Christians Pay Islam’s Price for Freedom

Gatestone Institute, by Raymond Ibrahim, April 19, 2015:

A pastor eventually helped the 12 year old to a “medical clinic, where she was treated for two weeks, while her father began organizing area Muslims to kill her.”

“The intention was to torch all the churches with us inside them” and thus “burn us alive.” — A nun in Niger.

Before we put on a show of unity with the Muslims, let’s have them begin by respecting our civilization and our culture.” — Giuseppe Berlin, Councillor, Cinisello Balsamo, Italy.

The New Year began with Muslim gunmen killing a dozen people at the offices of the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, in Paris on January 7, 2015. The attack was motivated by the publication of unflattering caricatures of Islam’s prophet, Muhammad.

Less known is that all throughout the Islamic world, the magazine’s caricatures of Muhammad were blamed on Christianity by Muslims, who seemed not to realize that the magazine habitually pokes fun at Christ, Moses, and all other religious figures. In the Palestinian territories, for example, protesters held up a sign with images of the Muslim killers behind theCharlie Hebdo massacre; the caption below said “Expect more from the champions of Islam, O you slaves of the Cross” (bold in original Arabic).

Palestinians waving Islamic State flags attempt to storm the French Cultural Center in Gaza City, in January. Some in the crowd carried posters glorifying the terrorists who carried out the attacks in Paris that month, such as this poster with photos of the terrorists and the caption “Expect more from the champions of Islam, O you slaves of the Cross”. (Image source: ehna tv YouTube screenshot)

Accordingly, Muslims around the Islamic world attacked Christian minorities by way of “collective punishment.”

In Niger, in response to the Muhammad cartoons, Muslim mobs, reportedly spurred on by the Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, torched approximately 45 Christian churches, a Christian school and orphanage, pastors’ homes and two nuns’ convents. At least 10 people were killed in the clashes; pastors in the capital, Niamey, said that anyone associated with churches — anyone exposed as Christian — was targeted.

According to a nun who escaped the violence, “The intention was to torch all the churches with us inside them” and thus “burn us alive. Boko Haram students believe they must kill Christians in order to take their place in paradise but we won’t surrender to fear because love must prevail over hatred.”

In Pakistan, some 300 Muslim students armed with iron bars and sticks and shouting anti-Christian slogans, attacked a Christian boys’ school in “retaliation” for the Muhammad cartoons. Four Christian students were injured. According to eyewitnesses, the three officers hired to guard the school stood by and watched.

“It is very sad that Islamic radicals attack Pakistani Christians because of Charlie Hebdo,” said Nasir Saeed, director of the NGO Center for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement, of the attack. “Christians condemn the blasphemous cartoons. It is a shame that even after 67 years since the birth of Pakistan, Christians have not yet been considered Pakistani citizens, but are seen as “Western allies”…. Whenever incidents occur in western countries, the faithful Pakistanis are attacked. Christians, who are already living under constant fear for their lives, become even more vulnerable.”

From an Islamic perspective, in fact, people are not classified according to nationality, but religion. It is irrelevant that those who insult the prophet of Islam are French, or European, or American. To Muslims around the world, all those terms are synonymous with “Christian.” Thus, years before the world heard of “ISIS,” Christian minorities in Iraq were being targeted and killed “over their religious ties with the West.”

The rest of January’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.

Death and Destruction at Christian Churches

Egypt: The courtyard of St. George the Martyr, a partially constructed Catholic church in Hijazh village, was set on fire by unknown persons on Christmas day (January 7 for Egyptian Christians). Christian worshipers, who had been planning to pray in the church’s courtyard — due to Muslim protests, the church had been left unfinished for 23 years — had furnished it with chairs and tents. They “were surprised” to find “flames” engulf much of the courtyard. In 2010, a wooden church building beside the unfinished church had also been burned down, although at that time faulty electrical wiring was blamed. Pictures can be seen here.

Separately, on January 25 — the anniversary of Egypt’s “Arab Spring” — gunshots were fired at the church of St. Raphael the Archangel in Maadi. Several Coptic Christians were killed, including a child, Mina Rifa’at. In other areas, such as Beni Suef, security forces closed the streets around the churches to prevent attacks by gangs affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.According to the local bishop, Antonios Aziz Mina, “clashes occurred between the police and groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood…”

Italy: Churches, crosses, and religious statues were attacked in the European, Catholic-majority nation: On New Year’s Day, a 67-year-old Moroccan man, seen mumbling verses from the Koran, used an iron rod to hurl to the ground and severely damage five statues and other religious objects in the parish church of Santa Maria Assunta in Cles, Trentino. He threw to the ground the statue of the Madonna and Child, the Immaculate, those of Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Sorrows and the statue of St. Joseph with the Child. He also targeted the marble altar and the baptistery, which shattered, two altars and a large painting of the Assumption. He was arrested by police on the charge of aggravated damage.

Then, on January 9, in the chapel of St. Barnabas in Perugia, as a man holding the photograph of a loved one was kneeling in prayer before a St. Mary statue, five “foreigners,” described as being of North African descent, attacked him. “The first thing they did was rip the photo from his hands. Next they unleashed their hatred against the image of the Virgin Mary. They broke the statue to pieces and then urinated on it,” said the Italian language report.

Finally, on January 17, a crucifix was destroyed in Cinisello Balsamo, a municipality in the Province of Milan, near a popular mosque. The municipality’s Councillor, Giuseppe Berlin, did not mince words concerning the identity of the culprit(s): “It’s time to put an end to the do-gooders’ policies of welcoming and integrating by a certain political party. Before we put on a show of unity with Muslims, let’s have them begin by respecting our civilization and our culture. We shouldn’t minimize the importance of certain signals; we must wake up now or our children will suffer the consequences of this dangerous and uncontrolled Islamic invasion.”

Kenya: An unknown gunman shot a Christian dead at the gate leading to a church on Sunday, January 11 in Mombasa. As George Muriki, 25, arrived with two other church members at the gate leading to Maximum Revival Ministries Church, one of two men who had been following him shot him three times in the back, apparently after mistaking him for the church pastor. According to the pastor, “The two other church members, who happened to be ladies, were pushed aside and one of the attackers said, ‘This is the church pastor,’ and there and then the attackers fired three times right at the back of George, who died at the spot…. My life is in danger — I know I was the target, but God protected…. Someone has been following me for the last one month.” The pastor later named his stalker as “Mohammed.” “The school hall also is not safe,” he added. “We have to move to another location; otherwise we are going to lose many members who are now afraid to come to church.”

Nigeria: During a New Year church service, an Islamic suicide bomber blew himself up at the gates of a church in the city of Gombe. Eight people were wounded. In the words of a Red Cross official: “This morning [January 1] while people were in church for the New Year worship, a suicide attacker rode on a motorcycle trying to gain entrance to the premises of the church. When he was stopped at the gates by the church guards … he blew himself up and injured eight people.”

Separately, after several Western mainstream media reported that Nigeria’s Muslims protected Christian churches during Christmas Day celebrations, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) debunked such claims. “It has,” they said, “become imperative for us to clarify this falsehood and confusion in local and international media. Many of our members have been calling and asking questions whether a Church was protected from being attacked by Muslims in [the] Sabo area on Christmas day? And we said it is not true.” CAN added that, contrary to Western media reports, not one of 600 churches was protected by Muslims on Christmas.

Pakistan: On December 29, a Protestant Christian church was set on fire, leaving the Christian community in “dismay and terror.” According to Pastor Qamar Zaman, in charge of the pastoral care of the affected community, “it is an act of intimidation to spread terror and create enmity between Christians and Muslims.” Responding to this incident, lawyer and activist Sardar Mushtaq Gill said: “Christians in Pakistan suffer from a sense of distrust and fear. Extremists continue to sow terror in the minds of citizens and have no regard either towards the people or the holy places. They want to create disharmony among the faiths in Pakistan and create unrest in the country. Our answer can only be a response of faith and prayer.”

Syria: On January 9, a number of Christian churches in Aleppo, some around 200 years old, were bombed by Islamic rebels. Among them was the Armenian Catholic Cathedral, St. Rita — or, “Our Lady of Pity,” built in 1830 — which was left partially destroyed (pictures here). According to Rev. Fr. Krikor Milad, based in Aleppo, the bombing took place around 5:30 a.m., while everyone slept: “If the bombing had taken place just two hours later, the church would have been full of worshippers. God saved them.” Four months earlier, the Armenian Genocide Memorial and Church of Der Zor was destroyed by the Islamic State.

