“We Did What We Learned: Attacking Christians” Muslim Persecution of Christians, August 2015

  • Western “mainstream media” and academia continued to exonerate Islam in deceptive op-eds, such as the Huffington Post’s “ISIS Violates The Consensus Of Mainstream Islam By Persecuting Christians,” by Qasim Rashid, a recipient of Saudi largesse, by way of Harvard University’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center.


  • A 12-year-old girl, raped by an Islamic State fighter, was told that “what he was about to do was not a sin” because she “practiced a religion other than Islam.”

  • “In school I only learned about Islam. Parts of our teaching were about destroying Christianity. So we did what we learned, by attacking Christians … Our teachers would tell us every time there was a new church in town and we were told to go and attack the people and destroy the church. So that is what we did.” — Tofik, a former Muslim cleric who converted to Christianity.

Throughout the month of August, the Obama administration and the so-called mainstream media kept insisting that Islam does not promote the persecution of Christians — all the while ignoring the direct testimonies of those who have undergone it.

According to Chaldean Archbishop Bashar Warda,

All the statements [by U.S. government and media] have not condemned strongly what damage it [persecution of Christians] is doing. What they are saying is just “This is not the true Islam. This is violating the picture of Islam.” The issue for them is the image of Islam, but none of these statements speak about the victims, about what has been done to the victims, they are not even mentioned. And that is one of the questions our people have. [Author’s emphasis].

Warda added that persecuted Christians are “being denied visas, while others who have participated [in the violence] or at least were silent, can go.”

Father Douglas al-Bazi, an Iraqi Catholic parish priest from Erbil, who still carries the torture scars he received nine years earlier at the hands of jihadis, denounced the Western refusal to accept reality about Islam:

I’m proud to be an Iraqi, I love my country. But my [Muslim] country is not proud that I’m part of it. What is happening to my people [Christians] is nothing other than genocide. I beg you: do not call it a conflict. It’s genocide… When Islam lives amidst you, the situation might appear acceptable. But when one lives amidst Muslims [as a minority], everything becomes impossible…. Wake up! The cancer is at your door. They will destroy you. We, the Christians of the Middle East are the only group that has seen the face of evil: Islam.

Meanwhile, Western “mainstream media” and academia continued to exonerate Islam in deceptive op-eds, such as the Huffington Post’s “ISIS Violates The Consensus Of Mainstream Islam By Persecuting Christians,” by Qasim Rashid, a recipient of Saudi largesse, by way of Harvard University’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center.

The rest of August’s roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes, but is not limited to, the following accounts:

Islamic State: Savagery and Sex Slavery

Mokhls Youssef Batk, an Iraqi Christian, was blinded by the Islamic State (ISIS or IS) after he refused to convert to Islam.

The “caliphate” threatened that captive Christian women would become sex slaves unless they were ransomed with money. It posted images of three Assyrian Christian women who were previously abducted. The women hold pieces of paper on which their names and a date — July 27, 2015 — are written: “It is feared they will be sold to ISIS fighters if a ransom is not paid for them.”

A 12-year-old girl, raped by an Islamic State fighter, was told that “what he was about to do was not a sin” because she “practiced a religion other than Islam.” IS also made clear in a 34-page manual released by its Research and Fatwa Department that “sex with Christian and Jewish women who were captured in battle is also permissible.”

Jihad on Muslim Converts to Christianity

Uganda: After he learned that his family had converted to Christianity, a Muslim man went berserk. Issa Kasoono beat, strangled, and left his wife for dead. He also severely beat their two teenage sons for the crime of apostasy. The youngest son managed to flee and bring help from the church where, three months earlier, the Muslim mother and sons had accepted Christ. Due to injuries from the strangling, Kadondi, the mother, lost her voice, has difficulty eating, and requires extensive surgery. According to a local source: “The mother and Ibrahim [older son] Kasoono were seriously injured. Ibrahim was hit with a blunt object, had his right arm broken and has stomach pains, while the mother was strangled and sustained neck and throat injuries.” Although Uganda’s population is 85% Christian and 11% Muslim, attacks on converts to Christianity are on the rise, and include the recent murder by poisoning of a mother, and the gang rape of a teenage daughter of a Christian pastor.

Somalia: A Muslim convert to Christianity (name withheld) managed to escape from Al Shabaab — the dominant Islamic front — but only after the jihadis chopped off four fingers from his right hand while interrogating him about his conversion. Another man, 31-year-old Sharif, fled his home after his conversion to Christianity was exposed: “My association with a visiting white missionary landed me in trouble… I feel sad because I cannot see my family, because if I return back to Somaliland, then the government will arrest me.” His wife and four children — aged 8, 6, 4, and 1 — have also relocated to an undisclosed town: “I am not sure what will happen to my wife and four children. I am praying that God will provide for their basic needs. Pray for me that one day I will see them.”

Pakistan: Khurram Naveed, 33, a Christian man, and Sobia, 25, a Muslim woman, are on the run. Sobia discovered Christianity through Khurram and decided to be baptized. Since they got married and had two daughters, her parents, Muslim neighbors, and imams have repeatedly tried to convert them to Islam or face the consequences. In the words of Khurram:

“Since we got married we have had to change places many times… Wherever we go, people ask about my beloved wife’s conversion. Sometimes, imams try to force us to convert to Islam, issuing terrible threats…. My wife, I and our children have had to flee from place to place. We feel threatened as soon as people find out about my wife’s Muslim past. However, running from one place to another is not easy. There are so many problems…. Until now I have to change job six times, and finding new employment is not easy. But we need security for our life and we ask for help from the people of God.

Horn of Africa: A former Muslim cleric, who converted to Christianity and is known as Tofik, explained in an interview what Islamic preachers teach about Christians in mosques and what such converts can expect. For the previous 24 years, he had trained to become an imam at an Islamic madrasa: “In school I only learned about Islam. Parts of our teaching were about destroying Christianity. So we did what we learned, by attacking Christians once we finished our training.”

Tofik said he was taught that Christians are evil and that he and other students should steal from and kill them: “We beat them, attacked the church and burnt their Bibles. … Our teachers would tell us every time there was a new church in town and we were told to go and attack the people and destroy the church. So that is what we did.” Due to a series of dreams, he eventually embraced Christ. News of his apostasy spread quickly, especially among his own tribe:

They reacted by coming to my home saying, ‘This brother is dead.’ In our culture, when someone dies their property is shared. So they destroyed my house, setting it on fire, and they took my cattle, and the remainder of my property. They then falsely accused me of burning another house, so I was jailed and taken to court. It was only in the court process that the witnesses proved their dishonesty by having contradicting testimonies.

After being released from jail, Tofik continued preaching Christ and even inspired more than 200 people to convert:

“As a result local villagers were upset. So again, they attacked me physically and burned my house…. The attackers assumed I was dead, so they threw me into the compound. Then they looted the small kiosk I owned and proceeded to loot and burn my children’s properties. They said they have killed the lead figure and now our area is free of his activities. They started shouting and singing.”

Jihad on Christian “Blasphemers”

Egypt: Medhat Ishak, a 35-year-old Christian, was arrested for handing out Bibles to Muslimsoutside El-Arab Mall in Sixth of October City. Mall security guards turned him over to national police, who accused him of evangelizing. The day after his arrest, a judge amended the charge against Ishak to “defamation of a revealed religion” and ordered him held for 15 days. After his term ended, the judge extended his detention for another 15 days. Ishak’s attorney, Rafik Rafaat, suspects the judge will keep extending the detention order, in violation of Egyptian law, until the case falls out of the public eye. Then he will hand Ishak a prison sentence of one to five years, in accordance with the defamation charge. This is because there are currently no charges against “evangelism” under Egyptian law. Handing out Bibles or even promoting Christianity does not constitute “defaming” Islam. “The word ‘blasphemy’ means that he was insulting the other religion [Islam], but he didn’t do that, and he didn’t talk about Islam or prophets or anything like that to be accused of blasphemy,” said the Christian’s lawyer. “So, now we are surprised that the attorney general accused him of blasphemy when he did not commit any act of blasphemy.”

