Islamic State Torches Churches, Takes 200 Christian Hostages, Western Forces Present Do Nothing

By Raymond Ibrahim, Feb.24, 2015:

In the early hours of Monday, February 23, Islamic State fighters attacked several Christian villages along the Khabur River in north eastern Syria. As many as 200 Christians—including women and children—were taken hostage.  Their families fear that they will either be sold as slaves and/or raped, or simply massacred, as many other Christian hostages of the Islamic State have been—most recently the 21 Coptic martyrs in Libya.

Several churches were also torched or damaged during the jihadi raid, including the church in Tel Hurmiz, one of the oldest churches in Syria, the Mar Bisho church in Tel Shamiran, the church in Qabr Shamiy and the church in Tel Baloua.

And, perhaps worst of all,this raid “brought to light deplorable conduct on the part of other persons,” namely the West.  According to Archbishop Hindo:

I wish to say quite clearly that we have the feeling of being abandoned into the hands of ISIS.  Yesterday American bombers flew over the area several times, but without taking action. We have a hundred Assyrian families who have taken refuge in Hassakè, but they have received no assistance either from the Red Crescent or from Syrian government aid workers, perhaps because they are Christians. The UN high commission for Refugees is nowhere to be seen.

Secure the Border!

aisis-426x350Frontpage, February 19, 2015 by Raymond Ibrahim:

Originally published by PJ Media.

In a move reminiscent of “ancient history,” Saudi Arabia is building a 600-mile-long “Great Wall”  –  a combined fence and ditch  –  to separate itself from the Islamic State to the north in Iraq:

Plans for the 600-mile wall and ditch Saudi Arabia will build with Iraq in an effort to insulate itself from the chaos engulfing its neighbors.

Much of the area on the Iraqi side is now controlled by Isil [the Islamic State], which regards the ultimate capture of Saudi Arabia, home to the “Two Holy Mosques” of Mecca and Medina, as a key goal….

The irony here is that those Muslims that Saudi Arabia is trying to keep out are the very same Muslims most nurtured and influenced by a Saudi — or “Wahabbi,” or “Salafi” — worldview.

Put differently, Saudi Arabia is again appreciating how jihad is a volatile instrument of war that can easily backfire on those who support it.  “Holy war” is hardly limited to fighting and subjugating “infidels” — whether the West in general, Israel in particular, or the millions of non-Muslim minorities under Islam — but also justifies fighting “apostates,” that is, Muslims accused of not being Islamic enough.

Indeed, the first grand jihad was against Muslim “apostates” — the Ridda [“apostasy”] Wars.  After Muhammad died in 632, many Arab tribes were willing to remain Muslim but without paying zakat (“charity”) money to the first caliph, Abu Bakr.  That was enough to declare jihad on them as apostates; tens of thousands of Arabs were burned, beheaded, dismembered, or crucified, according to Islamic history.

Accordingly, the Islamic State justifies burning people alive, such as the Jordanian pilot, precisely because the first caliph and his Muslim lieutenants burned apostates alive, and is even on record saying that “false Muslims” are its first target, then Israel.

This is the problem all Muslim nations and rulers risk: no one — not even Sharia-advocating Islamist leaders — are immune to the all-accusing sword tip of the jihad.  If non-Muslims are, as “infidels,” de facto enemies, any Muslim can be accused of “apostasy,” instantly becoming an enemy of Allah and his prophet.

A saying attributed to the Muslim prophet Muhammad validates this perspective: “This umma [Islamic nation] of mine will split into seventy-three sects; one will be in paradise and seventy-two will be in hell.”  When asked which sect was the true one, the prophet replied, “al-jama‘a,” that is, the group which most literally follows the example or “sunna” of Muhammad.

This saying perfectly sums up the history of Islam: to be deemed legitimate, authorities must uphold the teachings of Islam — including jihad; but it is never long before another claimant accuses existing leadership of not being “Islamic enough.”

Enter the Saudi/Islamic State relationship. From the start, the Arabian kingdom has been a supporter of the Islamic State.  It was not long, however, before IS made clear that Saudi Arabia was one of its primary targets, calling on its allies and supporters in the kingdom to kill and drive out the Saud tribe.

Nor is this the first time the Saudis see those whom they nurtured — ideologically and logistically — turn on them.  Back in the 1980s, the Saudis were chief supporters of the jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan and helped create al-Qaeda.

But once the “distant” infidel was subdued, al-Qaeda and its Saudi-born leader Osama bin Laden came home to roost, doing the inevitable: pointing the accusatory finger at the Saudi monarchy for not being Islamic enough, including for its reliance on the great American infidel during the First Gulf War.

Moreover, Saudi Arabia is not only a chief disseminator and supporter of the Salafi ideology most associated with jihad, but the Arabian kingdom itself was forged in large measure by articulating and calling for holy war in the 19th and -20th centuries, including against Turks and fellow Arab tribes (both Muslim).

The Saudi argument then was the very same argument now being made by the Islamic State — that the rulers of Islam’s holiest mosques in Mecca and Medina (in this case, the Ottoman Turks) were not “Islamic” enough.

