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Islam's Other Victims: Africa By: Serge Trifkovic
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, February 14, 2003


One in a series of excerpts adapted by Robert Locke from Dr. Serge Trifkovic’s new book The Sword of the Prophet: A Politically-Incorrect Guide to Islam.

The Koran commands Moslems to wage jihad for the forcible conversion of the whole world. Africa, with its generally low level of civilizational development and corresponding lack of the power to defend itself, has been singularly vulnerable to these aggressions, particularly after the hiatus imposed by colonialism (whatever its drawbacks).

Take Nigeria, a nation burdened by ethnic and religious diversity which has been plagued by all the standard African post-colonial experiences, from civil war and a procession of corrupt and brutal military dictatorships to bouts of strife rooted in the clashing tribal and religious loyalties of its 100 million-plus people. Its oil riches have been squandered, stolen, or mismanaged. Its countless economic and social problems would test the abilities of its rulers even without the specter of a religious conflict. How could things be worse?

Enter militant Islam.

Only about a half of all Nigerians are Moslem, but they are a majority in several northern states. The fault line between Arabized and Moslem North Africa and the real black Africa closer to the equator splits Nigeria in two, as it does Mauritania and Sudan.

For years, Nigeria’s corrupt military rulers came from the Moslem north. They treated the rest of the country as occupied territories to plunder at will. They sought to give a Moslem stamp to the country as a whole, to the point of joining the Islamic Conference Organization, creating the impression that Nigeria is Moslem in its entirety.

Their long-term strategy is apparent from the opening communiqué of the Islam in Africa Organization, (IAO) founded at a conference in Abuja in northern Nigeria in November 1989. It insists on "re-instating a strong and united umma" (Islamic community) in Africa and on "restoring the use of Arabic script in the vernacular."1 In addition:

"The Conference notes the yearning of Moslems everywhere on the continent who have been deprived of their rights to be governed by the sharia and urges them to intensify efforts in the struggle to reinstate the application of the sharia." (Islamic law)

The implication is that once there had been an umma in Africa, within which the local languages were written in Arabic lettering, and that Africans were under sharia. This is not true; it is fantasy history. The Conference also demanded "the appointment of only Moslems into strategic national and international posts of member nations." It pledged:

"To eradicate in all its forms and ramifications all non-Moslem religions in member nations (such religions shall include Christianity, Ahmadiyya and other tribal modes of worship unacceptable to Moslems)"

The members pledged to pursue those objectives not only in Islamic states, but also in those with Moslem minorities. The IAO had huge funds at its disposal from the very first day, including $21 billion which was "generously donated by the government and people of Nigeria" for the Islamic Development Fund.

Fast-forward to the end of Nigeria’s military government in 1999. Unhappy with the loss of power following the collapse of the military regime, traditional rulers of predominantly Moslem states in northern Nigeria are now seeking to apply the IAO communiqué at the level of their own communities, most visibly by introducing sharia. In late 1999 the state of Zamfara, whose two million people are predominantly Moslem, was the first to adopt a bill to introduce sharia. Its devoutly Moslem state governor, Alhaji Ahmed Sani, approved it in spite of the objections of the Christian minority in Zamfara and protests from the rest of the country. Within weeks all bars were closed, cinemas and video parlors were shut down, and boys and girls were divided into separate schools. The rest of the novelties are familiar to any visitor to the Middle East: women now must cover themselves; amputations of limbs, stonings to death and beheadings are on the statute book for a variety of offences; consumers of alcohol in any form are "severely flogged" if caught drinking. Governor Sani has asserted that he would replicate the sharia code used in Saudi Arabia.

The consequences have been predictable. Moslem fanatics have been emboldened to demand sharia in all northern Nigerian states where they have a majority. Resulting clashes in mixed areas included two bouts of bloody riots, in February and May 2000, in which over two thousand people were killed when another northern Nigerian state, Kaduna, tried to introduce sharia there. Dozens of Christian churches have been burned and desecrated all over northern Nigeria.

