Eliza Grizwold skriver i New Yok Times fyldigt om muslimernes forfølgelse af kristne i Mellemøsten
From 1910 to 2010, the number of Christians in the Middle East — in countries like Egypt, Israel, Palestine and Jordan — continued to decline; once 14 percent of the population, Christians now make up roughly 4 percent. (In Iran and Turkey, they’re all but gone.) In Lebanon, the only country in the region where Christians hold significant political power, their numbers have shrunk over the past century, to 34 percent from 78 percent of the population. Low birthrates have contributed to this decline, as well as hostile political environments and economic crisis. Fear is also a driver. The rise of extremist groups, as well as the perception that their communities are vanishing, causes people to leave.
“‘‘If we attend to minority rights only after slaughter has begun, then we have already failed,’’ siger FNs Menneskerets Højkommissær Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein. Demokraten Anna Eshoo, der sidder i Repræsentanternes Hus for Californien siger “Christianity is under an existential threat”. Men alligevel har Det Hvide Hus uligt meget sværere ved at anerkende kristne ledere end muslimske skriver Raymond Ibrahim i Gatestone Institute.
During the height of one of the most brutal months of Muslim persecution of Christians, the U.S. State Department exposed its double standards against persecuted Christian minorities.
Sister Diana, an influential Iraqi Christian leader, who was scheduled to visit the U.S. to advocate for persecuted Christians in the Mideast, was denied a visa by the U.S. State Department even though she had visited the U.S. before, most recently in 2012.
She was to be one of a delegation of religious leaders from Iraq — including Sunni, Shia and Yazidi, among others — to visit Washington, D.C., to describe the situation of their people. Every religious leader from this delegation to Washington D.C. was granted a visa — except for the only Christian representative, Sister Diana.
After this refusal became public, many Americans protested, some writing to their congressmen. Discussing the nun’s visa denial, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said:
This is an administration which never seems to find a good enough excuse to help Christians, but always finds an excuse to apologize for terrorists … I hope that as it gets attention that Secretary Kerry will reverse it. If he doesn’t, Congress has to investigate, and the person who made this decision ought to be fired.
The State Department eventually granted Sister Diana a visa.
This is not the first time the U.S. State Department has not granted a visa to a Christian leader coming from a Muslim region. Last year, after the United States Institute for Peace brought together the governors of Nigeria’s mostly Muslim northern states for a conference in the U.S., the State Department blocked the visa of the region’s only Christian governor, Jonah David Jang.
Greenfield har en lang udførlig liste over den undertrykkelse kristne udsættes for i den muslimske verden, der er værd at gøre sig nedslået over. Men få politikere synes at kere sig. I Griswolds lange, velskrevne, detaljerede og på en gang indsigtsfulde og manipulerende artikel skriver hun, at det har været en topprioritet for både Bush og Obama ikke at tage sig ud sig ud som kristne korsfarere
It has been nearly impossible for two U.S. presidents — Bush, a conservative evangelical; and Obama, a progressive liberal — to address the plight of Christians explicitly for fear of appearing to play into the crusader and ‘‘clash of civilizations’’ narratives the West is accused of embracing. In 2007, when Al Qaeda was kidnapping and killing priests in Mosul, Nina Shea, who was then a U.S. commissioner for religious freedom, says she approached the secretary of state at the time, Condoleezza Rice, who told her the United States didn’t intervene in ‘‘sectarian’’ issues. Rice now says that protecting religious freedom in Iraq was a priority both for her and for the Bush administration. But the targeted violence and mass Christian exodus remained unaddressed. ‘‘One of the blind spots of the Bush administration was the inability to grapple with this as a direct byproduct of the invasion,’’ says Timothy Shah, the associate director of Georgetown University’s Religious Freedom Project.
More recently, the White House has been criticized for eschewing the term ‘‘Christian’’ altogether. The issue of Christian persecution is politically charged; the Christian right has long used the idea that Christianity is imperiled to rally its base. When ISIS massacred Egyptian Copts in Libya this winter, the State Department came under fire for referring to the victims merely as ‘‘Egyptian citizens.’’ Daniel Philpott, a professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame, says, ‘‘When ISIS is no longer said to have religious motivations nor the minorities it attacks to have religious identities, the Obama administration’s caution about religion becomes excessive.’’