On January 30, two pickup trucks, carrying twenty armed members of the Islamic State, entered the Assyrian town of Tel Hormizd in Hassaka and forced the residents to remove the cross from the church tower. The leader threatened to bomb the church if the cross were not removed. Unable to defend themselves, the residents complied.

The aftermath of the March 2014 Islamist takeover of the Armenian town of Kessab was detailed in a Telegraph report after government forces liberated the Christian town. The report tells of the many churches destroyed, crosses broken, and images of Christ and Virgin Mary defaced: “The perpetrators had shown both purpose and glee in their destruction of Christian sites in this ancient Armenian town. Statues were riddled with bullets and Islamist slogans were scrawled across the walls of homes and shops…. Nearby, the Holy Trinity Armenian Evangelical church was little more than a burned shell. Walls were blackened by smoke; wooden pews, tapestries, Bibles and kneeling cushions had all been incinerated in a fire that appeared to have raged until there was nothing left to burn.” “I was at home with my husband when they raided the house,” Zavinar Sargdegian, a 58-year-old resident, explained her ordeal. “They broke down the front door. They pushed us on to the street. We were on our knees and they put a gun to our heads. From the road I saw the Angelic Church burning. Fire was coming out of the doors and windows.”

Death to Apostates

Uganda: A Muslim father and imam, or prayer leader, beat his 15-year-old daughter to death for converting to Christianity and was reportedly trying to kill her hospitalized 12-year-old sister, also for abandoning Islam for Christ. According to a local source, around mid-December,

“Their father got the information that his daughters have converted, and he organized a small group of fellow Muslims, about 17 people, to go and attack the Christians. He found the [church] campaign had finished but went back to his home and waited for the daughters. When they went back home, the father picked up the club and started beating them badly till one called Jamirah died.”

The younger, Saidah, described her ordeal as follows: “My father took us to the house and then locked the house. He questioned us why we attended a Christian meeting and started beating us up with a club. My sister was hit on the forehead and fell down. I tried to hide myself in the bed, but he got me out and began beating me up as my sister lay down bleeding.” Saidah began shouting for help, but her father covered her mouth with such force that she nearly suffocated. She fell down, unconscious. A pastor eventually helped her to “a medical clinic, where she was treated for two weeks, while her father began organizing area Muslims to kill her.”

Murder and Dhimmitude

Egypt: On January 13, a Christian man was shot to death in broad daylight “for what family members believe was their refusal to drop charges against the suspect’s relatives in other religiously motivated killings in 2013.” The gunman, Hasan Baghdadi, was arrested the following day. He and his brother, Mohamed, ambushed 38-year-old Shaheed Nesemis Saroufeem — a cousin of a Christian who was killed along with three other Copts in July 2013. The Baghdadi brothers are related to at least one of those accused in the 2013 killing. Mohamed Baghdadi, said local Copts, is an Islamist who regularly incites violence against Christians in the area.

Separately, a young Coptic Christian girl, Sabrine Mushir, was kidnapped in the village of Dalga. Coptic activists complained that not a single person from among the authorities and security forces did a single thing to try to find the girl. As one family member said, “If this were the daughter of one of the local authorities, she would have been retrieved in seconds.” Dalga, where the young Christian girl was kidnapped, is the same Upper Egyptian village where, in September 2013, Muslim Brotherhood sympathizers forced the Christian inhabitants to pay Islamic jizya — the money, or tribute, that vanquished non-Muslims historically had to pay to their Islamic overlords “with willing submission and while feeling themselves subdued,” in the words of Koran 9:29. In some cases, those not able to pay were attacked, and their wives and children beaten or kidnapped.

Iraq: The Islamic State expelled 10 elderly Christians from Mosul after they refused to renounce their Christian faith and convert to Islam. On Wednesday, January 7, the group of elders — some with serious health problems — was welcomed in Kirkuk, after spending two days in the cold and traveling in no man’s land. “They had thrown us out from our villages and our homes to occupy them,” said Rachel, “and then we were all clumped together in a residence in Mosul.”

Kazakhstan: Nikolai Novikov, a devoted Baptist church member, was banned from leaving the country, and faced other charges, because he refused to pay fines equivalent to a monthly wage for attending a Christian worship meeting without state permission: “I didn’t pay because I don’t consider myself guilty,” said the Christian, who was also jailed for five days. Novikov, a 34-year-old married father of four living in the city of Oral (Uralsk), is among the most vocal voices against a government crackdown on Christians who express their faith openly or gather without state permission.

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 Ibrahimis author ofCrucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War in Christians(published by Regnery in cooperation with Gatestone Institute, April 2013).

Also see:

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

The West: Desensitized to Islamic Violence

IRAQ-UNREST-ARMY-EXECUTIONFrontpage, by Raymond Ibrahim, Jan. 28, 2015

Originally published by VIE

Following the January 7 massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, where Islamic gunmen killed a dozen people because the satirical magazine had mocked the prophet of Islam, one thing has become clear: the amount of atrocities committed in the name of Islam all around the world have become so frequent, so ubiquitous, that other, lesser hostilities by Muslims, which might once have been newsworthy, are now completely falling by the wayside, seen as minor and insignificant—commonplace, almost expected.

Thus, while Islamic gunmen were massacring “infidels” in Paris (and elsewhere), “everyday Muslims” in Europe were engaging in less dramatic, but no less significant behavior.

On Friday, January 9—Friday being when Muslims get most riled during mosque sermons and when non-Muslims are frequently attacked—“foreigners” in Italy, believed to be Muslims, attacked a man kneeling in prayer before the statue of the Virgin Mary, tore the photo of a loved one from his hand, and then broke and urinated on the Virgin Mary statue. By the time police arrived at the chapel the attackers had already fled.

Ten days later, also in Italy, a crucifix near a populated mosque was shattered to pieces.

Immediately after this incident, according to the report, “People have already strongly reacted across social networks. They are outraged at this new blow to their deepest feelings, to their beliefs. People can’t take it anymore.”

Nor did the municipality’s Councillor Giuseppe Berlin of the civil list “Your Town” mince words:

It’s time to put an end to the do-gooders’ policies of welcoming and integrating by a certain political party.  Before we put a show of unity with Muslims, let’s have them begin by respecting our civilization and our culture. We shouldn’t minimize the importance of certain signals; we must wake up now or our children will suffer the consequences of this dangerous and uncontrolled Islamic invasion.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis called on Catholics and Western people in general to refrain from insulting other religions—namely Islam: “It’s normal, it’s normal [violence]. One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people’s faith, one cannot make fun of faith.”

It is widely believed that the Pope made these statements in reference to the Charlie Hebdo massacre, which was provoked by “insult[ing] other people’s faith,” those “people” being Muslims and that “faith” being Islam.

One wonders if Pope Francis would still call it “normal” if members of his own flock were to murder those who urinated on the Virgin statue or broke the crucifix?

And in Spain, also on Friday, January 9, an unruly and violent young Moroccan man broke into a store to get a knife, started screaming Islamic slogans—including “Allahu Akbar!” “You will all die!” and “I am a Muslim!”—resisted arrest, tried to snatch the arresting officer’s weapon, and smashed the patrol car’s windows.

Police ended up tying him with tape and moving him to another patrol car to transfer him to the General Hospital of Manresa, where he was sedated. During the transfer, he kept shouting things like, “You killed my brothers in Paris. I’m going to kill everyone. Christians, you will die!”

Before this incident, he was in a juvenile facility where he had tried to “propagate ideas of holy war and jihad among other youths of North African origin.”

None of these incidents made it into any major Western media and instead appeared in minor, local (Italian and Spanish) websites.

You see, here in the West, for any Islamic outburst or attack to be deemed “newsworthy,” it must involve dramatic, wholesale slaughter, as in the Charlie Hebdo affair. Such is the West’s desensitization towards Islamic violence. Muslims attacking praying Christians, smashing and urinating on Christian statues and icons, or screaming “You will all die! I am a Muslim!” are today deemed trite and commonplace, hardly newsworthy.

One wonders how long before Charlie Hebdo-style attacks also lose their newsworthiness, becoming commonplace and expected, as the tentacles of the jihad continue to grow.

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).

The Significance of Sisi’s Speech

Raymond Ibrahim, Jan. 7, 2015:

On New Year’s Day, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi—the hero of Egypt’s 2013 anti-Muslim Brotherhood revolution—made some remarkable comments concerning the need for a “religious revolution.”

