Earlier I discussed how mosques, some of which breed radicalization and serve as terrorist bases, flourish in America, while churches are increasingly targeted and destroyed in the Muslim world, especially the Middle East, the cradle of Christianity.
This pattern—religious appeasement of Muslim minorities in the West, religious hostility for Christian minorities under Islam—continues and manifests itself in other ways.
Consider Christmas. The same appeasement that allows a "victory mosque" to be erected near Ground Zero, where jihadists killed some 3,000 Americans, compromises one of Christianity's most important events.
For instance, a "Montreal suburb has decided to remove a nativity scene and menorah from town hall rather than acquiesce to demands from a Muslim group to erect Islamic religious symbols." Contrast this with Iran, where many churches were "ordered to cancel Christmas and New Year's celebrations as a show of their compliance and support" for "the two month-long mourning activities of the Shia' Moslems," a reference to the bloody flagellations and self mutilations Shias perform in memory of Imam Hussein during Ashura.
Likewise, the University of London held Christmas service featuring readings from the Quran—Islam's holy book that unequivocally condemns the Incarnation, which is precisely what Christmas celebrates. Meanwhile, Islam's clerics in the West proclaimed things like "saying Merry Christmas is worse than fornication or killing someone," since doing so is to "approve of the biggest crime ever committed by humanity": the belief that God became man on Christmas. As the cleric makes clear, these are not his words, but rather the words of Islam's most authoritative clerics.
Nor are these just words. Around the Muslim world, Christmas time for Christians is a time of threats, harassment, and fear. One can point to any number of Muslim attacks on Christians to prove this—whether churches attacked, burned, or forced into closure; whether Muslim converts to Christianity beat, killed, or imprisoned; whether Christians abused on "blasphemy" charges; or whether just sheer violence and killings of "infidel" Christians. (See "Muslim Persecution of Christians" for a list of December's abuses alone).
More telling, however, are the attacks that specifically targeted or revolved around Christmas:
December 25, 2011 was "Nigeria's blackest Christmas ever": in a number of coordinated jihadi attacks, several church were bombed, killing over 40 people, "the majority dying on the steps of a Catholic church after celebrating Christmas Mass as blood pooled in dust from a massive explosion." As expected, the New York Times all but apologized for the terrorists.
Christmas Eve in Uganda saw Muslims throw acid on a church leader, leaving him with severe burns, blinding one eye and threatening sight in the other. The pastor was on his way to a church party when a man pretending to be a Christian approached him from behind, yelling, "Pastor, pastor." When he turned, the Muslim threw acid in his face while others poured it on his back, all running away while screaming Islam's victory cry, "Allahu Akbar!"
In Muslim-majority Tajikistan, "a young man dressed as Father Frost—the Russian equivalent of Father Christmas—was stabbed to death" while visiting relatives and bringing gifts. Considering that the crowd beating and stabbing him were shouting "you infidel!" police cited "religious hatred" as motivation.
These are among the more violent and illegal attacks on Christians around Christmas time, undertaken by Muslim mobs and terrorists. In their own way, however, Muslim governments—many deemed "friends" of America—also make Christmas a very "un-merry" time for celebrants.
For example, if "vandals" in Indonesia decapitated the statue of the Virgin Mary in a small grotto days before Christmas, Indonesian officials have been shutting down churches; one "embattled church" fighting for survival was forced to move its Christmas prayers to a member's house.
This pattern of treating Christian minorities as dhimmis—Sharia's legal term for non-Muslims under Islam forced to live as despised, second-class citizens—is business as usual in the Muslim world. Some more Christmas-related examples follow, from a cursory Internet search:
- Malaysia: Parish priests and church youth leaders had to get "caroling permits"—requiring them to submit their full names and ID numbers at police stations, an eerie practice for any non-Muslim under Islam—simply to "visit their fellow church members and belt out 'Joy to the World,' [or] 'Silent Night, Holy Night.'"
- Iran: While celebrating Christmas, a church was raided by State Security. All those present, including Sunday school children, were arrested and interrogated. Hundreds of Christian books were seized. The detained Christians suffered "considerable verbal abuses."
- Pakistan: Intelligence reports warned of threats of terrorist attacks on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Christians also lamented that "extreme power outages have become routine during Christmas and Easter seasons."
In closing, if people in the West think Christmas is a time of "peace on earth, good will toward man"—to the point of compromising this Christian holiday to appease their "fellow [Muslim] man"—they should know that, increasingly, it is neither a time of "peace" nor "goodwill" for Christians under Islam.
Raymond Ibrahim, author of The Al Qaeda Reader, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.