Since the 1980s, Jewish leaders who, today, are united under the banner of the Conference of Jewish Affairs have stood in solidarity with Persecuted Christians across the globe and with Christian leaders addressing this issue.
We once again urge people of all backgrounds to speak out about the issue the mainstream media still does not wish to highlight: The Plight of Persecuted Christians worldwide.
Conference of Jewish Affairs will continue to present information and articles on this topic. Those wishing to work on this issue with Conference of Jewish Affairs please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We Will Displace You …”: Persecution of Christians
Reprinted with the permission of The Gatestone Institute.
- Saudi Arabia, America’s close friend and ally, failed to live up to its promise to eliminate extremist content — that promotes hostility for, and violence against, religious minorities — from its 2018-19 school year curriculum.
- “Examples of this content include demeaning non-Muslims and encouraging jihad against them. The execution of apostates is prescribed and children are encouraged not to associate with non-Muslims. Saudi Arabia not only continues to use these textbooks domestically, but exports them to other parts of the Middle East.” — Report from International Christian Concern, December 1, 2018.
- British authorities decided to deport a Christian man back to Pakistan, where he was previously beaten and threatened with death, “despite UK playing host to [Muslim] hijackers, extremists and rapists,” to quote from one headline. Asher Samson, 41, “first arrived in the UK in 2004 to carry out his theology training in order to become a pastor, but later applied for asylum after receiving threats from Islamic extremists during visits home…” According to Samson, “If they do send me back my life will be really in danger… I’m so scared… People know who I am, they know I am a Christian…” — The Independent, December 24, 2018.
On December 1, Shabak, an Iraqi Shia militia formed in 2014 to reclaim the Nineveh Plain from the Islamic State, opened fire on the St. George Assyrian Church in Bartella, formerly a Christian-majority city in Iraq, and threatened its priest, Fr. Behnam Benoka. Pictured: St. George Assyrian Church in Bartella. (Image source: Wikimedia Commons)
The Slaughter of Christians
Egypt: A Muslim policeman charged with guarding a Coptic Christian church shot and killed two Christians — a father, 49, and his son, 21 — on the night of December 12 in Minya. Eyewitnesses say a quarrel had ensued before the officer pulled out his gun and opened fire on the two men. Video footage of the incident shows the killer-cop brandishing his gun as he stalks around the bloodied but still moving Christians on the ground. He loudly curses them — or all Copts in general? — as “mother-f*****s.” Thousands of angry Christians attended the funeral, chanting kyrie eleison (“Lord have mercy!”), and, “Where are the rights of the martyrs!” Coptic Solidarity said in a statement:
“Whatever punishment—if any!—the killer policeman may end up getting, the real culprit in this heinous crime is nothing but the authorities themselves, as they have allowed impunity to killers of Copts time and again, making it easy for anybody having an argument with a Copt to pull a gun, or knife, and just kill.”
Attacks on Christians by Muslim officers have been taking place in Egypt. In 2011 an off-duty policeman boarded a train, identified some of its passengers as Coptic Christians (based on the tattoo of the cross on the wrists of some of them) and opened fire. He killed one elderly Christian and wounded four others, all the while shouting Islam’s war cry, “Allahu Akbar!” [“Allah is the greatest!”] More recently, a Muslim “policeman tasked with guarding a church from extremists instead aggressively entered the church and hurled insults at the congregation, calling them infidels.” Coptic Bishop Makarious likened the recent killing of Christian father and son at the hand of an officer guarding their church as having the “fox guard the hen house.” He added that this incident is worse than the St. Samuel Monastery attacks — in which Islamic terrorists massacred scores of Christians on two separate occasions, the more recent weeks before this double murder — as it involves, not outlaws, but a lawman.
Nigeria: On the day after Christmas, Islamic Fulani tribesmen slaughtered seven Christians. Rawuru, where the murders took place, had been attacked by the Muslim tribesmen six months earlier; then, 230 Christians were butchered. “The size and coordination of those attacks showed that this could not just be another small local clash. It was clearly a well thought out and preplanned attack meant to kill as many people as possible,” the report said. “These types of attacks are not the normal farmer-herder conflict that the Nigerian government has been trying to claim they are,” the report continued, referring to both domestic and foreign mainstream media reports that habitually portray the murders as a result of clashes between nomadic Fulani herdsmen, who just so happen to be Muslim, and farmers, who just so happen to be Christians.
