From Ralph Peter’s column posted at nypost.com (original post date 3/31/13):
Islamist terrorists and fanatics are methodically exterminating the 2,000-year-old Christian civilization of the Middle East through oppression, threats, appropriations and deadly violence.
Our media ignore the intensifying savagery against Egyptian Christians in Muslim Brotherhood-controlled Egypt. Unconfirmed reports assert that, last month, Muslim Brothers dragged Christian protesters to a mosque and tortured them – but our reporters won’t look into an Islamist Abu Ghraib.
For a century and a half, the varied strands of Middle East Christianity have faced increasingly fierce pogroms [attacks; massacres] and, for the Armenians, outright genocide. But with the rise of Wahhabi and Salafist [types of Islam] terror, the [attacks] accelerated.
…The Middle East was more than just Christianity’s birthplace. The faith we know matured in the Middle East and North Africa, from Ephesus and Antioch to Alexandria and beyond. St. Augustine, the most influential church father after St. Paul, was a North African.
Rome was a latecomer to Christian authority. Through the Middle Ages, substantially more Christians lived east of Constantinople (now Istanbul) than in Europe, the faith’s backwater, whose northern reaches had yet to be evangelized.
Christianity’s greatest thinkers, greatest monuments and greatest triumphs for its first 1,000 years rose in the Middle East. Even the Muslim conquest and relative servitude could not dislodge Christianity. In the worst of times, Christianity turned the other cheek and endured. Some Christians flourished. Today, the end is in sight.
In Iraq, cities such as Mosul and Saddam’s hometown, Tikrit, were once vital centers of Christianity. But the country’s Christian population, estimated at up to 2 million a decade ago, has fallen by half – perhaps by three-quarters.
Over 2 million Christians in Syria dread Islamist terror and religious cleansing so much, they lean toward the vicious Assad regime, which at least shielded minorities. Those who can, flee the country.
Christians were early supporters of Arab nationalism. One of the fiercest Palestinian leaders, George Habash, was a Christian…but today? Two-thirds of the West Bank’s and more of Gaza’s Christians have been driven out. They’re now a small minority even in Bethlehem (a situation ignored by President Obama when he visited).
Egypt has the region’s largest remaining Christian population, at least 10 million Copts. With rare exceptions, they’ve long been confined to squalid quarters and treated as third-class citizens. Now the Salafist fanatics have been unleashed. The nation’s Muslim Brotherhood rulers could put a stop to anti-Christian violence, but appear willing to let the Salafists do the dirty work for them. …
And we’ll send the regime at least a billion dollars this year – with no stipulations or conditions except that military-related funds must purchase US-made or US-licensed equipment. With Egypt’s economy in desperate straits and the Muslim Brotherhood’s popularity fading, we’re propping up religious-cleansing bigots.
Christians in Iran? Gone. Turkey? Almost gone. Saudi Arabia? The once-thriving Christian and Jewish populations of Mecca and Medina were finished off centuries ago.
And in Lebanon, the only Middle East country that until recently had a Christian majority, Christian rights have been so threatened by Sunni fanaticism that some Christians have reached out to Shia Hezbollah in their desperate hunt for allies. [Note: Sunnis and Shias are denominations of Islam.]
Far to the east, in Pakistan, Christians face trumped-up charges of insulting Islam or rape, beatings, murder and church bombings. And we still pour billions into Pakistan. …
If Islam is a “religion of peace,” it’s time to show the evidence to the endangered Christians of the Middle East.
Of course, not all Christians are [good], nor are all Muslims [bad]. Most humans of any faith just want to get through the day. And some Christians have collaborated with odious Baathist regimes (usually, to ensure their community’s survival). Nor are most Muslims active supporters of the religious cleansing of Christians from their shared homelands.
But disappointingly few Muslims actively defend religious minorities. …
If a Michigan mosque is defaced with graffiti, it makes national news and the Justice Department views it as a hate crime. It’s time for our government and media to apply the same standard abroad on behalf of Christians.
