Obama’s Commission on Religious Freedom Whitewashes Muslim Genocide

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett, Chair

There are too many things to be angry about in the US Commission on International Religious Freedom’s annual report. It’s hard to even know where to start.

Three of the Commission’s members were appointed by Barack Hussein Obama. One was appointed by Nancy Pelosi. And its chair, Katrina Lantos Swett (Senator Lantos’ creepy daughter with a failed political career as a Democratic candidate behind her) was appointed by Harry Reid.

The Commission on International Religious Freedom’s annual report lists Tier 1 countries of special concern. Included on the list is Nigeria. Why?

Nigeria’s government these days is fairly decent. Its big problem is that it is facing a genocidal war by the Muslim Boko Haram terrorist group affiliated with Al Qaeda. Boko Haram has destroyed countless churches and killed thousands of Christians in Nigeria. The response of the Nigerian government has been fairly restrained.

So why did Swett and the Commission feel the need to put Nigeria on the list as a Tier 1 country? Read it if you can stomach it.

Ongoing attacks and retaliations by Muslims and Christians in Nigeria’s violent, religiously and ethnically mixed Middle Belt has left more than 100 dead and dozens of properties destroyed since March of this year.  This recent Muslim-Christian violence in Plateau State exposes the Nigerian government’s failure to effectively deal with a history of religiously-related violence that threatens the country’s stability.

“Religiously-related violence has led to more deaths in northern Nigeria than have Boko Haram attacks.  The Nigerian government needs to end this entrenched violence and the culture of impunity,” said U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Chair Dr. Katrina Lantos Swett.

USCIRF has recommended since 2009 that Nigeria be named a “country of particular concern” (CPC) due to the government’s failure to hold accountable perpetrators of religiously-related violence.  While since 1999 more than 14,000 persons, both Muslims and Christians, have been killed, USCIRF has been able to document that only 1% of the perpetrators have been prosecuted.

“The Nigerian government’s failure to prosecute perpetrators of religiously-related violence only encourages reprisals and intensifies local tensions and mistrust.  Boko Haram uses this impunity as a recruitment tool and to justify its attacks on Christians,” said Lantos Swett.

The repulsive Katrina Lantos Swett, who owes her political career to the same genetic lottery as Meghan McCain, decides to blame Nigeria for Boko Haram’s genocidal campaign.

The report’s section on Nigeria reeks of a toxic bias. Muslim attacks on Christians are described as retaliations. Christian attacks are constantly emphasized.  The report repeatedly quotes justifications by the Boko Haram chief that the Al Qaeda linked group is retaliating for Christian attacks. It repeats that excuse twice in two paragraphs.

The entire nauseating thing comes to a head under US Policy.

In meetings with Nigerian officials, including Secretary Clinton’s meeting with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in August 2012, the U.S. government consistently has urged the Nigerian  government to expand its strategy against Boko Haram from solely a military solution to addressing problems of economic and political marginalization in the north, arguing that Boko Haram’s motivations are not religious but socio-economic.

Additionally, senior U.S. officials frequently warn in private bilateral meetings and in public speeches that Nigerian security forces’ excessive use of force in response to Boko Haram is unacceptable and counterproductive…. While the United States has resisted pressure to designate Boko Haram as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), on June 21 the State Department designated as terrorists Boko Haram leaders Abubakar Shekau, Abubakar Adam Kambar, and Khalid el Barnawi.

Then this obscenity of a report goes on to blame Christian leaders for complaining that there is a genocidal campaign being waged against them.

This stance also is in stark contrast to the perspectives of a number of prominent Nigerian Christian leaders, who believe that Boko Haram has a significant sectarian dimension, and in particular, seeks to eradicate Christian communities in central and northern Nigeria. This chasm in perspective is a serious concern. If Nigeria’s most prominent Christian leaders view the ongoing violence as sectarian, the faithful communities who follow their lead may also embrace this view, adversely affecting tolerance and respect across religions.

The report’s whitewashing of Muslim atrocities isn’t a one-time event. It pervades the entire report. And the report, like everything coming out of Obama Inc. is obsessed with Muslim victimhood.

It demands that Burma implement a “durable citizenship solution for Rohingya Muslims”, which is the one thing bound to turn Burma into Thailand with an ongoing Muslim civil war, and writes that “The U.S. government should urge the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to increase efforts on issues related to Rohingya Muslims in Burma.”

