A diplomatic report dated 1986 described the Armenian massacres of Christians during the Ottoman Empire in 1895-96: 88,000 dead, 568 Churches destroyed, 328 Churches converted into Mosques, 2,400 villages looted and 646 villages forcefully Islamicised. The brutal persecution of Armenians further continued for over 30 years, reaching its peak in 1915. The total death toll is estimated at 1.5 million Armenian and Assyrian Christians. The statistics of this blatant genocide is absolutely staggering and one cannot help but plead: if the Western leaders of 1896 were aware of such an atrocity so early on, why was there no action taken, no intervention, no prevention of further loss of life?
Just as the world stood by and allowed the systematic elimination of millions of Armenians, history has repeated itself through the systematic extermination of mainly Christians in the Middle East through the brutality of the Islamic State. Unlike in the case of the Gaza protests where hundreds of thousands came out in droves in abhorrence of Israel; no capital in the Western world has ground to a standstill in expressing pure outrage and compassion for the persecuted Christian Church. Few have demanded war crime trials for the perpetrators. For this is a war crime – the crime being the mass eradication of Christians from the very continent that gave birth to it and the very continent where Christianity preceded Islam. Across the Middle East, Christians are in the process of being ethnically and religiously cleansed from the very lands they have dwelt in for almost 2,000 years. America wasted no time in purporting a War on Terror campaign in Iraq and beyond in the wake of the horrors of 9/11, but the real War on Terror initiated 1,400 years ago during the birth of Islam, the apex of which we see in 2014;where a genocide, a crime against humanity and an act of evil against civilisation itself unfolds before our very eyes.
And just as the West turned its back on the suffering of Armenia’s Christians, painful lessons have still not been learned as history repeats and re-creates itself into a possible Islamic Holocaust. The West has yet again proved to betray Middle Eastern Christians. Under the tyrannies of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak and Libya’s Colonel Muammar Gadaffi, Christians and other minorities were afforded greater tolerance and protection as these leaders were all aware of the mainly Sunni-sect hatred and persecution they face. Syria’s Bashar al-Assad belongs to a minority Alwaite-sect of Islam and his political party has historically ensured the safeguard of Syria’s minorities. In the removal of these three leader and the current pressure on Assad to step down from power, the West have facilitated a scenario where a sharp proliferation of mainly Christian oppression and brutality has been allowed to flourish. As each of those steely leaderships have cascaded this has paved way for the political vacuum otherwise regarded as the ‘Arab Spring’. During and after the Arab Spring, Christians were especially targeted and successfully so, as the regimes that previously granted them security were in the process of being toppled. Fast forward to three months ago and the Islamic State have seized an area the size of a small nation, free to implement its Puritanical doctrine. Free to follow the Qu’ran in the most unequivocal and literal adherence. Free to carry out unimaginable brutality against everyone and anyone unwilling to conform to their ideology.
The birthplace of the Islamic State has caused utter decimation of Christian property, Churches and Christians themselves – to the point of no return. Mosul, the ancient Christian capital of Iraq has witnessed the Islamic State fulfill its Sharia Law and frequent amputation of limbs, crucifixions and the death penalty for apostasy has fast become the norm. The fate of Christians since the fall of Saddam has been appalling enough, with Canon Andrew White, Anglican vicar of Baghdad attesting: ‘Christians in Iraq are bombed and assassinated leaving Mass, driven out and targeted‘. But never has this ancient persecution of Iraqi Christians experienced thousands upon thousands fleeing from the very cities they have lived and practised their faith in for thousands of years. Mosul itself has been purged of nearly all of its inhabitants, with those remaining at risk of brutal torture and inevitably death.
The Islamic State have enacted a rampage of seizing military weapons and helicopters, freeing over 3,000 Muslim prisoners, looting and torching Churches and Christian villages. On 9 June, local police officers warned senior Christian leaders in Mosul to flee the city. From Niveneh to Kirkuk, Christians have been fleeing for their lives, leaving behind a livelihood they’ve only ever had and known. This scene of carnage and destruction to Iraqi Christian artifacts and edifices led local Mosul Christian Bashar Mansor to conclude: ‘this is the end of Christians. There will be no Christians in Iraq in ten years’.
The fate of Christians in Syria is another example of extreme bleakness and uncertainty as they struggle for survival. While the world has been distracted by Syria’s three year civil war, this has provided a cover for heightened persecution and repression of minority communities. They have been targeted in revenge for the protection afforded them under a stronger Assad leadership. The spread of the Islamic State has launched a far more brutal and violent insurgency that has displaced thousands of Christians; further decimating a people already diminished by over a decade of targeted hatred. The city of Raqqa is one example where Christians were given the ultimatum to pay the Jizya tax, convert to Islam or face death.
The city of Homs has now seen almost its entire Christian population of 50-60,000 fleeing for refuge and where the number remaining in the city is reported to have fallen below 1,000. The organisation Barnabas Fund who work globally with the Persecuted Church stated that: ‘Syrians are scared of the escalation of violence to the point of no control and the lack of security in most areas’
Human slaughter-houses for the purpose of butchering Christians, other minorities and even those Sunnis who do not comply with the Islamic State was recently discovered via one escapee Saif al-Adlubi. Saif relayed how he witnessed Armenian and Syrian Christians, Shiites and Sunnis being physically examined, before being decapitated from the root of their necks, their chest cavities opened, disemboweled and then hung upside down. Such slaughter-houses were first operated by the Free Syria Army before being assumed by the Islamic State. This sadistically barbaric act is done in alignment with the Islamic sacrificing of animals. In Islam it is permitted that a human replace an animal in a sacrificial ritual, referring back to Khalid Abdullah al-Kasri who sacrificed Jaad bin Durham instead of an animal on the Holy Festival of Sacrifice. Fast-track thousands of years later and this utterly depraved ideology sees pure Islam enact the exact cruelties.
