Recently one newspaper kicked up an international controversy – and showed the dangers of today’s far-left, pro-Islamic supremacist media. A story, a fiction, was created a couple of weeks ago and advanced by a well-known, unfathomably well-regarded newspaper: London’s Guardian. Taking a page from Der Stürmer, the Guardian published an Islamic supremacist incendiary fiction, the sole objective of which was to indict an entire nation of something it did not do – all to incite Muslims to violence and further impose Islam on a put-upon people.
It started when one or two small, insignificant French websites, along with OnIslam, a pro-jihad Islamic website, made the outlandish claim that the West African nation of Angola had banned Islam. The earliest report was apparently a French-language one in La Nouvelle Tribune, published on Nov. 22. But it was the Guardian’s Aristides Cabeche and David Smith who reported it that made the story go viral: Angola, they reported on Nov. 28, “has been accused of ‘banning’ Islam after shutting down most of the country’s mosques amid reports of violence and intimidation against women who wear the veil.”
The Guardian has never expressed similar concern about the Muslim persecution of Christians that is escalating worldwide, from Nigeria to Indonesia, or about the rampant destruction of churches in the Muslim world, or the imminent transformation of the exquisite and iconic Hagia Sophia cathedral in Istanbul into a mosque.
The real story that the Guardian was misrepresenting was quite innocuous. Under Angolan law, religious organizations are required to apply for legal recognition. Traces of it remained in the story as the Guardian reported it: “Religious organizations are required to apply for legal recognition in Angola, which currently sanctions 83, all of them Christian. Last month the justice ministry rejected the applications of 194 organizations, including one from the Islamic community.”
Rejecting 194 applications, including one from the Islamic community, doesn’t sound like “banning Islam.” And it wasn’t. The Guardian explained why, many paragraphs down in its story: “Under Angolan law, a religious group needs more than 100,000 members and to be present in 12 of the 18 provinces to gain legal status, giving them the right to construct schools and places of worship. There are only an estimated 90,000 Muslims among Angola’s population of about 18 million.”
So they didn’t qualify. Period. That was all there was to it. But Islamic supremacists sought to punish Angola, and used their media lapdogs at the Guardian and elsewhere to advance the myth that Angola had banned Islam, to strong-arm the Angolan government into overcompensating and submitting to Muslim demands.
This effort started with and depended on the media firestorm. Have we ever seen a newspaper take the Maldives or Saudi Arabia to task for banning Christianity? Or Judaism? Muslim-majority countries such as Saudi Arabia, the site of the two holiest sites in Islam, can ban other religions, but Muslims around the world took the false news that Angola had banned Islam, as spread by the Guardian, as if it were a declaration of war. Al Jazeera reported that the claim that Angola had banned Islam had “sparked outrage among Muslims worldwide.” Egyptian mufti Shawqi Allam said it was a “provocation not only to Angolan Muslims but to more than 1.5 billion Muslims all over the world.”
The largest voting bloc at the United Nations today, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, or OIC, is an Islamic supremacist organization that seeks to impose Shariah across the world. It, too, “voiced deep concern over the reported ban on Islam in Angola.”
The OIC took it a step further and “noted media reports on the denial of the basic rights of Muslims in Angola. It took note of the message conveyed by the OIC secretary general to the foreign minister of Angola inquiring about these media reports. The Ministers requested the secretary general to investigate the veracity of the information through direct consultation with the government of Angola and representatives of Muslims in that country, including dispatching a high-level delegation for this purpose. The ministers warned that such a ban would have unfavorable consequences on Angola’s relations with the Muslim world.”
Yet the OIC said nothing about the fact that the same actions that the Angolans have taken to toward Islam are taken much more severely every day in Muslim countries against religious minorities. There is no outrage from the OIC or the world at large – much less from the Guardian – about that. And that’s the problem.
Angolan officials issued hasty denials. Manuel Fernando, director of the National Institute for Religious Affairs, declared: “There is no war in Angola against Islam or any other religion. There is no official position that targets the destruction or closure of places of worship, whichever they are.” And now they will almost certainly approve whatever the Muslims in the country want them to – if they don’t, the firestorm over their “banning Islam” will start again.
Meanwhile, on the African continent, the jihad rages. Countries like Libya, Sudan, Algeria, Nigeria, Cameroon, Kenya, Tanzania, Mali and the Central African Republic are being ravaged by Muslim supremacists. Angola’s careful approach to Islamic supremacist groups is prudent.
I do not believe in banning Islam. Shariah? Yes. Jihad? Absolutely. It is a good idea to monitor mosques and jihad activity, knowing what we know about mosques and how behind every one of the more than 22,000 Islamic attacks since Sept. 11 is a mosque, an imam and a religious imperative, it is a prudent move. But I would no sooner ban Islam than I would ban Wicca, paganism or Satanism, for that matter. Whatever one believes is his or her business. Once you seek to impose it on others, that’s where the line should be drawn. But the Guardian wants to make sure that any country that tries to do so is vilified and demonized. When freedom finally prevails, they and other “journalists” like them will have a lot to answer for.
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