21 February 2018
AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook
Geographic areas

  • > Africa
  • > Central Asia
  • > Europe
  • > Middle East
  • > Nord America
  • > North Asia
  • > South Asia
  •    - Afghanistan
  •    - Bangladesh
  •    - Bhutan
  •    - India
  •    - Nepal
  •    - Pakistan
  •    - Sri Lanka
  • > South East Asia
  • > South West Asia
  • > Sud America
  • > East Asia

  • » 10/22/2013, 00.00


    Anti-Christian violence and the silence of "moderate" Muslims

    Piero Gheddo

    Just as attacks occurred two days ago in Egypt, many more have occurred in Philippines, Central Africa, Mali, Nigeria, and Syria in recent months. Most believers in Allah and the Qur'an are peaceful people who only want to live in peace and freedom. However, why is it that these masses of moderates never protest? Why is it that no Muslim association or group has ever been set up to condemn Salafist violence and terrorists who kill themselves to become "martyrs for Islam"?

    Milan (AsiaNews) - An Italian man, who recently came back from the Philippines, told me that on the big island of Mindanao, hundreds of extremists came at night from the island's interior and from smaller islands to attack a suburb of the city of Zamboanga, looting and burning houses and huts. They retreated taking dozens of hostages, leaving behind dead and wounded victims. The Italian said that targeted killings and kidnappings are frequent, but perhaps this is the first time that such a large-scale attack on Christians was carried out. Fear of new attacks has spread and nothing will be as before. The government is bound to send in the army and more fighting, revenge attacks and destruction are to be expected. Those who can have fled to other parts of the country, as people's lives and the economy are on hold. From Gulf countries, money is being sent to ulemas, mosques and Qur'anic schools to train young people to fight and accept to become "martyrs for Islam" against the Christian state. Salafists want an autonomous region for the Muslim minority on the island of Mindanao, which would join Malaya and Malaysian Borneo to form a single Islamic state.

    All this does not make its way into front-page news, and yet there is more. Three days ago, an attack was carried out against a Christian wedding in Giza, in southern Cairo, that left four people dead and 18 wounded according to the latest report.

    In Bangladesh, people have always adhered to a moderate form of Islam. At present, foreign missionaries and nuns are still allowed in, but in recent years, a number of Islamist movements and groups have stirred people up. They have called on the government to make the Sharia (Islamic law) the law of the land, holding up the country for days with non-stop strikes and demonstrations that often result in unnecessary violence (travellers and workers are stopped, beaten, stabbed and killed sometimes). The small Christian, Hindu and Buddhist minorities are under pressure and have to endure every day specious sentences, acts of injustice, and violence. As Bangladesh's upcoming general election draws near, many fear the worse.

    The Central African Republic is "one of the most destabilised states in the continent" because of foreign Muslim gangs (from Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Sudan) who seized power in the capital Bangui, ousting President Bozizé. As Mondo e Missione (October 2013) reported, "during the offensive by Seleka forces (the ruling Islamists), hospitals and health centres were looted and medical staff fled. The health situation is dramatic. [. . .] Christians are being targeted by Islamic soldiers," a Protestant clergyman said, "tied, beaten and forced to hand over money to save their life . . . . Seleka rebels have ravaged and plundered places of worship, killing and forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee, targeting especially Christians." In four dioceses in Central Africa, at least half of all Church assets have been heavily looted, destroyed or taken away. "Everywhere, people are leaving," Mgr Juan José Aguirre, bishop of Bangassou, said. "Civilians are killed and girls raped. They stole everything they could in the dioceses: cars, motorcycles, even refrigerators, television sets, blankets. They destroyed everything: from educational centres to children's facilities." And "In Bohong, foreign Seleka soldiers did not spare a single hut belonging to non-Muslims residents," a report issued by the Diocese of Bohong said. "Throughout the city, except on the Muslim side, the same scene can be seen: roofless, empty homes and blackened walls . . . ."

    Needless to say, what happens elsewhere in Black Africa is not much different. Northern Mali is for intents and purposes ruled by Islamist gangs. The south was saved only by the intervention of French Special Forces. In Nigeria, the frequent attacks by Boko Haram against churches and Christian institutions lay bare a plan to expel non-Muslims from all northern states. In September 2013 alone, about 500 Christians were the victims of such violence.