We can see that that the West has everything to lose and nothing to gain by allowing the daily torture, kidnapping, enslaving, crucifying and beheading to continue. It is impossible to digest that in just three months, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi and Syrian ancient Christians and other minority sects have been decimated and driven out – displaced and dispossessed. Unspoken and unaccounted for.
The West must wake up to the reality of this crisis and see it for what it really is: a fast looming Islamic Holocaust unlike anything the world has previously witnessed. A genocide more brutal than the methods employed by the Nazis – individual hacking of persons, from young babes to the elderly. Blood flowing from street to street, city to city, country to country. Blood crying out for mercy from the very grounds of Iraq, Syria and potentially well beyond.
Western governments, Churches and media have fallen mute, largely and shamefully unresponsive; apparently unaware of their duty to our Christians, to our humanity. To this day America makes no mention nor publically recognises the genocide of the Armenian Christians where millions were starved, brutally hung and beheaded. All in the name of Turkish-American relations. Almost 100 years later and the West yet again is proving to be indifferent to the Christians of the Middle East, which is just as destructive as the daily decimation they endure. Three months could easily become three years of this heinous and offensive to the human race: the Islamic State. While Obama tries to make the Islamic State a ‘manageable problem’ and Cameron feebly condemns this act of savagery and that act of brutality, another day in passing is another day too late.
The talk of Western leadership has at large always been cheap. As cheap as the lives of terrorised Christians in the Middle East has become.
The official estimate for the number of refugees globally passes the 50 million mark for the first time since World War II. According to UNHCR reports, over half of this figure belongs to refugee children. In a world experiencing a severe deficit of peace, security and stability, millions of people around the globe are left with no option but to evict themselves from their own homes – their own countries. Whenever the refugee topic crops up, generally speaking many consider war, famine, being in opposition to dominant political leaders and parties, or belonging to minority tribes and castes as among the reasons for why there are so many displaced people worldwide. But what many people fail to recognise is how the frequent and substantial persecution of religious minorities acts as a catalyst to drive millions of inhabitants out of their homeland.
Most of the world’s attention has been focused on the Middle East recently and not for no reason. Place yourself in the shoes of a Syrian Shiite or Christian in this current climate. You are surrounded by unbearable violence and lack all the basic essentials needed for you and your family daily. Your communities are routinely targeted by Islamic militants with your homes and Churches lying in utter ruin. You have had friends and family members kidnapped, sold into slavery or beheaded – leaving you extremely vulnerable and unprotected. Fundamentally you have been deprived of your sanity and humanity. You too would join the countless others in search of a life worth living.
These are the untold stories of the civil war in Syria, the violent instability and upheaval in Iraq, Libya and Lebanon. And not just this continent but throughout Africa, where Boko Haram are persecuting Christians especially in northern Nigeria, to the Central African Republic all the way through to Somalia where the brutal violence enacted against the Christians and minorities by al-Shabaab and other militant groups see millions displaced across the region. The same paradigm can be found throughout South Asia – from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India and stretching to Afghanistan.
Recently approximately 600,000 Syrian Christians have been reported to have fled to neighbouring countries, joining a total of the 2 million Syrian refugee population.
The United Nations estimate that a third of Syrians have been displaced by the last few years of war. It is feared that if the migration of Christians from Syria continues then the country will emulate Iraq, which since 1990 has witnessed three-quarters of its Christian population take flight. As much of this minority community has been substantially depleted in both these nations, the Church is in perilous decline to the extent that it faces permanent extinction.
The continent of South Asia fares no better. The usual persecution is daily carried out against the country’s minority Shia, Ahmadi and Christian communities. But especially poignant in Pakistan is its controversial Blasphemy Law used against its Christians who account for 2% of the total population.
Those acquitted of Blasphemy charges remain in constant danger of being targeted and killed. One example is Farrukh Gill, forced to flee Pakistan with his family after being falsely accused of writing blasphemous letters and burning pages of the Qu’ran. Such charges were later dropped but the beatings, police torture and continued death threats saw the Gill family flee to a designated safe-house provided by a Christian charity. Their country of migration is unclassified.
Since December 2012 when a militant Islamic uprising initiated in the Christian-majority Central African Republic, over 1 million people have been displaced by the bloodshed and thousands of Christians have fled to neighbouring countries. In the wake of the abduction of the Chibok girls, Boko Haram have implemented a bloody massacre, butchering thousands of people in villages to the North-east of Nigeria. This has prompted thousands to migrate to nearby countries and 5 million Nigerians are reported to be displaced in recent years.
It is not possible to comprehend 50 million refugees let alone each individual story. The ones mentioned have not even scratched the surface in any of the above countries. But it is imperative to recognise that from all the continents of the earth, persecution of minorities is a daily occurrence and only those financially able, only those fortunate to obtain the relevant documents are able to escape the trauma that is their life. For too many decades have the Kurds been dispossessed and without an official homeland, finding residence in neighbouring Turkey and Syria and yet in this current climate this displacement is further guaranteed. With other minorities such as the Yazidis well on their way to adopting a similar status.
