Modern-day Christians’ anxiousness to avoid offending Muslims could be the death of Christianity. My latest in FrontPage:
Buried in the concluding paragraphs of a Christmas Eve Washington Times report about Muslims in Uganda forcing Christians to convert to Islam was the extraordinary revelation that in that country, Muslims now consider any public statement of the Christian Faith to be a calculated insult to Muslims, for which they can justifiably exact revenge. This is, or should be, sobering news for the comfortable Christians of the West who have made an idol out of “interfaith dialogue” and fastidiously avoid saying anything remotely critical about Islam, even as the Muslim persecution of Christians continues worldwide.
“In June,” the Times reported, “a group of Muslims attacked Christian preachers in eastern Uganda during a ‘crusade,’ where Christians publicly profess their faith and invite others to join. Muslims in the town accused the Christians of mocking Islam by publicly saying Jesus was the Son of God.”
In response, said Christian pastor Moses Saku, the Muslims became violent: “They became very angry and began throwing rocks at Christians, chanting ‘Allah akbar.’ Many Christians were injured during the incident.”
The Christians appealed to the Muslims to have respect for those of other faith; the Muslims responded with contempt. One Muslim, Abubakar Yusuf, declared: “We have now declared a jihad against them. We are not going to allow anybody to despise Islamic teachings at their church or crusade. We will seek revenge.”
How did the Christians “despise Islamic teachings”? By preaching aspects of Christianity, such as the divinity of Christ, that Islam denies. The Christians, knowing how delicate their situation was, would never have dreamed of actually saying something critical about Islam itself; but to the Muslims who heard them, just enunciating the tenets of their Christian faith was criticism enough. And they refused to stand for it.
A few years ago, when jihadis attacked AFDI’s Muhammad Art Exhibit and Cartoon Contest in Garland, Texas, some Christians castigated me for co-sponsoring and speaking at the event. They said that Pamela Geller and I, as co-organizers of the event, were being needlessly provocative, poking Muslims in the eye, goading them, etc.
These charitable and enlightened Christians said that Christians should instead be deferential to others’ religious sensibilities. At the time, I responded to these people by explaining that giving in to violent intimidation (our event was a response to the jihad murder of the Charlie Hebdo Muhammad cartoonists in Paris) would only encourage more violent intimidation, and that given the fact that Muslims frequently found even basic expressions of Christian faith to be “provocative,” they were effectively cutting the ground out from under themselves and their children, making it impossible for them to practice Christianity in the future.
These incidents in Uganda are proof that this was correct. In declaring jihad and stating that the Muslims were now on a quest for revenge, Abubakar Yusuf and the Muslims who agree with him are in effect saying that the public expression of the Christian Faith mocks Islam and despises Islamic teachings. Abubakar Yusuf’s announcement that the Muslims had “declared jihad” against the Christians and would “seek revenge” against them was tantamount to a declaration that the Christians must submit to the hegemony of the Muslims, not daring to practice their faith openly, but only in private, behind closed door, and at the sufferance of their Muslim overlords.
This is exactly the status that Islamic law prescribes for Christians in lands governed by Islamic law, and so it is clear that Abubakar Yusuf is no lone fanatic, but is enunciating what many Muslims in Uganda believe to be only right and proper.
The lesson is clear, and not just for Uganda. If the advice of the cosseted, suburban Western Christians who were excoriating me for the Garland event is to be heeded, Christians should make no public expression of their faith at all, and convert to Islam, so as to avoid mocking, provoking, and offending Muslims, and poking them in the eye.
And what it comes to it, that is most likely the exact thing that those Christians will do.