Watch the video below or click here to read the excerpt:

 

Sisi made his remarks during a speech celebrating the birth of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad—which was ironically held on January 1, 2015 (a day not acknowledged or celebrated in the Muslim world as it is based on a Christian calendar)—and he was addressing the nation’s top Islamic authorities from among the Awqaf Ministry (religious endowments) and Al Azhar University.

Although Sisi’s words were directed to Islam’s guardians and articulators, they indirectly lead to several important lessons for Western observers.

First, in just a few words, Sisi delivered a dose of truth and hard-hitting reality concerning the Islamic world’s relationship to the rest of the world—a dose of reality very few Western leaders dare think let alone proclaim.

“It’s inconceivable,” he said, “that the thinking that we hold most sacred should cause the entire umma [Islamic world] to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world.  Impossible!”

What a refreshingly honest statement to come from not only a political leader but a Muslim political leader who has much to lose, not least his life!  Contrast his very true words with the habitual reassurances of the Western establishment that Islamic world violence and intolerance is a product of anything and everything but Islam.

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Even after the appearance of the head-chopping, infidel-crucifying Islamic State, politicians like U.S. President Obama and U.K. Prime Minister Cameron insisted that the “caliphate” is not Islamic, despite all the evidence otherwise. Yet here is Sisi, the pious Muslim, saying that the majority of the terrorism plaguing the world today is related to the holy texts of Islam themselves:

That thinking [that is responsible for producing “anxiety, danger, killing and destruction” around the world]—I am not saying “religion” but “thinking”—that corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the centuries, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world.  It’s antagonizing the entire world!

As a Muslim, Sisi will not say that Islam, the “religion,” is responsible for “antagonizing the entire world,” but he certainly goes much further than his Western counterparts when he says that this “thinking” is rooted in an Islamic “corpus of texts and ideas” which have become so “sacralized.”

Recall that here in the West, Islamic terrorists are seen as mere “criminals” and their terrorism as “crimes” without mention of any Islamic text or ideology driving them.

The Egyptian president further invoked the classical Islamic teaching—the “thinking”—that divides the world into two warring halves: the Muslim world (or in Islamic/Arabic parlance, Dar al-Islam) which must forever be in a struggle with the rest of the world (or Dar al-Harb, the “abode of war”) till, in the Koran’s words, “all religion belongs to Allah” (Koran 8:39).

“Is it possible,” asked Sisi, “that 1.6 billion people should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants—that is 7 billion—so that they themselves may live?”

Sisi made another important point that Western leaders and media habitually lie about: after affirming that Islamic “thinking” is “antagonizing the entire world,” he said that “this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.”

In other words, Islamic terrorism and chaos is not a product of grievance, territorial disputes, colonialism, Israel, offensive cartoons, or anything else the West points to.  It’s a product of their “own hands.”

Again, one must appreciate how refreshing it is for a top political leader in the heart of the Islamic world to make such candid admissions that his Western counterparts dare not even think let alone speak. And bear in mind, Sisi has much to lose as opposed to Western politicians.  Calls by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists that he is an apostate are sure to grow more aggressive now.

The critic may ask, “All well and good, but words aside, what has Sisi actually done to help bring about this “religious revolution”?  In fact, one popular journalist, Ibrahim Eissa, recently said just this on live television in Egypt:

Five months have passed since he [Sisi] became president, after his amazing showing at elections.  Okay: the president has, more than once, indicated the need for a renewal of religious discourse….  But he has not done a single thing, President Sisi, to renew religious discourse.  Nothing at all.

Yet it seems that Sisi has an answer for this, too: it is not his job as president of Egypt to reform the thinking of the Islamic world; rather, that role belongs to the ulema—which is precisely why he addressed them with such candid words.  Indeed, he repeatedly stressed that it is the ulema’s job to lead this “religious revolution.”

Thus, “I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move…. I am saying these words here at Al Azhar, before this assembly of scholars and ulema—Allah Almighty be witness to your truth on Judgment Day concerning that which I’m talking about now.”

Meanwhile, while Sisi was making these groundbreaking if not historic statements, the Western mainstream media, true to form, ignored them and instead offered puerile and redundant headlines, most critical of Sisi, like:

  • “Egypt President Sisi urged to free al-Jazeera reporter” (BBC, Jan 1; to which I respond, “Why, so Al Jazeera can continue lying and misleading the West about Sisi and Egypt’s anti-Muslim Brotherhood revolution?”)
  •  “Egyptian gays living in fear under Sisi regime” (USA Today, Jan. 2; to which I respond, “Homosexuals live in fear in all Islamic nations, regardless of Sisi.”)
  •  “George Clooney’s wife Amal risks arrest in Egypt” (Fox News, Jan. 3; to which I respond, “Who cares?  Only her innocence or guilt matter, not her husband’s fame”—which is the only reason Fox News chose the story in the first place.)

Whether concerning the true nature of Islam or the true nature of Sisi, here is the latest example of how unfathomably ignorant all those millions of people who exclusively follow the so-called “mainstream media” must surely be.

Also see:

In light of President Sisi’s comments, we ask for public clarification on the following points:

  • Is it the position of ISNA that the imams of Al Azhar have a responsibility to renounce the “mindset” of jihad, conquest, and, as suggested by President Sisi, genocide of the world’s non-Muslims?
  • Is it the position of ISNA that the time is right for a “religious revolution,” as President Sisi stated?
  • Is it the position of ISNA that jihad is a holy obligation for all Muslims?

Christians and Churches Attacked in the West: Muslim Persecution of Christians, September 2014

by Raymond Ibrahim
December 24, 2014

You have a cross on… Do you know what we do to people like you?” — Muslim in Denmark.

Muslim Fulani gunmen forced their way into the church, cut [the pastor], his wife and a daughter with a machete, and then tied the hands and feet of the three of them before setting the building on fire… We only found the charred remains of the three of them in the morning. I heard them shouting at the top of their voices, saying they must obliterate any traces of Christianity in the town.” — Eyewitness account, Nigeria.

Each year, approximately 1,000 women in Pakistan are forced to convert to Islam and marry Muslim men. Whenever a case of this nature reaches the law courts, those women, under threat and blackmail, often declare that their conversion and marriage were decisions freely made, and the case is closed.

The Muslim persecution of Christians in September started making prominent appearances not just in the Islamic world, but also in the West—in America, Australia and Europe.

In the United States, in Columbus, Indiana, three churches were vandalized on the same night. The words most frequently sprayed were “Infidels!” and “Koran 3:151.” The verse from the Koran states, “We will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve [or “infidels”] for what they have associated with Allah [reference to Christian Trinity] of which He had not sent down [any] authority. And their refuge will be the Fire, and wretched is the residence of the wrongdoers.”

Father Doug Marcotte of Saint Bartholomew’s Catholic Church, one of those vandalized, said, “There’s a lot of bad stuff being done in the name of Allah and so when people see this happening in Columbus, whether that was truly the person’s intent or there’s something else going on, it makes people nervous. It makes people upset. It makes them scared.”

Meanwhile, in Australia, AAP reported that “Church-goers in Sydney’s west have been left shaken after a stranger shouted death threats from a car bearing the Islamic State flag. The car drove past Our Lady of Lebanon Church at Harris Park on Tuesday and witnesses claim it had a flag similar to those brandished by Islamic State jihadists hanging out the window.” A church official said the people in the car threatened to “kill the Christians” and slaughter their children: “They were strong words and people were scared of what they saw.” Witnesses saw a flag outside the window with the words, “There is only one god and Muhammad is the prophet.” And as happens frequently in Muslim-majority nations, police security was later dispatched to patrol the Harris Park church while hundreds partook of the mass inside.

People in a car bearing a jihadist flag verbally abused parishioners at the Our Lady of Lebanon Church in Sydney, Australia in September, threatening to “kill the Christians” and slaughter their children.

In Denmark—2013’s “happiest country in the world“—Christians of Middle Eastern backgrounds continued to experience “harassment, verbal attacks and in some cases direct violence from Muslims,” reports TV2, especially in Muslim-majority areas, such as Nørrebro. One Christian, “Jojo,” born in Denmark of Lebanese parents, shared her experiences. Once when sitting in her parked car, several Muslims surrounded it, harassing her about her Western attire. When one of them noticed she was wearing a cross, he said “Well, you have a cross on—then you are also a Christian f***ing whore. Do you know what we do to people like you? Do you know what we do to people like you? You get stoned [to death].”