Politisk korrekthed og hensynsbetændelse til muslimske vrangforestillinger betales af de kristne. Og politikerne høster veksler for deres kulturelle sensitivitet fra den smagfulde venstrefløj. Den umiddelbare historie og situation ridser Griswold op således
For more than a decade, extremists have targeted Christians and other minorities, who often serve as stand-ins for the West. This was especially true in Iraq after the U.S. invasion, which caused hundreds of thousands to flee. ‘‘Since 2003, we’ve lost priests, bishops and more than 60 churches were bombed,’’ Bashar Warda, the Chaldean Catholic archbishop of Erbil, said. With the fall of Saddam Hussein, Christians began to leave Iraq in large numbers, and the population shrank to less than 500,000 today from as many as 1.5 million in 2003.
The Arab Spring only made things worse. As dictators like Mubarak in Egypt and Qaddafi in Libya were toppled, their longstanding protection of minorities also ended. Now, ISIS is looking to eradicate Christians and other minorities altogether. The group twists the early history of Christians in the region — their subjugation by the sword — to legitimize its millenarian enterprise. Recently, ISIS posted videos delineating the second-class status of Christians in the caliphate. Those unwilling to pay the jizya tax or to convert would be destroyed, the narrator warned, as the videos culminated in the now-infamous scenes of Egyptian and Ethiopian Christians in Libya being marched onto the beach and beheaded, their blood running into the surf.
The future of Christianity in the region of its birth is now uncertain. ‘‘How much longer can we flee before we and other minorities become a story in a history book?’’ says Nuri Kino, a journalist and founder of the advocacy group Demand for Action. According to a Pew study, more Christians are now faced with religious persecution than at any time since their early history.
Griswolds artikel kan absolut anbefales, hvis man vil være klogere på de kristnes situation og Mellemøstens morads. Men jeg skrev at den også var manipulerende og det er den i sin apologetiske omgang med islam. Selvfølgelig, fristes man nemlig til at sige.
Så skønt Griswold er langt fremme i erkendelsen af de kristnes ulykkelige situation i Mellemøsten (i hele den muslimske verden, rent faktisk, og den kommunistiske også), og mens politikerne tøver, så er hun ikke nået dertil, hvor hun kan beskrive det reelle problem. Det er generiske “ekstremister”, der er problemet for Griswold, mens Condoleezza Rice trods alt vidste mere end det med sit “the United States didn’t intervene in ‘‘sectarian’’ issues” - og så svigtede de alligevel. Så civilisationernes sammenstød bliver derfor kun et narrativ for Griswold, en fortælling og ikke en beskrivelse af de faktiske forhold. (”Israel and Palestine” har en konflikt, en formulering, der betyder at Israel er en illegitim stat, der hvor Palæstina eksisterer).
Griswolds artikel er vævet over nogle flygtninges frygtelige historier med den 31 årige Rana og hendes mand som hovedroller. Ranas mand Diyaa beskrives som “a tyrant (…) who, after 14 years of marriage, wouldn’t let (), Rana, 31, have her own mobile phone. He isolated her from friends and family, guarding her jealously”. Han var tillige nærig. Jeg mindes ikke en historie om palæstinensiske ofre, der hænges ud som dumme svin. Nuvel, mennesker er mennesker og Diyaas karakterbrister drukner hurtigt i beskrivelserne af det muslimske vanvid. Bortset fra, at det gør det ikke helt, for islam holdes fri.
Lad os, som enhver god film, fokusere på parallelhistorierne. I det historiske afsnit hedder det fra Griswolds hånd
When the first Islamic armies arrived from the Arabian Peninsula during the seventh century, the Assyrian Church of the East was sending missionaries to China, India and Mongolia. The shift from Christianity to Islam happened gradually. Much as the worship of Eastern cults largely gave way to Christianity, Christianity gave way to Islam. Under Islamic rule, Eastern Christians lived as protected people, dhimmi: They were subservient and had to pay the jizya, but were often allowed to observe practices forbidden by Islam, including eating pork and drinking alcohol. Muslim rulers tended to be more tolerant of minorities than their Christian counterparts, and for 1,500 years, different religions thrived side by side.
