Islamic Jihad and the Doctrine of Abrogation

By Raymond Ibrahim:

While other scriptures contain contradictions, the Qur’an is the only holy book whose commentators have evolved a doctrine to account for the very visible shifts which occur from one injunction to another. No careful reader will remain unaware of the many contradictory verses in the Qur’an, most specifically the way in which peaceful and tolerant verses lie almost side by side with violent and intolerant ones. The ulema were initially baffled as to which verses to codify into the Shari’a worldview—the one that states there is no coercion in religion (2:256), or the ones that command believers to fight all non-Muslims till they either convert, or at least submit, to Islam (8:39, 9:5, 9:29). To get out of this quandary, the commentators developed the doctrine of abrogation, which essentially maintains that verses revealed later in Muhammad’s career take precedence over earlier ones whenever there is a discrepancy. In order to document which verses abrogated which, a religious science devoted to the chronology of the Qur’an’s verses evolved (known as an-Nasikh wa’l Mansukh, the abrogater and the abrogated).

Koran and Sword: Hand in Hand

Koran and Sword: Hand in Hand

But why the contradiction in the first place? The standard view is that in the early years of Islam, since Muhammad and his community were far outnumbered by their infidel competitors while living next to them in Mecca, a message of peace and coexistence was in order. However, after the Muslims migrated to Medina in 622 and grew in military strength, verses inciting them to go on the offensive were slowly “revealed”—in principle, sent down from God—always commensurate with Islam’s growing capabilities. In juridical texts, these are categorized in stages: passivity vis-á-vis aggression; permission to fight back against aggressors; commands to fight aggressors; commands to fight all non-Muslims, whether the latter begin aggressions or not.[1] Growing Muslim might is the only variable that explains this progressive change in policy.

Other scholars put a gloss on this by arguing that over a twenty-two year period, the Qur’an was revealed piecemeal, from passive and spiritual verses to legal prescriptions and injunctions to spread the faith through jihad and conquest, simply to acclimate early Muslim converts to the duties of Islam, lest they be discouraged at the outset by the dramatic obligations that would appear in later verses.[2] Verses revealed towards the end of Muhammad’s career—such as, “Warfare is prescribed for you though you hate it”[3]—would have been out of place when warfare was actually out of the question.

However interpreted, the standard view on Qur’anic abrogation concerning war and peace verses is that when Muslims are weak and in a minority position, they should preach and behave according to the ethos of the Meccan verses (peace and tolerance); when strong, however, they should go on the offensive on the basis of what is commanded in the Medinan verses (war and conquest). The vicissitudes of Islamic history are a testimony to this dichotomy, best captured by the popular Muslim notion, based on a hadith, that, if possible, jihad should be performed by the hand (force), if not, then by the tongue (through preaching); and, if that is not possible, then with the heart or one’s intentions.[4]

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Kerry Boasts of ‘Pluralistic’ Syria Once Assad Gone

John-Kerry-016by Raymond Ibrahim:

U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, was recently interviewed about Syria.  While many of his assertions can be debated, one especially requires a response.

Throughout the interview, he repeatedly insisted that, if Bashar Assad would only leave power, everything would go well — especially for all of Syria’s minorities.

In his words: “I believe that a peace can protect all of the minorities: Druze, Christian, Isma‘ilis, Alawites — all of them can be protected, and you can have a pluralistic Syria, in which minority rights of all people are protected.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Kerry declared that “The world would protect the Alawites, Druze, Christians, and all minorities in Syria after the ousting of Assad.”

The problem here is that we have precedent — exact precedent.  We’ve seen this paradigm before and know precisely what happens once strongman dictators like Assad are gone.

As demonstrated in this article, in all Muslim nations where the U.S. has intervened to help topple dictators and bring democracy, it is precisely the minorities who suffer first.  And neither the U.S. nor “the world” do much about it.

After the U.S. toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, Christian minorities were savagely attacked and slaughtered, and dozens of their churches were bombed (see here for graphic images). Indeed, Christians have been terrorized into near-extinction, so that today, a decade after the ousting of Saddam, more than half of them have fled Iraq.

The “world” did nothing.

Ever since U.S.-backed, al-Qaeda-linked terrorists overthrew Libya’s Qaddafi, Christians—including Americans—have been tortured and killed (including for refusing to convert), their churches bombed, and their nuns threatened.

Not much “pluralism” there.

Once the Muslim Brotherhood replaced Mubarak in Egypt — and all with U.S. support — the persecution of Copts practically became legalized, as unprecedented numbers of Christians—men, women, and children—were arrested, often receiving more than double the maximum prison sentence, under the accusation that they had “blasphemed” Islam and/or its prophet.

Not only did the U.S. do nothing — it asked the Coptic Church not to join the June Revolution that led to the ousting of the Brotherhood and Muhammad Morsi.

In short, where the U.S. works to overthrow secular autocrats, the quality of life for Christians and other minorities takes a major nosedive. In Saddam’s Iraq, Qaddafi’s Libya, and Assad’s Syria (before the U.S.-sponsored war), Christians and their churches were largely protected.

Today, Syria is the third worst nation in the world in which to be Christian, Iraq is fourth, Libya 13th, and Egypt 22nd.  Such are the fruits of U.S. intervention in the name of “democracy.”

So how can anyone, especially Christians and other minorities, have any confidence in Kerry’s repeated assurances that religious minorities will be safeguarded once secular strongman Assad is gone — and by the “world” no less — leading to a “pluralistic” Syria?

And from an American point of view, what are we to make of Kerry?  Is the U.S. Secretary of State that deluded and detached from reality, or, as Russian President Vladimir Putin once accused Kerry, also in the context of Syria: “he is lying and knows he is lying. It’s sad.”

Christmas Holiday, Islamic Horror

by :

As Christians in the West go to church and worship during this Christmas season, it is well to reflect on how these two simple acts—going to church to worship—can be life-threatening for Christians in the Islamic world, especially on Christmas.  The following excerpt from my book, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (pgs. 42-45), provides a glimpse of the horrors and humiliations Christians throughout the Muslim world can be exposed to whenever they try to meet and worship in church on Christmas and other Christian holidays.  One can only hope—perhaps in vain—that this coming Christmas does not add new victims to the list.