Attacks on Christian Churches
[G]roups of Muslim villagers … waged attacks against the houses of the Copts in the village of Kom al-Raheb, pelting them with stones and thumping at doors and windows. They were livid that the Copts had a day earlier, Sunday 9 December, opened a new church building and celebrated Holy Mass inside. The police arrived and demanded immediate closure of the unlicensed church. The Copts persuaded the police to wait for Mass to conclude before closing the building, which they did and confiscated its keys…. [F]undamentalist Muslims had used the local mosque’s microphone to rally the village Muslims against the Copts.
“It’s a hard time,” said one local Christian. “We don’t know what we should do. How does the government permit us to open new churches and then force us to close churches? We barely open churches, and the police don’t want to keep us safe!” “They are easily building many mosques, and when we try [to] build a church, all of them try to harm us,” said another. “We are so depressed,” added the local pastor. “It’s not the first time extremists [have done] this; I think it’s government policy toward the Christians. We have nothing to do, just pray… God is good.”
Iraq: On December 1, Shabak, a Shia militia formed in 2014 to reclaim the Nineveh Plain from the Islamic State, opened fire on the St. George Assyrian Church in Bartella, formerly a Christian-majority city, and threatened its priest, Fr. Behnam Benoka. Discussing the incident, Benedict Kiely, a Catholic priest, wrote:
Last week I spoke with Fr. Benoka for over 40 minutes on FaceTime. A few weeks ago, the Shabak militia blocked the road to his church, preventing his congregation from attending. They also strafed the church with gunfire. Fr. Benoka told me that this was the second time his church had been attacked in the last nine months. One of the militiamen held a handgun to the priest’s face when he went out to demand that they clear the street and stop shooting. Later, in a provocation unreported in any media, the same hostile militia went to Qaraqosh, the largest Christian town on the Nineveh Plain, and menaced the people living there. Fr. Benoka told me that the Shabak want to drive the Christians from the area. “They are the new ISIS,” he told me. “We are really vulnerable.”…
A separate December 2 report concerning the Islamic State’s attacks on the Christian communities found that 120 Christian churches and shrines and thousands of Christian homes were destroyed in Mosul alone. An estimated 15 billion dinars (more than $12 million USD) is required to restore these building. According to the report,
“The damage ISIS wrecked upon Christians was not just physical property damage. ISIS targeted Christians for genocide and many believers reported how their neighbors joined the militants in their violent intentions. Mosul’s Christians in particular are quick to point out that the ideology of ISIS was heavily present in their city long before the militants made it their capital in Iraq. Community trust was broken, lives lost, families separated.”
Uzbekistan: Forty police and military personnel raided an unregistered Baptist church in the capital, Tashkent, during Sunday morning worship on November 25. Police detained 14 Christians, including a 14-year-old boy, kept them outside in near freezing temperatures, and later interrogated some of them for several hours. Everyone in attendance was photographed and their details recorded. Nearly 8,000 pieces of Christian literature and hymn books were seized. When one woman tried to conceal some songbooks used for worship, an official “screamed at her that you are liars, Christians must not hide anything,” said a witness. Toward evening, as temperatures dropped below zero, authorities cut off the church’s heat. “[We] were almost freezing as it is very cold at night,” a member of a family staying in the building said. Officials told the congregation, “[W]e will come every Sunday and disrupt the church service every time until you give up and stop your activity…. We as the state cannot adjust to you, you need to adjust to our laws.” As in many other Muslim majority nations, stringent legal requirements make it virtually impossible to register churches in Uzbekistan.
Lebanon: Security officials foiled an Islamic State terror plot targeting Christians and their places of worship: a 10-month police surveillance operation, code-named “Lethal Cheese,” uncovered explosives hidden in buckets of cheese smuggled in from Syria. Although Lebanon was once the Arab world’s only Christian majority nation, Christians now represent about 36% of the population and are quickly dwindling, thanks most recently to a large influx of Muslim refugees from Syria . In 2016, eight Islamic State suicide bombers exploded themselves — two in front of a church — in Al Qaa, a predominantly Christian town on Lebanon’s border with Syria.
