Robert Fisk asks: ‘How can we lecture the Islamic world?’

“Take the Christians who massacred the Muslims of Srebrenica. Or take the Christians – Lebanese Phalangist allies of the Israelis – who entered the Sabra and Chatila refugee camps in Beirut and slaughtered up to 1,700 Palestinian Muslim civilians.

“Do we remember that? Do we recall that the massacres occurred between 16 and 18 September 1982? Yes, today is the 23rd anniversary of that little genocide – and I suspect The Independent will be one of the very few newspapers to remember it. I was in those camps in 1982. I climbed over the corpses. Some of the Christian Phalangists in Beirut even had illustrations of the Virgin Mary on their gun butts, just as the Christian Serbs did in Bosnia.

“Are we therefore in a position to tell our Muslim neighbours to ‘grasp the nettle’? I rather think not. Because the condition of human rights has been so eroded by our own folly, our illegal invasion of Iraq and the anarchy that we have allowed to take root there, our flagrant refusal to prevent further Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank, our constant, whining demands that prominent Muslims must disown the killers who take their religious texts too literally, that we have long ago lost our moral compass.”

Robert Fisk in the Independent, 17 September 2005