Showing posts with label massacre. Show all posts
Showing posts with label massacre. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

EGYPT: "more radicalised than we realised"; Islam, Dhimmitude and the Maspero Massacre

By Elizabeth Kendal


Islam is a materialistic, imperialistic and political religion. Its aim is to achieve dominance -- demographically or through military or political conquest -- so that Muslims might rule and Sharia (Islamic Law / the law of Allah) might be applied.

Where Islam is dominant, atheists and polytheists have two choices: convert to Islam or die. Jews and Christians (the People of the Book), however, have a third choice: dhimmitude -- i.e. they may pay for their "protection" (i.e. right to life) with "jizya" / tax / protection money (religiously santioned extortion) and by submitting to Islamic rule and Sharia law in total subjugation and abject humiliation (Sura 9:29).

The subjugated peoples are known collectively as the dhimma (singular: dhimmi). The state of subjugation -- a state of immense insecurity, vulnerability, perpetual anxiety and psychological trauma -- is known as dhimmitude. The rules under which the dhimma must live are codified in the dhimma pact. If at any time, the dhimma violate the dhimma pact, then "protection" is withdrawn and jihad (Islamic holy war) resumes -- meaning the dhimmis may be killed and their properties plundered.

Europe's rise and Islam's decline -- commencing in the late 17th Century and culminating in defeat for Islam in the 20th Century's two world wars -- saw dhimmitude wane. Today, however, Islam is back and so too is dhimmitude. And nowhere is this more evident than in Egypt.

This is unsurprising considering the results of a recent survey by Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. For according the the study, while 61 percent of those living in cities support a civil state, 48.5 percent of rural residents support an Islamic state. When asked what state they wished to see Egypt resemble, 48.9 percent of rural Egyptians and 31.5 percent of urban residents named Saudi Arabia. Turkey was a distant second with 11.9 percent of urban residents looking to it as a model, and only 6.5 percent of rural residents. Further to this, some 40.1 percent of Egyptians classified themselves as Islamists. As one observer remarked: "I think Egypt has become more Islamized than we realized."

See:
Al-Ahram Center releases extensive political survey.
Tuesday Aug 23, 2011

Talking about secularism when Egypt looks to Saudi Arabia as a model
Hurriyet Daily News (Turkey), Monday, October 17, 2011

It is little wonder that some 93,000 Coptic Christians have left Egypt since 19 March. This figure comes from a report by the Egyptian Federation of Human Rights (EFHR). Furthermore, Naguib Gabriel, the head EFHR, estimates that the figure could increase to 250,00 by the end of 2011.

NGO report: 93,000 Copts left Egypt since March
Almasry Alyoum, 25 Sept 2011

The Maspero Massacre

In Elmarinab village in Egypt's Aswan Province on 30 September, thousands of Muslims went on a pogrom after having been incited in their mosques during Friday prayers. The military watched on without intervening while the Muslims destroyed St. George's church and other properties owned by Coptic Christians. Subsequently the state-run media whitewashed the incident. [NOTE: the Copts are the indigenous people of Egypt; the true descendents of the Pharoahs. They have been Christian for 2,000 years.] The Muslim pogrom was launched in response to church renovations. Though the Christians had legal permission to repair their dangerously dilapidated church, church repair is nevertheless prohibited by the dhimma pact, for the Christians must not only be humiliated, they must be seen to be humiliated lest they become a source of fitna (strife / temptation / anything that could shake the faith of a Muslim and thereby cause "chaos").

On Sunday 9 October, around 1,000 Christians, plus numerous sympathetic Muslims, peacefully protested outside Cairo's Maspero building -- the home of Egyptian state television and radio -- calling for an end to religious discrimination and sectarianism. However, to demand equity and justice instead of accepting subjugation and humiliation is yet another violation of the dhimma pact. This time the reprisal came first and formost from the Egyptian military.

See:
Egypt On Edge After Army Kills 20 Coptic Christians At Protest

Associated Press, Sun, 10/16/2011

The night Maspero turned into a war zone: A firsthand account
Reem Abdellatif, October 16, 2011

Violence and Bloodshed in Egypt: An Eyewitness Account
Sharif Abdel Kouddous, for the Pulitzer Center, Cairo, Egypt, October 10, 2011

Maspero survivors finally testify: army shot at unarmed demonstrators without provocation
Multiple eyewitness survivors of 'Bloody Sunday' at Maspero answer SCAF [Supreme Council of the Armed Forced], say military police shot at unarmed Coptic and Muslim demonstrators, APC's [Armoured Personnel Carriers] crushed people repeatedly, and afterwards police searched for 'Christians'.
Nada Hussein Rashwan, Thursday 13 Oct 2011

Stunned by bloodshed, Egyptians torn over army
By SARAH EL DEEB - Associated Press | AP – Sat, Oct 15, 2011

As violence escalated outside Maspero, state media falsely reported that armed Coptic protesters had attacked the military, killing three soldiers. The state media urged loyal Muslims to rise up in defence of their military, an appeal to which thousands of angry Muslims responded.

