Italian Police: Libyan Muslims Threw Christians Overboard

AP Photo/Alessandro Fucarini

AP Photo/Alessandro Fucarini

Breitbart, by JOHN HAYWARD, April 16, 2015:

The Italian police have arrested 15 Muslim refugees from war-torn Libya on charges they murdered Christian passengers on their escape boat by throwing them overboard.

“The original group of 105 people left Libya on Tuesday in a rubber boat,” reports CNN, relaying statements from Italian authorities. “Sometime during the trip north across the Mediterranean Sea, the alleged assailants – Muslims from the Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal – threw the 12 [Christians] overboard.”

The rubber boat was subsequently intercepted by the Italian navy, which put the passengers aboard a Panamanian-flagged ship bound for Palermo. The alleged murderers were arrested after the ship docked.

A report from the UK Daily Mail suggests both the victims and attackers were adult males. “During the crossing, a fight broke out over religion, with the group of Muslim passengers threatening the Nigerians and Ghanaians after the latter declared themselves to be Christians,” according to the account given by surviving Nigerian and Ghanaian passengers to the police. The BBC explains these survivors were able to avoid a similar fate by forming human chains.

Only a few days ago, 400 refuges were presumed killed after another ship sank off the Libyan coast. Italy has asked the European Union for help dealing with the refugee crisis and the urgent need for more search-and-rescue resources. The Italians complain there has been no “adequate response from the EU,” while a European Commission spokeswoman cautioned them not to expect any “silver bullet” solutions.

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Italian Police: Muslim Migrants Threw Christians Overboard in Crossing from Libya by Patrick Poole

A horrific story coming out of Sicily.

CNN reports:

Muslims who were among migrants trying to get from Libya to Italy in a boat this week threw 12 fellow passengers overboard — killing them — because the 12 were Christians, Italian police said Thursday.

Italian authorities have arrested 15 people on suspicion of murdering the Christians at sea, police in Palermo, Sicily, said.

The original group of 105 people left Libya on Tuesday in a rubber boat. Sometime during the trip north across the Mediterranean Sea, the alleged assailants — Muslims from the Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal — threw the 12 overboard, police said.

The Associated Press adds:

During the crossing, the migrants from Nigeria and Ghana — believed to be Christians — were threatened with being abandoned at sea by some 15 other passengers from the Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mali and Guinea Bissau.

Eventually the threat was carried out and 12 were pushed overboard. The statement said the motive was that the victims “professed the Christian faith while the aggressors were Muslim.”

The surviving Christians, the statement said, only managed to stay on board by forming a “human chain” to resist the assault.

Interestingly, the CNN video appears to have been pulled from their website.

One of the top cheerleaders for the migrants crossing from Libya has been Pope Francis, who issued a communique back in September on the migration issue and has said that the EU needs to do more for the migrants, saying “we cannot allow the Mediterranean to become a vast graveyard.”

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Muslim “Refugees” to Europe Threw Christian Passengers Overboard by Daniel Greenfield

The media is forever weeping and wailing over the plight of the swarms of Muslim migrants invading Italy and the rest of Europe. We just got through stories about how the poor oppressed migrants are drowning.

Here’s a literal truth about who they are and what they intend to do to Europe.

Muslims who were among migrants trying to get from Libya to Italy in a boat this week threw 12 fellow passengers overboard — killing them — because the 12 were Christians, Italian police said Thursday.

Italian authorities have arrested 15 people on suspicion of murdering the Christians at sea, police in Palermo, Sicily, said.

The original group of 105 people left Libya on Tuesday in a rubber boat. Sometime during the trip north across the Mediterranean Sea, the alleged assailants — Muslims from the Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal — threw the 12 overboard, police said.

And when they are in Europe, they’ll kill more Christians and Jews and anyone else because this is who they are and what they do. Taking them is in self-genocide.

Islam is a fundamentally xenophobic and genocidal theology.

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And if you have been following Ann Corcoran at Refugee Resettlement Watch, you would have seen this:

Malta is a stable country and we don’t take Maltese people (Europeans) as refugees.  WE DO TAKE OVER 500 A YEAR OF MALTA’S ILLEGAL ALIENS who crossed the Mediterranean from North Africa to America as supposed REFUGEES.

And this:

ISIS could bring pandemonium to Southern Europe with fighters disguised as refugees

The ‘Invasion of Europe’ is hastening….

I had this story almost ready to post yesterday, when my internet connection dropped, so surely you have seen the news by now.  LOL! So what has taken ISIS and the media so long to figure out what we have been writing about for weeks, months!

And, don’t forget that Obama’s girls (the “humanitarian Vulcans”)—Hillary, Susan Rice, and Samantha Power—are largely responsible (along with the UN) for the now failed state of Libya because they were the primary cheering squad involved in the get-Muammar Qaddafi movement when Obama was his usual indecisive self, see our 2011 post with links for more information.  So much for the ‘brilliant’ Ms. Power’s “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine.

Here is how we concluded that 2011 post:

Protect!  It would be so ironic if  one of Obama’s national security advisers, Samantha Power, and her scheme (with George Soros) called the “Responsibility or Right to Protect” would destroy far more lives then it saved.  But, I guess that’s what happens when we put immature ideologues and community organizers together in the White House.

From Fox News:

ISIS is planning a campaign to dominate Libya before sending fighters to southern Europe disguised as illegal migrants to wage more terror there, according to a published report.

ISIS taking control in Libya (only a little over 200 miles to the “Crusader states.”)http://yalibnan.com/2014/11/19/isis-takes-control-of-a-libyan-city-report/

The Daily Telegraph, citing a British anti-terror group that claims to have seen letters written by the group’s supporters, said that ISIS hopes to use militiamen from its current strongholds in Syria and Iraq to overrun Libya before embarking on a campaign targeting both Europe’s mainland as well as maritime shipping.

The letter is written by an ISIS propagandist using the name Abu Arhim al-Libim. He describes Libya, which has descended into chaos in the wake of the 2011 overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi, as having “immense potential” for the jihadists.

“It has a long coast and looks upon the southern Crusader states, which can be reached with ease by even a rudimentary boat,” the man writes. He also points out that the country is replete with weapons, many of them seized from Qaddafi’s forces by rebels as the regime collapsed.

In describing the possibilities of attacking Europe, al-Libim discusses the number of ships brining migrants across the Mediterranean Sea illegally, then says “If this was even partially exploited and developed strategically, pandemonium could be wrought in the southern European states and it is even possible that there could be a closure of shipping lines and targeting of Crusader ships and tankers.”

Interesting that here is that word Crusader again.  Is ISIS using Obama lingo.  Is Obama helping them with their talking points!

Stop US refugee resettlement from Malta!

Again!!!  If you are in America and thinking this is Europe’s problem, never forget that the US State Department is bringing illegal aliens who arrive on Malta (a Crusader state!) to the US as refugees for your home towns!

Go here for our entire ‘Invasion of Europe’ series.

The Armenian Genocide and the Ethics of Remembrance

remFrontpage, April 15, 2015 by Vladimir Tismaneanu and Marius Stan:

“To conceal or deny Evil is the same as allowing a wound to bleed without bandaging it.”

This statement by Pope Francis in April 2015 was linked to the first official Vatican use of the word genocide to deplore and condemn the state-sponsored mass murders perpetrated against a huge civilian population a hundred years ago in what used to be the Ottoman Empire. The Pope is right: Forgetfulness, denial, and silence cannot but perpetuate a culture of complicity with Evil.

The massacre of a million and a half Armenians (men, women, elderly people, and children) initiated in April 1915 and appallingly completed by 1923, was the first genocidal experience of what an American historian called the age of social catastrophes. That exterminist cataclysm was the Armenians’ Holocaust. We use the term exterminist in the sense put forward by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen in his book “Hitler’s Willing Executioners.” The purpose was not just exclusion and elimination, but complete annihilation of the targeted collectivity, in this case the Armenians, later the Jews, the Gypsies, the Tutsis and so on. It was not a spontaneous explosion of murderous hatred, but a meticulously designed and methodically executed plan to physically destroy those labeled as sub-humans or even non-humans.

Killing an Armenian—or later a Jew, a Kulak, a Bosnian, any member of a community stigmatized as superfluous (a term introduced by Hannah Arendt)—was the same as getting rid of a pernicious insect. The hateful genocidal propaganda always referred to the “obnoxious vermin.” Symbolic dehumanization made way for physical termination. Ideology precedes and legitimizes the hecatomb. The ultimate goal is the ethnically or socially pure (and purified) community.

For Hitler, who openly admired Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and saw himself as a “Father of the Nation,”, the Armenian massacre (the term genocide had not been coined yet) was proof that humankind is quick to forget, that one should not be held back by moral reservations. Totalitarianism bets everything on opportunism, cowardice, and amnesia. And, most obviously, on sadism—be it social or racial.

In conversations with his minions, Hitler used to mention the following when explaining the “necessity” to exterminate the European Jews: “Who even remembers the Armenian annihilation nowadays?” What is truly terrifying is that many of those who committed these mass murders seemed normal people, persons who “wouldn’t hurt a fly” (a point made by Croatian writer Slavenka Drakulić in her book “They Would Never Hurt a Fly” ). They wouldn’t harm an ant, but mercilessly massacred women and children. And even took pictures of it…

Here is a copy of a famous painting by Arshile Gorky, born Vosdanig Adoian. Alongside creations by Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock, Gorky’s work was American Abstract Expressionism’s moment of supreme glory. The artist was himself a genocide survivor, his mother died of starvation in 1918.

pl1It is admirable that Pope Francis urges humanity not to forget Evil and we agree with his stance. In the spirit of Albert Camus, Nadezhda Mandelstam, and Monica Lovinescu, we advocate the ethics of unforgetfulness. Because remembrance is always the result of a will not to forget Evil. The democratic ethos is rooted in this need to acknowledge the tragedies of the past. Forgiveness cannot be granted in the absence of repentance. Yet we dare to wonder whether the term “Stalinism” used by Pope Francis in his speech (together with Nazism) is clear enough to help understand that it comprises the communist crimes of the last century, including those perpetrated by Maoism. Just between 1958 and 1961, during the so-called “Great Leap Forward”, 45 millions of Chinese citizens died.

These crimes against humanity have been genocidal. They should be called by name, known, condemned, and commemorated with sorrow and empathy, regardless of what the various chancelleries specialized in the diplomatic concealing of the truth might say. Regardless of what the self-proclaimed experts in “linguistic hygiene” might say.

To conclude, we recommend here Charles Aznavour’s moving song “Ils sont tombés.”

Ils sont tombés sans trop savoir pourquoi
Hommes, femmes et enfants qui ne voulaient que vivre
Avec des gestes lourds comme des hommes ivres
Mutilés, massacrés les yeux ouverts d’effroi
Ils sont tombés en invoquant leur Dieu
Au seuil de leur église ou le pas de leur porte
En troupeaux de désert titubant en cohorte
Terrassés par la soif, la faim, le fer, le feu

Nul n’éleva la voix dans un monde euphorique
Tandis que croupissait un peuple dans son sang
L’ Europe découvrait le jazz et sa musique
Les plaintes de trompettes couvraient les cris d’enfants
Ils sont tombés pudiquement sans bruit
Par milliers, par millions, sans que le monde bouge
Devenant un instant minuscules fleurs rouges
Recouverts par un vent de sable et puis d’oubli

They Fell – text in English
They fell that year,
they vanished from the earth,
Never knowing the cause
Or what laws they’d offended,
The women fell as well
And the babies they tended.
Left to die left to cry
All condemned by their birth.

