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).

Muslim Persecution of Christians: June, 2013

Christian-Persecutionby :

The degradation of Christian women living in the Islamic world continued in the month of June.  In Syria, after the al-Qaeda linked rebel group conquered Qusair, a city of the governate of Homs, 15-year-old Mariam was kidnapped, repeatedly gang raped according to a fatwa legitimizing the rape of non-Sunni women by any Muslim waging jihad against Syria’s government, and then executed.

According to Agenzia Fides, “The commander of the battalion ‘Jabhat al-Nusra’ in Qusair took Mariam, married and raped her. Then he repudiated her. The next day the young woman was forced to marry another Islamic militant. He also raped her and then repudiated her. The same trend was repeated for 15 days, and Mariam was raped by 15 different men. This psychologically destabilized her and made her insane. Mariam became mentally unstable and was eventually killed.”

In Pakistan, Muslim men stormed the home of three Christian women, beat them, stripped them naked and tortured them, and then paraded them in the nude in a village in the Kasur district.  Days earlier, it seems the goats of the Christian family had accidentally trespassed onto Muslim land; Muslims sought to make an example of the Christian family, who, as third-class citizens, must know their place at all times.

The rest of June’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 according to severity:

Attacks on Christian Worship: Churches and Monasteries 

Iraq: During the middle of the night, armed gunmen attacked St. Mary’s Assyrian Catholic Church in Baghdad; they wounded two Christian guards, one seriously.  Later the same day, bombs were set off at two Christian-owned businesses, both near the church; they killed one Christian shop owner who was a parishioner at St. Mary’s.  Since the U.S. “liberation” of Iraq in 2003, 73 churches have been attacked or bombed, and more than half of the country’s Christian population has either fled or been killed.

Kenya: Motorbike assailants hurled an explosive device into the Earthquake Miracle Ministries Church in Mrima village church compound during the Sunday of June 9, injuring 15 people, including one pastor who had both his legs broken, another pastor who sustained serious injuries, and a 10-year-old child.  Said another church leader, “The Christians living around the scene of the incident are still in shock and are wondering as to the mission behind the attack, while several pastors looked demoralized.  But others said prayers will help them stand strong in sharing the Christian faith.”  Islamic extremists from Somalia’s jihadi organization Al Shabaab are suspected of this and other attacks on Christians in the coastal areas of Kenya.

NigeriaFour churches were burned in an attack committed by members of the jihadi group Boko Haram in Borno State in the Muslim-majority north of the country. According to Agenzia Fides, “A group of armed men with improvised explosive devices and petrol bombs attacked the Hwa’a, Kunde, Gathahure and Gjigga communities on Gwoza Hills, burning the 4 churches, raiding and looting cattle and grain reserves belonging to the population.”  Discussing the ongoing terrorism Christians in the north are exposed to, one pastor lamented, “There are Christian villages that have been completely wiped out by these Muslim terrorists…  Christian fellowship activities and evangelism outreaches are no longer possible….  For a number of years, the attacks on Christians in these three local government areas have caused the displacement of thousands of Christians there.  There is a very lamentable problem, as we are no longer able to worship God as Christians in this part of Nigeria.”

Syria: An Islamic jihadi rebel wearing a suicide belt reportedly detonated himself outside the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church in an old Christian quarter in Damascus; the attack left four people dead and several injured.  Rebel sources confirmed the attack but said it was caused by a mortar bomb.  Around the same time, jihadi rebels massacred the Christian village of al-Duwair near Homs, while destroying its churches.  Also, according to Agenzia Fides, a Belgian Catholic priest, Fr. Daniel Maes, 74, of the religious Order of Canons Regular Premonstratensian, was last reported as being “in the sights of jihadi groups who intend to eliminate him and invade the monastery of San James mutilated in Qara,” which dates back to the fifth century. Earlier the priest had denounced the “ethnic cleansing” carried out on Christians in Qusair, after the town was taken by the rebels and jihadi groups: “The surrounding Christian villages were destroyed and all the faithful who were caught were killed, according to a logic of sectarian hatred…  For decades, Christians and Muslims lived in peace in Syria. If criminal gangs can roam and terrorize civilians, is this not against international laws? Who will protect the innocent and ensure the future of this country? …  Young people are disappointed, because foreign powers dictate their agenda. Moderate Muslims are worried, because Salafists and fundamentalists want to impose a totalitarian dictatorship of religious nature. The citizens are terrified because they are innocent victims of armed gangs.”

Read more

 

Muslim Persecution of Christians: February, 2013

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Half of the Victims Were under the Age of Six

by Raymond Ibrahim:

“We thank our young men, trained in Somalia, for killing an infidel. Many more will die.” — Message signed by Muslim Renewal

Reports of Christian persecution by Muslims around the world during the month of February include (but are not limited to) the following accounts. They are listed by form of persecution, and in country alphabetical order, not necessarily according to severity:

Church Attacks

Egypt: Once again, soon after Friday prayers, a throng of Muslims in Fayoum province destroyed a Coptic church. The reason cited this time was that the church is “an unlawful neighbor to the Muslims who live adjacent to it and must therefore be moved.” According to AINA, “The mob climbed to the church dome and started demolishing it and setting it on fire. The dome collapsed into the burning church and caused great damage. Muslims used bricks from the dome and the holy cross and hurled it at the altar inside the church, causing part of it to be demolished; all the icons of saints were destroyed. Muslims tried to assault Father Domadios and threw stones at him, but he was saved by a Muslim family who brought him away from the village in their car.” Local Christian families were reported as staying indoors for fear of being assaulted by the Muslims. And, once again, although state security was present throughout this entire proceeding, it did nothing to prevent it. None of the perpetrators was arrested. Two days later, hundreds of Copts demonstrated, demanding a halt to the ongoing attacks on their churches. In response, the church was attacked again, by Muslims hurling more Molotov cocktails and stones while shouting “We do not want the church.” Some Muslims climbed atop the church again to destroy completely the remains of the wooden dome.

