In today’s academia, the reigning ideology, when it is not socialism, is “multiculturalism.” Try to get a handle on what that means, and it’s not so easy. Go to Wikipedia for a definition, and you will find a string of innocuous and anodyne platitudes (“Multiculturalism as a political philosophy involves ideologies and policies which vary widely, ranging from the advocacy of equal respect to the various cultures in a society, through policies of promoting the maintenance of cultural diversity, . . .”) But you know there’s a lot more to it than that. For starters, there’s the characteristic self-loathing for all things Western. And then there’s the insistence that other cultures (however that term may be defined) are somehow inherently superior to ours and may not be criticized.
At the top of the list of cultures that may not be criticized is Islamic culture. For anyone who draws the ire of the progressive left, no list of accusatory epithets (“racist, sexist, misogynist, ageist, . . .”) is complete without the obligatory “Islamophobic.” The suffix “phobic” implies some kind of irrational fear, as in “acrophobia” (irrational fear of heights) or “germophobia” (not a real word, but you get the picture).
But could it be that Islam has a real problem — not something arising out of irrational fear, but something based in actual evidence?
The Gatestone Institute is a think tank with a daily email that covers issues of international affairs and foreign policy that “the mainstream media fail to report.” One such issue is the treatment of Christian, Jewish, and other religious minorities in majority-Islamic countries. Generally, the posts on this subject are fairly straight factual reporting, often from a correspondent with on-the-ground knowledge of the facts in some particular country. Many of these posts tell horrific stories, where the treatment of religious minorities ranges from outrageous persecution to actual genocide. Perhaps any one of these instances could be chalked up to the usual random inhumanity of man to man. But then you start compiling them.
So let’s take a look at some recent posts from Gatestone, going back just three months to August 2018.
On November 18, Raymond Ibrahim reported about Nigeria, as to events taking place from January to June of this year, in a post titled “‘A Pure Genocide’: Extremist Persecution of Christians, June 2018”:
In what the Christian Association of Nigeria called a "pure genocide," 238 more Christians were killed and churches desecrated by Muslims throughout the month of June. This brings the death toll of Christians to more than 6,000 between January and June of 2018 alone. According to a joint statement by the Christian Association, an umbrella group of various Christian denominations, "There is no doubt that the sole purpose of these attacks is aimed at ethnic cleansing, land grabbing and forceful ejection of the Christian natives from their ancestral land and heritage." . . . The majority of those 6,000 Christians massacred this year were "mostly children, women and the aged... What is happening in ... Nigeria is pure genocide and must be stopped immediately." . . . These nonstop Islamic attacks are causing the Christian population of the West African nation to plummet — to the point of extinction by 2043, warned Bosun Emmanuel, the secretary of National Christian Elders Forum.
Gatestone’s post of November 14 came from Pakistan, and from a correspondent named Giulio Meotti, with the title “The West Must Offer Immediate Asylum to Asia Bibi.” For those not following the affair, Ms. Bibi, a Christian in Pakistan, was told she could not drink out of a communal well in her village because Islamic law forbade a Christian to do so. She allegedly responded that Jesus had "died on the cross for the sins of mankind," and asked, "What did your Prophet Muhammad ever do to save mankind?" For that she was convicted of blasphemy, for which her sentence consisted of selecting between either converting to Islam or death. She then spent eight years in Pakistani prison, much of it in solitary confinement and on death row. To its credit, the Pakistani Supreme Court (finally) reversed her conviction and acquitted her on October 3. However, there followed “violent protests by ‘hard-line Islamists call[ing] for her execution’ that ‘paralyzed large parts of the country . . . .’ ‘For four days, all the Christians stayed inside, enclosed in their homes in the principal cities of Pakistan',’ said Alessandro Monteduro, director of the Italian organization Aid to the Church in Need.” Ms. Bibi remains essentially under house arrest in Pakistan, ostensibly for her own protection, although there are calls for Western countries to offer her asylum. (Why haven’t they all already done so?)