1. What types of bias is this excerpt an example of?
2. Why do you think this is a non-story to the American media?
3. Double standard is defined as a set of principles that applies differently and usually more rigorously to one group of people or circumstances than to another. (from Merriam-Webster Dictionary, m-w.com)
a) Do you think the media displays a double-standard in reporting on the rare attacks on Muslims vs. the widespread persecution of Christians across the Muslim world? Explain your answer.
b) Should the U.S. media report on the lack of violence against Muslims in the U.S. – is this a story in itself? Explain your answer.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the answers.
A mass exodus of Christians is currently underway. Millions of Christians are being displaced from one end of the Islamic world to the other. …
Ongoing reports from the Islamic world certainly support this conclusion: Iraq was the earliest indicator of the fate awaiting Christians once Islamic forces are liberated from the grip of dictators.
In 2003, Iraq’s Christian population was at least one million. Today fewer than 400,000 remain – the result of an anti-Christian campaign that began with the U.S. occupation of Iraq, when countless Christian churches were bombed and countless Christians killed by Iraqi Muslims, including by crucifixion and beheading.
The 2010 Baghdad church attack, which saw nearly 60 Christian worshippers slaughtered, is the tip of a decade-long iceberg.
Now…the same pattern has come to Syria: entire regions and towns where Christians lived for centuries before Islam came into being have now been emptied, as the opposition targets Christians for kidnapping, plundering, and beheadings, all in compliance with mosque calls telling the populace that it’s a “sacred duty” to drive Christians away.
In October 2012 the last Christian in the city of Homs – which had a Christian population of some 80,000 before jihadis came – was murdered. One teenage Syrian girl said: “We left because they were trying to kill us… because we were Christians…. Those who were our neighbors turned against us. At the end, when we ran away, we went through balconies. We did not even dare go out on the street in front of our house.”
In Egypt, some 100,000 Christian Copts have fled their homeland soon after the “Arab Spring.” In September 2012, the Sinai’s small Christian community was attacked and evicted by Al Qaeda linked Muslims, Reuters reported. But even before that, the Coptic Orthodox Church lamented the “repeated incidents of displacement of Copts from their homes, whether by force or threat.
Displacements began in Ameriya [62 Christian families evicted], then they stretched to Dahshur [120 Christian families evicted], and today terror and threats have reached the hearts and souls of our Coptic children in Sinai.”
Iraq, Syria, and Egypt are part of the Arab world. But even in “black” African and “white” European nations with Muslim majorities, Christians are fleeing.
In Mali, after a 2012 Islamic coup, as many as 200,000 Christians fled. According to reports, “the church in Mali faces being eradicated,” especially in the north “where rebels want to establish an independent Islamist state and drive Christians out… there have been house to house searches for Christians who might be in hiding, churches and other Christian property have been looted or destroyed, and people tortured into revealing any Christian relatives.” At least one pastor was beheaded.
Even in European Bosnia, Christians are leaving en mass “amid mounting discrimination and Islamization.” Only 440,000 Catholics remain in the Balkan nation, half the prewar figure.
Problems cited are typical: “while dozens of mosques were built in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, no building permissions [permits] were given for Christian churches.” “Time is running out as there is a worrisome rise in radicalism,” said one authority, who further added that the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina were “persecuted for centuries” after European powers “failed to support them in their struggle against the Ottoman Empire.”
And so history repeats itself.
One can go on and on:
To anyone following the plight of Christians under Islamic persecution, none of this is surprising. As I document in my new book, “Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians,” all around the Islamic world – in nations that do not share the same race, language, culture, or economics, in nations that share only Islam—Christians are being persecuted into extinction. Such is the true face of extremist Islamic resurgence.
1. This excerpt is an example of bias by story selection and omission.
2. Opinion question. Answers vary.
3. Opinion question. Answers vary.