Indonesia: Four churches were firebombed with Molotov cocktails in the world’s most populous Muslim nation. Two were attacked on a Sunday morning in South Sulawesi. Another two churches were attacked a few days later. All the churches suffered various degrees of fire damage. According to Barnabas Fund, the same region was earlier “ravaged in a bloody anti-Christian campaign by Islamic extremists between 1997 and 2001. Hundreds of churches and thousands of homes were destroyed; according to some estimates 30,000 Christians were killed and about half a million driven out in what amounted to ethnic cleansing…. The beheading of three girls as they made their way [to] their Christian school in Central Sulawesi in 2005 was among the most egregious.” Elsewhere, in the village of Mekargalih, some 50 members of the Islamic Defenders Front descended upon a Pentecostal church, scaling its gates, vandalizing the building, and assaulting the church’s minister, including strangling him with his own necktie. The reason cited for this assault was that the church was operating without a permit. Two days later, the only person arrested and currently serving a three month prison sentence, was the minister, for continuing to hold services without a valid permit. The church, which has been running for 26 years, has made repeated attempts, at significant financial cost, to obtain the required permit but has been obstructed by local authorities. This was the third violent attack against the church by the Islamic party in the last two years. According to the minister’s wife, who has also been threatened and harassed, this latest attack has “traumatized” the 400-strong congregation; many Christians are now too afraid to attend services.

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

ZanzibarArsonists set the Evangelical Church of Siloam aflame on the island, populated 99% by Muslims. The church was under construction following a previous attack in January 2012. The current attack follows a string of other attacks on church leaders and Christian property across the country. Two days earlier, a Catholic priest was shot dead on his way to church for Sunday worship. Two Muslim youths at the church entrance shot him in the head. A message signed by “Muslim Renewal” later appeared saying, “We thank our young men, trained in Somalia, for killing an infidel. Many more will die. We will burn homes and churches. We have not finished: at Easter, be prepared for disaster.” A few days before the slaying of the Catholic priest, an Assemblies of God pastor was beheaded by Muslims on the Tanzanian mainland. And on Christmas Day, gunmen shot and seriously wounded another Catholic priest as he was returning home from church.

Apostates, Evangelists, Murder and Slaughter

Cameroon: Two Muslim converts to Christianity were shot dead and two others wounded, in the Christian-majority African nation where Muslims make up approximately 20% of the population. One of the converts was previously threatened by the Nigerian Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram [“Western Education is a Sin”] to return to Islam or “face Allah’s wrath.” The attack occurred when these two Muslim converts to Christianity and two others were travelling together around Lake Chad. Their vehicle was stopped by armed men who forced the four Christians out of the vehicle and opened fire on them. The slain Christians leave behind wives and several children.

IranFox News reported that American pastor Saeed Abedini, who is jailed for his Christian faith in the notorious Evin prison, was “facing physical and psychological torture at the hands of captors, who demanded that he renounce his beliefs.” The 32-year-old married father of two, who left his home in Boise, Idaho, to help start an orphanage in Iran, detailed, in a letter to family members, “horrific pressures” and “death threats”: “My eyes get blurry, my body does not have the strength to walk, and my steps become very weak and shaky… They are only waiting for one thing…for me to deny Christ. But they will never get this from me.” Similarly, according toMohabet News, since four Muslim converts to Christianity were arrested soon after Christmas, “they have been taken to the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz several times in a pitiful condition with their hands and feet chained, where their charges were officially announced as participating in house-church services, evangelizing and promoting Christianity, having contact with foreign Christian ministries, distributing propaganda against the regime and disturbing national security. These four Christian converts were arrested as they gathered for worship in a house church on February 8, 2012.” The report goes on to explain the “obvious mental and physical torture” in prison to which Iran’s converts to Christianity are routinely subjected.

Kenya: One church leader was killed another wounded during an ambush by the Somali-based Islamic terrorist group, Al Shabaab [“The Youth”]. Abdi Welli, a Muslim who converted to Christianity in 1990, and became a minister, died at the scene. His colleague and former mentor, Pastor Ibrahim Makunyi , another convert to Christianity, survived after sustaining gunshot wounds. Abdi’s last words were, “It’s good to be in the hands of Al Shaddai,” an ancient name for the Judeo-Christian God. He leaves behind a wife and three children. In response to these latest Muslim murders of Christians, Somali’s much oppressed underground church declared “The Somali Church is the Lord’s and he will protect it from the evil one. No degree of Muslim persecution will destroy the Somali Church.”

Libya: Christians from all walks of life were arrested, and some tortured, on the accusation that they were trying to evangelize Muslims. On February 10, in Benghazi, four foreign Christians were arrested, including one with American citizenship, on the claim that they were “missionaries.” Three days later, two more Christians from Egypt were arrested. Three days after that, a seventh Christian, also from Egypt, was arrested. Then, on February 27, Benghazi forces raided another Coptic church—rounding up some 100 Coptic Christians and accusing them of being missionaries—simply because they had Bibles and other Christian “paraphernalia,” such as icons of Jesus. Many of these Christians were detained and tortured, including by having their heads shaved and cross tattoos removed with acid. Under such torture, one Copt died.

Nigeria: In yet another attack in the Plateau State, Muslim herdsmen used machetes and guns to murder 10 members of the same Christian family; half of the victims were under the age of six, as confirmed by the military and government. According to one official, “Five little children including a two-month-old child were slaughtered.” As happens all throughout the Islamic world, the area’s Christians accused the military of involvement in violence on behalf of the Muslim tribesmen—some of the attackers were apparently dressed in military uniform—although a military spokesman denied it: “Somehow, some hoodlums and criminals gained access to our old uniforms,” he said.

