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Coptic Christians protest against the killings of people during clashes in Cairo between Christian protesters and military police, in Los AngelesWhile North African and Middle Eastern Christians have long suffered at the hands of Muslims, the last six or so months seem to have been especially brutal.

Does anyone else see the irony in the fact that Obama unilaterally decided (from Brazil of all places) to take sides in the Libyan Civil War, but he’s made no mention of the persecuted Christians throughout the same region of the world?

Some recent headlines and links:

From Reuters today—Ethiopian Christians attacked:

http://blogs.reuters.com/faithworld/2011/03/24/ethiopias-religious-divides-flare-up-in-muslim-attacks-on-christians/

From Fox, late February of this year—Egyptian military attacks Coptic monasteries:

http://nation.foxnews.com/egypt/2011/02/28/egyptian-forces-attack-coptic-monastery

What about the fact (oh, those pesky facts) that the Egyptian army destroyed those monasteries armed with weapons stamped “Made in America,” paid for by U.S. taxpayers?

Or, how about this: no westerner ever expects to read headlines such as “Christians destroy Mosque” or “Radical Christians Attack Muslims”?

Ah, Islam. . . . bringing the world closer to the Apocalypse, one step at a time since 622AD.

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6 replies to this post
  1. An important point indeed! US foreign policy does not ignore the oppression of Christians, it actively abets it (if unwittingly). Christians are being purged from Iraq because the US destroyed the (admittedly draconian) rule of Saddam who kept a lid on so much sectarian strife there (as did Tito in Yugoslavia). Cardinal Keith O'Brien, who heads the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, has recently called for the termination of UK aid to Pakistan because of their oppression of Christians. He is completely right too, though for more reasons that he may be aware of, since the Pak military is in an undeclared state of war against America, NATO and Afghanistan by incubating Taliban terrorists and even directing their cross-border operations. But the cardinal's point, that the treatment of Christians is off of our leaders' foreign-policy radar, is a good one.

    Unreported or under-reported in your media, millions of Muslims have marched in solidarity with their Christian (or other) neighbours. Soon after 9/11 when terrorists bombed a synagogue in Morocco, hundreds of thousands of Muslims took to the streets bearing placards saying "We are Jews too!" Even Iranians, who love American people even though their government does not, protested in solidarity with America after 9/11 (bet you didn't see that on Fox News!). Recently, Egypian Muslims formed a human shield around Coptic churches in Cairo and thousands of Pakistani Muslims protested against their awful blasphemy law that makes it a capital crime for non-Muslims to explain why they are, um, not Muslims.

    Yes, there are Muslim bigots aplenty, but in my limited experience the worst oppression occurs to help elites either grab Christian-minority land or to whoop up public acrimony to distract crowds from something else. Pakistan's blasphemy laws, rarely applied, usually reveal a politician's cousin eager to seize land from some poor Christian. Egypt's recent attack on a church was conducted by the Egyptian Army, when secular rebels are disturbed at the slow pace of reform within and without the military, secret police, etc., who have good reason to want a distraction. In the (partly or wholly) Muslim lands that I know passing well (Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Turkey, Tanzania, Senegal, Nigeria, Indonesia, Palestine and Egypt), most Muslims treat their Christian countrymen with kindness and respect, and where there is oppression the bulk stems from elites, especially where democracy is weak and rule of law is occasional at best. One could ask why America so blindly supports Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Radical Islamism, its biggest funder worldwide, and a peril to America, to Western values, and to more than a billion normal, moderate Muslims indeed. I suppose the answer is "Hey, buddy, fill 'er up with high-octane, will ya'?" Pity that old Lenin isn't around to watch the capitalists making the rope with which to hang themselves.

  2. A decade ago, my wife and I visited a jewelry store in Manger Square in Bethlehem. While shopping we engaged the owner in conversation about life in Bethlehem. He said, that the Muslims were making it impossible for Christians to continue living in the birth place of Christ.His family had lived in the city for over a thousand years.

    In the time since this conversation Bethlehem's Christian community has gone from a strong majority to a rapidly decreasing minority.

    While Dr. Birzer is correct that there has been a discernible increase in attacks in recent months this war against Christians in Muslim countries has been ongoing for decades. One of the most horrific examples was the butchering of Christians in East Timor as the world and the supposedly moderate government of Indonesia looked on.

  3. Steve, what a brilliant post. And, yes, the brotherhood of Christians and Muslims should not be forgotten. Indeed, worldwide, perhaps its the norm. I have no idea. Regardless, I think your points are critical, and I thank you for them.