Egypt's State Media Implicated In Violence Against Christian Demonstrators
AINA, 13 Oct 2011

The Maspero Massacre left 26 dead and more than 300 wounded. On Sunday 16 Oct. Magdy Fahim Mosaad became they 27th Christian protestor to die when he succumbed to the injuries he received on Sunday 9th when he was run over by an armored personnel carrier.

Eye witnesses have testified that police and military shot, beat and chased Christians who they abused as 'infidels' and 'sons of dogs'. And so that truth could not be reported, the military attacked the studios of al-Hurra ('The Free One'), a United States-based Arabic-language satellite TV channel funded by the U.S. Congress, targeting Christian reporters and forcing its closure.

While the state media did apologise for its false report (blaming a 'nervous reporter') the military publically denied that they had killed any Christians -- this despite volumes of video and mobile phone footage showing armoured vehicles ploughing through the protesting Christians, running them over, crushing and tearing them, to cries of 'Allahu Akbar' (Allah is great).

Furthermore, a committee of "experts" appointed by the Minister of Information himself, Osama Heikal (who has praised the state media's coverage of the Maspero violence), has determined that while state television may have committed "professional errors" it did not intentionally incite violence against unarmed protesters.

Committee: State TV's Maspero coverage did not incite violence
Nada Hussein Rashwan, Monday 17 Oct 2011

And so we have yet more whitewashing and impunity.

By Monday 17 Oct. Egyptian newspapers were shifting the blame, from the military, onto Coptic priests and leaders. "Coptic religious leaders, clergy and intellectuals are responsible not only for the Maspero violence but also for threatening national unity, according to several papers."

Monday's papers: Editorial pages shift Maspero blame
Almasry Alyoum, 17 Oct 2011

Though an independent civilian prosecutor had begun looking into the Maspero Massacre, the military has now taken over the investigation. Military officials claim that the army must conduct the investigation on its own and in private due to the sensitivity of the clashes and in order to preserve troop morale. The head of the military judiciary, General Adel El-Morsi, has called for all evidence to be handed to the military.

Egypt military takes over inquiry of Coptic unrest
By AYA BATRAWY - Associated Press | AP – Thu, Oct 13, 2011

SCAF alone to investigate Maspero clashes
The head of military judiciary said Thursday armed forces alone will investigate Sunday's deadly clashes . . .
Ahram Online , Thursday 13 Oct 2011

No doubt the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) will call for "reconciliation" -- by which they mean the military will agree to make peace with the Christians in exchange for the Christians dropping all charges. Such "reconciliation" has been standard practise in Egypt since mid 2007. It provides the ruling regime with a win-win solution, for while it deceives and appeases the West it is actually a consession to politically powerful Islamists who insist on upholding the Islamic order which instutionalises legal discrimination / religious aparthide by prohibiting Christians / dhimmis from testifying against Muslims in court.

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The West's reluctance to challenge the immoral religious aparthide inherent in Islam is both immoral and short-sighted. If the West truly believes in the principle of universal human rights, then religious and cultural rights can never trump human rights. Furthermore, silence in the face of Islamic religious aparthide is discriminatory; for why should these victims be less worthy of our moral outrage? Anyone who maintains that the systematic religious aparthide inherent in Islam is the religious right of Muslims, is clearly no defender of universal human rights.

See also:

A Double-Bind Upon the Copts: dhimmitude in action.
Rev Dr Mark Durie, Monday, October 10, 2011
Quote: "The Copts are in a double bind. If they protest against the abuses brought upon their heads by the dhimma system, they are treated as rebels, and the value of their blood and possessions discounted accordingly: the more they protest, the less right they have under Islamic law even to exist. On the other hand, the more they acquiesce, the more voracious and emboldened their persecutors will become. [. . .] The international community will be held accountable if they do not act swiftly on the brutal attacks towards Egypt’s Coptic Christians who are suffering under a modern day form of apartheid where institutionalised discrimination and deadly attacks have a become a way of life for Egypt’s 15 million Copts."