Pakistan: Protestant Christian Pastor Aftab Gill and three other Christians from Gujrat wereaccused of blasphemy for having used the word rasool (“messenger” or “apostle”) during an event made public by their community, the Biblical Church of God. Local Muslims grew angry, saying that, as rasool is one of the Muslim prophet Muhammad’s attributes, Christian use of the word is blasphemous. But Christian activists say that because the word simply means apostle and appears in Urdu Bibles as such, it was used in that generic sense, and that the Christians were not trying to blaspheme. Muslims were nevertheless about to burn Christian homes and a church, but police managed to restore calm before the situation escalated. Unitan Gill, Pastor Aftab’s younger brother, said that local Muslim businessmen are jealous of the Christian family’s success in running a local grocery store, and that it was Muslim grocers who brought this matter to the attention of the police.

Islamic State Destruction of Syrian Churches

The Islamic State “caliphate” released a video showing its militants razing the ancient Mar Elian monastery to the ground. In the video, the jihadis can be seen removing the remains of Saint Elian, after whom the monastery was named, from their ancient stone sarcophagus, and then gleefully desecrating his bones. The church was built on the spot where Saint Elian was killed by his father, a Roman officer, for refusing to renounce Christ. Earlier, IS abducted an estimated 250 Christians from the monastery and its surrounding villages, many of whom were women and children.

Islamic State jihadists in the midst of destroying the ancient Mar Elian monastery in Syria.

On Sunday, August 23, a rain of mortars fell on a Damascus neighborhood. Two shells hit the roof of the Maronite church. Nine people were killed and about fifty were wounded. A nearby Catholic parish was also damaged. According to Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar, “Part of the war in Syria is to live under indiscriminate bombing, a kind of Russian roulette which is always unpredictable.” Survivors tell the archbishop that those who die are better off, because they “will not have to see and live this cruel tragedy without end.”

Pakistani Dhimmitude

The Christian minorities of the “Land of the Pure” continued to be treated as third class, unwanted “citizens.”

Muslims attacked and severely beat a Christian family after a Muslim boy mocked a Christian boy by saying that his pregnant sister-in-law will “give birth as their cows and buffalos do.” The Christian boy reciprocated with an insult, and the Muslim boy began to beat him. Later in the evening, the Muslim boy and his brothers went to the Christians’ household and attacked the entire family. While beating the pregnant Christian women, they yelled, “You cannot be pregnant without permission of Muslim master who pays you.” After visiting the family, a human rights group stated that the “Christian Community is facing all sorts of discrimination and disgrace from their land Lords, neighbors, or where ever they live or work. Christians have no right to respect, education, free living and now they are under observation/mockery of giving birth, now our majority brothers [Muslims] will decide whether the Christian women will give birth respectfully or like animals.”

As torrential flooding spanned across various regions of Pakistan and washed away thousands of homes, Christians in Kasur received little humanitarian aid and were left to starve. Their two options — to receive help from Muslims or the government — was either to convert to Islam or willingly accept becoming modern-day slaves. According to Wilson Chowdhry, the president of the British Pakistani Christian Association, while Muslims in the region have benefited from temporary shelter, clean water and food provided by governmental agencies and Muslim charities, Christians have been left without those bare necessities and medication needed to fight illnesses. Said Chowdhry:

We are aware that this community has previously been offered aid from Muslim charities if they convert but they never accept conversion. They hold strong to their faith. They believe God will be their provider. These families have literally been struggling without food. Churches have opened up their doors but can’t provide them much aid because the churches themselves in the region are struggling. We are talking about a very rural part of Pakistan.

Chowdhry added that as desperation started to get the best of the Christian population in Kasur, many ended up signing bonded labor contracts in order to receive aid from Muslim landlords.

In a separate incident, a few days after a Christian man stopped two Muslim brothers from harassing Christian girls on their way to church, the two brothers broke into the Christian’s home, and beat and shot him. The man was later taken to a hospital, where he was reported in critical condition.

Boko Haram’s Slaughter of Christians

Jihadists from the Islamic organization Boko Haram slit the throats of sixteen Christian fishermen on the shores of Lake Chad in the Nigerian state of Borno. The increase in such incidents is supposedly in retaliation for the Chadian government’s efforts against Boko Haram around Lake Chad. According to Bishop Ramolo, “The Chadian President Idriss Deby has declared open war against the Islamists, and these acts represent an attempt at revenge.”

A Christian leader, stabbed in April by rampaging young Muslims in Kaduna state, suffered a relapse after an initial recovery. Pastor Emmanuel Danjuma of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, while visiting a Muslim-majority region of Nigeria, was attacked by Muslims reportedly angry about election results. “They called me an infidel and attacked me.” The pastor was clubbed and stabbed several times. A village elder apparently ordered the youths to stop. “I don’t know what happened then, as next I found myself in a hospital in Saminaka town. After a few days, my situation deteriorated and I was transferred to this Christian hospital.”

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).

Previous reports

“Wake Up!”: Muslim Persecution of Christians, July 2015 by Raymond Ibrahim

  • He was told that his daughter refused to change her religion, so she was buried from the neck down, and then stoned to death. — Nigeria.


  • Nearly 300 Christian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram last year were being beaten, forced to convert to Islam, and indoctrinated into believing that their mission is to “slit the throats of Christians and to carry out suicide attacks.” — Nigeria.

  • Christians kidnapped and held for ransom continue to be slaughtered even after their ransom is paid. — Pakistan.

  • “In most instances the victims are minors, young adolescent girls. They suffer sexual violence, forced prostitution, domestic abuse and even sold to human traffickers.” — Sardar Mushtaq Gill, human rights lawyer, Pakistan.

  • “If the West wants to do something about the present crisis, the most effective thing would be to support local governments, which need sufficient armies and forces to maintain security and defend respective populations against attacks.” — Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, Patriarch of Antioch.

Not only is the Islamic State (IS) persecuting Christians but so are the U.S.-supported “rebel” forces in Syria, which the Obama administration assures are “moderate.” According to a recent National Public Radio (NPR) report, “With backing from U.S. allies, like Turkey and Saudi Arabia, this [U.S. supported] rebel coalition fights both the Syrian regime and the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS. But the coalition has extremists in its own ranks who have mistreated Christiansand forced them out of their homes”—just as IS has done.

In response, Mideast Christian leaders have made clear that, far from expecting the West to intervene on their behalf, they merely wish that the West would stop arming, supporting, or even facilitating the Islamic terrorists who are making their lives a living hell. The crisis was spelled out in an article in Christian Today, entitled, “Syrian Christian leader tells West: ‘Stop arming terror groups who are massacring our people.”

According to the Patriarch of Antioch, Moran Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, “If the West wants to do something about the present crisis, the most effective thing would be to support local governments, which need sufficient armies and forces to maintain security and defend respective populations against attacks. State institutions need to be strengthened and stabilized. Instead, what we see is their forced dismemberment being fueled from the outside.”

Another Christian leader had another message to the West. According to Iraqi priest, Fr. Douglas Bazi, once a torture victim who now takes care of thousands of refugees forced to flee Mosul since the Islamic State took over the city last year, the West needs to “Wake up!” During celebrations of St. Peter and St. Paul, the Iraqi priest further reflected that, “We cannot celebrate the feast of two martyrs without remembering the living martyrs of our time.”