Such is the double-edged sword of jihad.   All Islamic governments, regimes, and kingdoms must always try to direct this potent instrument of war against enemies or neutral targets — preferably ones far away from their borders (Afghanistan, America, etc.). For they know that the longer the jihad waxes in strength and goes uncontained, the more it becomes like an all-consuming fire indiscriminately scorching all in its path.

And this explains why Saudi Arabia is a chief funder and supporter of external jihads: to send its own zealots out of its borders to fight distant infidels (a “better them than me” mentality).  It also explains why nations like Saudi Arabia, which were forged by the jihad, continually find themselves threatened by the jihad — or, to paraphrase a young Jewish rabbi: “Those who live by the sword will die by the sword.”

Islam: Banned for Blasphemy?

By Raymond Ibrahim, Feb. 12, 2015:

Soon after Muslim gunmen killed 12 people at Charlie Hebdo offices, which published satirical  caricatures of Muslim prophet Muhammad, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)—the “collective voice of the Muslim world” and second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations—is again renewing calls for the United Nations to criminalize “blasphemy” against Islam, or what it more ecumenically calls, the “defamation of religions.”

Yet the OIC seems to miss one grand irony: if international laws would ban cartoons, books, and films on the basis that they defame Islam, they would also, by logical extension, have to ban the entire religion of Islam itself—the only religion whose core texts actively and unequivocally defame other religions, including by name.

To understand this, consider what “defamation” means. Typical dictionary-definitions include “to blacken another’s reputation” and “false or unjustified injury of the good reputation of another, as by slander or libel.” In Muslim usage, defamation simply means anything that insults or offends Islamic sensibilities.

However, to gain traction among the international community, the OIC cynically maintains that such laws should protect all religions from defamation, not just Islam (even as Muslim governments ban churches, destroy crucifixes, and burn Bibles). Disingenuous or not, the OIC’s wording suggests that any expression that “slanders” the religious sentiments of others should be banned.

What, then, do we do with Islam’s core religious texts—beginning with the Koran itself— which slanders, denigrates and blackens the reputation of other religions? Consider Christianity alone: Koran 5:73 declares that “Infidels are they who say God is one of three,” a reference to the Christian Trinity; Koran 5:72 says “Infidels are they who say God is the Christ, [Jesus] son of Mary”; and Koran 9:30 complains that “the Christians say the Christ is the son of God … may God’s curse be upon them!”

Considering that the word “infidel” (kafir) is one of Islam’s most derogatory terms, what if a Christian book or Western cartoon appeared declaring that “Infidels are they who say Muhammad is the prophet of God—may God’s curse be upon them”? If Muslims would consider that a great defamation against Islam—and they would, with the attendant rioting, murders, etc.—then by the same standard it must be admitted that the Koran defames Christians and Christianity.

Indeed, it is precisely because of this that some Russian districts are banning key Islamic scriptures—including Sahih Bukhari, which is seen as second in authority after the Koran itself. According to Apastovsk district RT prosecutors, Sahih Bukhari has been targeted because it promotes “exclusivity of one of the world’s religions,” namely Islam, or, in the words of Ruslan Galliev,  senior assistant to the prosecutor of Tatarstan, it promotes “a militant Islam” which “arouses ethnic, religious enmity.”

Similarly, consider how the Christian Cross, venerated among millions, is depicted—is defamed—in Islam: according to canonical hadiths, when he returns, Jesus (“Prophet Isa”) will destroy all crosses; and Muhammad, who never allowed the cross in his presence, once ordered someone wearing a cross to “throw away this piece of idol from yourself.”  Unsurprisingly, the cross is banned and often destroyed whenever visible in many Muslim countries.

What if Christian books or Western movies declared that the sacred things of Islam—say the Black Stone in Mecca’s Ka’ba—are “idolatry” and that Muhammad himself will return and destroy them? If Muslims would consider that defamation against Islam—and they would, with all the attendant rioting, murders, etc.—then by the same standard it must be admitted that Islamic teaching defames the Christian Cross.

Here is a particularly odious form of defamation against Christian sentiment, especially to the millions of Catholic and Orthodox Christians. According to Islam’s most authoritative Koranic exegetes, including the revered Ibn Kathir, Muhammad is in paradise married to and copulating with the Virgin Mary.

What if a Christian book or Western movie portrayed, say, Muhammad’s “favorite” wife, Aisha—the “Mother of Believers”—as being married to and having sex with a false prophet in heaven? If Muslims would consider that a great defamation against Islam—and they would, with all the attendant rioting, murders, etc.—then by the same standard it must be admitted that Islam’s most authoritative Koranic exegetes defame the Virgin Mary.

Nor is such defamation of Christianity limited to Islam’s core scriptures; modern day Muslim scholars and sheikhs agree that it is permissible to defame and mock Christianity. “Islam Web,” which is owned by the government of Qatar, even issued a fatwa that legitimizes insulting Christianity.  (The Qatari website also issued a fatwa in 2006 permitting burning people alive—only to take it down after the Islamic State used the fatwa’s same arguments to legitimize burning a Jordanian captive pilot.)