They fell like rain
Across the thirsty land,
In their hordes they were slain,
In their god still believing
All their pity and pain,
In that season of grieving
Called in vain all in vain
Just for one helping hand.
For no one heard their prayers,
In a world bent on pleasure
From others peoples cares
They simply closed their eyes
They craved a louder sound
In jazz and raggtime measure
The trumpets screamed till dawn
To drown the children’s cries.

They fell like leaves
This people its prime,
Simple men kindly men,
And not one knew his crime
They became in that hour
Like the small desert flower
Soon covered by the silent wind
In sands of time.

They fell that year
Before a cruel foe
They had little to give
But their lives and their passion,
And their longing to live
In their way
In their fashion
So their harvest could thrive
and their children could grow.
They fell like flies
Their eyes still full of sun
Like a dove its flight
In the path of rifle
That falls down were it might,
As if death were a trifle
And to bring to an end
A life barely begun.

And I am of that race,
Who died in unknown places
Who perished in their pride,
Whose blood in rivers ran,
In agony and fright
With courage on their faces
They went in to the night,
That waits for every man.
They fell like tears
And never knew what for
In that summer of strife
Of massacre and war
Their only crime was life
Their only guilt was being
The children of Armenia
Nothing less nothing more

Vladimir Tismaneanu is a professor of politics at the University of Maryland (College Park) and author of numerous books, including most recently “The Devil in History: Communism, Fascism, and Some Lessons of the Twentieth Century.” Marius Stan is a Romanian political scientist, author of books in Romanian and Polish, and currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Bucharest. This essay was translated from Romanian into English by Monica Got.

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Armenian Genocide Then and Now

Armenian GenocideFinally nations are recognizing what occurred in Turkey as genocide

Religious Freedom Coalition, By Andrew Harrod, PhD, April 13, 2015:

Armenian-Canadian writer Raffi Bedrosyan sees Middle Eastern “history repeating itself” in modern Christian suffering in the centennial of the Ottoman Empire’s 1915 genocide of Armenians and other Christian populations.  Bedrosyan and other participants of an all-day, March 28 Institute of World Politics (IWP) conference concerning the Ottoman 1915 genocides showed a disturbing continuity of Islamic human rights violations by various actors across a century.

Before over 50 audience members filling IWP’s conference room, Institute of World Politics Professor Marek J. Chodakiewicz indicated the confessional nature of 1915’s slaughter in his presentation on forms of “democide” or governmental mass murder.  Descended from “Christendom’s eldest kingdom,” most Armenians in 1915 had a pre-modern understanding of nationality, he said.  Despite recent secular legal reforms in the Islamic Ottoman Empire, Armenians still suffered the “scourge of sharia and the whims of the caliphate.”

The East Coast premiere of Turkey, the Legacy of Silence, a French documentary about Turkish citizens uncovering their hidden Armenian heritage, also featured a Christian-Islamic confessional divide.  A Turkish man, for example, recounted how authorities in 1915 told one man concerning Armenians that “kill seven and you will go to heaven,” but instead he hid a boy who was later raised a Muslim under the name Abdullah.  After another woman’s death, relatives found a Bible in a ceremonial case that usually contains a Quran in Turkish homes.  Such individuals, the film noted, were hidden survivors of a brutal attempt to create the fiction of Turkey as a land that has been purely Turkish for millennia.

Concerns for physical survival and social acceptance caused many of these individuals to keep secret their Armenian ancestry even if they knew about it.  A woman in the film narrated how Turkish nationalists in the army killed her son on April 24, the day commemorating since 1915 the genocide, 17 days before he completed his military service.  Another man whose Armenian heritage became known faced the animosity of his school classmates who read in Turkish textbooks that Armenians betrayed the Ottoman Empire during World War I.  Some individuals nonetheless embraced their heritage like the man who accepted baptism and rejected being an “Islamicized Armenian” after learning of his true origins.

Bedrosyan elaborated upon “The Hidden Armenians of Turkey” following the screening and during a subsequent interview.  Islamization of Armenians began in 1915 when the Ottoman government initially allowed Armenians to convert to Islam and avoid ultimately deadly deportations.  Turkish army orphanages transformed orphan boys of Armenian genocide victims into rabid Muslim Turks while orphan girls became sex slaves or entered forced marriages.  One Kurdish chieftain took as his child bride a girl from among the 13 survivors of over 10,500 massacred Armenians from a suburb of southeastern Turkish town Diyarbakir.  Bedrosyan expressed amazement at how jihadists in the Islamic State (IS) or Nigeria’s Boko Haram displayed today the same patterns of behavior.

Ottoman efforts to obliterate Armenian culture encompassed property as well as persons.  Bedrosyan cited 4,000 churches in Turkey that after 1915 were destroyed or converted to other uses, including one that became a brothel.  He noted a destroyed Diyarbakir church used as a government warehouse until its 2011 restoration by private groups as a genocide memorial.  Its official opening saw many individuals disclose their Armenian ancestry.

An earlier presentation by stolen property expert Dr. Tania C. Mastrapa elaborated that the Turkish government had closed certain archives as a “national security threat.”  Their publication could facilitate property claims by Armenians and others stemming from 1915 calculated in the trillions of dollars.  Her co-panelist Kate Nahapetian from the Armenian National Committee of America stated that police today will investigate in certain Turkish villages visitors suspected of searching for lost Armenian property.

Bedrosyan explained that Turkish government actions demonstrated how the Turkish republic throughout its history has assiduously upheld the myth of a homogenous Turkish and Sunni Muslim population.  An interviewed Genocide Watch PresidentGregory H. Stanton, whose morning presentation concerned genocide denial, analogized between the Khmer Rouge and Turkish Republic founding father Kemal Ataturk.  Like Cambodia’s genocidal Communists who “wanted to start at year zero,” Ataturk’s “utopian vision for a new Turkey” sought cultural erasure of even Christian populations like the Assyrians who predated Turkish presence in Anatolia.

In this environment, Bedrosyan stated, Armenian/Christian affiliations entail discrimination, meaning that many of Turkey’s estimated 2.5 million people with Armenian descent do not recognize or reveal their heritage and remain “Islamicized.”  Christians de facto “cannot even become a garbage man” in the public sector, he stated while discussing one public school teacher who broke a taboo by accepting baptism after discovering Armenian roots.  Individuals serving in the military sometimes learn of the ineligibility for sensitive positions such as fighter pilots when the government suddenly reveals records of Armenian descent.

Individuals who know of their Armenian heritage therefore often resort to subterfuge in a society where Armenian is a swear word and graffiti like “1915 was a blessed year” vandalizes Istanbul churches.  Bedrosyan recounted how one hidden Armenian prayed to Jesus at home while serving as a Muslim imam, while others secretly accepted baptism in Europe before returning to Turkey.  Amongst themselves, hidden Armenians often know, and marry their children to, each other.

Steven Oshana, executive director of the Middle East minority advocacy group A Demand for Action, reflected during an interview on the historic continuity of Muslim repression suffered by his Armenian and Assyrian ancestral communities.  Assyrians, for example, fled Ottoman genocide to areas of modern Iraq, only to endure the August 1933 Simele massacre by Iraqi troops and another flight to Syria, where Assyrians today are targets of IS.  “The genocide just keeps following,” the “methods are the same, the brutality is the same,” stated Oshana.

Oshana and other conference speakers noted how Islam played a role among pious and non-pious alike in conflicts with Christian and other minorities.  While IS differed from the Ottomans in publicly claiming credit for atrocities against non-Muslims, he stated that “faith is always a pretext” for political calculations seeking to stimulate violence against non-Christians.  Bedrosyan concurred that Ottoman leaders who saw during World War I threats in Armenians and other Christians “were using Islam as an instrument” of mobilization among Muslims like Kurds.  This role of Islam was “very, very direct” in the actions of Ottoman leaders, Stanton noted.  They cynically urged Muslim authorities such as muftis to call for the killing of Christians considered allied with the Ottoman Empire’s “infidel” enemies.

Institute of World Politics’ Armenian genocide conference instructively brought to light a past that has not passed, but rather remains depressingly relevant today.  Time and again Islamic doctrines have repeatedly incited the same patterns of death, destruction, and cultural cleansing against Christians and other non-Muslims. George Santyana’s dictum that “[t]hose who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” is hardly more relevant than here.  Forewarning of these past lessons is necessary for policymakers who want to be forearmed against future dangers.

The International Christian Union, a Christian human rights organization, commissioned this article.

Also see:

The Butchers of Islam

PersecutedChristians-2By Justin O. Smith:

Christians, Jews and other religious minorities, such as Yazidis, Turkmen and Shabak, are currently being systematically exterminated across the Middle East and North Africa, especially in Iraq and Syria. As the Islamic State, Boko Haram and Al Shabaab repeatedly boast of horrific attacks on these religious minorities, the Christians and other victims are far less concerned with meaningless “Religious Freedom Acts” signed by Obama (Aug 2014), than they are with simply surviving; they need righteous world leaders, who will fight the evil marching towards every nation worldwide __ the evil of the oppressive, totalitarian ideology of Islam.

On April 2nd, 2015, the international community witnessed 147 Christian students at Garissa University in Kenya singled out and murdered by Al Shabaab Islamofascist terrorists. And then on Easter Sunday, Islamic State fascist thugs destroyed the Church of the Virgin Mary in northeastern Syria, marking the latest in a long series of attacks against Christians during this decade.

Statistics from numerous sources, like Open Doors and PEW Research Center, show that Christians, who once represented 20% of the Middle East’s population have been reduced to 5% of the population in the Middle East. It is also safe to say that nearly three million Christians, in both Iraq and Syria, now number less than a combined total of 300,000, as they have fled or been slaughtered.

In January 2015, forty-five Christian churches were burned in Niamey, Niger alone, and two thousand people were murdered in the town of Baga, Nigeria, which was burned to the ground (BBC). According to Open Borders, an organization dedicated to “serving persecuted Christians worldwide”, roughly 3.2 million residents in Nigeria have left their homes, since the rise of the Islamic terror army of Boko Haram. For the same reason, thousands of Christians are evacuating Diffa, the border region between Niger and Nigeria, and seeking refuge at the military camps at Zinder.

Whenever Boko Haram, Al Shabaab and the Islamic State occupy an area, a common and terrible theme emerges, as they demand that the people identify themselves as Muslim or Christian, Allahu Akbar or Alleluia. A great number of these Christians truly live their faith, and they refuse to deny Jesus in order to save themselves. They die as martyrs for Christ.

In January of this year, David Curry, president of Open Doors USA, reported that 2014 was the most violent year of global Christian persecution. Curry also released the World Watch List, which named North Korea, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Iran, Pakistan, Eritrea and Nigeria the nations that are most hostile towards Christians. The overwhelming common thread in nine of these is the Islamic ideology.

Since July 2014, the Islamic State has demanded Iraq’s Christians must convert to Islam, pay extra taxes or be killed. The Islamic State has massacred and enslaved thousands of Christians and followers of the ancient Yazidi faith, murdered hundreds more from the Shabak religious minority, ransacked the tomb of Jonah in Mosul, destroyed a 7th Century Greek Orthodox Church in Tikrit, bombed a memorial of the Armenian genocide in Dair Alzour, Syria and beheaded 21 Coptic Christians in Libya.

These Islamic savages surpass the Nazis and Communists in their depravity. Islamofascist “soldiers” teach Muslim boys how to slice off the heads of the kafir, the infidels, the Christians and the enemies of Allah. They bury people alive and butcher little children. They have delivered hundreds of girls and women as sex-slaves and unwilling “brides”, torturing and raping them, as reported by the International Center for Investigative Reporting.

