Muslims in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles riot over the Gaza conflict, attacking synagogues and Jewish stores. Where is their outrage over atrocities committed by Muslims in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan? (Photo: © Reuters)
In Saturday’s National Post, Rex Murphy asks why there’s so much outrage over Israel’s response to Hamas rocket fire, but the same activists are silent about atrocities committed in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere. In the same edition, letter-writer Al Lando argues that the people who are “attacking Jewish citizens, firebombing synagogues and launching protests against all things Jewish, in the name solidarity with Palestinian victims” seem to have no objection to the “200,000 innocent non-combatants [who] are in danger of genocide” at the hands of ISIS.
Indeed, today’s global events seem surreal and fictional in their evilness. The Yazidis of Iraq are facing genocide. Boko Haram and the Taliban continue their reign of terror: Horrifying, brutal, cruel and inhuman terror from beheadings to rape. Where is the outrage in the Muslim world over these atrocities?
I ask this as a Muslim activist who’s exhausted -- not from defending my faith -- but from asking the same question over and over again for the past two decades. When I asked this question in the aftermath of 9/11, I was criticized for being a “fear-monger.” Following the 7/7 terrorist attacks in the U.K., I called on the larger Muslim community to “wake up and smell the coffee before it’s too late.” For this, I was labelled a traitor. Later — as I uncovered and exposed the subversive agendas of Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Qaeda and Hezbollah — I was labelled a heretic.
Today, ISIS is indiscriminately killing women and children in Iraq. These terrorists want women to undergo female genital mutilation and cover their faces — essentially they want to push them back into the dark ages. At the same time, Yazidi women in Iraq are being kept as slaves, while their men are killed. In Pakistan, my country of birth, minorities are being persecuted with no accountability and the movement to eradicate them has been given a religious justification, so the perpetrators are celebrated as champions.
Yet, much of the so-called “civilized world” is frozen by either political correctness or ignorance. U.S. President Barack Obama would rather play golf than address the crisis unfolding all over the Muslim world. Liberal leader Justin Trudeau apparently sees no problem visiting a Wahhabi mosque with strong links to terrorism. And protesters at the Ontario legislature continue to focus their rage on Israel, rather than addressing the heinous crimes committed by Muslims.
So it falls upon the communities where these atrocities are happening to take action. And rightly so.
The world is once again asking, “Where are the moderate Muslim voices to counter the evil of ISIS and other terrorist organizations?”
Let me respond by saying that I’m completely revolted by what’s happening in Iraq, Syria and the rest of the Arab world. I wish I could say the same for my larger community. When a recent documentary exposed the crimes perpetrated against women in many Muslim countries was released, so-called “moderate and progressive” Muslim women opposed the cause.
I ask all Canadians to please stop asking where the moderate Muslims are. Our voices have been subsumed by the din of the mercenaries vying for power and hegemony in the Muslim world; we have become pawns in the games played by Saudi Arabia and Iran; we are shouted down by those who would lobby for political causes over human rights; and, most importantly, our communities still bask in the belief that all is well.
Raheel Raza is an award-winning author, journalist, and filmmaker on the topics of jihad and sharia. She is president of The Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow, and an activist for human rights, gender equality, and diversity. She is one of nine women's rights activists who took part in Clarion Project's film "Honor Diaries" which breaks the silence on honor violence against women.
A church bombed by Islamic extremists in Kirkuk, Iraq
Days before the recent Israel/Hamas conflict erupted, the Presbyterian Church in America withdrew $21 million worth in investments from Israel because, as spokesman Heath Rada put it, the Israeli government’s actions “harm the Palestinian people.”
Soon after, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and was asked if he was “troubled” by the Presbyterian Church’s move.
It should trouble all people of conscience and morality because it’s so disgraceful. You know, you look at what’s happening in the Middle East and I think most Americans understand this, they see this enormous area riveted by religious hatred, by savagery of unimaginable proportions. Then you come to Israel and you see the one democracy that upholds basic human rights, that guards the rights of all minorities, that protects Christians—Christians are persecuted throughout the Middle East. So most Americans understand that Israel is a beacon of civilization and moderation. You know I would suggest to these Presbyterian organizations to fly to the Middle East, come and see Israel for the embattled democracy that it is, and then take a bus tour, go to Libya, go to Syria, go to Iraq, and see the difference. And I would give them two pieces of advice, one is, make sure it’s an armor plated bus, and second, don’t say that you’re Christians.
It’s difficult—if not impossible—to argue with Netanyahu’s logic. Indeed, several points made in his one-minute response are deserving of some reflection.