Another Christian woman of Iranian background recounted how she and her son are harassed on the Muslim-majority block where they live—and where she stands out for not wearing ahijab, the Islamic veil: “My son is being called everything. I get called all sorts of things. Infidel. Filthy Christians. They tell me I ought to be stoned to death. My son was beaten at the bus stop. He was called pig, dirty potato (Muslim slang for Danes), and that ‘you and your mother should die.”‘

Islamic dreams of conquering Europe were prevalent. A senior analyst in Spain warned that, because Islamists see the Iberian peninsula as being “under Spanish and Portuguese occupation,” greater risk of terrorism exists there than in other Western areas. Because Iberia—or, in Arabic, Al-Andalus—was under Islamic domination for centuries, many Muslims consider it part of the Islamic world, or Dar al-Islam, which needs to be reconquered, no less than Israel, also seen as occupied Islamic territory.

More pointedly, in the Islamic State [IS], in a lengthy message partially addressed to the “crusaders”—a reference to the West—some members declared, “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the permission of Allah.” Members of the IS also invoked a statement attributed to Muhammad, that Constantinople would be conquered before Rome—and it was, in 1453. The implication was that the Eternal City of Rome would be next.

Around the same time, Rome responded by rejecting a motion to name a street after the late Oriana Fallaci, a veteran journalist who had once written that, “the Muslim world is attempting to conquer the West in the name of Islam.” In explaining their decision, local politicians described Fallaci’s writings as containing “religious hatred,” or “Islamophobia.”

In Canada, while 80 special Muslims went to the trouble of attending a Muslim rally on behalf of persecuted Christians, sadly, another rally, an extremist Al Quds Day Anti-Israel Hate Fest, drew approximately 6,000 participants.

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

Muslim Attacks on Churches

East Jerusalem: A Christian church was attacked numerous times: On September 29, young Muslim men, with ties to a Palestinian militant group, wired shut the door of the Living Bread Church and sprayed a gaseous substance at those inside. An earlier gas attack had already occurred on September 17. Hours before the second attack, someone threw a rock through one of the windows of the church, and the day before that, Sunday, September 28, a Palestinian and others assaulted a church member as he was emptying trash into a dumpster outside the church.

On Sept. 21, a Palestinian militant, without warning, ran up behind a church leader, Karen Dunham, and knocked her to the pavement: “This guy charged me as fast as he could,” she said. “He came up behind me and just slammed into my back, and I fell and I hit the ground. My face is bruised. There’s bruises on the side of my cheek, on my face, on my head, on my knee, cuts on my head, and my wrist was fractured.”

Egypt: A Christian priest in Egypt appealed to President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to intervene on behalf of yet another church being threatened by “religious extremists.” So far, local authorities have done nothing. Four years ago, the Coptic Church of St. Abram in Shubra al-Khaima received a permit to build an additional building. During those same four years, seven “thugs”—in the words of the report—have prevented it from being built. The “thugs” had mobilized local Muslims to threaten and demonstrate against the church. “The priest lamented that ‘after suffering many long years’ they finally managed to acquire the permit to build, but then the next obstacle presented itself in the person of the aforementioned seven ‘thugs’ who constantly harass, and incite Muslim mobs, against the church, whenever it tries to exercise its right to build the services building. Islamic law forbids the building of new churches or the renovation of existing churches.”

Iraq: Islamic State militants “completely destroyed” the ancient Green Church in Tikrit. They packed the church with explosives and detonated them — completely destroying the ancient church, which belonged to the Assyrian Church of the East. Almost from the time it was built in the seventh century, when Islam overran Iraq, the church had been attacked, ransacked, and destroyed by Muslim rulers and others, but was restored on the orders of Iraq’s late President Saddam Hussein in the 1990s.

Nigeria: Many more churches and a Christian university, Kulp Bible College, were forced to shut down as a result of the advances of the Islamic jihadi group, Boko Haram. In one instance, a pastor reported that “Boko Haram violence has been getting worse every day, and our members are fleeing the area by the thousands. Recent attacks in Borno and Adamawa states where our churches are located have seen Boko Haram take over the Army base. As a result, about 350 Christians have been killed.”

Separately, in Kaduna state, where “Muslim Fulani assailants seem driven to rid the area of Christianity and use the land to graze their cattle,” according to church leaders, 46 Christians, including two pastors, were slaughtered in raids. According to an eyewitness,

“Suddenly we heard sounds of gunshots around our village. The pastor was still in the pastorate when the Muslim Fulani gunmen forced their way onto the church premises. They cut him, his wife and a daughter with a machete, and then tied the hands and feet of the three of them before setting the house on fire. The three of them were burned to ashes in the living room of the pastorate. We only found the charred remains of the three of them the following morning…. The gunmen then came onto the church premises and began shooting. I heard them shouting at the top of their voices, saying they must obliterate any trace of Christianity in the town.”

Although Muslim Fulani have historically had property disputes with Christian farmers, Christian leaders say attacks by the herdsmen constitute a war “by Islam to eliminate Christianity” in Nigeria.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

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

Islam: Built on the Blood of (Christian Child) Martyrs

IRAQ-UNREST-CHRISTIANSFrontpage, by Raymond Ibrahim, Dec. 9, 2014:

In a recent interview on CBN News, Andrew White, an Anglican priest known as the “Vicar of Baghdad,” tried to recount the horrific atrocities Christians in Iraq are suffering at the hands of the Islamic State.  After explaining how Christian minorities fled Baghdad to Ninevah when Islamic militants began terrorizing them and bombing their churches, White said:

Then one day, ISIS, the Islamic State, the Islamic caliphate came [to Ninevah] and they hounded all of them [Christians] out.   Not some, all f them.  And they killed huge numbers.  They chopped their children in half; they chopped their heads off.

It should be noted that the targeting of Christian children in Iraq goes back years before the creation of ISIS.  For example, in June 2008, a Canadian parliamentary committee heard about how “militant Muslims” were crucifying Christian children: “Since the war began in 2003, about 12 children, many as young as 10, have been kidnapped and killed, then nailed to makeshift crosses near their homes to terrify and torment their parents.”

During his interview, White offered the following, likely surreal to Western sensibilities, anecdote:

ISIS turned up and they said to the [Christian] children, “You say the words [shehada, 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 [ISIS] 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.

As callous as it is to say, perhaps these faithful children are better off.  After all, ISIS members have been known to compel Christians to convert to Islam, and still cruelly hack their heads off—thus damning them twice.

Similarly, in one of his Facebook postings, White wrote:

Today’s Pictures are too awful to show.  You know I love to show photos but the photo I was sent today was the most awful I have ever seen.  A family of 8 all shot through the face laying in a pool of blood with their Bible open on the couch. They would not convert it cost them their life.

During his CBN interview, White also told of how ISIS members came to a Christian man saying, “Either you convert to Islam or we kill all your children.”  The desperate father declared the words, the shehada, that “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah,” thus becoming a Muslim.  Contrite at heart, he phoned White crying, “Abouna, abouna [father, father] I said the words! Does that mean Jesus doesn’t love me anymore?  I’ve always loved Jesus but I said those words because I couldn’t see my children being killed!”

White responded: “No Elias, Jesus still loves you—he will always love you.”

The two types of anecdotes offered by White—Christians refusing to embrace Islam and dying for it, and Christians embracing Islam under duress—are an integral part of how the “Islamic world,” the majority of which was almost entirely Christian before the Islamic conquests, came into being: a historic fact Western people were once well acquainted with, before the current age of political correctness and alternate realities.

A historic anecdote that combines the twain—forced conversion to Islam followed by Christian remorse—comes from Egypt:

In 1389, a great procession of Copts who had accepted Muhammad under fear of death, marched through Cairo.  Repenting of their apostasy, they now wished to atone for it by the inevitable consequence of returning to Christianity. So as they marched, they announced that they believed in Christ and renounced Muhammad. They were seized and all the men were beheaded one after another in an open square before the women. But this did not terrify the women; so they, too, were all martyred. (Crucified Again, pgs. 113-114)

First forced to convert and then forced to remain in Islam—both on pain of death: these are two facts of Islam, past and present; facts that, according to top ranking Islamic cleric Sheikh Qaradawi are responsible for the existence of Islam today.  Just ask  Sudan’s Meriam Ibrahim, Egypt’s Muhammad Hegazy, or Iran’s (rather America’s forsaken) Saeed Abedini.

Aside from the numerous historic accounts of Christians slaughtered for refusing Islam—whether 100,000 Georgian beheaded or burned alive, or a “mere” 813 Italians beheaded—Christians are still being forced to convert to Islam, and not just at the hands of ISIS:

•Palestine, July 2012: Christians in Gaza protested over the “kidnappings and forced conversions of some former believers to Islam.”  The ever-dwindling Christian community banged on a church bell while chanting, “With our spirit, with our blood we will sacrifice ourselves for you, Jesus.”

