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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Anger in Kenya over Mandera World Cup TV video hall ban

Football fans in north-eastern Kenya have criticised a decision by a Muslim leader to close public video halls ahead of the World Cup.

Many Kenyans watch live football in video halls via satellite because they cannot afford the technology at home.

But Sheikh Khalif Mohammed has shut the halls down in the town of Mandera, saying the satellite channels expose children to pornography.

The move has sparked anger in a nation where football is hugely popular.

The BBC's Bashkas Jugsodaay in Mandera says fans have told him they will do anything to watch the World Cup, which begins in six weeks' time.

Some even said they planned to cross the crocodile-infested river Dawa to watch games in neighbouring Ethiopia.

"If the chiefs [clerics] don't lift the ban, I will go anywhere for the World Cup - from the first day to the last day," said a man who did not want to be identified.
Sheikh Mohammed said the video halls were a bad influence on local children and encouraged them to miss school.

"If anyone wants to go watch the World Cup at his house or her house then we have no problem. But public - no," he told the BBC.

Negro-Mauritanians complain about complete 'Arabisation'

Mauritanian majority accuses foes of fomenting ethnic tension after university clashes.

Mauritania's ruling Coalition of Parties of the Majority (CPM) has accused the opposition of whipping up ethnic tension after violent clashes between Moor and non-Moorish students.

CPM president Mohamed Mahmoud Ould Mohamed on Sunday night told journalists that he condemned "a desperate attempt by some opposition parties who falsely interpret government declarations, to revive matters of ethnic allegiance."

"The opposition is waging a smear campaign holding that Mauritania is in a state of continual crisis. The real objective is to undermine the big projects currently on hand and those on the drawing board," Mahmoud Ould Mohamed added.

The main party among 11 in the CPM is the Union for the Republic of the west African state's President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

On April 15, Moorish students clashed at Nouakchott university with Negro-Mauritanian students who were protesting over what they described as the "complete Arabisation of the administration" in Mauritania, a mainly desert nation where the Moors historically ruled over black African southerners.

A student who asked not to be named said that several people were injured by hurled stones.

Police stormed the campus and made about 30 arrests from the rival sides, a security source said. They used their batons and tear gas to break up the clashes.
The violence followed a series of demonstrations and counter-demonstrations about the language of the administration.

French-speaking students and opposition members, mainly Negro-Mauritanians, object to what they see as their exclusion from jobs, while Arabic speakers protest at the place given to French in the educational system and in the administration.

The polemic erupted after Mauritania on March 1 celebrated the day of the Arabic language, when Prime Minister Moulaye Ould Mohemd Laghdaf stated that the civilisation of the country was "Arabo-Islamic."

Two weeks later, Minister of Superior Education Ahmed Ould Bahya tried to calm the situation down by declaring that "no option for a complete Arabisation" has been undertaken by the government.

The Coalition of the Democratic Opposition (COD), which includes the major opposition parties, stated at the end of March that the government was taking "demagogic" positions in the language debate.

The COD warned against the "risk of awakening ethnic dissensions and conflicts."

What's down, Somalia?

The anti-piracy patrol has adopted another new tactic. Warships patrol close to towns and villages the pirates operate from. When pirates are spotted heading for sea, they are intercepted, disarmed and their boat seized. But because of the "catch and release" policy of most nations participating in the anti-piracy patrol, the captured pirates are quickly returned to the beach, where they can rearm and reequip themselves, and set out for sea more carefully, avoiding nearby warships. The anti-piracy patrol has reduced the number of pirate attacks (61 in the first three months of last year, versus 35 this year), but not halted them. The pirates now have to go farther out to sea to find vulnerable targets, and this they are doing. Warships are being more decisive in determining which boats are run by pirates, and making arrests. This has slowed the pirates down, but not stopped them.

A convoy of several hundred al Shabaab gunmen drove to the northern coast (Puntland) to shut down pirate operations. Pirates fled one village, but the hundred or so al Shabaab gunmen has not done much besides defeat one group of local militia defending an inland village.

Al Shabaab has been unable to oust the Transitional Government militias and foreign peacekeepers from Mogadishu. This they want to do before thousands of government security troops, being trained by foreign instructors, are ready for action (in a few months.)

April 26, 2010: In the south, al Shabaab held a public execution of a murderer, and cut off the hand of a man caught stealing mattresses from a truck.
April 25, 2010: In Mogadishu, shelling between government and al Shabaab left nine dead and over 40 wounded.

April 23, 2010: Al Shabaab seized three more towns in central Somalia (all on a road leading to Mogadishu). The towns were nominally controlled by the Sufi militia, Ahlu Sunna wal Jamea, which is allied with the government. But al Shabaab put more fighters into this action, and the al Shabaab gunmen have a reputation for being fearless and deadly.

