Say what you will about Bill Donohue, but the man never misses an opportunity to play the victim, even when the issue has nothing at all do with him or his mission and doing so is in disgracefully poor taste.
Take, for instance, this press release the Catholic League just put out:
According to The Australian, “dozens of bodies lined the streets” of three Christian villages in northern Nigeria. “Other victims of the weekend’s Muslim fury jammed a local morgue, the limbs of slaughtered children tangled in a grotesque mess.” Children were scalped, “most had severed hands and feet,” and “officials estimate that 500 people were massacred in night-time raids by rampaging Muslim gangs.” According to one eyewitness media account, “They then set homes on fire and attacked men, women and children. Many were decapitated.”
Now here is how CNN is reporting the story. “Gangs of machete-wielding Muslims have been blamed for the weekend slaughter of hundreds of Christian villagers in Nigeria, but analysts say it would be wrong to assume the conflict was rooted in religion.” Of course: When Muslims massacre Christians, religion never has anything to do with it.
“Some analysts,” the story continues, “believe the weekend slaughter was a revenge attack for the killing of around 150 members of the Hausa Muslim community by Christian mobs in Kuru Karama south of Jos, in January 2010.” Well, let’s see. Back in January, a U.N. media outlet reported that Muslim and Christian leaders in Kuru Karama, a predominantly Muslim village, “met to make a pact with the police to defend any attacks by outsiders.” But guess what happened? “Several hours later youths armed with machetes attacked the village.” And we know who likes machetes.
Donohue says “it’s time to stop viewing Muslim-Christian violence through the lens of moral equivalency” which apparently means that Muslims killing Christians in Nigeria is far, far worse than Christians killing Muslims in Nigeria.
If you read this Human Rights Watch report on the recent massacre, it says that hundreds of Christians were murdered by “Muslim men speaking Hausa and Fulani” and that “the attacks appeared to be in retaliation for previous attacks against Muslim communities in the area … on January 19, more than 150 Muslim residents were killed in an attack on the nearby town of Kuru Karama.”
This Human Rights Watch report on the January massacre states that more than one hundred Muslims were killed by Christians in an attack that was set off by either “an argument over the rebuilding of a Muslim home destroyed in the November 2008 violence in a predominately Christian neighborhood” or an “attack by Muslim youth on Christian worshippers in the Nassarawa Gwom district of Jos.”
So the current massacre of Christians by Muslims is believed to be retribution for an earlier massacre of Muslims by Christians, all of which is wrapped up in a cycle of violence in which “more than 13,500 people have died in religious or ethnic clashes since the end of military rule in 1999.”
But to Bill Donohue, it is little more than an opportunity to shamelessly exploit this tragic violence in order to claim that Muslims are bloodthirsty killers of Christians and that the media is somehow complicit in covering up this basic fact.