By now the ‘Islamic State’ and ‘the Caliphate’ are phrases very familiar globally as the world hones in on the spread of Puritanical Islam particularly in the Middle East. Not much attention is being given to the spread of the Caliphate, an agenda particularly permeating throughout Africa and namely Nigeria these past few months. The world remains silent on the effect IS is having on countless militant Islamic organisations worldwide, nor do they publically establish the connection between this Caliphate Movement (officially known to many as initiating in Iraq) and organisations such as Boko Haram in Nigeria. The key word being connection. Islamic insurgent movements globally are not without their networks and the connection between Islamic State and Boko Haram is no exception.
Both these groups are linked to Al-Qaeda: ISIL emerged as an off-shoot from Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram are known to still be in connection to them. Inevitably then both IS and Boko Haram are of the same ideology despite geographical location and any replication by way of seizing land and beheading of man in Nigeria should come as no surprise. However, Boko Haram hasn’t emerged as a fresh Jihadist organisation as a direct result of the Caliphate Movement. Many are aware they have been in existence for the past 5 years, in a country divided equally between Muslims and Christians. Nigeria’s Muslims are primarily Sunni and concentrated in the north of the country, whereas its Christians predominantly dwell in the Middle Belt and the South.
Designated as a foreign terrorist organisation by the United States, the meaning of Boko Haram translates as ‘Western education is forbidden’. Ignoring the fact they speak english themselves, a Western language however hard they wish to distort the facts. Their goal is to eradicate Nigerian democracy and replace it with an Islamic state governed by Sharia Law and their leader Abu Bakr Shekau reiterated this in his threat to Nigerians on January 28 2012: ‘there are no exceptions. Even if you are Muslim and can’t abide by Sharia we will kill you. Even if you are my own father we will kill you’.
Boko Haram provoked an international outcry on August 26, 2011 with its suicide attack on the UN headquarters in Abuja, but has since made significant changes in its tactics – switching its focus on internally eliminating the Christian factor in Nigeria. Major attacks have frequently been carried out against Nigeria’s Christians living in majority Muslim areas in the north and north-east of the country. Boko Haram’s new phase of anti-Christian attacks can be divided into the following categories:
1) Attacks against local Christians in the Boko Haram core operating area of the Borno and Yobe states, in addition to the adjacent state of Bauchi.
2) Major suicide operations and/or targeted bombings of high-profile Churches in Jos, Plateau State and within the city of Abuja.
3) Violent reprisals against Church/Parachurch personnel throughout the North and Middle-Belt regions of Nigeria.
Boko Haram initiated 2011 with a series of suicide attacks, bombings and targeted murders in Damaturu, Yobe state which killed at least 100. Christmas Day 2011 provided militants the perfect opportunity to target worshipers as they left Christian service. The cities of Jos and Abuja -both containing expatriate populations and cities with wide media coverage -witnessed suicide attacks against its Churches, killing at least 25 on 25 December.
The shedding of Christian blood by Boko Haram continued into 2012, on January 5, 6, 10, 11 and 24 (in the cities of Maidguguri, Adumawara and Jos) , in February 19 (Soleja, near Abuja) until February 25 (Abuja and Jos). The behaviour of Boko Haram indicates a possible civilian war in Nigeria which the world makes no mention of, nor of the militants purposely expelling Christians from mainly-Muslim towns and cities, to the point where much of the Christian population of Maiduguri have been regularly fleeing the city as early as 2010 and 2011.
However, the past 6 months has sparked an unprecedented wave of anti-Christian violence, with thousands finding refuge in neighbouring countries as the Caliphate Movement pervades its way into Nigeria. It has given Boko Haram an ever deeper determination to create a state for Islam and Islam alone. The state of Borno has experienced unbearable suffering at the hands of this militant organisation, from the abduction of the 270 Chibok girls in April to the butchering of thousands of Nigerians this past week.
In the wake of the Chibok abductions 5 months ago, Boko Haram have embarked upon a relentless rampage, seizing churches and occupying lands across northern Nigeria. On June 1, 9 members of a local Church in Attagra village, Borno were killed as gunmen opened fire on a congregation gathered for Sunday morning service. The same day in Gwoshe town, Borno, 2 Churches were torched alongside several homes and local shops. This town is no stranger to Boko Haram violence as 21 Christians were reported to have been killed on 25 May, when militants set upon the Church of Christ in Nations.
Stories of beheadings and forced conversions to Islam of Nigerian Christian women, before being married off to their captors have poured out from the region in addition to reports of petrol bombs and IEDs being used to decimate persons and Christian property.Eyewitnesses have spoken of Boko Haram’s intent to cleanse Nigeria of Christians and even certain moderate Muslim communities. Reverend John Bakeni of Maiduguri’s Roman Catholic Diocese, told Religious News Service: ‘a good number of parishes in Pulka and Madagali areas have been overrun in the last few days. Many civilians are on the run. Many others are trapped and killed. Life means nothing here. It’s so cheap and valueless’. The usual barbarity against Christians has seen a proliferation of the norm, markedly so since August when Boko Haram’s Shekau announced an Islamic Caliphate. This has led many Church officials to see no difference between Boko Haram and ISIL. Bakeni spoke of the connection between the two organisations: ‘the same ideology runs through their methods and disposition’.