—-

image1Christians in the Islamic world today are suffering attacks motivated by the very same diabolical animus as a thousand years ago under Hakim [Egyptian caliph who ordered the destruction of reportedly 30,000 churches in the 10th –11th century].  Proof of this is that some of the most terrible assaults occur precisely on Christian holidays—Christmas, Easter, and New Year’s Eve (which is a major church day in the Middle East). And no wonder, considering that some Muslim clerics insist that “saying Merry Christmas is worse than fornication . . . or killing someone.”

After some fourteen centuries of church attacks and other persecution—punctuated by a brief Christian Golden Age—Egypt’s Copts began the new year in 2011 once again under assault, at one of their largest churches: during midnight Mass in the early hours of January 1, 2011, the Two Saints Coptic Church in Alexandria, crowded with hundreds of Christian worshippers, was bombed, leaving at least twenty-three dead and approximately a hundred injured. According to eyewitnesses, “body parts were strewn all over the street outside the church. The body parts were covered with newspapers until they were brought inside the church after some Muslims started stepping on them and chanting Jihadi chants,” including “Allahu Akbar!” Witnesses further attest that “security forces withdrew one hour before the church blast.” And a year earlier, Muslims shot and killed six Christians as they were leaving church after celebrating the Coptic Christmas Eve midnight Mass in Nag Hammadi.

December 25, 2011, was called Nigeria’s “blackest Christmas ever.”  In a number of coordinated jihadi operations, Reuters reported, Islamic terrorists bombed several churches during Christmas liturgies, killing at least thirty-eight people, “the majority dying on the steps of a Catholic church after celebrating Christmas Mass as blood pooled in dust from a massive explosion.” Charred bodies and dismembered limbs lay scattered around the destroyed church. This attack was simply a reenactment of Christmas Eve one year earlier, in 2010, when several other churches were set ablaze and Christians were attacked, also leaving nearly thirty-eight dead. There was no reprieve for Nigeria’s Christians when the next religious holiday came; some fifty Christians were killed “when explosives concealed in two cars went off near the Assemblies of God’s Church during Easter Sunday services” in April 2012 in a predominantly Muslim region. According to the pastor, “We were in the Holy Communion service and I was exhorting my people and all of a sudden, we heard a loud noise that shattered all our windows and doors.” December 25, 2012, saw a repeat of the last few Christmases: in two separate attacks, Islamic gunmen shot and killed twelve Christian worshippers who had gathered for Christmas Eve church services, including one church’s pastor.

The violence in Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim population in the world, was not so bloody, but Muslims’ hostility was equally clear.  In December 2012, more than two hundred Muslims threw rotten eggs at nearly one hundred Christians desiring to hold a Christmas Mass in empty land outside Jakarta, since their church, the Philadelphia Batak Protestant Church, had been illegally closed. A photographer saw angered Muslims—men, women wearing the hijab (the Muslim headscarf), and children—blocking the road and hurling rotten eggs at those attempting to worship. According to the Reverend Palti Panjaitan, the incident followed a Christmas Eve attack when “intolerant people” threw not only rotten eggs but also “plastic bags filled with urine and cow dung” at the Christians. “Everything had happened while police were there. They were just watching without doing anything to stop them from harming us.”

The attack was a repeat of what had happened several months earlier, during an Ascension Day church service in May 2012. Then some six hundred Muslims threw bags of urine, stones, and rotten eggs at the same congregation. The mob also threatened to kill the pastor. No arrests were made. The church had applied for a permit to construct its house of worship five years ago. But pressured by local Muslims, the local administration ordered the church to shut down in December 2009—though the Supreme Court recently overruled its decision, saying the church was eligible for the permit. Regardless, local Muslims and officials demand the church cease to exist.

In the Philippines, during Mass on Christmas Day 2010, a bomb exploded inside a packed Catholic church in the “Muslim-dominated” island of Jolo, injuring six worshippers including the priest. The bomb was planted by the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group, which according to the Daily Mail “has been blamed for several bomb attacks on the Roman Catholic cathedral in Jolo since the early 2000s and for kidnapping priests and nuns.”

While many more examples of church attacks on Christian holidays could be given, the four examples above demonstrate an important point. Egypt, Nigeria, Indonesia, and the Philippines have very little in common. These countries do not share the same language, race, or culture. What, then, do they have in common that explains this similar pattern of church attacks during Christian holy days? The answer is Islam. All four countries have large Muslim populations.

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More Slaughter in Muslim Lands; Media, Governments Silent

Muslim Persecution of Christians: October, 2013

By Raymond Ibrahim:

811 (1)Two of the most tragic Islamic attacks on Christians, killing several women and children, took place in the month of October, one in Syria another in Egypt.

On October 21 in Syria, the U.S.-supported Islamic rebels invaded and occupied the ancient Christian settlement of Sadad for over a week, till ousted by the military.  During that week, “the largest massacre of Christians in Syria,” in the words of Orthodox Archbishop Alnemeh, took place.  Among other things, 45 Christians—including women and children—were killed, several tortured to death; mass graves were discovered; all of Sadad’s 14 churches, some ancient, were ransacked and destroyed; the bodies of six people from one family, ranging from ages 16 to 90, were found buried at the bottom of a well (an increasingly common fate for “subhuman” Christians).

The jihadis even made a graphic video (with English subtitles) of those whom they massacred, while shouting Islam’s victory-cry, “Allahu Akbar” (or “Allah is greater,” which John McCain equated to a Christian saying “thank God”).  Another video, made after Sadad was liberated, shows more graphic atrocities.

The day before rebels invaded Sadad, on Sunday, October 20, the Church of the Virgin Mary in Warraq near Cairo, Egypt, was attacked during a wedding ceremony, leaving four dead and nearly two dozen wounded.  According to a report issued by forensics, two of those murdered were young girls, each named Mary:  12-year-old Mary Nabil Fahmy, who took five shots in the chest, and 8-year-old Mary Ashraf Masih (“Masih” meaning “Christ”), who took a bullet in the back which burst from the front.

