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Muslims face growing attacks in Ivory Coast crisis

In this photo taken on March 22, 2011, people pay there respects to Imam Souleyman Sissouma and his family at the Bilal Mosque during a funeral service in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Souleymane Sissouma was the third imam slain this month in a wave of anti-Muslim attacks so brutal his surviving family members were too afraid to attend his funeral. At least 10 mosques across Abidjan have been burned, and another was abandoned after attackers threw a grenade through a window during prayers. (AP)

What if the Muslims were attacking churches and killing innocent people, this would reach American channels quicker than we would realize. In the Ivory coast Muslims have been facing attacks for a while but recently these attacks are on the rise.

Muslims face growing attacks in Ivory Coast crisis

By MARCO CHOWN OVED | AP

As dozens of mourners gathered at a mosque, the twisted wreckage of a burned car lay outside — another sign of the growing campaign of violence against Muslims who widely support Alassane Ouattara, the internationally recognized winner of November’s presidential election.

Ouattara, who is Muslim, is locked in a battle with the entrenched president Laurent Gbagbo for power, and their conflict is veering dangerously toward sectarian violence.

At least 10 mosques across Abidjan have been set ablaze, and another was abandoned after attackers threw a grenade through a window during prayers.

“Us Muslims, we’re not safe. We are the object of every kind of violence. We’re afraid. We don’t know how this is going to end,” said Imam Idriss Koudouss, president of the National Islamic Council. “And we aren’t even involved in politics.” Ouattara supporters also have been beaten to death with bricks, even doused with gasoline and burned alive. Cell phone videos of the horrors are traded on the street and broadcast on state television along with calls to arms.

“It’s the political manipulation of ethnicity,” said Corinne Dufka, a senior researcher with Human Rights Watch.

“The root of the conflict is competition for political power and the fault lines are drawn along religious, ethnic and national lines.”

November’s presidential election was supposed to reunite the country after a 2002-2003 civil war split it into a rebel-controlled north and a loyalist south. But when Gbagbo refused to recognize UN-certified results showing that he lost, Ivory Coast was plunged back into a cycle of violence.

The UN says up to 1 million people have fled the fighting and at least 462 people have been killed, though Ouattara’s camp puts the toll at 832. The vast majority of these deaths were Ouattara supporters who were abducted and killed by Gbagbo-allied security forces, human rights groups say.

“We’re afraid. Everyone’s leaving,” said Abdias Goita, a father of two who waited outside the Malian embassy for evacuation Friday. “My brother had his door broken down by pro-Gbagbo militias. He gave them all the money he had — about 200,000 francs ($430) — but they slit his throat anyway.” During the presidential campaign, little was made of the fact that Ouattara would be Ivory Coast’s first Muslim president, drawing much of his support from the north. In the aftermath though, pro-Gbagbo police and militias have been widely accused of targeting Muslims because they are perceived as being defacto Ouattara supporters.

Last week, riot police showed up at Imam Sissouma’s mosque, arresting him and his son and taking the offering box. A fellow imam immediately called the interior minister to plead for their release and thought everything would be fine when Sissouma’s wife called to say they were back at home, safe and sound.

But Sissouma’s wife called back a half hour later to say the riot police had executed him and five other people, including his elderly mother.

Interior Minister Emile Guirieoulou acknowledged receiving the call, but refused to confirm the arrests or the killings, because the investigation is ongoing.

“In Ivory Coast, there have never been religious problems, Christians and Muslims live side by side. This tragic incident is a pure result of the political crisis,” said Imam Moussa Drame, whose own mosque was attacked in December.

Some 38.6 percent of Ivorians are Muslim, and 32.8 percent are Christians, according to the CIA World Factbook. An inter-religious council, made up of Christian and Muslim leaders is one of the country’s most respected institutions.

But xenophobia has long been a problem in this country, which has attracted millions of immigrant laborers from neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso. They came to work on plantations, especially cocoa farms that produce the raw material that goes into much of the world’s chocolate.

Resolving who would even be allowed to vote in the presidential election took years.

Now armed youth who support Gbagbo are stopping and threatening people at makeshift roadblocks across Abidjan.

Those with northern or Muslim names are accused of being pro-Ouattara rebels, and are beaten or killed, activists say.

