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“32,000 Christians Butchered to Death”: Muslim Persecution of Christians, May 2020

The iconic iron cross that had stood on the summit of Pic Saint-Loup, France, since 1911.

The following are among the abuses Muslims inflicted on Christians throughout the month of May 2020:

The Slaughter of Christians

Nigeria: From January 2020 to mid-May 2020, Muslim terrorists massacred at least 620 Christians (470 by Fulani herdsmen and 150 by Boko Haram). According to a May 14 report:

Militant Fulani Herdsmen and Boko Haram … have intensified their anti-Christian violence … with hacking to death in the past four months and half of 2020 of no fewer than 620 defenseless Christians, and wanton burning or destruction of their centers of worship and learning. The atrocities against Christians have gone unchecked and risen to alarming apogee with the country’s security forces and concerned political actors looking the other way or colluding with the Jihadists. Houses burnt or destroyed during the period are in their hundreds; likewise dozens of Christian worship and learning centers.

The report further states that, since 2009, “not less than 32,000 Christians have been butchered to death by the country’s main Jihadists.”

Earlier this year, Christian Solidarity International issued a “Genocide Warning for Christians in Nigeria,” in response to the “rising tide of violence directed against Nigerian Christians and others classified as ‘infidels’ by Islamist militants…” More recently, in a May statement, the Christian Rights Agenda, another human rights group, expressed concern for “the seeming silence of Nigeria’s President, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, who as the commander-in-chief of the armed forces has not only failed to protect the Christian communities but has remained silent over these killings. To date, no Fulani herdsmen have been arrested and prosecuted over the killings, a development that has helped to embolden them.” It is worth noting that Buhari himself is a Fulani Muslim.

Separately, the Muslim man who murdered Michael Nnadi, an 18-year-old seminarian at the Good Shepherd Seminary, confessed from his jail cell that he did so because the youth “continued preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ” to his captors. According to the May 3 report, “the first day Nnadi was kidnapped … he did not allow [Mustapha Mohammed, his murderer] to have peace” due to his relentless preaching of the Gospel. Mohammed “did not like the confidence displayed by the young man and decided to send him to an early grave.”

Democratic Republic of Congo: Muslim fighters from the Allied Democratic Forces, which earlier pledged allegiance to the Islamic State (ISIS), murdered at least 17 people, possibly many more, in the Christian-majority (95%) African nation. “They fired several shots in the air,” a local said. “When the population was fleeing, they captured some people and cut them up with machetes.” In late 2019, the same group murdered a pastor after he refused to stop preaching and convert to Islam.

Attacks on Christian Churches, Cemeteries, and Crosses

Greece: Muslim migrants ransacked and transformed a church into their personal toilet. This public restroom was once the St. Catherine Church in Moria, a small town on the island of Lesvos, which has been flooded with migrants who arrived via Turkey. “The smell inside is unbearable,” said a local. “[T]he metropolitan of Mytilene is aware of the situation in the area, nevertheless, he does not wish to deal with it for his own reasons.” According to the report:

This is only the latest incident … [I]t has become extremely common for Greek Orthodox Churches to be vandalised and attacked by illegal immigrants on Lesvos….

As a deeply religious society, these attacks on churches are shocking to the Greek people and calls to question whether these illegal immigrants seeking a new life in Europe are willing to integrate and conform to the norms and values of their new countries.

These continued attacks have ultimately seen the people of Lesvos, who were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2016, become increasingly frustrated by the unresolved situation that has restricted and changed their lives as they no longer feel safe on their once near crime-free island.

Other incidents on Lesvos include “African immigrants ridiculing and coughing on police in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and thousands of olives trees being destroyed.”

St. Catherine’s in Lesvos, now a Muslim toilet.

Turkey: On May 8, a man tried to torch a church in Istanbul; the church had been attacked in the previous years, sometimes with hate-filled graffiti. When police detained the arsonist, he said “I burned it because they [Christians] brought the coronavirus [onto Turkey].” Discussing this incident, another report said that “Minorities in Turkey, such as Armenians, Rums and Syriacs [all Christians], as well as their places of worship, are occasionally targeted in hate attacks.”

Two weeks later, on May 22, in broad daylight, a man climbed the fence of a historic Armenian church in Istanbul and proceeded to yank off its metal cross and hurl it to the ground, as captured on surveillance footage. The man, who looks more like a Westernized “hipster” than an ardent Islamist, walks up to and stares at the cross for a while — he even looks at and strikes a pose for the security camera — before attacking the crucifix.

Pakistan: After Friday prayers on May 8, an armed Muslim mob shouting “anti-Christian slogans” attacked and tried to set fire to the Trinity Pentecostal Church in Hakeem Pura. Built 22 years ago, the church was desecrated, and a large cross and part of a wall broken. The Muslim man behind the attack had sold land to the growing church a year earlier, and now wanted it back. A Christian eyewitness said that the mob, “after attacking the walls and the cross, challenging anyone who dare oppose them, fled… Not only was the cross broken, but our hearts were crushed too.”