The grandest irony of all is that the “defamation” that Muslims complain about—and that prompts great violence and bloodshed around the world—revolves around things like cartoons and movies, which are made by individuals who represent only themselves; on the other hand, Islam itself, through its holiest and most authoritative texts, denigrates and condemns—in a word, defames—all other religions, not to mention calls for violence against them (e.g., Koran 9:29).

It is this issue, Islam’s perceived “divine” right to defame and destroy, that the international community should be addressing—not silly cartoons and films.

The True History of Christendom and Islam

cruzadasportada-398x350

Frontpage, By Raymond Ibrahim On February 13, 2015:

U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama’s recent condemnation of medieval Christian history as a way to exonerate Islam is a reminder of how woefully ignorant (or intentionally deceptive) a good many people in the West are concerning the true history of Christian Europe and Islam.

The problem is that those who condemn things like the Crusades—including “mainstream” academics, journalists, movie-makers, and politicians—do so without mention of any historical context.  Worse, they imply “we” already know the context: evil popes and greedy knights exploiting Christianity to seize Muslim lands and wealth.  Or in the words of Karen Armstrong, “the idea that Islam imposed itself by the sword is a Western fiction, fabricated during the time of the Crusades when, in fact, it was Western Christians who were fighting brutal holy wars against Islam.”

Of course, the true story of Christendom and Islam is antithetically different.  Consider some facts for a moment:

A mere decade after the birth of Islam in the 7th century, the jihad burst out of Arabia.  Leaving aside all the thousands of miles of ancient lands and civilizations that were permanently conquered—today casually called the “Islamic world,” including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and parts of India and China—much of Europe was also, at one time or another, conquered by the sword of Islam.

Among other nations and territories that were attacked and/or came under Muslim domination are (to give them their modern names in no particular order): Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Sicily, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Greece, Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Lithuania, Romania, Albania, Serbia, Armenia, Georgia, Crete, Cyprus, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Belarus, Malta, Sardinia, Moldova, Slovakia, and Montenegro.

In 846 Rome was sacked and the Vatican defiled by Muslim Arab raiders; some 600 years later, in 1453, Christendom’s other great basilica, Holy Wisdom (or Hagia Sophia) was conquered by Muslim Turks, permanently.  (Till this day, Turkish Muslims celebrate this day of great rapine and slaughter.)

The few European regions that escaped direct Islamic occupation due to their northwest remoteness include Great Britain, Scandinavia, and Germany.  That, of course, does not mean that they were not attacked by Islam. Indeed, in the furthest northwest of Europe, in Iceland, Christians used to pray that God save them from the “terror of the Turk.” This was not mere paranoia; as late as 1627, Muslim corsairs raided the Christian island seizing four hundred captives and selling them in the slave markets of Algiers.

Nor did America escape.  A few years after the formation of the United States, in 1800, American trading ships in the Mediterranean were plundered and their sailors enslaved by Muslim corsairs.  The ambassador of Tripoli explained to Thomas Jefferson that it was a Muslim’s “right and duty to make war upon them [non-Muslims] wherever they could be found, and to enslave as many as they could take as prisoners.”

In short, for roughly one millennium—punctuated by a Crusader-rebuttal that the modern West is obsessed with demonizing—Islam daily posed an existential threat to Christian Europe and by extension Western civilization.

And therein lies the rub: Today, whether as taught in high school or graduate school, whether as portrayed by Hollywood or the news media, the predominant historic narrative is that Muslims are the historic “victims” of “intolerant” Western Christians.  (Watch my response to a Fox News host asking why Christians have always persecuted Muslims.)

So here we are, paying the price of being an ahistorical society: A few years after the Islamic strikes of 9/11—merely the latest in the centuries-long, continents-wide jihad on the West—Americans elected (twice) a man with a Muslim name and heritage for president; a man who condemns the Christian Crusades while openly empowering the same ideology that the Crusaders fought for centuries.

Surely the United States’ European forebears—who at one time or another either fought off or were conquered by Islam—must be turning in their graves.

But all this is history, you say? Why rehash it?  Why not let it be and move on, begin a new chapter of mutual tolerance and respect, even if history must be “touched up” a bit?

This would be a somewhat plausible position—if not for the fact that, all around the globe, Muslims are still exhibiting the same imperial impulse and intolerant supremacism that their conquering forbears did.  The only difference is that the Muslim world is currently incapable of defeating the West through a conventional war.

Yet this may not even be necessary.  Thanks to the West’s ignorance of history, Muslims are flooding Europe under the guise of “immigration,” refusing to assimilate, and forming enclaves which in modern parlance are called “ghettoes” but in Islamic terminology are the ribat—frontier posts where the jihad is waged on the infidel, one way or the other.

All this leads to another, perhaps even more important point: If the true history of the West and Islam is being turned upside its head, what other historical “orthodoxies” being peddled around as truth are also false?

Were the Dark Ages truly benighted because of the “suffocating” forces of Christianity?  Or were these dark ages—which “coincidentally” occurred during the same centuries when jihad was constantly harrying Europe—a product of another suffocating “religion”?

Was the Spanish Inquisition—also condemned by Obama—a reflection of Christian barbarism or was it a reflection of Christian desperation vis-à-vis the hundreds of thousands of Muslims who, while claiming to have converted to Christianity, were practicing taqiyya and living as moles trying to subvert the Christian nation back to Islam?