Representative Anna Eshoo (D-Ca) is personally troubled by these atrocities. She is a first generation American and a Chaldean Catholic, whose mother is Armenian and whose father is an Assyrian Christian from Iraq. She recently told the ‘Washington Examiner':

“We’re coming up to the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide and when we look over our shoulders at history, we say ‘never again, we will never forget.’ So from both sides of the family, exactly what my grandmother described and all the elders of the family escaped is [again] taking place.”

Terrorized Christians and religious minorities unable to reach safety have been begging for help from anyone, and while some U.S. leaders have expressed the dire need to help them, so far, the vaunted international community has not acted forcefully enough to stop these Islamofascists from annihilating Christians and others. Their efforts have been small and futile, providing insufficient aid, as this new Holocaust is continuing to grow.

Kaldo Oghanna, an Assyrian Christian who helped train fellow Christians to combat these Islamic terrorists, told the Wall Street Journal, “No one has protected the minorities, and no one will in the future.”
Some experts, such as Paul Salem of the Middle East Institute, have called for “hard protections” and “safe zones” for people without the ability to protect themselves. Although $1.6 billion from the U.S. National defense Authorization Act has been allocated to aid Christians, ethnic minorities and their “local forces” in the Nineveh Plain and surrounding regions, this is far from fully addressing the broader scope of the problem, as the progeny of terrorists continue to ply the family trade across the globe.

How much longer will the world leaders continue to look the other way? When will the U.S. and Europe and the world’s Christian nations do something substantial and concrete to defend and protect our Christian brothers and sisters, who are persecuted, exiled and slain solely for being Christian?

On Veteran’s Day of 2011 at the Preserving Freedom Conference in Madison, TN,  Dr. Justin Akujieze revealed that the entire northern half of Nigeria had already been, in essence, conquered by the Islamists, as they have unilaterally declared Sharia Law without comment, debate or media discussion. At the same time, Muslims were committing genocide against the Christian Igbo tribes of Nigeria by burning them alive by the thousands, and these Islamofascists are now moving to control the entire country. As Dr. Justin appealed to those in the audience for their help in saving the rest of Nigeria from this Islamofascist onslaught, the emotion in his voice rang true, “Today is the last day and we must not wither. We must confront this head-on and together we will win.”

The Butchers of Islam have created a global crisis. They are an existential threat to families, human rights and religious communities in the United States and Europe too, not just in the Middle East and Africa, and as such, America and any other rightfully concerned nations must wage a relentless, vicious, intense war against them and brutally obliterate them wherever they are found: Destroy the destroyers of everything righteous, those lovers of Death, or continue doing next to nothing and watch Christianity in many regions become a footnote in history.

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On Easter, UK’s Cameron Speaks Up for Persecuted Christians, Obama Tells Christians to be Less Hateful

cameron obamaBy Raymond Ibrahim, April 8, 2015:

In a world where Western leaders and politicians regularly distance themselves from their Christian heritage, preferring to tout “multiculturalism,” United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron’s Easter message is refreshing.

Among other things, Cameron (see video below) made it a point to say “that we should feel proud to say, ‘This is a Christian country.’ Yes, we’re a nation that embraces, welcomes and accepts all faiths and none, but we are still a Christian country.”

In this context, the Islamic Umma – where non-Muslims are not “welcomed” or “accepted” — comes to mind: whereas the West, thanks to its Christian heritage, developed in a way as to be open and tolerant of others, the Islamic world has and likely will not.

We have a duty to speak out about the persecution of Christians around the world too.  It is truly shocking that in 2015 there are still Christians being threatened, tortured, even killed because of their faith.  From Egypt to Nigeria, Libya to North Korea.  Across the Middle East Christians have been hounded out of their homes, forced to flee from village to village; many of them forced to renounce their faith or brutally murdered.  To all those brave Christians in Iraq and Syria who practice their faith or shelter others, we will say, “We stand with you.”In fact, Cameron also urged his fellow citizens to speak out about the persecution of Christians:

Meanwhile, U.S. President Obama—who is on record saying “we are no longer a Christian nation” and, unlike Cameron, never notes the Islamic identity of murderers or the Christian identity of their victims and ignored a recent UN session on Christian persecution—had this to say at the Easter Prayer Breakfast:  “On Easter, I do reflect on the fact that as a Christian, I am supposed to love.  And I have to say that sometimes when I listen to less than loving expressions by Christians, I get concerned.”

This is in keeping with his earlier statements calling on Americans in general Christians in particular to be nonjudgmental of Islamic terrorism.

In other words, those Christians who are critical and speak up against injustices, in this case, Muslim persecution of Christians, need to shut up and be doormats that allow anything and everything.  Such is “tolerance.”  Christians are being persecuted?  That’s okay, turn the other cheek, seems to be the American president’s message at a time when Christians, as Cameron noted, are being slaughtered all throughout the Islamic world.

Do #BlackLivesMatter When They’re Christian, Mr President?

“148 young students in Kenya have just been killed, slaughtered, their bodies on the floor by Muslim fanatics who asked the students in that university, ‘are you Christian or are you Muslim?’ And they let the Muslims go, and they slaughtered the Christians. Now, this is a guy who’s happy to draw general lessons when a black youth gets killed in Ferguson, Missouri. That apparently has wide application for black people all over America, but 148 black corpses has no general application. Well, Mr. President, #blacklivesmatter when they’re Christian too. And the biggest story of our time is the extinction of some of the oldest Christian communities on the planet at hands of Islam, remorselessly. You dishonor those Kenyan students in death by not identifying them as Christians as you dishonored the Egyptians only a couple weeks earlier” Steyn stated.

STEYN: I don’t think in any sense he is a Christian, Sean. I think he’s a social justice warrior who, like a lot of people from the cultural left, regards religion as the opiate of the rubes, to modify Marx. But I think in Obama’s case, it’s compounded by the fact that he does have this profound respect for Islam that leads him actually to invert the situation that’s going on in the world today so that the Christians are the problem and the Muslims who are beheading the Christians and shooting the Christians and cutting the throats of the Christians are somehow the victim group that we all need to be more sensitive to.

Also see:

Obama Slams ‘Less Than Loving’ Christians At Easter Prayer Breakfast

high_horseSays nothing about Kenya university attacks against Christians

Truth Revolt, by Trey Sanchez, April 7, 2015:

At Tuesday morning’s Easter prayer breakfast, President Obama pulled once again from his National Prayer Breakfast playbook and denounced Christians in front of the gathered religious leaders at the White House.

Making sure no one was mounted on their high horse again, Obama said:

On Easter, I do reflect on the fact that as a Christian, I’m supposed to love, and I have to say that sometimes when I listen to less than loving expressions by Christians, I get concerned. But that’s a topic for another day… I was about to veer off. I’m pulling it back.

Although a comment like this would bring any Christian pause, many attendees at the breakfast seemed overjoyed by the president’s off-the-cuff remarks.

A Fox News report (below) picked up on the fact that Obama seemed more concerned to pick on American Christians than point to the targeting of Christians worldwide, especially in light of the recent mass murders in Kenya.

 

Also see:

Jihadis Seek to Cleanse Pakistan of Christians

by Raymond Ibrahim
PJ Media
March 21, 2015

Originally published under the title, “Jihadis Cleansing Pakistan of Christians.”

Pakistani Christians mourn the victims of two March 15 suicide bombings of churches in Lahore.

Pakistani Christians mourn the victims of two March 15 suicide bombings of churches in Lahore.

The two churches (located in Youhanabad, Lahore’s Christian quarter) were St. John’s Catholic Church and Christ Church (Protestant).On Sunday, March 15, as Christian churches around the world were celebrating morning mass, two churches in Pakistan were attacked by Islamic suicide bombers. At least 17 people were killed and over 70 were wounded.

The Taliban claimed responsibility. It is believed that the group had hoped for much greater death tolls, as there were almost 2,000 people in both churches at the time of the explosions.

According to eyewitnesses, two suicide bombers approached the gates of the two churches and tried to enter them. When they were stopped — including by a 15-year-old Christian who blocked them with his body — they self-detonated. Witnesses saw “body parts flying through the air.”

Thus did the jihadis “kill and be killed,” in the words of Koran 9:111, the verse most often cited to justify suicide attacks.

According to an official statement of the Justice and Peace Commission of the Episcopal Conference of Pakistan, despite all the threats received by the churches, authorities only provided “minimal” security:

Agents present at the time of the attack were busy watching the cricket match on TV, instead of carrying out their duty to protect churches. As a result of this neglect, many Christians have lost their lives.

The statement further urged:

the government to adopt strong measures to protect churches and other religious minorities in Pakistan [since] the Christian community of Pakistan was targeted by extremists in the past.

Nearly 90 Christian worshippers were killed in the September 2013 suicide bombing of All Saints Church in Peshawar.

Nearly 90 Christian worshippers were killed in the September 2013 suicide bombing of All Saints Church in Peshawar.

One parishioner recalled how “human remains were strewn all over the church.” (For an idea of the aftermath of suicide attacks on churches, see these graphic pictures.)Less than a year-and-a-half earlier, on September 22, 2013, in Peshawar, suicide bombers entered the All Saints Church right after Sunday mass and blew themselves up in the midst of approximately 550 congregants, killing nearly 90 worshippers. Many were Sunday school children, women, and choir members. At least 120 were injured.

In 2001, Islamic gunmen stormed St. Dominic’s Protestant Church, opening fire on the congregants and killing at least 16 worshippers, mostly women and children.

Less dramatic attacks on churches occur with great frequency. Days before last Sunday’s twin attacks,three armed men entered Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Kasur district, Punjab, and took church personnel, the assistant parish priest, and congregation hostage. Before leaving the premises, the terrorists stole mobile telephones, cameras, and a computer.

Earlier, Father Leopold, the ailing parish priest, was robbed by thieves:

[They] pretended to be ordinary members of the faithful wanting to enroll some children at the parish school. Then they suddenly pulled out guns.

Christmas season is an especially dangerous time for Christians meeting in churches. On lastDecember 25:

Heavy contingents of police were deployed in and around the churches … citizens were allowed only after [a] thorough body search … while the entry points leading to the churches had been closed by placing cemented blocks and barbed wire.

During another Christmas, the following attack came in response to fatwas condemning Christmas celebrations:

When Christian worshipers were coming out of different churches after performing Christmas prayers, more than one hundred Muslim extremists equipped with automatic rifles, pistols and sticks attacked the Christian women, children and men.

There have also been general attacks on Christians, especially in the context of accusing them of “blaspheming” against Islam. Last November, a mob — not the “Taliban,” and not “terrorists” — consisting of at least 1,200 Muslims tortured and burned to death a young Christian couple (the wife was pregnant) in an industrial kiln in Pakistan. Someone had accused the Christian couple of desecrating the Koran.

Even when not in church and not accused of blasphemy, Christian minorities are always in danger. Last December, Elisabeth Bibi, a 28-year-old pregnant Christian mother of four, was “beaten, scorned and humiliated, deprived of her dignity [and] forced to walk naked through the town” by two Muslim brothers — the pregnant woman’s employers — following an argument. In the ordeal, she lost her baby. Rights activists say the attack “was motivated because of Bibi’s [Christian] religious beliefs.”

Speaking last Sunday from Rome, Pope Francis said:

It’s with pain, much pain that I was told of the terrorist attacks against two Christian churches in Lahore in Pakistan, which have caused numerous deaths and injuries. These are Christian churches and Christians are persecuted, our Christian brothers are spilling their blood simply because they are Christians. I implore God … that this persecution against Christians — that the world seeks to hide — comes to an end and that there is peace.

Pope Francis is often criticized for his apologetic approach towards Islam. Even here, he does not note who is persecuting these Christians, leading to confusing assertions (“our Christian brothers are spilling their blood” sounds like Christians are killing Christians). But the pope is forthright as to why Christians are being killed: “simply because they are Christians.”