As the civilian death toll reaches 2,000 in 2014 alone, this has provoked national and international outcry. The Gwoza Christian Community Association wrote an open letter to the Borno state Governor, accusing him of not acting swiftly enough to stem the violence; highlighting 46 mainly Christian villages entirely destroyed by Boko Haram members. The open letter can be viewed below.
Desecration of Nigeria’s Christians has led Christian Solidarity Worldwide’s (CSW) Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas to denounce Boko Haram as a ‘relentless campaign of religious cleansing. Boko Haram continues to commit war crimes by willfully destroying Churches. Moreover, the sect has illustrated once again its disregard for every religion and the sanctity of human life, not only by targeting the innocent as they pray but also by indoctrinating vulnerable girls for use as disposable commodities, to fulfill its murderous purposes’.
To date, the Nigerian government and security forces seem incapable of responding to Boko Haram and minimising its bloody trail. In fact certain elements of these security forces and political leaders of the Muslim-majority north are either complicit with the organisation or sit back in utter complacence in the face of terror. President Goodluck Jonathan recently admitted his Cabinet contained apparent Boko Haram collabarators, leading him to sack many of them.
This lack of inability to launch an effective offensive against the militant organisation enable them to be virtually unchallenged. Boko Haram have managed to secure Maiduguri in Borno state, as well as expanding its operating area of the major Muslim areas of northern Nigeria. More towns to add to the creation of a Nigerian Islamic Caliphate. Boko Haram now controls a large swath of north-eastern Nigeria, expanding into neighbouring Cameroon. Last Tuesday saw the capture of Bara and Banki located south-west of Maiduguri.
Hussain Monguno, leader of the civic Borno-Yobe People’s Forum spoke of the bodies that littered the streets of Bama, a city containing around 200,000. A city currently overrun by Boko Haram militants. The Nigerian Emergency Management Agency reported that 26,500 residents have fled Bama this week, joining almost 12,000 who fled Gwoza which was seized by the organisations 2 weeks ago. The UN Refugee Agency stated that nearly 650,000 Nigerians have been forced from their homes, now displaced within their own country. Tens of thousands have been reported to be looking for shelter in neighbouring countries. Human rights and aid workers have estimated that a total of 1.5 million Nigerians have been affected.
Nigeria’s semi-dysfunctional society, lacking in basic security and the rule of law has been exploited by these Islamic militants as there as no real tangible government and security processes against them. This has led to serious and dire consequences. Since the country has shown itself to be generally inept in safeguarding especially its Christian and minority communities, it has resulted in the succumbing to Boko Haram’s henious aims. The establishment of an Islamic Caliphate indicates that the future of Nigeria and its surrounding nations to be in desperate uncertainty.
I am witness to the alarming rate at which Malaysia sways towards religious oppression of its non-Muslims. In further development of this, Malaysia’s north-eastern state of Kelantan is set to propose the enforcement of the Islamic ‘Hudud’ Bill in its Parliament after it was unanimously passed by the Kelantan State Assembly on 19 March. Hudud is a term for the severe, Koran-prescribed punishment for offences that are considered being against God himself. These include amputation for theft, stoning for adultery, flogging for alcohol consumption, crucifixion for armed robbery and execution for apostasy.
This Kelantan bill which was initially passed in 1993 but prevented from being implemented on the grounds of its unconstitutional nature, has been passed yet again and now being set in motion. The Bill is an amendment of the 1965 Syariah (Sharia) Courts Act which currently limits Sharia penalties to a fine of 3,000 Malaysian Ringgits ($800), 5 years imprisonment and 6 strokes of a cane. Sharia law is heavily prevalent in the running of Malaysian law and politics and Kelantan state is of no exception. In Kelantan, Syariah courts function alongside the penal court system and are governed by state legislation rather than federal law.
The Islamic Parti Islam-se Malaysia (PAS) Party is the ruling coalition in Kelantan state and have already proposed 2 Private Members Bills in Parliament during its sitting which concluded yesterday. The first proposal is to enable Syariah courts to legislate on certain crimes currently under the charge of the Penal Code. The second is to enable Syariah courts to sentence those convicted to the aforementioned punishments according to the Koran-prescribed Hudud. Despite the requirement for a majority Parliamentary vote to enact the first proposal and a two-thirds majority to enact the second, given the unanimous passing of the Hudud Bill in the first place, it is highly unlikely that the Kelantan state government will struggle to enforce such punishments.
This PAS Bill states that Hudud can only affect the Muslim population of the state but it fundamentally strips away the right of anyone wishing to leave Islam for any other religion or quite possibly, to simply abandon it. The implementation of this Bill will clearly divide the state along ethnic and religious lines, as under the proposed code for example, women and non-Muslim men are not permitted to testify as witnesses in Syariah courts. This has led political and social researcher, Dr Wong Chin Huat to pose the valid statement:
‘If I am robbed in Kelantan by a Muslim and his case goes to Syariah court and I cannot be my own witness in full competence, how can this be justice?’
It should be pointed out that this Hudud Bill is not unique to Kelantan alone, rather the state is just a latest example of the curtailing of religious freedom within Malaysia. Terengganu state for instance has also attempted to introduce similar legislation. I am still living in Malaysia until the summer and I can honestly say the country’s politics does not shy away from exclusively carving out a Muslim nation explicitly for the Malays and chipping away at non-Malay and non-Muslim freedoms.