These martyrs are not limited to the Middle East. Among the many Christians slaughtered in Nigeria in July was a young girl who was stoned to death for refusing to renounce Christ and convert to Islam. Pastor Mark lost his daughter, Monica, in the Chibok abduction, in which almost 300 predominantly Christian girls were kidnapped at the hands of the Islamic organization, Boko Haram. He was told that his daughter refused to change her religion, so she was buried from the neck down, and then stoned to death.

The rest of July’s roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes, but is not limited to, the following accounts, listed by theme.

Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches

Nigeria: Dozens of Christian churches were attacked in the Muslim-majority northern regions, where Boko Haram is headquartered:

  • Thirty-two churches and 300 houses were burnt when Boko Haram jihadis attacked Mussa community in Borno State. Thirteen people were also killed in the jihad.
  • female Muslim suicide bomber blew herself up in the Redeemed Christian Church of God on Sunday, July 5, in the town of Potiskum. The priest and a woman and her two children were killed. “People were just going to the church when the bomber entered,otherwise the casualty figure would have been higher,” said a Red Cross worker. Earlier it was revealed that some of the nearly 300 Christian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram last year were being beaten, forced to convert to Islam, and indoctrinated into believing that their mission is to “slit the throats of Christians and to carry out suicide attacks.”
  • On Sunday, July 12, explosives planted at a church in Jos went off but there were no casualties; the bomb was detected by the church’s security personnel.
  • In response to a mosque explosion that killed 20 people—part of Boko Haram’s “Ramadan killing spree“—rioting Muslims burned down two churches on July 6 in Jos. According to the report, the mosque attack “has revived historic tensions between members of both faiths in Jos. Christians in Nigeria now not only fear Boko Haram, but also attacks from their Muslim neighbors.”

Some of the hundreds of Christian Nigerian schoolgirls who were abducted last year by Boko Haram. (Image source: Boko Haram video)

Iraq: The Islamic state blew up another Christian church under its authority, the Mother of Aid Church, which had stood in central Mosul for thousands of years. The blast also killed four children who were near the church at the time. IS also transformed the St. Joseph Church, an ancient Chaldean church in Mosul, into a mosque. Pictures of St. Joseph show that the dome has been painted black and the church has been stripped of all crosses and Christian symbols and images.

Egypt: Three church related attacks took place: The Fathers Church in eastern Alexandria was attacked on July 21 by unknown assailants who hurled Molotov cocktails and other homemade bombs at the church. No one was injured, although the facade of the church was damaged. Security services discovered a bag with more firebombs on the scene from where the assailants had fled. According to El Watan, the incident created a “state of panic” in the area, especially because the Fathers Church is considered the most important church for the Coptic Catholics of the region.

  • Muslims suspended prayer in a church in the village of Arab Asnabt in Abu Qurqas, Minya, and called for demolishing it in an effort “to prevent Coptic Christians from practicing their religious rites.”
  • Dozens of “incensed” Muslims congregated before the house of a Christian on the accusation that he was trying to use his home as a church. Security services arrived in time to disperse the angry Muslims. Coptic Christians trying to—or merely being accused of—turning their homes into churches in Egypt is not uncommon, and, in accordance with Islamic law, ultimately reflects the difficulties Christians face in building or even renovating existing churches.

Niger: Approximately 70 Christian churches and an orphanage continue facing a lack of resources and difficult conditions in attempts to rebuild them, six months after thousands of Muslims had attacked and destroyed them. The onslaught was in “revenge” for the offending Muhammad cartoons published by the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo—a secular magazine based in France that also mocks Christianity. “Since these incidents, it is as if life had stopped,” said Baptist pastor Jacques Kangindé. His home was also destroyed during the riots. Recalling the destroyed church, the pastor said: “I felt very bad, such an indescribable feeling when I saw my ripped-up Bible on the ground. For a pastor, it was like my entire life was torn apart. I could not stop shedding tears.”

Muslim Violence and Slaughter of Christians

NigeriaBoko Haram jihadis shot and killed 29 people in two Christian enclaves of northeast Nigeria. Most people in Dille village ran, but those who could not were gunned down and many homes were set ablaze. Separately, at a busy market in northeastern Damaturu town, a woman suicide bomber blew herself up, killing 15 people and wounding 50. And in Maikadiri village, at least 14 people were killed and 500 cows were slaughtered.

IraqChristians kidnapped and held for ransom continue to be slaughtered even after their ransom is paid. The body of Quais Abdul Shaya was returned to his family—after they had paid the demanded ransom of $25,000 USD. Saher Hanna, who worked at the Ministry of the Interior, was also killed after his Islamic abductors received his ransom. Killing Christian hostages, including children, after receiving payment is not limited to the Islamic State and occurs in other Muslim nations such as Egypt.

Libya: Unconfirmed reports, including from the Libyan Herald, say that the Islamic State executed another Egyptian Coptic Christian it had seized. Bekhit Nageh Efrank Ebeid, a 25-year-old laborer, was kidnapped along with two other Christians, Kofi Frimpong Sekyere from Ghana and Ibrahim Adeola from Nigeria.

EgyptAn unknown man attacked a Coptic nun in the Muslim-majority nation. According to Fr. Abdel Quddus, “An unknown person stalked a sister in the diocese of Fashn, Beni Suef, and attacked her last week with a bladed weapon while she was outside her residence. He then hit her head against the wall and fled.” And Wadie Ramses, a Christian who was kidnapped and held for 92 days by Islamic militants in the Sinai desert, managed to escape. During his time in captivity, he was blindfolded and handcuffed, beaten and abused. According to his account, the most terrifying moments came when he would overhear his Muslim kidnappers debating whether to behead the Christian doctor or keep him alive to ensure a ransom. The police, though given many opportunities, never made any effort to rescue him, said the Copt.

Apostasy, Blasphemy, and Proselytism

Uganda: Muslims once again tried to kill a Muslim convert to Christianity. Last year, Hassan Muwanguzi, a former Muslim Sheikh, now born-again Christian, survived a poisoning attempt by Muslim relatives, but, in a separate attack, lost his twelve-year old daughter. Recently, Muslims broke into his house with knives and clubs in another attempt to assassinate him. Muwanguzi was at a prayer meeting at the time, but the assailants stole thousands of dollars’ worth of his possessions. Despite Uganda being a majority-Christian nation, Muwanguzi lives in a majority-Muslim region, and faces regular death threats (read more here).

Pakistan: Muslims again used the “blasphemy” accusation to persecute Christian minorities:

  • Two Christian women and the husband of one of the women in the Punjab were tortured by Muslim villagers. Afterwards, they painted the women’s and man’s faces black, put shoes around their necks as “garlands”—shoes are considered ultra-degrading symbols in Pakistan—and paraded them around the town on donkeys, while the Muslim mob continued to taunt and beat them. The two women, identified as Rukhsana and Rehana, were accused of committing blasphemy after they got into an argument with a Muslim woman who wanted to buy a carpet for a low price, which the Christians refused. The Muslim woman then accused the Christians of committing blasphemy; she said that the carpet had images of Holy Books and Koran verses on it. The remark prompted the mob to drag the Christians out of their homes and beat them.
  • Another Christian couple was nearly lynched by a Muslim mob after they were accused of “blasphemy.” The illiterate couple were using a banner that also allegedly carried scriptures from the Koran. After a local barber and two clerics denounced the couple, they were beaten and about to be hanged when police intervened. A few months earlier,another couple was thrown into an oven and burned to death when they too were accused of blasphemy.
  • Two Christian brothers, Qaisar and Amoon Ayub of Lahore, were arrested on blasphemy charges after one of them was accused of posting on his website material supposedly offensive to Islam. According to Qaisar, he closed his account in 2009 but one of his Muslim colleagues, Shahryar Gill, somehow managed to restore the website, while ownership remained in Qaisar’s name. Apparently in revenge for some office quarrel, the Muslim framed the Christian, reported the “blasphemy” to the authorities; the two brothers fled Pakistan. Years later, thinking things had cooled down, they tried to return to their wives and children, only to be arrested.