Don’t expect to get true answers to these and other questions from the makers, guardians, and disseminators of the West’s fabricated epistemology.

In the future (whatever one there may be) the histories written about our times will likely stress how our era, ironically called the “information age,” was not an age when people were so well informed, but rather an age when disinformation was so widespread and unquestioned that generations of people lived in bubbles of alternate realities—till they were finally popped.

The Truth about the Crusades

By Raymond Ibrahim, Feb. 12, 2015:

Were the Crusades a reflection of the “terrible deeds [done] in the name of Christ” as U.S. President Obama recently warned, or were they a reflection of something else, namely, centuries of Islamic jihad?  In the following essay, one of the top historians of the Crusades definitively answers the question.

Thomas Madden — former Chair of the History Department at Saint Louis University and Director of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies — wrote this article in 2002 when President Bush used the word “crusade” in a positive sense, creating controversy.  Its relevancy today is that Obama invoked the Crusades in a negative sense, also creating controversy.

Madden presents the most recent scholarship on the Crusades — scholarship that completely contradicts the popular image of these wars that permeates much of Hollywood, the writings of amateurs such as Karen Armstrong and, as seen, the worldview of Barack Obama.

(Due to its length (approximately 4000 words), only the most germane portions appear in the significantly shorter version below; especially relevant sentences and paragraphs are highlighted in bold, while removed text is reflected by bracketed ellipses.)

crusades

The Real History of the Crusades

Crisis Magazine

By Thomas Madden

[…]

Misconceptions about the Crusades are all too common. The Crusades are generally portrayed as a series of holy wars against Islam led by power-mad popes and fought by religious fanatics. They are supposed to have been the epitome of self-righteousness and intolerance, a black stain on the history of the Catholic Church in particular and Western civilization in general. A breed of proto-imperialists, the Crusaders introduced Western aggression to the peaceful Middle East and then deformed the enlightened Muslim culture, leaving it in ruins. For variations on this theme, one need not look far. See, for example, Steven Runciman’s famous three-volume epic, History of the Crusades, or the BBC/A&E documentary, The Crusades, hosted by Terry Jones. Both are terrible history yet wonderfully entertaining.

So what is the truth about the Crusades? Scholars are still working some of that out. But much can already be said with certainty. For starters, the Crusades to the East were in every way defensive wars. They were a direct response to Muslim aggression—an attempt to turn back or defend against Muslim conquests of Christian lands.

Christians in the eleventh century were not paranoid fanatics. Muslims really were gunning for them. While Muslims can be peaceful, Islam was born in war and grew the same way. From the time of Mohammed, the means of Muslim expansion was always the sword. Muslim thought divides the world into two spheres, the Abode of Islam and the Abode of War. Christianity—and for that matter any other non-Muslim religion—has no abode. Christians and Jews can be tolerated within a Muslim state under Muslim rule. But, in traditional Islam, Christian and Jewish states must be destroyed and their lands conquered. When Mohammed was waging war against Mecca in the seventh century, Christianity was the dominant religion of power and wealth. As the faith of the Roman Empire, it spanned the entire Mediterranean, including the Middle East, where it was born.The Christian world, therefore, was a prime target for the earliest caliphs, and it would remain so for Muslim leaders for the next thousand years.

With enormous energy, the warriors of Islam struck out against the Christians shortly after Mohammed’s death. They were extremely successful. Palestine, Syria, and Egypt—once the most heavily Christian areas in the world—quickly succumbed. By the eighth century, Muslim armies had conquered all of Christian North Africa and Spain. In the eleventh century, the Seljuk Turks conquered Asia Minor (modern Turkey), which had been Christian since the time of St. Paul. The old Roman Empire, known to modern historians as the Byzantine Empire, was reduced to little more than Greece. In desperation, the emperor in Constantinople sent word to the Christians of western Europe asking them to aid their brothers and sisters in the East.

That is what gave birth to the Crusades. They were not the brainchild of an ambitious pope or rapacious knights but a response to more than four centuries of conquests in which Muslims had already captured two-thirds of the old Christian world. At some point, Christianity as a faith and a culture had to defend itself or be subsumed by Islam. The Crusades were that defense.

Pope Urban II called upon the knights of Christendom to push back the conquests of Islam at the Council of Clermont in 1095. The response was tremendous. Many thousands of warriors took the vow of the cross and prepared for war. Why did they do it? The answer to that question has been badly misunderstood. In the wake of the Enlightenment, it was usually asserted that Crusaders were merely lacklands and ne’er-do-wells who took advantage of an opportunity to rob and pillage in a faraway land. The Crusaders’ expressed sentiments of piety, self-sacrifice, and love for God were obviously not to be taken seriously. They were only a front for darker designs.