Others, such as the U.S. government, will not even concede that much. When the world heard and saw how 21 Coptic Christians had their heads sawed off by Islamic jihadis in Libya, the White House issued a statement condemning the beheadings — but referred to the beheaded only as “Egyptian citizens.” Not Christians, or even Copts, even though that is the sole reason they were slaughteredaccording to statements issued by their executioners.

Such obfuscation ensures the Muslim persecution of Christians “that the world seeks to hide” will continue indefinitely.

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and a Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum. He is the author ofCrucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007).

Leftist think tank misunderstands reasons for Jihad against Christians

CAP-300x240Religious Freedom Coalition, by Andrew Harrod, Mar 17th, 2015:

Center for American Progress (CAP) Senior Fellow Brian Katulis described at a March 12 CAP panel persecution of Middle East Christians as a topic “near and dear to our hearts” at a CAP that is “strongly supportive of the values of pluralism.”  Yet CAP’s report on this issue presented by the panel revealed that the George Soros-funded CAP still has difficulty jumping over its leftist biases while grappling with Islam’s darker aspects that even CAP can no longer ignore.

“You can’t help but see this issue staring you in the face,” Katulis said of current persecution faced by Middle East Christians before an audience of over 60 filling CAP’s conference hall in Washington, DC.  He described current Middle East Christian tribulations as part of a “longer term trend in the region” of Christian exodus.  The Middle East Institute’s Paul Salem, a Christian from Lebanon, agreed that from the Ottoman Empire’s end until today the “overall trends are worrisome, are negative” for the region’s Christians.  These comments relativized his assessment that the “twentieth century was actually a great leap forward for Christians” after the fall of the Ottoman Empire with its repressive Islamic dhimmi regulations for Christians.  Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy Professor Elizabeth Prodromou described a “century long process…of Christian decline.”

Prodromou explained that regional conditions for Christians “have declined so precipitously” even without actual violence from the Middle East’s Muslim majority.  “Separate and unequal” legal regimes discriminating against Christians in favor of Muslims have afflicted Middle Eastern Christians for over a century.  “Property rights regimes…have been used throughout the twentieth century to disenfranchise Christians.”  Laws required, for example, that religious schools have a minimum number of students, a stipulation increasingly prohibitive for declining Christian populations.

The Plight of Christians in the Middle East, which Katulis had coauthored, reflected panelist comments about pervasive Muslim hostility against Christians throughout Middle Eastern history.  CAP’s report noted the “particularly devastating year” of 1915 and its Ottoman genocides of numerous Christian communities including the Armenians.  CAP referred curiously vaguely to “those events” that “resulted in the death and forced migration of millions of Christians.”

Today “Christians have migrated from the region in increasing numbers,” read the report, as part of a “longer-term exodus related to violence, persecution, and lack of economic opportunities.”  “Islamist groups” such as the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS as well as “institutional discrimination found in the legal codes and official practices of many Middle Eastern countries” plagued together Christians.  Under blasphemy laws, for example, Christians and others “are often threatened with imprisonment for any perceived negative comments against Islam or proselytizing for other religions.”

Yet CAP determined strangely that “understanding these conflicts as primarily rooted in religious or theological disputes is incorrect.”  The report asserted that “most of what is happening to Christians in the Middle East is the result of wider regional trends related to struggles for power and the use of religion as a tool to build influence.”  Katulis in his panel comments spoke of a “misuse of religion.”  This “use of religion for political purposes is common in many countries in the Middle East,” the report stated, as if no actual religious fervor motivated regimes like the Islamic Republic of Iran or groups like ISIS.

References to Islamic ideology nonetheless appeared in CAP’s report, even as it contradictorily denied Muslim motives for Middle Eastern power struggles.  The report mentioned “Shia-Sunni sectarian struggles” and how groups like ISIS “follow an ultra-orthodox” but somehow “skewed interpretation of Islam.”  The report’s solitary reference to Islamic law or sharia noted that “Christians were faced with stark options from ISIS:  pay a jizya tax or religious levy imposed in previous eras of Islamic rule, convert, or die.”

desecrationThe report made the small concession that the “status of Christians living in Israel is generally better than their counterparts in the occupied territories and conflict-ridden places such as Iraq.”  CAP ignored thereby that Israel is the only Middle Eastern country whose Christian population has grown in recent decades and that Israeli Christians outperform the country’s Jewish majority in education.  Nonetheless, in CAP’s relativizing judgment “Christians living in the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, and Israel share the concerns about equal citizenship under the law faced by Christians across the Middle East.”CAP noted that the Israeli-Palestinian “lands where Christianity was born have witnessed a substantial dwindling of the presence of the native Christian community over the past century.”  The report mentioned the “rise of Islamist extremists” under Hamas, but related Palestinian Christian suffering more “to the broader factors that affect all Palestinians” like “restrictions on movement” under “Israeli occupation.”  This analysis does not explain why only the Christian population of the Palestinian territories, and not the Muslim, isdeclining.

CAP contradicts here the Christian human rights organization Open Doors, previously praised by CAP panelist and religious freedom expert Nina Shea of the Hudson Institute.  Its 2015 World Watch List (WWL) names the Palestinian territories and all Middle Eastern countries except for Israel among the 50 most oppressive societies worldwide for Christians.  While Open Doors notes Israeli-Palestinian conflict effects upon Palestinian Christians, “Islamic extremism” is the driving force behind the Palestinian territories number 26 spot on the WWL.

The WWL also qualifies CAP’s positive assessment of Jordan as “one of the few safe havens for Christians fleeing conflict and repression in other parts of the region.”  Like Shea previously, CAP praises that the “Hashemite monarchy in Jordan has sent the message of tolerance and inclusivity” with “numerous conferences…promoting interfaith dialogue.”  “Islamic extremism,” the main source of Christian persecution in 40 of 50 WWL countries, however, brings Jordan into the number 30 spot.

CAP’s one-sided praise for Jordan combined with unwarranted criticism of Israel reflects the report’s inadequacies.  The report and insightful comments from Prodromou showed how Islamic animosity towards Christians appeared throughout various historical periods and political regimes.  CAP, however, largely avoided affiliating hostility against Christians with Islamic doctrine, leaving unexplained this phenomenon’s persistence.  CAP also did not investigate whether Islam presents similar hostilities towards Jews, something that would call into question the report’s invocation of a two-state solution for Palestine.  CAP seemed to shun any politically incorrect taint of “Islamophobia,” the subject of past CAP reports (see here and here).  While it is encouraging that even a leftist think tank like CAP has acknowledged rational concerns about Islam, successfully countering them will demand deeper probing of this faith than CAP has provided.

Why Christian Massacres Get Too Little News Coverage

Citizen Warrior:

ISIS massacring Christian Yazidis

ISIS massacring Christian Yazidis

I don’t read or watch mainstream news very often, but I’m always curious about which stories are being covered. So a few days ago I asked a friend of mine (I know he watches CNN) if he’d seen any stories about ISIS throwing gay people off roofs.

“Yes,” he said. He’d read about it.

“Have you seen any stories about the massacres of Christians?”

He asked, “What massacres?”

The reason I asked is because of something I heard Raymond Ibrahim say. He was explaining why you don’t hear much about the Christian persecution now happening all over the Muslim world. His explanation struck me as insightful. Brilliant really.

He said that the general narrative in mainstream news is that the Palestinians are the besieged underdogs who have been forced out of their homeland, and Israel is the powerful oppressor. And all the bombings and killings committed by the Palestinians are somewhat understandable, so this narrative goes, given that the Palestinians have been so mistreated.

But the reason Palestinians bomb and kill Israelis is that orthodox Muslimshate Jews (because Muhammad hated Jews and believing Muslims follow Muhammad’s example).

When Jews are mistreated by Muslims anywhere, it can always be explained by this mainstream news narrative that its source is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

But the burning of churches and the massacres of Christians by Muslims casts this kind of Islamic violence in a whole different light. The Christians are, in reality, a besieged minority in Muslim countries and the Muslims have no political grievance they can use to justify what they’re doing. They’re killing the Christians because they’re Christians.

So far, the news media seems reluctant to change their narrative, so instead they just don’t say much about these very “newsworthy” stories. If gays were being massacred, it would be headline news. If neo-Nazis were lining up Muslims on a beach and beheading them on film (as Muslims recently did to Christians in Libya) and burning down their mosques, you can bet everything you own it would be front page news.

In other words, the actions themselves are certainly newsworthy. But because it is Muslims massacring Christians, to cover it would not only discredit the Israeli-is-the-evil-one narrative, but it would also cast all that previous violence into a whole new worldview — a horrifying, frightening view of the world (that the problem might be the ideology considered sacred by 1.6 billion people) — and that is something that most news organizations seem as yet unwilling to confront.

ISIS Hammers Christian Towns in Syria for Third Day

REUTERS/UMIT BEKTAS

REUTERS/UMIT BEKTAS

Breitbart, by Katie Gorka, Feb. 25, 2015:

Today marks the third day in ISIS’ latest offensive against a string of Christian towns and villages in northeast Syria. According to Aziz Mirza, with the Syriac Cultural Association, speaking from Qamishli by phone today, ISIS is continuing to push forward in trying to take control of this predominantly Assyrian Christian region.

Mirza said an estimated 350-400 people are missing from 12 different villages, but it has been very difficult to confirm those numbers because all cell phones appear to be confiscated. When relatives have tried calling, members of ISIS answer the phones, Mirza said.

Kurdish and Christian fighters have been working together for the past year and half to protect this area from ISIS. The Christian fighters, who operate as the Syriac Military Council, had forces in 3 villages: Tel Hormizd, at the southern end of the Khabur valley, Tel Shamiram, at the northern end, and Tel Tawil on the northeast flank. The SMC and Kurdish (YPG) forces had been there since Feb 7, but with the pre-dawn attack that was launched on February 23rd, ISIS has now retaken control. So far, the Syriac Military Council has lost four fighters with another 12 deaths suspected but not yet confirmed.

ISIS is currently focusing its efforts on the town of Tel Tamar, which is the regional center. Yesterday, ISIS set off three car bombs just outside the barricades protecting Tel Tamar, near where the Syriac Military Council forces and Kurdish forces are headquartered. There were no casualties. Mirza also said that fighting ebbed somewhat on Tuesday because of heavy rains, but today, February 25, it was back at full force.

In a separate phone call, Sewerios Malke from the Syriac Military Council confirmed that ISIS is still trying to take control of the region and that they are trying to cross the Khabur river. The Kurdish and Syriac forces have been able to hold them back so far but it is uncertain how much longer that can last. He estimates the number of ISIS fighters at several thousand.

According to a Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve News Release, U.S. and coalition military forces have carried out airstrikes in the Khabur River region where this fighting is going on. Between 8 a.m. yesterday (Feb 24) and 8 a.m. today (Feb 25), local time, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft conducted nine airstrikes in Syria:

  • Near Hasakah, three airstrikes struck an ISIL vehicle.
  • Near Kobani, six airstrikes struck three ISIL tactical units, an ISIL fighting position and destroyed six ISIL fighting positions.
AINA Media

AINA Media

However, both Malke and Mirza asserted that there were no airstrikes in the Khabur region, only further south, 22 kilometers below Qamishli. The stark contrast between the stories of hundreds or even thousands of ISIS fighters attacking villages, taking as many as 400 hostages, and three U.S. airstrikes in the same region that struck only one vehicle, suggests the U.S. may be missing the target.

Some have argued that without troops, or at least advisors, on the ground, there is insufficient intelligence to guide airstrikes. In addition, representatives of the Syriac forces have been making the case in Washington for the past several years that their location in Syria made them particularly vulnerable to attack by ISIS and they could be key players in the fight against ISIS. They were therefore lobbying to be included in the equipping and training of opposition forces in Syria. The State Department has confirmed that the Syriac forces were not included in the first round of training.