Two-thirds of Malaysia’s Christians live in Sarawak and Sabah and the churches of Sarawak have been particularly vocal in its criticism of the Hudud Bill, perceiving its enactment to be in violation of the secular foundation upon which Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak formed Malaysia. The Kuching Ministers’ Fellowship (KMF), a network of church pastors and leaders in Sarawak, joined the Sabah Council of Churches in criticising the passing of the Kelantan Shariah Criminal Code II Enactment 1993 (amendment 2015) last month in the east coast state run by Islamist party PAS.
“The recently-passed Kelantan Hudud enactment is in direct contradiction to the aspirations of founding fathers of our nation to keep Malaysia a secular state as evidenced in several historical documents that explicitly state this,” KMF chairman Pastor Daron Tan stated.
“The introduction of hudud law is a fundamental breach and deviation from the expressed commitment to complete religious freedom, a key term underpinning the Malaysia Agreement signed in July 1963 between Sarawak, Sabah and Malaya,” he added.
As the original secular roots of Malaysia continues to be eroded and replaced with an ever-present, ever-pressing purer form of Islam, the nation continues to be plunged deeper into uncertainty for its religious minorities. Malaysia is becoming a country of increasing alarm, its politics increasingly embedded and infiltrated by hard-line Islamists. Personally speaking, it has become a country that has gained priority in my nations-to-watch list.
Theresa May stepped outside 10 Downing Street on 4th June, to state the following:
‘We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are. Things need to change and they need to change in 4 important ways.’
May blamed the recent terror attacks on ‘the single, evil ideology of Islamist extremism, that preaches hatred, sows division and promotes sectarianism. It is an ideology that claims our Western values of freedom, democracy and human rights, are incompatible with the religion of Islam.’
She then outlined a plan of resolve:
‘It will only be defeated when we turn peoples’ minds away from this violence and make them understand that our values – pluralistic values – are superior to anything offered by the preachers and supporters of hate. We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed. Yet that is precisely what the internet and big companies that provide internet services, provide. We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements that regulate cyber-space, to prevent the spread of extremist and terrorism planning.
And we need to do everything we can at home to reduce the risks of extremism online. While we need to deprive the extremists of their safe spaces online, we must not forget about the safe spaces that continue to exist in the real world. Yes, that means taking military action to destroy ISIS in Iraq and Syria, but it also means taking action, here at home.
There is, to be frank, far too much extremism in this country, so we need to become far more robust in identifying it and stamping it out across the public sector and across society.’
May’s speech lasted 7 minutes 42 seconds, a day after 3 men took to the streets of London on a knife-wielding, unrelenting stabbing spree; in the name of Allah. Every second of that speech missed the mark. May’s speech was primarily focused on launching an offensive against the internet (another bottomless ideological war), with any mention of tackling ‘home’ threat, espousing the usual, meaningless, philsophical fluff.
Our goverment officially recognises this Islamist threat to be imported, influenced and imbibed everywhere else, but Britain. May stood in front of the nation to emphasise repeatedly that total disregard and desecration of life we’ve witnessed during the Westminster, Manchester and London attacks; take divine inspiration in ‘cyber-space.’ I envisage cyber-space terrorism and conjure up an image of a jihadi hitting the ‘destruct’ button on his/her facebook account, gleefully rubbing his/her palms as they watch cars plough into people.
Except that’s not how terror operates.
Cars driven by people ram into other people. Knives held by people slice into other people. Guns triggered by human fingers rip holes into hearts.
Such savages don’t live in a theoretical, virtual world – unlike May and every other priviledged, elite politician , far removed from the hubs of hate found in every city across Britain; in a plurality of local mosques, madrassahs, Islamic schools and centres. Inside of which the germination of indoctrination has long been granted autonomy.
I don’t deny that in this era of globalisation, a free-flow and exchange of ideas, easy access to material online and instant ability to conspire and collude with ‘shaheed’ (martyr) hopefuls, in any dilapidated, Lebanese hovel through a single text message – that ‘cyberism’ is not relevant. But it’s the apparent conviction that pursuing a crackdown of cyber-terrorist activities mitigates the stream of blood we’ve witnessed these past few months.
May’s speech missed the mark. Not as much as a 2009 Government-approved inspection of Darul Uloom Islamic High School in Birmingham, which praised the school for its tolerance of other religions and for promoting tolerance and harmony in society. Dubbed the ‘Eton of Islam’, Darul Uloom school is one representative of ‘Darul Ulooms’ – world renowned institutions designed to produce the next generation of Muslim leaders. Future Muslim leaders ingrained from the age of 5 upwards with the notion that those who adopt western ways would find themselves tortured in hell for eternity.
This government-approved school was exposed by Dispatches in their 2011 documentary ‘Lessons in hatred and violence’, as actively instrumental in edifying a parallel anti-western system. Children were filmed sitting on the floor as their teachers schooled them in the vile ways of the west, telling them point-blanc to not be like the non-Muslims.
Britain’s internal enemy.
The Dispatches programme revealed little children, not yet old enough to own a laptop, let alone understand what ‘cyber-space’ terrorism is, with direct and daily access to their sources of terror. Average Imams, teachers and local community leaders desensitising hatred, intolerance and consequently jihadism.
Terrorism is their normality.
The single, evil ideology of Islamist extremism, that preaches hatred, sows division and promotes sectarianism. It is an ideology that claims our Western values of freedom, democracy and human rights, are incompatible with the religion of Islam.
