market. It can be pressured. And whatever aid it may need and receive will not be coming from Saudi Arabia or any members of the Umma, but from India, and Europe, and the United States. It is time now for the Bangladeshi government to begin to behave with semi-decency, and to force the Muslim population to do so as well.
In other words, there are real people being terrorized and tormented and killed. In the Chittagong Hills, Muslim settlers, aided by the Muslim army, do what they will with the Buddhists, as they do with the Hindus and Christians, all over Bangladesh, all over Pakistan, all over Indonesia, all over whatever country Muslims happen to dominate. In other words, the first and most important reason for bringing all this to your attention and to ask you to bring it to the attention of others is to try to put pressure on Western governments, so that they in turn will put pressure – and they can put pressure – on the government of Bangladesh, and on other Muslim governments too, to begin behaving with a minimum of decency and to physically protect, really protect and not pretend to protect, the non-Muslim citizens who have the misfortune to remain in a Muslim sea, as do the besieged Christians of Pakistan and the besieged Buddhists (and Hindus, and Christians) of Bangladesh. (Remember Bishop John Joseph, and his martyrdom, intended to bring the world’s attention to what was happening to the Christians of Pakistan.)
There is a second reason.
Many people in the Western world assume, wrongly, that their governments know what they are doing. They assume, wrongly, that if their leaders, or those “taking a leadership role,” tell them, and repeatedly, that nothing is wrong with Islam, that Islam is a “religion of peace and tolerance” (Bush, Blair), that there are only a handful of “violent extremists” to worry about, that any mistreatment of non-Muslims is a result of those who have “hijacked a great religion,” or who utter a series of easily-disproved falsehoods about Islam, a dithyramb of semi-delirious nonsense (though delivered with sobriety, as if manner could conceal matter) concocted out of thin air, as Obama did in that flabbergasting mixture of ignorance and rewriting of history on display in his Cairo speech, that they must know what they are talking about. These people are not paying attention, and their attitude is a variant on De l’isle-Adam: “as for thinking, our leaders will do it for us.”
And still other people, a great many people, would prefer to avoid unpleasantness, and hence avoid reality, as long as possible. That helps explain why Churchill, and others, warning and presenting evidence of what they were warning about from the early 1930s on about Mr. Hitler and German intentions, were ignored or belittled, and continued to be subject to ridicule right up to when Hitler invaded Poland on a pretext. At that point, everyone suddenly understood, and many pretended that they had “understood” all along.
These are the people who like to think that there are “reasons” for Muslim behavior and attitudes that have to do with the Western world. And since the Western world, the American government, can change its policies, can atone for its misbehavior, this leaves open the possibility that “if only” we do this, and “if only” we do that, the Muslims will behave themselves, and all manner of things shall be well.
Remember, after the 9/11 attacks, all that talk about the “root causes”? The “root causes” always had to do with things that the American government had done. It had supported Israel too fervently. Really? Is that what the American government has done? Has the American government, in the stupid and cruel treatment of Israel that it exhibited, and not for the first time, in the behavior of the Obama administration recently, really been an “unconditional” supporter of Israel? Or else the American government had been making “war on Islam.” But is this true? It was the Americans who supplied advanced weapons, including Stinger missiles, to the Mujahideen in Afghanistan, enabling them to drive out the Russians. It was the American government that failed to notice the obvious (to some, but not to the State Department and the Pentagon) meretriciousness of the Pakistani generals and zamindars – which finally became too much for those Senators, such as Pressler and Glenn, who had most closely followed what the government of Pakistan was doing. As a consequence, they passed the Pressler Amendment, which was designed to limit both the inveiglements by Pakistan, and the appeasement, every which way, of the Pakistanis by the Americans.
Yet the tens of billions keep flowing to Pakistan. The smooth-tongued Hassan Haqaani and his Wellesley-educated wife, one of the Ispahani girls, have done great work for Pakistan. Now it is the turn of one more of those rectitudinous Anglophone fly-whisk pukka-sahib Sandhurst-educated (or at least some will assume so) terry-thomas-moustachioed Pakistani generals in the Musharraf mode, this one named Kayani, who is the latest proven master at extracting from the Americans as much as any Pakistani general could hope for, and then some.
