THE AUSTRALIAN – MARCH 29, 2016
The Pope celebrated Easter by washing the feet of Muslims and praying for peace. Islamist militants celebrated Easter by slaughtering Christians. Jihadist groups state openly their mission is to destroy Christianity, but Barack Obama refuses to acknowledge that Islamism is a political ideology rooted in violent theology. Western counter-terrorism strategy commonly reflects Obama’s false distinction between Islamist terrorism and Koranic fundamentalism. To prevent further violence against innocent citizens, world leaders must adapt to the mounting evidence that religious fundamentalism is driving jihadism.
The Islamic State network responsible for the Belgium atrocities planned to attack worshippers at church services in Europe and Britain, but revised their schedule following the arrest of Paris plotter Salah Abdeslam. The Taliban offshoot responsible for killing scores of women and children in Lahore stated “the target was Christians”. Muslims in the West inclusive of other faiths are the newest targets of Islamist hatred.
The latest jihadist attacks reflect a pattern of growing global hostility towards Christians. In its annual report, Open Doors USA reported 2015 as the worst year on record for anti-Christian hate crime and persecution. North Korea was the worst offender for the persecution of Christians while Islamist regimes were serial perpetrators. Nearly one million persecuted Christians have been slaughtered or displaced in the Middle East. In such circumstances, it is reasonable to prioritise the intake of Christians in refugee programs. Australia has committed to a policy focused on persecuted minorities notwithstanding criticisms of Islamophobia, but few Western governments show such common sense. Instead, the forms of Christian persecution common to communist and Islamist states are taking root in the West.
Church burning and the suppression of holy festivities are hallmarks of international Christian persecution. During the past year, several churches were set alight in Victoria, including a spate over the 2015 Easter period. The Left media blamed the church burnings on anti-pedophile sentiment without official evidence to substantiate it. Also in Victoria, the Labor government banned “praise music” in schools, effectively ending the tradition of hymns and Christmas carols. The school curriculum has become less inclusive of Christianity, omitting its foundational role in Western civilisation and the Australian nation.
The Brussels and Lahore terrorist attacks have put the West on notice to acknowledge the religious roots of jihadism in counter-terrorism programs and guard against growing Christian persecution. We should prioritise persecuted Christians in refugee programs; teach schoolchildren the Christian origins of secular statehood, freedom of speech and formal equality; guard against anti-Christian prejudice in politics and the media; and defend religious freedom.
Anti-Christian bigotry has deep jihadist roots
THE AUSTRALIAN – MARCH 30, 2016 12:00AM
Thank you for your editorial highlighting the commitment of Islamists in particular to the annihilation of Christians and their creed (“Islamist ideology poses a threat to other faiths”, 29/3). Your subheading rightly stated, “We must target the jihadist roots of anti-Christian bigotry”.
But just how is that to be done? Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair spelled out the solution a few days ago when he said that Islamist ideology is interested only in dominance and must be crushed militarily, for it cannot be contained.
How many more atrocities will it take before our leaders confront reality and act to destroy this malevolent thing forcibly and speedily?
Richard Congram, Mosman, NSW
As a keen student of history I must take exception with Peter Waterhouse (Letters, 29/3). Christ certainly urged his followers to extend his kingdom, and to do it, not by the sword but by prayer, proclamation and servanthood.
History, sadly, reveals that not all of his devoted followers, in particular the Spanish, listened to him. The Spanish conquistadors conquered a whole continent for Christ in the sixteenth century and they did it by using not only swords but a wide range of armaments, including cannons. Christianity is best judged by what has been done in Christ’s name, not by the literal interpretations of his teachings.
Brian Sanaghan, West Preston, Vic
How can it be that Christian “praise music” is banned in state schools while yoga programs proliferate in the same schools? Yoga is at base a Hindu religious practice.
The Sanskrit word yoga means “yoking” and its purpose is for a devotee to be united or “yoked” to their deity. The verbal greeting “namaste” often used in yoga means, “I bow to you”; this also is an act of worship.
Such inconsistency in implementing secularisation policies reflects the anti-Christian bigotry of our society, as well as deeply-seated religious
Mark Durie, Caulfield North, Vic
The true meaning of jihad — a central issue in Islam, as Peter Waterhouse points out (Letters, 28/3) — has been variously explained to us as a private, inner struggle by helpful imams and other Islamic experts.
However, scholars at the Center for the Political Study of Islam have used applied mathematics to analyse Islamic scriptures. Objective, statistical examination of the hadiths (sayings of the prophet) concerned with jihad delivers these figures: jihad as a peaceful inner struggle 3 per cent; jihad as warfare 97 per cent. This is hard to spin.
Gabrielle Lord, Randwick, NSW
Recent commentators on the Islamist massacres in Paris, Brussels and Lahore have tried to draw a distinction between “ordinary innocent, nonviolent Muslims” and Islamist extremists. But how “innocent” are ordinary Muslims? So long as they regard the Koran as the unalterable word of Allah, their supreme being, and do not publicly dissent from its teaching of “death to the infidels”, they are part of the problem.
It should be noted that in Pakistan where ordinary Muslims generously donated blood after the massacre in Peshawar and now in Lahore, there were also huge mobs of ordinary Muslims rioting because of the death sentence carried out on the murderer of Salman Taseer, Governor of Punjab. Taseer’s offence was to suggest changes in the blasphemy laws under which several Christians — and Muslims — are on death row on ridiculous charges of blasphemy.
It should also be noted that the entire Pakistani Bar — the cream of the Pakistani intelligentsia — offered to act pro bono for Taseer’s assassin. How innocent are they? Do they also offer to act pro bono for Christians charged with blasphemy?
It is necessary for nonviolent Muslims to publicly repudiate and expurgate all those verses in the Koran calling for violence against infidels, apostates, Christians, Jews, blasphemers and homosexuals if they really want to be regarded as innocent.
Babette Francis, Toorak, Vic
Perhaps now all those refugee-hugging Christians who want to flood Australia with Muslim boat people can see what’s in store for them if they continue heaping up their own nation’s funeral pyre (“Scores dead as Taliban target Christians in Lahore”, 29/3).
Judith Loriente, Mentone, Vic