“It’s time to speak out against hate,” declared Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a video introducing the State Department’s new “campaign to stop bigotry.” Created by the Obama administration’s Special Representative to Muslim Communities, Farah Pandith, and Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, Hannah Rosenthal, 2011 Hours Against Hate will “promote respect across lines of culture, religion, tradition, class, and gender.” (All 23 current classifications of gender? Just wondering.) The campaign was launched at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna, February 17, 2011.
At the OSCE, Pandith raised legitimate concerns about the defacing of mosques and of Jewish tombs, schools, synagogues, and kosher shops. But she also said that the “latest trends show growing movements that target ‘the other’ – be they immigrants, or religious and ethnic minorities, in the name of protecting the identity and ‘purity’ of their nation.” By 2011 Hours Against Hate standards, British Prime Minister David Cameron’s declaration that multiculturalism has failed is a dangerous targeting of “the other.” Pandith also noted that “permissibility of anti-Muslim speech is growing.” Really? A host of individuals facing charges, paying fines, and hiding from death threats would be surprised to hear this. But then it seems permissible to target “the other” of “the other.”
“Hate is hate, no matter who the target is,” 2011 Hours Against Hate intones. But some targets of hatred appear to be more equal than others. Perhaps because some leftist elites never got over their assumption that Christians are the persecutors, not the persecuted, they have difficulty speaking out against hatred aimed at those whom the mainstream media sees as hate-mongers.
On April 29, 2011, the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom (IRF) co-sponsored a 2011 Hours Against Hate event. Hosted by George Washington University, the event was billed as a “Town Hall Discussion on U.S. efforts to combat discrimination and hatred against Jews, Muslims, and others.” Hopefully, the 100 million-plus Christians experiencing persecution around the world today, along with Hindus, Sikhs, Baha’i, etc., are included in “and others.” The IRF office should be reminded that advocates for persecuted Christians played a major role in its creation, along with the creation of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). Both were mandates of the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA).
Though outspoken in their denouncement of hurtful language, the folks at Foggy Bottom have been silent about the massacre of hundreds of Christians in Kaduna State, and several other states in northern Nigeria that took place after Nigeria’s federal elections last month. Angry that Christian President Goodluck Jonathan defeated Muslim candidate Muhammadu Buhari, Islamists in the Shariah-ruled north began rioting on Monday, April 18, 2011, after preliminary results of the April 16 election were announced. Soon newspapers featured grisly photos of charred bodies lining the streets. Hundreds of churches were burned and thousands of Christian-owned businesses destroyed, according to the Christian human rights group, Open Doors. And International Christian Concern reported that the Kaduna-based Civil Rights Congress was still “discovering more details of massacres that have been carried out in the hinterland.” Upwards of 40,000 Christians have been displaced in the past few weeks.
In its comments about the situation in Nigeria, the U.S. State Department disregarded the religious aspect of the post-election mayhem. Secretary of State Clinton’s April 19 statement on the elections (available in Arabic as well as English) “deplored violence,” but ignored the targeting of Christians. Clinton congratulated Goodluck Jonathan for winning Nigeria’s presidential election, and applauded “the people of Nigeria for their enthusiastic and orderly participation.” She did caution that the process was “far from perfect,” though, and called on the country’s Independent National Electoral Commission “to transparently review and take appropriate and transparent action on all allegations of “under-age” voters, violence and intimidation, ballot stuffing, and inordinately high turnout in some areas of the country.”
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