The November 11 Gatestone post, again from Raymond Ibrahim, came from Egypt, with the title “A Bloodbath for Christians, No Response from Egypt.” Mr. Ibrahim first reports on the latest incident, which occurred on November 2:
On November 2, heavily armed Islamic terrorists ambushed and massacred Christians returning home after visiting the ancient St. Samuel Monastery in Minya, Egypt. Seven pilgrims -- including a 12-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy -- were shot to death. More than 20 were left injured with bullet wounds or shards of broken glass from the buses' windows.
Mr. Ibrahim then reviews some of the other recent, and distressing, news on this subject from Egypt, including evidence that the government is either involved in or looks the other way as to persecution and murders of Christians:
Despite Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's many conciliatory and brotherly words to the nation's Christian minorities, they have suffered more under his rule than any Egyptian leader of the modern era, partially because ISIS arose during his term. In December 2017, a gunman killed 10 worshippers inside a church in Helwan. One year earlier, 29 Christians were killed during twin attacks on churches. On Palm Sunday in April 2017, a suicide bombing of two churches killed nearly 50 people and injured more than a hundred. While it may be understandable that Sisi cannot eliminate terrorism entirely, there is evidence that the government itself participates in the persecution of Egypt's Christians. According to the World Watch List (2018), Egyptian "officials at any level from local to national" are "strongly responsible" for the "oppression" of Egypt's Christians. "Government officials," the report adds, "also act as drivers of persecution through their failure to vindicate the rights of Christians and also through their discriminatory acts which violate the fundamental rights of Christians."
An August 8 post from Usay Bulut titled “Yazidi Slavery, Child Trafficking, Death Threats to Journalist: Should Turkey Remain in NATO?” gives a history of the enslavement and slaughter of the Christian Yazidi ethnic group in Iraq by ISIS:
August 3 marked the fourth anniversary of the ISIS invasion of Sinjar, Iraq and the start of the Yazidi genocide. Since that date in 2014, approximately 3,100 Yazidis either have been executed or died of dehydration and starvation, according to the organization Yazda. At least 6,800 women and children were kidnapped by ISIS terrorists and subjected to sexual and physical abuse, captives were forced to convert to Islam, and young boys were separated from their families and forced to become child soldiers, according to a report entitled "Working Against the Clock: Documenting Mass Graves of Yazidis Killed by the Islamic State." Moreover, 3,000 Yazidi women and girls are believed to remain in ISIS captivity, but their whereabouts are unknown.
There was also a September 23 post from Mr. Ibrahim with the title “‘We Are Bigger than Your Jesus!’: Extremist Persecution of Christians.” This is a lengthy post, giving a round-up of recent incidents of Islamic persecution of Christians from some ten countries, including, in addition to the four already discussed above, Somalia, Turkey, Indonesia, Algeria, Uganda and Saudi Arabia. Here are a couple of representative bullet points:
If any measure of peace between Muslims and Christians is to prevail, no church can exist in the village, local Muslims said. "The only houses of worship that can ever be built in this village are Muslim places of worship for Allah." — Watan International, Egypt.
"The Al Shabaab are now hunting down the children in Mogadishu, and we have moved the care center to a bit safer location.... The children look devastated and malnourished, so we as a secret church do appeal to our brothers and sisters in the free world to consider extending a hand to these persecuted children." — Pastor of an underground church, Somalia.
Mr. Ibrahim concludes: While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, persecution of Christians by Muslim extremists is growing. The report posits that such Muslim persecution is not random but rather systematic, and takes place irrespective of language, ethnicity, or location.
I would certainly not contend that all Christians have been blameless in the matter of persecution of and terrorism against people of other faiths. This Wikipedia article has a round-up of substantial numbers of acts of terror by Christian extremists of one stripe or another. But, compared to the atrocities described above carried out in the name of Islam, most of the matters discussed in the article about Christian terrorism are either not particularly recent, or are relatively small in scale and carried out by lone extremists or small groups. None receive the approval of any of the major branches of Christianity, let alone the explicit or implicit support of any state actor. As between “random” and “systematic,” the acts described fall far closer to the random end of the scale.
But Mr. Ibrahim concludes that “Muslim persecution is not random but rather systematic.” He has rather extensive evidence to support his conclusion. It seems to me that that is a problem for Islam, and one that the “multiculturalists” should recognize.