The story has come through this week that Muslim immigrants threw fifteen Christians overboard from a large rubber boat between Libya and Italy. Other Christians who survived by resisting have testified against them upon arrival in Italy, and the murderers have been arrested and will be tried. (Originally when I read the story I believed that some of those thrown overboard were rescued by Italian Coast Guard, but that apparently was a misunderstanding concerning some other refugees whose boat had sunk.)
Now what is there to say to this? Well, a couple of things. First, this is an illustration of the ruthlessness and, for want of a better word, chauvinism of Islam. The killers here simply did not think there was anything wrong with throwing Christian fellow refugees overboard. There was no question of, "We're all in this boat together." No question of solidarity or kindness. One of the Christian refugees refused to pray to Allah, and that was it. Said the murderer, "Here, we only pray to Allah." It is important that we get it. While most of our readers here at W4 do get it, I fear that too many do not. This is a brutal religion to which any idea of tolerance is simply a joke.
Second, these murderers were not ISIS members but Muslims who were trying to escape from Libya and from the advance of ISIS. Let that sink in. A naive assumption might be that the ones who are running away (instead of running back and joining ISIS) are the good guys, the moderates. Not so. They didn't want to live under ISIS. They wanted to go to Italy. But they were evil murderers who would throw Christians into the sea without a second thought for praying to the "wrong" God. If I were in Italy right now I would find this a very sobering thought, considering all of the Muslims welcomed in a non-discriminatory fashion as refugees in recent months.
Third, this story tells us that, with Islam so widespread in Africa and the Middle East, the problems faced are intractable. This is not to say that we should not go in there and beat the heck out of ISIS, as suggested in the Editors' 9/11 post last fall. After all, they have made it much easier by setting themselves up as a visible army of the Jihad. But we should not think that there is a good end to this story. There is not some viable, democratic, moderate, and self-sustaining alternative to leave behind us at that point. There's just a mess caused by culture and religion. As Jeff S. suggested here, that should make us (or at this point should I say "should have made us"?) very hesitant to destabilize countries in the region.
It's extremely difficult for men of good will to conclude that there is no good answer to a problem, including a problem in foreign policy or immigration. But in the fallen world we live in, that is too often the case. Both Italy (on the question of whom to receive as refugees) and America (on the question of whom to attack when) need to recognize this and pray that we can at least find the answer that is the best of a bad lot.