Rather surprising, but good to see…

Rather surprising, but good to see… February 9, 2012

Newsweek, of all places, talking about oppression of Christians in the Islamosphere. Cue Manning’s Corollary* in 3, 2, 1.

*Manning’s Corollary to Godwin’s Law: In any online conversation about an incident of violence perpetrated by adherents of Islamic fundamentalism, the conversation will inevitably devolve into claims that Christians commit the same type and degree of violent acts, regardless of how demonstrably false that is; further, the claim will be made that past historical violence involving Christians means that present-day Christians are morally incapable of denouncing current violence involving Muslims.

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  • Joseph

    Re: Manning’s Corollary…

    No kidding.

  • Will

    Of course, since there is no persecution of Christians (and they deserve it), anyone who says there is must be one of those dominionist fundamentalists…. oh, it is Aya Hirsan Ali.

  • brian_in_brooklyn

    An interesting article, well worth a read.

  • Richard Johnson

    A very good article, with an excellent take away piece near the end.

    “As for what the West can do to help religious minorities in Muslim-majority societies, my answer is that it needs to begin using the billions of dollars in aid it gives to the offending countries as leverage. Then there is trade and investment. Besides diplomatic pressure, these aid and trade relationships can and should be made conditional on the protection of the freedom of conscience and worship for all citizens.”

    This of course will mean a dramatic impact on oil prices, as many of these offending nations are among the larger oil suppliers. It will undoubtedly bring a reaction from OPEC, as it is dominated by Islamic nations, and prices will go through the roof again.

    But our nation has shown time and time again that we are willing to set aside our economic concerns for the greater concern of our fellow human beings, and we will do so in this case, I am certain.

    /sarcasm

  • CK

    Okay, I’ll take the bait.

    Are Muslim acts of violence against Christians deplorable? Absolutely. Should they be roundly condemned? Absolutely, yes. Should they be stopped? Yes. Should they be publicly aired and subjected to scrutiny? Check. Is there a problem in the Islamic world regarding treatment of Christian minorities? Yes. Is it getting worse? Sure looks that way. Do Christian acts of violence whenever or wherever they may have occurred in history excuse or explain Muslim acts of violence today? No.

    Now, pivot, and invite critical responses.

    The question for me is whether the problem is “Islam” as someone like Robert Spencer would have us believe. Or, is the problem “Muslims”? Or, is it possible, while noting all the clear propositions in my first paragraph, that the uptick in violence against Christians owes, at least partly, to historical-political factors. For instance, take this quotation from Ali: “Since 2003 more than 900 Iraqi Christians (most of them Assyrians) have been killed by terrorist violence in Baghdad alone, and 70 churches have been burned, according to the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA). Thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled as a result of violence directed specifically at them, reducing the number of Christians in the country to fewer than half a million from just over a million before 2003. AINA understandably describes this as an “incipient genocide or ethnic cleansing of Assyrians in Iraq.”” Okay. Again, is it acceptable for any Muslim to kill any innocent Christian? No. But, how can one say “since 2003” without ever adverting to the significance of that date. Why 2003? Is it arbitrary? No. That’s the year the United States, which is seen not only by terrorists, but also by your average Abdullah and Fatima in every Muslim majority country, as a “Christian” nation began to kill thousands and thousands of innocent Iraqis.

    My point is that sometimes the efforts to contextualize the problem look like rationalizations, when really they are just attempts to understand the problem. I wonder if Ali could have included another reason for media silence about the persecution of Christians in Muslim countries – they’re in bed with the American war machine, and nobody wants the number of civilian (innocent) deaths in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and soon Iran to be broadcast too widely. It might give the impression that there’s been an uptick in American violence against Muslims in the last decade.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      Presumably, the US invasion of Egypt also accounts for the attacks on Copts there. Oh, wait.

      Well then, the US invasion of Nigeria has led to the persecution of black Christians there. Umm. OK….

      Ah yes, the US invasion of Indonesia has led to the…. Dang it.

      Could it maybe be that the collapse of the secular fascist dictatorship unleased the Sunni minority which had prospered under it to wreak their wrath on not only Assyrians, but also Kurds and Shi’ite Arabs? How else is a minority to control an entire country save by terrorizing everyone else?

      If only the State Department had lost the power struggle with the Defense Department over how post-war Iraq would be run. As a Shi’ite nuclear inspector told me once in Vienna, “We don’t want the Americans to stay too long; but we don’t want them to leave too soon. Remember, these [the jihadis] are the ones who have been killing us for thirty years.”

    • str

      “My point is that sometimes the efforts to contextualize the problem look like rationalizations, when really they are just attempts to understand the problem.”

      This all depends on how this contextualisation is presented. Whether one sticks to real connections between events and whether one assumes an air of “they had it coming”. All too many commentaries in that regard really do that.

      “Why 2003? Is it arbitrary? No. That’s the year the United States, which is seen not only by terrorists, but also by your average Abdullah and Fatima in every Muslim majority country, as a “Christian” nation began to kill thousands and thousands of innocent Iraqis.”

      But it’s not the case that average Abdullah after the invasion suddenly adopted the idea of driving out Christians. No, radical terrorists always thought that and now, given the chance, acted out their views. They had been giving the chance because of an ill-conceived and ill-conducted invasion that removed the Iraq state. And as much as I opposed that invasion, “kill[ing] thousands and thousands of innocent Iraqis” doesn’t read like a factual description of events.

      And, as others pointed out, the invasion of Iraq cannot explain developments in Nigeria or even Egypt.