Enough is enough, May also emphasises in this speech. Yet the resolve is to shut down the Darul Ulooms of Britain, to assimiliate Muslim babes and children into a mandatory, mixed education system.
And to stop giving the very institutions that teach its incumbents to despise and destroy the very values our ancestors willingly shed their blood to preserve, a pat on the back.
Enough is enough.
Truly it is.
Knowing where to root out the defect tends to help.
*Find below some articles written about the scandal, in addition to OFSTED reports of the Birmingham Darul Uloom school*
‘You just don’t think it’s going to happen at a pop concert’ exclaimed one eye-witness, in the aftermath of a suicide bombing that left 22 confirmed dead and 59 injured, on May 22nd 2017.
We’re running out of places where it’s not going to happen. Yesterday’s attack on British freedom and civility must be placed in the wider and ongoing context of Islamically-motivated barbarism – in what feels like every public space spanning Europe.
The Religion of Peace website has documented 15 case examples of Islamic terrorism in European cities throughout 2017 alone.
The Manchester Arena attack is now the 16th attack Europe has endured in 5 months.
Whilst Islamic terror can be traced to the days of Muhammadist conquests and therefore nothing new, these attacks within Europe in 2017 have escalated to become subliminal, intense and deeply personal. These are no longer sporadic and sparse but systematic, rigorous and familiar – as the perpetrators seem to revel in past, notorious dates regarding terrorism – and habitually strike again. Yesterday’s attack – 4 years to the day British Fusilier Lee Rigby was openly beheaded on the streets of Woolich – is no coincidence. The Westminster Attack – exactly a year on from the Brussels airport bombing is no coincidence.
A clear pattern is emerging and we can’t be complacent in thinking that prior sui generic catastrophes such as 9/11 can never be applied to Europe. It is overtly obvious that there are depraved savages, bellicose in their schemes to target the most unsuspecting and vulnerable sects of our society in order to unleash maximum desecration. Again such attacks have now assumed a ‘European’ feel, as Britain and Belgium will now pay double homage to its fallen every 22 March. And so on, as the list will inevitably proliferate.
Political correctness facilitates the madness. I’ve recently stumbled across the brilliant Paul Joseph Watson and his very apt and relevant clip below succinctly summarises the dangers of unbridled PC.
Political correctness kills because it is an amalgamation of wilful ignorance, paralytic fear, selfishness and Taqiyyah (method of deception in Islam) – the latter of which garners prominence within mainstream media and is incorporated into the very Islam-is-peace-liners in political speeches that indoctrinate, confuse and subjugate anyone who has never picked up the Hadiths/Quran to know what Taqiyyah means. An ignorance deception thrives and relies upon.
Realistically speaking, Islamism cannot be reversed so I wouldn’t waste my platform to claim that it can. Puritannical Islam is incorrigible and therefore by default any opposing cultural and religious norm will be locked in an ideological battle with it. We are fully immersed in a war with those who take a literalist viewpoint and application of Islamic doctrine. A war we are losing. For 8 year old Saffie we’ve already lost.
We lose every time we are silenced through the ‘Islam is peace’ crusade, dominating our mainstream media and prominent national political and security figures. We lose every time we post another #PrayforNice #PrayforBrussels, #PrayforWestminster #PrayforManchester on our twitter, facebook and instagram feeds. I’m a Christian not a cynical atheist, but if the torrents of #prayer were genuine and heartfelt then we wouldn’t be picking pieces of human flesh off one another. Why? Because the actual God-fearing, Jesus-following generation 70 years ago sacrificed their privileges and loved ones; to be blown to smithereens in order to safeguard their fellow Englishmen and preclude any existential threat. Those fervent prayer-folk had premonitions as to the dangers of unregulated, mass immigration from tribal, Muslim lands. Every pew was occupied across every Church in the land, as Britain and wider Europe was birthed from and shaped by Christendom. Our definitive laws, norms and practises – English civility emerged from the belief of the Grace of our God. The kind of tenacious, passionate belief in Christ that ensured its dominance throughout Britain, rendering other beliefs to be respectfully secondary in the pursuit and defence of The Faith.
We are fast becoming a minority in our country. Not in number but ideologically. We now live in a country that tells us that terror is now part and parcel of living in big cities, that does not challenge the 100 odd Sharia courts that facilitate polygamous marriages in spite of the fact they directly contravene British civil law. We live in country that sells Halal chocolate and delegating the importance of Easter, omitting the Lord’s Prayer at Christmas, stripping traditional Nativity plays from school and removing Bibles from public holiday inns. We live in a country where we must not preach Christ on the streets whilst allowing the Anjem Choudharys and Abu Hamzas to preach hatred against the very system that provides them with welfare. We live in a country where we’ve become so post-secular that we facilitate the de-Christianisation of Europe, thereby creating a vacuum that literalist Islam has filled. We live in a country that screeches against Conservatism rhetoric – levelling every racist, Nazi and fascist slur – substantially softening the actions of the Nazis that murdered the generation of their own grandparents.
And now you want to pray? To feign virtue? When 22 are dead, 59 injured, an 8 year old never to return to her parents?
We are weak. Europe is still sleepwalking. We were warned in 1967 through the incomparable Enoch Powell’s Rivers of Blood speech. And if we continue to be this spineless, then how long will it be until this warning fulfils as a Prophecy?
