IS THE MEDIA "FAIR & BALANCED" ON CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION?
By Raymond Ibrahim
What about it caused the Washington Post to jettison it? You see, the nonagenarian Eliot decided to make black and white — as opposed to postmodern, "there-are-no-truths" — observations. Consider some of his comments on the differences between Christianity and Islam:
Jesus said, "Love your enemies." Islam, to the contrary, is essentially hostile to "the infidels"… Jesus was anti-violent, Muhammad was violent… Muslims become violent, or threaten violence, when they feel offended: when we Christians feel offended, almost never do we become violent, and almost always we suffer the disrespect in silence."
Inasmuch as Eliot's assertions are empirically demonstrative —scripturally, historically, and in current affairs (a la Koran-waving jihadists and persecuted Christians) — so too do they go against the one unwavering dogma clung to by the MSM: cultural relativism. Hence, the need to suppress them.
No doubt "On Faith" editors were expecting the usual boilerplate responses when discussing attacks on Christians in the Muslim world: acknowledge their existence, yes, but be quick to point out that, "in their own way," Christians are equally responsible. That is essentially how most other contributors responded: one found Christian fundamentalism as troubling as Muslim fundamentalism; another bemoaned how scriptures can incite violence, while being careful not to mention any particular religion; yet another counseled suffering Christians to "turn the other cheek" and forgive their persecutors, cloyingly adding that all violence "can be overcome with our radical love" — easy sentiments to preach living in distant America.
Consider the MSM's approach to Egypt's Copts, the Middle East's largest Christian minority: whenever they are attacked by Islamists, the media refers to it as "sectarian strife," eschewing the more accurate, if old-fashioned, term, "Christian persecution." (What else does one call it when a vastly outnumbered Christian minority suffers at the hands of a Muslim majority — including its government — for nothing less than being Christian?) "Sectarian strife" suggests two, comparable forces fighting one another — hardly an accurate way to depict the situation.
Likewise, when Islamists bombed an Egyptian church on New Year's Eve, leaving over 20 Copts dead, and dozens maimed, the MSM reported it, but under headlines such as "Clashes grow as Egyptians remain angry after attack" (New York Times) and "Christians clash with police in Egypt after attack on churchgoers kills 21" (Washington Post) — as if frustrated Christians lashing out against persecution is as noteworthy as the persecution itself. When, earlier this month, an Egyptian policeman boarded a train, identifying Christians by the small, tattooed cross on their wrists, and opened fire, killing one and wounding five to the distinctly Muslim war cry of "Allah Akbar," the Los Angeles Times deemed it suitable to relate the story under the headline "Eyewitness claims train attacker did not target Copts, state media say."
This latter headline is indicative of how the MSM will rarely, if ever, report on Egypt's institutionalized anti-Christianism, such as how the government makes it next to impossible for Copts to build, or even repair, churches; or how state security uses live ammunition on Copts who demonstrate, in one recent instance, killing four unarmed Christians, including a child, for protesting the state's seizure of a partially completed church. Imagine the field day the media would have if the government of a predominantly Christian country stormed and desecrated a mosque, opening fire on unarmed Muslim protesters, killing several (including children), wounding and incarcerating hundreds?
All said and done, MSM bias is nothing new; one need only look to how Israel is constantly demonized for defending itself. There is a curious difference, however: the MSM probably rationalizes providing biased coverage on behalf of the Palestinians under the pretense that, because the latter are militarily weaker than Israel, they need more media "representation." Yet, if that is the case, if the MSM is simply out to help the "underdog," why does it take the opposite approach in its coverage of underdog Christian minorities suffering in the Muslim world?
Simple: The MSM is quite indifferent to the suffering of the "weak"; that's just a cover, when suitable. Rather, its overriding impulse is to undermine Western Civilization, in accordance to the doctrine of cultural relativism. And what better way to do that than devalue its Judeo-Christian heritage — hence, the ingrained bias against anything Judeo (Israel) or Christian (persecution).
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Raymond Ibrahim, a historian of Islam, Islamism and the Middle East, is the Associate Director of the Middle East Forum, a guest lecturer at the National Defense Intelligence College, and the editor of The Al-Qa'ida Reader, a collection of tranlations of key texts and documents of the Islamist movement. Ibrahim's translations of the religious texts and political propaganda comprising this collection help readers comprehend the origins, development, history, and serious danger of the Islamist war doctrines of Usama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Founders of Al-Qa'ida and implacable enemies of the U.S.A. and the West.
The foregoing article by Raymond Ibrahim was originally published in Pajamas Media, January 23, 2011, and can be found on the Internet website maintained by the Middle East Forum, a foreign policy think tank which seeks to define and promote American interests in the Middle East, defining U.S. interests to include fighting radical Islam, working for Palestinian Arab acceptance of the State of Israel, improving the management of U.S. efforts to promote constitutional democracy in the Middle East, reducing America's energy dependence on the Middle East, more robustly asserting U.S. interests vis-à-vis Saudi Arabia, and countering the Iranian threat. (URL: http://www.meforum.org/2824/media-on- christian-persecution)
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