Esme posted here this morning an article from the infamous BBC. In this article the BBC quoted Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s concerns about the aid being given to Pakistan by the UK not being matched by the putting in place of fundamental freedoms and rights by the Pakistani government. Quite rightly, specific reference was made in the BBC report to the Cardinal’s statements about persecution of Christians and the denial of the freedom to even be a Christian in Pakistan. The implicit question in the BBC report (albeit, not very enthusiastically put by the BBC in this report) is ‘should we be giving aid to a country which denies basic freedoms?’ to its minorities and I think that that is what Esme was drawing our attention to.
However, that is not the purpose of this post. The purpose of this post is to point out the adjustment of fact made by the BBC in its report. The article contained the following phrases: “...75% of religious persecution around the world is directed against Christians...” and “...affecting 100 million people...”. The two phrases were tied together as if, in that state, they had been lifted directly from the Aid to the Church in Need’s report.
That, in fact, is not what the report says at all and the BBC is guilty of fabricating its own version of the report to suit its own nefarious ends – not for the first time, I might add.
What the report actually says – though even Cardinal O’Brien got it wrong or thought it too sensationalist to quote accurately – is that
“...out of every 100 people killed because of religious hatred at least 75 are Christians...”.
Killed, persecuted – what’s the difference? Well I think that there is a world of difference! The persecution mentioned in the report is in addition to the killings.
The Report, called Persecuted and Forgotten? (you can find the PDF file here – it’s a little large and slow to load) also says:
“Leading experts in the field agree that today 200 million Christians suffer for their faith, many of them facing murder and other forms of violence. It is a figure quoted by a number of sources. Some go on to add a further 350 million Christians who experience lesser forms of oppression: discrimination and restrictions concerning religious practice.”
Those are somewhat different figures than ‘100 million’ that the BBC picked up on from elsewhere in the report in a different context!
I posted about this report from Aid to the Church in Need just over a week ago, here. I pointed out that Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, Permanent Representative of the Holy See to the U.N. offices in Geneva, brought the horrifying figures to the attention of the XVI Ordinary Session of the Human Rights Council on Religious Freedom on March 2nd. – for all the good that that is likely to do given the dominance that non-elected, usually Muslim, governments are exercising over the UN and its institutions.
The report is quite blunt about what is happening and there can be no doubt that the Vatican hierarchy and leading Churchmen and women of other denominations know about the persecution of Christians, especially in Muslim countries, and from what vile sources such persecution stems:
In the last two years, anti-Christian radicalism has dramatically worsened amid a rising tide of fundamentalism. The intolerance has fed off increasing anti-West sentiment and the fall-out from the so-called ‘War on Terror’. Now, in key regions, Christians are told: abandon your faith or face the consequences. For some, failure to comply means eviction from their homes, violence and even murder. An age-old atmosphere of co-existence and even friendly relations has suddenly soured. For many Christians the pressure has proved too great. Many no longer feel welcome in an Islamic society reducing them to dhimmi status (i.e. a non-Muslim subject of a state governed by Shari‘alaw). Stripped of basic human rights, they receive little or no protection in court. Furthermore, they face extra taxation, suffer discrimination in the workplace, are pressurised to convert to Islam, and are forced to comply with a strict dress code, including the veil. But by far the most significant problem is the threat of a charge of proselytism. Far from being a question of haranguing people in the street with Christian literature or ‘Bible bashing’ on the radio, in some Muslim countries the threat involves the mere presence of a church or a cross or even a passing comment to a stranger. It is an offence punishable by imprisonment, the lash or worse. Meanwhile, Muslims who convert - men especially - are threatened with the death penalty and almost certainly must go into hiding and seek asylum abroad. In response to such intense intimidation, the emigration of Christians from some Muslim countries has now become a mass exodus.
So the question remains the same question that it always was: if we know about Islamic intolerance and its active persecution of all those of all other faiths, and if the Churchmen and women worldwide know all about this ongoing persecution and slaughter, and if all together we all know from where the ideas about hating and killing those who are not Muslim come from then why on earth don’t our politicians know the same thing and do something about it?
“Christians ... feel abandoned to their fate by a culture in the West marked by ignorance and ambivalence.”
The next time that anyone tries to tell you that you are some sort of Islamophobe, tries to denigrate your point of view about the Muslim world, attempts to tar you with the all too convenient brush of ‘racism’ just point them at this report and insist they read the whole thing. Then ask them one simple question: what are they going to do about what they have just read? Their answer will tell you all you need to know about them and whether or not you should remain in their company.
And remember to email your MP, Senator or Representative the link to this report – better still, if you can afford it, print out the report and send it to him or her. They must not be allowed to hide behind the ‘no-one-ever-told-me’ excuse that they deploy all too often.
I’ll leave you with two quotes from the section of the report which deals with Algeria although many other countries are examined in depth, too, and the examinations almost invariably tell the same tale of denial of rights, torture and murder:
“The 2006 religion laws mean a bad situation has just got worse. Non-Muslims in Algeria face tight restrictions about where “religious meetings” can be held and ‘inciting’ people to convert is banned. The laws carry maximum penalties of a US$14,000 fine and five years in prison. Christians are even prevented from praying in their own homes.”
“The pressure on the Christian community mounted to the point where 19 priests and religious were murdered within a two-year period.”
All the bold emphases throughout are mine.
Posted on 03/15/2011 3:48 PM by John M. Joyce