Pakistan: Younas Masih, a 55-year-old Christian, died shortly after being shot five times in an attack that involved his resistance to convert to Islam. According to sources, “Younas’ Muslim colleagues had been pressuring him to convert to Islam. Repeated threats and blackmail attempts had been made against him but he had remained firm in his faith. On the day of the shooting, Younas’ co-workers made another attempt to persuade him to convert. A heated discussion ensued, with insults and threats issued.” This is not the first time a Christian is slaughtered in Pakistan for refusing to convert to Islam. Younas’s son tried to register the attack on his father with the police, but, as usual, they refused to launch a criminal investigation. Also, after local Muslims accused a 19-year-old Christian of being in relationship with a Muslim girl (Islamic Sharia law bans Christian men from marrying Muslim women), he was “barbarically assassinated”: three Muslim men broke into his home in the early hours while the family was asleep, and smote the teenager on the head with an axe while stabbing him with a dagger. When his father awoke from the screaming, the Muslim assassins fled the scene. Further, in Lahore, Roshan Masih, a 45-year-old Christian, was shot dead after an argument over religion. According toAgenzia Fides, “it was an act of murder in cold blood: Roshan’s defence of his Christian beliefs compared to Muslim beliefs, may have been considered ‘blasphemous’… Days before the murder he had a heated argument over religion with a local Muslim, Sohail Akhtar. The latter waited for his opportunity, and, on 16 February, seeing Roshan sitting outside a shop run by Sadiq Masih, another Christian, Sohail Akhtar, armed with a rifle, shot him dead there and then.”

United States: A Muslim man slaughtered two Coptic Christians in New Jersey. Although authorities believethat “the defendant was ruthless and calculating in the manner in which he carried out the killings and attempted to prevent identification of the victims by cutting off their heads and hands before burying their bodies,” it is relevant to note that Koran 8:12 records Allah saying, “I will cast terror into the hearts of infidels, so strike [them] upon the necks [behead them] and strike from them every fingertip.” Moreover, as one report puts it, “Privately some wonder if it had something to do with the victims’ [Christian] religion.”

Read the rest at Gatestone Institute

Muslim Persecution of Christians: January, 2013

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by Raymond Ibrahim:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Church Attacks

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

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

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

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

Read more at Gatestone Institute

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

Muslim Persecution of Christians: October, 2012

imagesCAI6HG7Tby Raymond Ibrahim

Despite promises to reform the school textbooks, the Saudi education system continues to indoctrinate children with hatred and incitement, especially against Christians and Jews. The textbooks teach — among a long list of hate-filled passages, all of which originate in the Qur’an or the Hadith — that “Christians are the enemies of the Believers,” and that “the Apes are the people of the Sabbath, the Jews; and the Swine are the infidels of the communion of Jesus, the Christians.”

These reports of the persecution of Christians by Muslims around the world during the month of October include (but are not limited to) the following accounts, listed by form of persecution, and by country, in alphabetical order—not according to severity.

Church Attacks

Canada: As happens regularly in Egypt (see below), a Molotov cocktail was hurled through the window of a newly opened Coptic church near Toronto. Unlike in Egypt, however, firefighters came quickly and little damage was done: “Police have no suspects or motive in the incident.”

Egypt: A Muslim mob, consisting mostly of Salafis, surrounded St. George Church in the Beni Suef Governorate. Armed with batons, they assaulted Christians as they exited the church after Sunday mass; five were hospitalized with broken limbs. The Salafi grievance is that Christians from neighboring villages, who have no churches to serve them, are traveling and attending St. George. The priest could not leave the church for hours after the mass, even though he contacted the police; they came only after a prominent Coptic lawyer complained to the Ministry of the Interior concerning the lack of response from police. “I want the whole world to know,” he said, “that a priest and his congregation are presently held captive in their church, afraid of the Salafi Muslims surrounding the church.” Separately, a group of Muslims, led by Mostafa Kamel, a prosecutor at the Alexandria Criminal Court, broke into the Church of St. Mary in Rashid near Alexandria and proceeded to destroy its altar, on claims that he bought the 9th century church; in fact it had earlier been sold to the Copts by the Greeks, due to the Greeks’ dwindling numbers in Egypt. Two priests, Fr. Maximos and Fr. Luke, rushed to the police station to try to bring the police to help. Kamel and his two sons also came to the police station, where they openly threatened to kill the two priests and their lawyer. “We stayed at the police station for over six hours with the police, “Fr. Maximos said, “begging prosecutor Kamel and his two sons not to demolish the church.” Fr. Luke said that the prosecutor had so far lost all the cases he brought against the church, “So when this route failed, he tried taking the matter into his own hands.”

Indonesia: On a Sunday, “unknown assailants” set fire to the Madele Pentecostal Church in the city of Poso by dousing a collection box with petrol and setting it alight. Flames eventually spread to the pastor’s residence. Only the intervention of the fire department and volunteers prevented the blaze from causing major damage to the two buildings. Weeks earlier in the same region, Christian homes were attacked and bombed. Also, two law enforcement agents who were investigating a recent attack on the Christian community were kidnapped; their murdered bodies were later found dumped near an “extremist Muslim” group’s training ground. Because Poso has a large Christian presence, Muslim attacks are frequent, including the 2005 beheading of three Christian girls going to school. Meanwhile in Aceh, Indonesian officials, using the famous pretext that a permit had not been issued, shut down nine [more] Christian house-churches and six Buddhist temples; they argued that homes cannot be used “for religious ceremonies or functions.” According to the report, “Local Muslim extremists welcomed the decision. Yusuf Al-Qardhawy, head of the Aceh branch of the Islamic Defence Front (FPI), called on other jurisdictions to follow Banda Aceh and enforce Islamic law and stop any non-Muslim worship activity that is not approved.” Further, the province of Aceh is the only one “which is subject to Sharia. Compliance is ensured by the ‘morality police,’ a special force that punishes violations in dress and behaviour.”

