Ayaan Hirsi Ali Warns of "Rising Genocide" Due to "Christophobia" in Muslim World

Ayaan Hirsi Al’s case is alarming:

We hear so often about Muslims as victims of abuse in the West and combatants in the Arab Spring’s fight against tyranny. But, in fact, a wholly different kind of war is underway—an unrecognized battle costing thousands of lives. Christians are being killed in the Islamic world because of their religion. It is a rising genocide that ought to provoke global alarm.


But a fair-minded assessment of recent events and trends leads to the conclusion that the scale and severity of Islamophobia pales in comparison with the bloody Christophobia currently coursing through Muslim-majority nations from one end of the globe to the other. The conspiracy of silence surrounding this violent expression of religious intolerance has to stop. Nothing less than the fate of Christianity—and ultimately of all religious minorities—in the Islamic world is at stake.

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Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Ace of Sevens

    I think it’s worth pointing out that Christophobia is very different in atheists and Muslims, but Islamophobia is basically the same in Christians and Muslims.

    Also, I think Ali is only on this because she can score points against Muslims. She tries to imply this is a problem with Muslim-majority countries in general, but all her examples are poor countries with a large Christian minority. It looks like the problem isn’t Islam but fears of demographic shift. If this were happening in Malaysia, I might buy her explanation.

    • Byron

      It IS happening in Malaysia. A simple search will prove that.

  • Ace of Sevens

    Ugh, typing fail. I meant to say Islamophobic Christians and atheists are relying on the same stereotypes.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/camelswithhammers Daniel Fincke

      I still don’t understand what you were saying.

    • michaeld

      I think what he’s trying to say is that the reasons or fears about christians are different for muslims and atheists but the fears about muslims are more or less the same for atheists and christians?

      I’m damned if I really see the point of that though… course being an atheist I might already be damned but I still don’t see quite where he was going with it :P

      And then I guess christians being killed in poorer muslim countries is made better by the non killing of christians in richer muslim countries? and that its not about religious hate but about a fear of changing demographics.

      As for my thoughts while I’m with her that these killings are bad and we should work to stop them some of her tone reminds me of Richard Dawkin’s response to elevator gate that because something is worse somewhere else that we shouldn’t focus on a lesser problem closer to home.

    • Ace of Sevens

      Muslims who demonize Christians rely on different memes than atheists who demonize Christians, whereas negative stereotypes about Muslims are pretty universal.

    • Byron

      Unlike you who’s stereotyping Christians.

      Also, do you know nothing of what’s going on in Muslim countries????

  • Pierce R. Butler

    … Islamophobia … Christophobia …

    The “…ophobia” suffix begins to conceal more than it reveals.

    An obese dumbass Fox Noise viewer’s fears, based on ignorance and fiction, don’t have that much in common with the frenzy of hungry villagers scapegoating their neighbors for harsh times with the rancor of generations of intimate intertribal frictions.

    Violence between human groups involves much more than the emo aspects highlighted by the implied parallels with, say, claustrophobia or ailurophobia.

    FTR: I’m not trying to minimize anyone’s emotional problems (I got some too). I just want to point out important factors get eclipsed – not always inadvertently – by over/mis-use of the ph-word.

    • Sophia Dodds

      Agreed, for the most part. A phobia is a specific thing, not just ‘being a bit afraid of X’. For those of us with legitimate phobias, getting anyone to recognise them for what they are is incredibly difficult, and most of that problem stems from the word phobia being co-opted for lesser and broader definitions of fear and hatred.

      On the other hand, the definition of phobia as ‘an irrational and disproportionate fear of X’ does actually describe the Islamophobia phenomenon rather well. It’s certainly not rational, as it’s based chiefly on ignorance. It’s disproportionate too – most people don’t have a clue what it is they’re actually afraid of, and the actual ‘threat’ that it poses to them personally is possibly quite low. I say possibly – I’d certainly be terrified to have to live under the kinds of restrictions placed on followers of islam – I’d pretty much be killed instantly!

    • Pierce R. Butler

      … ‘an irrational and disproportionate fear of X’ does actually describe the Islamophobia phenomenon rather well.

      In the same way that “small, thick-furred mammal” describes both Maine Coon cats and beavers. By my definition, Sam Harris qualifies as Islamophobic – but his largely self-cultivated and well-read bias doesn’t remind me much of, say, my friend X’s near-paralysis when she finds herself close to a spider.

      When people use “_ophobia” as shorthand for bigotry, I see it primarily as part of a derogatory agenda: it serves quite well for putting homophobes on the defensive, for example. (In that case, as the fear involved usually seems to involve the h-phobe’s own sexuality, it also points to an insight that will have to be confronted sooner or later, working for a double purpose (the dual meaning of “homo-” helps nicely here).)

      Otoh, what would we learn by calling a Kluxer a “negrophobe” or a [Godwin-trigger word of your choice] a “Judeophobe”? Those particular pathologies may be better treated by scorn than sympathy.

  • lordshipmayhem

    A rising genocide?
    gen·o·cide: noun: the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group.
    What race is Christianity?

    • Konradius

      Um, you say yourself “cultural group”, and I think that definition omits “religious group”.
      I’m also always bothered by the race category as all humans are the same race. We should emphasize that more, including the fact that the best, earliest case for that was made by Darwin.

