"The portrayal of Muslims as victims or heroes is at best partially accurate."
When Newsweek published this sentence from Ayaan Hirsi Ali's "The Global War on Christians in the Muslim World" on February 6, the publication stooped to a new low. The article that Ms. Ali wrote was simply a well-worded rendition of an alarming new paradigm in "academic" thought -- the systematic amalgamation of Muslims justified under the accusation of hypocrisy.
The article aimed to appeal to readers through the utilization of statistics that evinced the growing persecution of Christians in nations with populations which overwhelmingly adhere to Islam. I should establish that Ms. Ali's assertion of the rising persecution of Christians in Muslim nations is a real problem, and just as unfortunate as Ms. Ali stated. Fundamentally, the systematic persecution of a people is never acceptable. However, I believe that the end to which Ms. Ali attempted to use the statistics was inappropriate.
Beginning with the sentence above, Ms. Ali went on to invoke examples of the unfortunate killings and burnings of minority Christians throughout the Middle East to cater to an overwhelming simplified fear. As I mentioned, such persecution is a disgusting trend growing in popularity amongst the radical Islamic groups in power in such nations. However, it was this important term, "radical," that Ms. Ali failed to include in her first sentence. In neglecting to add such a term, Ms. Ali immediately grouped Muslims of all nations into one mass.
Maybe this wasn't intentional. Maybe, right?
At the foundation of any column, or Newsweek article, is a fundamental argument. In some articles, the argument is clearer than in others. In Ms. Ali's article, the argument was rather implied.
Fact is not synonymous with argument. Facts can be used to supplement an argument (and should be, if the argument is to be believed), but facts cannot substitute for argument. Thus, it seems that the inclusion of such startling statistics regarding the persecution of Christians must have some sort of aim.
If the aim of her article was to enlighten the world about such a growing trend in the hopes of bringing an end to it, such an end would have been admirable and just. However, it seems that this was not the case.
Of course, as a well-educated political activist, Ms. Ali is well aware of this. As her article progressed, she proved my first inclination wrong. It was quite evident that Ms. Ali purported to use the image of death for a more sinister end.
Ms. Ali, ever so subtly, enabled herself to point the finger of hypocrisy to Muslims in general -- whether they're American or Saudi.
This was proven through her attempt to explain the growing trend of persecution in Middle Eastern nations: "[The growing persecution] is, rather, a spontaneous expression of anti-Christian animus by Muslims that transcends cultures, regions, and ethnicities."
Excuse me? So, what is Ms. Ali suggesting? That it is in the makeup of the Islamic faith to encourage adherents to persecute others? Let's not forget the harmonious centuries that comprised the Middle Ages (or more aptly called the "Dark Ages") in which Church officials justified the pillage and rape of "non-believers." Did the words of a few powerful men in the Crusade necessarily represent the religious convictions of the masses? No, as any Christian today would tell you, they did not.
In this sense, what vindicates Ms. Ali's assertion that the actions of radical Islamic governments represent the convictions of the Muslim masses? Certainly, just as the Medieval Christians of England might have had their disagreements with Rome, so too do American Muslims disagree with radical clerics who have won the minds of people with whom they have never associated on a religious basis.
What seems most evident to me, by this line of thought, is Ms. Ali's attempt to demonize Muslims across the globe.
The persecution of Christians in predominantly Muslim nations is certainly a growing predicament. However, by no means do I believe that such an "anti-Christian animus" is something, if left to the minds of Muslims, that would develop into a widespread conviction. Instead, it is an animus that has developed into a widespread conviction of radical Islamic leaders -- whose religious beliefs have about just as many similarities with international Muslims as those between Catholics and Pastafarians, whose only religious commonality is a belief in a singular omnipotent deity.
Simply, Ms. Ali needed to qualify her argument. I would like to do such for her. Before addressing the nefariously atrocious persecution of Christians in foreign nations, it is necessary to establish that the persecution of Christians is not a sentiment justified by popular Islamic thought. Instead, it is the sentiment of radical Islamic thought. To neglect to qualify such an assertion unreasonably casts a fallacious blanket accusation over a group whose diversities far outnumbers its commonalities. Do not equate radical Islam with popular Islam. It is simply ignorant. Unless, of course, such was intentional in the first place:
"Instead of falling for overblown tales of Western Islamophobia, let's take a real stand against the Christophobia infecting the Muslim world. Tolerance is for everyone--except the intolerant."
With the last sentence in her article, it seemed as if in the effort to amalgamate all Muslims into one mass, Ayaan Hirsi Ali established that the only "intolerant" one was herself.