All right, so the “root causes” that some cling to do not exist. And granted, the Americans have treated Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, exceptionally well. Indeed, the Americans have treated Pakistan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia as “staunch allies,” though not one of them deserves this designation, and had been favoring all three countries for decades before the 9/11/2001 attacks. Those attacks, you will remember, involved a novemdectet of Saudis and Egyptians, executing a mass-murder plot conceived by a Pakistani, who was himself under the direction of the Arabs in Al Qaeda, living and plotting in Afghanistan, then ruled by the Pakistani- and Saudi-supported Taliban. They killed 3000 people in office towers in New York, and the Pentagon in Washington, and in a plane over Pennsylvania.
But what about that famous evil of “colonialism”? What about, sputter these same people who are determined to avoid looking into the ideology of Islam itself, “Western colonialism” or “European colonialism” or, in a fashionable variant, “neo-colonialism” that has no sell-by date, and goes on, as do the resentments its posited existence are held to justify, forever? Yes, what about it? Let’s see how the Muslims have suffered, or not suffered, from “Western colonialism.” In India, the arrival of the British did indeed dislodge Muslim rule, and allowed Hindus, for the first time in many centuries, to be treated decently. While there are those who love the Barbara-cartlandesque works of William “Okkidental” Dalrymple, with his celebration of love and intrigue at various Mughal courts, Hindus themselves preferred to be rid of this Muslim rule.
And in the Middle East, where was the “colonialism”? For centuries it was the Ottoman Turks who ruled, and it was the British who freed the Arabs from Turkish rule, with almost no help — unless you wish to accept the Lawrentian myth about the few hundred troops who did little more than take Aqaba and intermittently attack the Constantinople-to-Hejaz Railway. The “taking of Damascus” was, pace David Lean’s imaginative version, accomplished by Australian troops, who then allowed some of the Arab troops to take possession of parts of the city, most notably certain hospitals where those Arabs proceeded to butcher the wounded Turkish and German prisoners they found therein. The British never entered the interior of Arabia. There were a handful of tiny garrisons, in a few places, the largest being at Aden so as to protect the sea lanes from Suez to India, and also to keep the warring Arab tribes from too much of that warring, and to suppress, as well, the trade in black African slaves that the Arabs conducted, and which the British finally managed to end, though again and again the Arabs would keep smuggling black slaves into Arabia, right up until the 1960s.
But, someone says, with a confident air, what about the British in Iraq? Weren’t they “colonialists” there? No. The British were in Iraq for ten years, from 1922 to 1932. They established the monarchy, with the Hashemite Faisal, and Gertrude Bell established a Department of Antiquities that became the Baghdad Museum, before killing herself, one suspects, because she, like T. E. Lawrence, had put such naÃ¯ve faith in “the Arabs.” She had made them her own cause, and then was so deeply disappointed – as disappointed so many have been, from so many different lands, when they put their faith “in the Arabs.” (Watch for what happens, in the next year, in Iraq, and let’s see how those who consider the American effort in Iraq to have been “a success” and “well worth” the two trillion dollars spent, finally react when reality breaks in). There was only that ten-year-period, and after all, it had not been the Arabs but the British who had driven out the Turks. In Syria and Lebanon, the French had control, and managed to make those places safe for the Christians — a role that France had historically assigned itself. But in the mid-twentieth century it ceased to be the protector of the Christians, with disastrous results — as anyone who has followed the fate of Lebanon’s Maronites, and watched the Hezbollah Bezonians chanting hysterically in Beirut before Nasrallah, will understand. But “colonialism”? There was none. And in Egypt, there was no “colonialism.” The British under Lord Cromer arrived in 1882, in order to reform, to make efficient and honest, the Egyptian Civil Service, and they did so, and then they left in 1922. The effects of this British presence made possible, for some years, a semi-decent regime in Egypt where the Copts and other Christians (Greeks, Italians, Armenians) and even Jews, were treated semi-decently, though the threat of Muslim mobs – of the kind whipped up into a murderous frenzy by Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood and grandfather of Tariq Ramadan – could never be ignored, and legal equality for non-Muslims was out of the question.