Attacks on Christian “Blasphemers”
Pakistan: On December 13, a court sentenced two Christian brothers to death for allegedly posting blasphemous material on a website in 2011. The brothers, Qaisar and Amoon Ayub, first got in trouble when the offensive material appeared on a website that was copyrighted to Qaisar’s name. He testified that he had shut down the site in 2009, but that a Muslim acquaintance reactivated it, and kept it in Qaisar’s name. Regardless, Muslims rioted and called for the Christians’ life, prompting the brothers to flee to Thailand. They were arrested soon after they returned to Pakistan in 2015. “[B]ecause of threats from hardliners lower courts pass their responsibility to the higher court and then it takes years to prove the accused innocent,” said human rights activist Nasir Saeed. “We have seen this in the recent case of Asia Bibi.”
Egypt: On December 22, an appeals court upheld a Christian man’s three-year prisonsentence for blaspheming against Islam. Abd Adel Bebawy was arrested six months earlier, in July, after he linked to an article that compared Muhammad to Jesus on Facebook. On the following day, Muslims rioted in Minbal, where he resided. They attacked Christian homes and tried to storm the village church. When windows were smashed, some of the Christians sustained injuries from the shards of glass. One resident recalled:
“The Muslim extremists in our village and the nearby villages incited the Muslim villagers against us …. They began pelting the Coptic-owned houses with stones and bricks, while shouting ‘Allahu akbar’ [‘Allah is the greatest’] and chanting slogans against Copts, such as ‘We will displace you and the priest from our village, oh kafir [infidels], O worshipers of the cross, O defiled people.’”
“We lived very terrible moments while the mob were attacking our homes. Our children were screaming,” said another. “We spent a painful evening… An evening of terror,” another Christian resident of Minbal recalled. A lawyer involved in Bebawy’s case said, “This is not a sentence based on the law, but it is meant to please the public!” “We were thinking that the appeal will end up setting Abd free, and we were thinking who will compensate Abd for the months detained in prison until we reached the appeal time. Who will compensate his family, who have left the village and his kids moved to another school?” a family friend, Mona, explained. “Now after the [three-year] prison sentence, there is no justice expected.” “What [else] is expected by a blasphemy law?” asked Moheb, another family friend. “It is a law meant to be tailored for Christians so anyone can accuse a Christian and no matter what the proof of innocence is, he will be imprisoned.”
Indonesia: According to one report, “On December 2, an estimated 100,000 Muslims dressed in white carrying Islamic flags gathered at the national monument in Indonesia’s capitol of Jakarta. The occasion was to mark the second anniversary of a mass protest that led to the downfall, and the arrest, of Jakarta’s Christian governor,” known as Ahok. Two years earlier, “[o]n December 2, 2016, thousands of Muslim hardliners gathered to rallies that demanded him [to] be arrested for blasphemy.” He “was arrested for blasphemy and sentenced to two years in prison after being found guilty of insulting the Quran.” Ahok is still serving his sentence.
Attacks on Muslim Apostates to Christianity
Uganda: “In 24 hours earlier this month, a [Muslim] convert to Christianity … lost his livelihood, wife and children to irate relatives and other Muslims,” reads a report. On December 7, a mosque leader “led a mob to Muhamud Gusolo’s banana plantation and destroyed it after Gusulo’s father objected to him leaving Islam for Christ.” According to Muhamud, 28, a month earlier,
“My father [had] confronted me for being a disgrace to the family as a result of my conversion to Christ. Since my expulsion from the community, no one in my community has come to my aid. My father has openly denied me as his son, and the community has openly threatened me, saying, ‘No burial rites for you, a kaffir [infidel]’…. My wife and children also turned against me…. I am a very frustrated man with no family. After being ostracized from my community, I have appealed for help to the government administration, but this has fallen on deaf ears. I am very far from my family and reside in a lonely environment in another village.”