Separately, Muslim “land grabbers” seized, desecrated, and ploughed over the graves of a century-old Christian cemetery with a tractor. According to the May 22 report:

The Christian community there reportedly protested against the violation and tried to stop the vandalism. However, they were allegedly threatened with guns… [A]ll graves that were destroyed had crosses fixed on the top… [S]ome of the houses occupied by the Christians were demolished and people were forced to flee from their homes. Amid widespread discrimination against the Christian community in Pakistan, the properties owned by the minorities are often subjected to injustice including land grabbing and being the target of criminals. Moreover, the economic disparities and religious bias in Pakistan’s judiciary have increased the struggles Christians face to recover the lost land.

Serbia: On Sunday, May 31, two Muslim migrants entered the St. Alexander Nevsky Church in Belgrade during service and robbed several of the mostly elderly congregants. “There were two of them. They broke into the church during the liturgy, which was in progress, and they stole two purses along with three mobile phones,” a church leader said, adding:

Upon entering the temple, they split up on two sides, and after the people saw what was happening, they managed to catch one of them and take away his mobile phones and the money he stole. The other managed to escape. He took two purses, in one there were 3,500 dinars, while in the other there were 18,000, which was the entire pension of one woman. We handed that young man over to the police, while the other managed to escape. This is an insult. Isn’t anything sacred to people, such as the liturgy? Terrible.

Egypt: On May 30, 2020 — two days before President Trump recognized Global Coptic Day — Egyptian authorities demolished the only Coptic church in village of Koum al-Farag, even though it had stood for 15 years and served 3,000 Christians. According to the report:

The destruction of the church was a punishment for the ‘crime’ of building rooms for Sunday school…. When the work began, some extremist Muslims began to attack Christians.

A separate report on this incident relates:

According to an ancient Islamic tradition, or common law, churches are prevented from being formally recognised or displaying any Christian symbols if a mosque is built next to them.

The authorities decided to solve this issue by demolishing the church, which took a tractor “six long hours,” a Copt recalled:

The decision was not welcomed by the Christians in the village, so they protested by appearing at the site in possession of the documents. However, the police and some radicals began to insult and assault Christians, including women and children. The church leader received so many punches in the face and chest that he passed out.

In a separate attack in the early hours of May 16, “an air conditioning technician threw a Molotov cocktail inside the Virgin Mary Church in Alexandria.” According to the report:

Security camera footage led to his apprehension. Fortunately, no one was injured in this attack. Predictably, however, the prosecutors appear to be [pursuing] an acquittal on the claim that the perpetrator of the religious hate crime is also mentally ill. Based on precedent, it is extremely unlikely that this perpetrator will face any consequences for his attempt to torch a church.

Mozambique: Islamic terrorists attacked a monastery. The four monks residing in it managed to hide and emerge unscathed. However, the hospital they were building for a nearby village was destroyed by the armed Muslims. According to the May 18 report:

Little is known about the insurgents, and until recently there were doubts they were actually islamists, but they have claimed to be fighting for the imposition of Sharia law in the North of Mozambique…. The attack on the monastery, which included the destruction of a hospital that the monks were building in the village, is the second most serious attack against a Christian target since the troubles began. Last month a Catholic mission was also attacked, although, as here, nobody was killed. Other communities have not been so lucky, as the insurgents have left a trail of death and destruction behind them in the towns and villages they attack.

Nigeria: On May 7, a helicopter bombed and destroyed a church. The building was empty at the time; no casualties were reported. According to a local leader,

The helicopter used to hover around the area, dropping some things. We don’t know what they have been dropping but yesterday in the afternoon, the helicopter came and dropped a bomb … [The] Assembly of God church was destroyed including a nearby building…. Hours after the incident, a group of people numbering about 100 pass through the village carrying guns. Some were trekking while others rode on motorcycles. One of them was carrying a flag which is not a Nigerian flag; one other person was making some incantations in Arabic… People have fled the village… The question is who was in the helicopter dropping bomb?… We are very concerned … If it was a mistake by security agencies, they should come out and explain so as to allay the fears of the community.

Algeria: Four Muslim guards responsible for protecting a church vandalized and overturned its statue of the Virgin Mary. According to the report,

[T]he chapel of Santa Cruz built in stones extracted from the mountain of Murdjadjo where it is perched, was the object of an attempted theft… Four looters allegedly destroyed the statue of the Virgin Mary by attempting to steal it. They have even destroyed other holy monuments in their path….

It was later found, however, that the chapel’s four hired guards were themselves the “looters” responsible for the desecration. The report continues:

In addition, the Christian community in Algeria denounces… the intimidation which the faithful are subject to. Many Christians have denounced the series of closings of churches in the national territory. Several evangelical associations and organizations have called for an end to “the increasing pressure and intimidation from the Algerian government.”

