We stand by in silence as the persecution of Christians in Muslim countries increases

by Ryan Streeter on February 7, 2012. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

An important AEI article by Ayaan Hirsi Ali draws our attention to the unpopular topic of Christian persecution in Muslim countries. The topic is unpopular because western nations in our post-9/11 world are bending over backwards to show goodwill to Muslim countries, hoping somehow our lack of offensiveness will translate into good feelings back from them.

This is ridiculous, of course. Radical elements in Muslim countries are already offended by our mere existence and way of life, and no amount of goodwill on our end will result in reciprocity. Exhibit A is Obama’s naive stance on Iran in the early days, when through his eloquence and open heart he was going to relax a fanatical regime’s clenched fist and turn it into an open hand of partnership, even friendship.

Meanwhile, as Hirsi Ali points out, groups such as Boko Haram are springing up. Boko Haram means “western education is sacrilege.” You don’t have to know much about the group to get a feeling for how they think about you if you live in America or Europe.  They are one big reason so many Christians are suffering in Nigeria.

Read the whole piece. But if you’re short on time, here’s a summary of what’s going on around the Muslim world:

Nigeria: “From blasphemy laws to brutal murders to bombings to mutilations and the burning of holy sites, Christians in so many nations live in fear. In Nigeria many have suffered all of these forms of persecution…In 2011 [Boko Haram, a radical Islamist group] members killed at least 510 people and burned down or destroyed more than 350 churches in 10 northern states.”

Sudan: “What has often been described as a civil war is in practice the Sudanese government’s sustained persecution of religious minorities. This persecution culminated in the infamous genocide in Darfur that began in 2003.”

Egypt: “By the end of the year more than 200,000 Copts had fled their homes in anticipation of more attacks. With Islamists poised to gain much greater power in the wake of recent elections, their fears appear to be justified.”

Iraq: “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.”

Pakistan: “The 2.8 million Christians who live in Pakistan…live in perpetual fear not only of Islamist terrorists but also of Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy laws.”

Indonesia: “The number of violent incidents committed against religious minorities (and at 7 percent of the population, Christians are the country’s largest minority) increased by nearly 40 percent, from 198 to 276, between 2010 and 2011.”

Iran:  “Dozens of Christians have been arrested and jailed for daring to worship outside of the officially sanctioned church system.”

Saudi Arabia: “Despite the fact that more than a million Christians live in the country as foreign workers, churches and even private acts of Christian prayer are banned; to enforce these totalitarian restrictions, the religious police regularly raid the homes of Christians and bring them up on charges of blasphemy in courts where their testimony carries less legal weight than a Muslim’s.”

Muslims are themselves divided on the treatment of minorities in their countries. There are plenty of Muslims who get up each day to pray, go to work, and raise their families who have no interest in the oppressive nature of their country’s leaders. Our policies should play off these quiet divisions rather than try to win over the entire populations en masse, which clearly has never worked.