Cliff May

In 2001, the monumental 6th century Buddhas of Bamiyan were dynamited on orders from Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar. The United States and other Western governments issued protests. Afghanistan's Islamist rulers shrugged them off.

In 2010, Al-Kifl, the tomb of the Prophet Ezekiel, near Baghdad, is being desecrated. On the tomb are inscriptions in Hebrew and an ark in which a Torah was displayed centuries ago. Iraq's Antiquities and Heritage Authority, under pressure from Islamists, is erasing the Hebrew words, removing the Hebrew ornaments and planning to build a mosque on top of the grave.

Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution

So far, we're hearing protests from almost no one. But this is not just another "Where is the outrage?" story. The larger and more alarming trend is that in a growing number of Muslim-majority countries a war is being waged against non-Muslim minorities.

Where non-Muslim minorities already have been "cleansed" - as in Afghanistan and Iraq -- the attacks are against their memory. Ethnic minorities also are being targeted: The genocidal conflict against the black Muslims of Darfur is only the most infamous example.

Connect these dots: In Nigeria this week, Muslim youths set fire to a church, killing more than two dozen Christian worshippers. In Egypt, Coptic Christians have been suffering increased persecution including, this month, a drive-by shooting outside a church in which 7 people were murdered. In Pakistan, Christian churches were bombed over Christmas. In Turkey, authorities have been closing Christian churches, monasteries and schools, and seizing Christian properties. Recently, churches in Malaysia have been attacked, too, provoked by this grievance: Christians inside the churches were referring to God as "Allah." How dare infidels use the same name for the Almighty as do Muslims!

In response to all this, Western journalists, academics, diplomats and politicians mainly avert their eyes and hold their tongues. They pretend there are no stories to be written, no social pathologies to be documented, no actions to be taken. They focus instead on Switzerland's vote against minarets and anything Israel might be doing to prevent terrorists from claiming additional victims.

Many Muslims, no doubt, disapprove of the persecution of non-Muslims. But in most Muslim-majority countries, any Muslim openly opposing the Islamists and their projects risks being branded an apostate. And under the Islamist interpretation of Sharia, Islamic law, apostates deserve death.


Cliff May

Clifford D. May is the President of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.