During the past two decades, computer-assisted charter studies have demolished that contrivance. Scholars have discovered that crusading knights were generally wealthy men with plenty of their own land in Europe. Nevertheless, they willingly gave up everything to undertake the holy mission. Crusading was not cheap. Even wealthy lords could easily impoverish themselves and their families by joining a Crusade. They did so not because they expected material wealth (which many of them had already) but because they hoped to store up treasure where rust and moth could not corrupt. They were keenly aware of their sinfulness and eager to undertake the hardships of the Crusade as a penitential act of charity and love. Europe is littered with thousands of medieval charters attesting to these sentiments, charters in which these men still speak to us today if we will listen. Of course, they were not opposed to capturing booty if it could be had. But the truth is that the Crusades were notoriously bad for plunder. A few people got rich, but the vast majority returned with nothing.

Urban II gave the Crusaders two goals, both of which would remain central to the eastern Crusades for centuries. The first was to rescue the Christians of the East. As his successor, Pope Innocent III, later wrote:

How does a man love according to divine precept his neighbor as himself when, knowing that his Christian brothers in faith and in name are held by the perfidious Muslims in strict confinement and weighed down by the yoke of heaviest servitude, he does not devote himself to the task of freeing them? …Is it by chance that you do not know that many thousands of Christians are bound in slavery and imprisoned by the Muslims, tortured with innumerable torments?

“Crusading,” Professor Jonathan Riley-Smith has rightly argued, was understood as an “an act of love”—in this case, the love of one’s neighbor. The Crusade was seen as an errand of mercy to right a terrible wrong. As Pope Innocent III wrote to the Knights Templar, “You carry out in deeds the words of the Gospel, ‘Greater love than this hath no man, that he lay down his life for his friends.’”

The second goal was the liberation of Jerusalem and the other places made holy by the life of Christ. […]

It is often assumed that the central goal of the Crusades was forced conversion of the Muslim world. Nothing could be further from the truth. From the perspective of medieval Christians, Muslims were the enemies of Christ and His Church. It was the Crusaders’ task to defeat and defend against them. That was all. Muslims who lived in Crusader-won territories were generally allowed to retain their property and livelihood, and always their religion. Indeed, throughout the history of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, Muslim inhabitants far outnumbered the Catholics. It was not until the 13th century that the Franciscans began conversion efforts among Muslims. But these were mostly unsuccessful and finally abandoned. In any case, such efforts were by peaceful persuasion, not the threat of violence.

The Crusades were wars, so it would be a mistake to characterize them as nothing but piety and good intentions. Like all warfare, the violence was brutal (although not as brutal as modern wars). There were mishaps, blunders, and crimes. These are usually well-remembered today. During the early days of the First Crusade in 1095, a ragtag band of Crusaders led by Count Emicho of Leiningen made its way down the Rhine, robbing and murdering all the Jews they could find. Without success, the local bishops attempted to stop the carnage. In the eyes of these warriors, the Jews, like the Muslims, were the enemies of Christ. Plundering and killing them, then, was no vice. Indeed, they believed it was a righteous deed, since the Jews’ money could be used to fund the Crusade to Jerusalem. But they were wrong, and the Church strongly condemned the anti-Jewish attacks.

Fifty years later, when the Second Crusade was gearing up, St. Bernard frequently preached that the Jews were not to be persecuted:

Ask anyone who knows the Sacred Scriptures what he finds foretold of the Jews in the Psalm. “Not for their destruction do I pray,” it says. The Jews are for us the living words of Scripture, for they remind us always of what our Lord suffered…. Under Christian princes they endure a hard captivity, but “they only wait for the time of their deliverance.”

[…]

When we think about the Middle Ages, it is easy to view Europe in light of what it became rather than what it was. The colossus of the medieval world was Islam, not Christendom. The Crusades are interesting largely because they were an attempt to counter that trend. But in five centuries of crusading, it was only the First Crusade that significantly rolled back the military progress of Islam. It was downhill from there.

[…]

From the safe distance of many centuries, it is easy enough to scowl in disgust at the Crusades. Religion, after all, is nothing to fight wars over. But we should be mindful that our medieval ancestors would have been equally disgusted by our infinitely more destructive wars fought in the name of political ideologies. And yet, both the medieval and the modern soldier fight ultimately for their own world and all that makes it up. Both are willing to suffer enormous sacrifice, provided that it is in the service of something they hold dear, something greater than themselves. Whether we admire the Crusaders or not, it is a fact that the world we know today would not exist without their efforts. The ancient faith of Christianity, with its respect for women and antipathy toward slavery, not only survived but flourished. Without the Crusades, it might well have followed Zoroastrianism, another of Islam’s rivals, into extinction.

Video: Brother Rachid delivers searing rebuke of Islamic State

By Raymond Ibrahim, Feb. 10, 2015:

The following brief video with English subtitles is an excellent response to “Caliph” Baghdadi of the Islamic State from Brother Rachid — a former Muslim turned Christian.  I first wrote about Rachid back in 2008 and since.  In 2013, I appeared on his program (Daring Question) where we discussed my book, Crucified Again, for 90 minutes (in Arabic).

Now, watch Rachid take the Islamic state to task.

Murder of Pilot Sparks Tough, New Question

jordanian-pilotWND, By F. Michael Maloof, Feb. 5, 2015:

WASHINGTON – The gruesome murder of captured Jordanian F-16 pilot Lt. Muath al-Kasabeh by ISIS may have strengthened the resolve of the Jordanian government to launch all-out assaults against the jihadist army as members of the U.S.-led coalition.

