Persecution of Christians

Partly as a result of looking into the Breivik case, several items in the category of “persecution of Christians” came to my attention in rapid succession.

Earlier this year, the UK parliament held a “debate” on the topic of persecution of Christians around the world. I use “debate” in quotes because none of the speakers took the other side; the problem is large, increasing, and troubling to all who offered commentary about it. And while “the rise of Islam” was referenced several times as a major factor, others were involved as well such as the Chinese communist government and radical Hindus in India.

It was a sad litany of events discussed. To find this topic, go to this link and scroll about 80% down the page or look for the word “Christian”:

As the hon. Member for Banbury (Tony Baldry) said, extremists seem to be very active in other parts of India, and they are not averse to dealing out physical abuse to Christians. A Christian professor’s hands were cut off after he was accused of blasphemy. In some countries, people do not actually have to commit blasphemy; they just have to be accused of it, and the story grows legs. Retribution then takes place.

In Nigeria, as the hon. Member for Banbury made clear, deadly religious violence occurs with regularity, with the result that hundreds of people are killed at a time. In the early hours of 7 March 2010, 500 Christians, most of whom were women and children, were murdered in their beds. That was not the end of it, however, and the village raids continued. On 17 March, another 12 Christians were massacred, including a pregnant woman, in a village in Plateau state. Other atrocities were also carried out against Christians. Thirteen Christians were murdered by a Muslim mob in Bei on 13 April and seven were murdered in Rikwe Chengu on 2 December.

Little information escapes North Korea’s borders, but the information that does indicates that Christians suffer harsher penalties than most criminals. An estimated 100,000 Christians are thought to be in labour camps, where they are being worked to death.

Our Government give substantial aid each and every year to Pakistan, where religious violence and anti-blasphemy laws are used to suppress Christians, and prominent Christian politicians and their defenders are clearly assassinated. Pakistan’s blasphemy laws authorise Government and societal persecution of Christians. Indeed, Pakistan absolutely refuses to progress towards being a religiously free society. According to Pakistani law, blasphemy against the name of Mohammed is a crime punishable by death, and desecrating the Koran warrants life imprisonment. Again, Christians do not actually have to do those things; they just have to be accused, and the retribution comes right away. Several Christians were killed in 2010 as a direct consequence of such laws, and many more people been imprisoned.

The discussion continues in the “Next Section” link, in which they describe “slow motion genocide by design.” There are many more incidents, but the point is that these UK politicians recognize the problem. And expressed frustration that in some cases they fund the governments who are perpetrators, and would continue to do so. Far from being isolated crazies, this is a widespread issue being systematically perpetrated by Leftist governments and groups including (and mostly) jihadist regimes.

Famous in those jihadist regimes is the issue of blasphemy, which is worth a death sentence in several Islamic countries. That “crime” is being pushed by them in the United Nations as requiring a law that must apply to all countries. This has resulted in an unusual ally for we on the “Islamophobic right wing”: the Center for Inquiry, a fiercely secular anti-religion organization of the left. They actually have a delegate at the UN speaking against this attempt to impose laws against criticizing Islam on the world, and they’ve had a small amount of success as they reported earlier today:

The committee’s new commentary marks a major victory for supporters of the open, secular society, and especially CFI. CFI holds special consultative status as a non-governmental organization (NGO) under the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and has for years worked with other NGOs at the UN to uphold freedom of belief and expression and equality of rights.

Unfortunately, while the committee’s new commentary is certainly a step in the right direction, it does not go as far as needed. Mainly, the commentary does not explicitly reject language in the ICCPR that still leaves room for laws restricting religious criticism. Among other things, that language provides that advocacy of religious “hatred” that constitutes “incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.” CFI denounces the incitement of violence and discrimination, but is concerned that broad language prohibiting “hatred” and “hostility” can be interpreted expansively to provide citizens with a “right” not to be insulted in their religious feelings, and a “right” to respect for their religious beliefs. These supposed rights have no grounding in international human rights law, nor do they align with the concept of an open, secular society. International law guarantees freedom of religious exercise, not freedom from insult. It guarantees nondiscrimination for individual believers, not respect for belief systems. The UN should work to protect individual religious believers from discrimination without shielding religious belief systems from criticism, and without threatening the rights of religious dissidents, religious minorities, and nonbelievers to express opinions that are unpopular with the majority.

My own involvement with this group goes back more than a decade. (It was at a CFI gathering in the 1990s that comedian Steve Allen spent a few minutes on-stage poking fun at my Lady based on her correspondence with him.)

In this instance, I completely agree with the CFI: There is no “fundamental right” not to be criticized nor to be protected from having your beliefs or faith discussed, even if you consider it “insulting.” But the UN’s wording proposes to do just that, mimicking laws that were put in place in England years ago, and similar ones in the Netherlands and Canada that resulted in famous trials (that of Geert Wilders and Mark Steyn, respectively). In these cases, they are closer to UN desires to quash speech than to any US First Amendment notions. As Steacy of the Canadian Human Rights Commission testified in this transcript, when asked:

What value do you give freedom of speech when you investigate one of these complaints?
MR. STEACY: Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value.

Indeed. And it is an American concept worthy of preserving, which means opposing the designs of the United Nations, and of jihadists intent on eliminating criticism of their faith.

But American Muslim Brotherhood groups are trying it here, demanding to silence their opposition.

Also posted today: this discussion of the Christian genocide going on in the Sudan. There are more than Christians involved here; the Muslims of northern Sudan have been working for decades to wipe out the non-Muslim populations in the south, as the south is where the oil is. The UN, which is complicit in this genocide, has written off the southern populations and blamed the conflict on global warming.

The UN is disgusting in its genocide-abetting, jihadist-enabling actions, most of which seem bent on simply removing the United States as a world power.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • Part of your comment reminds me of something from a Conan novel I read decades ago, which I remember as something like this: “Conan discovered that barbarians were more polite than people in civilized society. A civilized man could insult you without getting his head bashed in as a general thing.” I’m thinking about this now in a post coming up shortly.

    ===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

  • No Freedom is Free. No fredom is universal. I always felt that I was free to say anything I wanted to say, anywhere I wanted to say it, however I wanted to phrase it, but I also always knew that if I said the wrong thing to the wrong person in the wrong way (at the wrong time and place) I just might get my throat cut –or less. I’ve also felt that the UN was a political organization of nations, not people, and that until there was only one nation on the planet, it wasn’t a government but just a Pub. Folks who daydream about worldwide this or that are the most dangerous fools on the planet. They think they can say anything to anyone anywhere and anyhow, and it just ain’t true.