That’s like urging the Nazis to intervene more in Poland.

A notable sidebar comes in the section on Turkey’s occupation of Northern Cyprus when two Obama appointees, the Islamist Dr. Azizah al-Hibri and Vice Chair William Shaw, file a pro-occupation dissent.

We strongly object to the inclusion of Northern Cyprus in the chapter report on Turkey. Northern Cyprus is not an official territorial or governmental part of Turkey. We also strongly object to an examination of religious freedom issues in only one part of the island of Cyprus—the Northern part—when there is a clear historical contextual connect with conditions of religious freedom in the Southern part of the island. Both Northern and Southern religious freedom concerns are more rooted in historical political developments between the South and North regions than in real religious tensions between peoples. Conclusions arrived at through a decision to examine only part of the evidence does not carry the weight of fairness and of justice.

And to close off this train wreck, for the first time the annual report includes Western Europe. The victims of choice? Need you even ask.

In 2011, national laws banning the wearing of full-face veils anywhere in public came into force in France and Belgium. Since then, Muslim women in both countries who wear such veils have been stopped by police, questioned, and fined for violating these laws. In early 2012, the Netherlands also was moving forward on enacting a full-face veil ban. This effort came to a halt when the Dutch coalition government fell in April 2012. French and Belgian courts have rejected constitutional and human rights challenges to the bans (most recently, the Belgian Constitutional Court in a December 2012 decision).

And on to Switzerland in defense of the bayonets of Islam.

In 2009, Swiss voters and cantons approved a popular initiative to amend the Swiss federal constitution to ban the future construction of minarets.  In Greece, there continues to be no official mosque in Athens, making it the only EU capital without such a place of worship, despite the Greek parliament approving construction in 2011.

  • http://michellemalkin.com/ wolfeatworld

    “There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. When there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.”
    –– Ayn Rand

  • objectivefactsmatter

    "…arguing that Boko Haram’s motivations are not religious but socio-economic."

    That's the line they'll use until they have established a 1-world communist government, possibly with sharia as a semi-official religion to appease the green section of the alliance.

    And then the jihadis will declare sovereignty in the name of some caliph and try to enforce sharia.

    Facts don't matter to tyrants.

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    This is precisely the evil, twisted and perverted immoral inversion used against Israel as it DEFENDS itself against rampaging Islamists, yet Washington continually equates defensive measures with offensive onslaught of innocents. In fact, the murder this week of a Jewish father of 5 ( in Israel in Judea and Samaria, our heartland) was opined by Obama Inc as a terror attack, yet they called on BOTH sides to restrain themselves – the victims and the murderers!
    In any case, Obama Inc is busy setting up a pow wow with the genocidal Sudanese leadership, as they murder and pillage the South Sudanese Christian population – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/08/14/fungible-defi….

    Read the full policy paper here – http://adinakutnicki.com/?attachment_id=11647…it was written under the umbrella of the most important strategic policy center in Israel – http://www.strategic-israel.org/

    The following is also highly relevant, as its effects (conflict resolution) have inverted good and evil in leftist imbued societies – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/08/21/the-paradox-p

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

  • welldoneson

    How disturbing that a U. S. administration continues to campaign on behalf of Moslems worldwide. At no time is there any acknowledgement of the true history of any of these conflicts. Fact is, there were no Moslems in a given area; thousands move in; when they have enough their holy men begin to preach jihad. Then crooked gov'ts like Obama's speak out against indigenous people opposing Islam. WHY?

  • Michael Copeland

    Nigeria: what do the victims say?
    “It is a jihad, a religious war against Christians for refusing to embrace Islam. So, they are using terrorism as a weapon. That is the reason you see that the target of their attacks are Christians and our churches” (Persecution.org 17 July 2012).

    What do the perpetrators say?
    “For peace to reign in the land, all Christians must convert to Islam. Allah has tasked all Muslims in Quran 9:29 to continue to attack Jews and Christians who refuse to believe in him and his messenger, Prophet Mohammed.” Abu Qaqa, of Boko Haram (FaithFreedom.org 19 June 2012).

    What does Koran 9:29 say?
    “Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and his Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth [i.e. Islam] from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah [extortion tax] with willing submission..”