As happens frequently in Egypt and other Islamic nations, the security forces charged with protecting the church were seen leaving their posts immediately before the massacre began.  Similarly, in the words of Asia News, “Eye-witnesses of the al-Warraq attack confirm that despite numerous distress calls, police and ambulances only arrived on the scene two hours after the shooting.”

Both the massacres in Syria and Egypt received scant attention and even less condemnation by Western media and government.  Instead, people like Mohamed Elibiary, an Obama administration Homeland Security advisercondemned Copts who raise awareness of anti-Christian violence in Egypt as promoting “Islamophobic” bigotry.

Similarly, although Christians are habitually killed in Muslim countries—as this monthly series attests—with little condemnation or even acknowledgment by the U.S. government, when five Muslims were killed in western Burma,  the United States, according to Voice of America, formally condemned it, “urging authorities to do more to address the long-standing sectarian tension there.”

The rest of October’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 more at Gatestone Institute

Islamic Jihad on Christian Nuns: A History

Maaloula: ancient Christian site where inhabitants still spoke Aramaic, language of Jesus, before being devastated by the jihad, its nuns abducted, its ancient churches desecrated.

Maaloula: ancient Christian site where inhabitants still spoke Aramaic, language of Jesus, before being devastated by the jihad, its nuns abducted, its ancient churches desecrated.

by :

Yet another phenomenon with a long paper trail in Islamic history has just taken place, even as the Western “mainstream”—little acquainted with true history or reality—dismisses it as an aberration.  Asia News has the details:

Islamist rebels have kidnapped a group of nuns from the Greek Orthodox monastery of St Thecla (Mar Taqla) in Maaloula [an ancient Christian community where Christians were earlier forced to convert to Islam or die]…  “Armed men burst in the monastery of St Thecla in Maaloula this afternoon [Dec. 2]. From there, they forcibly took 12 women religious,” Mgr Zenari said …. Neither the nuncio nor the Greek Orthodox Church know [the] reason behind the kidnapping.

The “reason behind the kidnapping”?  Sexual abuse and rape certainly should not be discounted, as these have been the lot of thousands of women abducted by U.S.-sponsored “freedom fighters” in Syria. Indeed, a new report issued by the National Reconciliation Commission in Syria states that some 37,000 women have been raped since the war started.

To keep the jihad in Syria alive, pro-war Islamic clerics have issued any number of fatwas, or Islamic rulings, permitting sexually-frustrated, female-deprived rebels to rape women.  Most of these are based on the simple fact that Islam permits jihadis, based on the example of their prophet, to copulate with any captured woman—or, in the words of the Koran, “what your right hands possess” (see “The Jihad on Christian Women: Abduction, Rape, and Forced Conversion,” pgs. 186-199 in Crucified Again for detailed information).

One cleric permitted the abduction and rape of any Syrian woman, provided she is not Sunni.  Yet apparently because there are still not enough women for the jihadi hordes, many of whom are foreigners—one Christian child was recently raped by 15 men before being killedSunni Muslim women are also being targeted through sex jihad fatwas.

So would such jihadis and their clerics have any special respect for Christian nuns?

The fact is, raped nuns is a phenomenon that goes back centuries.   According to Muslim historian Taqi al-Din al-Maqrizi (1364-1442) during his raids on Egypt, Caliph Marwan II (r.744–50) “made captive a number of women from among the nuns of several convents. And he tried to seduce one of them.”  The account describes how the enslaved nun tricked him into killing her, by claiming she had a magic oil that make skin impenetrable: “She then took some oil and anointed herself with it; then stretched out her neck, which he smote with the sword, and made her head fly.  He then understood that she preferred death to defilement.”

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Fox News Asks Raymond Ibrahim Why Christians Persecute Muslims

raymond-ibrahim-crucified-again-smBy :

Raymond Ibrahim, a Shillman Fellow at the DHFC, recently appeared on Fox News’ “Lou Dobbs Tonight” to discuss his new book, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians.  In the course of an engaging discussion—including why the media, academia, and government ignore Muslim persecution of Christians—Lori Rothman, filling in for Lou Dobbs, asserted “Throughout history, wasn’t it always the Christians who were doing the persecuting? Why does it seem now the tables have turned?” Be sure to watch Ibrahim’s blitzkrieg course in history giving the lie to that false but widespread notion.  And click here to order his must-read Crucified Again.

 

Muslim Persecution of Christians: May, 2013

images (89)By Raymond Ibrahim:

The month of May continued to prove that Nigeria is the most dangerous nation for Christians—where more Christians have been killed last year than all around the Muslim world combined.  In one instance, Boko Haram Muslim militants stormed the home of a Pentecostal pastor and secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria, and opened fire on him, instantly murdering him.

Separately, other Boko Haram gunmen killed 14 Christians, including the cousin and two nephews of the Rev. Moses Thliza, head of a Christian organization dedicated to preventing AIDS and caring for AIDS patients and orphans:  Said Thliza: “My cousin, Bulus [Paul] Buba, was dragged out at gunpoint from his house by the Boko Haram members. They collected his car keys, demanded money and asked him three times to renounce his Christian faith, and three times he declined to do so [prompting them to execute him]. The attackers met three guards on duty, killed two of them by cutting their necks with knives, and then proceeded to take the third guard, Amtagu Samiyu, at gunpoint to lead them to where the keys of the deputy governor’s house is.”

As for some Christians observing a wake two kilometers away, Boko Haram Muslims asked to know what was going on there, and when they learned that people were saying prayers for an elderly Christian woman who had died, they charged in and shot into the crowd. “The attackers went there and shot indiscriminately at the worshippers, killing eight Christians—two women and six elderly men,” said Thliza. “In all, we buried 14 Christians. Some were injured and taken to the hospital.”

Despite all this, when the Nigerian government tried militarily to confront and neutralize Boko Haram, the Obama administration criticized it, warning it not to violate the “human rights” of the Islamic terrorists.