In the United States, eleven Somali pirates were charged with attacking U.S. warships in the last few weeks. It's unclear exactly how these men will be prosecuted, as most anti-piracy laws were discarded in the last century.
April 21, 2010:  Pirates seized a bulk carrier, 300 kilometers from the Gulf of Aden. Nearly 2000 kilometers off the coast, pirates seized three Thai fishing boats. While these high seas fishing ships have larger crews (2-3 dozen men), they are slower and lower in the water than merchant ships. The anti-piracy patrols are concentrated in the Gulf of Aden and along the Somali coast, so the pirates are going where the warships aren't, even though they have to search harder for targets. Some believe that the pirates are buying location data for ships in the area, obtained by bribing shipping or insurance company officials. There's never been any proof of this.

April 20, 2010: Twice in the last week, the Transitional Government has cancelled announced meetings of their parliament. In both cases, this was because of al Shabaab threats to attack. Meanwhile, many of the 550 members of parliament are fleeing the increasingly violent Mogadishu. Anti-corruption controls by foreign donors has kept the legislators from foreign money. In fact, many have not been paid. So there's not much reason to stick around.

In Mogadishu, five headless bodies were found in a part of the city controlled by al Shabaab (which has been known to kill those they suspect of working for the government.)

The government withdrew its order for radio stations to keep playing music, or risk closure. Al Shabaab had earlier ordered radio stations to stop broadcasting music, which the Islamic group considers un-Islamic.

The Hidden Martyrs Of Egypt

Egypt has a growing problem with its native Christian population being attacked by Islamic radicals. Last year, there were 29 such attacks, compared to 24 in 2008. The government plays down these attacks, and often doesn't prosecute the perpetrators. Egypt wishes the problem would just go away, but it won't.

Ten percent of Egyptians are descended from those that did not to convert to Islam 1,400 years ago. These are the Coptic Christians, and since the government lifted restrictions on radical Islam in the 1970s, the seven million Copts have been a regular target of Islamic thugs. Thousands have died and most Copts live in fear.

Religious persecution has been around for thousands of years, and few religions have been completely innocent of it. However, currently it is Islam that has shown the most aggressive attitude towards those who don't share their religious beliefs. In practical terms, a lot of religious persecutions over the centuries has been caused more by ethnic, than religious, differences. But 21st century Islam is unique in that the persecutions focus on the religious issue. This tends to make the persecution more violent. Being on a mission from God tends to increase the level of violence. Radical Islam has always been a component of Islamic life, although usually a fringe type activity. But over the last few decades, the Islamic radicals have increased their power enormously. Radical Moslems have taken over the government in Iran and Afghanistan, and came close in Algeria. Radical Moslems, even when they are a numerical minority, have far greater political power because of their militancy and willingness to use extreme violence. And the easiest people to use violence on are non-Moslems.

‘We Refuse to Be Muslims By Force’ Say Egyptian Christian Twin-Boys After Losing Court Case

Two Egyptian twin boys have said, "We refuse to be Muslims by force," after losing a court case.

Middle East journalist, Mary Abdelmassih, writing for the Assyrian International News Agency explained the background to this controversial case.

"On March 30 [2010] an administrative judicial court in Egypt dismissed a lawsuit filed by Mrs. Camilia Lutfi, mother of the Coptic Christian twins boys Mario and Andrew, against the Interior Minister, and the director of the Civil Status Department for refusing to re-instate the Christian religion on their birth certificates, and invalidate those which were forcefully changed to 'Islam' in 2005 by their father Medhat Ramsis Labib, who had converted to Islam."

Abdelmassih said that after his conversion, Andrew and Mario became Muslims in what is called "Islamisation by dependence", by which children follow the religion of a converted parent (to Islam only) until they reach the age of puberty (fifteen), because Islam is "the best among all religions", according to Egyptian Court rulings.

"The purpose of Lutfi's litigation was to restore back to her twins their identity as Christians, before reaching the age of 16 in June, when they will have their national ID cards issued," she wrote. "Camilia said that because of the developments in their case, her worst nightmares would materialise, in which they would have Islam as religious affiliation on their ID cards."

Mrs Lutfi told the Free Copts advocacy, "If they change to Christianity after that, they will be considered apostates."

Abdelmassih reported that she expressed her surprise at the intransigence of the judiciary in dealing with the issue of her sons, especially after they have already reached the legal age of 15-years, when they can choose their own religion.
"The boys have lived this tragedy for the last ten years, through no fault of their own," she said.

ElYoum 7 Newspaper reported that 15-years-old Mario and Andrew were extremely disappointed with the court verdict, saying "faith is not by force, we want to remain Christians and we do not wish to become Muslims".


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Nigerian Archbishop Says Crisis in Northern Nigeria is Spirit of God at Work

A Nigerian Anglican archbishop told 825 mostly Anglicans and Episcopalians that included 20 bishops and three archbishops that the outbreaks of violence in Northern Nigeria is a result of tens of thousands of Islamists becoming Christians resulting in the formation of 49 new dioceses.

The Rt. Rev. Edmund Akanya, Archbishop of Kaduna and Bishop of Kebbi from the Anglican Province of Nigeria told conferees at the New Wineskins conference for Global Missions that outreach to Muslims in Nigeria with the gospel is "second nature" to Nigerian Anglicans and that Anglicans "face this challenge every day."