Sudan: Two imprisoned Presbyterian pastors are on trial and facing a possible death sentence. Rev. Yat Michael and the Rev. Peter Yen Reith of the South Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church are being charged with espionage and blasphemy under the Republic of Sudan’s Islamic laws. Other church leaders say that Christians are often targeted for their faith, and that the government’s accusations are pretexts: “This is not ‘something new’ for our church. Almost all pastors have gone to jail under the government of Sudan. We have been stoned and beaten. This is their habit to pull down the church. We are not surprised. This is the way they deal with the church,” said Rev. Tut Kony.

Egypt: Three young Christians were arrested in Alexandria on charges of “contempt for Islam.” The previous evening, the Christians had been seen handing out bags of dates to Ramadan fasting Muslims. Some Muslims reported them to authorities; they said that the pamphlets contained “the teachings of Christ” were found in the bags of dates. They were all arrested and charged with contempt for Islam. The three Christian youth pled that the pamphlets were for their own personal use and not meant to be placed in the bags of dates. They were ordered to pay 10,000 Egyptian pounds and released.

“Dhimmitude”: Islamic Contempt, Hostility, and Abuse of Christians

Pakistan: Christian girls continued to be abducted and raped in the Muslim majority nation. A new report indicates that every year 1,000 non-Muslim girls are abducted, raped, forced to convert to Islam or “marry” their abductors. Cases reported in July include:

  • Tarfa Younis, a 12-year- old Christian orphan girl, was sold to a 55-year-old Muslim man who “repeatedly raped” her for over a year; the man’s nephew also abused her. The traumatized girl managed to run away and reach the home of an uncle. According to The Voice, a human rights organization involved in the case, “the practice of raping and forcing Christian girls into marriage continues in Punjab, especially in suburban areas.”
  • Fouzia, a 25-year-old married Christian woman and mother of three children, was abducted on July 23 by Muhammad Nazir, another 55-year-old Muslim man. He forced her to convert to Islam and become his wife. Her family asked Muhammad for her return, but he insisted that she had voluntarily converted and married him—and that if they made any trouble “there would be serious consequences.” According to human rights lawyer Sardar Mushtaq Gill: “Usually episodes like this proceed in the following manner: the family of the victim presents a complaint. The abductor lodges a counter-complaint affirming that the woman made a voluntary decision. In most instances, the victims are minors, young adolescent girls. They suffer sexual violence, forced prostitution, domestic abuse and even sold to human traffickers.” Gill concluded that it is rare for such cases to end with the return of the girls to their original families.

Indonesia: A group of Muslims attacked and disrupted a Christian scout camp that had brought together thousands of young people. The camp had been organized by a Protestant group in Yogyakarta, central Java. The Muslim assailants argued that the Christian group was not authorized to organize any public activity—especially as it was Ramadan and public activities that violate the Islamic nature of the month are forbidden. On the second day of the event, local Muslims stormed the site and brought everything to a halt. As a result of the raid, thousands of Christian participants from around the country were forced to leave the area. According to the Christian camp manager, “organizers said they had official permission [to hold the event], but suddenly scores of radical Muslims arrived ordering everyone to clear off.” Commenting on the expulsion of Christians, Muhammad Fuad, head of the local branch of the Islamic Community Forum, expressed satisfaction that the Christian event was shut down: “It is good because everyone should understand how to behave towards the Muslim community.”[1]

Iraq: The Islamic State issued a call to its members at the University of Mosul to burn all books written by Christians—whether researchers, writers, or academics—that are found in the Central Library at the University of Mosul.

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).

Previous reports


[1] According to Asia News:

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, has often been the scene of attacks or acts of intolerance towards minorities, whether Christians, Ahmadi Muslims or people of other faiths.

In Aceh, Islamic law (Sharia) is enforced, the only Indonesian province to do so. This is the result of a peace agreement between the central government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM).

However, more radical and extreme versions of Islam are growing in many other parts of the country, like Bekasi and Bogor, in West Java.

In addition, legal loopholes have been used to prevent Christians from building their places of worship, like the case involving the Yasmin Church in West Java.

Indonesia’s constitution recognizes religious freedom, but Christian communities, Catholics included (3 per cent of the population) have been the victims of religious violence and persecution.

“Treason” In Turkey: Asking for Peace by Uzay Bulut

  • The Turkish state authorities have made it clear that calling for an end to state violence in Turkey’s Kurdish regions is “treason.” This means that in Turkey, requesting peace and political equality between Kurds and Turks is illegal.

  • The 1128 original signatories of the “Academics for Peace” declaration have been subjected to sustained attacks and threats from the Turkish government and nationalist groups. In the week after the publication of the declaration, at least 33 academics were detained by police. Some have lost their jobs. Associate Professor Battal Odabasi from Istanbul Aydin University, for instance, was fired for supporting the petition. At least 29 academics have been suspended from their jobs at universities.

On January 11, 2016, a group of academics and researchers from Turkey and abroad called “Academics for Peace” signed and issued a declaration entitled, “We will not be a party to this crime.” In it, they criticized the Turkish government for its recent curfews and massacres in Kurdish districts, and demanded an end to violence against Kurds and a return to peace talks.

“We declare that we will not be a party to this massacre by remaining silent and demand an immediate end to the violence perpetrated by the state,” the declaration said.

In total, 2212 academics and researchers from Turkey, and 2279 from abroad, signed their names onto the declaration.

Some of the signatories of the “Academics for Peace” petition in Turkey pose in front of a banner reading, “We will not be a party to this crime.” The 1128 original signatories of the declaration have been subjected to sustained attacks and threats from the Turkish government and nationalist groups.

The Turkish President and PM immediately targeted the academics who signed the declaration. On January 12, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said,

“Unfortunately, those fake intellectuals say that the state is carrying out a massacre. Hey you, fake intellectuals! You are dark people. You are not enlightened. You are dark and ignorant to the point that you do not even know where the southeastern or eastern regions are [in Turkey].

“Today we are faced with the treason of the so-called intellectuals, most of whom get their salaries from the state and carry the ID card of this state in their pockets.

“You are either by the side of the nation and the state or by the side of the terrorist organization. We will not get permission from those so-called academics. They should know their place.”

Immediately after the speech, Turkey’s Council of Higher Education (YOK) also issued a statement: “The declaration issued by a group of academics that describes our state’s ongoing struggle against terror in the southeast as ‘massacre and slaughter’ has put our entire academic world under suspicion. … This declaration cannot be associated with academic freedom. Providing the security of citizens is the primary responsibility of the state,” it said, adding that all rectors and an inter-university council would soon meet to discuss the issue.

Turkish PM Ahmet Davutoglu also joined in, saying, “It is an irrational declaration. They [the academics] will be ashamed when they read it once more. It cannot be evaluated within the scope of freedom of expression.”

Ever since, the academics have been under serious political, legal and social pressure. The 1128 original signatories have been subjected to sustained attacks and threats from the Turkish government and nationalist groups as well as double investigations — administrative investigations by the universities they work for, as well as legal investigations by state prosecutors.

They are being prosecuted for “insulting the Turkish nation, the state of the republic of Turkey, Turkey’s parliament, government and judicial organs” (Turkish penal code: Article 301) and for “making propaganda for a terrorist organization” (Anti-terror law: Article 7).

In the week after the publication of the declaration, at least 33 academics were detained, and then released after prosecutors took their testimonies.

At least 29 academics have been suspended from their jobs at universities until their investigations are finalized.

Some have actually lost their jobs. Associate Professor Battal Odabasi from Istanbul Aydin University, for instance, was fired for supporting the declaration. Odabasi was first exposed to an investigation by the university and was told to withdraw his signature. When he did not, he was dismissed. “So they essentially told us to choose between our bread and our honor,” said Odabasi. “I chose my honor.”