Christians have been told not to fear Islamic law. "Islam," declared Usman Bugaje, Secretary General of the Islam in Africa Organization, based in Nigeria, "has a great capacity for tolerance." But he left his peculiar meaning of "tolerance" unclear, because it is in fact limited to those who believe in the principles of sharia to start with – i.e. Moslems. Nigerian proponents of sharia say that non-believers must be persuaded by argument, dialogue and example. Central to their argument, however, is the thesis that all people should eventually adhere to the tenets of Islam. Like their coreligionists everywhere, they hold that Islam must unify Moslems over and beyond the confines of the nation state and provide one single center of authority. Africa "craves for Islam," says Usman Bugaje, as a part of its quest for "cultural freedom" and search for "an alternative world view that can stand up to challenge the West." If true, this is an astonishingly frank confession that even the Islamists don’t really believe in Islam as a matter of religious conviction: they just want something to stick in the eye of the West. Resentment and the desire for blind self-assertion are the primary motivation.

Sudan is another African nation victimized by Islamist aggression. The military regime of General Omar Hassan al-Bashiri imposed sharia in 1989. This move immediately pitted the northern Sudan Arabs and Arabized blacks against the Christians and animists (adherents of the old pre-colonial tribal religions) of the south, and caused the long-running civil war in which at least two million Christians have been killed.2 Tragic as it was for the people of Sudan, the resulting mayhem was welcomed by some Arabic countries -- often America’s Middle Eastern "allies" -- that are actively promoting the Islamic onslaught in black Africa. This, of course, is from a religion that loudly proffers itself to black Americans as having a better record of treating blacks than does Christianity. But as I have written in FrontPageMag.com , the only places in the world today where one can buy a black man as a slave for ready cash are in Moslem nations.

Or take the case of Egypt, supposedly a friend of the United States and the second largest recipient of the U.S. taxpayers’ largesse after Israel. Egypt failed to convict a single murderer following the January 2000 massacre of 21 Coptic Christians in the village of Al-Kosheh, 300 miles south of Cairo. The court convicted only four of 96 defendants, and only on lesser charges. All four men convicted were Moslems; not one was convicted for murder, but two for "accidental homicide and illegal possession of a weapon" and the other two were each sentenced to one year in prison for damaging a private car.3 From the outset, the government of Egypt had sought to cover up the gravity of the case and to avoid the political minefield of punishing Moslems for the murder of Christians. After the verdict, Egypt’s Christians feared for their lives.

The worst offender in Africa, however, is that richly-endowed non-African center of Moslem expansionism: Saudi Arabia. In 1983, Saudi Arabia exerted pressure on Sudan to declare itself an Islamic state. It ensures that those who join the Islamic Conference Organization are given speedy access to the funds of the Islamic Development Bank and the Arab-controlled "Bank for Economic Development in Africa." Just as the Arab proselytizers of Islam were unconcerned about the welfare of Black Africans when they ventured to hunt them and sell them into slavery centuries ago, their heirs see them but as canon fodder in the project of global Islamic expansion. Or else they simply deny their existence. The Mauritanian Moslem regime in particular is notorious for denying the existence of the black majority in the country, while simultaneously ruthlessly repressing it. It ex-President Ould Taya once declared that "Mauritania cannot be in the process of Arabization as it is already an Arab country."4 This weird outburst of black self-denial is typical of the self-hatred that Islam imposes on its conquered peoples, who are made to repudiate their past ethnic identities.

At the same time, according to Africa Watch (1990), there was not a single Arab among the 200,000 Mauritanian citizens who were deported to Senegal or Mali. While black Mauritanians were being driven out of their homes to refugee camps, Arab refugees from Senegal, Mali, and Western Sahara were welcomed into Mauritania, where they were given citizenship and resettled on land whose rightful owners had been ethnically cleansed. Slavery is practiced exclusively by Arab Mauritanians and Sudanese on non-Arab citizens in both countries, and upon the introduction of sharia laws in Mauritania (1980) and Sudan (1983) savage punishments like amputation and flogging have been applied mainly on non-Moslem blacks by exclusively Arab-Moslem judges.