The forgotten Christians of the East
By Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, 10 Oct 2011
Quote: "JUST AS the Jews of the Islamic world were forcibly removed from their ancient communities by the Arab rulers with the establishment of Israel in 1948, so Christians have been persecuted and driven out of their homes. Populist Islamic and Arab regimes have used Islamic religious supremacism and Arab racial chauvinism against Christians as rallying cries to their subjects. These calls have in turn led to the decimation of the Christian populations of the Arab and Islamic world. [. . .] It is unclear what either Western governments or Western churches think they are achieving by turning a blind eye to the persecution and decimation of Christian communities in the Muslim world. As Sunday’s events in Egypt and other daily anti-Christian attacks by Muslims against Christians throughout the region show, their behavior is not appeasing anyone. What is clear enough is that they shall reap what they sow."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A CRY FROM ABIDJAN -- Christians imperilled

A cry emerges from Abidjan. A cry of desperation, it emerges only to be suffocated by the din of Western media celebrating the restoration of "democracy" and the return of "normalcy".

A CRY FROM ABIDJAN
-- from a Christian family trapped in Abidjan

"We living in great penury and fear to be looted or even killed like hundreds or even thousands of families in Abidjan. What is going on is beyond imagination: a pure genocide is currently performed right in the eyes of the French and UN troops and the international humanitarian NGO's, targeting entire ethnic groups, as well as a category of people based on their political affiliation or work. Whosoever is suspected to be from the Dan, Wê, Bété (Gbagbo's tribe), Akyé, Abbey, Ebrié -- basically all the western and southern tribes -- is targeted. Militaries, policemen, customs, all men in arms are tracked and killed, along with their families. In some extreme cases, people are killed only because they are not from the north and not Muslims."


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CHRISTIANS IMPERILLED


Before Laurent Gbagbo was captured -- Amnesty International published this warning:
Côte d’Ivoire: Warning of ‘human rights catastrophe’ as forces reach Abidjan
Amnesty International 31 March 2011

"Côte d’Ivoire civilians are at immediate risk of massive human rights violations Amnesty International warned today, as forces loyal to Alassane Ouattara reach the country’s commercial capital Abidjan. [. . .]

"Local sources have told Amnesty International’s delegation currently in Côte d’Ivoire that dead bodies are still lying in the streets of Duékoué [in western Ivory Coast], and tens of thousands of civilians are still sheltering in the Catholic Mission without adequate food, water, sanitation and medical care."

[NOTE: the massacre in Duékoué of around 1000 civilians by pro-Ouattara forces on 28-29 March, occurred in the presence of some 1000 Moroccan U.N. peacekeepers. In its defence, the U.N. has said the majority of the force was deployed around the Catholic mission, defending some 30,000 civilians who had sought refuge there. See report from Salesian Missions official news service. ]

Amnesty continues: "On 29 March, the Republican Forces killed civilian Jean Louana, election campaign director of one of the current ministers appointed by Laurent Gbagbo. They also shot down a Pastor of an evangelical church along with eight members of his congregation."

Quite rightly, Amnesty's report lists abuses from both sides. However, like virtually all Western media it insists on referring to the ethnic massacres perpetrated by pro-Ouattara forces (Republican Forces) as reprisal attacks. This is incongruous considering the fact that the pro-Ouattara forces are the aggressors, the invading forces.

The day after regime change was effected, Amnesty International released this plea:
Reprisal attacks against Gbagbo supporters in Côte d'Ivoire must stop
Amnesty International 12 April 2011

"Perceived supporters of former Côte d'Ivoire President Laurent Gbagbo are at risk of violent reprisals, despite President Alassane Outtara’s call for Ivorians to 'abstain from all forms of reprisals and violence', Amnesty International warned today.

"Today in Abidjan, armed men, some wearing military uniforms, have been conducting house-to-house searches in neighbourhoods where real or perceived supporters of Laurent Gbagbo are living, including Yopougon and Koumassi.

"One eyewitness told Amnesty International how a policeman belonging to Laurent Gbagbo’s ethnic group was taken from his house this morning and shot dead at point blank range in front of him.

"'Dozens of young people are going into hiding in Abidjan out of fear for their lives. In the western part of the country people suspected of being pro-Gbagbo are also terrified. Many are hiding in the bush after their villages were burned down and they need to be protected,' said Véronique Aubert, Amnesty International’s deputy director for Africa.

"Amnesty International has learned that the village of Zikisso, 300 km west of Abidjan, has been attacked several times, including last Sunday, by armed forces allegedly loyal to President Alassane Ouattara. The village chief, Gnagbo Matthias, was abducted by these forces on Monday and is reportedly being held in the town of Lakota.