One hundred years ago, the fall of the Ottoman Empire and World War I ushered in the greatest period of violence against Christians in the region. The genocide waged by the Young Turks in the name of nationalism, not religion, left at least two million Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks dead. Nearly all were Christian. Among those who survived, many of the better educated left for the West. Others settled in Iraq and Syria, where they were protected by the military dictators who courted these often economically powerful minorities.
De islamiske hære ankom, skiftet fra kristendom skete gradvist og naturligt, kristne var beskyttet mod et vist kontingent (en lille del af folks motivation for det ‘naturlige’ skift), de muslimske fyrster var tolerante og religionerne trivedes side om side. Men så kommer nationalismen som følge af Osmannerrigets sammenbrud og begår folkemord. Det er ikke islam, det er end ikke ‘religion’! Alligevel sker folkemordet på kristne.
Det er djævlen i detaljen. Fortællingen er tilstrækkelig upræcist formuleret til ikke at være direkte løgn, men vildledende. Folkemordet på de kristne skete ikke som følge af Osmannerrigets sammenbrud, det startede med tiltagende pogromer i 1890′erne og blev færdiggjort i 1919, inden sammenbruddet. Og det var en erklæret jihad mod de vantro. Derfor fandt grusomhederne også en naturlig klangbund blandt almindelige muslimer, der tog ivrigt del i grusomhederne. Den dag i dag er kirkerne i Tyrkiet på vej mod udryddelse. Og regionens diktatorer, hvem var det nu de beskyttede de minoriteterne imod?
Så lad os vende tilbage til Rana og Diyaa og de andre kristne minoriteters historie om da nutidens islamiske hær ankom til den kristne by Qaraqosh, hvor de boede. Flygtninge fra Mosul fortalte de lokale at “The militants painted a red Arabic ‘‘n,’’ for Nasrane, a slur, on Christian homes”. Just ankommet kendte den islamiske hær ISIS ikke de kristne i Mosul - men det gjorde de kristnes muslimske naboer, klangbunden og de malede ‘n’ for nasrane på de kristnes hjem.
De kurdiske styrker, peshmerga, der havde været ene om at give ISIS modstand, trak sig fra området. Da kurderne havde afvæbnet de kristne og ISIS afskåret vandforsyningnen, flygtede de fleste af Qaraqosh indbyggere og efterlod kun de svageste, gamle og syge og en enkelt fulderik tilbage. Og så Diyaa, der nægtede Rana at flygte fordi han ikke mente ISIS vil ankomme.
As Diyaa and Rana hid in their basement, ISIS broke into stores and looted them. Over the next two weeks, militants rooted out most of the residents cowering in their homes, searching house to house. The armed men roamed Qaraqosh on foot and in pickups. They marked the walls of farms and businesses ‘‘Property of the Islamic State.’’ ISIS now held not just Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, but also Ramadi and Fallujah. (During the Iraq War, the fighting in these three places accounted for 30 percent of U.S. casualties.) In Qaraqosh, as in Mosul, ISIS offered residents a choice: They could either convert or pay the jizya, the head tax levied against all ‘‘People of the Book’’: Christians, Zoroastrians and Jews. If they refused, they would be killed, raped or enslaved, their wealth taken as spoils of war.
Således ser det ud når den islamiske hære ankom, skiftet fra kristendom sker gradvist forstået som et rykud, hvilket er naturligt omstændighederne taget i betragtning. Og de muslimske herrers tolerance var baseret på beskyttelsespenge. Således skal religionerne trives side om side, hvis altså ikke man foretrak at blive “dræbt, voldtaget eller gjort til slave”.
