To illustrate the same point several days ago, we noted the silence of CNN’s website in the midst of another wave of jihadist attacks against Christians in Iraq. Dancing with the Stars merited a mention, along with Sarah Palin on baking cookies and other human interest pieces. Another escalation in the latest violent campaign to convert or expel non-Muslims from the Middle East? Not so much.
Of course, this has been a big year in the U.S. for pontifications on “tolerance,” in connection with the Ground Zero mosque, the Qur’an burning that wasn’t, and other issues. But the relative silence in the mainstream media on this topic demonstrates that the banner of tolerance is taken up only for fashionable groups.
There is an obvious, but irrational fear that speaking out too openly for the sake of persecuted minorities in Muslim lands goes off-message from the politically correct duty play up Islam’s purported tolerance, makes it seem like the West is unfairly picking on Muslims, is in a so-called “crusader war,” and so forth.
In practice, all that amounts to is discarding justice for the sake of public relations, which is what the obsession with “hearts and minds” so often involves: appearances.
And of course, there is the state of denial, which is almost hallucinatory in the face of repeated stories like this, that non-Muslims are in long-term danger based on anything contained in Islamic teachings. Funny, then, how these things keep happening, not just since 2003, not just since 9/11, not just since 1948, or any other point in history that is cited as the root of Muslim grievances against non-Muslims, but for the entire history of Islamic conquest and rule.
“The tragedy of Iraq’s Christians is that it does not interest anyone, Chaldean Catholic says,” by Joseph Seferta for Asia News, November 13:
I belong to the Chaldean Catholic Church, which makes up the majority of Christians in Iraq. Others include Assyrians, as well Syrian, Armenian and Byzantine Christians, both Catholic and Orthodox. Christians under Saddam Hussein totalled some one million, but now only half that number remains in the country, the rest having fled and are living as refugees, particularly in Syria and Jordan.
The atrocity committed by Muslim fanatics, which resulted in dozens of Syrian Catholics dead and dozens of others wounded, was a big blow to the struggling Christian minority. It has been followed by other assassinations of Christians in their homes and shops. All these fanatics (known by various names) in the Middle East and other Muslim-majority countries, are bent on imposing Shari’a and running Islamic states that have no place for Christians in them.
Christians in the Middle East, of course, predate Muslims by hundreds of years and go back to Apostolic Times. Since the 7th Century Islamic conquest, they have been made second-class citizens with hardly any rights at all. They have undergone many waves of persecution, which have greatly reduced their numbers and influence. They suffer prejudice and discrimination on a daily basis, while Muslim minorities here in the West enjoy full rights and have built hundreds of mosques.
Tragically, Iraq’s Christians had nothing to do with the American invasion, but they always wrongly get accused of siding with the “Christian” West. Now they feel both isolated and betrayed by their own government as well as the international community. They have always been model citizens, serving their country in every field, and their only desire is to be left alone to live and worship in peace. But they have become a soft target for extremists.
There is now a real danger that Christians in the Middle East and in Iraq in particular, of being exterminated, due to both persecution and large-scale emigration, unless something is done urgently to stem the tide and save them. Too many cannot bear their suffering any longer and are sick and tired of waiting for someone to come to their aid. People either do not know or do not seem to care about them. Even the recent Middle East Synod convoked by the Holy Father was a disappointment, due to lack of both unity and courage. It is now high time that the United Nations seriously tackle this huge problem, for otherwise we will end up with the catastrophe of an Iraq and even a Middle East devoid of any Christians.
In October 2007, 138 Muslim leaders issued ‘A Common Word between Us and You’, a substantive invitation to Christians to dialogue based on the commandments to love God and love one another, found in the Bible and the Qur’an. The problem is that no such thing exists in the Qur’an.
While love is central in Christianity, it is hardly relevant in Islam. The few Qur’anic verses that mention love mean something that is totally different from the New Testament. In the Qur’an, Allah’s love is conditional upon man’s blind obedience to his laws. Thus, we read in verse 4:107, for example, “Allah loveth not the impious and the guilty.”
Love in the Qur’an is just an attribute rather than a part of God’s very essence (as in “God is love”, 1 John 4:8). The concept of love of neighbour does not exist either. There is only love for fellow Muslims, who, for example, are told in 5:59, “Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends”, and in 9:29, “Fight those who believe not in Allah or his Apostle, even if they are the People of the Book [Christians and Jews] until they submit”.