From time to time I hear this:"Doesn't the way some people are pointing to Muslims as a threat remind you of the way that Jews were treated in the 1930s?"
No. It reminds me of the way that Nazis were being treated in the 1930s. In the pre-war era, the obvious signs of a rising threat were being pointed out by perspicacious observers such as Churchill, and ignored by those who preferred to pursue a line of cowardly appeasement.
When the US ambassador in Libya was murdered last month by Arab Spring fanatics, I was staggered to hear the President of the USA issue what amounted to a public apology for "offending Muslim sensibilities". Apparently being offended by a film gives Muslims the right to commit outright homicide on an innocent person and his colleagues in the embassy.
And the EU's Lady Ashton issued a joint statement with the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Countries apologizing to Muslims who were offended by the film. I would like to dissociate myself completely from this statement, which amounted to a retreat from the democratic principles of free speech and freedom of conscience.
Last week forty-six Christians in Nigeria were massacred by Boko Haram extremists. Boko Haram are another apt-to-be-offended Muslim group enraged by the fact that the authorities had a week earlier rounded up some of their ring-leaders and placed them under arrest.
Most of the murdered Christians were students living in a hostel. They were shot or stabbed to death, then the nearby church was burnt down.
Meanwhile in Pakistan, a girl was shot for saying that she believed in education for women. A mob has been going around setting fire to Christian churches and destroying ancient Buddhist temples in protest against the American film "Innocence of Muslims" whose supposed insults to their religion they could not even understand. Of course, it is just a pretext for doing more openly what they do surreptitiously most of the time.
And in Egypt, where the Islamic extremists have now taken over the government, Christians are being targetted for ethnic cleansing. Actually this is nothing new. For the past 60 years the Muslim majority in Egypt has driven out first the Jewish citizens and then more gradually the Christians. It is estimated that 4 million Copts have been victimized and pushed out by this regime that complains very loudly about displaced Palestinians.
Now the Egyptian government is using the film "Innocence of Muslims" as a pretext to speed up its persecution campaign. Eye-witnesses report, "Violence against Christians occurs every day, and the state usually takes the side of the Muslim murderers." Atheists and those who advocate a secular society are fellow-victims, being spied on and imprisoned for their views.
Of course if you don't mind being slaughtered and ethnically cleansed, then this won't bother you at all.
>> And here is the case of a Christian pastor in Uganda who had acid thrown in his face by Muslim attackers as he left Church on Christmas Eve. Umar Mulinde's face was wrecked the flesh hanging off the bone. His crime? Leaving Islam.
>>Here is an account by a young Frenchwoman of life in a suburb near Paris in 2012. She has reported the problems to the police who say they dare not interfere because they are being intimidated:-
Churchill, when trying to alert Parliament to the threat of Nazism, in 1938, said:
"I foresee and foretell that the policy of submission will carry with it restrictions upon the freedom of speech and debate in Parliament, on public platforms, and discussions in the Press, for it will be said - indeed, I hear it said sometimes now - that we cannot allow the Nazi system of dictatorship to be criticised by ordinary common English politicians. And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year, unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time."
Lenten Meditations: Friday 27 March
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