Human Rights Watch reported dozens of ethnically and religiously motivated killings earlier this month, often carried out by the police or by pro-Gbagbo youth with police consent. Ouattara supporters were beaten to death “with bricks, clubs, and sticks, or doused them with gas and burned them alive.” Cell phone videos of the incidents have been posted on YouTube and Facebook, often accompanied by dehumanizing and anti-Muslim comments.

Fueling the fire is a relentless campaign of what the UN has called “lies” and “propaganda” on Gbagbo-controlled state television. The Radio-Television Ivorienne (RTI) is referred to by some foreign journalists as TV Mille Collines, in reference to the radio station that encouraged the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.

In one report aired last week, the anchorman smiled as he described a dozen alleged rebels killed by pro-Gbagbo soldiers in central Abidjan as “culled like little birds.” Graphic images of their bloodied bodies were interspersed with images of soldiers giving each other high five and cheering crowds.

“The future Gbagbo proposes for his country is war, anarchy and violence, with ethnic, religious and xenophobic dimensions,” wrote Louise Arbour, president of the International Crisis Group, in an open letter this week.

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  • JN

    “Somehow, any sympathy is exhausted. Certainly, it is not a good development but, in light of what many in the world face from Islam, especially in Africa, it is not hard to find cause and justification aplenty. Islam brings these things on itself.”

    Translation: It’s the victim’s fault, even when they themselves have done nothing wrong. Collective punishment, right? As long as it’s Muslims, that is.

    That you mention Israel and then in the next gasp claim that the “MSM” is sympathetic to Muslim persecution indicates that you have nothing valuable to say on the subject.

    The term “MSM” itself is something of a flag identifying a person as one of countless right-wing ideologues, including those who are racist or advocate genocide. By your logic, you should be held accountable for what they say, since you guys bring it on yourselves. Ridiculous.

  • PDC

    Somehow, any sympathy is exhausted. Certainly, it is not a good development but, in light of what many in the world face from Islam, especially in Africa, it is not hard to find cause and justification aplenty. Islam brings these things on itself.
    Conspiracy Brother “No, I thought not, Muslim & Jew living in peace, perish the thought!”
    You mean like in Israel?

    (BTW, I came to this site via a MSM link, so it appears another argument here is void; yep, the MSM covering muslim persecution! Who’d have thought it?)

  • Conspiracy Brother

    I wonder if Pammy & her Tea Party mates will change their mind if they knew that Alassane Ouattara is married to a French Jewish wife & that he is a rich capitalist banker? No, I thought not, Muslim & Jew living in peace, perish the thought!

  • Khushboo

    Persecution of Muslims in the Ivory Coast not mentioned anywhere in the mainstream media but Extremist Fox News loves to talk about persecution of Christians in Egypt instead and what could happen…all the conspiracy theories against Muslims they can think of. I’m so glad advertisers have left fear-monger nutjob Glenn Beck and hopefully, soon he’ll be fired.

  • http://abdalhaqq.wordpress.com/ muhammad ‘abd-al haqq

    JD,

    Isn’t the first suspect Muslim also?

    Allahu A’lam
    ———————————

    “This sacred knowledge shall be borne by reliable authorities from each generation, who will preserve it from the distortions of extremists, the plans of the corrupt and the false explanations of the ignorant.” (Narrated mursal by Al-Bayhaqi in Kitab al-Madkhal on the authority of Ibrahim bin ‘Abd al-Rahman al-’Udhri.)

  • JD

    2ND STATEN ISLAND SUSPECT IN CUSTODY IN ATTACK ON MUSLIM STUDENT – TOP
    Staten Island Advance Staten Island Advance, 4/4/11
    STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Cops have reportedly taken a second suspect into custody in an attack on a 13-year-old honors student at Dreyfus Intermediate School in Stapleton, who authorities say was targeted because she was Muslim.

  • NassirH

    Every society has their demagogues, more than ready to take advantage of popular prejudices for personal gain or to indulge their extremist views, or both.

  • Dan

    @marco: “That certainly would be nice – but as long as people like Geller, Spencer & co exist, they were sow the seeds of hatred and cause division and more violence and bloodshed.”

    And like Muslim demagogues don’t have a role in this?

  • Link182

    JustBob ”But I see what you’re pushing here, a victim-merchant conspiracy theory where a global cabal is covering up Muslim victims of violence and highlighting stories where Muslims are the assailants.”