  4. I am a Muslim. But I think the radical islamists' behaviour with people of other religions is despicable and blame-worthy.The Christian world only focuses on the radical extremists of the Islamic world. In Bangladesh we celebrate Christmas and Hindu festivals nationally. These days are marked as public holidays. Personally I think majority of the Muslims are liberal and friendly with others. But the radicals have more money and the are very active. On the other hand Christians in general dislike Muslims and hold Islam in contempt. The highest number of books in the West in the last few decades have been written against Islam and Muslims. Christian countries have ruled over almost all the Muslim countries and killed and abused numerous Muslims in the past few centuries. In the 20th century after the Muslim countries became independent, The Western powers indirectly controlled the Muslim countries and aided dictators to abuse the Muslim population. So the history shows that Christians also have Muslim blood in their hands. But this is 21th century. We should move forward with the spirit of cooperation and forgiving. Just because of 9/11, Christians should not consider all Muslims to be their enemies. When democracy truly enters the veins of Muslim nations, pluralism and scientific outlook will gradually triumph over radicalism. Spread of education and practice of democracy will enlighten the Muslim nations as well. In the meantime Christians can help this process by treating Muslims as fellow human beings. Very often I find Christians holding bigoted , racist and perverted views regarding Muslims. They consider Muslims to be lesser human beings as radicals and extremists like Bin Laden came from this background. But the reality is More than 90% of the Muslims knew nothing about Bin Laden and Al Qaeda before the year 2000. The reality is no Muslim country has security council membership, Most of them are under-educated and poverty stricken. Almost all Muslim countries barring a few follow the political orders of the West. As a result common Muslims suffer from lack of self-respect, humiliation and anger. When Muslim nations will become financially and politically developed again,their behavior will also reform and improve. For this adequate time is needed. But in the meantime Christian extremists are drumming up words of war, Islamophobia and intolerance. If this situation continues, Muslim population in the West may suffer the fate of European Jews. A holocaust against Muslims in Europe and USA may mark the history of 21 century. To avoid this, educated Muslims should play important roles to build up rapport and cooperation with the less extremist sections of Christians and Jews. Muslims should defeat extremists and radicals in their own societies. Only then it will be easier for the liberal Westerners to defeat the extremist elements of their societies.

  5. I am a Muslim. But I think the radical islamists' behaviour with people of other religions is despicable and blame-worthy.The Christian world only focuses on the radical extremists of the Islamic world. In Bangladesh we celebrate Christmas and Hindu festivals nationally. These days are marked as public holidays. Personally I think majority of the Muslims are liberal and friendly with others. But the radicals have more money and the are very active. On the other hand Christians in general dislike Muslims and hold Islam in contempt. The highest number of books in the West in the last few decades have been written against Islam and Muslims. Christian countries have ruled over almost all the Muslim countries and killed and abused numerous Muslims in the past few centuries. In the 20th century after the Muslim countries became independent, The Western powers indirectly controlled the Muslim countries and aided dictators to abuse the Muslim population. So the history shows that Christians also have Muslim blood in their hands. But this is 21th century. We should move forward with the spirit of cooperation and forgiving. Just because of 9/11, Christians should not consider all Muslims to be their enemies. When democracy truly enters the veins of Muslim nations, pluralism and scientific outlook will gradually triumph over radicalism. Spread of education and practice of democracy will enlighten the Muslim nations as well. In the meantime Christians can help this process by treating Muslims as fellow human beings. Very often I find Christians holding bigoted , racist and perverted views regarding Muslims. They consider Muslims to be lesser human beings as radicals and extremists like Bin Laden came from this background. But the reality is More than 90% of the Muslims knew nothing about Bin Laden and Al Qaeda before the year 2000. The reality is no Muslim country has security council membership, Most of them are under-educated and poverty stricken. Almost all Muslim countries barring a few follow the political orders of the West. As a result common Muslims suffer from lack of self-respect, humiliation and anger. When Muslim nations will become financially and politically developed again,their behavior will also reform and improve. For this adequate time is needed. But in the meantime Christian extremists are drumming up words of war, Islamophobia and intolerance. If this situation continues, Muslim population in the West may suffer the fate of European Jews. A holocaust against Muslims in Europe and USA may mark the history of 21 century. To avoid this, educated Muslims should play important roles to build up rapport and cooperation with the less extremist sections of Christians and Jews. Muslims should defeat extremists and radicals in their own societies. Only then it will be easier for the liberal Westerners to defeat the extremist elements of their societies.

  6. Bangladeshis are great; very open, very cultured, very fun to be with. They are unstoppable artists, readers, writers and debaters, are wonderfully humorous and their ladies are so beautiful and gracious. I sometimes go to Bangladesh for holidays to relax with Bangladeshi friends and their families.

    My favourite Christmas tree was made for me in Lahore by two little Pakistani Muslim honorary-nieces. I was so touched. I've always believed that Christmas should be celebrated by Christians and Muslims together, since each believe in Jesus, albeit in different capacities.

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