"After experiencing Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior I went into mission. Up to 20 years ago we were dependent on missionaries. Now we have a thriving church with our own missionaries reaching out to Muslims, animists and pagans," he told the missions-minded audience many of whom had come from half way around the globe to plan mission strategies to reach the world for Jesus Christ.

Under the banner, New Wineskins for Global Mission 2010, the archbishop said news media stories only tell the ugly side of Nigerian violence, but it is not the whole story. "We are reaching out with the gospel to Muslims and those who practice African religions and creating missionary dioceses in the northern part of the country dominated by Islam. Islam came into Nigeria in the 11th century and today they have a political stronghold. We have started missionary dioceses. It has been geographically unreached till now. We already have 49 dioceses in the north of Nigeria in four provinces. We started with 10 and it has grown as we have evangelized planting churches among Muslims."

"How have we done this when you have a great crisis," he cried. "The crisis is happening because of the Spirit of God moving in the land. It is a work of God. We are seeing revival...God is taking over the north for Jesus Christ. People are being turned over from Islam to Christianity. Twenty years ago 5-7% of the population was Christians, now 30% of the people in northern Nigeria are Christians."

Asked what and where the secret of this evangelistic effort came from, Akanya said, "We pray and fast. We spend time on our knees. God gives us the methods in the power of the Holy Spirit. We leave the results to Him."

The archbishop said he introduced the Jesus film into the area and along with the Great Commission movement. "We have converted the film into local languages."

The archbishop admitted that things don't always go easily "There is some risk to our lives. Sometimes our missionaries are stoned others are arrested by local police and their materials destroyed but the lord promises to be with us."

"God himself through the prayers of the church is bringing Muslims and animists out of darkness into the light of the lord. God is looking for people who are available to bring His Word to lost people. Many are coming to Christ in the north. We have gone from three to 30 to 50 churches. God is opening the hearts of men."

Akanya said one method of evangelism is building bridges of friendship. "Despite attacks and killings we keep building friendships and extending the love of Christ. We carry on despite the enmity. Poverty levels are high in the north. There is no single missionary school in the north so the challenge is to build new schools. We ourselves were educated by missionary built schools, so we know their value."

Akanya described the evangelistic outreach in First Century terms. "People are coming back from the dead. Demons and powers and principalities are being downtrodden and the Kingdom of darkness is on the ropes. You see the uprising by Muslims is because they are losing out in the North.

"The city of Jos, which is closer to the center of the country, is the headquarters of every Christian organization. It is the launching pad to the north and that is why militant Muslims are attacking Christians in Jos", he said.

"We (Nigerians) are going to sweep throughout Africa starting with Nigeria. For every 10 people who are converted in one population group we can reach out to Africa, Asia and to the entire world. Nigeria is sending send out missionaries to other parts of Africa and we need your cooperation in reaching Francophone countries. There are still so many unreached tribes and people that are waiting to hear the Good News. Who will come and help us?"

The African archbishops said Nigeria is experienced in presenting a very holistic gospel. "We go into areas where HIV-AIDS is prevalent. The Mothers Union comes in to help with medical care and classes for young mothers with children. We are also digging wells and providing literacy classes, all of it designed to leading people to the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

"We will saturate the north with Jesus Christ. We will rebuild schools taken over by the Government and we are introducing the 1-1-1-1 program of one person a year who leads one other person to the lord."

Conferees to the New Wineskins have come from the US, Sudan, Uganda, Nigeria, Turkey, Myanmar, Niger, Canada, Kenya, Israel, Madagascar, Chile, Brazil, Belize, Dominican Republic, New Zealand, England, Pakistan, India, Burma, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and Peru.

Christian denominations present include Lutheran, Disciples of Christ, Foursquare, Methodists, Anglicans, Episcopalians, Vineyard and Roman Catholics. Nashotah House and Trinity School for Ministry seminarians, leaders and faculty were also present as were overseas missionaries, youth leaders and the next generation of missionaries.

Seminars were held touching on God's priorities for the world and the Church, the opportunities, specific needs and how can local churches have an effective outreach locally and to the ends of the earth. New Wineskins leaders said they stood ready to hold Missions Awareness Seminars in parishes, diocese or at convocations.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Nigeria: 'Secret' killings follow religious deaths

JOS, Nigeria (AP)

The religious massacres have stopped, but "secret" killings of Christians and Muslims continue on a smaller scale across central Nigeria, claiming more than 30 lives this year, police said Tuesday.

The warning came after three people died and several others were injured Monday during an interfaith Easter prayer ceremony in Jos, a one-time Nigerian tourist town that finds itself at the epicenter of the religious tension plaguing Africa's most populous nation.

Plateau State Police Commissioner Ikechukwu Aduba told reporters Tuesday he would hold community leaders, parents and anyone else ordering attacks responsible before the law. However, even he seems lost when trying to explain the violence.

"Plateau used to be the home of peace and tourism, mini-Nigeria, a global home to all, but now the state has polarized into two," Aduba said. "We continue to pick up corpses on a daily basis due to the secret killings. ... Killing an innocent soul is satanic."

Aduba said the secret killings happen when Christians and Muslims stray into neighborhoods dominated by the other faith. Police and security forces can collect one or two bodies a night this way, he said.

