Modern political Islam is eliminating the second-class, "protected" status of religious minorities in Muslim countries, Ayaan Hirsi Ali claims in a new article for The Daily Beast. Powerful Islamic lobbies have kept Muslim-Christian dialogue focused on discrimination problems in Western countries, ignoring a global, slow-moving genocide against religious minorities under Muslim rule.
"The conspiracy of silence surrounding this violent expression of religious intolerance has to stop. Nothing less than the fate of Christianity—and ultimately of all religious minorities—in the Islamic world is at stake," Hirsi Ali writes. Her comments are borne out by statistics about Christian minorities in nearly all Muslim-dominated countries.
In Nigeria, where Christians number almost 40 percent of the population, local non-Muslims suffer from a variety of types of government-sponsored forms of religious persecution. The Boko Haram terrorist organization also killed at least 510 Christians and burned down more than 350 churches just last year.
Sudan committed open genocide against Christians in the course of its "civil war" in the last decade, killing more than 2 million Christians and animists in the South. A half a million Iraqi Christians, more than half of their ancient community, have fled the nation because of Islamist violence starting in 2003. In Egypt, more than 200,000 Coptic Christians have fled since the fall of Dictator Hosni Mubarak and the rise of local Islamists, last year. Even Indonesia, considered the most accepting Muslim-dominated state, saw a 40 percent rise in violence directed at the nation's Christians, who number 7 percent of the population.
State-sponsored persecution dominates in other Muslim countries. Pakistani Christians fear both Muslim extremists, but suffer terribly from the misuse of state-sponsored blasphemy laws and the imposition of Sharia. Iran routinely rounds up practicing Christians, forcing them to convert to Islam or die. Saudi Arabia completely bans open Christian practices in their country, despite the presence of over a million Christian foreign workers.
Hirsi Ali argues that although Western nations have an essential responsibility to protect Muslims at home, the conversation with Muslim nations must focus on ending the persecution of Christians in the Islamic world. Aid, trade, and investment should not be given freely, but rather are tools to leverage a better life for Christians in the Muslim world.
Read her article here.