The West’s Fear of Islam

This is a worthwile piece in The Week:

“Why hasn’t there been a greater response from the once-Christian West to the plight of Christians? It’s not for lack of outrageous events. The International Society for Human Rights estimates that 80 percent of acts of religious discrimination in the world have Christians as their victims. And these are starting to poke through the headlines. The purge in Mosul attracted some attention, the kidnapping and threatened murder of mostly Christian girls by Boko Haram, even more. But much less is said about the fate of Syrian Christians or Copts. Still less is said about even more obscure religious minorities like Yazidi and Druze who face discrimination from ISIS.

One reason for our silence, suggested by John Allen Jr. in his book The Global War on Christians, is that the modern humanitarian West has difficulty seeing Christians as “native” to third world nations. Their imagination of “global” Christianity is one of a religion implanted by Europeans and Americans through a violent, racist, and discredited colonialism. Of course this isn’t true in these cases, as there were Christians in Iraq, Syria, and Egypt long before there were any in Britannia or Biloxi. Allen also cited French philosopher Regis Debray’s view that in Christian persecution the victims are “‘too Christian’ to excite the Left, and ‘too foreign’ to excite the Right.”

But Ernesto Galli della Loggia, the lead editorial writer for Corriere della Sera, offered one provocative suggestion for Europe’s unwillingness to get involved: fear of Islam….

As comedian Penn Jillete elegantly pointed out, the way people avoid giving offense to Islam amounts to a damning condemnation in itself. It is perhaps the worst Western insult offered to Islamic people in the Middle East that we almost universally assume there’s not much point in asking them to recognize the human rights of Christians.

We don’t even expect polite reciprocity. Italy is expected to welcome one of the largest mosques in the world, funded by Saudi Arabia. But no one can build even a modest church in Saudi Arabia. In Egypt, Christians can’t even repair a wall in a church without explicit permission from the sovereign. Qatar has laws that punish people who convert from Islam to Christianity with death, but there’s no planned boycott of their upcoming World Cup because of it. We watch ISIS blow up what many consider the tomb of the prophet Jonah and just sigh, helplessly.”