Still, the violence remains hidden from public view since it hasn't reached the horrors of earlier in the year. More than 200 people — mostly Christians — died in March massacres in villages south of Jos. More than 300 people — mostly Muslims — died in January during rioting in the same region.

Nigeria, a country of 150 million people, is almost evenly split between Muslims in the north and the predominantly Christian south. The recent bloodshed has been happening in central Nigeria, in the nation's "middle belt," where dozens of ethnic groups vie for control of fertile lands.

The violence, though fractured across religious lines, often has more to do with local politics, economics and rights to grazing lands. The government of Plateau State, where Jos is the capital, is controlled by Christian politicians who have blocked Muslims from being legally recognized as citizens. That has locked many out of prized government jobs in a region where the tourism industry and tin mining have collapsed in the last decades.

There have been efforts among both Christian and Muslims leaders to calm nerves.

However, an effort to bring both sides into prayers Monday failed as "hoodlums" took over the ceremony and then rioted in the street, security forces said.

Brig. Gen. Donald Oji, spokesman for the military force now securing Jos, dismissed claims that soldiers had caused the deaths. However, soldiers fired into a civilian crowd during the March unrest, killing at least two, witnesses said.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

South Sudan the next South Nigeria?

World Media conspiracy of silence, lies, and deception.

By Hugh Fitzgerald

“The killers showed no mercy: They didn't spare women and children, or even a 4-day-old baby, from their machetes. Nigerian women wailed in the streets as a dump truck carried dozens of bodies past burned-out homes toward a mass grave.”

Rubber-gloved workers pulled ever-smaller bodies from the dump truck and tossed them into the mass grave on Monday. A crowd began singing a hymn with the refrain, "Jesus said I am the way to heaven." As the grave filled, the grieving crowd sang: "Jesus, show me the way." - from a news account of the mass-murdering by Muslims, of Christians sleeping in their beds, attacked in the middle of the night, on all sides, by Muslim Fulanis.

You've already forgotten just a bit, haven't you? That is, forgotten the details? You remember that about 600 people were killed in north-central Nigeria - was it a week ago? Or two weeks? Or three weeks? It's hard to remember -- when Muslims of the Fulani tribe surrounded Christian villages at night, where there were mostly women and children, and set fire to their houses, and then with machetes killed them, while the Muslim-officered army and police did nothing to prevent it. And you may remember, or not, how in January there was the same story, when Muslims attacked Christians, on a Sunday, burning them alive in a church. But on that occasion, since the Christians around included men, they did fight back, and so that January story's details have been forgotten, and the BBC, and NPR, and everyone else had a high old time, in describing the six hundred Christians murdered last week, in glibly (and wrongly) calling it a "revenge" for the attacks in January -- as if the attacks in January had not been instigated by the Muslims in the first place, and the Christians only inflicting casualties because they were defending themselves.

Christian pastors on the spot were always careful not to call for revenge attacks, but that if attacked, that naturally they should defend themselves:

The Rev. Pandang Yamsat, the president of a local Christian group, said he has urged his congregation not to respond violently to Muslims. However, he said he believes Muslims in the area want to control the region and that any peace talks would only give Muslims "time to conquer territory with swords."

"We have done our best to tell our members, 'don't go and attack Muslims, they are your brother,"' Yamsat said. However, "'if they come to dislodge you in your place, stand to defend yourself."'

Can you imagine any imam, any Muslim cleric, anywhere in the world, in peacetime as in wartime, telling Muslims "don't go and attack Christians [Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Confucians], they are your brother"? Could Muhammad ever have said that? Did Muhammad ever say anything like that? Would or did the Qur'an ever say anything like that? You know the answer.

And if you remember anything at all about the attacks in early March, and how they were covered by the BBC, NPR, and almost all the of the most celebrated news reporting services and newspapers in the Western world, you remember this: That the "attacks by the Muslims" in March - the ones where they surrounded villages of sleeping Christians, mostly women and children, and then attacked them in the middle of the night with machetes, killing six hundred, including babies whose mutilated bodies have been described in ghastly detail - were done "in revenge" for the "killings of last January." And if you are a normal reader or listener, you nod, you say "ah, yes, I remember, there was some trouble in Nigeria in January, and there were killings, and I don't remember exactly what happened but I guess it was a case of the Christians starting it, and the Muslims perhaps not getting their revenge so that they felt they had to get their revenge this March." And that's how you leave it, in your own mind, and that is not your fault, that is how most of us would normally react. We don't go rummaging around trying to check against those whom, we assume, would not misinform us. And so when NPR, the BBC, the New York Times, the Washington Post, tutti quanti, tell us the Muslims were attacking "in revenge" for January, we assume:

1) that in January the Christians started the attacks;
2) the Christians did most of the killing;
3) the Muslims must surely have suffered far more, because they still apparently felt the need to get their "revenge" in March.

But in Nigeria, this past January, that's not what happened.