But it also could have a boomerang effect as Jordanians question why their country should further engage ISIS, according to Middle East sources.

Meanwhile, the killing also has raised concerns that members of the coalition – Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates – will be emboldened to launch more attacks against ISIS targets in Syria, where their interest has been primarily on overthrowing the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, sources add.

One indication of that concern is that following the capture of the pilot in December, the United Arab Emirates suspended its air operations over Syria as a part of the coalition bombing ISIS targets in Syria.

U.S. officials have confirmed to WND that the UAE has halted its participation because there was no contingency plan to rescue downed aircrew.

One Middle East source told WND that when Kasabeh was downed by ISIS last December, the leader of the squadron of F-16s was Maj. Mariam al-Mansouri, the first UAE female fighter pilot. Reports confirm she was in the squadron, but WND could not independently confirm she was the leader.

Whether the killing of the Jordanian pilot will mean an Arab commitment of boots on the ground by these Arab countries also was questionable as Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Joudeh said the reaction would not be ground troops but a greater commitment to assist the Syrian Kurds and Iraqi Peshmerga Kurds.

However, there were unconfirmed reports out of Jordan Tuesday night that Jordan could send troops to Syria to fight ISIS.

‘Wave of anger and frustration’

Despite the Jordanian government’s hanging of two convicted al-Qaida prisoners and the pledge of an “earth-shaking” response, there is concern that the pilot’s killing actually may increase popular opposition to the coalition efforts against ISIS.

“I think it will be business as usual,” Jeb Babbin, a former under secretary of defense, told Fox News, referring to Arab countries’ reaction to the killing of the Jordanian pilot.

Clare Lopez a former CIA operations officer and current Middle East expert at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, told WND that ISIS “is trying to create chaos to invade Jordan.”

“ISIS has supporters in south of Jordan, (in the) north and (in) Palestinian camps; (and) on more than one occasion demonstrators challenged the regime and declared Amman is the Fallujah (Iraq) of Jordan,” Lopez said. “Palestinians in camps across Jordan are supporters of ISIS. ISIS is desperate for a sea port. A port of Aqaba will give them access to the Red Sea.”

Middle East expert Raymond Ibrahim, Shillman fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, believes that more “moderate” Muslims ultimately will prevail in the fight against ISIS.

“The burning of the pilot,” Ibrahim said, “will continue to create a “rift among Muslims — from the many who cannot tolerate such acts, cannot tolerate the idea that their religion condones such atrocities, to those who are willing to accept reality, willing to accept that Islamic texts and history are littered with such barbaric behavior — beginning with the prophet of Islam.”

Ibrahim said it’s “interesting to watch the debates now a days between Muslims — the ‘moderates’ are becoming much more vocal and courageous, which does not necessarily translate into anything concrete, but is a start,.”

“The Islamic State has really driven home the true nature of debate — that is, what is Islam and what does it teach, and it’s making many Muslims uncomfortable having to deal with these questions which for long have been ignored but … with every day ISIS brings them to the fore,” Ibrahim said.

“And yes, while once cannot really account for what U.S. leadership will do, I do believe that these continuing atrocities will drive the governments of various Arab countries to work closer together.”

Middle East expert Osama al-Sharif said that the killing of the Jordanian pilot will trigger “a wave of anger and frustration” that could spark a political crisis for Jordanian King Abdullah II. The king cut short a visit with President Obama Tuesday to return to Jordan after ISIS released a 22-minute video purportedly showing the pilot being burned alive.

“It will strengthen the position of those who believe Jordan should withdraw from the fight against ISIS,” Sharif said.

Before knowing the fate of the pilot, his father, who comes from a prominent Jordanian tribe, had told CNN Arabic that the king “had no business with the coalition, and those who had sent my son to fight beyond Jordan’s border must now bring him back.”

Even before the pilot’s capture, Abdullah was under fire internally from the country’s Palestinian population, the Muslim Brotherhood and a growing number of ISIS backers.

Islamist opposition groups had voiced opposition to joining the anti-ISIS coalition when it was first announced.

As Sharif pointed out, Abdullah defended his position and insisted that the war against ISIS was “our war.” This was especially apparent when ISIS fighters moved up to the Jordanian border last year, in Iraq’s Sunni Anbar province, where they have remained.

An ISIS invasion of Jordan could jeopardize a critical buffer against ISIS access to the rest of the Levant.

As WND recently reported, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has designated Jordan as the next target of his caliphate. The government was split over joining the anti-ISIS coalition, however. The internal dissension comes from growing support for ISIS from a myriad of jihadist groups and the country’s poor economic conditions.

At the time, Jordanians were seen on videos burning their passports. ISIS even threatened to “slaughter” the king after invading Jordan.

“It is ISIS’ objective to destabilize its neighbors,” according to syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer, an expert on the Middle East.

“Jordan is a miracle in the region. It has the most stable regime, yet it’s the weakest, it has no oil and yet since – for the last 70 years it has had only three rulers, but it has huge divisions internally; it’s got a lot of Muslim Brotherhood, it has some ISIS sympathizers, and I think the objective here was to draw Jordan into a war where it was a peripheral player,” Krauthammer said.