Some pro-government newspapers also targeted the signatories. The newspaper Yeni Akit, for instance, wrote: “This is the full list of the academics that signed that declaration of treason.”

The newspaper continued telling the authorities to “Fire these men!” and calling the academics “perverts with diplomas,” “whores who call Muslims ‘sons of bitches.'” The newspaper also called the academics “gay-loving,” and “Armenian-lovers.” The academics sought legal help and demanded that the reports that included threats and insults be blocked to the public. An Ankara criminal court rejected the demand. The court said that the reports and expressions were within the “freedom of the press.”

Several universities across Turkey have on their official websites showed extremely negative reactions to the academics who signed the declaration; some even called them “traitors” or “terrorism supporters” and emphasized that the universities support the military operations of the state.

The rectorate of Abdullah Gul University in Kayseri, for instance, demanded that Professor Bulent Tanju, who signed the declaration, resign. The head of the Turkish nationalists in the city affiliated with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) referred to Tanju and other signatories as “barking dogs,” and in a public declaration, threatened him. The prosecutors launched a criminal investigation against Tanju, but not against those who threatened him. His alleged “crime” is “inciting the population to enmity or hatred” and “openly insulting state institutions.” (Turkish penal code – Articles 216 and 301)

Some academics withdrew their signatures after receiving threats on campuses or on social media.

The offices of two academics — Kemal Inal and Betul Yarar — from the Department of Communication at Ankara’s Gazi University, were marked with red crosses by Turkish nationalist students. Notes saying that “We do not want the academics that support the PKK at our university” were left at their doors. Inal said he withdrew his signature after violent threats from students and even a colleague.

The newspaper Agos reported that academics in smaller cities have been under enormous pressure from their universities as well as the public. The academics in Samsun, for instance, had to lock themselves in their homes for a while. Those in Yalova say they are scared of using public transportation and those in Bolu say they are scared of parking their cars in secluded places.

Some of the academics were also targeted by local media. Arin Gul Yeniaras, a lawyer offering legal support to the threatened academics, told Agos that “a local newspaper in the town of Yalova, for instance, published the names and photos of the signatories, and made remarks such as ‘The rector is still silent; the citizens are uneasy’ in an attempt to make the rector take action against the academics. After that, the rector declared that the university launched an investigation against the signatories.”

Ramazan Kurt, a lecturer of philosophy at Erzurum’s Ataturk University, sought help from the Erzurum branch of the Human Rights Association (IHD).

“Two people raided my room, and threatened me,” Kurt told Agos.

“On the same day, the Grey Wolves [a Turkish nationalist organization] made a call at the university to stage a march against me. I filed a criminal complaint against them and demanded security. It was on that day that I learned that I was suspended from my job. They organized a massive march, saying ‘We do not want a terrorist lecturer at our school.’ I also learned that they came to the door of my office and swore the oath of the Grey Wolves. No one from the university called me to support me.”

On January 15, Kurt was detained and interrogated at the anti-terror branch of the local police station. His lawyer said he was accused of “making propaganda for a [terrorist] organization,” “inciting the population to enmity or hatred” and “publishing the documents of a [terrorist] organization.” He was released on the same day, but banned from travelling.

In an interview with Dicle News Agency (DIHA), Kurt said that when he asked the Erzurum police for a security guard after the attacks, “a police officer there threatened me, and said: ‘If you know that signer, I will shoot him in the head’.”

“After I saw the attitudes of my colleagues,” he said, “there was no point in staying.” As he had no safety, he said, he left the province.

The detentions of academics continue. On January 29, five academics in the province of Bolu, who signed the petition in solidarity with three colleagues who had been taken into custody earlier for signing the declaration, were also detained after house raids. Their homes, cars and offices were searched, and the copies of their computers and telephones as well as some of their documents were seized by police. The academics were released after the police took their testimonies.

“The academics who exercised their freedom of thought and expression by signing this text that states a wish for peace have been targeted and exposed to insults and threats for days,” said a recent press release from the academics.

“As of January 18, investigations have been launched against 1128 signatories in accordance with the Turkish penal code and the anti-terror law.

“Among our colleagues there are those who have been detained, banned from going abroad, exposed to administrative investigations, fired or suspended from their jobs. We find all of these things unjust and unacceptable.”

In the meantime, the journalist Nurcan Baysal, based in Diyarbakir, reported on January 22 that the bodies of two Kurds, Isa Oran and Mesut Seviktek — murdered during a curfew and their bodies left in the street for 29 days — were finally allowed to be retrieved.

Oran’s father, Mehmet Oran said,

“I went to the morgue. My son’s head was not recognizable. It had been burnt — as if a chemical substance had been spilled over it. He had been disemboweled; his intestines were lying outside his body. The rest of my son’s body was all in pieces as if chunks of meat had been ripped out of him by an animal. They had torn my son into pieces. I was only able to recognize my son from his arm.”

Mesut’s brother, Ihsan Seviktek, said:

“My brother had already fallen a martyr with bullets to his head and chest. But they [Turkish soldiers or police] then shot hundreds of additional bullets into him. His face became unrecognizable. Why mistreat a dead person to such an extent? The Kurdish issue will not be resolved like this.”

As the Turkish state authorities and university administrations accuse intellectuals of being “traitors,” scores of Kurds have been murdered by Turkish armed forces in Kurdish districts under curfew. Dead bodies of many Kurds are still rotting in the streets and waiting to be retrieved.

At least 224 Kurdish civilians lost their lives between August 16, 2015 and February 5, 2016, according to the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV). Forty-two were children, 31 were women, and 30 were over the age 60. The districts of Sur, Cizre and Silopi have been under an uninterrupted military siege and assaults for two months. Eight people were killed by security forces shooting arbitrarily in streets close to curfew zones during peaceful protests against the curfews.

The Turkish state authorities have made it clear that calling for an end to state violence in Turkey’s Kurdish regions is “treason.” This means that in Turkey, requesting peace and political equality between Kurds and Turks is illegal. Apparently, the only way to be a “Turkish patriot” or “a good citizen of Turkey” is openly to support the murders of Kurds — or at least be silent about them.

Uzay Bulut, born and raised a Muslim, is a Turkish journalist based in Ankara.

“Tolerance” in Tunisia by Tharwa Boulifi

  • The thing that struck me most is that they had no beards. Terrorism seems to be changing tactics. It no longer shows up as beards, revolvers, religious clothing… But it has started to take over our daily lives: in buses, subways, streets, supermarkets, maybe mostly in the slums. Every day, there, terrorists are being snapped up by ISIS.”Religion” for me now just means “violence” and “kill.”

  • The thing is, Muslims generally do not have great arguments, so they just insult us. The subject of religion seems taboo for them: seeing other people — especially those who do not share their same beliefs — criticizing or asking questions about it is considered a humiliation. Discussing Islam means questioning its credibility, and so humiliating it.
  • Discussing Islam also seems a threat to their psychological safety: having the same beliefs and the same God is a sort of a reassurance and protection. To cast doubt on their religion means breaking into their “comfort zone” — and possibly even raising doubts.
  • For many, religious tolerance has become a business currency — a way to promote tourism, improve relations with other countries, elevate Tunisia’s image and benefit from the aid of rich countries. But that only makes tolerance a mask worn for personal gain.

The subway is something I do not go on a lot anymore, said the boy. On the subway, said the boy, people still gave me the evil eye; probably the long hair. Last time, a friend phoned; I spoke to him in Arabic. Soon after, a group of young men came up.

One said, “Are you Tunisian?”

“Yes,” I said.

Then, one of them saw the cross.

“Are you a Muslim?” he said.

“The cross is a gift,” I said. Then I told them the truth. “I am atheist,” I said.

I tried to ignore them, but one of them grabbed me by the shoulder.