This past January, as Baronness Cox of the House of Lords was one of the very few in the West to note, on a Sunday, as Christians in Jos were going to church, they were attacked by Muslims, who then set a church afire with all the congregants inside, burning them alive. They then proceeded to attack other Christians outside the church, and the killings went on and on. The Christians in Jos did fight back. Some of them, having survived the unprovoked Muslim attacks, went out searching for Muslims to kill. Does that surprise you? Did you expect them to do nothing? Did you expect them to behave as people in London or New York might behave, doing nothing but waiting for the course of "justice" to work itself out in the courts? They are not that silly. In Nigeria it is well understood that neither the Muslim-dominated police in central Nigeria, nor the Muslim-officered army anywhere in Nigeria, would come to the rescue of Christians. And if those Christians do physically defend themselves, and fight back, and even bring the fight to the Muslims, they will simply be massacred, again and again, with impunity. Do you dislike how the Christians in Nigeria behave? Would you wish them to behave, say, as the natives of Western Europe do when set upon by Muslims, which is wait for the forces of order, and then for the long slow spokes of the law to turn the wheels of justice, and finally for some kind of most limited justice to be done? Do you approve of their fighting back? Disapprove? No opinion? What do you think, to move to another continent, of how the Chinese deal with Uighurs who riot and kill Han people? Think they are too tough, or do you secretly wish that in the Western world we could, in dealing with the Muslim threat, emulate the Chinese government?

Now many in the Western world have wanted to minimize the religious prompting - and the prompting comes from the texts of Islam, not from the Christian Bible. For example, a Vatican spokesman wanted to make clear that in the Vatican's view, this was not a religious war:
The Rev. Federico Lombardi, a Vatican spokesman, condemned the violence and said Monday that the conflict must be interpreted in the light of social, economic, ethnic and cultural factors rather than religious hatred.

No? Not "religious hatred"? Why then, if it is all about other factors - social, economic, ethnic, and cultural - the sheepmen vs. the cattlemen, and the poor vs. the rich, and the rich vs. the poor, and the town vs. the country, and this people or tribe against that people or tribe, does it turn out, whatever else might be going on, that on the side that starts things the people are entirely Muslim, and those they target are always entirely Christian?

But what about the "ethnic argument"? One could say: Oh, this is just a case of Fulani shepherds trying to fight back against non-Fulani farmers? Wouldn't that be a comforting thought, in some ways, if we could keep Islam out of it?

Here's part of a report that someone inclined to such an analysis could rely on:
The killings in Dogo Nahawa, three miles south of the region's main city of Jos, began early Sunday.

Chuwanga Gyang, 30, said he heard a gunshot and left his house through the back door but stopped when he realized that the attackers were shooting to herd fleeing villagers toward another group of attackers carrying machetes.

He recalled climbing into a tree and watching as villagers were killed and the attackers set homes alight over the course of 90 minutes.

The attackers asked people "Who are you?" in Fulani, a language used mostly by Muslims, and killed those who did not answer back in Fulani, he said.

Plateau State spokesman Gregory Yenlong said police are seeking to arrest Saleh Bayari, the regional leader of the Fulanis, alleging Bayari had made comments that incited the slaughter. He gave no details.

And this business is not merely between Muslim Fulanis and non-Muslim non-Fulanis. There have been other attacks, always beginning with Muslims, and by no means only Fulani Muslims, against Christians, by no means all of them of the Bolem people (the victims of the latest massacres in and near Jos), and never the reverse, in Nigeria in the last few years:
The killings [in March] add to the tally of thousands who have already perished in Africa's most populous country in the last decade due to religious and political frictions. Rioting in September 2001 killed more than 1,000 people. Muslim-Christian battles killed up to 700 people in 2004. More than 300 residents died during a similar uprising in 2008.

Though others outside Nigeria may wish to believe, and to convince others to believe, that this is not a war of Muslims against Christians, all of these attacks evoke the most important event in the history of the state of Nigeria, an event that is never mentioned in any of coverage, on the BBC, or NPR, nor in any of the television and press accounts of the killings in and around Jos in January and March. And that Great Unmentionable Event is the Biafra War, the name we give to that campaign by the Nigerian military, Muslim-led and largely Muslim-manned, to crush the attempt, born of desperation, by Nigeria's Christians to declare a separate state in the south, a place where, it was hoped, the Christians of Nigeria would no longer be subject to the persecutions, humiliations and, above all, physical insecurity that they had long experienced in central and northern Nigeria. A series of large-scale murders by Muslims of non-Muslims living in the north led Christians in southern Nigeria to finally form and announce to the world, in 1967, the independent State of Biafra.

The American and British governments did nothing to help, gave no aid, extended no diplomatic recognition. Only Ghana and Israel gave useful moral and other kinds of support. The Western powers were not interested in the welfare of black African Christians. They were interested only in the uninterrupted supply of oil, and also, so they convinced themselves, in the need - but why? - to keep intact the "most populous state in Black Africa." One wonders, if the Christians and animists in the southern Sudan, who over many decades have been murdered and enslaved in large numbers by the Muslim Arabs of the northern Sudan, dare to vote for independence and then to declare an independent state (with all of the Sudan's oil) in the south, will the West behave as it did with Biafra? Will it refuse to recognize that state, and do so on the grounds that this might "interfere with the supply of oil" (in this case meaning: if we allow the black Africans to break off from the north, the Arabs might reduce the flow of oil to punish us) and because "the largest state in Africa should not be split up"? Such idiocies are entirely possible.

