Celebrating Eid al-Fitr at the White House, our dangerously elder statesman, Joe Biden, made a series of claims that deserve to be examined. We have already discussed in yesterday’s post his inclusion of the Muslim Rohingyas as innocent victims of persecution in Myanmar, and why that “persecution” was not quite so simple, but forms part of a much more complicated story, one that includes Rohingya massacres of Buddhists in the 1940s, and a separatist insurrection by the Rohingyas that erupted in the 1970s, then again in the 1990s, and again in 2016-2017, that led finally to attacks by the Burmese army and most of the Rohingyas in Myanmar fleeing into Bangladesh, from whence their ancestors had come in the 19th and early 20th century.
Here is the offending sentence where the Rohingyas appear:
“Today, we also remember all those who are not able to celebrate this holy day, including Uyghurs and Rohingyas and all those who are facing famine, violence, conflict, and disease,” Biden said.
Who are “all those [Muslims] who are facing famine, violence, conflict, and disease”? And who is to blame? Biden makes it sound as if these terrible conditions have been inflicted on Muslims by others – that is, non-Muslims.
There are certainly Muslims facing famine, violence, conflict, and disease in many parts of the world. Almost all of them, however, live in Muslim-majority countries. Here’s a rundown on a few of them. In Yemen, one group of Muslims, the Shi’a Houthis, backed by Iran, have been fighting other Muslims since 2015. The Houthis are trying to overturn the national government in San’a, which is backed by Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The ferocity of the fighting has done great harm to the economy, and led to mass starvation and the “worst humanitarian disaster” in the world. Nota bene: in Yemen, none of the violence, nor the consequences of that violence, has had anything to do with non-Muslims. All along it has been a Muslim-against-Muslim conflict, with both sides being backed by other, non-Yemeni Muslims.
The same holds true in Libya, where, long after Muammar Qaddafi was deposed and killed — sodomized by a rifle and then shot — in 2011, Libyans are still slaughtering one another in attempts to grab power and the money that comes with it. For now, the forces of General Khalifa Haftar, based in Tobruk in eastern Libya, have been fighting the Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli, in western Libya. But even within both of these camps, there are smaller factions that persist in fighting each other. In Tripoli, last September, fighting broke out that pitted the 444 Brigade against the Stabilisation Support Force, two of the main groups in the GNA. Another half-dozen factions have been fighting with one another, off and on, mostly within the GNA, but also including fissiparous forces that are nominally under the control of General Haftar, and yet still jostle for power with one another for power. Outside forces involved in Libya are also Muslim. The GNA is supported mainly by Turkey, which has now built a base in western Libya, while General Haftar’s main supporters are Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt. Everyone involved on either side, whether Libyan, or foreign supporters of the GNA or General Haftar, is Muslim.
Then there is Syria, which is now in the eleventh year of its civil war, that pits Muslims against Muslims. Iran’s Shiites support the Alawite Bashar al-Assad, while the Gulf Arabs – Sunnis all – support the Syrian opposition. Save for help extended to Assad by the Russian Air Force, this civil war, too, is purely a Muslim-against-Muslim affair.
Besides these three civil wars in Libya, Syria, and Yemen, there is all kinds of violence that racks the Muslim world. In west Africa, the Islamic terror group Boko Haram and Fulani jihadis, operating mainly in northern Nigeria, has been steadily mass-murdering – hundreds at a time – Nigerian Christians. The Nigerian army is unable to stem this violence, which has spread from the northeast into central Nigeria, So far, about 45,000 Christians have been killed in Nigeria. Thousands of other Christians have been killed by Boko Haram in Chad, Niger, and northern Cameroon. And scarcely a day goes by without news of another group of Christian villagers being killed, or girls kidnapped, by Boko Haram, with no letup in sight.
Elsewhere in Africa, Muslim violence continues in Somalia, where the terror group Al-Shebab has been executing Christians as well as moderate Muslims. Muslims connected to ISIS have carried out terror attacks in Uganda, including two suicide bombings in the capital Kampala, and a series of murderous attacks on pastors. These Islamic terrorists manage to keep one step ahead of the Ugandan army, even in a country that is 82% Christian.
Christians are persecuted as well in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt. Apostates from Islam are subject to long prison terms, and sometimes executed by members of their own families, who are only following Muhammad’s command “If someone changes his [Muslim] religion, kill him.” In Egypt, Coptic churches have been subject to frequent bombings by Islamic militants; Copts have been killed in their houses and at their businesses, while Coptic women and girls have been kidnapped by Muslims, forced to convert, and then “married” to their kidnapper.
Since the 1980s, there have been attacks by Muslim terror groups — including Palestinian groups — on Kenyan targets and Israeli properties in Kenya. Al-Shebab has also become more active in the country, recruiting Kenyans to its ranks, and carrying out raids on Christians in northern Kenya.
In Afghanistan, the Taliban has attacked both the Shi’a Hazara – whom they regard as not being real Muslims — and the handful of Christians who remain in the country. In Pakistan, Hindus and Christians have been the targets of Muslim violence, and their percentages of the Pakistani population have been greatly reduced since Partition in 1947. The state does little to protect them from attacks by Muslims. Sunnis in Pakistan also routinely attack, and kill, members of the Ahmadi sect, claiming they are not real Muslims but the “worst kind of Infidels.” Pakistani Sunnis also target the Shi’a minority. One Sunni group, Sipah-e-Sahaba, exists for one purpose: to attack Shi’a, especially the educated — engineers, doctors, lawyers – who because of their status and wealth are seen as a threat to Sunni dominance.
All of this is offered as evidence that it is not Muslims who are being persecuted or killed by non-Muslims, as Biden implied in his Eid al-Fitr remarks, but almost everywhere it is Muslims who are persecuting and killing other Muslims. Muslims also persecute, and in some cases kill, non-Muslims – overwhelmingly their victims are Christians, but Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists are also targeted. If Biden wants to talk about “violence, famine, conflict, and disease,” let him examine who is responsible for those four horsemen of the apocalypse, and where, and whom, they plague. Let him investigate the situation in the Muslim countries where endless civil wars continue (Libya, Syria, and Yemen), in the countries where Sunni Muslims attack and murder Hindus Sikhs, Christians, Ahmadis, and Shi’a Muslims (Afghanistan and Pakistan), in the countries where Sunni Muslims persecute and sometimes kill Christians (Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, Somalia). This is just the briefest of overviews — a tour d’horizon — of what has been happening in the Muslim lands. But even that was apparently too much for Joe Biden to grasp, our president who wants us to believe that Muslims suffer from “violence, famine, conflict, and disease” that non-Muslims inflict on them, when the greatest source of misery, by far, for Muslims, is other Muslims. But since it would have been impolitic to recognize that truth, why did Biden have to say anything at all? Why not just a quick greeting to his Muslim guests that evening, along the lines of: “Jill and I are very glad to welcome you to the White House to share an Eid el-Fitr dinner, where we can break bread together and celebrate the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Let this be an occasion when we can put aside our anxieties about the state of the world and contemplate, with gratitude, the freedom that this country — our country — secures for all of us.”
There. That’s enough. That’s more than enough.