“There was a car filled with dead bodies. Apparently it was a family coming to worship” – witness Timothy Onyekwere, quoted in today’s Guardian.
At least 35 Nigerian Christians deliberately blown to bits as they worshipped (or came to worship) on Christmas day. Can you conceive of anything more blatantly, viciously, sectarian? Anything more calculated to say to people, “we regard you as legitimate targets, simply because of your faith, and we will take pleasure in killing you as you come to worship on your most holy day” ?
The perpetrators of these carefully co-ordinated attacks (three in all) are known: the Islamist sect Boko Harem. They did the same thing on Christmas Eve last year. Their aim is to impose sharia law across Nigeria, a country whose population is about equally Christian and Muslim.
The story received a mention on the BBC news on Christmas day, but no analysis, no discussion, no questions asked. Not even the obvious one: what is the relationship (if any) between Boko Harem and al-Qaeda?
Most noticeable of all, no horrified reactions from the usual civil liberties spokespersons, decrying the bestiality of the people prepared to do such things. True, the Vatican found a spare moment from excusing child abuse, to condemn the attacks, but I have yet to hear anything from the craven sharia-supporter Rowan Williams or any other Christian spokesperson. Never mind the likes of these people. Can you imagine the reaction if “Zionists” had done such a thing?
The truth seems to be that sections of the “liberal” media and the “civil liberties”/”peace” lobby have come to regard Islamist violence in much the same way as they regard natural disasters – all very sad, of course, but not really anyone’s fault, so to be “regretted” but not “condemned.” This tendency has intersected with the SWP/Galloway-influenced “left”‘s post- 9/11 enthusiasm for Islamism, and a desire on the part of many decent people to avoid stirring up racist hostility to Muslims. This last element in the mix is the only one deserving of any degree of serious consideration; but it is self-evidently possible to express condemnation of militant Islamism without impugning the vast majority of thoroughly decent Muslims world-wide, who have no time for murderous religious sectarians.
Treating Islamist mass-murder and/or irredentism as virtually an inevitability, a natural phenomenon (or, worse, simply a reaction to “imperialism”/”Zionism”) is, in fact a chemically-pure example of what the late Edward Said once described thus:
“…it is only a slight overstatement to say that Moslems and Arabs are essentially seen as either oil suppliers or potential terrorists. Very little of the detail, the human density, the passion of Arab-Moslem life has entered the awareness of even those people whose profession it is to report the Arab world.”
There also seems to be a reluctance, on the liberal-“left” to face up to the self-evident fact that what we’re facing here, is an anti-fascist struggle.