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

Church Attacks 

Bosnia: The Serbian Orthodox church of Saint Sava in Sarajevo, where Muslims make up approximately half of the population, was “desecrated” and six of its windows panes broken.  The unidentified vandals wrote “Allah” in dark paint twice on the church wall.  A month earlier, unidentified persons tried to set the church on fire.

Central African Republic: According to the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace, since an Islamic rebel leader proclaimed himself president, the situation for Christians, has “deeply worsened.” The organization warns against “the evil intentions for the programmed and planned desecration and destruction of religious Christian buildings, and in particular the Catholic and Protestant churches….  All over the country the Catholic Church has paid a high price.” Several dioceses have been seriously damaged and plundered, and priests and nuns attacked (more information below, under “Dhimmitude.”)

EgyptTwo Coptic Christian churches were attacked, one in Alexandria, the other in Upper Egypt.  St. Mary in Alexandria was attacked by Molotov cocktails and bricks, causing the gate to burn and the stained glass windows to shatter.  One-thousand Christians tried to defend the church against 20,000 Muslims screaming “Allahu Akbar” [“Allah is Greater”]. One Copt was killed and several injured.  In the village of Menbal in Upper Egypt, after “Muslim youths” harassed Christian girls—including hurling bags of urine at them—and Coptic men came to their rescue, another Muslim mob stormed the village church of Prince Tadros el-Mashreki. They hurled stones and broke everything inside the church, including doors and windows. The mob then went along the streets looting and destroying all Coptic-owned businesses and pharmacies and torching cars. Any Copt met by the mob in the street was beaten.

Iran: Because it refused to stop using the national Persian language during its services—which makes the Gospel intelligible to all Iranian Muslims, some of whom converted—the Central Assemblies of God Church in Tehran was raided by security services during a prayer meeting; its pastor taken to an unknown location, and the church was searched and its books, documents and equipment seized.   Security agents posted a sign stating that the church was now closed. One local source said, “They constantly threaten the church leaders and their families with imprisonment, unexplained accidents, kidnapping and even with execution. We cannot go on like this.”  A number of its members have already been killed and its activities greatly restricted over the last few years.

Libya: The Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception in Benghazi was bombed.  In the words of the Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli, “They put a bomb at the entrance of the corridor leading to the courtyard where there is the door of the church. The church, therefore, was not touched directly, but the attack is not a positive sign. The Church in Libya is suffering. In Benghazi the Coptic Church was hit, its chaplain was killed and now the Catholic Church.  As I reported on other occasions, in Cyrenaica different religious women’s institutes have been forced to close their doors, in Tobruk, Derna, Beida, Barce, as well as in Benghazi. The nuns who were forced to leave, served the population with generosity.”

Syria:  A violent explosion destroyed the church and convent of the Capuchin Franciscan Friars in Deir Ezzor. According to Fr. Haddad of the region, “It was the only church in Deir Ezzor [that] so far still remained almost untouched.” It is not clear how it was destroyed, but some say a car bomb was placed next to the church. Fr. Haddad lamented that, as in other regions, “there are no more Christians” left in Ezzor, due to “all this hate and desecration.”

Tanzania:  During a service to mark its official opening, a new church in a predominantly Christian suburb was bombed, killing at least five people and wounding some 60.  According to a local source, This was… a well-planned attack. Even before it, the threat was given and we still have many threats. Pray for us, and that God will overcome all these in Jesus’ name.” He added that, “radical camps in the country were teaching young Muslims that Christians must be killed or live as second-class citizens,” or dhimmis.  Among those arrested, four were Saudi Arabian nationals. The bombing follows the slaying of two church leaders in February, and the shooting in the face of a third on Christmas Day.  In October, several church buildings were torched and vandalized.

Read more about persecution for Apostasy, Blasphemy, Proselytism, and Dhimmitude at Gatestone Institute

Christian Suffering Under Jihadi Extremism Muslim Persecution of Christians: April, 2013

by Raymond Ibrahim:

“The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia has again declared that it is ‘necessary to destroy all the churches in the region.’”

Before Egypt’s President Muhammad Morsi was ousted, April was one of the worst months for Christian Copts there. On April 5 near Cairo, when a longstanding feud between a Christian family and a Muslim family—based on male Muslims sexually harassing Christian girls—culminated in the violent deaths of six Christians, including two of the participants, a Christian and a Muslim, being set on fire, and local Muslims went on another “collective punishment” spree. It resulted in the injury of at least 20 other Copts, an Evangelical church being set on fire, and an attack on a Coptic church, Two days later, after Copts had mourned their dead in the St. Mark Cathedral—Coptic Christianity’s holiest site and home to the Coptic pope—Muslim mobs, who had waited outside, launched yet another attack—aided by state security forces. Eyewitnesses said as many as 40-50 tear gas canisters targeted the mourners, many of whom were women and children hiding in the cathedral. Two more Copts were killed and many dozens wounded as other officers stood by while the Muslim mob tried to destroy the cathedral.

 

Muslim “youth” climb to the roof of a building adjacent to St. Mark Cathedral to attack it. To the left, a man winds to hurl a projectile at it. And in the white circle to the right, high-ranking Egyptian officials and security stand by watching (easily recognizable by their hats and helmets). Source: RaymondIbrahim.com

On one Friday after prayers, the Bilal Ibn Rabah Mosque in Cairo was turned into a “torture chamber” for Egyptians, many of whom were Christians, protesting the Muslim Brotherhood. One of the victims, Amir Ayad, a Christian, said he was severely beaten before being left for dead at the side of the road. He suffered a fractured skull, a broken arm, bleeding in his right eye and pellet wounds. Coptic Christian children, mostly boys, weretargeted for kidnapping and held for ransom; one 6-year-old, after his family had paid the Muslim kidnapper, was killed. And a video appeared on Arabic-language websites showing a crowd of Muslims in Egypt assaulting and raping two Christian women on a crowded street and in broad daylight. Throughout, the women scream in terror as the men shout Islamic slogans such as “Allahu Akbar!” “["Allah is Greater!"] None of the many passersby intervenes in any way.

