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“Yes, There Are Christian Terrorists”: Putting Religious Violence In Context

“There are still nine Christians here. We will capture them. We will kill them. When we finish here, we will go to the next village and kill the Christians there, too.”

If an ISIS leader made a statement like this publicly, Fox News would probably cut into their programming to bring you a special report about the Muslims’ “religious war” against Christians. Mainstream media outlets would most likely cover it as well.

But that statement was indeed uttered in 2014. Except there was one simple word difference: “Christian” was replaced with “Muslim”. That is exactly what a Christian terrorist said about his militia’s plan to exterminate the remaining nine Muslims in a village in Central Africa Republic (CAR). But, of course, stuff like that doesn’t really make news here in our country.

Or did you hear about the Christian militant who publicly beheaded a Muslim man in the streets of the CAR capital last year?  That was actually covered by the US media—in a short Associated Press paragraph buried papers like the New York Times. Anyone doubt that if a Muslim terrorist beheaded a Christian man in the public square it would’ve made the US news?

Any cable news channels cover in depth the Christian marauders in CAR that are – as we speak – ethnically cleansing tens of thousands of the minority Muslim population there?  These Christian militants  “stage brutal attacks…wielding machetes” and have “burned and looted…houses and mosques.” True, this is part of a civil war, but these violent acts are still carried out by militants who publicly self identify as Christian fighters.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of Christians committing acts of terrorism.

But, of course, when President Obama dared to mention at the National Prayer Breakfast last week that we have seen acts of violence perpetrated by Christians, including during the Crusades, some on the right went on the warpath. Rush Limbaugh called Obama’s words an “insult” to Christianity.

And numerous Fox News anchors were outraged, most notably Eric Bolling, who claimed that the number of people killed in the name of Christianity was “zero.”

To be honest, I do agree with the rightwing pundits on one issue. I do wish Obama didn’t bring up the Crusades to point out the violence committed in the name of Christianity.  The last Crusade took place over 700  years ago.

The attacks by the Christian militants taking place in CAR is a far better example of how all faiths have people who wage violence in the name of it. Obama could have also noted the horrifically violent actions of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a pseudo-Christian cult whose announced goal is to impose the Ten Commandants as the law of Uganda. To that end, the LRA slaughtered thousands of men, women and children, raped women, and forced people into being sex slaves over a 25 year period starting in 1986.

Or Obama could have simply focused on the violence perpetrated by Christian terrorists in America.  For starters, since 1977 there have been ”8 murders, 17 attempted murders, 42 bombings, 181 arsons, and thousands of incidences of other criminal activities” targeting reproductive health care facilities here at home. With few exceptions, there were perpetrated by Christians who opposed abortion for religious reasons.

Lets not forget that Eric Rudolph, who was tied to the white supremacist “Christian Identity” movement, had bombed abortion clinics, a gay nightclub and the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, which killed two people and wounded 110.  Rudolph’s stated motivation was to stop abortion, claiming our government had “legalized, sanctioned and legitimized” abortion, and thus, “they forfeited their legitimacy and moral authority to govern.”

And there was also the 2009 execution of Dr. George Tiller, who became nationally known for performing late term abortions. His killer, Scott Roeder, was a born again Christian who claimed that he the killing “was justified to save the lives of unborn children.”

Look, I fully understand that some don’t want to believe people of their faith have commited atrocities. I’m Muslim —and I can assure you that when I hear about acts of violence carried out by any Muslim, I’m outraged. Still, I can’t deny that there are Muslims who commit terrorism.

However, with both ISIS and these Christian terrorists, I know that their actions are not based on the tenets of their respective faiths but on their own political agenda. And that is why I won’t call the Christian terrorists followers of “radical Christianity.” There is no such thing, just as there is no such thing as “radical Islam.” But there are radical and violent followers of both religions who commit acts in the name of their respective faith.

Clearly President Obama and I have no intention of demonizing Christians. We’re just trying to put religious violence in context. In fact, like Obama, my mother is a Christian and my father Muslim and I was raised to have great respect for both religions.

But we can’t deny reality. There are people who commit acts of terrorism in the name of every faith, whether it is Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism or Islam, even if its just terrorist adherents of the latter that gets all the media attention.

 

By: Dean Obeidallah, The Daily Beast, February 15, 2015

February 16, 2015 Posted by | Christians, Muslims, Terrorists | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Are All Terrorists Muslims? It’s Not Even Close”: The Media Simply Does Not Cover Non-Muslim Terror Attacks With The Same Gusto

“Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.” How many times have you heard that one? Sure, we heard Fox News’s Brian Kilmeade say it, but to me, that was simply part of the Fox News plan to make their viewers dumber, as we saw again this past weekend when its terrorism “expert” Steve Emerson was caught fabricating the story that Birmingham, England, is closed to non-Muslims. But more alarmingly, even some reasonable people have uttered this statement.

