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Critics Slam U.S. Government, Media for ‘Weak’ Response to Anti-Christian Attacks

ICC Note:

Human rights groups have criticized the U.S. government and media for not doing enough to speak out against anti-Christian violence occurring across the Muslim world. Fox News reports that at least sixty-five Christians have been killed in recent months.

2/15/2011 Middle East, U.S. (Fox News) – At least 65 Christians have been killed in attacks across the Muslim world in recent months, sparking sharp criticism from human rights groups that charge the U.S. government and media aren’t doing nearly enough to speak out against the violence.

A shooting in Egypt last month that killed a Christian man and injured five Christian women was just the latest in the series of attacks, several of which occurred around the holiday season: A New Year’s bombing at a Coptic Christian church in Alexandria, Egypt, killed 23 people and injured more than 100; Christmas Eve blasts in Nigeria killed at least 32 — just part of a night of terror across the country that saw three other churches attacked and six worshipers killed; six perished in a Christmas Day Catholic Church bombing on the island of Jolo, in the Philippines; and a string of New Year’s Eve bombings in Iraq left two dead and at least 13 wounded.

The spate of attacks has some saying that not enough is being done. “The lack of a policy response beyond sending condolences each time a church or Christians are targeted in some horrific act of violence like in Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria etc. is absolutely bewildering,” Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, told FoxNews.com. “This should be seen as not only a humanitarian issue, but a security issue.”

Even the condolence statements have come up short, said Shea. When the Obama administration first noted an Oct. 31 church bombing in Iraq, for example, it sent “a general condolence to Iraqis that didn’t even mention the word Christian or churches — even though it was a packed Sunday worship service for Christians that was blown up.”

That bombing, claimed by an Al Qaeda-linked organization, left 58 people dead and at least 78 wounded. It was the worst attack ever against Iraq’s Christian minority.

Critics have also charged the U.S. media hasn’t done enough to publicize the plight of persecuted Christians.

CBS and ABC aired nothing on the Nigerian attacks, PBS had one “NewsHour” report, while NBC gave the story three briefs mentions on the morning of Dec. 27, according to L. Brent Bozell III, president of the Media Research Center.

“CBS Evening News” anchor Katie Couric instead found the protests against a new Islamic Center set to be built near Ground Zero to be more newsworthy, labeling the “seething hatred” against Muslims in America as one of the “most disturbing stories to surface this year” on her New Year’s Eve Internet show.

That night, 11 bombs exploded near Christian homes in Baghdad, killing two people and wounding at least 13. And just minutes into the new year, the bombers in Alexandria struck. “ABC aired nothing. CBS and NBC each aired one brief anchor read,” according to Bozell.

“I am heartened by the clear, unequivocal condemnation of this disrespectful, disgraceful act that has come from American religious leaders of all faiths,” Clinton said about “Burn a Koran Day” at a Sept. 8 dinner in observance of the Muslim holiday Iftar. “It’s regrettable that a pastor in Gainesville, Fla., with a church of no more than 50 people can make this outrageous and distressful, disgraceful plan and get the world’s attention,” she said the same day, at a Council on Foreign Relations event.

But some argued the Florida pastor did a better job of getting Clinton’s attention than the string of recent attacks against Christians. While State Department spokesman Mark Toner issued a statement on December 31 condemning the New Year’s Eve violence in Iraq, and another spokesman, Phillip Crowley, noted the department was “aware of a recent string of attacks against Christians from Iraq to Egypt to Nigeria, Clinton herself did not publicly address the issue.

President Obama did, however, saying the perpetrators of the Egypt attacks “were clearly targeting Christian worshippers” and “must be brought to justice for this barbaric and heinous act.” He offered “any necessary assistance to the Government of Egypt in responding to it,” as well as to the Government of Nigeria in responding to its attacks.

But Shea argued these governments need pressure, and not assistance. Shea said the U.S., which provides billions of dollars in foreign aid to many of these countries, should push them to protect their Christian communities “through a combination of carrots and sticks, sanctions and incentives.”

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