First, the obvious: Why is it that self-professed Christians completely ignore the horrific Islamic persecution of fellow Christians in the Middle East, while grandstanding against the Jewish state for trying to defend itself against the same ideology that persecutes Christians?
And he is absolutely right to say that the persecution of Christians in the Mideast has reached a point of “savagery of unimaginable proportions.” Perhaps the only thing more shocking than the atrocities Mideast Christians are exposed to—the slaughters, crucifixions, beheadings, torture and rape—is the absolute silence emanating from so-called mainline Protestant churches in the U.S.
Note also the nations Netanyahu highlighted for their brutal persecution of Christian minorities: Libya, Syria, and Iraq. Indigenous Christians were markedly better off in all three nations before the U.S. got involved, specifically be empowering, deliberately or not, Islamist forces. Now, according to recent studies, Christians in all three nations are experiencing the worst form of persecution around the globe:
- Libya: Ever since U.S.-backed, al-Qaeda-linked terrorists overthrew Gaddafi, Christians—including Americans—have been tortured and killed (including for refusing to convert) and churches bombed. It’s “open season” on Copts, as jihadis issue a reward to Muslims who find and kill Christians. This was not the case under Gaddafi.
- Syria: Christians have been attacked in indescribable ways—wholesale massacres, bombed and desecrated churches, beheadings, crucifixions and rampant kidnappings—since the U.S.-sponsored “Arab Spring” reached the Levant.
- Iraq: After the U.S. toppled Saddam Hussein, Christian minorities were savagely attacked and slaughtered, and dozens of their churches were bombed (see here for graphic images). In the last decade, Christians have been terrorized into near extinction, with well over half of them fleeing Iraq.
If the Presbyterian Church has problems with governments that persecute people—in this case, the Israeli government’s purported treatment of Palestinians, hence the Presbyterian Church’s divestment from Israel—perhaps it should begin by criticizing its own government’s proxy war on fellow Christians in the Middle East.
Christians are also being targeted in the Palestinian Authority territories—by the very same elements the Presbyterian Church is trying to defend.
In 2012, for example, a pastor noted that “animosity towards the Christian minority in areas controlled by the PA continues to get increasingly worse. People are always telling [Christians], 'Convert to Islam. Convert to Islam.' ” And in fact, the kidnapping and forced conversions of Christians in Gaza is an ugly reality.”
More recently, nuns of the Greek-Orthodox monastery in Bethany sent a letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urging him to respond to the escalation of attacks on the Christian house, including the throwing of stones, broken glass, theft and looting of the monastery property. “Someone wants to send us away,” wrote Sister Ibraxia in the letter, “but we will not flee.”
Sadly, the hypocrisy exhibited by the Presbyterian Church is not limited to that denomination. Some time back, 15 leaders from various U.S. Christian denominations—mostly Protestant, including the Lutheran, Methodist, and UCC Churches—asked Congress to reevaluate U.S. military aid to Israel, again, in the context of supporting “persecuted” Palestinians.
Yet nary a word from these same church leaders concerning the rampant persecution of millions of Christians at the hands of Muslims in the Middle East—a persecution that makes the Palestinians’ situation pale in comparison.
Other Protestants do find time to criticize Muslim persecution of Christians—but only to blame Israel for it. Thus, Diarmaid MacCulloch, a Fellow of St. Cross College, wrote an article in the Daily Beast ostensibly addressing the plight of Mideast Christians—but only to argue that the source of Christian persecution “in the Middle East is seven decades of unresolved conflict between Israel and Palestine.”
In reality, far from prompting the persecution of Christians, the Arab-Israeli conflict is itself a byproduct of the same hostility Islamic supremacism threatens all non-Muslims. The reason hostility for Israel is much more viral is because the Jewish state holds a unique position of authority over Muslims unlike vulnerable Christian minorities who can be abused at will (as fully explained here).
Little wonder, then, that more Arab Christians—double the number of each of the preceding three years—are now joining the Israel Defense Forces.
They know they can count on basic human rights protection from Israel -- more than from many of their fellow Christians in the West. After all, beyond the sophistry, distortions and downright lies emanating from some of these Christian denominations, the fact remains: Both Jews and Christians are under attack from the same foe and for the same reason -- they are non-Muslim “infidels” who need to be subjugated.
Raymond Ibrahim is the author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War in Christians (published by Regnery in cooperation with Gatestone Institute, April 2013). He is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an associate fellow at the Middle East Forum. Mr. Ibrahim's dual-background—born and raised in the U.S. by Egyptian parents —has provided him with unique advantages to understanding of the Western and Middle Eastern mindsets.