And that comment is often followed up by the question: Why don’t we see Christian, Buddhist, or Jewish terrorists?

Obviously, there are people who sincerely view themselves as Muslims who have committed horrible acts in the name of Islam. We Muslims can make the case that their actions are not based on any part of the faith but on their own political agenda. But they are Muslims, no denying that.

However, and this will probably shock many, so you might want to take a breath: Overwhelmingly, those who have committed terrorist attacks in the United States and Europe aren’t Muslims. Let’s give that a moment to sink in.

Now, it’s not your fault if you aren’t aware of that fact. You can blame the media. (Yes, Sarah Palin and I actually agree on one thing: The mainstream media sucks.)

So here are some statistics for those interested. Let’s start with Europe. Want to guess what percent of the terrorist attacks there were committed by Muslims over the past five years? Wrong. That is, unless you said less than 2 percent.

As Europol, the European Union’s law-enforcement agency, noted in its report released last year, the vast majority of terror attacks in Europe were perpetrated by separatist groups. For example, in 2013, there were 152 terror attacks in Europe. Only two of them were “religiously motivated,” while 84 were predicated upon ethno-nationalist or separatist beliefs.

We are talking about groups like France’s FLNC, which advocates an independent nation for the island of Corsica. In December 2013, FLNC terrorists carried out simultaneous rocket attacks against police stations in two French cities. And in Greece in late 2013, the left-wing Militant Popular Revolutionary Forces shot and killed two members of the right-wing political party Golden Dawn. While over in Italy, the anarchist group FAI engaged in numerous terror attacks including sending a bomb to a journalist. And the list goes on and on.

Have you heard of these incidents? Probably not. But if Muslims had committed them do you think our media would’ve covered it? No need to answer, that’s a rhetorical question.

Even after one of the worst terror attacks ever in Europe in 2011, when Anders Breivik slaughtered 77 people in Norway to further his anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, and pro-“Christian Europe” agenda as he stated in his manifesto, how much press did we see in the United States? Yes, it was covered, but not the way we see when a Muslim terrorist is involved. Plus we didn’t see terrorism experts fill the cable news sphere asking how we can stop future Christian terrorists. In fact, even the suggestion that Breivik was a “Christian terrorist” was met with outrage by many, including Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly.

Have you heard about the Buddhist terrorists? Well, extremist Buddhists have killed many Muslim civilians in Burma, and just a few months ago in Sri Lanka, some went on a violent rampage burning down Muslim homes and businesses and slaughtering four Muslims.

Or what about the (dare I mention them) Jewish terrorists? Per the 2013 State Department’s report on terrorism, there were 399 acts of terror committed by Israeli settlers in what are known as “price tag” attacks. These Jewish terrorists attacked Palestinian civilians causing physical injuries to 93 of them and also vandalized scores of mosques and Christian churches.

Back in the United States, the percentage of terror attacks committed by Muslims is almost as miniscule as in Europe. An FBI study looking at terrorism committed on U.S. soil between 1980 and 2005 found that 94 percent of the terror attacks were committed by non-Muslims. In actuality, 42 percent of terror attacks were carried out by Latino-related groups, followed by 24 percent perpetrated by extreme left-wing actors.

And as a 2014 study by University of North Carolina found, since the 9/11 attacks, Muslim-linked terrorism has claimed the lives of 37 Americans. In that same time period, more than 190,000 Americans were murdered (PDF).

In fact in 2013, it was actually more likely Americans would be killed by a toddler than a terrorist. In that year, three Americans were killed in the Boston Marathon bombing. How many people did toddlers kill in 2013? Five, all by accidentally shooting a gun.

But our media simply do not cover the non-Muslim terror attacks with same gusto. Why? It’s a business decision. Stories about scary “others” play better. It’s a story that can simply be framed as good versus evil with Americans being the good guy and the brown Muslim as the bad.

Honestly, when is the last time we heard the media refer to those who attack abortion clinics as “Christian terrorists,” even though these attacks occur at one of every five reproductive health-care facilities? That doesn’t sell as well. After all we are a so-called Christian nation, so that would require us to look at the enemy within our country, and that makes many uncomfortable. Or worse, it makes them change the channel.

That’s the same reason we don’t see many stories about how to reduce the 30 Americans killed each day by gun violence or the three women per day killed by domestic violence. But the media will have on expert after expert discussing how can we stop these scary brown Muslims from killing any more Americans despite the fact you actually have a better chance of being killed by a refrigerator falling on you.

Look, this article is not going to change the media’s business model. But what I hope it does is cause some to realize that not all terrorists are Muslims. In fact, they are actually a very small percent of those that are. Now, I’m not saying to ignore the dangers posed by Islamic radicals. I’m just saying look out for those refrigerators.

 

By: Dean Obeidallah, The Daily Beast, January 14, 2015

January 15, 2015 Posted by | Media, Muslims, Terrorism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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