Monday, March 28, 2016

Pakistan to step up attacks on militants after bombing kills 70 people.

Security forces gather outside the site of the blast. Reuters. 

Pakistan is launching a crackdown on militants in the Punjab province after a bombing in Lahore killed 70 people on Easter. Reuters. The blast was claimed by the Taliban splinter faction, Jamaat-ur-Ahrar, which has some links to ISIS. The groups claimed that it was specifically targeting Christians who were celebrating the Easter holiday in Lahore. 29 children were among the dead, and 340 more people were injured. Pakistan is a majority Muslim country, but it has a 2 million strong population of Christians. Pakistan will crack down on militants in Punjab using the strategy of enhanced interrogations and raids that they have used since the 2014 massacre of 134 children at a military academy. 

My Comment:
My first impression upon reading this story was to be shocked that there were still any Christians left in Pakistan. I had just assumed that they had all been wiped out, either during the conquest period when Islam was expanding, or recently during the war against the militants in modern times. But apparently there are 2 million of them left there, most of them in the Punjab province.  

It goes without saying that this attack is disgusting. The fact that 29 children were killed, and more were wounded, says a lot about the Jamaat-ur-Ahrar group. Deliberately killing children, even children that aren't Muslim, is a step that even most Jihadists won't do. The fact that this group is doing so shows that they are evil to the core. 

The militant group is claiming that they didn't actually want to target the women and children in the attack, but they obviously did. It would not have been hard for them to choose a target where there weren't so many children around, but the deliberately did not do so. To claim that they were doing anything else besides murder a bunch of innocent children is an utter lie,

Pakistan has had a rash of major terrorist attacks lately, and they have all been rather horrifying. In addition to this attack, they have had a couple of attacks targeting schools and killing children. Various groups are responsible for these atrocities, but most of them are from the Taliban or their splinter factions, like Jamaat-ur-Ahrar. 

It does seem that these attacks in Pakistan tend to get ignored in western media. This one is getting a bit more attention due to the young age of the victims, but for the most part attacks in Pakistan get a lot less attention then attacks in Syria, Iraq or Africa. And nowhere near the attention that attacks in Europe and the United States get. 

I think there are a few reasons for this. First, people are always going to care more about people they can relate to, and for Americans that is going to be fellow Americans and to a lesser extent, Europeans. Second, Pakistan is a lot less sympathetic then some of the other countries we deal with. Much like Turkey, they are unsteady "allies" in the war against terror. No one can question that they are taking casualties in the war against militants, but they also let Osama Bin Laden just hang out in their country without doing anything about him. 

Third, the militants in Pakistan haven't had anywhere near the success compared to groups like ISIS. Though those militants occasionally manage to make a spectacular attack against Pakistani targets, they don't actually control much territory. Finally, these groups are a much lower threat compared to ISIS or al-Qaeda. They are mostly targeting other Pakistani people, and not western targets. There isn't the "this could happen here" feeling when a target is hit in Pakistan.

Once again, I feel the need to point out yet another atrocity committed by Muslim extremists  against Christians. This was a deliberate attack on a group of people for no other reason but for their religion.  That is an inconvenient fact that certain people on the left would rather ignore. According to privilege theory this isn't supposed to happen because Christians are always the oppressors and the Muslims are always the victims. 

In the Middle East, parts of Asia and Africa, or anywhere else were Muslims are the majority the exact opposite is true. Though Muslims are commanded to at least tolerate Christians in the Koran, in reality it rarely works out that way. Indeed, in most areas Christians were before the expansion of Islam, the vast majority were either forcibly converted or killed. The ones that survived to the modern era are, quite frankly, often victims of genocide or discrimination.

I think the treatment of modern Christians in Muslim dominated areas is one of the most under reported stories in the world right now. You just don't hear all that much about the destruction of Christian communities in places like Iraq and Syria. Once in awhile you do hear about a spectacular attack like this one, but you almost never hear about the constant pressure these communities are under. These attacks are nothing new, and the only thing notable against this particular attack is that it happened on a holy day and the victims included many children. Otherwise, it's just another sad example of the kind of treatment Christians can expect in the Muslim world. 

I do think that if things keep going the way they are, there won't be any Christians left in the Middle East and the Islam-dominated areas in Asia and Africa. There just isn't anyone willing to step up for these people. The local governments hate them too, and most of the time they aren't allowed to defend themselves. And even Western governments seem to discriminate against them, letting in Muslims refugees in before Christian ones. 

I'm not a very religious person myself, but I do have to admire the courage of the Christians that stay in these parts of the world where they are killed for what they believe. It would be so much easier to flee or convert, but they are determined to keep their religion and culture. The ones that die are true martyrs.  It really puts things in perspective... 

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