Iran: Security forces dismantled a network of four underground house churches and arrested seven Christians on a Sunday night. Iranian propaganda media described the churches as a “network of criminals” affiliated with “Zionist propaganda.” Sunday’s arrests are the latest in a wave of detentions in Shiraz. In the past few weeks, Iranian Intelligence Ministry agents in the city have arrested around 30 Christian converts and transferred them to detention centers. According to another report, “State security agents have been permanently stationed at two churches in Esfahan, Iran, in the latest effort by the Islamic regime to frighten people off Christianity. The agents constantly interfere in the activities of St. Luke’s and St. Paul’s, and harass those present. They order the pastors around and stop church elders from talking to Muslim seekers. They also try to frighten away visitors by warning them of dire consequences if they continue attending, and create tension among the members by spreading false rumours. The children of church members are also threatened and often forbidden from attending…. This campaign of harassment by the Islamic authorities is not confined to churches in Esfahan. Similar tactics have been deployed at the central Assemblies of God church in Tehran.”

Kazakhstan: Two Protestant churches were raided, according to members, under the ruse of a criminal case launched 15 months ago. First, masked police raided Grace Church and seized computers, valuables and religious books they insisted were “extremist;” then police requested church members to give blood samples, to see if the church uses “hallucinogenic” substances for communion. Nine days later the New Life Church was raided, also under the pretext of the unrelated criminal case: “Members of both churches fear the authorities will use the case to prevent them gaining the mandatory re-registration,” which critics say is being used to shut down Protestant churches.

Kenya: A grenade was thrown into the Sunday school building of St. Polycarp Anglican Church; it blew off the roof, killing one boy and injuring eight other children who were attending Sunday school; some required surgery. The attack came soon after a Somali member of the Islamic terrorist organization Al Shabab, who had earlier targeted four other churches, was sentenced to prison after he confessed to planning attacks on Parliament. According to the mother of one of the children, “We are in Eastleigh [a region with a large Somali population]. Many Christians, including myself, thought that something might happen. Every week we’d wonder ‘What if it’s this Sunday?’ But we’d still go to church.” Likewise, a parliament member said, “The life of an innocent child has been taken and others have been cruelly injured and traumatised in what should be the safest of places. The sanctity of life has been heartlessly breached in a sanctified place. Such acts seem to be designed to spark civil unrest and intimidate the Christian church. In the face of such an outrage we ask, with the prophet Habakkuk, ‘O Lord, how long?’ and let us trust that God in his mercy will bring justice and relief as we cry out to him.”

Nigeria: After a renewed spate of church attacks, thousands of Christians continue to flee northern areas of Nigeria, which are predominantly Muslim, and where the jihadi organization Boko Haram holds sway. An Islamic suicide bomber rammed an SUV loaded with explosives into St. Rita Catholic Church holding Sunday Mass; he killed eight people and wounded more than 100. One “journalist saw the bodies of four worshippers lying on the floor of the church after the blast, surrounded by broken glass. The body of the suicide bomber had been blasted into nearby rubble.” The church building, charred black, was devastated. Also, the Church of Brethren was raided by Islamic gunmen who killed at least two people and set the church ablaze. Many churches, fearing further attacks, are shutting down.

Pakistan: The Catholic Church of St. Francis, the oldest of the archdiocese of Karachi, was attacked by a Muslim mob of 600, who destroyed property but did not manage to break through the front door. According to a priest: “Fr. Victor had just finished celebrating a wedding, when he heard noises and shouting from the compound of the church. Immediately all the faithful, women and children were sent to the parish house. The radicals, shouting against the Christians, broke into the building and started devastating everything: cars, bikes, vases of flowers. They broke an aedicule and took the statue of the Madonna. They tried to force the door of the church, throwing stones at the church and destroying the windows.” Police arrived an hour later, giving the terrorists plenty of time to wreak havoc. The Archbishop of Karachi lamented that “the church of San Francesco has always served the poor with a school and a medical clinic run by nuns. For nearly 80 years it carries out a humble service to humanity without any discrimination of caste, ethnicity or religion. Why these acts? Why are we not safe?

Syria: Two churches were attacked. One bomb was detonated near the historical gate of Bab Touma (“Thomas’ Doorway”) which is largely populated by the nation’s Christian minority. The bomb exploded as people were going to their churches for Sunday Mass; up to 10 people were killed. “Terrorists are doing this,” said George, a Christian who, like many residents in Bab Touma, lives in fear of the rebel fighters trying to gain control of the capital. Another car bomb exploded in front of the only Syrian Orthodox Church in the town of Deir Ezzor, currently under opposition control. Five people near the church were killed. In September, the same church was desecrated and vandalized by armed gangs.

Tanzania: Muslim mobs burned several church buildings in various parts of the nation after an argument by two children concerning the supernatural powers of the Quran allegedly led a Christian boy to defile Islam’s holy book: two church buildings were set ablaze, while the roof of another one was destroyed. On the island of Zanzibar, Muslim rioters also demolished a building belonging to the Evangelical Assemblies of God; and in Dar es Salaam, three more church buildings were set on fire and another destroyed. “We shall continue attacking the churches until they are no more in Tanzania” was echoed in several mosques in Tanzania,” said one source.

