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‘Destroy All the Churches’
Is it not news when the leading Saudi religious authority says that to terrorists?

Abdulaziz ibn Abdullah Al al-Sheikh, grand mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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Clifford D. May

All this stands out against the backdrop of the most significant news story the mainstream media insist on ignoring: the spreading and intensifying persecution of Christians in Muslim-majority countries (an issue I’ve written about before, here for example, and which Ibrahim has written about, most recently here). Churches have been burned or bombed in Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The ancient Christian communities of Gaza and the West Bank are shrinking. In Pakistan, Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, is facing the death penalty for allegedly “insulting” Islam. In Iran, Youcef Nadarkhani, sits on death row for the “crime” of choosing Christianity over Islam.

This week, as Nina Shea reported, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its 14th annual report identifying the world’s worst persecutors. Of the 16 countries named, twelve have Muslim majorities or pluralities.

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Why are the reporters covering the State Department and the White House not asking administration officials whether they are troubled by Saudi Arabia’s senior religious authority meeting with supporters of al-Qaeda and telling them that, yes, Christian churches should be demolished? Why have reporters covering the U.N. decided these issues are of no concern to the so-called international community? How about the centers for “Islamic-Christian understanding” that have been established — with Saudi money — at such universities as Harvard and Georgetown? Do they suppose there is nothing here to understand — no need for any academic scrutiny of the Saudi/Wahhabi perspective on church-burning and relations with terrorist groups?

My guess is that all of the above have persuaded themselves that there are more pressing issues to worry about, such as the worldwide epidemic of “Islamophobia” and the need to impose serious penalties on those responsible. I understand. I really do.

— Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.



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