•Pakistan:  In 2004, a-two-year old child was raped because her Christian father “refused to convert to Islam.”  Another “devoted Christian” was butchered by Muslim men “with multiple axe blows [24 per autopsy] for refusing to convert to Islam.” In April 2014, A Muslim security guard murdered a Christian worker who refused to convert to Islam.

•Uganda, July 2014: After a gang of Muslims brandishing machetes stormed a church during service, hacking one 18-year-old woman to death and leaving three others, including a one-year-old baby, injured, the pastor explained that the attackers belong to a local “group of Muslims” which seeks “to transform [Christian-majority] Uganda into an Islamic nation and would kill anyone who refused to convert.”

•Nigeria, May 2014: A Christian teenage girl told of how Boko Haram came to her household and slaughtered her father and brother because they refused to convert to Islam.  After abusing her, they tied her up and left her in a state of shock between the two corpses.

•Bangladesh, October 2013:  After shutting down the construction of a church, a local government official threatened Christians with eviction from their village unless they renounced their faith and embraced Islam.  Said one of the Christians: “Their threats chilled me to the bone. That is why I pretended to accept Islam, but faith in Christ is the wellspring of my life.” Another said: “The chairman is clipping the wings of our faith. I do not know how long we can grin and bear it. We want religious freedom. We want to practice our religion freely.”

•Russia, 2013: In Tatarstan, a Muslim-majority republic in Russia, seven churches were burned and “increased pressure on Christians to convert to Islam” was widespread.

•Uzbekistan, August 2012: A 26-year-old Christian woman, partially paralyzed from youth, and her elderly mother were violently attacked by invaders who ransacked their home, confiscating “icons, Bibles, religious calendars, and prayer books.” At the police department, the paralyzed woman was “offered to convert to Islam.” She refused and was accordingly fined almost two years’ worth of her wages.

Pakistan, Uganda, Russia, Nigeria, Palestine, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh: these are not “ISIS.”  Yet Christians there are experiencing the same intolerance and violence that Christians under ISIS are experiencing.

The lesson?  If all around the Muslim world Christian minorities are being forced to embrace Islam, the very least the non-Muslim world can do is embrace the fact that Islam is inherently hostile—a costly lesson that countless innocents have been paying for nearly 1,400 years.

Raymond Ibrahim on TruNews with Rick Wiles

ibrahimbook_s640x427Raymond Ibrahim:

Last week I was interviewed by Rick Wiles on TruNews. Topics dealt with the Islamic State, Christian persecution, and the Obama administration. The interview can be heard below; it starts around the 9:30 mark:

“We Need Your Head”: Muslim Persecution of Christians, July 2014

By Raymond Ibrahim:

“The United States did not come out to say anything about Boko Haram. They kept talking about economic problem. That is not true… The United States deliberately ignored the fundamental issues of religious ideology.” — Nicholas Okoh, Primate, Church of Nigeria

A judge in Iran sentenced a Christian man to have his lips burnt with a cigarette for eating during the day in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

A church member added that members of the Muslim group had said they wanted to transform Uganda into am Islamic nation and would kill anyone who refused to convert.

The purge of ancient Christian communities throughout Iraq that started in June culminated in great intolerance in July.

Among other Islamic attacks, a Christian church that had stood Iraq for 1,800 years — a church that was erected less than 200 years after Christ — was reportedly torched by the Islamic State, according to countless news agencies, including Al Arabiya.

A fire rages in the compound of Mosul’s 1800 year-old church, July 2014.

Islamic State jihadis also stormed and took over an ancient monastery in northern Iraq. St. Behnam monastery had stood since the fourth century and was one of Iraq’s best-known Christian landmarks. It was built by an Assyrian king as a penance for executing his children Behnam and Sarah for converting to Christianity.

The jihadis expelled its few monks; they said, “You have no place here anymore, you have to leave immediately.” The monks pled to be allowed to save some of the monastery’s ancient relics, but the jihadis refused and ordered them to walk miles along a deserted road with nothing but their clothes.

The Islamic State issued a July 19 deadline for Mosul’s Christians either to convert to Islam or face execution. Islamic State members also singled out Christian homes by placing the Arabic letter for “N” — based on the Arabic word Nasara, or “Nazarenes,” the Koran’s pejorative for Christians — on the sides of their homes. The result, in the words of Patriarch Louis Sako, is that, “For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians.”

In response to the Islamic State’s latest atrocities against Iraq’s Christian minorities, the Syriac Orthodox Bishop of Mount Lebanon and Tripoli, George Saliba, denounced not just the Islamic State but Muslims in general for their long “history of violence and oppression against Christians”:

What is happening in Iraq is a strange thing, but it is normal for Muslims, because they have never treated Christians well, and they have always held an offensive and defaming stand against Christians…. We used to live and coexist with Muslims, but then they revealed their canines [teeth]…. [They don’t] have the right to storm houses, steal and attack the honor of Christians. Most Muslims do this; the Ottomans killed us and after that the ruling nation-states understood the circumstances but always gave advantage to the Muslims. Islam has never changed…

Islamic organizations responded by denouncing the Syriac bishop’s words as “hateful” and Islamophobic, demanding an apology.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also made some telling remarks concerning the plight of Christians, especially in those Mideast countries the U.S. is involved in. When asked if he was “troubled” by the Presbyterian Church USA’s decision to withdraw $21 million worth of investments from Israel on behalf of the Palestinian people, the prime minister said:

You know I would suggest to these Presbyterian organizations to fly to the Middle East, come and see Israel for the embattled democracy that it is, and then take a bus tour, go to Libya, go to Syria, go to Iraq, and see the difference. And I would give them two pieces of advice; one is, make sure it’s an armor plated bus, and second, don’t say that you’re Christians.

The rest of July’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 at Gatestone Institute

Islam and the Mafia: ‘Making An Offer You Can’t Refuse’

mgf-450x253Front Page, by Raymond Ibrahim:

Editor’s note: The following is Part Three a three-part series examining the many parallels between Islam and the mafia following Bill Maher’s recent exclamation that Islam is “the only religion that acts like the mafia, that will f***ing kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture, or write the wrong book.” Click for Part One and for Part Two.

Coercion and Death Threats

Although the novel turned movie, The Godfather, is fictitious, it also captures much of the mafia’s modus operandi. Consider, for example, that most famous of lines—“I’m going to make him an offer he can’t refuse”—spoken by the Godfather to one of his “godsons,” an aspiring actor and singer, who, after being turned down by a studio director for a role that he desperately wanted, turns to his Godfather for aid.

As the movie progresses, we discover that the offer that the director can’t refuse is nothing less than violence and the threat of death: after the Godfather’s messenger to the director asking that the actor be given the role is again rejected, the studio head awakes to find the bloodied and decapitated head of his favorite stallion in bed with him. The godson subsequently gets the movie role.

Throughout the context of the entire Godfather trilogy—and indeed, in the context of the mafia—making someone “an offer they can’t refuse”—comes to mean “do as I say or suffer the consequences,” possibly death.

Compare this to Islam’s threefold choice. On Muhammad’s orders, whenever Islamic jihadis conquer a territory, they are to give the non-Muslim inhabitants three choices: 1) convert to Islam, 2) maintain your own religion (an option technically only available to Christians and Jews) but pay tribute and live as a subdued third-class citizen, a “dhimmi,” or 3) die.

Not only do the primary historical texts written by authoritative Muslims record this aspect of Islam, but to this very day, Islam’s threefold choice is making headlines, most recently at the hands of the Islamic State.

The ‘Protection Racket’

Once the mafia gains a “territory,” one of the primary ways it profits is by collecting “protection money” from the inhabitants. While the protection racket has several faces, one in particular is akin to an Islamic institution: the idea of coercing people in the mafia’s territory to pay money for “protection,” ostensibly from outside forces, when in fact the protection bought is from the mafia itself—that is, extortion money, or pizzo. Potential “clients” who refuse the mafia’s “protection” often have their property vandalized and are routinely threatened and harassed.

Compare pizzo with the Islamic concept of jizya: The word jizya appears in Koran 9:29: “Fight those among the People of the Book [Christians and Jews] who do not believe in Allah nor the Last Day, nor forbid what Allah and his Messenger have forbidden, nor embrace the religion of truth, until they pay the jizya with willing submission and feel themselves subdued (emphasis added).”

