Classical historian Tom Holland’s observation that Christians in the Islamic State have gone from persecuted minority to sub-human target group highlights the parallel shift in Europe’s cities.
Offering a review of the latest edition of Dabiq, the sleekly-produced recruitment magazine of the murderous Islamic State, author of well-received, easily accessible histories Holland notes the developing contempt with which Christians are viewed.
Writing in The Times, he compares the previously preferable plight of Christians under Islamic State — stripped of their possessions and expelled from Islamic State-held territory — with the “horrors” inflicted on the apostate Yazidis, Holland points to the new taxonomy reserved for Christians.
Instead of being recognised as “a people of the book” and therefore entitled to be tolerated in return for an ‘unbelievers’ tax’, the latest edition of the magazine, which has apparently influenced recent terror attacks in Europe, calls Christians “pagan” — a certain death sentence in the Islamic State.
Calling the expulsion of Christians in comparison to the full-blown genocide of the Yazidis “a display of relative restraint”, Holland worries Islamic State is starting to tire of any tolerance of those not fully signed up to the doctrine of the Caliphate. He remarks:
“After all, if Christians are no longer to be defined as a People of the Book, but as pagans, then why should they be any the less protected from the sanguinary zeal of Isis than Yazidis have been?
“The threat this represents to the Christians of the Middle East, already in the eye of the storm, is all too obvious. No one should doubt, though, in the wake of the murder last month of a French priest as he was celebrating mass, that the churches of Europe are also being targeted. The Catholic hierarchy, in the wake of Father Hamel’s murder, have understandably sought to play down the religious motivation of his killers. No one who reads the most recent edition Dabiq, though, can really doubt it. Christians everywhere should consider themselves warned.”
Unfortunately for Christians in Europe, the murder of a priest celebrating mass in France is just the peak of swelling anti-Western, and anti-Christian sentiment on the continent. Just yesterday major Belgian Dutch-language newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws reported that police are seeking a young boy after he was filmed walking down the main street of Waloonian city Verviers calling for Christians to be killed.
In between prayers the young boy cries out: “Oh Allah, destroy the terrible Christians. Oh Allah, kill them all. Do not let a single one survive.”
The video reportedly emerged on private messaging app Telegram, now a favourite among radicals and used by Islamic State to disseminate information. Breitbart London reports today on another youth, this time a teenage girl in France described by security services as being “very radicalised”, as having used the app to disseminate Islamic State propaganda, and to communicate her intention to commit a terror attack.
These highly radicalised youngsters fit a growing pattern in Europe, where young Muslims are consistently more radical than their parents, even among second and third generation migrants who might otherwise be supposed to have enjoyed the benefits of Western life and integration.
Writing earlier this year, Breitbart London’s Editor in Chief cited numerous studies which found the young generation of Muslims in Britain and Europe to have a high rate of acceptance of terror methods, endorsing or excusing attacks including the 7/7 bombings and the Charlie Hebdo attack.
Among young British Muslims polled, 78 per cent expressed support for punishment for those who published cartoons of Muhammed, and 68 per cent said people who “insult Islam” should be arrested.
These are problems that are intensifying in Europe. Perhaps the murder of Father Jacques Hamel will be a bloody anomaly. Hopefully, it won’t be the start of a growing trend for radicals to visit churches and celebrate the sacrament by martyring the congregation and clergy. But that is yet far from clear.