Also in April, during Easter week in Nigeria, Muslim herdsmen launched a series of raids on Christian villages, killing at least 80 Christians. Most of those slain were either children or the elderly. Over 200 Christian homes were destroyed, eight churches burned, and 4,500 Christians displaced. According to a pastor present at the time, “It was a helpless situation, as no Christians had any weapon to fight back. Women, children, and the elderly who were not able to escape were shot and killed. Luckily, all my children are in school, so this made it easier for our escape from the Muslim attackers. We sneaked away in the midst of the confusion and trekked for more than 20 kilometers [12 miles] to find a place to stay.”

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

Church Attacks

Central African Republic: A number of church buildings were attacked and the homes of Christians looted in the aftermath of a bloody coup by Sharia-adherent Muslim rebels. During the chaos, as in a standard jihad, Christian property was targeted for plundering, while Muslim property was spared. The leader of the Muslim rebels, Michel Djotodia, “assumed the presidency from the ousted François Bozizé, becoming the predominantly Christian nation’s first Muslim president.” According to one Christian, “We are no longer at home. They pillage our goods which are then sold by the Muslims, who export them.

Indonesia: Local officials, at the behest of Islamist forces, demolished the Batak Protestant Church building in West Java and threatened to close others, causing hundreds of Christians to protest in the streets. Once again, as happens with increasing regularity in Indonesia, congregation members then held services in the street, near the site of the destroyed church. As the Morning Star News added: Indonesian officials routinely delay or deny church building permits… thus providing Islamic extremists a pretext for protests and attacks.” Newspapers covering the event posted photos of “church members in tears—singing hymns, crying and begging local officials not to demolish their facility. Hundreds of police and army officers guarded the area while Muslim militants, shouting Koranic verses, cheered the excavator.”

Saudi Arabia: Apparently once again “The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia—the top Islamic official in the country of Saudi Arabia—has [again] declared that it is ‘necessary to destroy all the churches of the region.” (First reported here over a year ago.)

Sudan: In the latest of a series of moves that have put pressure on Christians, a Muslim government minister announced that no new licenses will be granted for church buildings; he claimed that the existing churches are sufficient for the number of worshippers. Building churches has, in fact, been disallowed since South Sudan seceded in July 2011; the Islamist government of Khartoum responded by making the lives of Christians in Sudan even more difficult than usual. Days before this latest measure, the government deported a senior church leader and two expatriate missionaries who had been working with children in Khartoum. No reason was given. The government has also demolished countless church buildings on the pretext of paperwork irregularities.

Turkey: A 13th century church building, the Hagia Sophia of Trabizon (not to be confused with Constantinople’s famous Hagia Sophia) is set to become a mosque again.

After the Ottoman conquest it had been turned from a church into a mosque, but later, under Turkey’s secularist President, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and apparently due to its “great historical and cultural significance” for Christians, it had been turned into a museum. Local authorities decreed that its Christian frescoes must again be covered in preparation for its reopening as a mosque. [Update: As of July, the Hagia Sophia of Trabizon has become a functioning mosque.]

Continue reading at Gatestone Institute for accounts of Apostasy, Blasphemy, Proselytism and Dhimmitude

How Dare You?! The Supremacist Nature of Muslim ‘Grievances’

islamic_rage_boyby :

Jerusalem Post

In 2012 in Pakistan, as Christian children were singing carols inside their church, Muslim men from a nearby mosque barged in with an axe, destroyed the furniture, desecrated the altar, and beat the children.  Their justification for such violence?  “You are disturbing our prayers…. How dare you use the mike and speakers?”

Welcome to the true face of “Muslim grievance”—what I call the “how dare you?!” phenomenon.  Remember it next time “progressive” media and politicians tell you that Muslim terrorism—whether the 9/11 strikes, Fort Hood Massacre, Boston Bombing, or recent London Beheading—are products of grievances against the West. Missing from their analyses is the supremacistnature of Muslim grievances.

The Conditions of Omar, a foundational medieval Muslim text, mandates this sense of superiority over non-Muslims.  Among other stipulations, the Conditions commands conquered Christians not to raise their “voices during prayer or readings in churches anywhere near Muslims” (hence the axe-attack in Pakistan).  It also commands them not to display any signs of Christianity—specifically Bibles and crosses—not to build churches, and not to criticize the prophet.

If the supremacist nature of Islamic law is still not clear enough, the Conditions literally command Christians to give up their seats to Muslims on demand.

By analogy, consider when black Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to white passengers in a white supremacist environment.  Sincere grievances arose: how dare she think herself our equal?

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Arab Spring Egypt’s ‘Legal’ Persecution of Christians

by Raymond Ibrahim
Special to IPT News
May 29, 2013

The Mass Exodus of Christians from the Muslim World

images (34)By Raymond Ibrahim:

A mass exodus of Christians is currently underway.  Millions of Christians are being displaced from one end of the Islamic world to the other.

We are reliving the true history of how the Islamic world—much of which prior to the Islamic conquests was almost entirely Christian—came into being.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recently said: “The flight of Christians out of the region is unprecedented and it’s increasing year by year.”  In our lifetime alone “Christians might disappear altogether from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt.”

Ongoing reports from the Islamic world certainly support this conclusion.  Iraq was the earliest indicator of the fate awaiting Christians once Islamic forces are liberated from the grip of dictators.

In 2003, Iraq’s Christian population was at least one million.  Today fewer than 400,000 remain—the result of an anti-Christian campaign that began with the U.S. occupation of Iraq, when countless Christian churches were bombed and countless Christians killed, including by crucifixion and beheading.

The 2010 Baghdad church attack, which saw nearly 60 Christian worshippers slaughtered, is the tip of a decade-long iceberg.

Now as the U.S. supports the jihad on secular president Assad, the same pattern has come to Syria: entire regions and towns where Christians lived centuries before Islam came into being have now been emptied, as the opposition targets Christians for kidnapping, plundering, and beheadings, all in compliance with mosque calls that it’s a “sacred duty” to drive Christians away.