In a separate incident in Uganda, a former Muslim wife, and mother of four between the ages of five and nine, was beaten, strangled, and threatened with death by her Muslim husband for embracing Christianity. Shakira Wanyenze, 31, converted six months earlier and managed to conceal her new faith from her husband, Ismail. One night, however, “My husband arrived home at around 8 p.m. on the 30th [of November] and heard me concluding the prayers using the name of Jesus,” she explained. “When he interrogated me to give reasons why I was using the name of Jesus, I kept quiet.” On the following morning he resumed questioning her; again she kept silent. He repeatedly began to slap her, successively harder with each strike. When she screamed for help he struck her hand with a wooden board, causing her fingers to bleed. “I fell down, and he started to strangle me. Fortunately, neighbors arrived and rescued me and took me to a clinic at Buyaga town council for treatment, and I was discharged after two days.” Shakira soon learned that her husband had purchased a coffin in preparation for killing her. She and her children took refuge at a pastor’s home. At last report, Ismail was sending threatening message to the pastor, such as, “If you continue housing my wife in your house, then let it be known to you that soon I will be coming for your head.”
General Hostility for Christians
Saudi Arabia: America’s close friend and ally failed to live up to its promise to eliminate extremist content — that promotes hostility for, and violence against, religious minorities — from its 2018-19 school year curriculum. According to a December 1 report:
Saudi Arabia had previously pledged to remove all incitement content from its textbooks by 2008 and the government continues to allege that this issue has long since been resolved. However, other reports say otherwise. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom issued a study this past March which says that the curriculum contains incitement content which had been thought removed. Examples of this content include demeaning non-Muslims and encouraging jihad against them. The execution of apostates is prescribed and children are encouraged not to associate with non-Muslims. Saudi Arabia not only continues to use these textbooks domestically, but exports them to other parts of the Middle East.
Iraq: A Christian leader asked the Ministry of Education to review statements within public school curriculum that contributes to hostility for non-Muslim minorities. For instance, one fifth-grade textbook teaches that women who do not wear the veil — which includes virtually all Christian women — are “sick.” A separate report that appeared on December 9 — one year to the day since Iraq’s former Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over the Islamic State — found that Christians continued to be persecuted and discriminated against. Majid, a local Christian, said, “I think before we celebrate ISIS’s defeat anniversary, we should go back to our history. We never experienced a stable situation during the past six decades… ISIS 2.0 is something possible.”
Indonesia: Local Muslims sawed off the top of a cross from a deceased Christian’s tomb — so that it does not resemble a crucifix — and prevented mourners from meeting and saying prayers in the deceased man’s home . Although there was an uproar on social media, local Christians said they were fine with the occurrence. Of the 150 families in the village, three are Christian and 147 Muslim. “There is no grudge between the family and neighbours,” Hans Supatman, an activist for religious dialogue, said. “Everything is fine and even the funeral service was done quietly.” The cemetery “uproar occurred on social media and outside the village,” he noted. “Everything is fine here and everyone is happy.”
Christmas Time Hate
Iraq: The nation’s highest Sunni authority and grand mufti, Sheikh Abdul Mahdi al-Sumaidaie, issued a fatwa (Islamic decree) against Christmas. He said it is haram(forbidden) for Muslims to participate in any celebrations “of the cross” or even acknowledge the Christian holiday. “It is not acceptable to take part in the New Year celebrations or to congratulate Christians during Christmas,” he announced during Friday prayer at a mosque in downtown Baghdad, as doing so “means that you believe in their doctrine.”
Indonesia: Authorities arrested two Islamic terrorists who were plotting to massacre Christians during Christmas and New Year celebrations. Both men belong to the Islamic State-linked organization Jamah Ansyarut Daulah. The organization “has launched several terrorist attacks, some targeting Christians and claimed dozens of lives,” in recent years, notes the report. “The two come from one terrorist network, and we are now investigating the movement of this network in Java,” a police spokesman added. “Hopefully, [we] can reveal the network so the atmosphere of Christmas and New Year celebrations will be conducive.”
These detentions were made as preventive measure under a revised anti-terrorism law approved in May, after Islamic State followers attacked churches and police with suicide bombs, killing more than 30 people in the city of Surabaya…. radicalized Islam is growing inside the country and scores of Indonesians have travelled to the Middle East to join the Islamic State group. Attacks on churches in the nation’s capital, Jakarta, and elsewhere on Christmas Eve in 2000, claimed the lives of nearly 20 people. Ever since, authorities have stepped up security at churches and tourist spots during the holiday season.