In the hadith, the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad—in our analogy, the “underboss”—regularly calls on Muslims to demand jizya of non-Muslims:  “If they refuse to accept Islam,” said the Islamic prophet, “demand from them the jizya. If they agree to pay, accept it from them and hold off your hands. If they refuse to pay jizya, seek Allah’s help and fight them.”

The root meaning of the Arabic word “jizya” is simply to “repay” or “recompense,” basically to “compensate” for something.  According to the Hans Wehr Dictionary, the standard Arabic-English dictionary, jizya is something that “takes the place” of something else, or “serves instead.”

Simply put, conquered non-Muslims were to purchase their lives, which were otherwise forfeit to their Muslim conquerors, with money. Instead of taking their lives, they took their money.  As one medieval jurist succinctly puts it, “their lives and their possessions are only protected by reason of payment of jizya” (Crucified Again, p. 22).

Interestingly, just as the mafia rationalizes its collection of “protection money” by portraying it as money paid to buy mafia protection against “outsiders”—when, as mentioned, the money/tribute serves only to protect the client from the mafia itself—so too do Islam’s apologists portray the collection of jizya as money meant to buy Muslim protection from outsiders, when in fact the money/jizya buys protection from Muslims themselves.

Conclusion: Mafia—What’s In a Word?

What accounts for all these similarities between Islam and the mafia? It is further telling that the word mafia itself,which means “hostility to the law, boldness,” is believed to be derived from the Arabic slang word, mahya, which in translation means “bragging, boasting, bravado, and swaggering.”

This etymology is a reminder that Sicily, birthplace of the mafia, was under Arab/Islamic domination for over 200 years. Aside from a borrowed etymology, could much of the mafia’s modus operandi also have been borrowed from Islam? Could native Sicilians, over the centuries, have co-opted the techniques of social controls that they had lived under and learned from their former overlords—albeit free from its Islamic trappings?

Either way, when HBO personality Bill Maher recently proclaimed that Islam is “the only religion that acts like the mafia, that will f***ing kill you if you say the wrong thing, draw the wrong picture, or write the wrong book”—he was barely touching the tip of the iceberg of similarities between Islam and the mafia.

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Don’t miss Raymond Ibrahim on The Glazov Gang discussing ISIS’s Islamic Inspirations:

 

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Ben Affleck: Portrait of Islam’s Clueless Apologists

AP REAL TIME WITH BILL MAHER A ENT USA CABy Raymond Ibrahim:

The value of actor Ben Affleck’s recent outbursts in defense of Islam [1] on HBO’s Real Time is that here, in one 10-minute segment [2], we have all the leftist/liberal bromides used whenever Islam is criticized.

In what follows, Affleck’s main arguments are presented and then discredited.

Relativism and the Islamic Heterogeneity Myth

At the start, when author Sam Harris began making some critical remarks concerning Islam, a visibly agitated Affleck interrupted him by somewhat sarcastically asking, “Are you the person who understands the officially codified doctrine of Islam?  You’re the interpreter of that?”

Affleck was essentially arguing that really no one is qualified to say what is or is not Islamic, since all Muslims are free to interpret Islam anyway they want.   This notion has less to do with how Islam is practiced and more to do with Western relativism, specifically the postmodern belief that there are no “truths,” that everything is open to individual expression.  Thus even if an Islamic sheikh from Al Azhar University were to tell Affleck that the criticism leveled against Islam were true, the actor would no doubt reply, “Fine, that’s your opinion, but I know that most other Muslims disagree.”

The fundamental mistake in this position is that it places Muslims on a higher pedestal of authority than Islam itself (even though muslims are by definition “one’s who submit” to islam, which is “submission” to Allah’s laws).  Islam is based on the law, or Sharia — “the way” prescribed by Allah and his prophet.  And Sharia most certainly does call for any number of things — subjugation of women and religious minorities, war on “infidels” and the enslavement of their women and children, bans on free speech and apostasy — that even Affleck would normally condemn.

In short, Sunni Islam, which approximately 90% of all Muslims follow, is far from heterogeneous.  It has only four recognized schools of jurisprudence, and these agree over the basics, with only minor differences over detail.  Even in the other 10% of Islamic sects, most of which are Shia or Shia offshoots, one finds that when it comes to intolerant aspects, they too are in agreement.  For example, while all Islamic schools of law prescribe the death penalty for leaving Islam, some argue that female apostates should “only” be imprisoned and beat until they embrace Islam again.

The ‘Racism’ Card

When Bill Maher, the host of Real Time, asked “But why can’t we talk about this [Islamic issues]?” Affleck shot back with, “Because it’s gross, it’s racist.”

This meme is as common as it is absurd and does not deserve much rebuttal.  Suffice to say that Muslims are not a race.  There are Muslims of all nations, races, ethnicities — from sub-Saharan Africans to blonde haired, blue-eyed Europeans.   Yet many apologists for Islam, including congressmen and congresswomen [3], habitually rely on this lie — I won’t even deign to call it an “apologetic” — simply because accusing someone of being “racist,” in this case, critics of Islam, is one of the surest way of shutting them up.

Conflating Muslim Teachings with Muslim People

At one point, after the other speakers made certain statistical points, Affleck made the following outburst, to much applause: “How about the more than a billion people [Muslims], who aren’t fanatical, who don’t punish women, who wanna go to school, have some sandwiches, pray five times a day, and don’t do any of the things you’re saying of all Muslims. It’s stereotyping.”

Again, Affleck conflates the actions of people — Muslims — with the teachings of a religion — Islam.  Going back to the apostasy example, Islamic law clearly teaches that those who abandon Islam — including as the world recently saw, one pregnant Christian woman, Meriam Ibrahim [4] — are to be executed.   One can therefore say that Sharia calls for the death of apostates.

But can one say with similar certainty  that every single Muslim alive today believes that the apostasy penalty should be upheld?  Obviously not.  Yet this is not a reflection of Islam; it is a reflection of individual human freedom — a freedom that ironically goes against Islamic teaching.

Nonetheless, this conflation of Islam with Muslims is an all too common approach used to shield the former from criticism.  (See this 2007 video [5] where I respond more fully to this question from a concerned reporter.)

Read more at PJ Media

Is the Islamic State a Good Thing?

iraq-shiite-isis-423x350Frontpage, by Raymond Ibrahim:

The following is an envisioning of what might eventually unfold if the Islamic State is left to flourish.  Although it is only one of several scenarios, due to its ostensibly implausible nature, it deserves some delineation.

The Islamic State (IS) continues expanding its territory and influence through jihad.   Religious minorities that fall under its sway—at least the fortunate ones—continue to flee in droves, helping make the Islamic State what it strives to be: purely Islamic.

Left unfettered, with only cosmetic airstrikes by an indecisive Obama administration to deal with, IS continues growing in strength and confidence, as Western powers again stand idly by.

More and more Muslims around the world, impressed and inspired by what they see, become convinced that the Islamic State is in fact the new caliphate deserving of their allegiance.  Such Muslims—the most “radical” kind, who delight in the slaughter and subjugation of “infidels”—continue leaving Western nations and migrating to the Islamic State to wage jihad and live under Sharia.

In other words, a sizable chunk of the world’s most radicalized/pious Muslims all become localized in one region.  There they openly and proudly display their anti-infidel supremacism.

Throughout, Western media have no choice but to report objectively—so thoroughly exposed for its barbarity has IS become that it is an insurmountable task to whitewash its atrocities.  The world has seen enough about IS to know that this is a savage, hostile, and supremacist state without excuse.   Even Obama, after originally citing “grievances”as propelling the Islamic State’s successes, recently made an about face, saying “No grievance justifies these actions.”

Put differently, the “Palestinian card” will not work here.  Western media, apologists, and talking heads cannot portray IS terror—including crucifying, beheading, and raping humans simply because they are “infidels”—as a product of “grievances” or “land disputes.”

Indeed, the Islamic State itself, which is largely composed of foreigners, is the one invading other territories (Iraq, Syria), massacring and driving out their most indigenous inhabitants, from Christians to Yazidis.

In time, the Islamic State’s borders are fully consolidated and the “caliphate” is a fact of reality.  Its war on fellow Muslim “apostates”—its current excuse for not engaging the greatest of all “infidels” in the region, Israel—eventually comes to a close or stalemate.

Then the inevitable happens: another conflict erupts between Israel and Hamas; Muslims around the word, including those under IS authority, drunk with power and feelings of superiority, demand that the time to wipe out the Jewish infidel has finally come; that the second phase of the caliphate is now or never—conquest of “original infidels.”

As Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu recently declared during his U.N. speech, “ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree. ISIS and Hamas share a fanatical creed, which they both seek to impose well beyond the territory under their control.”

Thus the Islamic State will eventually be compelled to start saber rattling and worse against Israel.  After all, its entire legitimacy is founded on its namesake—that it is the“Islamic state,” the state that magnifies and protects Islam and Muslims.   It must eventually confront Israel or else be proven the greatest of all hypocrites or munafiqun—a term of great rebuke in the Koran, which some Muslim authorities are already applying to IS for not confronting Israel now.

Conflicts inevitably ensue between Israel and its neighboring Islamic State.   But unlike the Jewish state’s war on Hamas—which the mainstream media can manipulate and portray as a war on innocent Palestinian women and children—world governments and media will find it exceedingly difficult to criticize Israel should any conflict between it and IS arise.

Unlike sympathy for the Palestinians, non-Muslims around the world vacillate between hate for and fear of the Islamic State; even Karen Armstrong, John Esposito and their ilk cannot apologize for this particular group of Islamic savages—other than to insist that theirs is not true Islam (an irrelevant point for the purposes of this scenario).

Moreover, the argument habitually used against Israel—that its war on Hamas creates innocent Palestinian casualties—loses all legitimacy in any war on the Islamic State.

After all, IS, the state itself—not some terrorist organization ensconced within the state—is beheading, massacring, and enslaving humans solely on the basis of their religious identity.  Its citizens—who went there of their own accord, unlike “displaced” and “trapped” Palestinians—are fanatical, extremist Muslims, whose greatest aspiration is to decapitate an infidel.

No one can apologize for this.   The best that can be said is that this is not “true” Islam.

This is why, even now, the pro-Islamic Obama administration is forced to condemn IS and even (if perfunctorily) militarily engage it.

In short, conventional war becomes very justifiable against IS—especially because there is no longer any worry of accidentally killing this or that moderate or non-Muslim, as they have all been driven away, replaced by Islamic terrorists from around the world.

And conventional war has traditionally been the bane of Islamists, who prefer terrorism, hiding among civilians, using them as shields, and playing the victim.

Safe from international censure and pushed to the edge, Israel eventually obliterates the Islamic State, while even Islam’s greatest apologists in the West must hold their tongue or else be seen as defenders of the state responsible for the greatest atrocities—crucifixions, beheadings, rapes, slavery, and wholesale massacres—so far committed in the 21st century.

Three positive consequences emerge from all this:

1. Not only is the Islamic State destroyed, but with it, some of the world’s most supremacist and hate-filled Muslims—those who quit their home countries, including from the West, to persecute and kill the “infidels.”

2. The rest of the world’s Muslims get a major and much needed wakeup call.  Some may start to rethink the notion of “jihad” and eternal enmity for the rest of the world.  Some may start to rethink Islam altogether.

3. The non-Muslim world also gets a much needed wakeup call, another lesson to add to the major wars and conflicts of the 20th century, this time about Islamic fascism, which, finally, becomes catalogued as the danger it is.

Note: I am not advocating for this scenario—admittedly, one of many different kinds of scenarios that can develop if the Islamic State is left to flourish—and would prefer to see IS made extinct now. For even if this scenario comes to pass, matters must first get significantly worse before they can begin to get better.

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Don’t miss Raymond Ibrahim on The Glazov Gang discussing ISIS’s Islamic Inspirations:

Jihadi Rhetoric: Tiresome but Deadly

by Raymond Ibrahim:

I just spent the better part of the day reading and listening to sermons by the leaders and jihadis of the new “caliphate” in Mesopotamia, the Islamic State (formerly “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria”).

I did so in the vain hopes of learning something “new.”

But it was absolute déjà vu—taking me back to a decade ago, when I was reading and translating the Arabic writings and speeches of al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri, as collated inThe Al Qaeda Reader.

Now as then, it’s the same Koran verses; the same hadiths of Islamic prophet Muhammad waging and praising jihad; the same threats of hellfire for the munafiqun (hypocrites or lukewarm Muslims); the same carnal rewards in the now or hereafter for those who join the “caravan” of jihad.

Consider for instance the following opening words of a recently released short video from the Islamic State titled, “There is No Life Without Jihad”:

If you wish to know the way to glory and power, to goodness, security and joy, you must learn that there are no rights without jihad, no justice without jihad, no dignity without jihad, no security without jihad, no future without jihad, no life without jihad, no life without jihad.

After this rather hackneyed opening, one Abu Muthana, a jihadi from Britain, appears quoting some more of the usual Koran verses, hadiths, and ulema, in this case, Imam Qurtubi, who wrote that “jihad gives life.”  Finally he summarizes the goal of the jihad—in case anyone is still not sure—namely, to fight until “the law [Sharia] of Allah is implemented and the caliphate restored.”

To reiterate, there is little new or original in the videos and communiques from the Islamic State.   Just static Islamism.

If one turns to the speeches of other Islamic and jihadi groups around the world—from the African groups such as Boko Haram (Nigeria) and al-Shabaab (Somalia), to Asian groups such as Abu Sayyaf (Philippines) and the Islamic Movement (Uzbekistan)—it’s the same thing, same themes, same scriptures, same quotations, same exhortations, same condemnations.   Only their temporal circumstances and vicissitudes of victory or defeat differ.

While the Western mentality, so used to seeing and hearing about the “latest” or “newest” fad, may deem the Islamist approach as static or insipid, it is, quite the contrary, immensely effective for its purposes, and thus dangerous.

Consider: It’s the same exact message—of supremacism, hate, and violence, capped off with divine sanctioning—repeated over and over again, from a myriad of sources and organizations, all of which claim authority.

One can think of few better ways to brainwash and indoctrinate young and impressionable minds—to the point that they eagerly embrace death, including through suicide (AKA “martyrdom operations”).

Nor is this message of jihad, conquest, and death-to-the-infidel, limited to the verbiage that transpires among terrorist organizations; instead, this sort of rhetoric has spread far and wide, thanks to modern technology—including the Internet and social media—and the rich Gulf States, chief among them Saudi Arabia, which have seen to it that the jihadi books and passages being quoted are available to all and sundry.

Indeed, and has been demonstrated repeatedly, such jihadi rhetoric is regularly used in mosques all throughout Europe and America—explaining why an inordinate amount of jihadis in Syria and Iraq, such as Abu Muthana,  the aforementioned “Brit,” are in fact from the West.

If the West, in the name of “religious freedom,” is still too fretful to monitor and ban such sermons, in Egypt—a Muslim nation in the heart of the Islamic world—the post Muslim Brotherhood government has come to understand the necessity of outlawing “certain” kinds of rhetoric  from the mosques, specifically, those about jihad against infidels and apostates.

Read more

Raymond Ibrahim was recently interviewed by CBN News’ George Thomas on the rise of the Islamic State, its aspirations for caliphate, and what all that means for free peoples around the world:

Islam’s ‘Protestant Reformation’

Raymond Ibrahim, July 1, 2014:

Editor’s note: The following article originally appeared in two parts but is being published again as one article due to some confusions prompted by its original appearance as two parts.

In order to prevent a clash of civilizations, or worse, Islam must reform.   This is the contention of many Western peoples.  And, pointing to Christianity’s Protestant Reformation as proof that Islam can also reform, many are optimistic.

Overlooked by most, however, is that Islam has been reforming.  What is today called “radical Islam” is the reformation of Islam.  And it follows the same pattern of Christianity’s Protestant Reformation.

The problem is our understanding of the word “reform.”  Despite its positive connotations, “reform” simplymeans to “make changes (in something, typically a social, political, or economic institution or practice) in order to improve it.”

Synonyms of “reform” include “make better,” “ameliorate,” and “improve”—splendid words all, yet words all subjective and loaded with Western references.

Muslim notions of “improving” society may include purging it of “infidels” and their corrupt ways; or segregating men and women, keeping the latter under wraps or quarantined at home; or executing apostates, who are seen as traitorous agitators.

Banning many forms of freedoms taken for granted in the West—from alcohol consumption to religious and gender equality—can be deemed an “improvement” and a “betterment” of society.

In short, an Islamic reformation need not lead to what we think of as an “improvement” and “betterment” of society—simply because “we” are not Muslims and do not share their reference points and first premises.  “Reform” only sounds good to most Western peoples because they, secular and religious alike, are to a great extent products of Christianity’s Protestant Reformation; and so, a priori, they naturally attribute positive connotations to the word.