"Humanitarian conditions are rapidly deteriorating in a Catholic mission in Duékoué, 600 km west of Abidjan, where 27,500 people took refuge after hundreds of people were killed on the basis of their ethnic origin or presumed political affiliation. . . "

An independent report from the Associated Press (AP) also confirms that ethnic-religious-political killings are taking place in the south and western regions.

Reprisals rock Ivory Coast after strongman deposed
AP 13 April 2011

"GUIGLO, Ivory Coast (AP) — The young man in civilian clothes didn't have the right answers for troops loyal to Alassane Ouattara and they suspected he was a fighter backing his rival for the presidency. So one of the soldiers kicked the man in the teeth.

"Fifteen minutes later, an Associated Press reporter saw his body, the chest torn open by bullets, dumped outside this western town.

"Reprisal killings erupted as Ouattara's fighters made a lightning assault to force his rival Laurent Gbagbo from power. And although Gbagbo was captured Monday in Abidjan, Ivory Coast's commercial capital, suspected Gbagbo supporters are still being rounded up in cities and villages, especially in western Ivory Coast.

"Parishioners are reporting the kidnappings of dozens of young men in San Pedro, said a Catholic priest in the cocoa-exporting port city in southwestern Ivory Coast. He asked not to be named, explaining: 'We are all in danger'. . ."

AP reports that some 5,000 ethnic Bété and Guere refugees (predominantly Christian tribes loyal to Gbagbo) are holed up in San Pedro's Cathedral of St. Pierre, surrounded by pro-Ouattara forces who recently shot open the gate and fired into the crowd, killing one and wounding several.

"A woman at the cathedral who was too scared to give her name said her neighbor, the headmaster of the Catholic primary school, was killed Monday night at his home because he belonged the wrong tribe.

"'We have a very toxic and explosive mix here of political, ethnic, religious and land rivalry,' the priest said. 'The recent tumultuous events have brought long-simmering conflicts to a head. Who knows where this will end'."

See also:
COTE D'IVOIRE: Accounting for atrocities
IRIN 14 April 2011
A quote concerning Abidjan: "Kouamassi, south of the lagoon, and Yopougon, one of the most densely populated parts of the city, with strong pockets of support for Gbagbo, have remained tense. Residents in these areas have talked of man hunts and executions, of incoming troops targeting Gbagbo supporters, with the young particularly vulnerable. They paint a damning picture of the operations and general behaviour of the Forces Républicaines de Côte d’Ivoire (FRCI), troops loyal to President Alassane Ouattara. . ."

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NOT ALL AFRICA CELEBRATING
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GHANA's former President, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings, has described the arrest of Cote d’Ivoire’s President Laurent Gbagbo as a repetition of the tragedy of DR Congo’s Patrice Lumumba, who was popularly elected in 1960 on a platform of independence and resistance to neo-colonialism only to be assassinated in 1961 in the service of Western interests.

Rawlings laments: “Fifty years down the road, with Africa still groping for freedom and justice, Black Africa repeats the tragedy of Patrice Lumumba, while next door fellow Arabs are fighting and dying for their freedoms. Whither are we bound?”

(see: Patrice Lumumba: the most important assassination of the 20th century
Guardian, 17 Jan 2011 (50th anniversary of assassination))

Mr Rawling was scathing concerning the humiliation and "violent manhandling" that accompanied the arrest of Laurent Gbagbo, his wife, and family.

He also expressed grave concern over the verifiable reports that the rebels were conducting house-to-house "cleansing" operations in Abidjan, wherein men have been executed and women and young girls abducted.

Rawlings told myjoyonline.com that “Reports by the Red Cross and other international organisations of the massacre of 800 in Duekoue by the advancing rebel forces and the failure to lay the blame where it belongs by the international community further exposes biases in the Ivorian crises.”

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FINALLY: All Elizabeth Kendal's work on Ivory Coast dating back to the Sept 2002 coup, have now been uploaded to the blog.
http://elizabethkendal.blogspot.com/search/label/Cote%20d%27Ivoire

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Islamic intolerance is devouring Pakistan

Islamic intolerance is escalating unchecked across Pakistan as Islamic fundamentalism emanating from mosques and madrassas cultivates hatred which is then fuelled by the impunity the persecutors enjoy.

As chaos and lawlessness escalate, religious intolerance and hatred are unleashed without restraint, and the situation for Christians deteriorates.

The following reports represent the tip of the iceberg. All are recent.
(Credit to Compass Direct News for their phenomenal reporting on the plight of Pakistan's minority Christians.)