Iran: Although it is common for the number of arrests of Christians to increase around Christmastime — when the Islamic Republic seeks to deter interest through intimidation — beginning in November and into Christmas week, 2018, more than 150 Christians were arrested. Some, including two sisters in detention, were brutally beaten. “The current situation has been described by some as unprecedented,” said a spokesman for the human rights group, Middle East Concern.
“There are a huge number of arrests and detentions…. Recently it seems there is definitely a coordinated and determined campaign to decimate the Christian community and to spread fear and intimidation…. There is no doubt that it’s the Christian faith of these individuals that is the reason behind their arrests and detentions.”
Pakistan: As in other Muslim nations (such as Indonesia, above), security for churches is often increased during Christmas and Easter. Due, however, to the widespread outrage after the announced acquittal of Asia Bibi — a Christian woman who had been on death row for nearly a decade for allegedly “blaspheming” against Muhammad — church security had to be redoubled around Christmas. According to the report:
Churches have previously been the target of suicide bombers and this year, police have trained hundreds of Christian volunteers in an effort to see the season through peacefully. More than 1,500 police have been deployed across Islamabad and Rawalpindi to protect churchgoers over Christmas… CCTV cameras have also been installed at entry points and parking restrictions have been put in place to keep cars at least 100m away from church buildings. In Abbottabad, a district north-east of Islamabad, police were sweeping churches with sniffer dogs and bomb disposal units ahead of Christmas celebrations. Christians have been fearful of retaliatory attacks since Bibi was acquitted of blasphemy, for which she had received a death sentence. She was freed from prison in November but immediately forced into hiding as Muslim extremists hunted her down.”
United Kingdom: British authorities decided to deport a Christian man back to Pakistan, where he was previously beaten and threatened with death, “despite UK playing host to [Muslim] hijackers, extremists and rapists,” to quote from one headline. Asher Samson, 41, “first arrived in the UK in 2004 to carry out his theology training in order to become a pastor, but later applied for asylum after receiving threats from Islamic extremists during visits home,” says the report: “His asylum claim was rejected earlier this year and Mr. Samson is now being held in Morton Hall Detention Centre in Lincoln where he has been told he will be deported.”
“They told me they had booked me a flight and I refused to go,” Samson said. “They said next time they will take me by force.” He said he has “no one and nowhere to go” in Pakistan: “If they do send me back my life will be really in danger. I’m so scared…. People know who I am, they know I am a Christian and they have seen me on social media.” Revered Lorraine Shorten, the pastor of Samson’s church of 10 years, confirmedthat he was a “well-thought-of” member of the community…. It’s shameful — we are a Christian country yet we can’t help them [Samson and his brother]. It’s terrifying to send him back there with the situation for Christians in Pakistan.”
Raymond Ibrahim, author of the new book, Sword and Scimitar, Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.
About this Series
While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, persecution of Christians by extremists is growing. The report posits that such persecution is not random but rather systematic, and takes place irrespective of language, ethnicity, or location.
Opinion: “The West’s Real Bigotry: Rejecting Persecuted Christians”
by Uzay Bulut
Reprinted with permission from the Gatestone Institute
“Unfortunately, the West has rejected the idea of solidarity with the Christians of the Middle East, prioritizing diplomacy based on oil interests and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Thus, the United States, Britain, and France have largely ignored the persecutions of the Christians of Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, and Sudan, while rushing to save the oil-rich Muslim states of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait…” — Hannibal Travis, Professor of Law, 2006.
Indigenous Christians in Iraq and Syria have not only been exposed to genocide at the hands of the Islamic State and other Islamist groups, but also their applications for immigration to Western countries have been put on the back-burner by, shamefully but not surprisingly, the UN.
When one brings up the issue of Western states taking in Muslim migrants from Syria and Iraq without vetting them for jihadist ties, while leaving behind the Christian and Yazidi victims of jihadists, one is accused of being “bigoted” or “racist”. But the real bigotry is abandoning the persecuted and benign Middle Eastern Christians and Yazidis, the main victims of the ongoing genocides in Syria and Iraq.
