An article in the Wall Street Journal on July 29, echoes an issue we have been writing about for some time, one that has been singularly ignored by the main stream (and largely Christian) press. The rise of Islamism in the Middle East and throughout the world, is a direct threat to the lives and welfare of Christians living in Muslim countries. In the Wall Street Journal article, Iran was the culprit and the Christian convert was the victim. The article began:“This month the Christian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani marked his 1,000th day of incarceration in Lakan, a notorious prison in northern Iran. Charged with the crime of apostasy, Mr. Nadarkhani faces a death sentence for refusing to recant the Christian faith he embraced as a child. He embodies piety and represents millions more suffering from repression—but his story is barely known.”
The sad news is that this is not an isolated incident. Christians in Libya, Iraq, Iran, and Egypt are at increasing risk every day. In Syria, Christians have been targeted, not by the government forces, but by the opposition, the forces for whom the US is now providing open support. In Darfur, in Nigeria, in Ivory Coast, and throughout north Africa, Christians have been targeted en masse. In the Sudan, Christians have been targeted by the Muslim north. In Egypt, now well on its way to becoming the newest Islamist state in the region, Coptic Christians have been attacked and their churches destroyed. In Tunisia, a Christian convert from Islam was brutally murdered. In what looked more like a religious ritual, the man was decapitated on video, which was aired on television.
The threat which radical Islam presents to Christians should not be underestimated. The religious Islamic code of takiyah (lying for the sake of Islam) allows Islamist organizations to participate in and even initiate an active program of interfaith outreach on the pretext of community bonding. In the meantime, they continue building infrastructure designed to promote Shariah and undermine democratic societies.
The real story of our own government’s toleration and even support of Christian persecution in Muslim countries appeared in The Investigative Project on Terrorism News on August 2. Read the article below. – Editor
OBAMA ADMINISTRATION’S WAR ON PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS
The Obama administration’s support for its Islamist allies means a lack of U.S. support for their enemies or, more properly, victims—the Christian and other non-Muslim minorities of the Muslim world. Consider the many recent proofs:
According to Pete Winn of CNS:
The U.S. State Department removed the sections covering religious freedom from the Country Reports on Human Rights that it released on May 24, three months past the statutory deadline Congress set for the release of these reports. The new human rights reports—purged of the sections that discuss the status of religious freedom in each of the countries covered—are also the human rights reports that include the period that covered the Arab Spring and its aftermath. Thus, the reports do not provide in-depth coverage of what has happened to Christians and other religious minorities in predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East that saw the rise of revolutionary movements in 2011 in which Islamist forces played an instrumental role. For the first time ever, the State Department simply eliminated the section of religious freedom in its reports covering 2011.
The CNS report goes on to quote several U.S. officials questioning the motives of the Obama administration. Former U.S. diplomat Thomas Farr said that he has “observed during the three-and-a-half years of the Obama administration that the issue of religious freedom has been distinctly downplayed.” Leonard Leo, former chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, said “to have pulled religious freedom out of it [the report] means that fewer people will obtain information,” so that “you don’t have the whole picture.”
It’s not the first time the administration has suppressed knowledge concerning the suffering of religious minorities under Islam. Earlier it suppressed knowledge concerning Islam itself (see here for a surreal example of the effects of such censorship).
In “Obama Overlooks Christian Persecution,” James Walsh gives more examples of State Department indifference “regarding the New Years’ murders of Coptic Christians in Egypt and the ravaging of a cathedral,” including how the State Department “refused to list Egypt as ‘a country of particular concern,’ even as Christians and others were being murdered, churches destroyed, and girls kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam. ”
And the evidence keeps mounting. Legislation to create a special envoy for religious minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia—legislation that, in the words of the Washington Post, “passed the House by a huge margin,” has been stalled by Sen. James Webb, D-Va.:
In a letter sent to Webb Wednesday night, Rep. Frank Wolf [R-Va, who introduced the envoy bill] said he “cannot understand why” the hold had been placed on a bill that might help Coptic Christians and other groups “who face daily persecution, hardship, violence, instability and even death.”
Yet the ultimate source of opposition is the State Department. The Post continues:
Webb spokesman Will Jenkins explained the hold by saying that “after considering the legislation, Senator Webb asked the State Department for its analysis.” In a position paper issued in response, State Department officials said “we oppose the bill as it infringes on the Secretary’s [Hillary Clinton's] flexibility to make appropriate staffing decisions,” and suggested the duties of Wolf’s proposed envoy would overlap with several existing positions. “The new special envoy position is unnecessary, duplicative, and likely counterproductive,” the State Department said (emphasis added).
But as Wolf explained in his letter: “If I believed that religious minorities, especially in these strategic regions, were getting the attention warranted at the State Department, I would cease in pressing for passage of this legislation. Sadly, that is far from being the case. We must act now…. Time is running out.”
Much of this was discussed during Coptic Solidarity’s third annual conference in Washington D.C. last month, which I participated in, and which featured many politicians and lawmakers—including the U.K.’s Lord Alton, Senator Roy Blunt, Congressman Trent Franks, Congressman Joseph Pitts, and Frank Wolf himself. As Coptic Solidarity’s summary report puts it, “All policy makers voiced strong support to the Copts…. Some policy makers raised concerns about the current U.S. Administration’s overtures towards religious extremists.”
There was little doubt among the speakers that, while Webb is the front man, Hillary Clinton—who was named often—is ultimately behind the opposition to the bill. (Videos of all speakers can be accessed here; for information on the envoy bill and how to contact Webb’s office, click here).
Even those invited to speak about matters outside of Egypt, such as Nigerian lawyer and activist Emmanuel Ogebe, wondered at Obama’s position that the ongoing massacres of Christians have nothing to do with religion. After describing the sheer carnage of thousands of Christians at the hands of Muslim militants, lamented that Obama’s response was to pressure the Nigerian president to make more concessions, including by creating more mosques (the very places that “radicalize” Muslims against infidel Christians).
Indeed, while the administration vocally condemned vandal attacks on mosques in the West Bank (where no Muslims died), it had nothing to say when Islamic terrorists bombed Nigerian churches on Easter Sunday, killing some 50 Christians and wounding hundreds. And when the Egyptian military indiscriminately massacred dozens of unarmed Christians for protesting the nonstop attacks on their churches, all the White House could say is, “Now is a time for restraint on all sides”—as if Egypt’s beleaguered Christian minority needs to “restrain” itself against the nation’s military, a military that intentionally ran armored vehicles over them at Maspero.
In light of all this, naturally the Obama administration, in the guise of the State Department, would oppose a bill to create an envoy who will only expose more religious persecution that the administration will have to suppress or obfuscate?
Bottom line: In its attempts to empower its Islamist allies, the current U.S. administration has taken up their cause by waging a war of silence on their despised enemies—the Christians and other minorities of the Islamic world.
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.