While the West abandoned Nigerian Chrstians in Biafra, the Muslim Arabs provided every assistance to the Muslim side. Why, Nasser sent Egyptian Migs, flown by Egyptian pilots.

Those pilots cheerfully strafed - what fun! - helpless Ibo villagers, who ran around trying to escape the bombs, and the machine-gunning by those Egyptians in their invulnerable planes above. Tens of thousands of Ibo died as a result. The war went on for three years. There were many reports, but the only two worth reading were those of Renata Adler (serialized in Mr. Shawn's New Yorker) and by Frederick Forsyth. From 1967 to 1969 the Biafrans managed to hold on. Their leader, Colonel Ojukwu, issued the Ahaira Declaration (which you might read online), in which he spoke about white racism (in the indifference to the mass murder of black Africans, as long as the oil flow was not interrupted) and, especially, about the "Jihad" that was being waged against Biafra. I wonder, and you may wonder too, if in the chanceries of the West, did anyone take note or think to inquire as to the meaning of that word "Jihad"? Was anyone prompted to start looking into the Qur'an and Sunnah at that point, back in 1969, and at what Muslims were doing in sub-Saharan Africa even then, before the OPEC trillions and the entry of millions of Muslims into Europe, using many different weapons, in their natural Jihad against the Infidels? Did Biafra mean anything, leave any mental residue in their brains, or was it simply something that happened, and had no meaning they could discern, because neither then, nor in the years since, have they figured out what Islam inculcates, and how that explains the behavior of Muslims?

When the Serbs, disastrously, and to their own great misfortune, turned to someone like Milosevic, it was because the West did not listen to them, did not take to heart their worries about such a man as the Bosnian leader Izetbegovic, who openly declared his desire to reimpose Shari'a law. For the Serbs, the mere mention of such a thing evoked tribal memories of Ottoman rule, and the devshirme (the forced levy, by the Turks, of every tenth Christian child, then taken back to Turkey to serve in the Sultan's armies), and provoked other historical memories of what Muslim Turkish rule had meant for the cultural level of the Serbs - a subject treated in the doctoral dissertation of Ivo Andric, the most famous Serbian writer, back in 1924. But the West was unsympathetic, because uncomprehending. Had it shown a little comprehension, it is possible that the Serbs would not have supported Milosevic, and things in the Balkans might have gone more smoothly.

And in 1967, and until the end of the Biafran War, and in the forty years that have followed, the West seems to have no comprehension of the Muslim campaigns against non-Muslims in Africa. It does not understand, it does not listen, to the Nigerian Christians. It does not understand what really happened, does not even have a good grasp of the number of victims of the Jihad in the southern Sudan. It pays no attention to what has been happening in Niger as a result of Saudi money, where the wahabization of the formerly syncretistic Muslims is proceeding at a terrifying pace. It has no idea of what so alarms Laurent Gbagbo and the Christians in the Ivory Coast. It has no idea of what Khaddafy's money has done to spread Islam and fill with anxiety the Christians in Lome and the rest of Togo.

Forty-one years have passed since Biafra was crushed. Why did not, in the State Department, anyone, any group of people, take it upon themselves to study the onslaught of aggressive Islam in sub-Saharan Africa? Why is there no coordinated and cunning policy to support the Christians, to make sure that they do not lose heart, either in Nigeria or in Sudan or anywhere else on the Continent? Why has nothing been said, no plans made, to protect the southern Sudanese so that they may vote without fear in the referendum on independence, and to assure them that their expressed wishes will be honored? Do you have the feeling that this is being discussed, that anyone in the Obama Administration has a policy to deal with the Jihad anywhere, except insofar as the main lineaments of the policy appear to consist of appeasement, the kind of which that Cairo Speech was the purest expression, along with the shabby treatment, both cruel and stupid, which the Israelis had to endure recently and may have to endure in the future? And what American or European officials have tried to understand what the memory of Usman Dan Fodio does to Christians in West Africa, or for that matter, does to Muslims in West Africa? Having made the decision to oppose the attempt by the Christian Nigerians to create a state of their own, the American and British governments did nothing, knew nothing, and did not want to find out anything more. And that determination to know noting, and to continue to know nothing, about the role of Islam in sub-Saharan Africa, continues right to this day.

It is now 2010. Eight-and-a-half years have passed since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. One might have thought something about Islam would begin to be learned by those who deal with Africa, or Asia, or Western Europe. Terrorist attacks did not stop. There have been over 15,000 separate attacks by Muslims all over the world. So one might have thought that if Muslim killings of Christians in Nigeria came back into the news, at this point, after so much else related to Muslim war being made on Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists all over the place, that this time the Western world would report things more accurately, more fully and with greater intelligent attention to history.

But it didn't happen.