Persecution of Christians: May 2012
“Death to Christians!”
by Raymond Ibrahim
June 28, 2012
Elsewhere in Sub-Sahara Africa, wherever Christianity and Islam meet, Christians are being killed, slaughtered, beheaded and even crucified.
Unlike those nations, such as Saudi Arabia, that have eliminated Christianity altogether, Muslim countries with significant Christian minorities saw much persecution during the month of May: in Egypt, Christians were openly discriminated against in law courts, even as some accused the nation’s new president of declaring that he will “achieve the Islamic conquest of Egypt for the second time, and make all Christians convert to Islam;” in Indonesia, Muslims threw bags of urine on Christians during worship; in Kashmir and Zanzibar, churches were set on fire; and in Mali, Christianity “faces being eradicated.”
Elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa—in Nigeria, Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, the Ivory Coast—wherever Islam and Christianity meet, Christians are being killed, slaughtered, beheaded and even crucified.
Categorized by theme, May’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. Note: As Pakistan had the lion’s share of persecuted Christians last month, it has its own section below, covering the entire gamut of persecution—from apostasy and blasphemy to rape and forced conversions.
Indonesia encountered several church-related attacks:
- A mob of 600 Muslims threw bags of urine, stones, and rotten eggs at the congregation of a Protestant church at the start of Ascension Day service; they shouted profanities and threatened to kill the pastor. No arrests were made. The church had applied for a permit to construct its house of worship five years ago. Pressured by local Muslims, the local administration ordered the church shut down in December 2009, even though the Supreme Court recently overruled its decision, saying that the church was eligible for a permit. Local Muslims and officials are nevertheless demanding that the church shut down.
- After protests “by hard-line groups including the Islamic Defenders Front,” nearly 20 Christian houses of worship were sealed off by authorities on the pretext of “not having permits.” The authorities added that, to accommodate the region’s 20,000 Christians, only one church may be built in the district in question.
- The Muslim mayor who illegally sealed the beleaguered GKI Yasmin church, forcing congregants to worship in the streets, has agreed to reopen it—but only if a mosque is built next door, to ensure that the church “stays in line.” “As well as opposition from the mayor, the church has faced hostility from local Muslims, who have rallied against them [the Christians], blocked them from accessing the street where the church is situated and disrupted their outdoor services. It is unlikely that they will suddenly embrace the Christians,” according to the report.
France: Prior to celebrating mass, “four youths, aged 14 to 18, broke into the Church of St. Joseph, beforelaunching handfuls of pebbles at 150 faithful present at the service.” They were chased out, although, according to the report, “the parishioners, many of whom are elderly, were greatly shocked by the disrespectful act of the youths of North African origin.”
Kashmir: A Catholic church made entirely of wood was partially destroyed after unknown assailants set it on fire. “What happened,” said the president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, “is not an isolated case,” and follows the “persecution” of a pastor who baptized Muslims. “With these gestures, the Muslim community is trying to intimidate the Christian minority.”
Kuwait: Two months after the Saudi Grand Mufti decreed, in response to a question on whether churches may exist in Kuwait, that all regional churches must be destroyed, villa-churches serving Western foreigners are being targeted. One congregation was evicted without explanation “from a private villa used for worship gatherings for the past seven years;” another villa-church was ordered to “pay an exorbitant fine each month to use a facility it had been renting…. Church leaders reportedly decided not to argue and moved out.”
Zanzibar: Hundreds of Muslims set two churches on fire and clashed with police during protests against the arrest of senior members of an Islamist movement known as the Association for Islamic Mobilization and Propagation. Afterwards, the group issued a statement denying any involvement of wrongdoing.
Pakistan: Apostasy, Blasphemy, Rape, Forced Conversions, and Oppression
- A 20-year-old Christian man was arrested and charged with “blasphemy”—a crime “punishable with life imprisonment”—after vengeful Muslims accused him of burning a Koran soon after a billiard game. The Muslims kept taunting and threatening him, to which the Christian “dared them to do whatever they wanted and walked away.” Days later came the accusation and arrest, which caused Muslim riots, creating “panic among Christians,” who “left their houses anticipating violence.”
