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The horror is not confined to the areas under ISIS’s control. All over the Muslim world, Christian persecution is on the rise. For the most part, the network evening news programs treat it as routine – and certainly not as genocide.
In January 2016, as the networks celebrated the Obama administration’s Iranian nuclear deal, Iran released several American prisoners. Among them was Saeed Abedini, a Christian pastor who’d been sentenced in 2013 to eight years in prison for establishing home churches in the Shia Muslim nation. The networks all reported his release, and interviewed his wife. But for NBC and CBS, it was the first time they’d ever mentioned Abedini. On Nov. 26, 2013, ABC correspondent Brian Ross briefly mentioned Abedini as part of a list of Americans Iran was holding.
In Aden, Yemen, on March 4, 2016, four ISIS gunmen stormed a Catholic nursing home founded by Mother Teresa. They kidnapped a Catholic priest and bound and executed at least 16 staff members, including six nuns of the Missionaries of Charity. The networks never reported the incident, even when ISIS threatened to crucify the kidnapped Priest to mark Easter.
Easter Sunday 2016 was also when a Taliban bomber detonated in a crowded Lahore, Pakistan park where children were lined up for fairground rides. Each network gave the bombing just one report. And, although it occurred just 10 days after the State Department had recognized ISIS’s anti-Christian genocide, none made a connection.
CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley introduced a report from Lahore saying, “Well the complexity of Islamic extremism has reached again into Pakistan where at least seventy-two people enjoying an afternoon in the park were killed by a suicide bomber. The attack in the city of Lahore was an assault on Christians on their most sacred holy day.”
Pelley was surely right about the intent and timing of the attack, but there is nothing complex about trying to kill as many innocent Christians as possible. To suggest there is obscures the fact that genocide, “the crime of crimes,” is ongoing.