This latest Vice news clip which briefly documents the lives of ex-Muslims from Northern England (Dad) to Izmir, Turkey is hopefully and finally getting the vital message across that those who choose to leave Islam are almost always in danger of potentially losing their lives. The mini documentary is self-explanatory, nor does it highlight anything particularly new but at time where the clash of civilisations continues to be a contentious, controversial and highly-debated matter, we all perhaps need to be reminded that humanity should reign supreme. Crucially, what is over-looked consistently is the proximity of the issue: that apostates are living -or running away rather-on our very streets, having been disowned from family, friends and communities and all for the sake of abandoning an inherited religion that no longer holds true to them.
See for yourselves
Bangladesh is known to the world to be a secular, democratic Islamic nation, yet increasingly so there has been a growing intolerance to its non-Muslim and atheist bloggers. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter seem to be carefully monitored so that especially prominent and public critics of Islam can be brought to book and in extreme cases murdered.
Enclosed below is a link to the BBC World documentary highlighting the most recent examples. For those not residing in the UK, perhaps the mini documentary has been uploaded onto YouTube so just punch into the search bar ‘BBC Our World: The Bangladesh Blogger Murders’.
This is an article I’ve pasted onto my blog highlighting the apostasy situation in the UK, written by journalist Iram Ramzan
From Iranian dissidents fearing deportation after seeking asylum from theocracy, to ex-Muslims driven from their homes in Bradford, Iram Ramzan looks at some worrying examples of sectarianism threatening Britain’s reputation for tolerance.
Peyman (not his real name) is to all appearances like any other foreign student in Manchester. He’s 30 years-old, learning English and was drawn to Britain because of its reputation for religious and political pluralism, a sort of default secularism protected by the rule of law. Peyman hopes to become a counsellor after his studies.
But his smiling face hides his desperate situation. In 2010 Peyman fled the Islam Republic of Iran to seek asylum. Unfortunately for him, the authorities did not believe he arrived when he said he did and he had his application rejected. His political and religious views (Peyman is an ex-Muslim and a critic of the theocratic regime) placed him and his family in grave danger. However like many ex-Muslims applying for asylum on the grounds of religious persecution Peyman found this difficult to prove and is still appealing his case.
“[In Iran] they had proof I was an atheist, that I was against Islam and against the Ayatollah. But here I don’t have proof to get refugee status.”
Peyman fears being made homeless again if he loses his right to accommodation and the potentially deadly possibility of being deported to Iran. Under the theocratic regime political and religious dissent is often conflated, mirroring the fusion of state and religious power, and blasphemy/apostasy are common charges against dissidents.
Peyman’s Kurdish-Iranian family have more experience of this than many. After the revolution in 1979, the regime would round up any dissidents. His older brother was imprisoned and subsequently tortured, as were some of his other relatives for their political activities. Peyman was also beaten at a police station. “Most Iranians hate the government but they can’t say it,” he added.
On August 26 2015, Amnesty International reported that Behrouz Alkhani, a 30-year-old man from Iran’s Kurdish minority, was executed while awaiting the outcome of a Supreme Court appeal. A Revolutionary Court had charged him with “effective collaboration with PJAK” (Party of Free Life of Kurdistan) and “enmity against God” for his alleged role in the assassination of the Prosecutor of Khoy, West Azerbaijan province.
Iranians were among the top five nationalities applying for asylum in Britain in the year ending June 2015. However, it is difficult to determine how many asylum applications to the UK are based on fear of persecution on the grounds of religion or belief. Some Christian groups have done important work highlighting the cases of Christians (including ex-Muslim Christian converts) facing persecution in the Middle East and/or seeking asylum. But groups supporting atheists and other religious minorities are often less resourced or politically connected.
Iranian-born Maryam Namazie helped found the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain in 2007 to break the taboo that comes with renouncing Islam. Eight years on, it seems that little has changed. Today, apostasy is a crime in 23 out 49 Muslim-majority countries. In Saudi Arabia and Iran it is punishable by death. In some countries, like Pakistan, people are accused of “blasphemy” by their fellow citizens.
Maryam said: “Those accused can be religious, including Muslims, or atheists. They may not have even done anything ‘wrong’; it’s an accusation that can be used by states and others in order to silence, threaten and even murder those deemed ‘undesirable’.”
But persecution of minorities and the enforcement of ‘apostasy’ taboos is also an issue in the UK. Many of those who leave the Islamic faith in this country can often be ostracised from their communities and families. Nissar Hussain (49), a married father-of-six found this out when he admitted he had converted to Christianity following the death of his older brother. His family promptly disowned him, refusing to inform him when his father had died. Even his 45-year-old wife Qubra was horrified at first, but after spending time with his Christian friends from church she also decided to convert to Christianity.
When word of Nissar’s conversion got out “like wildfire”, what initially started out as name calling quickly escalated into acts of vandalism.
After an arson attack on the empty house next door, Nissar decided enough was enough and moved the family to the other side of Bradford, in Manningham. All was fine until he appeared in Channel 4’s Dispatchesprogramme on Christian converts. His Muslim neighbours took offence and he recently had to quit his job as a nurse after he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after 16 years of constant harassment.
“We’re in the frontline, in the trenches,” he said. “The fact that it’s from my own fellow Pakistanis is traumatic. The Pakistani, Muslim community needs to exercise tolerance and goodwill towards converts such as ourselves.
“They took offence, in general, to converts. We’re an offence here. This is a form of terrorism. It’s so very personal. It’s vindictive.”