- Two years ago, after a Muslim man converted to Christianity and told his wife, she abused and exposed him, resulting in his being severely beaten. “No one was willing to let me live the life I wanted [as a Christian]—they say Islam is not a religion of compulsion, but no one has been able to tell me why Muslims who don’t find satisfaction in the religion become liable to be killed.” He eventually divorced, escaped, and remarried a Christian woman. Now that his family has again discovered his whereabouts, they have resumed threatening him. According to his wife: “Every other day, we receive threatening phone calls…They are now asking him to abandon us and renounce Christianity, threatening that they will kill me and our child.”
- A new report indicates that “on average, eight to ten Christians are being forced every month by fanatic Muslims to convert to Islam, mostly in the provinces of Sindh and Punjab. The victims of forced conversions are often girls from poor backgrounds who are then subjected to harrowing and traumatic ordeals. Most of the girls are vulnerable and unable to defend themselves against extremists because their community is deprived, defenseless and marginalized. Christians, who constitute about two percent of the Pakistani population, are paying a high price for being a part of the minority community.” Two such cases from May follow:
- In an attempt to force her to drop charges against them for raping her 13-year-old niece, a band of Muslims severely beat a pregnant Christian woman causing her to lose female twins to miscarriage. The rapists came when all male members of the Christian household were out working and beat the women “mercilessly.” “They murdered our children, they raped our daughter. We have nothing left with us,” lamented an older family member. As usual, police ignored both cases: both the raped Christian girl and her beaten family.
- A 14-year-old Christian girl was abducted and forced to convert to Islam by her uncle, who himself had earlier converted. Pakistani police refused to liberate her, and said she converted of her own free will. According to her father: “After converting, my brother is conspiring against our family and kidnapped Mary with deception.”
- The investigation into the murder of the nation’s only cabinet-level Christian, Shahbaz Bhatti, has become mired amid suspicions of a possible cover-up. Lax investigations, a series of freed suspects, and lack of coordination across law enforcement organizations have stalled the case after the March 2, 2011 slaying of the federal minister for Minority Affairs, who was an outspoken critic of, and targeted by, those who support Pakistan’s “blasphemy” laws.
- Christians are being threatened and abused for trying, since 1947, to save their community’s graveyard. Despite failing to produce any proof, a retired Muslim official who claims he “recently discovered” that the land really belongs to him has already built a boundary wall, reducing the graveyard to less than a third of its original size, and turned the seized land over to agricultural use. Police, as usual, are failing to react.
[General Abuse, Debasement, and Suppression of non-Muslims as “Tolerated” Citizens]
Egypt: A court verdict that was criticized by many human rights groups as “unbelievable” and “extremely harsh” towards Christians was decided according to religion: all twelve Christians were convicted to life imprisonment, while all eight Muslims—including some who torched nearly 60 Christian homes—were acquitted, all to thunderous cries of “Allahu Akbar!” [“Allah is the Greatest!”] in the courtroom. Another Muslim judge in Upper Egypt dismissed all charges against a group of Muslims who terrorized a Christian man and his family for over a year, culminating with their cutting off his ear in a knife attack while trying to force him to convert to Islam after they “falsely accused him” of having an affair with a Muslim woman. And a new report describes the plight of Coptic girls: “hundreds of Christian girls … have been abducted, forced to convert to Islam, and forced into marriage in Egypt. These incidents are often accompanied by acts of violence, including rape, beatings, and other forms of physical and mental abuse.”
Eritrea: Activists taking part in a protest outside the Eritrean embassy in London revealed that “Some 2,000 to 3,000 Christians are currently detained in Eritrea without charge or trial… Several Christians are known to have died in notorious prison camps,” and “thousands of Eritreans flee their country every year,” some falling “into the hands of abusive traffickers, and are held hostage in torture camps in the Sinai Desert pending payment of exorbitant ransoms, or the forcible removal of organs.”
Ethiopia: A Christian man accused of “desecrating the Koran” spent two years in prison, where he was abused, pressured to convert to Islam, and left paralyzed. Now returning home, he has found that his two young children have been abducted by local Muslims: “My life is ruined—I have lost my house, my children, my health. I am now homeless, and I am limping.”