Katie Gorka is the president of the Council on Global Security. @katharinegorka.

Also see:

Bearing the cross: a letter to the Islamic State

By Mark Durie, Feb. 21, 2015:

This is the first of a two-part post on the 21 Egyptian martyrs killed in Libya.  This first part is a reflection, as a Christian, on aspects of this event and reactions to it.  The second part, ‘A message signed with blood to the Nation of the Cross’ consists of explanatory notes on the texts – spoken and written – which were part of the Islamic State’s film of their ritual beheadings.  This post has also appeared onLapido media.

The Islamic State sent me a letter this week. This letter was in the form of a short film produced by the Islamic State’s Al-Hayat Media centre.  This was not addressed to me personally, but to all Christians everywhere.  Its title was A Message Signed with BLOOD to the Nation of the Cross.  This was a video of the ritual slaughter of the 21 Egyptian Christians.  Their blood flowing in the ocean waves was the ‘signature’ at the end of the video.

As I write this it is Ash Wednesday.  This is the start of forty days of Lent, a period of fasting and contemplation for Christians all over the world.  For many centuries it has been a custom of Christians to receive a mark of the cross in ash upon the forehead as a sign of repentance.

As I received this mark of the cross today I was thinking of the 21 Egyptian Christian martyrs.  Copts permanently bear the sign of the cross, tattooed on their wrists, as a sign that they will refuse to renounce their beliefs.

A Coptic Girl with a Wrist Cross Tatoo

A Coptic Girl with a Wrist Cross Tatoo

I intend to read out these men’s names at our morning church services this Sunday, here in Melbourne, Australia.  And I also choose to honour them today by writing to acknowledge the truth about why they were killed, and in particular the explanation given by their killers.

I also wish to record, as a Christian and a pastor, my intense protest at theWhite House official statement of February 15 2015 concerning this event.  This makes no mention of the reason the twenty one were killed: their Christian faith.  This culpable denial dishonours them, as it dishonours me and Christians everywhere.

The White House statement claimed that “ISIL’s barbarity knows no bounds. It is unconstrained by faith, sect or ethnicity.”  Not true.  The Islamic State’s actions are constrained by its theology, and in this case its targets are also determined on religious grounds; they were Christians.  It is not an endorsement of the killers’ Islamic beliefs to acknowledge that these jihadis follow a form of Islam, and that their sect and faith does constrain their behaviour accordingly.

President Obama has defended his administration’s misrepresentations on the grounds that the radicals are “desperate for legitimacy” so “They try to portray themselves as religious leaders, holy warriors in defense of Islam.” But these are not desperate people.  They are shockingly confident in their beliefs. They do not “try to portray themselves” as Islamic: they sincerely believe they are. Christopher Hitchens got it right over a decade ago when he suggested of Al Qa’ida recruits that “they believe their own propaganda,” and “absolutely subscribe to the tenets of their version … of their religion, Islam.”

Obama also stated that “we must never accept the premise that they put forward, because it is a lie.”  This too is nonsense.  A lie is a deliberate intention to deceive, and these self-described jihadis are – at least by their own understanding – speaking the absolute truth when they claim to speak for Islam.

Some years ago I had the privilege of reading the Gospel at a Coptic service held in St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, here in Melbourne.  The service was held to commemorate the 22 martyrs of the attack on Al-Qiddisin Church in Alexandria on New Year’s Eve. It was led by Bishop Suriel, Melbourne’s Coptic bishop.

The Al-Qiddisin martyr’s service impressed me deeply. I long pondered the fact that the Coptic church of Egypt has been grieving over the freshly dug graves of its martyred sons and daughters since the dawn of Christianity.  As I sat through the service and sung the hymns about martyrdom, I thought, “So this is what it means to be a Copt”.

The Islamic State video, a polished production, depicts 21 Christian men, hands bound behind them, being led one-by-one along a beach in Libya to a point where they are forced to bow down with their heads in the sand, and there they are beheaded, crying out Ya Rabbi Yasou ‘Lord Jesus!’, some reciting the Lord’s Prayer. Severed heads were then placed on top of each corpse, their Muslim slayer standing over them.  The final film shots show the Mediterranean washing red with their blood.

One of the Coptic victims with his killer

One of the Coptic victims with his killer

The whole event was meticulously choreographed and rehearsed.  The video’s obvious purpose is to humiliate and terrorise Christians, whom it derisively calls, “The Nation of the Cross”.  I admire the courage of the martyrs, who did not disown the name of Christ and the cross to follow Islam, even as they were being mocked and killed by their tormentors.

It is indisputable (see Part 2) that the whole script of this video is intensely religious. It is packed with references to the Qur’an and the Hadiths of Muhammad.  As Graeme Wood comments in an important recent Atlantic Monthly article, the Islamic State adherents are constantly referencing Islam’s sacred texts. In their everyday speech, “Koranic quotations are ubiquitous”.  This film is no exception.  For anyone who knows anything about Islam it is impossible to view this film without being aware of the heavy constraining influence of the Qur’an and the Hadiths on the script.  These references are essential for understanding the true context, meaning and intent of the film.

The Egyptian government reacted angrily to the executions, bombing Islamic State positions inside Libya.  Egypt was incensed about this massacre – and rightly so – but it has a very long and enduring track record of not prosecuting Muslims who have massacred Christians within its own borders.  General Al-Sisi is a leader who has been complicit in this peculiar form of Muslim cowardice.  This moral inconsistency is causing great division and confusion among Copts at the present time.

My comment after the Al-Qiddisi massacre in January 2011 remains as valid now as it was then:

“I deplore the lack of freedom of religion in Egypt,  the authorities’ apparent unwillingness to protect the indigenous Christian minority and its places of worship, and the lamentable track record of the Egyptian justice system in securing criminal convictions against those who have targeted Christians for attack.  I call upon Egypt’s leaders to respond to these abuses honestly and with integrity, without making excuses or indulging in denial.”

There is a double standard in the house of Islam.  Examples are legion.  The Jordanian royal house has been prominent in speaking up against attacks against Christians in Iraq and Syria, yet at the time when the Common Word letter was being released to the Christian world in 2008 under Jordanian royal sponsorship, its own Royal Aal Al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought had posted on its website fatwas by its Chief Scholar – the former Mufti of Jordan – which declared death for Christians for the crime of leaving Islam, and even identified one person by name (see here).

King Abdullah has on the one hand been a champion of the rights of displaced Christians in the Middle East, and God knows they surely need one.  On the other hand he has held up the notorious Pact of Umar as evidence of Jordan’s history of religious tolerance:

“Jerusalem, which is, regrettably, subject to the worst forms of Judaisation today, stands witness to fourteen centuries of  deep, solid and fraternal relations between Muslims and Christians, enhanced by the Pact of Omar [ibn al-Khattab], and promoted by my grandfather, Sharif Hussein bin Ali, may God bless his soul.”

In contrast to this historical revisionism, the renowned Muslim jurist Ibn Kathir, accurately described the intent and effect of the conditions of the Pact of Umar as guaranteeing the continued degradation of Christians under Islamic rule:

“This is why the Leader of the faithful ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, demanded his well-known conditions be met by the Christians, these conditions that ensured their continued humiliation, degradation and disgrace.”

Readers who read classical Arabic may consult the Royal Jordan Aal al-Bayt Institute’s own database of commentaries here, to view Ibn Kathir’s original text.

The problem is that as long as Muslims allow derogatory words like mushrik‘associator, polytheist’ and kafir ‘infidel’ to be applied to Christians, while also preaching Qur’anic verses which denigrate non-Muslims, the hostility and hatred can only continue.

As long as the highest legal authorities of the Islamic mainstream continue to assert the right of Muslims to kill those who leave Islam, bursts of extreme religious hatred such as we have just seen in Libya can only continue.

As long as Muslims claim that the well-documented brutal slaughters of Islamic conquest and the ensuing oppression of nations under the Islamic system of dhimmitude were a mercy to the world, the ‘opening’ up (al-futuh) of dark nations to light and truth, hatred towards non-Muslims will continue to arise in the house of Islam.

The fundamental problem is not peculiar variants of extreme religious worldviews, it is a deeply engrained religious worldview that is not acknowledged by many who hold it.  Those who, like King Abdullah, allow it room to breathe by claiming that it is something other than what it really is are as much a part of the problem as the violent jihadis who are proud to own the worldview.

In the house of Islam, hatred has deep roots stretching back through time.  In 1836 Edward Lane reported in The Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians that it was standard practice in many Cairo schools to require Muslim school boys to invoke daily curses on the heads of Christians, Jews and other non-Muslims.  In essence these curses called for the looting, killing and enslavement of non-Muslims.   It is only against the backdrop of inter-generational hatred that a television series on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion could have become mainstream viewing in Egyptian society, and continuing kidnapping, rape and killings of Copts are perpetrated without justice for the victims.

There is an ill-wind of hatred blowing in the house of Islam and it has been blowing for a very long time indeed.  When this wind is whipped up into a tornado, the world is appalled, but it is the constant steady breeze of hatred that is the root of the problem.

As this letter was addressed to the Christians of the world, here I give my personal reply to the Islamic State, written as a Christian:

I am not intimidated by your hatred.  Our Lord Jesus Christ taught us not to fear those who may kill the body.  The people of honour on that beach in Tripoli were those 21 courageous Copts, who dared to confess the name of Christ, even with a knife to their necks. They knew well what choice they were making. You thought to humiliate them, but the Word of God tells me they are the vindicated ones, the men of glory.  I believe they knew that full well.

For you I have no hate, only pity.  You wield the sword to kill ideas and worship you do not understand, but you do this in vain. The truth cannot be killed by your knives.

General Sisi of Egypt was right: because of you, people all over the world are doubting Islam.

Here is how a young Egyptian girl reacted to what you did:  

‘I am encouraged because now I know that what we have been taught in history books about Egyptian Christians being martyred for their faith is not just history, but that there are Christians today who are brave enough to face death rather than deny their Lord! When I saw these young men praying as they were being prepared for execution and then many of them shouting ‘O Lord Jesus’ as their throats were being slit, I realized that the Gospel message can still help us to hold on to the promises of God even when facing death!’

This is the true truth, and it is precisely because of this truth that a new wind is blowing in the house of Islam: a fresh breeze of questioning, a wind of gentleness and openness. This is the life-giving breath of hope that there must be a different way to walk with God.  You are men of the past: the future belongs to those you killed on the beach.

To read the second part of this post, go to this link.

Mark Durie2Dr Mark Durie is a theologian, human rights activist, Anglican pastor, a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and Adjunct Research Fellow of the Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths at Melbourne School of Theology. He has published many articles and books on the language and culture of the Acehnese, Christian-Muslim relations and religious freedom. A graduate of the Australian National University and the Australian College of Theology, he has held visiting appointments at the University of Leiden, MIT, UCLA and Stanford, and was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 1992.

Christmas Slaughter Muslim Persecution of Christians, December 2014

Gatestone Institute, by Raymond Ibrahim, February 1, 2015:

“They chopped children in half. They chopped all heads off. How do you respond to that? That is what we have been going through. That is what we are going through.” — The Reverend Canon Andrew White, “Vicar of Baghdad”.

“At dawn on Christmas Day, the barbaric regime of Iran hanged 7 people in mass execution in Shiraz.” — NCR-Iran.

There are always more and more frequent cases where the blasphemy law is used to target religious minorities or to settle cases of disputes or private rivalries, or simply as an instrument of blackmail.” — Shardar Mushtaq Gill, Pakistani Christian lawyer.