Rape and Murder of Christians

Egypt: Ali Hussein, a Muslim gang leader—accompanied with his two ex-convict brothers—broke into the home of a Christian family on a Sunday morning, demanding that Hiyam Zaki, a mother of two children, to “come and live with him.” Earlier, Hussein had demanded that the family either pay him one million Egyptian pounds, or forfeit the Christian woman to him. Because the family had refused his demands, the gang opened fire indiscriminately, killing one of her relatives and her father. Earlier, to terrorize the inhabitants of the village, the Muslim gang went to the stables and slaughtered all the animals. Hussein was killed under the hail of bullets, although it is not clear who shot him. A Muslim mob then surrounded the hospital demanding revenge for the “Christian killing of a Muslim man,” even as they chanted that Hussein the gangster is “the beloved of the Prophet.” Similarly, although the abduction and forced Islamization of Christian minor girls is common in Egypt, especially with the ascendancy of Muslim Brotherhood, the case of 14-year old Sarah, who was kidnapped on her way to school by the son of a Salafi leader, actually caused a stir. After filing a missing persons report with police, Sarah’s father received an anonymous call telling him that he will never see his daughter again. Security is believed to know the girl’s whereabouts but is not acting. After several human rights organizations called for the girl’s release, “the Salafist Front issued a statement on October 28, warning human rights organizations, especially the National Council for Women, not to attempt to return Sarah to her family, as she has converted to Islam and married a Muslim man.” Moreover, Salafis projected Islamic mores on the Christian family by saying that if Sarah returns to her family, she will be “killed” by her father,” to which her father replied, “I want my child back in my arms, even if she became a Muslim.”

Nigeria: Up to 30 Christian college students were shot or had their throats slit at a university in the Muslim-majority north. During the night, masked gunmen went door-to-door in the off-campus housing section of Federal Polytechnic College in the city of Moby: “the gunmen separated the Christian students from the Muslim students, addressed each victim by name, questioned them, and then proceeded to shoot them or slit their throat.” Among motives cited are reprisals against the fact that former Boko Haram Muslims, renouncing terrorism, converted to Christianity. Other former Boko Haram members have not converted to Christianity but have seen the “goodness of the Christian religion” and now warn Christians before there is an attack.

Pakistan: A 14 year-old Christian girl, Timar Shahzadi, was kidnapped by Muslim men as she was returning from school. According to the pastor close to the family, the girl was with friends when the abductors pounced and dragged her away, and her family fears that she will be “forcefully converted to become a Muslim and then married off if immediate steps are not taken.” The family reported the incident to the local police station, but police have not yet conducted any investigation. Also, a court decreed that a Christian girl, known as Rebecca—who was kidnapped, forced to convert to Islam, and married to her abductor—to be returned to her kidnapper “husband,” despite her father’s pleas and the girls traumatized presence in court. And 24 year-old Shumaila Bibi, another Christian woman, was “seized at dawn, forced to endure sexual abuse and to marry the young Muslim man who abducted her with the help of his family” and forced the woman to convert to Islam. Days later, Shumaila managed to escape. However, with the help of his family, her “husband” denounced her flight and, reversing the facts, reported her family as “kidnapping” her. The police accepted his version of the facts and opened an investigation claiming that the girl converted and married “of her own free will.” The future of Shumaila is hanging by a thread. Kidnapping and forcing girls to convert to Islam and/or be sex-slaves sold to wealthy Muslims is a common occurrence in Pakistan. Read here for a list concerning the “Rape and Murder of Pakistan’s Christian Children.”

Sudan: Asia Omer, a Christian mother of seven, the youngest of which is four months old, was killed in an aerial bombardment near a church by “Sudanese government forces as they continue a ruthless campaign of ethnic and religious cleansing in the predominantly Christian regions of the Nuba Mountains.” Another Christian mother of seven sustained a critical injury but did not receive medical care. Other Christians were also wounded in the bombing, including the teenage son of a church leader. “President Omar al-Bashir’s forces have been targeting the Nuba Mountains in South Kordofan state, which has one of the largest Christian populations in Sudan, since June 2011. The Islamic regime is trying to ‘cleanse’ the region of non-Arabs and non-Muslims as Khartoum pushes forward its plans for a ‘100% Islamic”‘ constitution.”

Syria: A Greek Orthodox priest, Fr. Fadi Jamil Haddad, was kidnapped by armed groups from among the opposition. Days later, his body, which was “horribly tortured and his eyes gouged out,” was found dumped near the place he was abducted. Earlier, the kidnappers had asked the priest’s family and his church for a ransom of 50 million Syrian pounds (over $550,000 euros)—a sum impossible to raise. A source of Fides condemns “the terrible practice, present for months in this dirty war, of kidnapping and then killing innocent civilians.” Also, the last remaining Christian in the center of Homs, an 84 year-old Greek Orthodox, was killed, and the convent of the Jesuits hit again. A top Russian Orthodox official expressed the church’s concern, saying “We are deeply worried by what is going on in Syria, where radical forces are trying to come to power with the help of Western powers. Where they come to power, Christian communities become the first victims.”

Dhimmitude

[General Abuse and Suppression of Non-Muslims as “Tolerated” Citizens]

Bosnia: According to a new report, Christians are leaving the Muslim majority nation in mass “amid mounting discrimination and Islamization.” Currently there are just 440,000 Catholics left in the Balkan nation, half the prewar figure. As standard in Muslim nations, “while dozens of mosques were built in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, no building permissions were given for Christian churches. The cardinal already waits 13 years on permission to build just a small church.” “Time is running out as there is a worrisome rise in radicalism,” said one authority, who added that the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina were “persecuted for centuries” after European powers “failed to support them in their struggle against the Ottoman Empire.”