I think, rather than those idiotic interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan, where we spend trillions and attempt to rent "goodwill" of Muslims -- a strategy that requires endless funneling of funds to keep renting that good will, by the month, by the week, by the day -- we should send a few thousand troops to seize the Southern Sudan (and Darfur) and hold them, until we arrange for a referendum on independence to be held.

We are lavishing money on the wrong people, who cannot be won over, and we are ignoring those who are the victims of such people, and who are our natural allies, and who deserve our support and our protection.

Over the past weeks, I have listened to dozens of radio news programs, and seen television news shows in English, Italian, French. I have read the reporters, the columnists, the writers of editorials. And after the initial few days of reporting, the whole story died down. And never, not once, not on the BBC, not on NPR, not on RFI, not on ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, nowhere have I seen mention of any context beyond that which goes back two months. And then we are told, inaccurately, that "this was a revenge attack" for "Christian attacks on Muslims." What happened in Jos in January, however, was not, as so many believe, simply a case of Christians killing Muslims, but of Muslims killing Christians and Christians fighting back. Nigerian Christians are not like Western Christians, and are perfectly willing to fight back. In the popular imagination, since more Muslims appear to have been killed than Christians, it has become simply "Christians killing Muslims."

But the one thing no one, no one at all, mentions is the word "Biafra." No one has mentioned, that is, the war -- as mentioned above -- that lasted from 1967 to 1969, in which over one million southern Christians were slaughtered by a Nigerian military machine that was completely controlled by Muslims, as it is today. (And that is why the Muslims who crept up on those three villages, through supposedly secure roadblocks, managed to do so. That is why, once the attacks began, no help came from the army -- because the army is Muslim-officered and largely Muslim-staffed.) No one mentioned that the Biafra War was fought by Christians who were determined to finally become independent of the Muslim north, and who declared their independence only after years and years of every conceivable Muslim provocation, including attack after murderous attack on Christians who happened to be in northern (i.e., Muslim-ruled) cities. No one mentioned the word "Jihad" that Colonel Ojukwu used in his speech to the people of Biafra -- the Ibo and other Christian peoples -- in his Ahiara Declaration.

And besides the Biafra War, the failure to mention the history of Islam in West Africa, which would require doing a little study, has meant the context of no context (to quote the late George Trow): no context in space, and no context in time. The reporting is always merely reporting, and there is no way to make proper sense of any event without some larger context. You have to know things. You have to be instructed. And if those who have the responsibility to instruct know nothing themselves, or so very little, then you cannot, by the reports of such people, ever be adequately informed. This is true of the reporters, of the columnists (think of Tom Friedman, think of the level of his mind), and the editorial writers who presume to instruct us on matters having to do with Islam, and yet who repeatedly show they know nothing, and do not wish to find out, about Islam.

This goes far beyond coverage of Nigeria. In the Sudan, for four decades or more, the Muslim Africans have been pushing southward, killing, enslaving, starving to death, those black African Christians and animists who do not submit, do not convert. Sudanese tell me that about 3.5 million black Sudanese have been killed or deliberately starved to death, almost all of them Christians. In Darfur, what seems to have nothing to do with Islam does indeed have to do with it, for the Arab Muslims killing the non-Arab Muslims are demonstrating, by their attitudes, the Arab supremacism that is encouraged by Islam, an Arab supremacism or which Islam serves as a vehicle. In Nigeria, pushing ever downwards, the Muslims are doing exactly what they did in the Sudan, taking more land from the Christian farmers, and attacking Christian tradesmen and small shopkeepers and workers where those can be found. And in both Nigeria and the Sudan, the country's main wealth is in oil. That oil lies under Christian lands, though the oil revenues are seized by the Muslim rulers and supplied mostly to fellow Muslims. The Christians are helpless to claim their fair share.

I didn't expect the BBC to tell us about Usman Dan Fodio and the Jihad he declared in West Africa in 1804, or to explain that he was Fulani, like those who did the killing last month in Nigeria. But I did think the Biafran War might have been mentioned. It took place not two hundred years ago, but within living memory - or is there nothing within the "living memory" of the media? Is that memory now always moribund?

When things happen, there is no attempt to instruct listeners or readers as to how the events of today fit into, connect with, other events. Take, for example, the series of dreadful attacks - rapes, tortures, killings - of Christians by Muslims in Pakistan. Few of these get reported fully. And there is never any indication that this might be part of a long pattern, part of a long history. You never hear, for example, about the martyrdom of Bishop John Joseph, who nearly ten years ago killed himself, in public, to protest the cruelty of Pakistani laws, and their use by Muslims as an excuse to kill Christians. You hear nothing about the history of the persecution of non-Muslims, going back to the earliest days of Pakistan. Nor do you hear about the persecution of Hindus in Pakistan, or of Hindus, Christians, and Buddhists in Bangladesh. Why not? Why are we never told? Why are we never given the figures on the non-Muslim percentage of the total population of Pakistan, or Bangladesh, at the time of Partition and today, and also given figures on the Muslim percentage of the population of India? Why is there never any attempt to make us understand men and events? Have you ever heard the words "Jizyah" and "dhimmi" used on the BBC? On NPR? Used in a story in the New York Times? The Washington Post? No? Never? In the thousands of stories, in the millions and millions of words, on matters related to Islam and Muslims, not a single appearance of such words. Why not?

