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Posts For: November 22, 2011

New York Times Beginning to Get Troubled by Anti-Christian Arab Spring Violence

The New York Times discovered over the weekend that the Arab Spring is going quite poorly for Egyptian Christians. The realization counts as progress of a sort and should be encouraged as such, especially after the round of smug left-wing sneering elicited by Newt Gingrich’s “anti-Christian Spring” comments.

Of course, the New York Times being the New York Times, they had to offset the article with a companion piece by Anthony Shadid – he of unblinking Erdogan apologism fame – that downplayed worries over the fate of Middle East Christians. This is the same outlet, after all, that got busted by CAMERA for skewing details on the decline of Middle East Christians (and in a way that turned out to be anti-Israel, believe it or not!), And so they gave Shadid space to suggest that concerns missed “the nuances of what Christians represent to the region,” and to quote a Beirut diplomat to the effect that “there is a part of Islam in every Arab Christian.”

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The New York Times discovered over the weekend that the Arab Spring is going quite poorly for Egyptian Christians. The realization counts as progress of a sort and should be encouraged as such, especially after the round of smug left-wing sneering elicited by Newt Gingrich’s “anti-Christian Spring” comments.

Of course, the New York Times being the New York Times, they had to offset the article with a companion piece by Anthony Shadid – he of unblinking Erdogan apologism fame – that downplayed worries over the fate of Middle East Christians. This is the same outlet, after all, that got busted by CAMERA for skewing details on the decline of Middle East Christians (and in a way that turned out to be anti-Israel, believe it or not!), And so they gave Shadid space to suggest that concerns missed “the nuances of what Christians represent to the region,” and to quote a Beirut diplomat to the effect that “there is a part of Islam in every Arab Christian.”

The only problem with that sort of modestly self-labeled nuance is Middle East Muslims seem to disagree.

Religiously-motivated anti-Christian bigotry has become entrenched in Egypt, for instance. The massacre of Copts last month by Egyptian soldiers was accompanied by cries of “Allahu Akbar!” and cursed “Infidels!” If it’s not the Egyptian army that’s attacking Christians and burning their property, it’s Egyptian Islamists.

Meanwhile, years of religiously-motivated violence have forced Christians out of the Holy Land. Anti-Christian persecution in Syria has drawn censure from the European Union. Iran’s Christians are again being put to death for their religion, the culmination of an escalating campaign of persecution. Even the NYT has been forced to recognize that Iraqi Christians are – in their gentle words – finding “reasons to stay home for Christmas” rather than publicly pray.

Media outlets as a whole struggle with explaining anti-Christian persecution. A few years ago the Los Angeles Times tried to account for violence against Iraqi Christians by blaming Bush. Forced to notice a similar phenomenon in the West Bank, Reuters blamed Israel. The Guardian’s Karen Armstrong once blamed the shooting of a Somali nun on the Crusades. Seriously.

And all of that came before the Arab Spring triggered reinvigorated fantasies of an Islamist caliphate:

Tunisia’s leading Islamist party recently captured most of the votes in the country’s first open election in decades. For many, the move was another sign that Islam, not democracy, would continue to dominate the Middle East. Some feel Muslim groups in the region are working harder than ever to re-establish an Islamic caliphate, or Islamic state… “The caliphate was the leadership of Islam after the death of Muhammad the prophet of Islam,” explained Islamic expert Moshe Sharon… Because of the threat of war and rise of Islam, many feel the so-called “Arab spring” is a misnomer. “I wouldn’t call it an Arab Spring,” Sharon said. “It’s far from being an Arab Spring. It’s the same kind of winter.”

On the other hand, maybe everything will work out.

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