It takes a nation to protect the nation
Nigeria: Muslims kill 6 in machete attacks on Christian villages; the Associated Press tells us "6 dead in religion-torn central Nigerian region"
"Religion-torn." It just might as well be followers of the Flying Spaghetti Monster as any other set of beliefs. We don't even get the usual, catchy, alliterative "sectarian strife." No, religion did it.
The headline could have been: "Muslims claim retaliation in machete attack on Christian village, 6 dead." But stories like this are par for the course: when Muslims attack non-Muslims, the mainstream media highlights reciprocal "tensions."
Bad publicity for Islam, as we know, is tantamount to incitement, running the risk of making the AP just as much a bunch of haters as Anwar al-Awlaki.
And of course, this would not be the first time the AP has gone rather Orwellian on us. "6 dead in religion-torn central Nigerian region," from the Associated Press, January 24:
JOS, Nigeria -- Authorities say machete-wielding attackers have killed six people in two attacks on Christian villages in central Nigeria.
The attacks occurred Sunday night south of Jos with attackers armed with machetes and firearms targeting two Christian villages.
Violence between Christians and Muslims has claimed more than 500 lives over the last year in Jos and surrounding areas.
Officials say the raid was in retaliation for a New Year's Eve attack on a van full of Muslims returning from a wedding that left at least eight people dead.
The implication there is that Christians fired the first proverbial shot in this round of violence. There is nary a mention of the massive casualties -- at least 86 dead -- in the Christmas massacres carried out against Christian worshipers. And of course, there is no mention of the drive to impose Sharia law across Nigeria.
But wait, it's not really about religion except when it sort of is:
Sectarian violence has been on the rise in recent weeks. The attacks often have more to do with politics and economics, though violence frequently falls across religious lines.
So who struck the first blow and shed the first blood? How far back shall we go?
This is Qur'an 2:217:
"They question thee (O Muhammad) with regard to warfare in the sacred month. Say: Warfare therein is a great (transgression), but to turn (men) from the way of Allah, and to disbelieve in Him and in the Inviolable Place of Worship, and to expel His people thence, is a greater with Allah; for persecution is worse than killing.
This verse came to Mohammed after his men attacked a caravan from Mecca and killed some of the people.
Robert Spencer wrote:
'In context, this verse was revealed to justify a Muslim raid on a Quraysh caravan: the raid took place during a sacred month, during which war was forbidden. But the Quraysh were allegedly persecuting the Muslims, so this verse absolves the Muslims of guilt for the raid -- since "persecution is worse than killing."
'So in fact, the verse that [Karen] Armstrong is using to argue that the Qur'an teaches that war is an "awesome evil" actually teaches that moral precepts, such as the prohibition on fighting during the sacred month, may be set aside to benefit the Muslims.'