KYBER PAKHTOONKHWA (formerly North West Frontier Province).

On 14 June, Samuel John, a Christian psychology professor at the University of Peshawar, was savagely bashed outside his home by a group of five students for refusing to convert to Islam. When his wife rushed to his aid, she too was beaten. Both required hospitalisation, with the professor in a critical condition. The police refuse to register a First Information Report (FIR), and John continues to be threatened with death unless he converts to Islam or leaves the University.

PUNJAB PROVINCE.

Sunil Masih, Shazia Masih and Nasir Naeem, three Christian 8th grade students in Danna village, southern Punjab, have long faced pressure from teachers to convert to Islam. On 16 June, after their parents complained, the principal backed his staff, agreeing that the students should convert to Islam or leave the school. When the police refused to help, the three Christian families fled the area.

On 19 June, Rehmat Masih (85), a Christian of Faisalabad district, was arrested and jailed after a hard-line Muslim named Muhammad Sajjid Hameed filed a false blasphemy charge against him. Hameed and Masih had both made application for the same parcel of land.

Christian policeman Jamshed Masih was recently transferred to the predominantly Muslim Mustafa Colony in Jhelum, south of Islamabad. However, local Muslims unwilling to have the Christian family living amongst them, immediately began conspiring against them.

On 21 June, a mob led by local Muslim religious leader Maulana Mahfooz Khan descended on the family's home after Masih had left for work. Sensing trouble brewing, Masih's wife, Razia, had already phoned her husband and asked him to come home urgently. Khan accused the eldest son (11) of blasphemy, drawing a crowd. As Razia pleaded for mercy someone in the crowd hit her on the head with a hard object, causing her to bleed and her children to cry. The agitated crowd began baying for blood, and by the time Jamshed Masih got home, his wife and four children lay murdered -- massacred. Masih tried to file a complaint, but the Station House Officer refused to register a FIR.

On 1 July Rev. Rashid Emmanuel (32) and Sajid Emmanuel (30), leaders of United Ministries Pakistan, were falsely accused of blasphemy. They were supposed to have written a blasphemous document and signed their names to it (a highly unlikely scenario in any case, except for someone with a death wish).

Over 10 and 11 July many hundreds of enraged Muslims marched through the predominantly Christian colony of Dawood Nagar. Spewing abuse and obscenities, they called for the immediate death of the two Christian brothers. According to Compass Direct News, while Islamic extremists led the protests, most participants appeared to be teenagers who pelted the main gate of the Waris Pura Catholic Church with stones, bricks and shards of glass and pounded the gate with bamboo clubs.

It was widely expected that the brothers would soon be exonerated as handwriting experts had notified police that the signatures on the papers denigrating Muhammad did not match those of the accused.

On 19 July 2010, the brothers were shot dead outside the Faisalabad courthouse by five masked men. The bodied of the slain brothers showed signs of torture. The killings have caused religious tensions in Faisalabad to soar.

In Farooqabad in eastern Punjab, on the night of 21 July, three Muslim co-workers of a Christian man allegedly raped his 16-year-old daughter at gunpoint. Then, on 29 July, after Masih complained to police, two other Muslims who work for his employer, kidnapped him and took him to the employer's farmhouse where they allegedly shackled and tortured Masih, leaving him in critical condition.

In Rawalpindi district, students from the local Jamia Islamia Madrassa have been harassing Christians in the villages around Gujar Khan. According to a local pastor, they routinely beat Christian children and throw stones at the church. 'They openly announce that "the Christians are our enemies, we should not talk to them, eat with them or do business with them".' (NOTE: the Qur'an repeatedly commands Muslims to maintain enmity towards and separation from Christians.) On 22 July, a 12-yr-old girl from a local Christian family was gang-raped by 7 or 8 madrassa students. A teacher who witnessed the incident overheard one of the 16-strong student-mob saying: 'We will teach these Christians a lesson they will never forget'.

When the girl's distraught parents subsequently went to the police station to file a complaint, the officer in charge refused to register it, yielding to local Muslim pressure. According to the Center for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), 'Such vicious incidents are not being stopped by the government, and day by day the rate of rapes of Christian girls is escalating instead of plunging.' (As would be expected when rape is rewarded with impunity.)

SINDH PROVINCE.

On 13 July 2010, Dr. Abdul Jabbar Meammon, his driver, another Muslim doctor and two other men, beat, tortured and gang-raped Christian trainee nurse Magdalene Ashraf at the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center, Karachi, Sind Province. In an effort to cover up their crime, the three Muslim men then attempted to kill Magdalene by throwing her out of a window on the hospital's 4th floor. While Magdalene survived the attack, she is a critical condition with serious head and shoulder injuries.