But what about North Africa? Well, the Italians came in 1911, and stayed for thirty-four years. In that time they built beautiful structures in the main cities, and if there is anything still to admire in Tripoli or Benghazi, or elsewhere in Libya, it was built either by the ancient Romans or by their descendants, the Italians of the early twentieth-century. And even today Khaddafy has been desperate to get the Italians to come back and build for him a coastal road, because Libya itself, despite receiving hundreds of billions of dollars in oil revenues, is completely incapable of such an undertaking. In Morocco and Tunisia, similarly, the French came in and stayed about forty years. And they did the same thing in those places – built modern cities, introduced modern methods of agriculture, brought Western medicine and opened hospitals, built roads and bridges, opened schools and the first universities. And this was all accomplished in less than a half-century.
The only place in the entire Middle East or North Africa where there might be said to be “colonialism” in the real sense is in Algeria. The French entered Algeria most reluctantly, in 1830, after repeated attempts, over many decades, to halt the attacks by Arab corsairs on Christian shipping, and the seizure of cargo and ships, and the enslavement of Christian seamen, by these official pirates (they would register, in advance, their intended prey or the areas of the Mediterranean where they intended to attack Christian ships) from Tunis, Tripoli, Algiers. In the United States we have come to believe that Jefferson, and William Eaton, put paid to those we call the Barbary Pirates. This is not exactly true. Solemn treaties could be signed, but no Muslims were going to honor solemn treaties with Infidels if they could breach those treaties with impunity. And they resumed attacks, or never stopped attacking, the ships of France, among others. The only way the French could deal with it was to seize Algeria, and in 1830, they did, and remained until 1962.
And just as with Morocco and Tunisia, but on a larger scale, they brought hospitals and schools, modern methods of agriculture, built beautiful waterfront buildings and coastal roads, treated the Berbers with respect and allowed the Jews (following the loi Cremieux of 1871) to no longer be subject to Muslim law but, as French citizens, to French law, and did a great deal more. What happened to Algeria, after the French left, can be seen, and has been described, in appalled terms, by a handful of gifted and fearless Algerian writers, from the safety of France, many horrified at what Algeria has become.
So that’s the story of the “colonialism” that some naively or sinisterly insist explains the Muslim attitudes toward the Americans, or the Europeans.
Which brings us back to the attacks on Buddhists in the Chittagong Hills.
When the Buddhists are brought up, everyone thinks of a religion that is famously “peaceful.” The only religion perhaps ahead in the peace sweepstakes are the Jains (the ruins of a Jain temple were used by the Muslim conquerors of India to build, right on top of it, the earliest known mosque in India, and photographs of this mosque have been reproduced in books on the splendors of Islamic Art). And when those Buddhists are in the Chittagong Hills, in distant Bangladesh, it is clear that nothing about American foreign policy, or Israel, or “colonialism” and the resentments that are apparently to be cultivated forever (even in cases where there was no real colonialism) is involved and can be invoked. And when you mention what has happened to Buddhists in the Chittagong Hills, this gives you an opening to describe the killings of Buddhist monks, farmers, and schoolteachers in southern Thailand. It gives you a further opening to mention the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas, which in turn should lead you to discuss what the Taliban did to the tiny National Museum in Kabul, and what has happened, under Muslim rule, to whatever remained, in stone monuments or artifacts of less sturdy material, that were products of the Greco-Bactrian civilization of Afghanistan, including what was left by Buddhists, and are no longer anywhere to be found.
You will eventually simply wear down your opponents, with this information, and with your ability to deploy such information, relentlessly, so that they can no longer fight with you, especially if there are others to witness their own mental confusion, ignorance, and general intellectual degringolade. Even if they just will not bring themselves to do the right thing and concede, they will at least have to be less wild in making excuses for Muslim mistreatment of non-Muslims, and the more such examples as that in the Chittagong Hills attacks, or attacks on black African Christians in the southern Sudan and central Nigeria, that you can adduce to show that it is not the West against Islam, nor — what is the same thing — Islam Against the West, but rather Islam Against All the Rest, the more likely it is that whoever you are arguing with will at long last start to listen.