The Dawn Patrol Richard Falknor on 19 Feb 2011 11:47 am
UPDATES! Kristin Butler (Crosswalk) reports Said Musa Released from Afghan Prison after International Attention – – “The release of Said Musa, an imprisoned and horribly abused Afghan Christian convert who worked with the Red Cross, is now making headlines around the world. U.S. Embassy officials confirmed on Feb. 21 that he was safely out of the country. Andy McCarthy (NRO) : “Building the Afghan Sharia State” “In today’s [February 19] column, I highlight Afghanistan’s apostasy prosecution against Said Musa in arguing that the democracy project, our government’s experiment in in Islamic nation-building, has failed and that we ought to pull the plug on it.”
The core values of our American civilization are based on the Judaeo-Christian tradition. A substantial number of American fighting men and women consciously and daily embrace that heritage as traditional Christians or Jews– as do as a substantial number of American voters.
The American ruling class, however, including the old media, has become overwhelmingly secular and uncomfortable, if not hostile to traditional religion as Angelo Codevilla has pointed out in his seminal “America’s Ruling Class — And the Perils of Revolution” (American Spectator).
By way of contrast, the “country class” to use Codevilla’s phrase, is largely religion-friendly, and has long had a tradition either of serving in our armed forces or of having family, friends, or neighbors who do.
Yet two arresting news reports, one about Iraq, and one about Afghanistan, call into question the arrangements under which we are protecting (as well as giving money to) those two nations. This is because our arrangements seem indifferent to how these nations treat Christians.
In the case of former ally Egypt, moreover, our establishment apparently can’t come to grips with how that society treats Jews as Caroline Glick explains in the monstrous case of “Lara Logan and the media rules” (Jerusalem Post)–
“To date the most egregious attack on a foreign journalist in Cairo’s Tahrir Square took place last Friday, when CBS’s senior foreign correspondent Lara Logan was sexually assaulted and brutally beaten by a mob of Egyptian men. Her own network, CBS, took several days to even report the story, and when it did, it left out important information. The fact that Logan was brutalized for 20 to 30 minutes and that her attackers screamed out ‘Jew, Jew, Jew’ as they ravaged her was absent from the CBS report and from most other follow-on reports in the US media.”
Last Thursday, Maryland journalist Ken Timmerman reported in his “Archbishop of Mosul: Christians Living in Fear” (Newsmax)–
“While the situation is gradually returning to normal in Mosul, which after Baghdad has become a focal point of violent attacks against Christians, the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop Emil Shimoun Nona told Newsmax that Christians continue to live in fear.
The Oct. 31 attack on Our Lady of Salvation Church in Baghdad that killed 58 worshippers and wounded 100 more, was followed by targeted assassinations of Christians in Mosul that drove many to flee for safety to outlying towns in the Nineveh Plain.”
“Christians living in northern Iraq have no hospital or university they can access without running the gauntlet of jihadi terrorists or Kurdish security officers who constantly monitor and intimidate the population.
Just recently in Karakosh, the largest city in the Nineveh Plain, the U.S. military helped Kurdish security forces erect barriers blocking both ends of the main street leading to the only health clinic in the area, making it impossible for residents to reach it by vehicle.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)
Yesterday Paul Marshall in his “America Quiet on the Execution of Afghan Christian Said Musa” (NRO) revealed–
“A terrible drama is unfolding in Afghanistan: There are reports that Said Musa, whose situation I described at Christmas, will soon be executed for the ‘crime’ of choosing to become a Christian. (For background, see here.)
Musa was one of about 25 Christians arrested on May 31, 2010, after a May 27 Noorin TV program showed video of a worship service held by indigenous Afghan Christians; he was arrested as he attempted to seek asylum at the German embassy. He converted to Christianity eight years ago, is the father of six young children, had a leg amputated after he stepped on a landmine while serving in the Afghan Army, and now has a prosthetic leg. His oldest child is eight and one is disabled (she cannot speak). He worked for the Red Cross/Red Crescent as an adviser to other amputees.
He was forced to appear before a judge without any legal counsel and without knowledge of the charges against him. ‘Nobody [wanted to be my] defender before the court. When I said ‘I am a Christian man,’ he [a potential lawyer] immediately spat on me and abused me and mocked me. . . . I am alone between 400 [people with] terrible values in the jail, like a sheep.’ He has been beaten, mocked, and subjected to sleep deprivation and sexual abuse while in prison. No Afghan lawyer will defend him and authorities denied him access to a foreign lawyer.
Any and every human being who is imprisoned, abused, or tortured for the free and peaceful expression of their faith deserves our support, but Musa is also a remarkable person and Christian. In a letter smuggled to the West, he says, ‘The authority and prisoners in jail did many bad behaviour with me about my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. For example, they did sexual things with me, beat me by wood, by hands, by legs, put some things on my head.'”
What of the future for Christians in these areas within (at least now) our current sphere?
Can a constitutional republic respecting basic individual rights put down deep roots in Iraq unless it is given a chance to grow over the years free from interference by neighboring countries inimical to such a government? Prompt regime change in next-door Iran would seem essential. Apparently the US establishment cannot bring themselves to move in that direction even when we ourselves may shortly be threatened by an aggressive nuclear-armed Iranian government. As Michael Ledeen has said – –
“It’s not just Obama; every president since Jimmy Carter has come to believe that we could make a deal with the mullahs. The consequences? Lots of dead Americans (about which nobody seems to care), and our friends and allies.“
Many thoughtful conservatives, who have no illusions about Political Islam and support the need strongly to resist it, see no likely gain in our remaining in Afghanistan. And our president apparently sees little to fear in Political Islam.
Putting these larger issues aside — where we still have the resources and influence to ameliorate the lives of the ancient Christian minority (in Iraq), and the money and force to save individual Christians (in Afghanistan), we should do so promptly and unhesitatingly.
Our allowing the Afghan authorities to execute the Christian Said Musa would dishearten our “country class” and American conservatives — turning many firmly away from assisting any Afghan government any more.
Even worse, allowing such Afghan executions would likely spur an indiscriminate (and thus very dangerous) isolationism already noticeable among exasperated grass-roots conservatives.
More important, we must reckon the moral (and morale) cost to ourselves of turning a blind eye to Muslim mistreatment of Christians in areas that we have liberated and are, at least for the present, under the protection of our armed forces.
We have the means, and we should promptly arrange the release of the Christian Said Musa, his family, and other Afghans jailed for their Christianity both from imprisonment and from that sad land.