Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Muslim Terrorist Attacks on Christians: A Global Comparison

Dogo Nahawa Massacre, Nigeria, 2010: Over 500 Christians--mostly women and children--are hacked to death by Muslim attackers screaming "Allah Akbar!"

The always useful Religion of Peace website has compiled a running list of Muslim terrorist attacks on Christians since 9/11. As of the end of March it lists 1,242 attacks in 51 countries and territories, totaling 9,161 deaths and 12,003 injuries. It's a morbid subject, obviously, but it's also important. I believe the authors try to stick to a consistent and fair methodology. Here are some notes on it:

  1. Tens of thousands of 21st century Christians have been martyred for many reasons and by numerous hostile groups--including members of various non-Christian religions and anti-Christian ideologies--but only attacks by Muslims are counted.
  2. Only attacks on Christians where they were almost certainly singled out and targeted as Christians are counted. Thus, few of the most well-known Muslim terrorist attacks are counted--since the victims of those attacks were for the most part targeted indiscriminately.
  3. The list includes some personal actions--a Muslim father murdering his daughter because she converted to Christianity--religiously motivated attacks by lone or unaffiliated attackers, mob actions, premeditated attacks by recognized terrorist groups and war crimes by quasi-military units.
  4. Due to reporting and other considerations it no doubt leaves out many other occurrences, ranging from more personal attacks to quasi-military actions.
  5. The list does not include attacks or human rights violations by governments.
  6. 87% of the attacks involved at least one fatality and 48% involved at least two fatalities.
  7. For the most part, each attack was labeled by country, though there are a few exceptions--attacks in the Muslim areas of the Russian Federation are broken out by territory and there are a few non-national territories included, such as Kosovo and the Palestinian Authority.
  8. There are no links on the site's list but each attack is easily verifiable due to the inclusion of a date and a relatively unique description of the event.

We put together a summary of the data, based on recorded casualties, ranking the results by % of total casualties per country, and by % of total casualties by country controlling for population:

Total Casualties by Number and % of Total:

Nigeria 11,377 54%
Egypt 1,601 8%
Iraq 1,541 7%
Pakistan 1,223 6%
Syria 1,220 6%
Indonesia 1,032 5%
Philippines 934 4%
Lebanon 346 2%
Sudan 311 1%
Kenya 305 1%
Bangladesh 251 1%
Central African Republic 226 1%
Somalia 120 1%
Ethiopia 109 1%
Other 568 3%

% of Total Casualties by Country, Controlling for Population:

Lebanon 19%
Nigeria 16%
Syria 12%
Central African Republic 11%
Iraq 11%
Egypt 4%
Philippines 2%
Somalia 2%
Kenya 2%
Sudan 2%
Libya 2%
Pakistan 1%
Israel 1%
Kosovo 1%
Liberia 1%
Indonesia 1%
Palestinian Authority 1%
Macedonia 1%
Saudi Arabia 1%

Tentative Conclusions:

  1. Much of this is not a surprise. That Nigeria tops the list, accounting for over half of the total casualties, is not unexpected.
  2. However, it might be a surprise that, controlling for population, Lebanon is even more dangerous.
  3. Virtually all of the casualties are in the Middle East, Africa and South and South East Asia--areas that to one extent or another are not fully covered by Western media.
  4. Population is total population, not total Christian population. Thus, for example, Pakistan is almost certainly a more dangerous place for Christians than the numbers might indicate.
  5. All attacks since 9/11 are given equal weight. I suspect that some areas--Syria and Iraq--would appear much more dangerous if only recent results were counted.

The number of Christians killed and injured on this list is horrific, and as a Catholic I have no doubt that many of the dead were and will be recognized as martyrs. But it is notable and perhaps odd that virtually none of the Christians killed were public personalities. For example, I believe the list includes only one bishop and very few well-known priests, ministers or Christian laymen. (One exception might be the Orthodox priest Daniel Sysoev, murdered in 2009, who became locally famous in Russia for evangelizing within the Moscow Muslim community.)

By contrast, there have been numerous well-known non-Christians and atheists murdered, including the Bangladeshi bloggers cited in the previous post, the Charlie Hebdo journalists, and the Dutch anti-Islam figures Pym Fortune and Theo van Gogh. And of course there are a number of others, such as Salmon Rushdie, who have lived for many years under the threat of death.

Why this is the case is a question I hope to answer in another post. It almost certainly reflects well on the bravery of some contemporary atheists. And by the same token probably reflects badly on the current state of organized Christianity and the Catholic Church, especially in Western countries.

If atheists, such as Oyasiqur Rahman are willing to sacrifice their lives to tell the truth about a violent, tyrannical and soul destroying religion, where are, say, the Catholic priests and bishops? And where is the Pope, or is he too busy bragging about riding in a used car?

No comments:

Post a Comment