Culture

New York Times Blames Hindu Caste System for Discrimination Against Christians in Pakistan

AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File

The New York Times generally ignores the global persecution of Christians, but a notable exception came Monday, when the Gray Lady published an article entitled “Sewer Cleaners Wanted in Pakistan: Only Christians Need Apply.” But the Times remains committed, like all of the establishment media, to ignoring or downplaying incidents of Islamic jihad and Sharia supremacism, and so it had to find a new culprit: discrimination against Christians in Pakistan, the Paper of Record would have us believe, is the fault not of the Muslim majority, but of another embattled minority: the nation’s Hindus.

“A recent spate of deaths among Christian sewer cleaners in Pakistan,” the article tells us, “underscores how the caste discrimination that once governed the Indian subcontinent’s Hindus lingers, no matter the religion.”

In a 2013 article for the Hudson Institute, former Pakistani Parliamentarian Farahnaz Ispahani noted that “at the time of partition in 1947, almost 23 percent of Pakistan’s population was comprised of non-Muslim citizens. Today, the proportion of non-Muslims has declined to approximately 3 percent.”

How likely is it that this tiny and rapidly dwindling minority exercises such an outsize cultural influence in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan? The New York Times doesn’t ask, much less answer, this question, but simply asserts that even when the partition of India saw most of the subcontinent’s Hindus settle in India rather than in the new Muslim state of Pakistan, the Hindu caste system lingered on, albeit in a somewhat transmuted form: “But when the Indian subcontinent broke up in 1947 and Pakistan was formed as a homeland for the region’s Muslims, a new, informal system of discrimination formed. In Pakistan, Muslims sit at the top of the hierarchy.”

This new hierarchy, the Times claims, is the same as the old hierarchy. Referring to one of the sewer cleaners profiled in the piece, the article goes on to claim that Christians in Pakistan are relegated to cleaning sewers because that’s the work their Hindu forbears did: “And as one of Pakistan’s small Christian minority, Mr. Eric has now been forced into the same work his Hindu ancestors had tried to avoid through religious conversion.” In fact, the Times would have us believe that the problem of discrimination on the basis of caste is worse in Pakistan, where there are hardly any Hindus, than it is in India, which has a large Hindu majority: “Although India has outlawed caste-based discrimination with mixed success, in Pakistan it is almost encouraged by the state.”

No, it isn’t. Hindus are not in power in Pakistan. They are a minority that is under constant pressure from Muslim hardliners all over the country. They have no cultural influence. The reason why Christians are discriminated against in Pakistan has nothing whatsoever to do with Hindus and Hinduism, but the New York Times, as one of the leaders of the international establishment media, will never tell you what is really behind that discrimination. That’s because it stems from Islamic principles, and the international establishment media is indefatigably and unanimously committed to the defense and whitewashing of Islam in all cases and at all costs, no matter what the circumstances.

The real reason why Christians are discriminated against in Pakistan is because the Qur’an says: “O you who have believed, indeed the polytheists are unclean…” (9:28). Christians are considered polytheists because of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, although the Qur’an betrays a lack of understanding of what the Trinity actually is: “And when Allah will say, ‘O Jesus, Son of Mary, did you say to the people, ‘Take me and my mother as gods besides Allah?’ He will say, ‘Exalted are You! It was not for me to say that to which I have no right. If I had said it, you would have known it. You know what is within myself, and I do not know what is within you. Indeed, it is you who are the knower of the unseen.” (5:116)

If the polytheistic Christians are unclean, it is readily understandable while they would be relegated to, and restricted to, jobs such as cleaning sewers. Why should those who are clean take such dirty jobs?

There is also a Qur’anic imperative to force Christians to “pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” (9:29) What better way to make them “feel themselves subdued” than by restricting them to this hazardous and humiliating work?

The New York Times won’t tell you any of this. One day it may become clear why the Times and the other organs of the establishment media have all decided to speak positively of Islam and Muslims no matter how implausible what they write ends up being – and it is plenty implausible in this case. In the meantime, all the Times coverage of the Islamic world and global jihad terrorism must be approached with extreme skepticism. Unless, that is, you’re as credulous as Times editors hope you are.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 19 books, including the New York Times bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Palestinian Delusion: The Catastrophic History of the Middle East Peace Process. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.