Magdlene told the Christian Lawyers' Foundation (CLF) that a nurse named Sajjad Fatima had set her up, sending her to Dr Meammon's room on false pretenses. When Magdalene entered Dr Meammon's office, he grabbed her. “When I resisted and tried to escape, nurse Fatima slapped both my cheeks and pushed me into Dr. Jabbar,” Ashraf said. “I cried out but no one arrived there to rescue me. They not only gang-raped me, they also tortured me physically and ruthlessly beat me.”

Dr Jabbar Meammon, a known sexual predator, has been charged with attempted murder. No-one has been charged with rape or assault. Meanwhile, as Dr Meammon and his legal team work on his contrary story (where he the victim!), Ashraf's family is receiving threats.

On 15 July, Pastor Aaron John, Rohail Bhatti, Salman John, Abid Gill and Shamin Mall were shot dead -- massacred -- and six others were wounded when a dozen masked men opened fire on them as they exited their church property in Sukkur, Sindh Province.

Students from a local madrassa (Qur'anic school) have been threatening the church since 2008, and according to reports, while the gunmen had young physiques like those of students, their manner of attack indicated they were trained militants.

The church members had been meeting to discuss security in the light of a threatening letter the church had received in May from Islamic extremist group Sip-e-Sahaba warning the Christians to leave the area because they were not welcome and were polluting the land.

The police and ambulance took 45 minutes to arrive.

A church member told Compass Direct News that, not only had the police refused to register a FIR in relation to the threats, they have also yielded to Muslim pressure and refused to register a FIR in relation to the Sukkur massacre.

FLOODS

Pakistan's devastating floods are the result of unprecedented monsoonal rains AND bad governance, for Pakistan has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world.

Pakistan today has less than 5 percent forest cover. (Five percent is the official government figure, but the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says forests only amount to about 2.5 percent of the country's total area.)

The floods have wiped out millions of homes AND, accord to TIME magazine, some 17 million acres of agricultural land have been submerged, and more than 100,000 animals have perished.
A humanitarian crisis of monumental proportions is unfolding.

Further to this, Bishop Humphrey Peters of Peshawar warns that aid is unlikely to reach marginalised minority Christians.

Meanwhile, the people's anger, hunger and desperation, combined with the government's virtual collapse in credibility, and the Army's diversion into rescue and relief, provides the al-Qaeda-Taliban with a phenomenal window of opportunity. As TIME magazine notes, it will be difficult -- suicidal in fact -- for the government to crack down on Islamic fundamentalist and militant groups -- like the Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation, an Islamic "charity" with alleged links to the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba -- when these groups are extending aid and assistance to the displaced and are receiving donations from the "urban middle class of Punjab, who are turning increasingly to religious conservatism".

Is the battle for Pakistan essentially already over?

In a 4 Aug 2010 column for Dawn (Pakistan), Rafia Zakaria (a US-based attorney who teaches constitutional history and political philosophy) writes that while the Pakistani army might be having some military successes against the Pakistani Taliban, the Taliban's "social project of producing a radicalised Pakistan attracted to literal and intolerant interpretations of faith is flourishing. Examples of such societal radicalisation abound, a notable one being the lack of public outcry against the rampant persecution of minorities who do not fit into the idealised mould of the Sunni Muslim Pakistani citizen."

See: Everyday intolerance
By Rafia Zakaria, for Dawn, Wednesday, 04 Aug 2010

In lamenting the Islamisation of Pakistan, Zakaria notes not only the persecution of religious minorities -- Christians, Ahmadis and Hindus -- but also the banning of Facebook (deemed blasphemous, the ban was supported by 70% of Pakistanis), and the banning of Teray Bin Laden, a comedy film that pokes fun at Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden and features Pakistani pop star Ali Zafar. "The affinity for bans suggests the increasing prevalence of a worldview that wants to eliminate perspectives that are repugnant, rather than develop intellectual arguments against them."

Zakaria deplores the Islamisation of college campuses, noting that some have banned "Western dress", and decries the rise of Islamic vigilantism.

Zakaria expresses a widely held fear that, "while the Pakistani military may be winning the territorial conflict, the war for the Pakistani psyche may already have been lost."


This post is an extended version of Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 069 | Wed 18 Aug 2010, "PAKISTAN: SITUATION CRITICAL".

Thursday, March 18, 2010

JOS AGAIN!

