Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Crucified Again

Our rights in Egypt, as Christians or converts, are less than the rights of animals. We are deprived of social and civil rights, deprived of our inheritance and left to the fundamentalists to be killed. Nobody bothers to investigate or care about us. – Maher Al-Gohary, Muslim apostate

One of the most disturbing consequences of the “Arab Spring,” the tragic misnomer given by the giddy news media to a violent surge of Islamic fundamentalists against despised Western “puppets” such as Libya’s Qaddafi and Egypt’s Mubarak, is an undisguised genocide against Christian communities in those regions. Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, the new book by the Freedom Center’s Shillman Fellow Raymond Ibrahim, exposes that genocide not so much as a new war but as the renewal of a very old one.

Ibrahim is, as FrontPage readers well know, a Middle East and Islam specialist best-known for The Al Qaeda Reader. He has appeared in media venues from MSNBC to Reuters to Al Jazeera to Fox News, lectured at universities and before government agencies, and even testified before Congress on the plight of Egypt’s Christian Copts.

 “Christians are being persecuted in Muslim countries today,” Ibrahim writes,

for the same reasons as in past centuries. And the patterns of persecution – the same motivations, the same actions, and the same horrific results – recur in countries as different as Kenya and Denmark. Those patterns emerge from themes in the Koran, in Islamic theology, in Sharia law, and in Islamic culture.

Those patterns lead Ibrahim to the inexorable conclusion which he hammers home throughout the book: “One thing alone accounts for such identical patterns in such otherwise diverse nations: Islam itself – whether the strict application of its Sharia, or the supremacist culture born of it.” Indeed, Ibrahim notes that of the top 50 countries documented for Christian persecution today, 42 are either Muslim-majority nations or have sizeable Muslim populations, and no other factors – economic, political, or ethnic – account for that overwhelming predominance.

After documenting some examples of recent Christian persecution in disparate regions, Ibrahim ties them together thusly:

Egypt, Nigeria, Indonesia, and the Philippines have very little in common. These countries do not share the same language, race, or culture. What, then, do they have in common that explains this similar pattern of church attacks during Christian holy days? The answer is Islam.

But what about Islam’s vaunted historic reputation for interfaith tolerance? Didn’t President Obama, in his servile Cairo address in 2009, claim that “Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance”? What about the relatively recent “Golden Age” for Christians in the Muslim world – from approximately 1850-1950 – during which they were largely unoppressed and laws governing dhimmis were abolished?

Ibrahim’s argument is that this era was primarily the result of the impact of Western civilization in breaking down fanaticism in Islamic lands. Muslims even began emulating Western ways, “sloughing off their Islamic identity and mentality and the contempt for ‘infidels’ that… is an integral part of that mentality.” That Golden Age, unfortunately, “was the historical aberration,” and what reversed the trend was a fresh contempt for the West’s “new culture of sexual licentiousness, moral relativism, godlessness, and even Western self-hatred that flooded Western societies in the 1960s.” Muslims also fed off “the hyper-criticism of the West and its values by leftist Western intellectuals,” a faction that remains complicit today.

Ibrahim traces the fascinating history and theological origins of Islam’s “innate hostility to Christianity,” which it targets in no small measure because Christianity, the largest religion in the world and Islam’s historical enemy, is a proselytizing faith – which Islam, with its rigid laws against apostasy, blasphemy, and proselytism, cannot abide. Also, Christians historically have embraced martyrdom rather than betray their faith. But he also notes that

Christians suffer violence at the hands of Muslims for reasons that go beyond conscious applications of Islamic doctrines. The hostility Sharia engenders toward Christians has permeated the culture, mentality, and worldview of the average Muslim.

Ibrahim goes on to catalog a jaw-dropping, relentless litany of examples of forced conversion, attacks on churches and the cross, and savage persecution of Christians throughout the Muslim world, a list broken down by country. He classifies this “climate of hate” into three general categories: harassment by Muslim governments, attacks by Muslim mobs, and attacks by jihadis.

As for why this crisis attracts so little attention, he points to three enormously influential institutions: Western academia, for whitewashing Islam and blaming the West; Western media, for obscuring the persecution; and Western governments for enabling it. They “have all refused to acknowledge what Christians are suffering… in keeping with their reluctance to recognize that Islam itself is the cause of this persecution.” It is this reticence that drives those institutions, for example, to portray “unprovoked Muslim attacks on Christians… as ‘sectarian strife.’” Blurring the line between victim and oppressor, Ibrahim writes, “is a regular tactic of the mainstream media, especially when it comes to reporting on Muslim persecution of Christians.”

Ibrahim rightly points the finger more specifically at the Obama administration, which in both words and actions “has not only ignored Muslim persecution of Christians, but also actually enabled it,” through Obama’s “wholesale support of the ‘Arab Spring.’” He also takes Western Christians themselves to task for buying into the mainstream narrative and for a tendency “to express compassion for anyone and everyone other than fellow Christians.”

“The return of the persecution of Christians under Islam,” Ibrahim concludes, “is the most visible aspect of a larger and more dangerous phenomenon: the return of Islam as a global force.” And we ignore that persecution at our peril.

Even for someone like myself and for FrontPage’s regular readers, who are acutely aware of the resurgent Islamic persecution of Christians in Muslim lands worldwide, Crucified Again is a gripping, must-read eye-opener.

(This article originally appeared here on FrontPage Mag, 6/24/13