Egypt: On Al Hafiz TV, a Muslim cleric explained why it is that Christianity cannot be taught in Egyptian classrooms: because, among other things, it bans polygamy and divorce, and allows females an equal inheritance with the male — all things that contradict the teachings and practices of the Muslim prophet. The cleric complained that, based on such Christian teachings, Muslim men who try to exercise their Islamic rights—including polygamy, double-inheritance, and easy divorce (including via text-messaging)—become “criminals, and the religion [Islam] that taught them such things taught them crimes.” Two Christian boys, one 10 the other 9 years-old, were arrested under accusations from a local cleric that they defiled a copy of the Quran. After the boys were released, the Egyptian media, following the claims of the Muslim Brotherhood, credited President Morsi with their release, even though the boys’ lawyer insisted that the Islamist president had nothing to do with their release.

Iran: Many reports more than usual, are appearing of Christian men and women, especially Evangelical Protestants and Muslim apostates, being “dragged to prisons“. According to a council member of the Church of Iran house-church movement, “We have learned that at least 100, but perhaps as many as 400 people, have been detained over the last 10 days…. [I]t has become clear that Protestant Christians are now viewed as enemy number one of the state.” Some of those arrested, after serving time and being tormented, are “forced to say that in exchange for freedom, they will no longer attend church services.” At least five apostates were confined in cells housing dangerous criminals on charges of “creating illegal groups,” “participating in a house church service,” “propagation against the Islamic regime,” and “defaming Islamic holy figures through Christian evangelizing.”

Maldives: Customs officials at the Male’ Ibrahim Nasir International Airport seized 11 books about Christianity, from a Bangladeshi expatriate who came to the Maldives via Sri Lanka. According to the Maldives Religious Unity Regulations, “it is illegal in the Maldives to propagate any faith other than Islam or to engage in any effort to convert anyone to any religion other than Islam. It is also illegal to display in public any symbols or slogans belonging to any religion other than Islam, or creating interest in such articles.” Violation of the Religious Unity Act is subject to two to five years in prison and fines.

Pakistan: A 16 year-old boy, Ryan Stanten, was arrested on “charges of blasphemy, terrorism, and cybercrimes,” because he forwarded text messages to his friends which were intercepted and deemed blasphemous by Muslims. Accordingly, a “furious Muslim mob” attacked the boy’s home, setting furniture on fire and shouting “death to the blasphemer” and “kill Christian infidels.” Other Christians in the region fled.

Saudi Arabia: Despite promises to reform school textbooks, the Saudi education system continues to indoctrinate children with hatred and incitement, especially against Christians and Jews. The textbooks teach – among a long list of hate-filled passages, all of which originate in the Qur’an and the Hadith [stories of the life and sayings of Mohammed] — that “Christians are the enemies of the Believers” and that the “the Apes are the people of the Sabbath, the Jews; and the Swine are the infidels of the communion of Jesus, the Christians.”

Switzerland: Muslims in the nation are complaining about a billboard campaign from Swiss International Airline, which has a logo taken from the Swizz flag, of a cross, with the words “the cross is trumps.” According to the report, “Muslims in Switzerland have responded negatively to the advertising, which they believe promotes Christianity over other religions…. Many Muslims feel this Christian slogan (of Swiss) is a provocation and an assault against Islam.” The airline maintains that its ad campaign does not carry any religious or political message—in fact, that the word “trumps” is a pun for a Swiss card game—and apologized for upsetting Muslims.

Turkey: A history textbook used in 10th grade classrooms portrays the nation’s oldest most indigenous inhabitants, the Christian Assyrians, as traitors. Although objections were raised back in 2011 and the Turkish Ministry of Education eventually issued a statement promising to revise the texts in the next printing of the book in 2012, the books were reprinted without any changes. “In fact, the negative and slanderous portrayal of Assyrians has increased in the new edition. The book now not only portrays Assyrians as traitors in the past but says the Assyrians continue their betrayal of Turkey today.”

About this Series

Because the persecution of Christians in the Islamic world is on its way to reaching pandemic proportions, “Muslim Persecution of Christians” was developed to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that surface each month. It serves two purposes:

  1. To document that which the mainstream media does not: the habitual, if not chronic, Muslim persecution of Christians.
  2. To show that such persecution is not “random,” but systematic and interrelated—that it is rooted in a worldview inspired by Sharia.

Accordingly, whatever the anecdote of persecution, it typically fits under a specific theme, including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam; apostasy and blasphemy laws that criminalize and punish with death those who “offend” Islam; theft and plunder in lieu of jizya (financial tribute expected from non-Muslims); overall expectations for Christians to behave like dhimmis, or second-class, “tolerated” citizens; and simple violence and murder. Sometimes it is a combination.

Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and locales—from Morocco in the West, to India in the East, and throughout the West wherever there are Muslims—it should be clear that one thing alone binds them: Islam—whether the strict application of Islamic Sharia law, or the supremacist culture born of it.

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

Muslim Persecution of Christians: August, 2012

by Raymond Ibrahim at Gatestone Institute:

Egypt: The nation’s jihad organizations dropped leaflets calling on Muslims to kill Christians wherever they found them. Islamists in the Constituent Assembly demanded that the Coptic Church’s funds be placed under state financial control.

Muslim Persecution of Christians: July, 2012

by Raymond Ibrahim:

Several reports appearing in July indicate that Christian minorities all around the Muslim world—especially women and children—are being abducted, tortured, raped, forced to convert to Islam, and/or enslaved. In Egypt, at least 550 such cases have been documented in the last five years, and have only increased since the revolution. Christians who manage to escape back to their families often find the government siding with the Muslim abductors. One young mother who recently testified before the Helsinki Commission explained how she was snatched in broad daylight, as her abductor shouted to bystanders while dragging her to a waiting taxi, “No one interfere! She is an enemy of Islam.”