    What does the US Government say?
    “the U.S. government consistently has urged the Nigerian government to…. addressing problems of economic and political marginalization in the north, arguing that Boko Haram’s motivations are not religious but socio-economic.”

    What is the formal name of the group nicknamed Boko Haram?
    “The Group of Al-Sunna For Preaching and Jihad”.

    Note that last word, Washington: JIHAD – as in Boston Bombing.

    • Beth

      Too many people STILL aren't realizing how critical these facts are.

  • Kepha

    They want Burma to give the Rohingya a path to citizenship? Have they asked the Arab states the same thing for the descendants of the 1948 Falastin Arab refugees?

  • Beth

    Obama’s Commission is made up of a bunch of liars. Period. At this point (and especially for the positions they hold) – to act as though the Koran (the preacher of Islam) is not the culprit for the violence is just plain deceptive. But here's the deal: Since it is their responsibility to do something about it – they have blood on their hands. Christians around the world need to start bringing class-action law suits against the leaders for not protecting them.

    • Jack

      Beth, that commission is not "Obama's commission." It's composed of people in both parties.

      In fact, some of the most able conservatives in America are on the commission, including Elliott Abrams, Robert George, Mary Ann Glendon, and Zuhdi Jasser.

      And Katrina Lantos Swett, whom the article blasts, while a Democrat, is a strong national-security Democrat.

      • Beth

        "Beth, that commission is not "Obama's commission." "

        I stand corrected. But I do believe you have missed the bigger part of the issue that I brought up. The more serious issue. An issue that is costing people their lives. Every single member of that commission (right or left – makes no difference to me) has a responsibility here and it is to speak the truth. If they're going to simply just point fingers, that is a provocation for war and serves no purpose.

        Look at the title they gave to themselves:

        US Commission on International Religious Freedom.

        And they hand out annual reports. As a tax payer – I demand the whole truth, and nothing but the truth from them. If (for the sake of an argument) it turns out that the Koran really is creating vicious violence – and they refuse to report that truth – aren't they partly responsible for the bloodshed for the teachings? if they don't tell the truth?

        Absolutely. And if they don't have the courage to fulfill the responsibility of the seats that they set up for themselves – then let them step down so that others can take their places who will perform their duties – and possibly save a lot of lives in the long run.

  • Beth

    It is not wrong to hold the authorities responsible for allowing the following teachings of the Koran:

    047.004 – Beheadings

    033.052 – Gang Rape of female 'infidels'

    005.033 – Crucifixions (since when was that teaching ever legal?)

    008.067 – Treason

    033.061 – Genocide "without mercy"

    005.041 – Racism

    To let it go and say nothing about it and not fight back – is sin. The silence is causing many more to suffer at the hands of true muslims. And it's the leaders who are responsible for the bloodshed for not doing their jobs.

  • tinatrent

    Zuhdi Glasser, Mary Ann Glendon, Robbie George???? What the heck? I'm less concerned about the chattering figurechair than with the presence of these serious folks on the committee. Did they actually sign off on the report?

    That would be concerning.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      I'm guessing it was a trade off. Everyone got to shape some things their way. And the majority were Dem appointees so the overall shape was inevitable.

      • Tina Trent

        Yes, of course. It's a good argument against morality by commission. When public service and sausage-making are this indistinguishable, I look to religious and intellectual leaders to be that by saying so. Cynicism is the last refuge of the truly naive.

      • defcon 4

        A committee of liars?

      • Jack

        Let's see: (1) Robert George — Republican and the most prominent social conservative intellectual in the nation and a strong Catholic (2) Elliott Abrams — One of the most prominent foreign policy conservatives in the nation, having served in the Reagan and W White Houses (3) Mary Ann Glendon — Independent conservative, Harvard Law prof and former ambassador to the Vatican (4) Zuhdi Jasser — Republican and the most prominent pro-Israel Muslim neoconservative in the nation who is hated by every Islamist organization in the country, starting with CAIR…..

        That's four solid-as-a-rock conservatives who are anything but appeasers.

        Add the person you've savaged — Katrina Lantos Swett, a Democrat but a pro-national-security Democrat.

        And the remaining three commissioners apparently are Democrats.

        That makes it 4-4.

        And this can all be found simply by going to their web site and then doing a few simple follow-up web searches on each of these individuals.