Sudan shows that genocide need not be perpetrated by huge Nazi or Bolshevik-style massacres. There are more insidious but equally effective ways of killing large numbers of people. The government in Khartoum is doing so by attrition: it is slowly and methodically grinding down the society and economy of the Nuba and starving the entire population. Meanwhile, in the garrison towns and Orwellian-sounding ‘peace camps’ the government is remolding the political and social identity of the non-Moslem Nuba people by force: the aim is to transform them into a deracinated underclass, the loyal servants of an extremist Islamic state. In each army attack, soldiers first arbitrarily gun down anyone they find. The government does not pay them salaries: their pay is the booty from the raids on Southern villages. The elderly and sick are usually killed on the spot and their food granaries set ablaze. The main objective of ‘combing’ is to capture live, fit civilians:

"Thousands of men, women and children are captured when their villages are surrounded, or are snatched while tending their crops, herding their animals, or collecting water. Many people run to hide in caves to escape government attacks, but they are driven even from these refuges by hunger and thirst, or by attacks using tear gas. Captives are taken to garrisons, forced to carry their own looted possessions, or drive their own stolen animals in front of them. These captives - or ‘returnees,’ as the government calls them - usually never see their families or villages again. Men are either killed or forcibly conscripted into a militia known as the People’s Defense Force. Many are tortured. Women are raped and forced to work, often in special labor camps. All but the youngest children are separated for ‘schooling’ - i.e. conversion to Islam and training for a role in the new, extremist Islamic Sudan."5

The government also uses food as a means for luring Southern Sudanese Christians into its "peace camps" located in the desert. Food distribution in them is carried out exclusively by Islamic organizations, which use the promise of food as a means of converting Christians to Islam. The technique is very simple: if one does not bear an Islamic name one is denied food. Without any means of alternative support the choice is, as ever, Islam or death.6

Rt. Rev. Bullen Dolli, an Episcopal Bishop from Sudan, was puzzled by the cold reception when he came to Washington in October 2001 to talk about the predicament of his much-abused flock under Islam. "It is a militant religion," he said at a scantily attended press conference, and warned on behalf of the victims against those who act as its character witnesses. He pointed out that Sudan’s death toll is larger than the combined fatalities suffered in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Somalia, and Algeria. Twice as many Sudanese have perished in the past two decades than all the war-related deaths suffered by Americans in the past 200 years.7 But hardly anyone listened. The Bishop’s hosts could not get him a slot on NPR, on the Big Four, or any other high-profile venue previously so eager to accommodate any itinerant mullah praising the "Religion of Peace and Tolerance."

To Bishop Dolli it may seem incomprehensible that the U.S. has intervened militarily and politically to "save" the Moslems in Bosnia and Kosovo from non-existent genocides allegedly perpetrated by their Christian neighbors while it remains indifferent to the very real genocide of Christians that has been perpetrated by the ruling Moslems in Sudan for two decades. He does not understand that his flock’s very Christianity barred them from certified victimhood in the eyes of the ruling Western elites. Political correctness has imposed a set of blinkers on American thinking in which anyone, no matter how murderous, from the Third World is a "good guy" and Christians, no matter how many of them die at the hands of brutal Islamic-inspired governments, are the automatic villains, or at least irrelevant victims.

Footnotes

1. http://www.islaminafrica.org/backG.htm

2. 107th US Congress, 1st Session (H. CON. RES. 113) "Regarding human rights violations and oil development in Sudan."

3. Associated Press, February 5, 2001.

4. Jeune Afrique January 1, 1990.

5. Facing Genocide: The Nuba of Sudan, published by African Rights on 21 July 1995.

6. Sabit A. Alley’s paper delivered at the 19th Annual Holocaust and Genocide Program, Institute for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, New Jersey on March 17, 2001. http://www.iabolish.com/today/features/sudan/overview3.htm

7. Testimony of Roger Winter, Executive Director, U.S. Committee for Refugees on America's Sudan policy to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on International Relations (March 28, 2001).


Serge Trifkovic received his PhD from the University of Southampton in England and pursued postdoctoral research at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. His past journalistic outlets have included the BBC World Service, the Voice of America, CNN International, MSNBC, U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Times, the Philadelphia Inquirer, The Times of London, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He is foreign affairs editor of Chronicles.


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