“This highlights, I think, the danger we all worship at the shrine of multilateralism, broad coalitions to bring everybody in as a way to restrict American action. Obama’s now involving the UAE, the Saudis and of course the Jordanians and now we see the result.

Krauthammer said Jordan “being drawn into a direct war with ISIS is not a good thing” for the U.S.

“Jordan will not defeat ISIS on its own. It even wouldn’t defeat ISIS even if it had some coalition partners,” he said.

“It’s the United States essentially which is – or Turkey, perhaps – the only partners,” he said. “So, here we are bringing in Jordan for symbolic reasons. Yet, a real pilot is shot down in real time and then executed in this horrible way, causing a reaction in Jordan where the king is now on the spot.

Krauthammer said Abdullah “will have to do something intense, important, punishing and that will draw him in.”

“And he’s got – he’s got refugees from of course Palestine but of course Syria, Iraq. He’s got a lot of internal dissent which we have seen over the years, and this is a way to stir the cauldron in a country that is stable, was stable, but is easily destabilized, and that is what ISIS is after.”

Underscoring the internal dissension and the increasing support for ISIS, the founder of the forerunner to ISIS – Al-Qaida in Iraq – was founded by the Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. A deputy to Zarqawi was Baghdadi, who would go on to create the Islamic State of Iraq, which then morphed into the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, and then the Islamic State, once he had taken over portions of Syria and Iraq to create the caliphate.

“ISIS sympathizers feel injustice and anger at America and Israel and always felt that Islam was under attack by crusaders,” Murin Khoury, a leading Jordanian pollster, recently told the Guardian newspaper of London. “And now they don’t agree with Jordan being involved in the coalition.”

The killing of the Jordanian pilot, however, also is seen as a means to polarize Jordanian society, especially among the tribes, which Sharif says are often considered the backbone of the support for Abdullah’s government.

ISIS, he said, is conducting psychological war against Jordan.

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

“How Can Any Man With Good Sense” Overlook the Koran’s Violence?

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By Raymond Ibrahim, Jan. 12, 2015:

Bruce Thornton writes another great article today titled “Western Sleepwalkers and the Paris Massacre.” He points out the utter lack of common sense in Western responses to repeated jihadi attacks, which are repeatedly portrayed as aberrations by Western media and leaders.  Towards the end he writes, “Our ancestors for centuries acknowledged the true nature of Islam, a simple fact proven by 1000 years of Muslim aggression.” He then quotes Alexis de Tocqueville, “one of our most brilliant political philosophers,” who wrote the following in 1838:

Jihad, Holy war, is an obligation for all believers. … The state of war is the natural state with regard to infidels … [T]hese doctrines of which the practical outcome is obvious are found on every page and in almost every word of the Koran … The violent tendencies of the Koran are so striking that I cannot understand how any man with good sense could miss them (emphasis added).

Even Egypt’s Muslim president recently said that the Islamic “corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the centuries” are terrorizing the entire world.

The fact is, centuries before the current excuses used to rationalize away Islamic violence ever even existed — colonialism, Israel, cartoons, “Orientalism” — Islam was behaving violently toward the “infidel.”  Concludes Thornton:

Our leaders today have slipped into delusional dreams, in which people like Tocqueville or Winston Churchill––who in 1897 said, “Civilization is face to face with militant Mohammedanism”––are dismissed as ignorant bigots and racists who lack our superior knowledge and morality. Meanwhile, the bodies of jihadism’s victims continue to pile up, and Iran’s genocidal theocracy closes in on a nuclear weapon. And many in the West continue to sleepwalk through it all.

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?

Egypt’s Sisi: Islamic “Thinking” Is “Antagonizing the Entire World”

By Raymond IbrahimJanuary 1, 2015:

Speaking before Al-Azhar and the Awqaf Ministry on New Year’s Day, 2015, in connection to Prophet Muhammad’s upcoming birthday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a vocal supporter for a renewed vision of Islam, made what must be his most forceful and impassioned plea to date on the subject.

Among other things, Sisi said that the “corpus of [Islamic] texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years” are  “antagonizing the entire world”; that it is not “possible that 1.6 billion people [reference to the world’s Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants—that is 7 billion—so that they themselves may live”; and that Egypt (or the Islamic world in its entirety) “is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.”

The relevant excerpt from Sisi’s speech follows (translation by Michele Antaki):

I am referring here to the religious clerics.   We have to think hard about what we are facing—and I have, in fact, addressed this topic a couple of times before.  It’s inconceivable 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!

That thinking—I am not saying “religion” but “thinking”—that corpus of texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the years, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world.  It’s antagonizing the entire world!

Is it possible that 1.6 billion people [Muslims] should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants—that is 7 billion—so that they themselves may live? Impossible!

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.

All this that I am telling you, you cannot feel it if you remain trapped within this mindset. You need to step outside of yourselves to be able to observe it and reflect on it it from a more enlightened perspective.

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… because this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.

Note: It is unclear if in the last instance of umma Sisi is referring to Egypt (“the nation”) or if he is using it in the pan-Islamic sense as he did initially to refer to the entire Islamic world.

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).

