We have all seen the bumper stickers that say, "Coexist" with the letters stylized to represent the various religions around the world. On the surface, the sentiment is lovely.
The difficulty arises when one looks a bit deeper. If there truly is a desire to peaceably co-exist, then we should be seeing evidence of commitment to that desire coming from every religion symbolized in the slogan.
But we aren't.
The May 2012 edition of FrontPageMag.com includes the following excerpts from a report on Christian persecution in Muslim nations in the month of April.
In Nigeria, a church was bombed during Easter Sunday, killing some 50 worshippers.
In Turkey, a pastor was beaten by Muslims immediately following Easter service and threatened with death unless he converts to Islam.
In Kenya, Muslims threw grenades into an open-air Christian church gathering, killing a woman and a boy, and wounding 50. In a separate incident, a Muslim man pretending to be a worshipper at a church threw three grenades during the service, killing a 27-year-old university student and injuring 16.
In the Sudan, a Christian compound in Khartoum was stormed by a throng of Muslims "armed with clubs, iron rods, a bulldozer and fire," the day after a Muslim leader called on Muslims to destroy "the infidels' church." "Police at the compound stood back and did nothing to prevent the mob from vandalizing the compound."
In Tunisia, after the Russian ambassador in Tunis specifically requested the nation's Ministry of Interior to "protect the Orthodox church," both the Russian school located behind the church and the Christian cemetery were vandalized. The walls of the school and religious frescoes were smeared with fecal matter, while the cemetery's crosses were destroyed.
In Algeria, a Christian was sentenced to five years in prison for "shaking the faith" of Muslims.
In Bangladesh, a former Muslim prayer leader who converted to Christianity was beaten almost to death by members of his Muslim community, causing him to be hospitalized for almost two months.
In Egypt, a juvenile court sentenced a Coptic Christian teenager to three years in prison for allegedly "insulting Islam." Another judge upheld a six-year prison sentence for a Christian convicted of "blasphemy" for "insulting the prophet."
In Iran, a Christian convert from Islam has been sentenced to six years in prison.
In Pakistan, a Christian man was arrested and charged with "blasphemy" for rescuing his 8-year-old nephew from a beating at the hands of Muslim boys who sought to force the boy to convert to Islam.
In the Philippines, a former Muslim who became a Christian pastor was murdered in front of his wife in his home. Another pastor was shot in the head five times and killed by two "unknown gunmen" in front of his teenage daughter.
In India, Muslims stormed a home where a Christian prayer meeting was being held, beating the Christians, including a 65-year-old widow. The Muslims "called them pagans as they kicked, slapped and pushed the Christians…. one Muslim, "brandishing a sickle, chased many of them, hurling all kinds of insults and attempting to murder them all…. 500 Muslims had gathered and were watching in amusement as the extremists chased and harassed the Christians for about 90 minutes."
Keep in mind that all of the above, and more, happened in the single month of April. The list is just as long in every other month. There are no similar reports about any other religion. Just Islam.
So, if the Islamic community is actually serious about co-existing with the rest of us, perhaps they should start inside their own house. Until and unless they do, their rhetoric about co-existing is at best hypocritical and at worst dangerous. And we would be wise to remember that reality.