How can we stop the slaughter of Christians in the Islamic world; how can we prevent the next massacre in Iraq, Turkey, the Philippines, Nigeria, wherever Islamic groups may be?
First of all, we should start calling things by their real names. This is not ideological "religious intolerance," and the perpetrators are not random "fundamentalist groups" or "some terrorists." There are countless examples of this sort of violence all over the map: massacres, expulsions, kidnapping of women, acts of vandalism on churches... It is the entire Islamist world that is battering Christians with the terrible inexorability of its hatred, but all those who – out of lack of opportunity or for fear of reprisals – have kept silent, in hopes of appeasing the aggressors, share in the responsibility. When the Pope protested, calling Islam "Islam," the Mufti of Al Azhar blasted him for "interference," -- an occurrence that says a lot about the paradoxical attitude of institutional Islam: What do a few murders matter? The perpetual enemy in Rome has no right to speak out.
If we ask the theologian and professor Father Peter Madros, now in the Patriarch of Jerusalem, and formerly the director of the Frères College in Bethlehem, where he fought the decimation of Christians, he clearly indicates the explanation in the text of the Qur'an: "After pages where the text explains that harmony must reign within the People of the Book -- though with the subjection of Christians and Jews, who must in any case pay Jizya (the tax for non-Muslims, ed. note) unless they convert to Islam (verse 9/29), there is another revealing verse (5/51): Do not allow either Jews or Christians to rule over you."
The heart of the problem is right herein the West: The Islamist world is determined to build a world in which the other two main faiths are held in a state of cultural, religious and political subjection. Instead, fir last seven centuries the Western world has been dominant.In the interpretation of vast well-funded organizations, and even entire countries such as Iran, this amounts to a declaration of war. This is the war that Islamism now wants to win. Not everyone in that world feels this way, but bombs make a lot of noise, while good will remains silent.
In 1919, the Egyptian revolution adopted a green flag with the crescent and the cross. Both Muslims and Christians participated in the nationalist revolution against British colonialism. But since the assassination of Sadat, who signed a peace agreement with Israel, the new élites mostly left room to a process of gradual Islamization aimed at appeasing the most aggressive organizations, such as the Muslim Brotherhood. The textbooks used in Egyptian schools today describe Egypt as an Islamic country only, and children also read anti-Christian texts. As the Jerusalem Post writes, organ transplants between Muslims and Copts are prohibited by a decision of the physicians' union. Labor unions are often dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. The government recently halted construction of a stairway in a Coptic church and Copts are under constant attack (eight were also killed a year ago). Despite being 10% of the population, they have no political representation.
Mubarak, by acting this way, keeps the Muslim Brotherhood at bay, thus succeeding to marginalize it in the last elections. This is the way that Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Jordan and Pakistan behave: the rulers think they have tamed the lions, but the lions have actually becomes stronger, threatening even their leadership.
The Iranian, Lebanese and Turkish television have accused "Zionists" of the New Year's massacre in Alexandria to put at least some of the blame on the Jews once again. That is their style: from the Farhud pogrom of Baghdad in 1941, in which 180 Jews were killed, to that in Libya (130 dead) and Turkey (three attacks on the Nevè Shalom synagogue from 1986 to the present, 47 dead), to all the violence that has caused the flight of almost all the Jews, the Islamic world has forced between 800,000 and a million Jews out of Islamic countries. These Jews are the refugees that the U.N. has always refused to recognize, like the Christians in flight from the same countries, where the Christian population, once the native one and the majority, is now reduced to a mere 6%.
Originally published in Italian in slightly different form in Il Giornale, January 5, 2011