Identical reports are emerging from Pakistan, where “persecution, kidnapping and abduction of Christian women and girls,” including many married women with children, are on the rise. Last year the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said that 1800 Christian and Hindu girls were forcibly converted to Islam. Most recently, the sister of a pastor was “kidnapped raped and forcibly converted to Islam.” She “was kidnapped around a month ago by some Muslim men while returning home from college. She was held for days, suffered sexual abuse, threats and violence. In such a state of terror and exhaustion, first she was coerced into converting to Islam, and then marriage. Her family reported the incident to the police station in Chunian, but no investigations have been conducted and instead her abductors have presented a report to the court attesting to the girl now being Muslim and legally married. Among other things, the girl is a minor and, according to the law, marriage is not permitted to minors.”

The tiny Palestinian Christian community in the Hamas-run Gaza strip is also under siege, and charges that five Christians were abducted and pressured into converting to Islam. Because they made this forced conversion charge known, “members of the Christian community now fear reprisal attacks by Muslim extremists.” Some have appealed to the Vatican and Christian groups and churches in the West for help. Yet “we only hear voices telling us to stay where we are and to stop making too much noise,” said a Christian man living in Gaza City. “If they continue to turn a blind eye to our tragedy, in a few months there will be no Christians left in Palestine. Today it’s happening in the Gaza Strip, tomorrow it will take place in Bethlehem.”

Categorized by theme, July’s assemblage of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed in alphabetical order by country, not severity.

Church Attacks

Indonesia: Muslim protesters forced a church to shut down during a Sunday worship on claims that it was operating without a permit, and hung a banner on the church’s gate reading “We the people … hardily reject the use of this building … for religious activities.” The church’s committee secretary said the church has the necessarily permits to hold services,” yet “the majority of the people still reject the church’s activity.”

Iran: Both the Central Assembly of God Church in Tehran and its summer campsite—once a popular site for Christian gatherings and conferences—were closed by authorities of the Islamic Republic, who also posted a large notice on the gates “warning of severe consequences should anyone try to enter the premises.” These latest closures follow the official termination of Friday Persian language services and the compulsory cancellation of all Bible classes and the distribution of Christian literature. Also, as part of the crackdown on house churches, plainclothes agents of the Ministry of Islamic Guidance continued raiding, arresting, and “aggressively interrogating” assembled worshippers.

Lebanon: Ahead of the Maronite Patriarch’s visit to Akker, flyers signed by the “Soldiers of the Great Prophet” threatened the Christians and churches in what has traditionally been the safest Mideast country for Christians, calling “on the infidels to stop their blasphemy … We will start from the infidel’s church in Akker and we won’t stop … this is not the end but the beginning,” read the flyer.

Kenya: Seven Islamic jihadis launched simultaneous grenade and gunfire attacks on two churches, while the congregations were at prayer. Five militants attacked the Africa Inland Church, killing 17 people and wounding approximately 60, including many women and children. The other two Muslim terrorists attacked the nearby Catholic Church, wounding three.

Kuwait: After approval was issued for the construction of a church, a group of Islamic preachers, echoing the words of the Saudi Grand Mufti, reasserted that churches are not permitted to be built in Muslim countries. One sheikh “expressed displeasure” against those approving the construction of the church, “stressing that it is not permissible as per the Sharia,” adding that “excuses” such as saying that the building of a church “is a matter of human rights and international norms is not acceptable, as Islam comes first, and people should respect religion first before serving humanity or anything else.”

Turkey: The existence of the oldest functioning Christian monastery in the world, 5th century Mor Gabriel Monastery near the Turkish-Syrian border is at risk after a ruling by Turkey’s highest appeals court. Inhabited today by only a few dozen Christians dedicated to learning the monastery’s teachings, the ancient Aramaic language spoken by Jesus and the Orthodox Syriac tradition, neighboring Muslims with the support of an MP member of the Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP) filed a lawsuit accusing the Christians of practicing “anti-Turkish activities” and of illegally occupying land which belongs to Muslim villages. The highest appeals court in Ankara, which is close to the government, ruled in favor of the Muslim villagers, saying the land that has been part of the monastery for 1,600 years is not its property, and even claimed that the monastery was built over the ruins of a mosque, forgetting that Mohammed was born 170 years after its foundation.

Apostasy and Blasphemy

Egypt: A Christian teacher was arrested and detained after being accused of posting cartoons insulting to Islam and its prophet on Facebook. The man faces up to five years in jail if convicted of blasphemy. While admitting he manages the site in question, he said the site was hacked. Earlier in April, a Christian teenager was sentenced to three years in prison for posting cartoons perceived to mock Islam’s prophet on his Face book page. Likewise, Christian business tycoon Naguib Sawiris posted Disney’s Mickey and Minnie Mouse dressed in Islamic attire, which landed him in court, though he was acquitted.

Iran: Pastor Youssef Nadarkhani, who has spent over 1,000 days in prison awaiting execution for refusing to recant Christianity, is only one of many persecuted in Iran for their faith. A six-year prison sentence for pastor Farshid Fathi Malayerianother Muslim convert to Christianity—was recently upheld following an unsuccessful appeal hearing. Also, another prominent house church pastor, Benham Irani, remains behind bars, even as his family expresses concerns that he may die from continued abuse and beatings, leading to internal bleeding and other ailments; authorities refuse to give him medical treatment. The verdict against him contains text that describes the pastor as an apostate, adding that apostates “can be killed.”

Pakistan: A Christian couple have been on the run since they embraced Islam back in 2006, only to reconvert to Christianity. Upon learning that the couple returned to Christianity, neighboring Muslims attacked and persecuted them; one of the husband’s best friends abducted and tortured him, while beating the wife. “[One] should have the freedom to choose the religion one wishes to follow,” said the Christian husband. “They have subsequently been on the run.”

Saudi Arabia: A court is looking into an apostasy case concerning a 28-year-old Muslim woman’s conversion to Christianity. The father alleges that a Saudi and a Lebanese played a role in converting his daughter to Christianity and smuggling her to Lebanon, where she has received sanctuary in an anonymous church.

