A guest post by AKUS
Christmas in Nigeria was met with a horrendous attack by Islamic extremists on a church where a congregation of Christians was celebrating their holiday.
The United States’ National Public Radio (NPR) had no problem citing an Associated Press report that gave the religious identity of the perpetrators and brief summary of their activities.
An explosion ripped through a Catholic church during Christmas Mass near Nigeria’s capital Sunday, killing at least 25 people, officials said. A radical Muslim sect claimed responsibility for the attack and another bombing near a church in the restive city of Jos, as explosions also struck the nation’s northeast.
The Christmas Day attacks show the growing national ambition of the sect known as Boko Haram, which is responsible for at least 491 killings this year alone, according to an Associated Press count. The assaults come a year after a series of Christmas Eve bombings in Jos claimed by the militants left at least 32 dead and 74 wounded.
On the other hand, as Robin Shepherd’s “Commentator” pointed out:
The BBC was practically performing somersaults to avoid using the ‘I’ word. But on their website even they had to acknowledge, though still somewhat obliquely, that the perpetrators were almost certainly going to be Islamists:
“Security has been high after violence between Islamist gunmen and soldiers in northern Nigeria,” as Britain’s impeccably politically correct state broadcaster put it.
Meanwhile, the BBC did not hesitate to report that at Christmas mass in Westminster Cathedral the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Vincent Nichols, was worrying about Israel and the Palestinians:
During his Christmas Mass sermon at Westminster Cathedral, Archbishop Nichols focused on 50 Palestinian families in the West Bank who he said faced losing their land to Israel.
He said: “At this moment the people of the parish of Beit Jala in Bethlehem prepare for their legal battle to protect their homes and their land from further expropriation from Israel… we pray for them tonight.”
As we typically see in the rabidly anti-Israeli Guardian, the Archbishop used Christmas and Bethlehem to direct an attack on Israel. Do we even know if there are 50 families, or do they exist only on the anti-Israeli websites? Do they need the Archbishop’s prayers when appealing to one of the world’s most respected judiciaries which has repeatedly ruled in favor of Palestinians on land issues?
After all, anyone with any real knowledge of the issues on the West Bank knows how complicated they can be, and how simplistic reports by interested parties can hide the complexity of what really happens there. For example, this report from Agence France-Press in August 2010 – “In gesture of peace progress, Israel demolishes massive concrete barrier” – tells a very different story and includes some context that explains why the security barrier was needed near Beit Jala:
Israeli troops on Sunday began demolishing a huge concrete wall erected nine years ago to prevent shooting attacks towards Gilo, a Jewish neighbourhood in occupied east Jerusalem.
Or, these reports from Wikipedia’s section on Beit_Jala:
During the Second Intifada, Tanzim militants used Beit Jala as a base for launching launch sniper and mortar attacks on the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo. Gilo is located on a hilltop across from Beit Jala, partially on the lands of Beit Safafa and Sharafat. The Israeli government built a concrete barrier and installed bulletproof windows in homes and schools facing Beit Jala. The gunmen positioned themselves in or near Christian homes and churches in the knowledge that a slight deviation in Israeli return fire would harm Christian buildings.
There have been incidents of tension between Christians and Muslims in Beit Jala since the Palestinian Authority took over in 1995. Many Muslim families from Hebron and other parts of the West Bank moved to Beit Jala and illegally seized privately owned lands. Christian residents who tried to prevent Tanzim gunmen in Beit Jala from firing at the Israeli settlement of Gilo were beaten by the gunmen who were also accused of raping and murdering two sisters. There have been reports by Christian women in Beit Jala of being harassed by Muslim men from the village of Beit Awwa in the Hebron area. Muslim and Christian political leaders say that the violence is mostly the result of “personally motivated” disputes and deny the existence of an organized anti-Christian campaign.
But more startling in this context, if he wishes to turn his attention to world affairs, was Nichols’ avoidance of any mention of the repeated attacks carried out against Christians almost throughout the Islamic world.
As Robin Shepherd commented more generally:
Every atrocity perpetrated against Christians in the name of Islam, by contrast, seems all too quickly to be brushed under the carpet.
While lamenting the pending “legal battle”, Nichols is oblivious to the way Christians have been forced out of Gaza and Bethlehem by Islamists, without any “legal battle”.
If the “50 families” do exist, is the prospect of waging a “legal battle” which they will win if their claim is justified in any way a greater matter than Christians being blown up in Nigeria, Pakistan and Iraq, beaten and burnt to death in Egypt, thrown out of Gaza, or having their lands stolen by Moslems in the West Bank?
When the Islamists force the Christians out, it is with stones, guns, and bombs, not “legal battles”, but Nichols cannot bring himself, as Shepherd says of the BBC, to say the “I word”.
In the last week we have seen approximately 150 people killed by Islamic bombers in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and now in Nigeria. Yet Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, is on record as saying that the adoption of certain aspects of Sharia law in the UK “seems unavoidable”. He has given up the fight against Islamic extremism. Now he is joined by the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales who is oblivious to the real threat to his Church.
The Archbishops of two major English Churches are leading their flocks to the acceptance of a world of sharia and Islamism.
Only a blind man could not see a future bloody demise for Christians in the modern day Coliseum of radical Islamic fundamentalism.