In October 2012 the last Christian in the city of Homs—which had a Christian population of some 80,000 before jihadis came—was murdered.  One teenage Syrian girl said: “We left because they were trying to kill us… because we were Christians….  Those who were our neighbors turned against us. At the end, when we ran away, we went through balconies. We did not even dare go out on the street in front of our house.”

In Egypt, some 100,000 Christian Copts have fled their homeland soon after the “Arab Spring.”  In September 2012, the Sinai’s small Christian community was attacked and evicted by al-Qaeda linked Muslims, Reuters reported.

But even before that, the Coptic Orthodox Church lamented the “repeated incidents of displacement of Copts from their homes, whether by force or threat. Displacements began in Ameriya [62 Christian families evicted], then they stretched to Dahshur [120 Christian families evicted], and today terror and threats have reached the hearts and souls of our Coptic children in Sinai.”

Iraq, Syria, and Egypt are the Arab world.  But even in “black” African and “white” European nations with Muslim majorities, Christians are fleeing.

In Mali, after a 2012 Islamic coup, as many as 200,000 Christians fled.  According to reports, “the church in Mali faces being eradicated,” especially in the north “where rebels want to establish an independent Islamist state and drive Christians out… there have been house to house searches for Christians who might be in hiding, church and Christian property has been looted or destroyed, and people tortured into revealing any Christian relatives.” At least one pastor was beheaded.

Even in European Bosnia, Christians are leaving en mass “amid mounting discrimination and Islamization.”  Only 440,000 Catholics remain in the Balkan nation, half the prewar figure.  Problems cited are typical:  “while dozens of mosques were built in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, no building permissions were given for Christian churches.”

“Time is running out as there is a worrisome rise in radicalism,” said one authority, who further added that the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina were “persecuted for centuries” after European powers “failed to support them in their struggle against the Ottoman Empire.”

And so history repeats itself.

One can go on and on:

  • In Ethiopia, after a Christian was accused of desecrating a Koran, thousands of Christians were forced to flee their homes when “Muslim extremists set fire to roughly 50 churches and dozens of Christian homes.”
  • In the Ivory Coast—where Christians have been crucified—Islamic rebels “massacred hundreds and displaced tens of thousands” of Christians.
  • In Libya, Islamic rebels forced several Christian nun orders serving the sick and needy since 1921 to flee.
  • In Muslim-majority northern Nigeria, where nary a Sunday passes without a church bombing, Christians are fleeing by the thousands; one region has been emptied of 95% of its Christian population.
  • In Pakistan, after a Christian child was falsely accused of desecrating a Koran and Muslims went on an anti-Christian rampage, an entire Christian village—men, women, and children—was forced to flee into the nearby woods, where they built a church, permanently resided there.
  • In Somali, where Christianity is completely outlawed, Muslim converts to Christianity are fleeing to neighboring nations, including Kenya and Ethiopia, sometimes to be tracked down and executed.
  • In Sudan, over half a million people, mostly Christian, have been stripped of citizenship in response to the South’s secession, and forced to relocate.

To anyone following the plight of Christians under Islam, none of this is surprising.  As I document in my new book, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, all around the Islamic world—in nations that do not share the same race, language, culture, or economics, in nations that share only Islam—Christians are being persecuted into extinction.   Such is the true face of the global Islamic resurgence.

Often forgotten is that, in the 7th century, half of the world’s entire Christian population was spread across what is now nonchalantly called the “Muslim world.”  Then, Islam, born in the deserts of Arabia, burst out in a series of world-altering jihads, conquering and slowly transforming these once Christian nations into Islamic nations.

In order to evade sporadic persecution and constant discrimination, over the centuries most Christians converted, while others fled.  A few opted to remain Christian and live as barely tolerated third-class subjects, or dhimmis, according to Sharia law.

They eventually experienced something of a renaissance during the colonial and post-colonial era, when many Muslims were Westward-looking.

But today, with the international resurgence of Muhammad’s religion, these remaining Christians are reaching extinction, as Islam’s 1400 year mission of supremacy and global hegemony continues unabated—even as the West looks the other way, that is, when it’s not actually supporting it in the context of the so-called “Arab Spring.”

RAYMOND IBRAHIM, a Middle East and Islam specialist, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum. A widely published author, best known for The Al Qaeda Reader (Doubleday, 2007), he guest lectures at universities, including the National Defense Intelligence College, briefs governmental agencies, such as U.S. Strategic Command and the Defense Intelligence Agency, provides expert testimony for Islam-related lawsuits, and has testified before Congress regarding the conceptual failures that dominate American discourse concerning Islam and the worsening plight of Egypt’s Christian Copts. Among other media, he has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS, Reuters, Al-Jazeera, CBN, and NPR.

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An Islamic Declaration of War on Christianity

Unprecedented: one of Christendom’s most sacred sites turned into a war zone under the Muslim Brotherhood’s President Morsi.

Unprecedented: one of Christendom’s most sacred sites turned into a war zone under the Muslim Brotherhood’s President Morsi.

by Raymond Ibrahim:

While it is easy to confuse the recent jihadi attack on Egypt’s St. Mark Cathedral in Cairo as just more of the usual, this attack has great symbolic significance, and in many ways bodes great evil for Egypt’s millions of Christians.

Consider some facts: St. Mark Cathedral—named after the author of the Gospel of the same name who brought Christianity to Egypt some 600 years before Amr bin al-As brought Islam with the sword—is not simply “just another” Coptic church to be attacked and/or set aflame by a Muslim mob (see my forthcoming book, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, for a comprehensive idea of past and present Muslim attacks on Coptic churches).  Instead, it is considered the most sacred building for millions of Christians around the world—above and beyond the many millions of Copts in and out of Egypt.  As the only apostolic see in the entire continent of Africa, its significance and evangelizing mission extends to the entire continent, including nations such as Sudan, Ethiopia, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria, to name just a few.  As an apostolic see—the actual seat of an apostle of Christ—the cathedral further possesses historical significance for Christianity in general.