    The West is deluding itself when it says that "this is not the real Islam." Indeed, what is the real Islam? Since terrorists and Salafists say they are Muslims and acting in favour of Islam, only a violent Islam has taken central stage. I know that most believers in Allah and the Qur'an are peaceful people who only want to live in peace and freedom. I have visited every Islamic country, from Indonesia to Morocco, from Somalia to Senegal, from Mozambique to Egypt and Turkey. I have heard Christians and even missionaries, nuns, priests and local bishops always say the same thing. Still, we have the right to ask, why is it that these masses of moderates never protest? Why is it that no Muslim association or group has ever been created to condemn Salafist violence and terrorists who kill themselves to become "martyrs for Islam"? In Italy, there are two to three million Muslims, whose right to religious freedom is recognised. Why is it they never protest against systematic violence committed by their co-religionists?

    Such questions are not meant to cause offense. I just want to make sure that people in Italy will not come to accept what Domenico Quirico, La Stampa envoy to Syria, said. Held captive for months by Islamic guerrillas, he wrote, "We refuse to realise that moderate Islam does not exist, that the Arab Spring is over and that its new phase involves an Islamist and jihadist plan to build the Great Islamic Caliphate, a political plan that is being implemented starting in Syria with weapons, armies, and money."

    We, believers in Christ and the Catholic Church, continue to pray, engage in dialogue, accept and show solidarity towards Muslims in need, but we are also entitled to ask certain questions and raise certain issues.

    e-mail this to a friend Printable version

    See also

    01/03/2016 23:49:00 ITALY
    The Antichrist is already among us

    The "deadly war against Christianity" is almost over since Nietzsche's dreams are shaping and directing the governments of Christian (i.e. Western) nations and the United Nations. The West, with its deep Christian roots, considers itself free, secular, democratic, educated, sophisticated, and people-oriented; yet it has set out on a path, without realising it, that leads to nihilism, and the destruction of nature human and death.

    01/02/2006 ITALY
    Father Gheddo's parents on their way to beatification
    For years witnesses have talked about the couple's "hunger for holiness" because of how they led their family life and how they took care of the poor. They were day-to-day heroes.

    11/02/2013 TUNISIA - ISLAM
    Tunisia in chaos: Why is Islam taboo?
    Extremism is a threat to moderate Muslims and the West, but it is shrouded by a mysterious taboo. In Tunisia, birth place of the Arab Spring, the assassination of Chokry Belaid, the non-Islamic opposition leader, has led a revolt of the population fearful of a religious dictatorship. No country with a Muslim majority government is democratic and respectful of human rights and religious freedom. The Regensburg address of Benedict XVI only path for a true dialogue between Islam and the West.

    12/09/2014 ISLAM - CAMEROON
    Poverty, fanaticism and a desire for revenge drive Boko Haram in Cameroon
    Islamic terrorism is gaining ground not only in Nigeria. Young Cameroonians are leaving their families for a holy war. Westerners, but also local politicians are their target. Peaceful coexistence between faiths and ethnic groups is at risk.

    17/12/2007 TURKEY
    Hate campaign leads to attack against priest
    Turkey’s press and government tend to play down the attack, choosing instead to refer to it and similar incidents as “isolated cases.” The long list of attacks against Christian clergymen shows by contrast that a widespread campaign of defamation and hatred against Christians is underway. In the country for the past 27 years, Father Franchini himself has been the object of various media attacks in the past.

    Editor's choices

    The tears of Chinese bishops. A portrait of Msgr. Zhuang, bishop of Shantou

    Padre Pietro

    A priest of the official Church, recalls the 88 year old bishop that the Vatican wants to replace with an illegitimate bishop, to please the regime. Mons. Zhuang Jianjian became an underground bishop at the behest of the Vatican in 2006. Card. Zen and Msgr. Zhuang, image of the faithful Church, "which provokes an immense sadness and a sense of impotence". The hopes of card. Parolin to console "the past and present sufferings of Chinese Catholics".

    Card. Zen on the bishops of Shantou and Mindong

    Card. Joseph Zen

    The bishop emeritus of Hong Kong confirms the information published in recent days by AsiaNews and reveals details of his conversation with Pope Francis on these topics: "Do not create another Mindszenty case", the primate of Hungary whom the Vatican forced to leave the country, appointing a successor in Budapest, at the will of the communist government of the time. 


    AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.


    News feed

    Canale RSSRSS channel 


    IRAN 2016 Banner

    2003 © All rights reserved - AsiaNews C.F. e P.Iva: 00889190153 - GLACOM®