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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Muslim on Christian and Christian on Muslim Violence in the Central African Republic; Update

Disposing of a body in the Central African Republic. Source
The Central African Republic is "falling apart in horrific violence." Source
I've posted here about Muslim-on-Christian violence in the Central African Republic. Out of all the war torn corners of the globe, I asked that people pray for CAR for the personal reason that I was once a Peace Corps Volunteer there.

I was told during training that there is tension between Muslims and Christians in CAR because of the Arab Slave Trade, a centuries-long enterprise that enslaved millions of people, millions more than the Atlantic Slave Trade. People called, variously, "Black," "Sub-Saharan," "Bantu" or "Christian-Animist" Africans were preyed upon and enslaved by "Arab" or "Muslim" Africans – even though both the slave drivers and the enslaved people were often the same skin color.

North Africa tends to identify as "Arab" or "Muslim." Sub-Saharan Africa tends to identify as "Christian" or "Animist." Where these populations meet, there is violence, for example in Nigeria. There is also violence between those who identify as more devout Muslims, and those whom they identify as not devout enough, for example in Algeria and Mali.

In CAR, I witnessed this tension firsthand. My neighbors openly spoke of wanting to kill Muslims. The Muslims were open in their contempt for non-Muslims.

I wasn't surprised to read, earlier this year, of Muslims mass murdering Christians in CAR.

French troops stepped in. CAR is a former French colony.

Muslims are now fleeing CAR.

The other day a Muslim man fell off of a truck full of Muslims fleeing the Central African Republic. Even before his body hit the ground, crowds of Centrafricaines killed him and mutilated him.

I am haunted by these news reports. I lived with these people. I walked these streets. I taught those young people. I assure you: Centrafricaines, in spite of their poverty and their skin color, really are people just like you and I. If it is happening there, it can happen here. 

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I have Politically Correct friends who practice a weird, rigid taboo. If anyone speaks a critical word about Islam, they will step in and attempt to silence that person. They will silence that person by accusing him or her of being a bigot. They will invoke the Crusades, Israel, colonialism, or America's dependency on petroleum. These same friends are often quite eager to blame America and Christianity for all the world's problems; they rush to do so.

I insist that we must speak freely about Islam.

We must do this not only for non-Muslims, but for Muslims as well.

We must do this for that Muslim man who fell off a truck jam packed with exiles, that man whose body never hit the ground, that probably innocent man who was butchered like an animal.

We must defuse our problems with responsible speech, not with machetes.

I'm reading the comments underneath the news accounts of the fate of the Muslims in CAR. Commentators are saying things like "Serves the Muslims right" and "I can't wait till we chase them from our country." Some commentators even say things like, "I have weapons and I am ready when it starts happening here."

People are saying these extreme and horrible things in anonymous posts on the internet because any serious discussion of the challenge jihad presents has been aborted in our media, demonized on college campuses, and expunged from political life. A responsible and level-headed person like Congressman Peter King is lambasted as an "Islamophobe." Even a cartoonist like Molly Norris is silenced and erased.

When normal discussion is suppressed, criticism goes underground and it becomes more extreme.

We need to defuse our problems with words.

We need to speak frankly about problematical doctrines like jihad, while at the same time always emphasizing that most Muslims are not guilty and can't ethically be scapegoated.

If we don't solve our problems with words, some will chose to solve these problems with violence. 

"The Central African Republic is falling apart in horrific violence" Article with pictures here

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