Nissar worries for the fate of his children, including his Daughter Anniesa – a 21-year-old international relations student at the University of Nottingham, who has blogged about her experiences. Anniesa recalled painful memories of being rushed upstairs after dinner, in anticipation of the next brick through the window. Although the children were not brought up religiously, she says the experience has made her Christian; only her faith, she said, keeps her “sane”.
“We would get called Jew dogs, at school we were told: you’re a kaafir; my mum said I can’t sit next to you,” Anniesa said. “I realised we were different. Mum got asked in the playground, why are you wearing salwar kameez, why aren’t you wearing a mini skirt now you’re not a Muslim? Christianity is equated to whiteness. She said my colour is still the same, I’m still a Pakistani woman.
“I’ve bottled it up. Being the eldest sister you can’t let it show. I see the UK as having become radicalised. Political correctness has allowed this to ferment.”
When Naz Shah MP (Bradford West) was elected it was widely viewed a rejection of sectarian politics and Nissar wrote to his new MP to ask for help. Ms Shah’s office confirmed that they had received the requests for support from Nissar and a multi-agency meeting was held, with ongoing matters being dealt with by the police, though Nissar does not believe enough is being done.
Whether it is young men like Peyman or the Hussain family in Bradford, it is clear religious persecution and sectarianism are issues Britain must grapple with at home and abroad. Our politicians often speak about our tolerant nation and condemn those countries that persecute their minorities. The Government must then uphold the criteria – which includes persecution – for those seeking refugee status. Protecting them is our moral responsibility.
Here in the UK, there are growing numbers of ex-Muslims who can now be helped by various organisations (CEMB and Faith to Faithless to name a few). Such organisations should be given more platforms to talk about the vital work they do to assist not just asylum seekers but British citizens who need their help. Otherwise this sectarianism will threaten Britain’s long-held reputation for tolerance.
Iram Ramzan is a reporter and freelance journalist who writes on politics, foreign affairs, secularism and human rights. You can follow her on Twitter @Iram_Ramzan. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the NSS.
By now, after the second caricature depiction of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad to emerge from within Europe, the illusion that the West is a genuine practitioner of freedom of speech should be thoroughly shattered. Recent history has revealed the consequences of a Muhammad cartoon publication, as evidenced by the Danish Jyllands-Posten case, resulting in the usual repercussions across the Muslim world. Flag burning, embassy storming and murderous chants; culminating in scores of non-Muslims – namely Christians – being killed in the name of free speech. Charlie Hebdo is of no exception.
In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo publications, multiple examples of vengeful violence has and is taking place particularly within Islamic nations. Pakistan demanded those behind the publication to be put to death, hundreds of Gazans attempted to storm the French cultural centre in Gaza city, threatening the lives of the staff with: ‘leave Gaza you French or we will slaughter you by cutting your throats!’ and minority Christian sects have been targeted – most publicised in Niger, with 70 reported churches decimated and an unreported number of Christians butchered. Who can truly know the current atrocities being committed towards non-participatory, innocent civilians throughout especially the Islamic world as many enraged and senseless Muslims embark upon a bloody and relentless rampage all in opposition to freedom of speech.
A freedom that in actuality is a myth, a dying concept the West has not wholly been entitled to in the recent decades. The inevitable violence unleashed per Muhammad depiction or comment deemed offensive to Islam has served a warning to freedom of speech, acting as a deterrence to many queries, disagreements and fault found with Islam being published into the public domain. Free speech limited to publicly interpreting Christianity and Judaism for example whilst enshrining Islam. I cannot recall the last time a caricature of a big-nosed Jew incited vengeful wrath into the Jewish community. Moreover, how often is the name and portrayal of Jesus Christ slandered in the media, books, magazines and films we watch; where in scene after scene, openly vulgar behaviour is demonstrated inside Churches? Does this result in Christians worldwide torching the American flag, physically maiming or depriving people of life? Instead such depictions have become subconsciously and consciously accepted and internally normalised – widely recognised as an expression of freedom of speech regardless of being in disagreement of such a portrayal.
Islam has become an exception to the rule, thereby invalidating the very concept of free speech. For example, despite the condemnation of the murder of 12 Parisians, global politicians and other influential figures have been apt in labeling the Muhammad cartoon as an act of provocation, as though a drawing conducted by a pen could ever justify the employment of a gun.
When watching a CNN news clip in the aftermath of Charlie Hebdo, an interview was being conducted with a French Muslim Councillor and the trait of self-victimisation was prevalent throughout. Like many Muslims of his thinking, he did not condemn the murder of 12 Parisians, let alone speak out against the anti-Christian reprisals worldwide. Instead he cited the usual Islamophobia as the context from which the gunmen reacted. However such cries of Islamophobia are invalid as he failed to recognise that Islam is generally not openly berated and challenged by the European media, as Christianity is for example. He also failed to consider that since billions of people are adherents of religion, it opens up a forum for scrutiny, queries and disagreement as different ideologies and philosophies continue their search for a world truth. It is also interesting to note that Muslims do not cry Islamophobia upon any depiction of Jesus they may deem offensive, despite Him being a Prophet in Islam. Clearly Jesus has become associated too deeply with Christianity in the West and therefore freedom of speech is abided by when Jesus is the object of the concept.
All this serves to molly-coddle and exempt Islam from being publicly depicted by its non-adherents, laying the foundation for a limitation of speech.