New Media Project: Attacks on Christians in the Middle East

Posted on December 12, 2013 by

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Throughout the Middle East, especially in Pakistan and Egypt, Christians are being persecuted by other world religions, mainly Muslims. American newspapers cover these attacks and receive their information about them from observers and others involved in the attacks. The reporters, however, have not experienced these attacks and actions of persecution against themselves, but still inform the America people in a way that seems that they did, which can skew the overall impression that the article gives off. The articles are usually in favor of the Christians as the victims, thus the other side of the story, the attackers’, is not fully explained. Readers of the articles may comprehend the information literally. For instance, they may think the Christians are being treated unfairly and are not in the wrong, while the Muslims and other attackers are seen as being in the wrong even when the cause of the situation is not fully understood.

In Islamists step up attacks on Christians for supporting Morsi’s Ouster by Kareem Fahim, it clearly states that Christians were “supporting the military ouster of Mr. Morsi, who was recently removed from his presidency” and many attacks followed against the Christian population (Fahim). The bias throughout this article is found around the fact that only Christians involved in the attacks by Muslim mobs and leaders of activist groups were interviewed to unfold the events that happened. For example, in this article, a bystander, “Ebraam Sami, who lives near one of the gutted churches” stated on what he witness, but also pastors and many activist group leaders also commented to further ensure the Christian’s side was told (Fahim). The surrounding circumstances are not always included in many articles that could further explain the relationship between Christians and Muslims.

Some of the articles were reported by American reporters or reporters not from the area that was being attacked, thus leading to the information becoming skewed against the outside party and for the Christians in these situations. The majority of the information reported on is obtained from police that witnessed the attacks, bystanders, survivors of the attacks or other new sources; however, not many attackers or people from the opposing group are refer to or interviewed in the article to have two equal sides of the situation. In Pakistan Christians Issue Call for Protection, information surrounding the attacks was acquired from other new sources like a reporter from “Dawn Newspaper” and a section from “The News” that was quoted.

The sources are reliable because they come from highly regarded company and primary newspapers like New York Times and BBC. However, one cannot know for sure how reliable the authors are of each article. The authors seem to have a bias toward Christians because they include more information and interviews from their side of the situation instead of the perspective of the Muslims group. Some writers are stationed in Egypt and Pakistan, while others are in London who still reported on subjects like Pakistan Christian Issue Call for Protection (Walsh). The author of this article, Declan Walsh, was not present in Pakistan, thus leading to a limitation of information in this article. Walsh relied authority figures and other new sources for the information about the event. On the other hand, the article Islamists step up attacks on Christians for supporting Morsi’s Ouster on the attacks in Egypt was written by Fahim when he was present in Egypt, thus enabling him to obtain more reliable information.

In the article, Attack on Christians Follows Claim of Blasphemy in Pakistan, it reports on how one “Christian sanitation worker [said blasphemy about] the Prophet Muhammad” of the Islamic faith (Gillani). It goes on to report on “the many Christian houses that were torched and how one sanitation worker lived with his three sons in a one-room house that was destroyed” (Gillani). The article starts out with the cause of the attacks and a Christian being accused of blasphemy, but ends the reporting with the intention for the reader to feel sympathy for the fellow Christian that felt the affects of the attacks. The articles, especially this one, are shaped in the perspective that the Christians are the victims mainly because they are the minority religious group in the countries. “Pakistani Christians represent about 1.6% of the country’s largely Muslim population”, which can make them an easy target (Pakistan). The reports are written in a way for people to think that the Islamic people are choosing to attack the weak group in the society. In all of the articles the Muslims are the ‘bad’ people even if the root of the problem is stated or not and if the Christians were at fault for the attacks. Throughout the articles reporting on attacks, especially in this instance, Christians are made to look innocent when “two bombers blew themselves up as worshippers were coming out of the city’s historic All Saints Church after attending Sunday mass” (Pakistan). This is phrased in a way to make the reader have empathy with the people in the situation because some readers will relate to those worshippers because they also attend mass service, thus creating a connection between them.

The main theme, throughout all of the articles, is that they all report on attacks on Christians and how they are perceived as the victims in the situations. However, a difference between the articles is the groups that are attacking Christians are within different countries throughout the Middle East and Europe countries. Another difference is the whereabouts of the reporters when the attacks happen that they wrote about. Like mentioned before, some writers were in Egypt and Pakistan when the attacks occurred, while other authors were in London during the attacks and still reported on it. Overall, the articles describing this ongoing conflict between Christians and Muslims are very one-sided, when both sides of the situation should be stated equally. From all of the articles, one could conclude that there is a lot of tension between Muslims and Christians within different Middle East countries. Christians are in the minority in those countries and only if the root of the conflict between Muslim and other attackers with Christians is not fixed the violence will not stop.

Works Cited

1. Fahim, Kareem. “Islamists Step Up Attacks on Christians for Supporting Morsi’s Ouster.” NY Times. New York Times, 20 Aug. 2013. Web. 1 Dec. 2013. .

2. Gillani, Waqar and Walsh, Declan. “Attack on Christians Follows Claim of Blasphemy in Pakistan.” NY Times. New York Times, 9 Mar. 2013. Web. 30 Nov. 2013. .

3. “Pakistan Church Blast Kills Dozens.” BBC News. BBC, 22 Sept. 2013. Web. 1 Dec. 2013. .

4. Walsh, Declan. “Pakistan Christians Issue Call for Protection.” NY Times. New York Times, 23 Sept. 2013. Web. 30 Nov. 2013. .

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Posted in: Islam