Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Casualties of Infidel-Phobia

First it was the Jews and no one minded all that much. The Jews did, preferring not to be persecuted, hounded, exiled from their native countries of birth where their forebears had lived however uneasily for thousands of years, but when they had no choice, their possessions taken from them, threats advising them that their lives would be next taken seriously, they acceded to the inevitable and withdrew their presence from those places where they became excluded.

Separate and apart from the mass excruciating horrors of the Holocaust, there was the gradual and sometimes precipitate expulsion of Jews from the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia.

There are two phrases popular among Islamists: "First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people"; or, alternately: "On Saturday we kill the Jews and on Sunday we kill the Christians". An elevating thought perhaps to the grotesque minds of those who equate the presence of Jews and Christians in majority-Muslim countries with intolerable insults to Islam, as desecrating presences, requiring swift action to restore honour through the conquest of slaughter and destruction, but a chilling one to those targeted when their homeland has rejected their presence.

The Middle East, Africa and south Asia once teemed with Jews living in their designated quarters alongside their Muslim and Christian peers. Syria, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Tunisia, Libya, Turkey, Afghanistan and other such countries can now point with pride at their success in obliterating the Jewish presence from their geographies. Just as during the Holocaust a warning was given by Pastor Martin Niemoller, that "First they came for the Socialists, the Trade Unionists, the Jews, and then himself" could have described the scenario here.

The countries that freed themselves from the ages-old presence of their Jewish quotient with the richness of their heritage, inevitably turned their attention to the Christians in their midst, irrespective of the historical fact that both Jews and Christians were living in the lands of their initial and original habitation millennia and centuries respectively before the very presence of Muslims; long before the Prophet Mohammad inspired a new religion of Islam.

It is the Christians' turn to be expunged from the geography of conquesting Islam. Islamophobia is the word that Islam uses to defend itself from its actions against non-Muslims. Infidels and Crusaders have initiated a war against Islam; Islam fights back. Christmas and New Year have become times of the year in particular, although no particular time of year is needed, when Christians are targeted for terror tactics to deliver the unmistakable message that their presence is abhorred in lands dedicated to Islam.

In Baghdad three explosions on Christmas Day killed Christians leaving church and while they were engaging in the holiday purchasing of goods in the marketplace. In Kenya bombs were tossed at two Mombasa churches. In Iran Christians were arrested for celebrating Christmas. In Somalia, government banned Christmas celebrations. In the Philippines grenades were thrown at a church on New Year's Eve. In Saudi Arabia where to practice Christianity is illegal, 56 Christian were arrested.

In Pakistan bereaved parishioners heard Mass at All Saints Anglican Church under the protection of security personnel, remembering the September 22, 2013 attack when Islamists detonated themselves with explosives in the church killing 87 worshippers, injuring 120 more in the process. In Egypt, Lebanon and Indonesia, Christians celebrated Christmas protected by security forces to prevent a repeat of past Christmas slaughters. In Nigeria in memory of the 2011 Christmas massacre by Boko Haram, the faithful remained at home.

A Pew survey has revealed that Christians face restrictions and hostility in 111 countries of the world. Islamist extremism, however, is recognized as "the worst persecutor of the worldwide church". The anti-Christian hatred often promoted by Islamist clerics and officially sanctioned judicially. Tens of thousands of Christians have been murdered, injured, imprisoned; others subjected to torture, rape and enslavement.

Both Sunni and Shia radical Islamists have embraced that old Islamist aphorism: "First the Saturday people, then the Sunday people", ridding Islam of an alien presence seen to be hostile to Islam. Christianity approaches extinction in the areas of its very origin; where Istanbul was once home to two million Christians in 1920, a few thousand are now left. Gaza is almost Christianity-free and Christians in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon are becoming invisible.

In Western countries, where Christianity predominates, concern for the welfare of impoverished Muslims in countries where Christians are despised and oppressed, has given Muslims safe haven. Among those enjoying that safe haven are those Muslims who have infiltrated their communities enjoining others to agitate for Sharia law, to oppose integration with the values of the welcoming countries.

Christians behaving in a Christian manner enabling Muslims to be Muslims.

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