“Oh really?” he said. “Then where do you think you are going after your death? Who created the universe if it was not Allah? If you do not revere Allah, you must revere Satan.”

Their clothes were torn and they were covered with dirt; they seemed to come from poor neighborhoods.

“You should be stoned to death,” one of them said. “I hope your body will burn to ashes in hell. You are nothing but a slave of the Devil!”

They pulled out knives and blades and broken bottles. They kept pushing, hitting, punching me.

They said, “Look at this guy: he hates Allah and loves Satan. Let’s f*** his mother.”

One old lady looked away and said: “Poor kid”.

A couple of teenagers laughed. Others passengers looked away and did not do anything.

But, for me, inaction is complicity. They sliced me up pretty good, I guess. I ended up in the emergency room.

My father, said the boy, was a pious person. He forced me to learn the Quran by heart. If I got something wrong, he slapped or hit me, locked me in my room. I was young, but understood the meaning of the verses. I found the اقتلوهم (Kill them) in the Quran terrifying and the fate of women not fair. After a while, I did not even want to learn religion, but was afraid of my father. It is not just Islam, I do not like the other two religions, either. “Religion” for me now just means “violence” and “kill.” Sometimes I worry if Tunisia’s future seems heading straight towards intolerance and, worse, extremism.

The thing that struck me most is that they had no beards. Terrorism seems to be changing tactics. It no longer shows up as beards, revolvers, religious clothing… But it has started to take over our daily lives: in buses, subways, streets, supermarkets, maybe mostly in the slums. Every day, there, terrorists are being snapped up by ISIS.

The thing is, Muslims generally do not have great arguments, so they just insult us. The subject of religion seems taboo for them: seeing other people — especially those who do not share their same beliefs — criticizing or asking questions about it is considered a humiliation. Discussing Islam means questioning its credibility, and so humiliating it. Tunisians, in fact, do not seem to like religious diversity. For them, the presence of other faiths and religions represents a threat to the survival of their Arab Muslim identity, already tarnished by terrorism, such as ISIS, and the media. In fact, they fight like crazy to preserve this identity because it makes them feel superior to other nations, especially Westerners because of their “advancement” and “progress.”

Discussing Islam also seems a threat to their psychological safety: having the same beliefs and the same God is a sort of a reassurance and protection. To cast doubt on their religion means breaking into their “comfort zone” — and possibly even raising doubts. That might explain their aggressiveness towards others who do not share their religious beliefs. Religious diversity also might cause fear of the unknown: they have been indoctrinated since they were so young, their minds have become inflexible, rigid.

For many, religious tolerance has become a business currency — a way to promote tourism, improve relations with other countries, elevate Tunisia’s image and benefit from the aid of rich countries. But that only makes tolerance a mask worn for personal gain. Sadly, it is just an accessory, used to fit into the modern world and to keep pace with a wooden language lexicon: words such as “civilization” and “human rights.”

Tunis, Tunisia. (Image source: Pixabay)

In Tunisia, Politicians try to promote tourism from Western countries by claiming that Tunisia is a tolerant country. But when an internet café puts up a sign saying, “Forbidden for atheists and homosexuals,” they do not react. They probably do not go on a lot on the subway anymore, either.

Tharwa Boulifi, aged 15, lives in Tunisia.

“The Crescent Must be Above the Cross” Muslim Persecution of Christians: September, 2016 by Raymond Ibrahim

  • Three Christians were sentenced to be flogged for sipping wine during a communion Mass. “In a shock move,” however, “oppressive officials in Tehran have charged the three with ‘acting against national security’ for taking part in the Christian ritual.” — Iran.

  •  

  • “One begins to wonder if Catholic priests have become an endangered species.” Clergyman discussing latest murder of priest. — Nigeria.
  • “We are at a breaking point. People can’t put up with any more of this.” — Christian bishop, Egypt.
  • “They said all Christians should be killed. They said we were evil demons and made Pakistan impure.” — Christian survivor of Muslim mob attack, Pakistan.
  • Officials arrested 27 Christians — including several women and children — for the crime of “conducting Christian prayers” and being “in possession of Bibles.” — Saudi Arabia.

In September 2016, a group of escaped ISIS sex slaves finally revealed the true fate of Kayla Mueller — the 26-year-old American aid worker in Syria whom ISIS had reported dead more than a year ago. Her former fellow captives said Mueller had “refused to deny Jesus Christ despite being repeatedly raped and tortured.” In February 2015, ISIS claimed their captive had been killed during a Jordanian airstrike and sent photos of her dead body in a white burial shroud, apparently as a sign of respect. One former sex slave said that Mueller “put others before herself,” and once even refused a chance to escape with the other girls because she thought her American appearance would stand out and endanger the others.

Kayla Mueller was a 26-year-old American Christian aid worker in Syria. The Islamic State abducted her, and repeatedly raped and tortured her, then claimed that she was killed during a Jordanian airstrike. Above, Mueller is shown before her enslavement and death (left), and during her captivity (right), taken from an ISIS propaganda video.

An ISIS-related plot to butcher Christians with chainsaws in a Belgian shopping center was exposed in September after authorities interrogated a Muslim youth. The teen — the son of a man being described as a “radical imam” — was arrested for calling for the execution of Christians while walking down a street. Theo Francken, a Belgian official, said:

“I already signed the order to remove the Imam from Belgian soil. But he appealed the decision, so I can only hope for a quick sentence. Clearly radicalism runs in the family.”

Speaking for the first time about the slaughter of the 86-year-old French priest Jacques Hamel, eyewitness Guy Coponet — who was himself stabbed several times, including in the neck, and was not expected to survive — revealed how the jihadi murderers also forced him to hold a camera and record them slitting the throat of the elderly priest: “They even checked the quality of the image and that I wasn’t trembling too much. I had to film the assassination of my friend Father Jacques!” He said the assailants planned on using the video as propaganda, “which would allow them to earn their fame as a ‘martyr’ of Allah.”

Meanwhile, Hungary became the first government in Europe to open an office specifically to address the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and Europe. Zoltan Balog, Hungary’s Minister for Human Resources, said:

“Today, Christianity has become the most persecuted religion, where out of five people killed [for] religious reasons, four… are Christians. In 81 countries around the world, Christians are persecuted, and 200 million Christians live in areas where they are discriminated against. Millions of Christian lives are threatened by followers of radical religious ideologies.”

This move came weeks after Prime Minister Victor Orban drew criticism in the EU by saying, “If we really want to help, we should help where the real problem is…. We should first help the Christian people before Islamic people.”

Around the same time — and despite the many instances of Muslim migrants raping, murdering, and terrorizing Europeans — Pope Francis urged Europeans to take in more Muslim refugees, including into their homes. He explained that the best way to combat terrorism is by warmly welcoming migrants and helping them integrate into the “European context.”

The rest of the bloody month of September’s worldwide Muslim persecution of Christians includes, but is not limited to, the following:

Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches

Kosovo: On September 10, Albanian Muslims in Pristina set fire to Christ the Savior Cathedral, “Immediately after the fire,” notes the report, they “started using it [the church] as a toilet…. Since the Albanian Muslims took possession of this Orthodox land, hundreds of churches and monasteries have been burnt to the ground.”

Spain: On September 8, a Muslim refugee from North Africa “attacked and burned several images of the Virgin in the Church of Fontellas.” One of the side chapels was completely destroyed and several statues were torched. Part of the ornamentation of the chapel ceiling fell, and the nave was blackened by soot. Two days later, a judge issued an order banning the North African from being within ten meters of all religious centers of Catholic worship. According to the report, the man remains unrepentant and claims to have earned heaven by his actions, and police suspect he may be responsible for “other attacks on churches in nearby locations in the Ribera de Navarre, doing damage to Catholic religious symbols, such as defacing sacred books.” (According to a canonical hadith attributed to Muhammad, “Do not leave any image without defacing it or any built-up grave without leveling it.”)