How Western Media Enable Islamic Terrorism

la-epa-egypt-unrest2-jpg-20130819-450x300Frontpage, by Raymond Ibrahim, December 19, 2014:

If the West is experiencing a rise in the sort of terror attacks that are endemic to the Islamic world—church attacks, sex-slavery and beheadings—it was only natural that the same mainstream media that habitually conceals such atrocities, especially against Christians and other minorities under Islam, would also conceal the reality of jihadi aspirations on Western soil.

As The Commentator reports:

[T]he level of the [media] grovelling after the tragic and deadly saga in Sydney Australia over the last 24 hours has been astounding.

At the time of writing, the lead story on the BBC website is of course about that very tragedy, in which an Islamist fanatic took a random group hostage in a cafe, ultimately killing two of them.

He did this in the name of Islam. But you wouldn’t get that impression if you started to read the BBC’s lead story, which astoundingly managed to avoid mentioning the words Islam, Islamic, Islamist, Muslim, or any derivations thereof for a full 16 paragraphs. The New York Times, which led by calling the terrorist, Man Haron Monis an “armed man”, waited until paragraph 11.

In the Guardian’s main story – whose lead paragraph simply referred to a “gunman” — you had to wait until paragraph 24.

If you’d have blinked, you’d have missed it.

….

In the wider media, reports about Muslim fears of a “backlash” have been all but ubiquitous.

If these are the lengths that Western mainstream media go to dissemble about the Islamic-inspired slaughter of Western peoples, it should now be clear why the ubiquitous Muslim persecution of those unfashionable Christian minorities is also practically unknown by those who follow Western mainstream media.

As with the Sydney attack, media headlines say it all. The 2011 New Year’s Eve Coptic church attack that left 28 dead appeared under vague headlines:“Clashes grow as Egyptians remain angry after attack,” was the New York Times’ headline; and “Christians clash with police in Egypt after attack on churchgoers kills 21” was the Washington Post’s—as if frustrated and harried Christians lashing out against their oppressors is the “big news,” not the unprovoked atrocity itself; as if their angry reaction “evens” everything up.

Similarly, the Los Angeles Times partially told the story of an Egyptian off-duty police officer who, after identifying Copts by their crosses on a train, opened fire on them, killing one, while screaming “Allahu Akbar”—but to exonerate the persecution, as caught by the report’s headline: “Eyewitness claims train attacker did not target Copts, state media say.”

A February 2012 NPR report titled “In Egypt, Christian-Muslim Tension is on the Rise,” while meant to familiarize readers with the situation of Egypt’s Christians, prompts more questions than answers them: “In Egypt, growing tensions between Muslims and Christians have led to sporadic violence [initiated by whom?]. Many Egyptians blame the interreligious strife on hooligans [who?] taking advantage of absent or weak security forces. Others believe it’s because of a deep-seated mistrust between Muslims and the minority Christian community [what are the sources of this “mistrust”?].”

The photo accompanying the story is of angry Christians holding a cross aloft—not Muslims destroying crosses, which is what prompted the former to this display of Christian solidarity.

Blurring the line between victim and oppressor—recall the fear of “anti-Muslim backlashes” whenever a Muslim terrorizes “infidels” in the West—also applies to the media’s reporting on Muslim persecution of Christians.

A February 2012 BBC report on a church attack in Nigeria that left three Christians dead, including a toddler, objectively states the bare bone facts in one sentence.  Then it jumps to apparently the really big news: that “the bombing sparked a riot by Christian youths, with reports that at least two Muslims were killed in the violence. The two men were dragged off their bikes after being stopped at a roadblock set up by the rioters, police said. A row of Muslim-owned shops was also burned…”

The report goes on and on, with an entire section about “very angry” Christians till one confuses victims with persecutors, forgetting what the Christians are “very angry” about in the first place: nonstop terror attacks on their churches and the slaughter of their women and children.

A New York Times report that appeared on December 25, 2011—the day after Boko Haram bombed several churches during Christmas Eve services, leaving some 40 dead—said that such church bombings threaten “to exploit the already frayed relations between Nigeria’s nearly evenly split populations of Christians and Muslims…”  Such an assertion suggests that both Christians and Muslims are equally motivated by religious hostility—even as one seeks in vain for Christian terror organizations that bomb mosques in Nigeria to screams of “Christ is Great!”

Indeed, Boko Haram has torched 185 churches—to say nothing of the countless Christians beheaded—in just the last few months alone.

Continuing to grasp for straws, the same NYT report suggests that the Nigerian government’s “heavy-handed” response to Boko Haram is responsible for its terror, and even manages to invoke another mainstream media favorite: the poverty-causes-terrorism myth.

Whether Muslim mayhem is taking place in the Islamic or Western worlds, the mainstream media shows remarkable consistency in employing an arsenal of semantic games, key phrases, convenient omissions, and moral relativism to portray such violence as a product of anything and everything—political and historical grievances, “Islamophobia,” individual insanity, poverty and ignorance, territorial disputes—not Islam.

As such, Western mainstream media keep Western majorities in the dark about the Islamic threat, here and abroad.  Thus the “MSM” protects and enables the Islamic agenda—irrespective of whether its distortions are a product of intent, political correctness, or sheer stupidity.

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.