    This is another one of those cases when you’re right when trying be wrong. There is a clear attempt by Western media to target the Muslim the community in Europe and America and you have to be stupid not to see it. Examples of this can be found in the in the EUMC report on Islamophobia which show consistently negative portrayals of Muslims in European media and the Encyclopedia of Race and Ethnic studies which cites articles in the British press between 1994 and 2004 which consistently portray Muslims in a negative light and over report on cases of Muslim terrorism. Terrorism by other groups does not recieve nearly as much coverage despite the fact that Europol statistics show that 99.9% terrorism in Europe comes from non Muslims.

    In America, things seem to be even worse. The report, Manufacturing the Muslim Menace details the growing multi million dollar industry dedicated to promoting bigotry and hatred towards Muslims. It echoes a 2008 FAIR study (Smearcasting, How Islamophobes Spread Bigotry, Fear and Misinformation) which documents Islamaphobia in American media. I should also mention that Fox ‘News’ viewers are possibly the most likely to be misinformed about Muslims and habour bigoted views of them (though Fox viewers are misinformed about everything so I suppose it’s a moot point).

    None of this should be remotely controversial to anyone who is familar with how the West treats minorities. Anti Muslim bigotry goes back to medevial times as Edward Said documented in Orientalism. In modern times, Muslims have not fared much better whether in Hollywood (shockingly, some films actually justify the killing of Palestinians and the shooting of Arab women children-see ‘’100 Years of Anti-Arab and Anti-Muslim stereotyping” by Mazin B. Qumsiyeh and Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People) or in mainstrseam media.

    Links:

    FAIR: http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=3648

    Fox: http://www.publicreligion.org/research/?id=435

    Terrorism in Europe: http://www.loonwatch.com/2010/01/terrorism-in-europe/

    EUMC: “EUMC presents reports on Discrimination and Islamophobia in the EU

    Manufacturing the Muslim Menace: http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/03/

  • marco

    @Daniel

    That certainly would be nice – but as long as people like Geller, Spencer & co exist, they were sow the seeds of hatred and cause division and more violence and bloodshed.

  • http://abdalhaqq.wordpress.com/ muhammad ‘abd-al haqq

    atm,

    LOL, of course

    Allahu A’lam
    ———————————

    “This sacred knowledge shall be borne by reliable authorities from each generation, who will preserve it from the distortions of extremists, the plans of the corrupt and the false explanations of the ignorant.” (Narrated mursal by Al-Bayhaqi in Kitab al-Madkhal on the authority of Ibrahim bin ‘Abd al-Rahman al-’Udhri.)

  • http://sociopolitech.com atm

    NO NO NO You guys got it all wrong, those people killed themselves in order to attract attention and be on the news.

  • Farlowe

    This is very very sad. So many people.

  • http://abdalhaqq.wordpress.com/ muhammad ‘abd-al haqq

    “I do hope you’re not talking about “convincing” Islamophobic blogs like Atlas Drugs”

    You know he is.

    “We are witnessing an Islamic takeover of the Ivory Coast. And the French (and the UN, US, and Europe) are helping them. Sick. The reportage on the Ivory Coast election is biased and Islamophliac.”

    Actually what people actually fail to realize is that although a Muslim, Ouattara is going to be just as bad a dictator as Gbagbo, and his militias are killing people as well. Instead of a takeover, waht we are actually seeing is that the US(and the West) yet again wants to install and support another Muslim dictator and is obfuscating the issues.

    Islamic takeover in Ivory Coast or not, the real issue can also be seen again as the fear of demographic change. Muslims outnumber Christians in Ivory Coast, yet they have never had a Muslim President. So this fear-mongering of a Muslim takeover is really a deflection from exposing the fact that certain Islamophobes want a resurgence of Christianity in Africa, which they see as necessary to combat Islam. This is evidenced by the statement ““We are losing Africa.” And the US seems to be saying,
    “yeah we’ll let them have a Muslim President, but let’s make sure he supports the US.” Two narrative strands here.

    Allahu A’lam
    ———————————

    “This sacred knowledge shall be borne by reliable authorities from each generation, who will preserve it from the distortions of extremists, the plans of the corrupt and the false explanations of the ignorant.” (Narrated mursal by Al-Bayhaqi in Kitab al-Madkhal on the authority of Ibrahim bin ‘Abd al-Rahman al-’Udhri.)