Sudan’s security agents and police have “broad powers to arrest Christians and other lowly-regarded people without cause, for creating public disturbance. The Christians were released after paying a fine of $250 each.” — Morning Star News.

Islamic law holds that new churches are never to be built in Muslim lands and existing ones never repaired. Even so, many of these partially wrecked churches continue to be used, and are even packed, during church services.

Once again, the month of Christmas witnessed some of the most barbaric attacks on Christians throughout the Islamic world.

After Andrew White, an Anglican priest known as the “Vicar of Baghdad,” told of how the Islamic State [S] “chopped [Christian] children in half; they chopped their heads off,” he offered the following anecdote:

IS turned up and they said to the [Christian] children, “You say the words [theshehada, to convert to Islam], that you will follow Muhammad.” And the children, all under 15, four of them, they said, “No, we love Jesus [Yesua]. We have always loved Jesus. We have always followed Jesus. Jesus has always been with us.” They [IS] said, “Say the words!” They [children] said, “No, we can’t.” [White starts sobbing] They chopped all their heads off. How do you respond to that? You just cry. They’re my children. That is what we have been going through. That is what we are going through.

Christmas celebrations were, as usual, tense and sometimes bloody:

Somalia: Islamic terrorists boasted of successfully slaughtering Christians while “they were celebrating Christmas.” Eight Islamic gunmen infiltrated the main African Union base in Mogadishu and killed three peacekeepers and a civilian contractor. Later, the Islamic group Al Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack; it announced it had killed 14 peacekeepers whom it described as “Christian enemies”: “We targeted the enemies at a time they were celebrating Christmas,” said Sheikh Abdiasis Abu Musab, spokesman for Al Shabaab. Western diplomats who were celebrating Christmas in Mogadishu were evacuated to safety bunkers until the raid was over. Witnesses reported hearing bomb blasts and volleys of gunfire throughout the day.

Iraq: In mid-December, as people in the West were doing their last minute Christmas shopping, churches under IS authority were turned into torture chambers for Christians. According to a witness, “churches are being used as prisons and for torture. Three of the Christian prisoners died because they were sick and nobody cared for them.” The witness, known as Abu Aasi, said that Christian prisoners in the churches are being forced to convert and that IS members have been “breaking all the crosses and statues of Mary.” Other reports told of how Christian prisoners — blindfolded and handcuffed — were held at the ancient Chaldean Church of the Immaculate Conception in eastern Mosul, and that St George’s monastery was now a female prison.

Pakistan: Christian minorities celebrated Christmas “with religious fervor by offering prayers in different churches under tight security,” said one report : “heavy contingents of police were deployed in and around the churches at cantonment and city areas where movement of other people was restricted and the citizens were allowed only after thorough body search.”

In Peshawar alone, approximately “2,000 policemen were deployed in addition to personnel in plain clothes … while the entry points leading to the churches had been closed by placing cemented blocks and barbed wire.” Peshawar, of course, is where Islamic suicide bombers attacked the All Saints Church in September 2013, leaving nearly 90 worshippers dead — including many Sunday school children, women, and choir members — and approximately 120 injured.

Also in Pakistan, Elisabeth Bibi, a 28-year-old pregnant Christian mother of four, was “beaten, scorned and humiliated, deprived of her dignity [and] forced to walk naked through the town” by two Muslim brothers, the pregnant woman’s employers, following an argument. In the ordeal, she lost her baby. Another report states that she was beaten with “pipes” and then robbed by the two Muslim men. Rights activists say the attack “was motivated because of Bibi’s [Christian] religious beliefs.” Bibi herself said that the Muslim family often tried to persuade her to convert to Islam. Police, as often happens when Muslims attack Christians, failed to arrest the two brothers, and Christian activists received threats to drop the charges.

Egypt: With the approach of the Christmas season, Islamic clerics and websites warned Muslims to refrain from any form of participation in Christian celebrations and condemned Muslims who offer their best wishes to their Christian neighbors during Christmas. There were also death threats and incitement to violence against churches, with particular reference to Christian communities in the governorates of Minya, Alexandria and Fayyum, where the Salafis and Muslim Brotherhood have a strong presence.

On December 24, or Christmas Eve, security forces “arrested seven members of a terrorist cell led by a 50-year-old deputy headmaster of a secondary school in the Minya governorate, who is accused of plotting violent acts during the Coptic Christmas celebrations,” reports Zawya. Those arrested “were caught in possession of Molotov cocktails, pictures of the ousted Egyptian president [Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood], and circuitry connected to mobile phones to detonate bombs from a distance, as part of a plan to disrupt the Christmas celebrations.”

Elsewhere in Egypt, Christians “had to pray outdoors in spite of the cold air and the coming of Christmas, as the police were unable to protect them from Islamists’ attacks,” in the words of the president of the Egyptian Union for Human Rights, and because many of their churches, despite military promises, remain partially destroyed after 2013 Brotherhood uprisings (see church section below for more).

Iran: On Christmas day in Tehran province, nine Christians were arrested after a paramilitary force and armed plainclothes agents raided a house church where they were celebrating Christmas. The Christians were transferred to an unknown location. NCR-Iran adds, “The clerical regime in Iran continued human rights abuses in Iran during Christmas. At dawn of the 25th December, on Christmas day when hundred[s] of millions of people around the world were celebrating the birth of the Christ, the barbaric regime of Iran hanged 7 people in mass execution in Shiraz.”

Nigeria: The Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri, capital city of Borno State in Muslim-majority northern Nigeria, experienced another tense Christmas. The city has been besieged by the Islamic organization Boko Haram, and streets were left vehicle-free on December 25 to avoid suicide attacks. Most of the 5,000 displaced persons welcomed in Maiduguri are in fact refugees from other regions that have fallen to Boko Haram.

These people, said Fr. Gideon Obasogie “have no homes, cannot celebrate Christmas as usual with their relatives and friends and are forced to live in a state of hopelessness. Despite fears of terrorist attacks — including widespread rumors of suicide bombers disguised as nuns— “the Catholic faithful went to Christmas Mass … to express their faith in an eloquent manner,” reported the priest.

A Nigerian army emplacement in Maiduguri. (Image source: TV360 video screenshot)

Due to the continually worsening plight of Christians in the Middle East, even Britain’s Prince Charles, who is often criticized of being overly sympathetic to and apologetic of Islam, said:

It seems to me that we cannot ignore the fact that Christians in the Middle East are increasingly being deliberately targeted by fundamentalist Islamist militants…. Christianity was literally born in the Middle East and we must not forget our Middle Eastern brothers and sisters in Christ… Yet today the Middle East and North Africa has the lowest concentration of Christians in the world — just four per cent of the population and it is clear that the Christian population has dropped dramatically over the last century and is falling still further…. We all lose something immensely and irreplaceably precious when such a rich tradition dating back 2,000 years begins to disappear.

The rest of December’s roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed by theme and country in alphabetical order, not necessarily according to severity.

Read it all

Four years on from Egypt’s uprising, are Copts better off?

Voice of the Copts, by Asma Ajroudi-Al Arabiya News, Jan.25, 2015
coptic-christians

coptic-christians

It has been four years since hundreds of thousands of Egyptian protesters gathered in the capital’s Tahrir Square in a popular uprising that ousted then-president Hosni Mubarak.

Like the majority of Egyptians living under Mubarak’s 30-decade rule, Egypt’s Coptic Christians, who account for estimated 10 percent of the country’s 85 million population, demanded change.
But as Egypt marks its fourth anniversary of the Jan.25 revolution, many within Egypt’s Christian minority say the country is now better off. In fact the situation for Egypt’s Christians is “better than what it was under the Muslim Brotherhood rule, Hosni Mubarak, and even their predecessors,” according to Charl Fouad El-Masri, editor-in-chief of Egyptian daily al-Masry al-Youm.
While the Mubarak state promoted itself as one of coexistence, the regime cracked down on building new churches and Christian worship sites. Christians were seldom assigned to leading positions in the government and especially in the military, in what many critics described as an official discrimination by the state. And like Muslim Egyptians, a significant number of Christians lived under poverty line and worried about unemployment and lack of freedoms.
But with the rise of religious extremism in the Arab world in the 1970s and with the emergence of terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda calling Arab Christians “legitimate targets,” the Christian minority found itself a target of violent sectarian attacks and a victim of an indifferent state. The 2011 revolution coincided with the deadliest year of sectarian violence in decades, including the bombing of an Alexandria church and the killing of two dozen Coptic protesters by Egyptian security forces.
Following the fall of the Mubarak regime and the beginnings of Islamist President Mohammad Mursi’s rule, however, security became a pressing priority in Christians’ demands. Attacks on Copts, who make 95 percent of Egypt’s Christian population, and their institutions have been widely reported on by the national and international media.
The emergence of ultra-conservative groups in post-revolution Egypt brought about a new wave of sectarian clashes that the government, according to critics, did not pay attention to. In 2013, a video emerged online showing Egyptian police standing idly by as a mob attacked a cathedral during a mass funeral.
“Egypt’s Copts suffered during the Muslim Brotherhood rule greatly,” El-Masri added.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party won the majority of seats in the 2011 parliamentary election; and its member Mursi became Egypt’s fifth president in June 2012.
Mursi’s decree, which granted him unlimited powers, reports about violent crackdowns on journalists, liberals and demonstrators were among many issues that brought thousands of Egyptians back out on the streets calling for the president’s resignation. On June 30, 2013, and in response to the new wave of clashes that paralyzed Egypt, the Egyptian army, led by General Abdelfattah al-Sisi, ousted Mursi.
Since then, the Muslim Brotherhood was pronounced a “terrorist organization,” and its members became targets of a violent state crackdown, resulting in hundreds of deaths among Mursi supporters. Sisi became Egypt’s president on June 8, 2014.
“The outcome of the January 25 uprising was a disaster for Egyptian Christians who participated in the uprising as citizens of Egypt demanding democracy and liberty,” said Dr. Ashraf Ramelah, the founder and president of Voice of the Copts.
“When the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group achieved power, it became a nightmare not only for Christians but for anyone opposed to them,” Ramelah added.
Under Mursi, Egypt’s Christians were “unwanted, targeted, and about to face the same terror Iraqi and Syrian Christians face under Islamist terrorism there.”
“I feel Egypt would have gone in that exact direction if the Egyptian army had overlooked the people’s demands to overthrow Mursi,” Ramelah added.
Recently, Sisi has promised to rebuild damaged churches in the country.
Also see:

Christian Persecution Worldwide Has Become A Metastasizing Cancer

Religious Freedom Coalition, By Andrew E. Harrod, PhD, Jan. 24, 2015

The “cancer of Christian persecution is metastasizing” in an “epidemic” that is “spreading at an unprecedented rate in modern times,” stated Open Doors USA president David Curry at a January 7 briefing in Washington, DC’s National Press Club.  Curry’s presentation before an audience of about 30 of Open Doors’ 2015 World Watch List (WWL) depressingly reviewed ongoing Christian martyrdom, often at the hands of Marxists and Muslims.

The WWL, an Open Doors press release noted, is a unique annual survey of the persecuted church worldwide, praised by Curry as the most dependable study of its kind.  Open Doors research is “meticulous,” concurred at the briefing religious freedom scholarNina Shea from the Hudson Institute.  The WWL “ranks the top 50 countries where it is most dangerous and difficult to be a Christian,” the press release explained.  An accompanying map displayed at the briefing and available online with the report showed these countries coded by color according to persecution severity.

“Approximately 100 million Christians are persecuted worldwide, making them one of the most persecuted religious groups in the world,” the press release observed.  “This year, the threshold was higher for a country to make the list, indicating that worldwide levels of persecution have increased.”  Curry noted that the number of Christians dying for their faith has more than doubled since last year’s WWL.  “While the year 2014 will go down in history for having the highest level of global persecution of Christians in the modern era,” the press release elaborated, “current conditions suggest the worst is yet to come.”