Men ISIS bløder op i dovenskab efter at rende og lede efter de sidste kristne og tilbyder “what they call ‘exile and hardship’”. Diyaa og Rana kommer frem fra deres skjul og melder sig til ISIS sundhedscenters ‘checkups’’, der er en slet skjult eufemisme for en visitering efter eventuelle værdier. Og, skal det hurtigt vise sig, så har mennesker også en særlig værdi i sig selv i det islamiske tankesæt
By 9 a.m., ISIS had separated men from women. Seated in the crowd, the local ISIS emir, Saeed Abbas, surveyed the female prisoners. His eyes lit on Aida Hana Noah, 43, who was holding her 3-year-old daughter, Christina. Noah said she felt his gaze and gripped Christina closer. For two weeks, she’d been at home with her daughter and her husband, Khadr Azzou Abada, 65. He was blind, and Aida decided that the journey north would be too hard for him. So she sent her 25-year-old son with her three other children, who ranged in age from 10 to 13, to safety. She thought Christina too young to be without her mother.
ISIS scanned the separate groups of men and women. ‘‘You’’ and ‘‘you,’’ they pointed. Some of the captives realized what ISIS was doing, survivors told me later, dividing the young and healthy from the older and weak. One, Talal Abdul Ghani, placed a final call to his family before the fighters confiscated his phone. He had been publicly whipped for refusing to convert to Islam, as his sisters, who fled from other towns, later recounted. ‘‘Let me talk to everybody,’’ he wept. ‘‘I don’t think they’re letting me go.’’ It was the last time they heard from him.
No one was sure where either bus was going. As the jihadists directed the weaker and older to the first of two buses, one 49-year-old woman, Sahar, protested that she’d been separated from her husband, Adel. Although he was 61, he was healthy and strong and had been held back. One fighter reassured her, saying, ‘‘These others will follow.’’ Sahar, Aida and her blind husband, Khadr, boarded the first bus. The driver, a man they didn’t know, walked down the aisle. Without a word, he took Christina from her mother’s arms. ‘‘Please, in the name of God, give her back,’’ Aida pleaded. The driver carried Christina into the medical center. Then he returned without the child. As the people in the bus prayed to leave town, Aida kept begging for Christina. Finally, the driver went inside again. He came back empty-handed.
As the bus rumbled north out of town, Aida sat crumpled in a seat next to her husband. Many of the 40-odd people on it began to weep. ‘‘We cried for Christina and ourselves,’’ Sahar said. The bus took a sharp right toward the Khazir River that marked an edge of the land ISIS had seized. Several minutes later, the driver stopped and ordered everyone off.
Led by a shepherd who had traveled this path with his flock, the sick and elderly descended and began to walk to the Khazir River. The journey took 12 hours.
The second bus — the one filled with the young and healthy — headed north, too. But instead of turning east, it turned west, toward Mosul. Among its captives was Diyaa. Rana wasn’t with him. She had been bundled into a third vehicle, a new four-wheel drive, along with an 18-year-old girl named Rita, who’d come to Qaraqosh to help her elderly father flee.
The women were driven to Mosul, where, the next day, Rana’s captor called her brothers. ‘‘If you come near her, I’ll blow the house up. I’m wearing a suicide vest,’’ he said. Then he passed the phone to Rana, who whispered, in Syriac, the story of what happened to her. Her brothers were afraid to ask any questions lest her answers make trouble for her. She said, ‘‘I’m taking care of a 3-year-old named Christina.’’
Trods disse utvetydige beskrivelser er Griswolds ellers glimrende artikel fuld af de standardbesværgelser der tynger de ledende medier. “No one has suffered more at the hands of ISIS than fellow Muslims”, hedder det pludselig, med henvisning til at flere muslimer end kristne dør af andre muslimer. Samme logik kunne man sige om tyskerne og jøderne under nazismen. Skønt interessant med Ellemannske observationer så er den relevante pointe at kristne næsten pr automatik dør i mødet med den ankomne muslimske hær, forrådt af sin muslimske nabo. Den kristne kan, som andre ikke-muslimske minoriteter, ikke komme uden om den direkte forfølgelse. Og den forfølgelse er islam.
Det sidste man hører om Rita er at hun “had been given as a slave to a powerful member of ISIS; Christina was given to a family to be raised as a Muslim”.