  • slc1

    There was a report in the website of one of the Israeli newspapers that the IDF is preparing for the possibility of large scale infiltrations across the cease fire line in the Golan Highths by Christians and Alawites in Syria fleeing reprisals from the Sunni Muslim majority in the event of a sudden collapse of the Assad government there.

  • laurentweppe

    She’s lying.

    She is fucking lying.

    There is no “conspiracy of silence” about violence done against Christians in countries where Muslims are the majority: whether it’s christian converts being bullied by the state in Algeria, the violence against coptic Christians in Egypt, the exodus of iraqi Christians, violences in Nigeria, attempts made by Salafists to take advantage of power vacuum in the arab world to expand their influence, etc, etc, etc: these are well documented by the media.
    She’s also lying when she says that reports of Islamophobia in Western countries are “overblown tales“: far-right parties which long-term goals are the disenfranchisement of the Muslim minorities have been part of government coalition in Western Europe and anti-muslim rhetoric is now a staple of right-wing politics in the US: sure: western fascists are not openly advocating the extermination of every Muslim unwilling to be enslaved or raped, but it’s only because the memory of the last time they got their asses kicked after openly stating their agenda is still fresh.

  • atheist

    Mr. Fincke, my thoughts are that Ms. Ali’s column is an example of a kind of narrative that I have been detecting among the Secularist movement recently and which makes me concerned. Ms. Ali appears to be attempting to draw the secularist movement into warfare between the global tribes of Christianity and Islam. It seems to me that for Secularists to join this warfare would not only be morally compromised, but would also be counter to Secularism’s long-term interests.

    Her column describes horrific slaughters of Christians (and Animists) at the hands of Muslims. To report on these crimes is one thing, and is of course absolutely necessary. But her argument that these slaughters constitute a “Global War on Christians” strikes me as akin to the neoconservative arguments made in the past decade, stating that the US and other Western nations were engaged in a “Clash of Civilizations” with Islamic powers, and that because of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, we were in a “Global War on Terror”. Indeed, this similarity may be partially explained by the fact divulged at the end of the essay that Ms. Ali is a research fellow at the neoconservative “American Enterprise Institute”.

    There is a kind of convenient myopia to her descriptions of these recent slaughters. Is is unquestionably true that the Boko Haram of Nigeria is a deadly group of anti-Christian extremists. The violent anti-Christian and anti-Jewish hatred in Pakistan is also horrifyingly real. Yet, there is a one-sided nature to these observations. I think this is most obviously apparent in her statement, when comparing Christian and Muslim intolerance, that “Cartoons, films, and writings are one thing; knives, guns, and grenades are something else entirely“. Of course she is saying that Christian (or Western) intolerance toward Muslims takes the form of cartoons and writings, while Muslim intolerance toward Christians takes the form of knives and grenades. For a more comprehensive and honest appraisal of violence between the Christian West and Islamic nations, consider Stephen Walt’s analysis of the comparative scales of Western and Islamic violence over the past three decades *.

    While her descriptions of these slaughters are one-sided, her descriptions of the “Global War on Christians” as being “a spontaneous expression of anti-Christian animus by Muslims that transcends cultures, regions, and ethnicities” seems very paranoid. If all Muslims are potentially infected by this virus of irrational anti-Christian hatred, regardless of their culture, region or ethnicity, then the logical consequence would seem to be either a global quarantine of Muslims, or, physical or cultural genocide of Muslims. I fervently hope that none of these possibilities should be seriously contemplated by the Secular movement, rather, they should be forcefully discarded and any people advocating for them should be actively marginalized and stigmatized.

    Luckily, I do not think that any of these possibilities ought to be or need to be seriously considered. The problem of the proper Western strategic relationship to the oil-rich and predominantly Muslim Middle East region is one which can be, and ought to be, viewed in a pragmatic, realistic and moral manner devoid of paranoia, naivete or one-sidedness.

    I apologize if my language in this comment is too strong however this is a matter that I consider to be utmost importance to the Secular movement as well as to “The West” and all its tribes.

    * “Why they hate us (II): How many Muslims has the US killed in the past 30 years?“, Stephen Walt’s blog at Foreign Policy.com, Nov. 30, 2009

    The first part of his series is: “Why they hate us (I): Lessons from the Civil War reconstruction“, and it considers the effects of Western military occupations of Muslim lands.

    • Eyes wide open

      Cultural & religious ignorance of the truth will cause the free society & basic civil rights to be extinct. Ignoring such topic would not make the problem go away. It would just spread like a wild fire.

  • Byron

    So, by the majority of comments above, you’re not really atheists, but anti-Christians. You also seem to think the intolerance and murderousness of Muslims is okay, as long as it’s against Christians. I suspect much of it has to do with Daddy issues. Was he a meany to you who somehow thought he was also a Christian?
    So, it seems most of you don’t really understand what you really are. You also don’t have a clue about Islamic history or what Islam says. Where is the Christian Hamas? Hezbollah? Al Qaeda?
    You’re irrational hatred of Christianity helps you ignore the truth.
    You have some work to do, my atheist friends.