In short, Muslim mobs—aided and abetted by the state of Egypt under Muslim Brotherhood tutelage—did not merely attack yet one more Coptic church, but rather committed an act of war against all Christianity.  Such an open attack on a Christian center which holds symbolic and historic significance for all Christians—St. Mark, whose relics are in the cathedral and who authored one of the four Gospels of the Bible, belongs to all Christians not just Copts—was an open attack on a universally acknowledged Christian shrine.  It was precisely these sorts of attacks on eastern and orthodox churches—including the destruction of the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem in 1009—that presaged the way for the crusades (back when Christianity was not utterly fragmented and disunited as it is today).

Put differently, this jihadi attack on St. Mark Cathedral is no different for Copts than a jihadi attack on the Vatican would be for Catholics.  Or, to maintain the analogy, but from the other side, it would be no different than a “crusader” attack on the Grand Mosque of Mecca for Muslims.

While one can only imagine how the world’s Muslims would react to a “Christian/Western” assault on their most sacred of shrines, “post-Christian” Western leaders, as usual, stand by idly (not unlike Egyptian state security, which stood by idly as the Muslim mob opened fire on the cathedral).

Read more

See also:

Muslim Persecution of Christians: January, 2013

church-burning1

by Raymond Ibrahim:

Egypt: A court sentenced an entire family – Nadia Mohamed Ali and her seven children – to fifteen years in prison for converting to Christianity.

The year 2013 began with reports indicating that wherever Christians live side by side with large numbers of Muslims, the Christians are under attack. As one report said, “Africa, where Christianity spread fastest during the past century, now is the region where oppression of Christians is spreading fastest.” Whether in Kenya, Nigeria, Mali, Somalia, Sudan, or Tanzania—attacks on Christians are as frequent as they are graphic.

As for the Middle East, the cradle of Christianity, a new study by the Pew Forum finds that “just 0.6 percent of the world’s 2.2 billion Christians now live in the Middle East and North Africa. Christians make up only 4% of the region’s inhabitants, drastically down from 20% a century ago, and marking the smallest regional Christian minority in the world. Fully 93% of the region is Muslim and 1.6% is Jewish.”

How Christianity has been all but eradicated from the region where it was born is made clear in yet another report on the Middle East’s largest Christian minority, Egypt’s Christian Copts. Due to a “climate of fear and uncertainty,” Christian families are leaving Egypt in large numbers. Along with regular church attacks, the situation has gotten to the point that, according to one Coptic priest, “Salafis meet Christian girls in the street and order them to cover their hair. Sometimes they hit them when they refuse.” Another congregation leader said “With the new [Sharia-heavy] constitution, the new laws that are expected, and the majority in parliament I don’t believe we can be treated on an equal basis.”

Elsewhere, Christians are not allowed to flee. In eastern Syria, for example, 25,000 Christians, including Syriac Orthodox, Syriac Catholics, Chaldeans and Armenians, were prevented from fleeing due to a number of roadblocks set up by armed Islamic militia groups, who deliberately target Christians for robbery and kidnapping-for-ransom—then often slaughtering their victims.

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

Church Attacks

Egypt: Reminiscent of the 2011 New Year’s Eve church bombing in Alexandria, which left over 23 Christians dead, a car packed with explosives was discovered by a Coptic church celebrating Christmas [which is in January] and was neutralized before it could detonate. As patrols seized the explosives-packed car, another car with masked men in it sped away. Separately, hundreds of Muslims chanting Islamic slogans in the village of Fanous destroyed a social services building belonging to a Coptic Church. Security forces arrived only after the building had been completely destroyed. According to the AINA report, the social services building “had all the necessary government permits; it had a reception hall on the first floor and a kindergarten on the second. But the Muslims insisted that it would become a church. Mosques in surrounding areas had earlier called on Muslims, through their megaphones, to go and help their Muslim brethren in Fanous, because Christians were “building a church.” Hundreds of other Muslim protesters rioted outside yet another church in Upper Egypt; on claims that a Christian man had sexually assaulted a 6-year-old girl, they threw stones at the building. Four stores owned by Copts were torched. Police are investigating the accusations against the merchant.

Nigeria: A total of 30 Christians were slaughtered in two separate attacks carried out by armed men ahead of the New Year, in the Muslim-majority north: on Sunday December 30, 15 people were killed when armed jihadis stormed a church and opened fire on worshippers. The night before, Muslim terrorists broke into targeted homes and slaughtered 15 other Christians in their sleep. “The victims were selected because they were all Christians, some of whom had moved into the neighbourhood from other parts of the city hit by Boko Haram attacks,” said a relief worker. Meanwhile, Nigerian president Jonathan revealed that Boko Haram has enablers even within his own government: “The saboteurs in government condoning terrorism by Boko Haram, you do not love this nation,” he said. “Those of you who leak secrets to Boko Haram do not love this nation.”

Pakistan: On Christmas day, “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,” according to a Pakistan Christian Post report.Several were shot or beaten relentlessly. Much of this appears to have been exacerbated by a fatwa, or an Islamic edict, that came out right before Christmas, saying that, “Christmas cannot be celebrated by Muslims because it is against the concept of monotheism in Islam.” Due to the subsequent chaos, Christians “were under siege from Christmas day and running out of food supplies and milk for children on fear of safety and security of life from further attacks of Muslim mob…. The news of this attack on Christians on Christmas Day was intentionally blocked by media and administration of capital city Islamabad.”

Russia: Security forces in a North Caucasus province on Sunday killed three Islamic militants suspected ofplanning attacks on church services during the Russian Orthodox Christmas holiday in January. Security forces tried to stop a van in a Muslim-majority province but its occupants opened fire and, in the ensuing battle, were killed. Guns and ammunition were subsequently discovered in the van, indicating that the men could have been planning attacks on churches during the services that marked the Russian Orthodox Christmas. “Deadly exchanges of gunfire between police and suspected militants at road checkpoints are common in Russia’s North Caucasus, a string of provinces hit by an Islamist insurgency rooted in two separatist wars in Chechnya,” the report added.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Hatred of Christians Unleashed in Libya

copts-attacked1By Raymond Ibrahim:

Last Thursday, a Coptic Christian church located in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked by armed Muslim militants.  Initial reports indicate that at least one priest, Fr. Paul Isaac, was injured, as well as his assistant.  It is the second church to be attacked in two months.  Earlier, on Sunday, December 30, an explosion rocked a Coptic Christian church near the western city of Misrata, where a group of U.S. backed rebels hold a major checkpoint. The explosion killed two people and wounded two others, all Egyptians.