Church destroyed in Aleppo, Syria by Sunni rebels associated with the Free Syrian Army

Church destroyed in Aleppo, Syria by Sunni rebels associated with the Free Syrian Army

North Korea, with an estimated 70,000 Christians imprisoned according to the press release, headed the list for the 13th consecutive year and appeared blood red (“Extreme Persecution”) on the map.  No other regime is so “militantly atheistic” as North Korea’s “Stalinist brand,” Shea observed, where the regime suppresses any competition to what Curry described as a “cult worship.”  North Korea exemplifies in Shea’s words how “remnant Communist” countries like China (list place 29, colored green for “Moderate Persecution”) are one significant source of Christian persecution.  Another threat came from “nationalist regimes,” Shea noted, such as the “Hindu fundamentalism” cited by the press release in India.

Shea’s third “Islamist” category,” however, was the largest threat in the WWL.  “Islamic extremism is the main source of persecution in 40 of the 50 countries,” the press release noted, including India, where both Islam and Hinduism endangered Christianity from various quarters.  “This relatively small but virulent strain of ideology,” Curry assessed, “has made the Middle East the most perilous region of the world for Christians.”  “More than 70 percent of Christians have fled Iraq since 2003,” the press release calculated, “and more than 700,000 Christians have left Syria since the civil war began in 2011.”  Bright red accordingly marked majority-Muslim countries in the Middle East and beyond on the WWL map, including Afghanistan and Iraq, two lands where the United States attempted with much blood and treasure to create stable, free societies.

For Shea, “intensifying persecution” of Christians in Muslim countries makes the word “so inadequate” that Shea prefers “religious cleansing” to describe a campaign of “total Islamization” eliminating non-Muslims.  Under the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a “completion of religious cleansing” of Christians as well as Yazidis has occurred in western Iraq, Shea stated.  Absent effective remedies, a “2,000 year-old church will be completely gone,” part of an “attack on the entire Christian presence in the region.”

Iraqi Christians have fled to Iraq’s northern Kurdistan region, where Kurds have “put out a welcome mat” and demonstrated that not all Muslims are hostile.  Unlike half a million Muslims who have fled ISIS there as well, though, the Christians lack regional allies and often avoid United Nations camps where international aid deliveries and refugee registration occur.  Accordingly, Iraqi Christians are suffering a “humanitarian crisis so dire” that it is an “existential threat,” Shea warned.

Referencing Sudan and Iran’s Islamic republics, Shea worried about “extremist influences being mainstreamed” in society and government beyond jihadist groups like ISIS.  The Iraqi government in the past, for example, marginalized Christians, who were therefore “dealt out of the deck” in the distribution of American aid.  Governments in Muslim countries likewise often turn a “blind eye and deaf ear” to persecution of Christians by private actors.

In particular, Saudi Arabia, a “towering figure within Islam” with oil resources, regional Gulf predominance, and control over Islam’s holy sites, has been “very counterproductive” by “spreading an ideology of hatred.”  Thus Saudi textbooks demonize non-Muslims and advocate “violent jihad” in Islam’s name.  As a result, “Saudi Arabia did create its own monster” in ISIS, a group Saudi Arabia has now attacked with air strikes, Shea observed.

Shea identified five “red flags” that characterize the “crime against humanity” of “religious cleansing,” elements taken together that are “greater than the sum of their parts.”  “Forcible conversion,” for example, presented Christians with Islamic law’s traditional trinity of choosing between death, conversion to Islam, or acceptance of “medieval dictates” in a “second-class citizenship.”  Nigeria’s Boko Haram “ruthlessly…applied” these alternatives during door to door searches of villages.  Laws also punished blasphemy and apostasy in Muslim countries such as Pakistan, whose “strictest black letter law” in this matter gave a “license to kill” to Muslim vigilantes.  Targeted assassination of Christian leaders, abductions, and targeted attacks on churches completed Shea’s list.

Like Curry, though, Shea assured that “prominent Muslim voices” and the “majority of Muslims” oppose religious persecution.  Shea asserted that Middle Eastern Christians “have long coexisted with the Muslim majority” in the region.  By contrast, Shea described as “extremists” the perpetrators of the Paris Charlie Hebdo jihad attacks on the very day of her remarks.

Yet the widespread, often state-based Muslim persecution of Christians noted by Shea and the WWL seemed to belie Shea’s confidence and suggest problems larger than a radical minority.  Various Middle Eastern Christians, meanwhile, have consistently contradicted Shea in discussions with this reporter (see here, here, and here).  In their experience, faith-based Islamic repression of Christians has marked the region since its eighth century Arab-Muslim conquest.

Queried about Muslim religious tolerance advocates, Shea cited interfaith activist Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad bin Talal from Jordan and Iraq’s Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.  The latter, Shea noted, has “not encouraged any kind of eradication of Christianity” in his country and has “condemned the attacks on the churches.”  Shea, however, professed ignorance when this reporter mentioned past criticism of Sistani as a “false moderate.”  Sistani, for example, has supported sharia in Iraq, has advocated executing homosexuals, and has expressed anti-Semitic, anti-Christian sentiments against these non-Muslims and their “impurity.”

Similarly asked about moderate Muslims, Curry responded that “I don’t have any names off the top of my head.”  “We have not yet seen a major movement of moderate Muslims to condemn the teachings and ideologies” of groups like ISIS, Curry stated, his professions of a “relatively small” Islamic extremism notwithstanding.  Moderate Muslims “themselves will become a target” of jihadists by advocating for Christians and other persecution victims.

Shea bemoaned Christian persecution as an “ignored human rights crisis” in America among policymakers while “even our religious leaders are far too quiet” on the matter.  “The world still does not get it,” Curry concurred, and called the WWL a “wakeup call” for Christians to notice a “genocide going on.”  No country on the WWL has improved in recent years, Curry stated in an interview, “it’s only gotten worse.”

Shea criticized that secularized American leaders struggle to comprehend a “strong religious belief” in an “extremist version of Islam.”  Voice of America reporter Jerome Socolovsky, previously criticized for obligingly benign views on Islam, similarly seemed to exhibit at the event such incomprehension.  Socolovsky asked Shea whether American domestic respect for Islam, shown by opposition to mosque vandalism or interfaith events like the National Cathedral’s Muslim prayer service, could influence Muslims worldwide.  Shea countered that “there is no comparison” between Muslims protected by American law and often brutal Christian persecution abroad.  “Gestures” like those at the National Cathedral would also not “make a difference whatsoever” among ISIS jihadists and others.

The Nigerian Damaris Atsen gave personal witness at the briefing to the trials and tribulations of modern persecuted Christian faith.  Boko Haram terrorists in March 2010 seized her husband riding home from work and stomped him to death by the road, leaving Atsen widowed with four children, “gifts from the Lord.”  Romans 8:35 (“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”) “always encourages me” that the “spirit of the Lord is there” during her times of mourning, she said.  “I have to forgive,” she added while discussing her husband’s murderers.  “If I do not forgive, the Lord will not forgive me.”  “Pray for Nigeria,” she concluded.

Christians Burned Alive Muslim Persecution of Christians, November 2014

Gatestone Institute, by Raymond Ibrahim, January 10, 2015:

“They picked them up by their arms and legs and held them over the brick furnace until their clothes caught fire. And then they threw them [alive] inside the furnace.” — Javeed Maseeh, family spokesman, concerning a Christian couple in Pakistan murdered on rumors they had burned verses from the Qur’an.

“I would appeal to your honor to put pressure on the government of Pakistan to end misuse of blasphemy laws against Christians, Ahmadiyyia and other religious minorities and condition US Aid on human rights and repeal of blasphemy laws.” — From a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama by Dr. Nazir S. Bhutti, President of the Pakistan Christian Congress, expressing surprise that the U.S. did not even bother to condemn the burning of Christians alive.

East Jerusalem: Despite constant and ever bolder attacks on a church, police refuse to respond to pleas for help from the Christian congregation.

Denmark: Muslim refugees are persecuting Christian refugees. “Christian asylum seekers are repeatedly exposed to everything from harassment to threats and physical abuse….” — Niels Eriksen Nyman, 10news.dk

“Young Christian men are made scapegoats to show police performance, while the real culprits are carrying out their illegal activities right under the police’s nose.” — Brother-in-law of “Mithu,” 35, Christian father of five, who was arrested in Pakistan on false charges and tortured to death in prison.

The youngest [slave] being the most expensive. 20-30 years old: 100,000 dinars [$86]; 10-20 years old: 150,000 dinars [$129]; 9 years old: 200,000 dinars [$172]. — The Islamic State.

The Islamic State called on its followers to take the jihad to Egypt.

Qaiser Ayub, a 40 year old professor of computer science in Pakistan, of Christian background, was arrested and charged with insulting Islam’s prophet Muhammad.

Both in the Islamic world and the Western world, Muslims continued to attack and slaughter Christians.

In Pakistan, “A mob accused of burning alive a Christian couple in an industrial kiln in Pakistan allegedly wrapped a pregnant mother in cotton so she would catch fire more easily, according to family members who witnessed the attack,” reported NBC News:

Sajjad Maseeh, 27, and his wife Shama Bibi, 24, were set upon by at least 1,200 people after rumors circulated that they had burned verses from the Quran, family spokesman Javed Maseeh told NBC News via telephone late Thursday. Their legs were also broken so they couldn’t run away.

“They picked them up by their arms and legs and held them over the brick furnace until their clothes caught fire,” he said. “And then they threw them inside the furnace.”

Bibi, a mother of four who was four months pregnant, was wearing an outfit that initially didn’t burn, according to Javed Maseeh. The mob removed her from over the kiln and wrapped her up in cotton to make sure the garments would be set alight.

Shama Bibi (left) and Sajjad Maseeh, a Christian couple and parents of four children, were burned to death by a Muslim lynch mob in Pakistan because of a false blasphemy accusation.

Discussing this latest atrocity against Pakistan’s Christian minorities, an AFP report states:

Blasphemy is a hugely sensitive issue in the majority Muslim country, with even unproven allegations often prompting mob violence.

Anyone convicted, or even just accused, of insulting Islam, risks a violent and bloody death at the hands of vigilantes.

A Christian woman [Asia Bibi] has been on death row since November 2010 after she was found guilty of making derogatory remarks about the Prophet Mohammed during an argument with a Muslim woman.

An elderly British man with severe mental illness, sentenced to death for blasphemy in Pakistan in January, was shot by a prison guard last month.

Two days after the Christian couple were burned alive, a policeman in Pakistan hacked a man to death for allegedly making blasphemous remarks against Islam.

About the Christian couple, Dr. Nazir S. Bhatti, President of the Pakistan Christian Congress,wrote a letter to U.S. President Obama expressing surprise that the U.S. did not even bother to condemn this crime:

It is surprising that neither US Administration under your honor nor US State Department even bothered to condemn this horrific crime of burning live of Christian couple by a mob living in country named Islamic Republic of Pakistan which is receiving billions of aid of US taxpayers.

I would appeal your honor to put pressure on government of Pakistan to end misuse of blasphemy laws against Christian, Ahamadiyyia and other religious minorities and condition US Aid to Pakistan on human rights and repeal of blasphemy laws.

Meanwhile, in America itself, in Oklahoma, Jimmy Stepney, a Muslim, stabbed Jerome Bullock, a Christian, after Stepney had said that Muslims need to “step up” beheadings. According to Koco5 News:

The [police] report went on to say Stepney had been making comments about beheading people.

“We were watching the news,” said Bullock. “He said he felt like more Muslims need to step up to the plate and do certain thing. He was talking about beheading people.”