Jihad Death and Destruction

Nigeria: In what is described as an ongoing genocide of Christians over 65 people, including two politicians, were killed in a triple attacks on Christians. First, Muslims destroyed 43 Christian-owned farms. Nobody was arrested. Then they attacked nine Christian villages around the city of Jos, killing dozens of people. “They came in hundreds,” said an official, “Some had police uniforms and some even had bulletproof vests.” In one instance, Christians fleeing the violence took refuge in the house of a local church leader, which was bombed and more than 50 Christians were burned alive, including the pastor’s wife and children. Then the Muslims attacked the funeral for the victims of the village raids, killing several more people. Security forces said Muslim Fulani herdsmen were responsible but Islamist militant group Boko Haram issued a statement saying: “We thank Allah for the successful attack.” Separately, Islamic motorcycle assassins gunned down four Christians.

South Africa: The Islamic terror group Al Shabaab is accused of murdering 14 Christians, all Ethiopians, in the Western Cape. A Christian bishop, also a former police inspector, fears more of his flock will be targeted: “We want authorities to do something because we know this is the work of al-Shabaab. If nothing is done, the Ethiopian population will be depleted… [those who died are] holy martyrs who have died because they are Christians.” Meanwhile, Father Mike Williams of the Anglican Catholic Church also revealed that members of his congregation have been targeted by gunmen “with connections to Muslim extremists,” saying that “In July, we have lost seven members of our church.”

Syria: Syrian “freedom fighters” continue showing their true colors as they destroy churches and kill Christians, which has resulted in the mass migration of tens of thousands of Christians, including practically the entire populations of Homs and Qusayr. Surrounding nations that once might have offered refuge—Iraq, Turkey, even now Lebanon—are also increasingly inhospitable to Christians. One Christian girl who escaped said: “They sermonized on Fridays in the mosques that it was a sacred duty to drive us [Christians] away…. Christians had to pay bribes to the jihadists repeatedly in order to avoid getting killed.” After making the sign of the cross, her grandmother added: “Anyone who believes in this cross suffers.”

Turkey: An article titled “Who Ordered the Murder of Christians?” asserts that a Muslim undercover agent who had worked for the government “penetrated the Christian community and gathered a lot of information, while he was pretending to be a missionary. He became a church leader, and upon receiving another order, he became ‘Muslim’ again and launched a campaign against missionaries across the country,” which culminated in the massacre of Christians.

Dhimmitude

[General Abuse, Debasement, and Suppression of Non-Muslims as “Tolerated” Citizens]

Egypt: After a Christian laundry worker burned the shirt of a Muslim man, several quarrels ensued and culminated with the death of a Muslim. Accordingly, thousands of Muslims rampaged the village, causing 120 Christian families to flee. They looted Christian businesses and homes “despite hundreds of security forces being deployed in the village. Eyewitnesses reported that security forces did not protect most Coptic property.” Family members of the deceased Muslim insist that the Christians must still pay with their lives. Also, during Ramadan, several Christians were attacked and beaten. Dr. Yassir al-Burhami, a prominent figure in Egypt’s Salafi movement issued a fatwa forbidding Muslim taxi-drivers and bus-drivers from transporting Coptic Christian priests to their churches, which he depicted as “more forbidden than taking someone to a liquor bar.” And a charitable medical center that performs free heart operations on both Muslim and Christian children is under threat from some Muslims, who want it closed down because it was founded by a Christian surgeon.

Pakistan: Days after a Muslim mob doused a man with gasoline and literally burned him alive for “blaspheming” the Koran (graphic picture here), a Pakistani Christian woman, now living in the U.S., explained how when she lived in Pakistan, Muslims disfigured her in an acid attack for being Christian: After one man noticed her wearing a crucifix, he “became abusive,” telling her “that she was living in the gutter and would go to hell for shunning Islam. He left and returned half an hour later, clutching a bottle of battery acid which he savagely chucked over her head. As she ran screaming for the door a second man grabbed her by the hair and forced more of the liquid down her throat, searing her esophagus. Teeth fell from her mouth as she desperately called for help, stumbling down the street. A woman heard her cries and took her to her home, pouring water over her head and taking her to hospital. At first the doctors refused to treat her, because she was a Christian. ‘They all turned against me… Even the people who took me to the hospital. They told the doctor they were going to set the hospital on fire if they treated me.’ … 67 per cent of her esophagus was burned and she was missing an eye and both eyelids. What remained of her teeth could be seen through a gaping hole where her cheek had been. The doctors predicted she would die any day. Despite the odds she pulled through.” Separately, Muslim landowners and their police accomplices continue annexing land owned by Christians. “The police pulled away our headscarves from heads and started hitting us with clubs and punches” reported Christian women, “after news spread that police is harassing and torturing Christian women and men … to grab their agricultural land.”

About this Series

Because the persecution of Christians in the Islamic world is on its way to reaching epidemic proportions, “Muslim Persecution of Christians” was developed to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that surface each month. It serves two purposes:

  1. To document that which the mainstream media does not: the habitual, if not chronic, Muslim persecution of Christians.
  2. To show that such persecution is not “random,” but systematic and interrelated—that it is rooted in a worldview inspired by Sharia.

Accordingly, whatever the anecdote of persecution, it typically fits under a specific theme, including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam; apostasy and blasphemy laws that criminalize and punish with death those who “offend” Islam; theft and plunder in lieu of jizya (financial tribute expected from non-Muslims); overall expectations for Christians to behave like dhimmis, or second-class, “tolerated” citizens; and simple violence and murder. Sometimes it is a combination.

Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and locales—from Morocco in the West, to India in the East, and throughout the West wherever there are Muslims—it should be clear that one thing alone binds them: Islam—whether the strict application of Islamic Sharia law, or the supremacist culture born of it.

Published at Gatestone Institute

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