Once again Christian residents of Jos South have been slaughtered in the night. At around 2 a.m. on Wednesday 17 March, Fulani Muslims armed mostly with knives and machetes crept into Biye and Batam villages under cover of darkness. In an attack that bears striking resemblance to the 7 March massacre centred on Dogon-Nahawa in which as many as 500 died, the Fulani torched homes, fired gunshots into the air, and then hacked the predominantly Christian ethnic Berom to death as they fled. This attack left 12 dead and many others critically wounded. Amongst the dead were a 90-year-old woman, several children, and a pregnant woman who was hacked to death and burned with a baby strapped to her back. Some of the victims were murdered in their beds. Some of the victims had their tongues cut out.

The press release from Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) includes two photos (to be credited to CSW).

To understand why this indigene vs settler / Muslim vs Christian / Fulani vs Berom violence is occurring in Jos, see my earlier post entitled: Why is Jos such a tinderbox?

This latest attack has two very disturbing elements:
1) Reports of attackers in Nigerian army fatigues;
2) Reports that some of the victims had their tongues cut out.

Military complicity?

There are many reasons to suspect that some of the military personnel posted to secure Jos South and enforce the curfew have actually been complicit in both the 7 March and 16 March massacres. However, the General Officer, Commanding 3 Armoured Division, Maj.-Gen. Sale Maina, disputes the claims of the villagers that soldiers were involved in the attacks.

We can only hope that he is right, because if the Nigerian army splits along partisan lines, then Nigeria will be in serious trouble indeed.

Mutilation of bodies.

Why would killers cut out and take the tongues of their victims? If they butchered their victims before killing them, then it was torture, torture for torture's sake, for the pleasure of the torturer, to satiate his hatred. Even if the tongues were cut out post-mortem (which is the most likely scenario), mutilation of the body still represents extreme hatred. The fact that the mouth was targeted indicates that it is the profession/speech/testimony of the victims that is most intensely despised.

Of course the removal and collection of victims' tongues can have one other purpose: that is, for use as juju -- occult charms. If this is the case then it indicates that some of the killers are practising both Islam and pre-Islamic African occultism. While syncretism of this sort is common in Africa, the mixing of ethnic-religious hatred and fierce competition + the Qur'anic/Islamic mandate to dominate + occultic power/influence can only herald more horror ahead for the Christians of Jos South.

Does this violence have a sponsor?

Jos Governor Jonah Jang has accused "Some key people in Nigeria" of being behind the violence. "Plateau State is under siege," he said. "The attacks on the Plateau are beyond misunderstanding within the ethnic groups in the state. Some key people in Nigeria are behind it.

"In fact, some international communities are involved. Some people are making money with human blood, when they attack us they would send them text messages that they need more money.

"Some billions of naira are coming into this country because of the crisis in Plateau State; but I see it as a battle against the nation and not Plateau."

Libya's President Muammar Gaddafi has suggested that Nigeria be partitioned between Muslims and Christians, supposedly to prevent more bloodshed (when in actual fact partition would lead to massive bloodshed). As Nigeria's oil lies in the south, Gaddafi is not recommending independence, merely separation with autonomy, with the oil wealth to be shared between north and south.

Gaddafi's proposition is being widely derided and Nigeria has recalled its ambassador to Libya in protest of the reckless statement. Regardless, many Muslims, local and foreign, will doubtless be greatly inspired by it.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

NIGERIA: Why is Jos such a tinderbox?

This headline from The Times says it all:

500 butchered in Nigeria killing fields
8 March 2010
By Jonathan Clayton, Africa Correspondent and Ruth Gledhill

The blood-curdling massacre of possibly 500 predominantly Christian ethnic Berom in Jos South in the early hours of Sunday 7 March has been widely reported.

Plateau State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Gregory Yenlong, described the attack on the Berom villages as ethnic cleansing.

So why is Jos such a tinderbox?

TRENDS

With foresight and good governance, individual trends can be managed. Multiple trends can also be managed, although that is obviously more difficult. The real trouble occurs when trends collide like two chemicals to cause an explosion, or merge like two rivers to cause a flood. Jos is a perfect example of the chaos that erupts upon a confluence of trends.

Consider these trends:

(1) Nigeria has a massive rate of population growth (double the world average).

(2) Nigeria has a rapid rate of urbanisation.

(3) Nigeria's southward migration of Hausa and Fulani Muslim pastoralists is putting great pressure on Nigerian's ethnic-religious fault-line. Pushed out of the Sahel by drought, the Muslim immigrants are drawn to the arable lands and industrial towns of sub-Saharan Africa which are populated by settled, mostly Christian African tribes.

