Thursday, January 21, 2010

Religious freedom

In countries where Christian communities have existed since the time of the Apostles—even for centuries under the rule of Islam—Christians are being persecuted and driven out today. There are those who worry about intolerance in the West while ignoring those places where it actually exists. The necessity for tolerance seemingly applies only to those who believe in it. From "The War Against the Infidels" by Clifford D. May at NRO:
.... In Nigeria this week, Muslim youths set fire to a church, killing more than two dozen Christian worshipers. In Egypt, Coptic Christians have been suffering increased persecution including, this month, a drive-by shooting outside a church in which seven people were murdered. In Pakistan, Christian churches were bombed over Christmas. In Turkey, authorities have been closing Christian churches, monasteries, and schools, and seizing Christian properties. Recently, churches in Malaysia have been attacked, too, provoked by this grievance: Christians inside the churches were referring to God as “Allah.” How dare infidels use the same name for the Almighty as do Muslims!

In response to all this, Western journalists, academics, diplomats, and politicians mainly avert their eyes and hold their tongues. They pretend there are no stories to be written, no social pathologies to be documented, no actions to be taken. They focus instead on Switzerland’s vote against minarets and anything Israel might be doing to prevent terrorists from claiming additional victims.

Many Muslims, no doubt, disapprove of the persecution of non-Muslims. But in most Muslim-majority countries, any Muslim openly opposing the Islamists and their projects risks being branded an apostate. And under the Islamist interpretation of Sharia, Islamic law, apostates deserve death.

Not so long ago, the Broader Middle East was a diverse region. Lebanon had a Christian majority for centuries but that ended around 1990 — the result of years of civil war among the country’s religious and ethnic communities. The Christian population of Turkey has diminished substantially in recent years. Islamists have driven Christians out of Bethlehem and other parts of the West Bank; almost all Christians have fled Gaza since Hamas’s takeover. .... [more]
Jewish communities have long existed in these same places and are subjected to the same persecution.

The War Against the Infidels by Clifford D. May on National Review Online