What to do on 9/11: Instead of burning the Koran, tell the world about Muslim persecution of Christians
By James Corum
September 11th, 2010
We must not fuel Islam's victim mentality (Photo: Reuters)
The news has been full of groups of idiotic evangelical Protestant groups who want to commemorate the anniversary of the mass murder of 9/11 by burning copies of the Koran. This is a really dumb idea. First of all, burning the Koran will ignite fury in parts of the Muslim world and will lead to Americans being targeted for murder. Also, Christians living in Muslim countries will be endangered by the actions of this fringe of American Christians.
Secondly, burning the Koran will only fuel the propaganda that Islam is a victimised, endangered religion - a faith that struck out at America on September 11 in self-defence. If you want to create fertile ground for more radical Islamists, more suicide bombers and more terrorism, this is a good way to do it.
Yet the events of September 11 2001 deserve to be commemorated in a way that will serve a positive end. Congregations of American Christians would serve humanity if, instead of burning Korans to win the attention of the media and public, they staged memorials and placed advertisements illustrating the routine abuse and suffering of millions of Christians who live in Muslim majority nations.
In many Islamic countries, Christian minorities - including the descendants of the earliest Christian communities in the Middle East - suffer under laws that make them second-class citizens. Not only do they have fewer legal rights, but the exercise of their faith is cruelly regulated by governments in the name of Sharia.
In America, we criticise the plan to build a mosque near the 9/11 murder site even while agreeing that American law provides the clear right of Muslims to do such a thing. But in many Muslim nations no Christian can build or even repair a church without approval (usually not forthcoming) from a hostile government ministry.
Much worse, murder, kidnappings, forced conversions and attacks against Christians by radical Muslims are common in the Islamic world, especially in the Middle East and in Pakistan. Every year, hundreds of Christians are murdered by religious fanatics. Even when a Muslim government disapproves of such violence, officials and police often stand aside and allow the attacks rather than confront a politically powerful radical Islam.
In short, Christians are today living in one of the great eras of persecution. That persecution comes from a minority of Muslims - but an influential minority. Christians should use this day to educate the Western public about the suffering of fellow Christians, and to confront peacefully the rulers and populations of Muslim nations with their failure to maintain rights supposedly guaranteed by the UN Charter.
Christians and Muslims need to talk. And the first item on the agenda ought to be the treatment of Christians in majority Muslim nations. As a Christian, I cannot believe that Christ would approve of deliberately insulting and angering others to the point of violence. But He would approve of Christians standing up for the basic human rights of their oppressed brothers and sisters.
----James Corum is Dean of the Baltic Defence College in Estonia. He has taught at American and British staff colleges and is the author of seven books on military history and counter-insurgency. He is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army Reserve (rtd) and has 28 years' experience as an army officer.
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