  • Nehama

    “Religiously-related violence has led to more deaths in northern Nigeria than have Boko Haram attacks…"

    What!? Are they saying Boko Haram attacks are NOT religiously-related violence, despite Boko-Haram being Muslim and their victims Christian???? Simply put, these people are nuts.

  • riddler01

    Does anybody(but myself)remember when Obama said(on Stephanopoulos'show):"My Muslim Faith"????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    • defcon 4

      If you want to read a ridiculous attempt to explain away the zero's comment, look no further than Snopes, it's the most convoluted pack of lies I've read outside of the MSM.

  • KTShamim

    Indonesia. Largest Muslim country. No Islamic "with sword" conquests ever recorded in history for that country. Go figure:

    [Qur'an 2:257] "There should be no compulsion in religion. Surely, right has become distinct from wrong; … "

    Islam doesn't need, never needed, never wanted to spread by any force. Islam spreads by winning people's hearts through the power of love.

    Muslimsforlife(dot)org – successfully collected 10,000 pints of blood to honor 3,000 dead of 9/11 (by saving 30,000 lives.
    Muslimsforpeace(dot)org – condemning terrorism, promoting Islamic value of loyalty to ones nation, peace, bus-ads and flyers and leaflets to promote the same.

    • faithiej

      Not true that there have been no Islamic "with sword" conquests in Indonesia. The Laskar Jihad slaughtered thousands of Christians in Sulawesi, Poso, etc. in the late 1990's. Christians who were not killed were forcibly converted to Islam and circumcised – men, women, and little babies. The Laskar Jihad attacked a Christian youth camp, killing the counselors and all those who were not able to flee, including 13 year old Roy Pontoh, who they threatened with death if he would not convert to Islam. They sliced off his arms when he said that he would not, that he was a soldier of Christ, and finally killed him. Glad that there are Muslims for Life and Muslims for Peace…but there are Islamists for death that cannot be denied.

  • oryina orkar

    The terrorist activities in Nigeria Boko Haram are not encouraging true it may be religiously motivated but the Nigerian government needs to improve on the present social situation that is create employment credorganise credible elections and improve the general socio economic well being of the common Nigerian let’s start frtom there

    • faithiej

      They did have credible elections. But the Islamists did not like the results and so 700 churches were burned down, and hundreds of Christians killed, when President Goodluck Jonathan was elected. And are you talking about the social situation for Boko Haram, who is receiving millions of petro-dollars from the rest of the jihadists in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia? They are not poor and marginalized youths. That is a lie of the Asst. Sec. of State for Africa, Johnnie Carson, and other apologists for Islam.

  • oryina orkar

    What comment do you have regarding Terrorism And Nigerias National l Security?

  • Jack

    While Daniel Greenfield here at FrontPageMag accuses the religious freedom commission of being pro-Muslim, check out this article from Boston Review which accuses the commission of being anti-Muslim:
    http://www.bostonreview.net/BR38.1/elizabeth_shak

    Amazing how the two articles are talking about the same commission!

    Obviously, both articles can't be right…..

    Any ideas, Mr. Greenfield, on how to reconcile the two?

    • faithiej

      The accusation of USCIRF being anti-Muslim (by those who want to shut up the truth – can you say "defamation of religion" or "incitement to violence" from the vile U.N. resolutions? — is one of things that has caused USCIRF to be more cautious about what they are able to say. They are still a good agency, and do have many great commissioners and staff, but they seem to have less independence than they did before (before Obama?) and to be more in lockstep with the State Department, when they were actually created, by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, to be a counter-point and an antidote to the State Department, which puts diplomacy before truth.

  • Jack

    Frontpagemag gets a number of things right about the hard left and its ludicrous attempts to avoid calling out Islamist extremism, but this article has blown it pretty awfully. An entire generation of religious freedom advocates — nearly all of them Christian and solidly conservative — can attest that the religious freedom commission is a pretty decent organization that's managed to go after tyrants, dictators, and do-nothing governments of all stripes that crush freedom or allow others to do likewise.

    Ironically, the commission has most often been attacked from the far left for being a supposedly anti-Muslim outfit that favors Christians.

    It should be clear to anyone who has spent time researching these people that they will stand up for anybody who's being persecuted because of their faith.

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