Tuesday, 7 February 2012

"Things fall apart": the battle against 'Religious cleansing'

Covering some of the same issues as Ayaan Hirsi Ali's piece on the persecution of Christians and other minority religions in Muslim-dominated countries, is an editorial from the UK Spectator magazine, "Things fall Apart". It suggests the use of a new phrase: "religious cleansing".
Last week, the Islamist group Boko Haram launched a horrific attack, bombing five Nigerian police stations and killing 186 in one day. What started as a campaign targeting Christians in the north has now grown into a crisis that threatens to overwhelm the Nigerian government — and the church leaders who appealed for foreign assistance have had little response. When Nigeria’s president said he is now facing a crisis as grave as the civil war of 1967, in which a million died, his words were barely reported by the foreign press. This former British colony, which we controlled until 1960, has slipped off our political radar.
Just as the Foreign Office missed the emergence of ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia, it is having difficulty recognising the new evil of religious cleansing. It takes different forms in different countries, from pastors being randomly assassinated in the Philippines to the massacres of congregations in Iraq, whose ancient Christian community is now midway through an exodus of Biblical proportions. Behind it all lies a virulent strain of radical Sunni Islam, enlisting young men in a new war where the enemy lies not over a border but in the church, synagogue or temple. [more....]. 
BTW: both the Spectator and Hirsi Ali say that "Boko Haram" means "western education is sinful".  As I understand it, the literal meaning is "books are sinful", which is even more sinister, but can be understood from the Islamic fundamentalist point of view: that all is needed is the Koran.  If it's in the Koran, then you don't need another book to repeat it; and if it's not in the Koran, then it's not needed.
Just a niggle...