Iran: Three Christians were sentenced to be flogged for sipping wine during a communion Mass. “In a shock move,” however, “oppressive officials in Tehran have charged the three with ‘acting against national security’ for taking part in the Christian ritual,” said the report. “[S]acramental wine is used by billions of Christians worldwide in celebration of the Eucharist. It is often watered down and is used during Holy Communion alongside small bread wafers.” However, because the judicial system of the Islamic Republic of Iran is based on sharia (Islamic law), which forbids the consumption of alcohol, all Christians who seek to partake of communion risk being arrested and flogged.

Indonesia: Muslims interrupted a funeral ceremony in a Catholic church in Purwosari, where 200 Christians were assembled. During a Bible reading over the dead, two Muslims who had mixed in with the congregation began heckling and cursing the priest and crowd. The police were able to remove them, but they came back with a Muslim mob, then threatened and pushed the priest and his assistant to the point where they fled the church and suspended the funeral ceremony.

In a separate incident, an angry Muslim mob, led by the Islamic Defenders Front, surrounded and protested against a Protestant church on the false accusation that it did not have the proper papers to renew its permit. “The presence of the Church in this area does not have the approval of most of the Muslim population,” explained a local Muslim spokesman. “Residents said they never gave permission for the renewal of the project.” However, the reverend of the church explained, “after we laid the first stone of the church, the mayor visited the site and officially recognized the project.”

Syria: In September, a prominent Syriac Catholic church in Aleppo sustained significant damage from military shelling. At least 20 other Christian churches in Aleppo have been destroyed by ISIS and other “freedom fighters.” Many of the churches destroyed were historically important — such as St. Mary’s, which ISIS detonated on Easter Day, 2015. Before the war, there were well over a million Christians in Aleppo; today, about 30,000 remain.

Pakistan: On the morning of September 2, four Taliban-linked Islamic terrorists wearing suicide vests stormed the church of a small Christian community of approximately 30 families in Peshawar. According to the report, “Thanks to the actions of a church security guard [who died in the shootout] and local security forces, a massacre of Christians was averted.”

Yemen: Unidentified armed militants attacked the Church of Banjasar in Aden. A local source said, “Armed militants accompanied by youths from the village broke into the church after morning prayers and looted the contents of the church.” Although Christian churches in Yemen are few in number, attacks on them have been on the rise. Not long ago, Houthi militias had stormed the St. Anthony Church in al-Tawahi, also in Aden, and plundered it of all its contents. Later, Saudi forces — purportedly fighting the militants — bombed and seriously damaged the church.

Egypt: Despite the recently passed church construction law, which was supposedly designed to relieve tensions by making church construction legally more acceptable, authorities are actually “sending a message that Christians can be attacked with impunity,” according to Joe Stork of Human Rights Watch. The new law still allows governors to deny church-building permits, requires that churches be built “commensurate with” the number of Christians in an area, and contains security provisions that subject decisions on whether or not a church can be built to the whims of violent mobs. Although the diplomatic Coptic Church publicly welcomed the law, “many other Christian clergy, activists, local human rights groups, and Christian members of parliament criticize the law for upholding restrictions that continue to discriminate against Christians.” The status of hundreds of churches that were used for years but then denied license renewals remains unresolved by the new law.

Violence, Prison, and Death for Christian “Blasphemers” and “Apostates”

Jordan: Nahed Hattar, a Christian writer and activist, was killed on September 25 outside of a courthouse in Amman. The 56-year-old man was earlier arrested for sharing a “blasphemous” cartoon about the prophet Muhammad. As he was walking into court to stand trial for “contempt of religion” and “inciting sectarian strife,” a man dressed in traditional Muslim garb shot him dead. The report adds:

“Approximately 70 percent of Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and North Africa have blasphemy laws that make it illegal to criticize or dishonor religious symbols and teachings. In practice, many of these laws apply exclusively to Islam.”

Uganda: A Muslim convert to Christianity was killed, and two others beaten, in three separate incidents:

1) The blood-stained body of 32-year-old Enoch Shaban — a Muslim convert to Christianity and member of the Church of Uganda — was found hanging from a tree. A local resident of the village said he heard Shaban shouting for help after another man said, “We have warned you several times of being a disgrace to our religion, and you have not taken seriously our warnings.” The witness added: “Two weeks before meeting his death, he had mentioned several messages on his phone warning him to recant the Christian faith and return to Islam.” The slain apostate appeared to have been struck on the head with a metallic object. The morning before his death, Muslims were reportedly seen loitering around his workshop, a mile away from the murder scene. Although Uganda is majority-Christian, the area where Enoch was killed is predominantly Muslim.

2) On the same day Shaban was killed, Aisha Twanza, 25 — another Muslim convert to Christianity — was poisoned by Muslim family members who put insecticide in her food. After their conversion last January, Aisha and her husband were forced to flee their village because relatives threatened to kill them. On August 10, family members informed Aisha that her mother was dying; she rushed to the village only to find that it was a lie to lure her back. Questioned about her conversion to Christianity, she refused to deny her new faith. “They were very disappointed with me for deserting Islam.” Her family then served her food and allowed her to return home:

“Reaching home, I started feeling stomach upset that continued… Soon the pain intensified, and my husband rushed me to Mbale hospital, then I was taken to Pallisa, where poisoning was discovered after several tests. I never expected my parents to do such a thing to me, but I thank God for saving me.”

3) A Muslim husband savagely beat his wife after she attended church. Neighbors found Fatuma Baluka, 21, unconscious and rushed her to a hospital: “When I arrived home, my husband shouted at me as an ‘infidel,’ and then and there started hitting me with a metallic object. I fell down, only to find myself in a hospital bed.” She has since been abandoned by her husband and extended Muslim family.

Ethiopia: Six weeks after a Muslim man discovered that his wife, who is mother to his three children, had converted to Christianity, he locked her in the house and beat her with sticks; during her ordeal, neighbors heard him shouting — including that she “should die for forsaking Islam.” Neighbors found her soaked in blood from a deep gash in her forehead and rushed her to the hospital.

Pakistan: A 16-year-old Christian youth was arrested and could be executed for the crime of “blasphemy.” He allegedly posted or liked on Facebook a picture of the Kaaba, Islam’s sacred temple in Mecca, with a pig on top of it. Infuriated Muslims who saw the image immediately reported it to authorities, an act leading to his arrest. Authorities also removed the image in an effort to calm local Muslims and prevent them from rioting. The arrested youth’s family fled their home in fear of reprisals. Accusations of blasphemy against Pakistan’s minorities are common and often false. Religious hatred, personal score-settling, and economic gain are just a few of the motives behind false accusations of blasphemy.

Muslim Slaughter of Christians in Nigeria

The ongoing jihad on Christians by both Boko Haram, an Islamic jihad group, and allied Muslim herdsmen, left many dead in its wake:

  • At least eight Christians were randomly shot dead by militants on motorbikes as they were exiting Sunday church service. A couple of weeks earlier, Boko Haram had said it would begin “booby-trapping and blowing up every church that we are able to reach, and killing all of those who we find from the citizens of the cross.”
  • Another senior priest was kidnapped after his car was ambushed by Muslim herdsmen; during the attack they violently beat and tried to kill two other members of the clergy in the car; one was shot in the head. On the same day, a Vincentian priest was kidnapped along with his brother. Discussing these and other attacks on Christian clergy in recent weeks and months, several fatal, the communications director of the local diocese said: “One begins to wonder if Catholic priests have become an endangered species.”
  • Boko Haram insurgents killed at least two people during raids on Christian villages. They tied up one man with a rope and slaughtered him in front of his wife and children. They also burned homes and set the market square of one village ablaze.
  • A group of Fulani Muslim tribesmen attacked a 60-year-old Christian farmer while he was working his land and hacked him to death with machetes. He is “the latest victim of attacks by Muslim Fulani herdsmen in Nasarawa State who have burned church buildings and homes and destroyed crops in the past four years,” said the report.
  • According to a separate report, Muslim Fulani tribesmen also killed another Christian pastor; raided Ningon village– murdering two Christians as they slept in their homes, and seriously wounding a girl with gunshots; and raided the Christian village of Ungwar Mada, forcing their way into a married couple’s home and slaughtering them.