Such attacks rarely if ever occurred under Col. Gaddafi.

There are currently few details.  Based on countless examples from past experience—including centuries of demonstrable continuity—there were likely loud cries of “Allahu Akbar!” with an exuberant sense of Islamic supremacism in the air. As for motivation, it was likely sheer anti-Christian sentiment.  For where else are Christians being Christians than in church—where they are being as apolitical as they are spiritual, simply trying to worship their God in peace, only to be attacked yet again.

At any rate, here is one more piece of solid evidence to validate my observation from last week—that the recent spate of arrests of Christians in Libya on the accusation that they are “missionaries” is a pretext for simple, good old-fashioned Christian hate.  After all, this armed attack on a Christian church in Benghazi occurred right around the same time 100 Christian Copts were arrested and tortured, their heads shaven and their tattooed crosses burned off with acid.

Libya’s Islamists had no problem arresting and torturing these Copts, indeed, boasting of it by posting a video of them on the Internet.  Libyan law makes it illegal for any Christian to display their Christianity or, worse, preach it.  Thus the Islamic militias are off the hook, as they were merely performing the equivalent of a “citizen’s arrest” when they abducted and trapped all those Egyptian Christians because they had crosses, Bibles, and religious icons.

Read more at Front Page

Raymond Ibrahim, a Shillman Fellow at the DHFC, is a widely published author on Islam, and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum. Join him as he explores the “Intersection”—the pivotal but ignored point where Islam and Christianity meet—including by examining the latest on Christian persecution, translating important Arabic news that never reaches the West, and much more.

Death for Preaching Christ in ‘Liberated’ Libya

blood-cross-434x350by Raymond Ibrahim
FrontPageMagazine.com
February 22, 2013

Four foreign Christians—including one who holds American-Swedish citizenship—were arrested days ago in Libya. According to the Guardian, their crime is arousing “suspicion of being missionaries and distributing Christian literature, a charge that could carry the death penalty.”

Apparently the four Christians had “contracted a local printer to produce pamphlets explaining Christianity.” Proselytizing to Muslims—that is, preaching to them another religion—was banned even under the late Col. Muammar Gaddafi.

Libyans—strongly supported by U.S. President Obama in the name of “freedom”—got rid of Gaddafi but kept the distinctly anti-freedom law.

Discussing this case, Libyan security official Hussein Bin Hmeid, trying to justify the Islamic ban on free speech, observes: “Proselytizing is forbidden in Libya. We are a 100% Muslim country and this kind of action affects our national security.” Indeed, Muslim governments—most notably Iran’s—constantly suppress any talk of Christianity, claiming it threatens “our national security.”

Such is the tribal mentality of Islam which everywhere seems to declare: If you’re not one of us, you must be an enemy trying to subvert our way of life.

Is the flip side of this prevalent mentality also true—that if Muslims are not one of us, they must be trying to subvert our way of life?

Nor should the arrested Christians expect much sympathy from more “moderate” Libyans. According to Benghazi lawyer and “human rights activist” Bilal Bettamer, Christians should not offend Muslims by trying to share their faith: “It is disrespectful. If we had Christianity we could have dialogue, but you can’t just spread Christianity. The maximum penalty is the death penalty. It’s a dangerous thing to do.”

Indeed, like “blasphemy”—whether in the guise of Muhammad cartoons or movies—proselytizing to Muslims is one of the many forms of free speech to be specifically banned by Islamic Sharia. According to Muslim tradition, this ban goes back to the second “righteous” caliph, the 7th century Omar. After conquering a group of Christians, he stipulated any number of humiliating conditions for them to live by, including: “Not to produce a cross or [Christian] book in the markets of the Muslims…. Not to display any signs of polytheism, nor make our religion appealing, nor call or proselytize anyone to it.”

As Muslims continue turning to Islam—all to Western praise and encouragement—expect the things of Islam to continue returning in big ways.

The Guardian report adds: “Libya, a conservative Muslim country, has no known Christian minority, and churches, the preserve of foreign residents, have seen few of the attacks seen in Egypt and Tunisia, where there have been church burnings.”

The Guardian reporter may have wanted to point out that, less than two months ago, on Sunday, December 30, an explosion rocked a Coptic Christian church near the western city of Misrata, in the very place where U.S. backed rebels hold a major checkpoint. The explosion killed two people and wounded two others.

And even though it is true that there are few church attacks in Libya, that is simply because there are few churches to attack in the first place—not because of some Libyan “tolerance” to churches. After all, one never hears of church attacks in Saudi Arabia. Yet that is not because Saudis are “tolerant,” but rather because they have nipped the church problem in the bud by not allowing a single church to exist on Saudi soil. Hence, no churches for Muslim mobs to attack, bomb or burn. Conversely, where there is a large Christian population, such as in Nigeria, which is roughly half Christian, Muslims are bombing churches on practically a weekly basis.

Finally, there is the rewriting of history that is foisted by Muslims everywhere, not to mention ignorant Westerners, as exemplified in this report. All of those quoted—including the writer—seem to think that Libya was born a Muslim country. Hence, in the words of Libyan “human rights” activist Bilal Bettamer, “you can’t just spread Christianity.”

What, then, do we do with real history? The fact is, although Libya is today practically entirely Muslim, it certainly wasn’t always so. In fact, before the 7th century Islamic invasions, Libya was predominantly Christian. The fact that Libya’s immediate neighbors to the west and east, Algeria and Egypt, were backbones of early Christianity—giving the world giants of theology like St. Augustine and St. Athanasius, to name but a few—certainly suggests that Libya was primarily a Christian nation, excluding some Berber tribes.

Yet Islam came and killed and converted them all to itself. And now, to keep them in line, it will kill any who try to proclaim a different message, especially the message of their conquered forefathers.

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.