Sunday, 23 January 2011

Showing Baroness Warsi What Real Bigotry Looks Like

Azra Mustafa, just one of many Pakistani Christians who has converted to Islam to save herself and her children

This piece by Rick Westhead at The Star is that rare thing these days: a fearless, honest piece of journalism that offers a politically incorrect but accurate assessment of the issues.

In disturbing detail, it outlines the mainstream, "socially acceptable" persecution of Christians in Pakistan, and reveals that increasing numbers of Christians are converting to Islam in the country in order to avoid the hellish persecution they are suffering daily at the hands of Muslims. Westhead provides example after example demonstrating this chilling reality, but what speaks perhaps loudest of all is this passage about Pakistan's reaction to the jihad murder of Salman Taseer, the moderate Muslim governor who was killed for opposing the country's blasphemy laws:

Pakistan’s lawyers, praised just three years ago for saving this country’s independent judiciary, showered Taseer’s assassin with rose petals on his way into court. A rally to celebrate his death attracted 40,000 in Karachi and thousands more posted tributes to the killer on their Facebook accounts.

“To be honest, I felt good when I heard he was dead; we got rid of him,” said Raghib Naeemia, an iman at Jamia Naeemia. “It’s very clear in the Holy Qur’an that if you say something nasty and harsh about the Holy Prophet, then you become a maloun (cursed) person. And we are supposed to round up those people and kill them very harshly.”

The misery faced every day by Pakistan's Christians - as well as those in Egypt and elsewhere - is a stark reality, and Britain's Baroness Warsi, who recently lamented a fictional "Islamophobia" that has now apparently become "socially acceptable" in the UK, ought to direct her clueless indignation to the places where the real victimised minorities are - the homelands of her own co-religionists.

And incidentally (or rather, extremely relevantly), this spate of fearful conversions by Pakistani Christians resembles - not coincidentally - the expansion of Islam during its early periods of conquest. As has been meticulously documented by pioneering scholars such as Bat Ye'or, the harsh, demeaning conditions of the dhimma - the debasing second-class status imposed upon non-Muslim subjects of newly-subjugated Islamic states - caused many Jews, Christians and Hindus to convert to Islam in order to escape the worst of the persecution, which included payment of obscenely high taxes (jizya and kharaj) that Muslims did not have to pay, enforced dress codes, and prohibition of public worship.

None of this is history. It is still happening today in Pakistan, and all over the Muslim world. By and large, Western human rights groups have abandoned the beleagured Christians of the Middle East to their fate. This is to their eternal shame.

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