“Christians are scapegoated for their faith by an extremist militant minority of Muslims, who betray their own religion by intoleranceÂ and who make other Muslims ashamed of what is happening.”
What’s worse than the silence of Western Christians concerning the Muslim persecution of their coreligionists in the Islamic world?Â Answer: Cynically exploiting that persecution for a political agendaâ€”in the case of a recentÂ Daily BeastÂ article, to excoriate the state of Israel and its supporters.
One of countless churches around the Islamic world recently set aflame: all because of Israel?
Titled “Why Won’t the West Defend Middle Eastern Christians?” and written by Diarmaid MacCulloch, a Fellow of St. Cross College, the article touches on the persecution of Christians, but primarily as a springboard to attack American Christian support for Israel.Â Consider the following excerpt:
… one of the silences which I find most frustrating is precisely the lack of noise from Western Christians about the fate of ancient Christianities in the Middle East. At the heart of the problems in the Middle East is seven decades of unresolved conflict between Israel and Palestine…
Yes, Western silence vis-Ã -vis the plight of Mideast Christians is as real as it is frustrating, but exactly how is MacCulloch able to jump to the conclusion that the Arab-Israeli conflict is “the heart” of the problem?
What about the well-documented Islamic doctrines that codify the suppression and persecution of Christians and other non-Muslims?
What about the documented fact that Christians under Islam have been persecuted for more than 1300 yearsÂ beforeÂ the existence of the state of Israel, in complete accordance to said doctrines?
What about the fact that Christians are currently being persecuted in every corner of the Islamic world, as documented in my monthly “Muslim Persecution of Christians” seriesâ€”includingÂ diverse countriesÂ such as Pakistan, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, and every corner of Africaâ€”and not just the Middle East?
Surely this is the true “heart of the problem”â€”and not the tiny and relatively new state of Israel.
Of course, to thinkers like MacCulloch, all the above points concerning Islamic hostility for Christians are not open to consideration, for they portray Islam in a negative light and so must be false (seeÂ Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on ChristiansÂ for abundant documentation otherwise.)
Instead, MacCulloch offers politically correct boilerplate statements, such as: “Christians are scapegoated for their faith by an extremist militant minority of Muslims, who betray their own religion by intolerance, and who make other Muslims ashamed of what is happening.”
Indeed, it is MacCulloch who betrays himself by characterizing Islam as a “tolerant” faith when any moderately objective reading of doctrine and historyâ€”made manifest in daily headlinesâ€”all prove the reverse.
Likewise, instead of delving into and exposing the true “heart of the problem,” MacCulloch critiques Protestant eschatology and U.S. support for Israel, the consequences of which “have been particularly dire for the traditional Christianities of the Middle East.”
It would have been more useful and sincere if he had addressed more glaring questions, for example:
- When the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters in Egypt torched some 80 churches andmurdered Christians, including childrenâ€”not to mention all the other anti-Christian atrocities they committed before and sinceâ€”was that because of Israel or something else?
- When Islamic rebels in SyriaÂ terrorize Christians, behead their priests and pastors, breakChristian crossesÂ andÂ smashÂ iconsâ€”all while shouting Islamic slogansâ€”is that because of Israel or something more innate?
- When Muslims in Indonesia illegally close off churches forcing Christians to celebrate Christmas in the streetsâ€”only to haveÂ cow dung and urine hurledÂ at themâ€”is that because of Israel, or something more ingrained?
- When the Nigerian Islamic group Boko HaramÂ destroys hundreds of churches and slaughters thousands of Christians, and when, on the other side of Africa, the Somali Islamic group Al-Shabaab terrorizes and beheads converts to Christianityâ€”is that because of Israel or something more doctrinal?
- Indeed, when Christian minorities in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip areÂ abducted and forced to convert to Islam, is that because of Israel or the elephant in the room?
MacCulloch is correct about one thing: many Muslims do hate Israel.Â But that hate, far from prompting the persecution of Christians, is actually a byproduct of the same hostility Islamic supremacism engenders forÂ allÂ non-Muslims.Â The reason it is much more viral for Israel is because the Jewish state is in a unique position of authority over Muslims unlike vulnerable Christian minorities (asÂ fully explained in this article).
The theme of silence permeates MacCulloch’sÂ Daily BeastÂ articleâ€”specifically, that Western Christians are silent concerning the plight of their persecuted brethren.Â This silence is true and troublingâ€”and many mainstream American Protestant denominations are certainly guilty of it.
However, instead of exploiting the sufferings of Christian minorities simply to scapegoat Israelâ€”ironically a nation that is in an existential struggle against the very same ideology and forces that persecute Christiansâ€”it might have been better for MacCulloch himself to be silent.