First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me. (Martin Niemöller)
CHICAGO, February 15, 2012— One of the bedrock principles of America is religious freedom. People have an unalienable right to openly and publicly practice their faith or not.
All are protected, accepted and respected.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote in her Newsweek article, that there is a “conspiracy of silence” over mass religious persecution of Christians in Muslim nations. Christians are being killed in the Islamic world because of their religion. It is a rising genocide that ought to provoke global alarm.
It is more than a conspiracy of silence. It is a conspiracy of political and media apathy. There is no political or journalistic will to continually publicize and condemn religious persecution by extremist Muslims or Islamic dictatorships.
This silence and apathy create an implied consent for religious persecution.
Over the past year there have been several reports of Christians and animists being violently persecuted in the Middle East, Africa, and other Muslim nations. Most were wire service stories, or reports from religious media outlets like Catholic News Service.
There was little follow-up or editorial outrage over what is now being called religious genocide, religious cleansing, or the next holocaust by human rights and religious groups alarmed at the fast spreading persecution.
This conspiracy of silence and political apathy is nothing new. From Hitler’s rise through the early stages of World War II the treatment of Jews and others by Nazi Germany, and the eventual holocaust claiming almost 15 million lives, was largely ignored by governments, the media, and international service groups like the Red Cross. The treatment of Jews and others by the Nazi regime was well known in international circles.
No one wanted to make the baby cry in the case Adolf Hitler.
No one wants to make the baby cry in the case of intolerant, fanatic, or extremist Muslims or Islamic dictatorships.
There are intolerant extremists in every society and religion. Christianity and Judaism are no exceptions. These extremists create prejudice, fear, and hatred. Fortunately the extremists are inconsequential small fringe groups. Most people abhor them.
Yet, there is no public abhorrence of Christian persecution by Muslims, who are either the majority group or rule the theocratic dictatorships where religious persecution exists.
- In Egypt Coptic Christians are being persecuted and murdered. 100 thousand Christians fled Egypt since the Mubarek regime collapsed in what the Egyptian Union of Human Rights is calling a “mass exodus.” Our president helped depose Hosni Mubarek in the cause of freedom.
- In Iraq, where we shed our blood treasure allegedly for the cause of freedom, Christians are being violently persecuted, murdered, and churches are being bombed, as seen in the above photo.
- In the West Bank and Gaza, where Palestinians are in control, Christians are being persecuted. Justus Reid Weiner of Hebrew University claims 1,000 Palestinian Christians left the West Bank city of Bethlehem, the historic birthplace of Jesus. Our government wants to negotiate with people who persecute religion to supposedly bring peace, and that freedom thing, to the region.
- In Pakistan it is illegal to convert to any religion but Islam. They have a blasphemy law with the death penalty. We give foreign aid and military assistance to Pakistan. Pakistan is a tenuous ally in the region.
- CNN reported in Nigeria, 12,000 Christians and animists were killed over the past decade in a religious purge.
The persecution, in some regions genocide, of Christians and other religious groups is the most important international human rights issue willfully ignored by the American media and our government.
Why can’t we, as a nation, come together to abhor and condemn Islamic religious persecution? Why don’t we demand Islamic religious and government leaders to repudiate religious persecution, prosecute the persecutors, and put an end to it?
Will it take another genocide or holocaust before we finally speak up? Why are we, the government and media, participating in the conspiracy of silence and apathy?
Our self-proclaimed Christian President has not publicly addressed this issue, nor have the supposed Christians in our legislature. Our Christian Secretary of State has been mute. But, they continue to dole out foreign, military, and humanitarian aid to countries that practice or allow inhumane persecution.
The supposed Christian presidential candidates, who blather about their faith, are silent on this issue.
Our government, which claims to promote freedom throughout the world, is not standing with people of faith and conscience who are being violently persecuted, turned into refugees, or mass murdered.
“Internationally, all believers are in the crosshairs of fanatics around the world. Somewhere, someplace, somebody’s being persecuted to the point of blood because of their faith and we need to stand together in defense of those people… It is time for both faith groups to face realistically the common threat we have from fanatics, especially in the Islamist community.” Stressing that fanatics do not represent “pure, noble Islam.” (Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York)
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue writes “The lack of religious freedom is taking center stage in many places, calling our attention to those members of our human family exposed to bias, prejudice, hate propaganda, discrimination and persecution on the basis of religious affiliation.”
Religious freedom is an essential human right. People should have the right to publicly profess, practice, propagate, evangelize, and change their religion at will. Where religious persecution occurs Americans are called upon to denounce it.
When we allow the denial of religious freedom we put all other human rights in jeopardy. When we are silent we imply consent. Hitler knew that. Stalin knew that. Mao knew that.
The Muslim fanatics, extremists, and Islamic dictatorships know that.
Silence is not golden. It is dangerous.
Peter V. Bella is a retired Chicago Police Officer, freelance writer and photographer, cook, and raconteur. He likes to be the sharp stick that pokes, prods, and annoys. His opinions are his and his alone.
This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.