(4) Nigeria has not been immune to the global revival of fundamentalist Islam. (Note: Islam is essentially a political construct with a religious element -- not the other way around.)

The first two trends portend (especially in third-world or developing state) increased competition for jobs, land and resources, as well as escalating crime and violence.

Add in the third trend -- immigration -- and much of this competition takes on "settler" vs "indigene", as well as ethnic (i.e. Fulani vs Berom) and religious (Muslim vs Christian) dimensions.

Add in the fourth trend -- the revival of fundamentalist Islam -- and we get, in the already volatile mix, increased polarisation of peoples; increased Muslim intolerance towards Christians; Muslim demands for Sharia law; and Muslim striving for dominance (political and social).

So while most commentators are saying that the Jos crisis is not religious, I would say that the revival of fundamentalist Islam is an integral element in the mix -- akin to fuel on fire.

Given an inch. . .

In 1991, President (General) Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) (a military dictator) introduced reforms to make local governments more autonomous and democratic. At the same time, as the the daily Sun news reports, "Military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida created Jos North Local Government to respond to the 'need' of the settlers [Hausa and Fulani Muslims] to feel a sense of belonging". ( Undercurrents of the Jos mayhem, By Chinelo Agina. The Sun (Nigeria) 17 Feb 2010)

The Sun News continues: "For many years, the Beroms and the Anaragutas, the original owners of the local government, co-existed side by side with the Yorubas, the Hausas and the Fulanis who had come there to settle, but after a while, the Hausas and Fulanis, who had increased in population started agitating for an Emir (a King), an Hausa who will represent them and protect their interests at the state and national levels.

According to the Sun, they were also demanding that the Local Government Chairman of Jos North be a Hausa or a Fulani. Of course the Beroms vehemently objected to this, fearing that if such discrimination were permitted, then Muslim tribes would dominate and Christians would lose their rights.

Dr Aliyu U. Tilde comments that the creation of Jos North Local Government gave the Hausa and Fulani Muslims "a sort of majority assurance", whereby they could "use their number in a democracy to mitigate [their] vulnerability. That is why some natives see the creation of Jos North as a deliberate attempt by Babangida to protect [or advance] the Hausa/Fulani.

"The Hausa, however, became dominant in the heart of Jos City, the old Jos, where their parents and grandparents were among the first to settle. That area formed Jos North Local Government where all commercial and government activities take place. This raised a unique situation where the non-natives are the dominant ethnic group of the capital city."

(See also: Jos crisis: When a mining city becomes an eternal killing field
By Charles Kumolu. 8 March 2010)

In November 2008, a Berom Christian from Jos South was named the winner of the Jos North local government chairman elections. While this was widely cited as the cause of the November 2008 Muslim rioting left at least 300 dead, around 10,000 displaced, and "settler" vs "indigene" ethnic-religious tensions higher than ever, the rioting actually started before the result was known. Furthermore, as Christian Solidarity pointed out, the Muslim rioters did not target political institutions. Rather, "rioters armed with guns, spears, machetes and other weapons immediately attacked Christian businesses, churches and the homes of clergymen". A local source informed Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW): "As usual they took Jos by surprise, and are now hiding behind election results to launch and excuse their mayhem." Sixteen churches were razed in that riot, and four Christian pastors were killed. (See: CSW press release Jos, Nigeria – ‘Inaccurate reporting’ causes resentment among Christian community. 1 Dec 2008)


Many in the Christian community believe that the "settlers" / Hausa and Fulani / Muslims are intent on driving the "indigenes" / Berom / Christians out of Jos -- or at least forcing their surrender.


Comments from the Anglican Archbishop of Jos, Ben Kwashi:

Violence Is Not Religiously Motivated, Nigerian Archbishop Says
By ROBERT MACKEY, 8 March 2010

This insightful article includes three film clips, one of which (the last one) gives an excellent overview of the crisis.

While the headline says the "violence is not religiously motivated", what Archbishop Kwashi is saying is that the tribes are not fighting over alleged blasphemies or apostasies; the nature of Jesus or the preaching of the gospel.

However, as I noted earlier, Muslim supremacy and Muslim domination are integral to Islam which merely uses its religion as a means to advance its political agenda. As such, I would maintain that the violence is motivated and fuelled by Islam -- both the Muslim's striving for domination, and the Christian's legitimate fear of dhimmitude (the highly vulnerable, second-class status of Jews and Christians subjugated under Islam).

FINALLY

For suggestions regarding prayer see:

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin (RLPB) 046
Nigeria: explosive situation needs defusing.
By Elizabeth Kendal. 10 March 2010