Greece: Abet Hasman, the deputy mayor of Patras who recently passed away, left a message to be revealed only in his obituary—that, although born to Muslim parents in Jordan, he was “secretly baptized” a Christian (demonstrating how some Muslims who convert to Christianity, knowing the consequences of apostasy, choose secrecy).
Indonesia: A predominantly Christian neighborhood was attacked for several days by “unidentified persons,” who set fire to homes and cars. Dozens of Christian families fled their homes, “many fear[ing] the involvement of Islamic extremist groups.”
Iran: A prominent house church pastor 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. Also, the attorney of Youssef Nadarkhani—the imprisoned Christian pastor who awaits execution for apostasy—was himself “convicted for his work defending human rights and is expected to begin serving his nine-year sentence in the near future.” Meanwhile, in a letter attributed to him, the imprisoned pastorwrote: “I have surrendered myself to God’s will…[and I] consider it as the day of exam and trial of my faith…[so that I may] prove my loyalty and sincerity to God.”
Jordan: After the Jordanian Dubai Islamic Bank decreed that all females must wear the hijab, the Islamic veil or be terminated, it fired all female employees who refused to wear the hijab—mostly Christians, including one Christian woman who had worked there for 27 years. There are suspicions that this new policy was set to target and terminate the Christian employees, as it is they who are most likely to reject the hijab.
Lebanon: A 24-year-old woman, the daughter of a Shiite cleric, who was “physically and psychologically tortured by her father for converting to Christianity three years ago,” managed to escape and be baptized by a Christian priest—who was himself then abducted and interrogated to disclose the whereabouts of the renegade woman. In like manner, Muslim assailants fired gunshots at the house of another priest and at a church — “part of an escalating pattern of violence against local Catholics,” in the words of the region’s prelate.
Macedonia: After some Muslims were arrested in connection to a “series of murders of Christians,” thousands of fellow Muslims demonstrated after Friday prayers, shouting slogans such as “death to Christians!,” and calling for “jihad.”
Mali: Ever since the government was overthrown in a coup, “the church in Mali faces being eradicated,” especially in the north, “where rebels want to establish an independent Islamist state and drive Christians out….there have been house to house searches for Christians who might be in hiding, church and Christian property has been looted or destroyed, and people tortured into revealing any Christian relatives.”
Nigeria: Muslim gunmen set fire to a home in a Christian village and then opened fire on all who tried to escape the inferno, killing at least seven and wounding many others, in just one of dozens of attacks on Christians.
Sudan: Without reason, security officials closed down regional offices of the Sudan Council of Churches and a much needed church clinic for the poor; staff members were arrested and taken to an undisclosed location: “Their families are living in agony due to the uncertainty of their fate.”
Syria: Jihadi gunmen evicted all the families of a Christian region, “taking over all the homes of the village, occupying the church and turning it to their base.”
Uzbekistan: Police raided a Protestant house-church meeting, claiming “that a bomb was in the home.” No bomb was found, only Christian literature which was confiscated. Subsequently, 14 members of the unregistered church were heavily fined—the equivalent of 10-60 times a monthly salary—for an “unsanctioned meeting in a private home.” Between February and April, 28 Protestants were fined and four were issued warnings for the offence. Three Baptists were also fined for not declaring their personal Bibles while crossing the border from Kazakhstan into Uzbekistan. Fines and warnings were accompanied by the confiscation of religious literature.
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:
- To document that which the mainstream media does not: the habitual, if not chronic, Muslim persecution of Christians.
- 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 to those who “offend” Islam; theft and plunder in lieu ofjizya (financial tribute expected from non-Muslims); overall expectations for Christians to behave like coweddhimmis, 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.
NCJA is standing in solidarity with CSI,
in calling attention to its Genocide Warning for Religious Minorities in the Middle East
On Sunday, November 13th, the National Conference on Jewish Affairs was mentioned on WABC’s “Religion on the Line” program, for its support of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights’ objections to a video to be shown at the Brookyn Museum. It is highly unlikely that this Christian-bashing video could be called “art”.