Misery and Massacre

The group that gathered at the United Nations last Wednesday was made up of victims of jihad violence from around the world. Standing not far from Ground Zero, these victims wanted to remind America that jihad attacks are continuing to kill innocents in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.   Members of the group -- called the Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights -- delivered a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The letter noted that the followers of "radical Jihad-Islamism" were waging "terrorist war worldwide" against non-Muslims and moderate Muslims. They demanded that Annan appoint a special investigator to look into "the status and conditions of non-Muslim minorities . . . in states ruled by Islamic majorities."   The group was joined by American victims of the September 11 attacks to underscore the point that in the midst of the war on terrorism, we must not forget -- or forget to help -- victims of Islamism from Afghanistan to Sudan, India to Indonesia.   If this all sounds unfamiliar to you, don't be surprised. The media virtually ignored this which is why I'm reporting it. But the group is right to be doing this. When we're waging war, sometimes it's necessary to join efforts with nations whose values we don't share. But as the Center for Religious Freedom noted in a letter to President Bush -- signed by one hundred religious leaders -- "there is always a danger that our government may so compromise basic commitments to religious freedom and human rights that our national credibility and security will be undermined."   For example, in Sudan, the radical Islamic government has been waging war on the country's non-Muslim population for many years, killing, starving, and enslaving millions. Last spring, President Bush condemned these attacks as "monstrous." Yet, as the recent letter to Bush points out, in exchange for information on terrorism, the U.S. "has apparently rewarded Khartoum by removing obstacles to the lifting of U.N. sanctions and by blocking the passage of the Sudan Peace Act."   But in letting up on Sudan without demanding the regime end its "campaign of atrocities," the Bush administration "may have inadvertently signaled that America will overlook terrorism within Sudan's borders in exchange for promises from Khartoum not to export it to our shores," the Center writes.   The grim reality is that since the September 11 attacks, Sudan has increased bombing raids on non- Muslim populations. And the perception that Americans are willing to tolerate faraway terrorism in order to keep ourselves safe will, the letter charges, cause us to be seen as a country willing to sacrifice people and principles to save ourselves from terrorism.   These one hundred religious leaders are right. Compromising our founding principles -- and the people of other nations -- should be abhorrent to all freedom-loving peoples.   In the coming months, we must pray without ceasing for our national leaders to make and keep the right balance between needed cooperation with other countries and the sacrifices we cannot and should not accept. Even as we pray, we must keep the pressure on our leaders to take action to protect jihad's victims around the globe -- people who, although far from Ground Zero's victims, continue to share the same fate.     You can make a difference and help religious prisoners. The Adopt a Religious Prisoner Program is an endeavor of the Religious Prisoners Congressional Task Force. Find out more at Congressman Joseph Pitts' (R-PA) website.  


Chuck Colson


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