The severity of the plight of Christians in the Middle East was further underscored by Dr. Alexander Yakovenko, Russian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, who wrote:

Russia is currently considering the possibility of initiating a draft decision of the UN Human Rights Council on the protection of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa. Russian experts are now working on this document.[…]

The scale of the problems demands the coordination of international efforts to protect Christians in the Middle East.

Further initiatives, new measures and relevant discussions aimed at finding durable solutions in this regard are strongly needed. Of course, we believe that Europe, including the UK, should make its contribution to these efforts, taking into account the Christian roots of the European civilization, which are now often forgotten for the sake of political correctness.[…]

The fate of the region’s religious minorities is of the greatest concern. The mass exodus of Christians, who have been an integral part of the Middle Eastern mosaic for centuries, is particularly troubling.

The rest of November’s roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed by theme and country in alphabetical order, not necessarily according to severity:

Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches

Bangladesh: Two Christian pastors from the Faith Bible Church of God were arrested for preaching the Gospel to Muslims . They could face two years in prison if convicted for “hurting religious sentiments” and luring Muslims to convert by offering them money. The pastors deny both charges. Police arrested the pastors and 41 other people, including Muslims, after a throng of Muslims disrupted a house meeting. According to a witness: “More than 100 Muslims headed by local Jamaat-e-Islami party members and Muslim clerics gathered at the house and started barking questions at the pastors—why did they propagate Christianity in the locality and convert some of them,” and who gave them permission to preach to Muslims. “The pastors replied that it did not take any permission from any authority to propagate any religion and convert people to any religion. Suddenly the Muslims became apoplectic with rage, tried to pick a fight and started jabbing the pastors’ faces.”

Egypt: Father Timothy Shakar, priest of St. Mina Church in Port Said, confirmed that two homemade bombs were planted near the St. Mina Church but caused no injuries, or losses of life or property. Police searched other churches in the region for more bombs.

Germany: Nine men who had earlier broken into, vandalized, and robbed several Christian churches in the Cologne area—including by stealing money from the collection boxes and liturgical vessels—were caught during a massive raid. Apparently, all of the arrested are German by nationality, but Muslim by background and heritage. Some were also identified as “Salafis”—especially fundamentalist Muslims—connected to international terrorist organizations. Some had even raised hundreds of thousands of Euros from native Germans to support overseas “charities,” the proceeds of which actually went to terrorist groups such as ISIS.

Iraq: As cries of “Allahu Akbar” emanated from surrounding mosques, Islamic State militants blew up yet another Christian church — St. George’s Church and its associated nunnery in the city of Mosul — along with other non-Sunni sites. Separately, after breaking the cross from off the dome of the St. Ephrem Church dome (before and after pictures here) and selling its pews and other furnishings, the IS transformed the church into a mosque and council seat for the jihadis.

East Jerusalem: Despite constant and ever bolder attacks on a church, police refuse to respond to pleas for help from the Christian congregation. According to Morning Star News, “The attacks, driven by both intent to seize property and opposition to Christianity, have been mounted by young men with ties to Palestinian militants who for more than three months have been trying to force Living Bread Church from its rented building. Church pastor Karen Dunham and others have filed at least eight police reports about the assaults.” The most recent incident took place on November 5, when the gas tank of a car owned by a church volunteer was filled with sugar. On November 2, a car owned by one of the pastor’s relatives was stolen. And on October 16, three American Christians were injured while trying to repair a metal security door:A crowd of Palestinian men attacked them with box cutters, sticks, clubs and pepper spray. According to the church’s attorney, authorities “have their [the assailants’] pictures, they have their names, they even have their national ID numbers, and still they do nothing…. The level of brute force compared to the level of lack of response of the police force there is pretty shocking…. It almost seems like if someone is going to go in and murder her [Dunham], that no one is going to lift a finger.”

Malaysia: Approximately 70 local residents in Petaling Jaya protested the construction of a church. They claimed the growing number of Christian places of worship in the area is part of an attempt to evangelize and convert Muslims to Christianity. An NGO, the local branch of Pertubuhan Sahabat, supported the claims of the Muslims. They argued that there are three churches in the vicinity, although close to 70 percent of the residents in the area are Muslims. According to a spokesman, “Even before the church is built, flyers on Christianity have been distributed to our homes, and this could confuse our children and divert them from the path of Islam.” The vacant plot was previously occupied by squatters, a car park and several food stalls. Another local Muslim added “None of our neighbours are Christians, we can vouch for that… it is an insult to Muslims to allow a church to be built here, but none of our representatives seem to have the time to listen to us.” One demonstrator hurled large rocks at the temporary steel fence around the vacant plot.

Jihadi Slaughter of Christians

Kenya: Members of neighboring Somalia’s Islamic group Al Shabaab—”the Youth”—hijacked a bus carrying 60 passengers in the town of Mandera, near Kenya’s border with Somalia. They singled out and massacred 28 non-Muslims, the overwhelming majority of whom were Christian. According to an eyewitness, “When we got down, passengers were separated according to Somali and non-Somalis. The non-Somalis were ordered to read some verses of the holy Koran, and those who failed to read were ordered to lie down. One by one they were shot in the head at point blank range.”

Nigeria: On November 10, a suicide bomb attack on a Christian secondary school as students gathered for morning assembly killed at least 47 people. The Islamic group Boko Haram— meaning: “Western education is forbidden”—is believed to be behind the blast. In a separate incident, Christians from the predominantly Christian city of Mubi in Adamawa state were tortured and killed after Boko Haram took control of the town. Churches and homes were torched throughout the city, which was renamed Madinat al-Islam, or “the City of Islam.” In yet another separate incident, Boko Haram militants raided the mostly Christian town of Shani. According to a resident speaking to Reuters, “They rode on motorcycles and were more than 30 men. They started throwing bombs into houses… then the Boko Haram fired shots at people fleeing. They set ablaze the police station, houses and a telecom mast… I saw people fleeing, some bodies on the ground.” Reuters continues: “The Sunni jihadist movement is fighting to revive a medieval Islamic caliphate in Nigeria’s north.”

Pakistani Persecution

A few days after the Christian couple, mentioned earlier, was burned alive, a 35-year-old Christian father of five known as “Mithu” was arrested on false charges by police and tortured to death in prison. According to the deceased’s brother-in-law: “It was a fake allegation, because the raiding party failed to recover any contraband from Mithu’s person and his house… On the morning of Nov. 22, we were informed by Ilyas Gill, a local councilor, that Mithu had died in police custody because of heart failure…. Young Christian men are made scapegoats to show police performance while the real culprits are carrying out their illegal activities right under the police’s nose.” Morning Star News adds: “Area police routinely round up young, impoverished Christians on false charges of drug peddling and bootlegging, and then force their families to pay heavy bribes in return for their release… family elders had seen signs of torture on the body…”

Christian families in a Punjabi village were forced to flee after a Christian man married a Muslim woman—an act forbidden by Islamic law. According to the Pakistani report, “The Muslims in this village became enraged when this occurred and began threatening them…. When the news of the marriage was learned, the Muslims in Sahiwal attacked Shahab’s [the Christian husband’s] family as well as other Christian families in the village. The Muslims demanded that Ruksana [the Muslim wife] be returned immediately, according to Sharia which prohibits Muslim women from marrying a man from another religion…. the entire Muslim community was threatening to kill Shahab’s father and all of the village’s Christians…. The Christians’ pleas for help from the local police were all in vain.”

And Qaiser Ayub, a 40-year-old professor of Christian background, was arrested and charged with insulting Islam’s prophet Muhammad. The computer science professor had been a fugitive avoiding the police since 2011, when he was first accused of having written blasphemous comments on his blog.

Dhimmitude: Generic Contempt and Hostility

Denmark: In an apparent replication of the Islamic world’s modus operandi, Muslim refugees in the European nation are persecuting Christian refugees. According to 10news.dk, “Christian asylum seekers are repeatedly exposed to everything from harassment to threats and physical abuse by other refugees in the asylum centers, simply because they have converted from Islam to Christianity.” According to Niels Eriksen Nyman, who led the study, “There are certainly many more cases around the country than the ones we hear about in the church. I hate to say it, but I’m afraid that on some of the asylum centers there are some very unhealthy control mechanisms when the staff turns their back… I refuse to support Islamophobia, but we have a serious problem here.” Two recent examples: “An eight year old Christian at the Center Sandholm was bullied and beaten by the larger Arab boys on their way to school. Now the boy nolonger [sic] dares to go to school. On the island Bornholm, somebody had tampered with a Christian asylum seeker’s bike so that he crashed and broke both hands.”

Egypt: The Islamic State called on its followers to take the jihad to Egypt. Abu Mus’ab al-Maqdisi, a leader in the Islamic State, said in a statement titled “Advice to Egypt’s Mujahidin” that “It is necessary to take the battle to Cairo, until the Sinai is safeguarded from the apostates [reference to Egyptian government] and becomes a rear base [qaeda] from which to expand the jihad.” He also called on the jihadis in Egypt to “target the Copts,” the nation’s indigenous, Christian minority: “For targeting them, following them, and killing them is one of the main ways to serve the cause of our virtuous male and female hostages of the tyrants.”

Iraq: Christian homes in Tel Isqof were looted by Kurds who, after fighting the Islamic State, took control of the area on August 17. According to Agenzia Fides, “The city of Tel Isqof was occupied on August 7 by jihadist militias who already in June had conquered Mosul. Faced with the advancing of jihadists, the civilian population, mainly Christians, had fled to the autonomous Region of Iraqi Kurdistan, leaving the city deserted. Ten days later [on August 17], with a counter-offensive the Kurdish Peshmerga had regained control of the city. But it is precisely since then that [Christian] residents periodically return to the city to check the status of their homes, and acknowledge that the doors of a growing number of homes and businesses have been forced and property looted: money and jewelry, technical equipment and electronic instruments.” As in the Islamic State, most Kurds are Sunni Muslims.

Islamic State: IS issued a document breaking down the purchase prices of Christian and Yazidi women being sold as sex-slaves. Apparently these enslaved unfortunates are priced based on age— the youngest being the most expensive. The breakdown is as follows (with USD equivalency in brackets): 40-50 years old: 50,000 dinars [$43]; 30-40 years old: 75,000 dinars [$64]; 20-30 years old: 100,000 dinars [$86]; 10-20 years old: 150,000 dinars [$129]; 9 years old: 200,000 dinars [$172].

Spain: Real Madrid, a professional football (soccer) team, stripped the traditional Christian cross from its club crest as part of a deal with the National Bank of Abu Dhabi. “It is believed the European champions’ new crest, minus the Christian cross, was created so as not to offend Muslim sensibilities in the United Arab Emirates, where a marketing drive will take place,” wrote the Telegraph. Club president Florentino Perez said, “This agreement will help the club to keep conquering the hearts of followers in the United Arab Emirates.”

Syria: As of November, Raqqa, which once had approximately 1,500 Christian families, had only 23 Christian families remaining in it—the others were driven out or killed by the Islamic State. Those few remaining were unable to leave the city for lack of resources or for reasons of age and health. On November 16 they were told that they must pay $535, an exorbitant sum(human sex-slaves are being sold for as little as $43). “In all likelihood Christian families, impoverished by the war, will not be able to pay the tax and will have to leave their homes” or convert to Islam, as many elderly, debilitated Christians unable to flee have already done.

About this Series

While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, persecution of Christians is expanding. “Muslim Persecution of Christians” was developed to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that surface each month.

It documents what the mainstream media often fails to report.

It posits that such persecution is not random but systematic, and takes place in all languages, ethnicities and locations.

Raymond Ibrahim is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War in Christians (published by Regnery in cooperation with Gatestone Institute, April 2013).