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At its core, the Protestant Reformation was a revolt against tradition in the name of scripture—in this case, the Bible.  With the coming of the printing press, increasing numbers of Christians became better acquainted with the Bible’s contents, parts of which they felt contradicted what the Church was teaching.  So they broke away, protesting that the only Christian authority was “scripture alone,” sola scriptura.

Islam’s reformation follows the same logic of the Protestant Reformation—specifically by prioritizing scripture over centuries of tradition and legal debate—but with antithetical results that reflect the contradictory teachings of the core texts of Christianity and Islam.

As with Christianity, throughout most of its history, Islam’s scriptures, specifically its “twin pillars,” the Koran (literal words of Allah) and the Hadith (words and deeds of Allah’s prophet, Muhammad), were inaccessible to the overwhelming majority of Muslims.  Only a few scholars, or ulema—literally, “they who know”—were literate in Arabic and/or had possession of Islam’s scriptures.  The average Muslim knew only the basics of Islam, or its “Five Pillars.”

In this context, a “medieval synthesis” flourished throughout the Islamic world.  Guided by an evolving general consensus (or ijma‘), Muslims sought to accommodate reality by, in medieval historian Daniel Pipes’ words,

translat[ing] Islam from a body of abstract, infeasible demands [as stipulated in the Koran and Hadith] into a workable system. In practical terms, it toned down Sharia and made the code of law operational. Sharia could now be sufficiently applied without Muslims being subjected to its more stringent demands…  [However,] While the medieval synthesis worked over the centuries, it never overcame a fundamental weakness: It is not comprehensively rooted in or derived from the foundational, constitutional texts of Islam. Based on compromises and half measures, it always remained vulnerable to challenge by purists (emphasis added).

This vulnerability has now reached breaking point: millions of more Korans published in Arabic and other languages are in circulation today compared to just a century ago; millions of more Muslims are now literate enough to read and understand the Koran compared to their medieval forbears.  The Hadith, which contains some of the most intolerant teachings and violent deeds attributed to Islam’s prophet, is now collated and accessible, in part thanks to the efforts of Western scholars, the Orientalists.  Most recently, there is the Internet—where all these scriptures are now available in dozens of languages and to anyone with a laptop or iphone.

In this backdrop, what has been called at different times, places, and contexts “Islamic fundamentalism,” “radical Islam,” “Islamism,” and “Salafism” flourished.  Many of today’s Muslim believers, much better acquainted than their ancestors with the often black and white words of their scriptures, are protesting against earlier traditions, are protesting against the “medieval synthesis,” in favor of scriptural literalism—just like their Christian Protestant counterparts once did.

Thus, if Martin Luther (d. 1546) rejected the extra-scriptural accretions of the Church and “reformed” Christianity by aligning it more closely with scripture, Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab (d. 1787), one of Islam’s first modern reformers, “called for a return to the pure, authentic Islam of the Prophet, and the rejection of the accretions that had corrupted it and distorted it,” in the words of Bernard Lewis (The Middle East, p. 333).

The unadulterated words of God—or Allah—are all that matter for the reformists.

Note: Because they are better acquainted with Islam’s scriptures, other Muslims, of course, are apostatizing—whether by converting to other religions, most notably Christianity, or whether by abandoning religion altogether, even if only in their hearts (for fear of the apostasy penalty).  This is an important point to be revisited later.  Muslims who do not become disaffected after better acquainting themselves with the literal teachings of Islam’s scriptures and who instead become more faithful to and observant of them are the topic of this essay.

—–

How Christianity and Islam can follow similar patterns of reform but with antithetical results rests in the fact that their scriptures are often antithetical to one another.   This is the key point, and one admittedly unintelligible to postmodern, secular sensibilities, which tend to lump all religious scripture together in a melting pot of relativism without bothering to evaluate the significance of their respective words and teachings.

Obviously a point by point comparison of the scriptures of Islam and Christianity is inappropriate for an article of this length (see my “Are Judaism and Christianity as Violent as Islam” for a more comprehensive treatment).

Suffice it to note some contradictions (which will be rejected as a matter of course by the relativistic mindset):

  • The New Testament preaches peace, brotherly love, tolerance, and forgiveness—for all humans, believers and non-believers alike.  Instead of combatting and converting “infidels,” Christians are called to pray for those who persecute them and turn the other cheek (which is not the same thing as passivity, for Christians are also called to be bold and unapologetic).  Conversely, the Koran and Hadith call for war, or jihad, against all non-believers, until they either convert, accept subjugation and discrimination, or die.
  • The New Testament has no punishment for the apostate from Christianity.  Conversely, Islam’s prophet himself decreed that “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.”
  • The New Testament teaches monogamy, one husband and one wife, thereby dignifying the woman.  The Koran allows polygamy—up to four wives—and the possession of concubines, or sex-slaves.  More literalist readings treat women as possessions.
  • The New Testament discourages lying (e.g., Col. 3:9).  The Koran permits it; the prophet himself often deceived others, and permitted lying to one’s wife, to reconcile quarreling parties, and to the “infidel” during war.

It is precisely because Christian scriptural literalism lends itself to religious freedom, tolerance, and the dignity of women, that Western civilization developed the way it did—despite the nonstop propaganda campaign emanating from academia, Hollywood, and other major media that says otherwise.

And it is precisely because Islamic scriptural literalism is at odds with religious freedom, tolerance, and the dignity of women, that Islamic civilization is the way it is—despite the nonstop propaganda campaign emanating from academia, Hollywood, and other major media that says otherwise.

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Those in the West waiting for an Islamic “reformation” along the same lines of the Protestant Reformation, on the assumption that it will lead to similar results, must embrace two facts: 1) Islam’s reformation is well on its way, and yes, along the same lines of the Protestant Reformation—with a focus on scripture and a disregard for tradition—and for similar historic reasons (literacy, scriptural dissemination, etc.); 2) But because the core teachings of the scriptures of Christianity and Islam markedly differ from one another, Islam’s reformation has naturally produced a civilization markedly different from the West.

Put differently, those in the West uncritically calling for an “Islamic reformation” need to acknowledge what it is they are really calling for: the secularization of Islam in the name of modernity; the trivialization and sidelining of Islamic law from Muslim society.

That would not be a “reformation”—certainly nothing analogous to the Protestant Reformation.

Overlooked is that Western secularism was, and is, possible only because Christian scripture lends itself to the division between church and state, the spiritual and the temporal.

Upholding the literal teachings of Christianity is possible within a secular—or any—state.  Christ called on believers to “render unto Caesar the things of Caesar (temporal) and unto God the things of God (spiritual)” (Matt. 22:21).  For the “kingdom of God” is “not of this world” (John 18:36).  Indeed, a good chunk of the New Testament deals with how “man is not justified by the works of the law… for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified” (Gal. 2:16).

On the other hand, mainstream Islam is devoted to upholding the law; and Islamic scripture calls for a fusion between Islamic law—Sharia—and the state.   Allah decrees in the Koran that “It is not fitting for true believers—men or women—to take their choice in affairs if Allah and His Messenger have decreed otherwise. He that disobeys Allah and His Messenger strays far indeed!” (33:36).   Allah tells the prophet of Islam, “We put you on an ordained way [literarily in Arabic, sharia] of command; so follow it and do not follow the inclinations of those who are ignorant” (45:18).

Mainstream Islamic exegesis has always interpreted such verses to mean that Muslims must follow the commandments of Allah as laid out in the Koran and Hadith—in a word, Sharia.

And Sharia is so concerned with the details of this world, with the everyday doings of Muslims, that every conceivable human action falls under five rulings, or ahkam: the forbidden (haram), the discouraged (makruh), the neutral (mubah), the recommended (mustahib), and the obligatory (wajib).

Conversely, Islam offers little concerning the spiritual (sidelined Sufism the exception).

Unlike Christianity, then, Islam without the law—without Sharia—becomes meaningless.   After all, the Arabic word Islam literally means “submit.”  Submit to what?  Allah’s laws as codified in Sharia and derived from the Koran and Hadith.

The “Islamic reformation” some in the West are hoping for is really nothing less than an Islam without Islam—secularization not reformation; Muslims prioritizing secular, civic, and humanitarian laws over Allah’s law; a “reformation” that would slowly see the religion of Muhammad go into the dustbin of history.

Such a scenario is certainly more plausible than believing that Islam can be true to its scriptures in any meaningful way and still peacefully coexist with, much less complement, modernity the way Christianity does.

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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