The World’s Humanitarian Double Standard
The world’s double standards concerning which peoples qualify as oppressed and deserving of help are staggering. Two recent stories illustrate this point:
First, a report exposed, in the words of the Turkish Coalition of America, “Turkey’s continued interest in expanding business and cultural ties with the American Indian community” and “Turkey’s interest in building bridges to Native American communities across the U.S.” Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., even introduced a bill that would give Turks special rights and privileges in Native American tribal areas, arguing that “[t]his bill is about helping American Indians,” and about “helping the original inhabitants of the new world, which is exactly what this legislation would do.”
The very idea that Turkey’s Islamist government is interested in “helping American Indians” is preposterous, both from a historical and contemporary point of view. In the 15th century, when Christian Europeans were discovering the Americas, Muslim Turks were conquering and killing Christians in Europe (which, of course, is why Europeans starting sailing west in the first place). If early European settlers fought and killed natives, only recently, Turkey committed a mass genocide against Armenian Christians. And while the U.S. has made many reparations to its indigenous natives, Turkey not only denies the Armenian holocaust, but still abuses and persecutes its indigenous Christians.
In short, if Turkey is looking to help the marginalized and oppressed, it should start at home.
But of course, Turkey is only looking to help itself; the American Indians are mere tools of infiltration. One need not elaborate on the dangers involved in thousands of Muslim Turks settling in semi-autonomous areas in America and working closely with a minority group that holds a grudge against the United States.
Yet if one can understand Turkey’s machinations, what does one make of another recent report? Fifteen leaders from U.S. Christian denominations—mostly Protestant, including the Lutheran, Methodist, and UCC Churches—are asking Congress to reevaluate U.S. military aid to Israel, since “military aid will only serve to sustain the status quo and Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian territories.”
These are the same church leaders who utter nary a word concerning the rampant persecution of millions of Christians from one end of the Muslim world to the other—a persecution that makes the Palestinians’ situation insignificant in comparison.
If Muslims are subjugated on Israeli land, at least one can argue that, historically, the Jews were there first—millennia before Muslims conquered Jerusalem in the 7th century. On the other hand, millions of Christians—at least 10 million in Egypt alone, the indigenous Copts—have been suffering in their own homelands for 14 centuries, since Islam burst in with the sword.
Nor is this limited to history: from Nigeria in the west, to Pakistan in the east, Christians at this very moment are being imprisoned for apostasy and blasphemy; their churches are being bombed and burned down; their women and children are being kidnapped, enslaved, and raped. For an idea, see my monthly Muslim Persecution of Christians series, where I collate dozens of anecdotes of persecution every month—any of which, if Palestinians experienced, would make headlines around the world; but as it is only “unfashionable” Christians who are experiencing these atrocities, they are regularly overlooked.
Nor are Palestinian Christians immune from this phenomenon: a pastor recently noted that “animosity towards the Christian minority in areas controlled by the PA continues to get increasingly worse. People are always telling [Christians], Convert to Islam. Convert to Islam.”
Indeed, the American Jewish Committee, which was “outraged by the Christian leaders’ call,” got it right by saying: “When religious liberty and safety of Christians across the Middle East are threatened by the repercussions of the Arab Spring, these Christian leaders have chosen to initiate a polemic against Israel, a country that protects religious freedom and expression for Christians, Muslims and others.”
By any objective measure, the atrocities currently being committed against Christians around the Muslim world are far more outrageous and deserving of attention and remedy than the so-called “Palestinian Question.” Incidentally, Israeli treatment of the Palestinians—some of whom, like Hamas, openly declare their intent to eradicate the Jewish state—is largely predicated on the aforementioned: Israel knows Islam’s innate animus for non-Muslims and does not wish to be on its receiving end, hence the measures it takes to exist.
There is a final important point of irony concerning the differences between Turkey’s Muslims and America’s liberal Christians: the former engage in hypocrisy to empower Islam; the latter engage in hypocrisy to disempower Christianity, even if unwittingly. Just like secular/liberal Americans who strive to disassociate themselves from their European heritage—seeing it as the root of all evil and championing the rights of non-whites like American Indians—liberal American Christians strive to disassociate themselves from their Christian heritage and champion the rights of non-Christians, hence their keen interest for Muslim Palestinians.
And all the while, the one religious group truly persecuted from one end of the Islamic world to the other—Christians—are devoutly ignored by the humanitarian hypocrites.
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.