Boston Event Spotlights Imperiled Middle East Christians
This last weekend, I participated in a well-attended conference on the plight of Christians under Islam, sponsored by CAMERA. In "Boston Event Spotlights Imperiled Middle East Christians," from the Institute on Religion and Democracy, Matthew May describes the event. Because the report is long and comprehensive, below are snippets from my talk -- though be sure to read it all for summaries of the other speakers and their engaging talks:
Columnist and author Mark Steyn always gets a well-deserved laugh when he tells audiences that, to the useful idiots in the U.S. media and citizenry, “Allahu Akbar,” the calling card of Islamic terrorists the world over, is Arabic for “Nothing to see here!” But as author and scholar Raymond Ibrahim told a forum on violence against Middle Eastern Christians perpetrated by Islamists, what it really means is “My God is better than your God.”The plight of Christians in the Middle East at the hands of Islamic jihadists – and U.S. media inattention and indifference to such struggles - was the subject of a forum entitled “The Persecuted Church: Christian Believers in Peril in the Middle East,” hosted and sponsored by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting (CAMERA), held at the Sheraton hotel in Framingham, Massachusetts, on January 21, 2012.
Dr. Walid Phares, who among several other roles advises the U.S. House of Representatives Anti-Terrorism Caucus, delivered the conference’s keynote address entitled “The Ongoing Fight for Freedom.” Phares said that the battle of ideas is fiercer than combat battles because the same forces who have visited violence upon Christians, Jews, and others in the Middle East have tried to suppress the West’s understanding of what is really happening in the Middle East and what is being taught in U.S. academic institutions. [...]
Ibrahim, author of The Al Qaeda Reader discussed his research on Islamic primary sources and the emergence of the same patterns of behavior among Muslims who forcibly have demanded that non-Muslims submit to Islam for the past 1,400 years. He said the same acts, the same accusations, the same flattery, and, eventually, the same violence that modern-day Muslims have carried out against non-Muslims is documented by Muslim clerics throughout history.
Ibrahim pointed out that Muslim attacks against churches all over the world are not an aberration. He cited a Koranic verse that instructs Muslims to “fight the people of the book” [Christians and Jews] until they pay jizya and feel themselves subdued. Ibrahim argued that the word “until” reveals that such a verse is prescriptive and perpetual in meaning. He also cited the eighth century Pact of Umar and its provisions that prohibited Christians from building churches. He introduced the term “Islamicate” to describe a prevailing cultural attitude among Muslims that non-Muslims are beneath Muslims, which has seeped into the collective conscience of devout and non-practicing Muslims alike.
Ibrahim argued that the media are all too willing to undermine the realities of the Islamic faith, utilizing code terms such as “sectarian strife” to describe atrocities committed by Muslims without having to actually identify the religious affiliation of the perpetrators. He also denounced as “stupidity” the U.S. government’s prohibition against using qualifiers to describe Muslim violence against non-Muslims, which he argued erases a wealth of knowledge and pattern development....