  • Daniel

    I yearn for the day when human beings listen to “the better angels of their nature” and look at religion as an attempt to unite humanity to God, and not to divide humanity from itself.

  • Crow

    Mindy some people perfer hatred. They enjoy when people they dont like get hurt (in this case Muslims) because in their tiny little minds the hated group is getting what they deserve. I bet jihad bob was giddy with happiness when he saw this article.

  • http://www.whyislam.org jawad

    “They are only convincing to you because they say exactly what you want to hear, and enforce your bigotry. In any case, it seems that you are trying to deflect attention away from the fact that Muslims are indeed being increasingly targeted in Ivory Coast. I wonder why you always do that. Denial maybe?”

    Bob is just a bad human being. He’s bias, hates muslims (no matter how much you want to deny that) and is just an overall horrible person.

  • mindy1

    So much hate-what is the point of it :’(

  • Nur Alia

    JustBob…

    No matter how you spin this…there is not an ‘assumption’ that people that are Muslims are dead, and that your western media isnt covering it like they do if it were Muslims killing Christians.

    This is the POINT of placing it in Loonwatch for discussion. Try not to change the topic, as Christians and Jews wrote the book on ‘victimhood’

    The only difference here is, Christians and Jews have publishers that are either reluctant, forbidden, or intimidated not to give equal coverage when the victims are Muslim and the offenders are Christian.

    I suggest that, instead of trying to change the topic, you answer to the intention of Loonwatcher who put the article in the genre for discussion.

  • NassirH

    According to ABC news, The Jakarta Post, and Yahoo! News, “Muslims face growing attacks in Ivory Coast crisis.” But I guess we should disregard reputable news sources and instead listen to Bob, who has expressed support for the goals of the genocidal “The Campaign for the Reconquista in Anatolia.” You know, because someone who claims he “loves” Muslims and then refers to them as “horrible people” is capable of rational, congruous thought.

    “ You’ll find instances on ‘Islamophobic’ blogs where arguments and stories are convincingly put forth…”

    I do hope you’re not talking about “convincing” Islamophobic blogs like Atlas Drugs, where Pamela Geller penned a conspiratorial piece about the Ivory Coast. It’s rather ironic in light of the above headlines. As with most of her “work,” there are a lot of factual errors, and spelling and grammar mistakes.

    “We are witnessing an Islamic takeover of the Ivory Coast. And the French (and the UN, US, and Europe) are helping them. Sick. The reportage on the Ivory Coast election is biased and Islamophliac.”

    The rest is about the Muslamic takeover of Africa — in Geller’s words, “We are losing Africa.”

  • Mosizzle

    I don’t think there is a particular reason why some stories get more coverage than others, but sometimes there is a difference in coverage.

    As for this attack, I hope the violence ends soon and Gbagbo leaves.

  • Cynic

    That’s an assumption not based on reality. There are numerous instances of Muslim-Christian fighting in ‘third’ world countries where the killings on either side don’t make the news.

    This is another one of the numerous instances of you using tu quoque reasoning to argue your point. Give up already Bob.

    You’ll find instances on ‘Islamophobic’ blogs where arguments and stories are convincingly put forth

    They are only convincing to you because they say exactly what you want to hear, and enforce your bigotry. In any case, it seems that you are trying to deflect attention away from the fact that Muslims are indeed being increasingly targeted in Ivory Coast. I wonder why you always do that. Denial maybe?

  • corey

    yeah I forgot muslims can never be victims I suppose that family in the photo killed themselves to garner sympathy from people.

  • JustBob

    In the Ivory coast Muslims have been facing attacks for a while but recently these attacks are on the rise.

    That’s an assumption not based on reality. There are numerous instances of Muslim-Christian fighting in ‘third’ world countries where the killings on either side don’t make the news.

    But I see what you’re pushing here, a victim-merchant conspiracy theory where a global cabal is covering up Muslim victims of violence and highlighting stories where Muslims are the assailants. You’ll find instances on ‘Islamophobic’ blogs where arguments and stories are convincingly put forth to show it could be the other way around or simply, more likely, that there is no rhyme or reason for why the media necessarily covers certain stories but not others.

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