It is not too much to ask that the Biafra War, those Egyptian Migs, that Western pusillanimity demonstrated in the abandonment then of Nigeria's Christians, should now be noted in reporting from Nigeria, that a larger context be given, that deep anxieties within the Christian communities be relayed to the outside world. It is not too much to ask that the same fears among Sudanese Christians, fears that have only deepened with every decade since independence in 1956, be reported to the outside world. Some may not know that in order to avoid sanctions, the Sudanese government pretended to commit itself to a referendum, on independence, to be held in the south. The time for that referendum approaches, and the Arabs of the north have been spreading money and weapons around in the south so as to encourage attacks of tribe against tribe. By increasing the level of local violence, the northern Arabs hope to use that violence as an excuse to delay or to cancel that vote on independence, or to use that violence in order to appeal to the southerners to vote for them as the only force capable of keeping the peace in the south - precisely because they are from outside, from the north. Such maneuvering is not sufficiently monitored, and Western audiences not being adequately prepared to understand what is happening now, and what is to come.

Wouldn't it be amazing if we had reporters, columnists, writers of editorials who actually recognized their own ignorance, and felt the need to rectify it, and then decided that by god, they were going to study the texts of Islam, the tenets of Islam, were going to read Schacht and Lammens and Snouck Hurgronje and Jeffrey, were going to read what the defectors -- the apostates -- from the Army of Islam had written (just as, in an earlier day, they would not have relied on TASS but have read what defectors from the Soviet Union said and wrote about it). Then they would no longer keep repeating the baseless banalities about this "religion" that is also a Total Belief-System, with its effects, in those places where Muslims believe themselves powerful enough to act with impunity (i.e., in Dar al-Islam, where Muslims rule) on the actual behavior of Muslims toward non-Muslims.

Wouldn't it be amazing to have reporters who, in giving us the latest news from West Africa, knew about Usman Dan Fodio, and about the Biafra War? And they would be able to provide, then, a deeper understanding of what is going on in the Ivory Coast, with Laurent Gbagbo and the fear of the Christians of infiltration from the north of Muslim immigrants, or what is happening in Togo, where suddenly the mosques are being built everywhere in Lome, thanks to Arab money, and they have state-of-the-art sound systems supplied by Khaddafy (who has bribed the Togolese ruler, apparently with a Lamborghini that ruler enjoys racing up and down the 30 kilometers of paved roads). The Muslims in Lome have cut down all the trees around the churches that once gave shade to worshippers entering and exiting or simply meeting together after a service, while they chase away any Christians who attempt to sit under the "Muslim" trees near mosques. And what have you read in detail about the Wahabification of Islam in Niger, where a friend of mine recently returned after years in France and was horrified to see the complete transformation of the easygoing black-African version of Islam with the real thing that the Saudis had transplanted. But who will connect the Sudan to Togo to Niger to Nigeria? Who will write the articles about Khaddafy as the self-anointed "King of Africa" who is constantly bribing tribal chiefs and constantly distributing funds for the spread of Islam -- even if he, Khaddafy, is hardly fundamentalist in his own behavior, what with his high-stepping bodyguards consisting of Amazon-like women? Who will help people who naturally do not have the time to study, to connect murders in Nigeria today with the Biafran War of forty years ago?

There are all kinds of fellowships for journalists that provide a year of study. Some spend a year at Harvard, meeting each other at the Lippmann House on Francis Avenue, with nothing more pressing than to take courses to deepen their knowledge of what they specialize in. How many of them are clever enough to see that when it comes to Islam, they are better off studying on their own, rather than with the apologists who are thick on the ground of Harvard Yard and its environs, the diana-ecks and noah-feldmans and roy-mottahedehs (he, at least, has some semblance of humor lacking in the others, as his quoting of Robert Benchley indicates). There is the Stanford Program for journalists, who linger or lounge under the loggias made possible by Leland Stanford's railroad largesse, and everyone has a wonderful time in sunny California. But it is unclear, for those covering world politics - and nowadays that has to include Islam - how many are put on the right path, and how many subjected to the myriad myrmidons of Mesa Nostra (Western Division). Nonetheless, there are individual instructors, and even whole departments, where the real thing is studied, but to mention them here would be to cause trouble for them, and there is no reason to do that.

The failure to report adequately, or sometimes failure to report at all, on the Muslim attacks on non-Muslims, in Nigeria, in the southern Sudan, in southern Thailand, in Bangladesh, in Pakistan, in Indonesia, just can't be allowed to continue unremarked. The only way to get papers and radio and television to collectively pull up their socks, or straighten up and fly right or (your colorful and metaphoric message here) is to relentlessly expose the shabbiness of these reports by describing what has not been mentioned. And only thus will those who keep producing or publishing or broadcasting such stuff be shamed, mocked, held up for well-justified criticism and ridicule on the Internet, until word gets back to someone, and someone else discovers that he just has to start giving the context, has to instruct correctly, has to start making sense.