Muslim Contempt for and Abuse of Christians

Saudi Arabia: Officials arrested 27 Christians — including several women and children — for the crime of “conducting Christian prayers” and being “in possession of Bibles.” The group of Christians, most if not all of whom were Lebanese nationals, were celebrating a feast day for the Virgin Mary when authorities stormed their residence and arrested them. Authorities, the dreaded “religious police,” proceeded to strip them of their visas and deport them back to Lebanon. Ironically, this is a much better fate than that suffered by other Christians caught engaging in “acts of Christianity” in the Islamic kingdom. In 2012, a group of 35 Christian Ethiopians were arrested and abused in prison for almost a year, simply for holding a private house prayer. One of them reported after being released: “They [Saudis] are full of hatred towards non-Muslims.”

Iran: At least 25 Christians were arrested in Kerman for unknown reasons. Security forces broke into the Christians’ homes, searched them, seized various objects, and then took the Christians in. Officials did not reveal the reason for the arrest nor where the Christians were taken, leaving family and friends in distress.

In another incident, authorities raided a family garden party after they noticed it wasn’t closely observing conservative Islamic norms; without a warrant, they arrested five men, former Muslims who had converted to Christianity. Then they searched the premises and confiscated several items, including three Bibles. The arrested men were taken to an unknown location, though later reports suggest they were sent to Evin Prison, where Iran’s worst criminals are held.

Uzbekistan: Eight Christians were arrested and fined for possessing Christian literature, which is illegal in the Muslim majority nation. One Baptist, Stanislav Kim, was sentenced to two years in a “corrective-labor” camp for being caught with Christian literature a second time in one year. The Christian literature was ordered to be handed over to the state-backed Muslim Board.

Malaysia: After Ben-Hur, originally a novel, was made into a 2016 film, moviegoers were left disappointed and confused: authorities had cut out all scenes that portrayed Christ or had anything to do with Christianity, making the movie unintelligible. “I felt cheated,” said one viewer:

“The novel from which this movie is adapted is Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ. It means Jesus is central to the plot. It was censored so much the storyline made no sense! How did Judah’s mother and sister get cured from leprosy? They just appeared at the end of the movie healed.”

Such anti-Christian edits are consisted with the government’s ban on and confiscation of Bibles in the majority Muslim nation.

Separately, three Muslims who sought legally to convert to Christianity were denied conversion by the court system, due to the implementation of sharia (Islamic law), which maintains that anyone born into Islam — namely, whose father was Muslim — must remain Muslim. According to a source discussing this report, those trying to convert are often sent to a “purification center,” where they are made to recite different Islamic creeds so they are again considered Muslim: “This purification center utilizes torture, beatings, and psychological attacks to terrify new believers into recanting their faith in Jesus Christ.”

Egypt: After weeks of attacks more frequent than usual on the Christian minority in Minya, Upper Egypt, the government responded by appointing a Muslim cleric, Mahmoud Gomaa, to investigate the situation. Gomaa then appeared in a televised interview insisting that “Everything was good…. No one has been killed. No one has even been wounded. There’s no conflict. The problem is really with the journalists writing about it.”

Bishop Makarios of Minya responded by saying, “I have nothing to do with Mahmoud Gomaa. We are at a breaking point. People can’t put up with any more of this.” He explained how in recent weeks Christians have indeed been killed — including a priest who was gunned down at the entrance of his church and a man who was stabbed to death by an angry mob — as well as numerous incidents of mob violence on Christians which left many injured and their properties looted and burned.

United States: In September, when Coptic Christians were suffering abuses “every two or three days” in Egypt, an Egyptian Muslim woman living in America made a video calling for more Muslim hostility against Egypt’s Christian minority, in the guise of an economic boycott. In a video, Ayat Oraby — a Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer who has nearly 1.5 million followers on Facebook — called the Coptic Church a “bunch of gangsters,” a “total mafia” that “rules [Egypt] behind the curtains.” Oraby claimed that Copts are “stockpiling weapons in churches” and “striving to create a Coptic statelet” in order to continue waging “a war against Islam.” That Oraby hates Copts simply because they are Christian came out clearly towards the end of her tirade, when she said: “They [Copts] must learn very well that the Crescent [Islam] must be above the Cross [Christianity].” In fact, Copts pose no danger to Egypt’s Muslims — but they dare to want equal rights, when they should be content with second-class status.

Pakistan: Hate, Rape, and Murder of Christians

“Christian girls are being ‘systematically’ kidnapped and abuse[d] in Pakistan,” according to a September report, causing even “a Supreme Court justice to express alarm.”

“But as far as the Pakistani police and government are concerned, this is not happening. They are claiming that the more than 1,000 children reported missing last year in just one province alone, in Punjab, actually left their home on their own free will.”

Some of the missing children are boys. Christian leaders in Faisalabad accused local police of covering up the sexual assault and murder of Zeeshan Masih. The 14-year-old Christian boy was sexually molested, murdered, and then left hanging on a tree. Police reluctantly filed a complaint before declaring it to be a “natural” death — despite the fact that autopsy reports clearly showed signs of sexual abuse and witnesses pointed to unidentified Muslim men. According to a local human rights group:

We now know that other children are complaining about sexual abuse and it is believed that Zeeshan was killed for threatening to tell his parents…. The manner in which police officers have attempted to camouflage this crime has hurt and angered them. They are calling for an independent inquiry into the handling of their son’s death… The (incidence) of rape, sodomy and murder in Pakistan (is) reaching unprecedented levels. Christians and other minorities are natural targets as they are disenfranchised by the country’s laws and statutes, which confer second-class citizenship upon them.

In a separate incident, because he refused to drop charges against them, Muslims shot and critically injured the father of a 27-year-old Christian woman they had earlier kidnapped, raped, and held for four months until she escaped. This happened three days after police refused to comply with a court order to arrest the four guilty Muslim men. Gulzar Masih, the father, was in an empty plot of land when the attack occurred:

“I was immersed in thoughts regarding the case when I saw Ghulam Hussain and Akram [two of the rapists] running towards me, hurling threats and abuses. As soon as they came near me, Hussain whipped out a pistol and fired a shot aimed at my chest. He then fired two more bullets at my legs, after which I fell down on the road. He then asked Akram to break my skull with a metal object that he was carrying. I was hit in the head, after which I lost consciousness…. They may try again to kill me, but I will not stop from knocking on the doors of justice to avenge my daughter’s dishonor. Hussain and his friends are also threatening my three sons with dire consequences, but we have resolved not to sit quiet and let them get away with such a heinous crime.”

Separately, a drunken Muslim mob stormed the homes of Christians and savagely beat their residents after a Christian woman asked the drunken revelers — who were shouting loudly and saying lewd things to young girls passing by — to quiet down. The Muslims instantly became enraged at “the audacity of ‘ritually impure’ Christians making demands on them,” said the report: “The drunk Muslim men gathered up at least a dozen of their friends and grabbed sticks, metal rods and other assorted weapons.” The mob stormed Christian homes and indiscriminately attacked men, women, and children. According to a Christian witness:

“They said all Christians should be killed. They said we were evil demons and made Pakistan impure. I thought I and my family would be killed. It was very frightening.”

Seven Christians were injured, five of whom had to go to the hospital to receive treatment for their injuries.

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