Iran: On Sunday, May 17, a Christian cemetery was set ablaze, just two days after the tomb of the biblical Esther and Mordecai was also set on fire on the 72nd anniversary of the creation of the State of Israel. Damage at the tomb — a holy site shared by Jews and Christians — was reportedly minimal. Few other details concerning the burned Christian cemetery aside from video footage showing smoke billowing over its walls are available. A Hindu temple was also reportedly set on fire in May.

France: Unknown vandals cut down an iconic iron cross that had stood on the summit of Pic Saint-Loup since 1911 and was visible for miles around. According to the May 14 report,

While Europe has experienced a growing number of acts of vandalism and profanation of Christian sites, the greatest number of such acts have occurred in France, where churches, schools, cemeteries, and monuments “are being vandalized, desecrated, and burned at an average rate of three per day,” according to reports drawing from government statistics.

Although the identity of the vandals responsible for this latest outrage is unknown, it appears that Western European nations that have large Muslim migrant populations are seeing a disproportionate rise in attacks on churches and Christian symbols. According to a 2017 study on France — which has the largest Muslim population in Europe — “Islamist extremist attacks on Christians” rose by 38%, going from 273 attacks in 2015 to 376 in 2016; the majority occurred during Christmas season and “many of the attacks took place in churches and other places of worship.” Similarly, around Christmas 2016, in a German region where more than a million Muslims reside, some 50 public Christian statues (including those of Jesus) were beheaded and crucifixes broken.

Abduction, Rape, and Forced Conversion of Christian Women

Nigeria: Between March 23 and April 30, six young Christian girls and one older married woman were kidnapped. “We are saddened to report to you the battles we have been fighting even amidst the lockdown,” the Hausa Christians Foundation reported on May 4, adding that it “has been working on the following tragic incidences of abduction and forceful Islamization, despite the fact that the lockdown has limited our efforts.” The statement continues:

The usual practice is that these girls will be forced into marriage and perpetually be abused sexually, physical and emotionally. We are doing our best to rescue these precious lives but our efforts have been truncated by the current government imposed lockdown that has put everything on hold…. The simple reason for the injustice and the persecution we have been subjected to… is because of our faith in Christ Jesus.

Two of the young girls have since been rescued.

Pakistan: Another young Christian girl was kidnapped. According to a May 2 report,

On Sunday, April 26, a 14-year-old Christian girl … was abducted by a group of armed Muslim men… [T]he Christian girl’s family has filed a police report and is begging police to recover their relative…. Myra Shehbaz was abducted by a group of Muslim men led by Muhammad Naqash. Eye witnesses claim that Myra was attacked while she was traveling to her workplace as a domestic worker on Sunday afternoon…. Myra’s abductors forced her into a car and Myra tried to resist…. [The] abductors were armed and fired several shots into the air…. [The girl’s mother] fears her daughter will be raped, forcefully converted is [sic] Islam, or even killed…. [A]n estimated 1,000 women and girls from Pakistan’s Hindu and Christian community are assaulted, abducted, forcefully married to their captor, and forcibly converted to Islam every year.

Egypt: In a May 22 report, Coptic Solidarity, a human rights organization focused on the plight of Egypt’s Christians, made the following remarks:

The indigenous Coptic Christians of Egypt continue to experience increasing persecution, by the government and society…. To illustrate, at least five Coptic women, including some minors, have reportedly been kidnapped or disappeared in just the last few weeks, and Egyptian state security has made no concerted effort to recover them…. Ranya Abd al-Masih, a Coptic wife and mother of three from a town just north of the capital, Cairo… remains hidden despite protests, including from the region’s church, which laments “the total lack of reaction by the authorities.”

Hate for and Abuse of Christians

Austria: A local newspaper reported:

A graffiti that rightly causes a lot of agitation. The lettering “Christians must die” can be seen at the Traisen-Markt train station. Above it, in the same style, the words “Allach Akkbar” [sic]. The removal of the graffiti has already begun and will cost about 500 Euros.

Uganda: A Muslim father burned his daughter for converting to Christianity. While traveling with her father, a sheikh (respected elder) of the Muslim community, Rehema Kyomuhendo, 24, heard the gospel and secretly converted. On the night of May 4, while she and her father were staying at her aunt’s home, she called a Christian associate: “As she was sharing Christ with me, I was so overjoyed,” Rehema later explained, “and my father heard my joy and woke up, came from his bedroom furiously and started beating me up with blows, slaps and kicks.” He also shouted that he was “going to kill her.” He broke a gas container, lit the pieces with the unspilt fuel, and began to burn his daughter. Her cries awakened her aunt, who protected her from the sheikh. Last reported, Rehema was expected to need more than a month of hospitalization due to “serious burns on her leg, stomach, rib area, near her neck and on part of her back.” No one has “reported the assault to police for fear that her father might try kill her.”

Pakistan: In another example of abuse of Christians in connection to COVID-19, “an Islamic cleric claims his organization is using COVID-19 food aid to convert non-Muslims to Islam,” according to a May 8 report. Speaking on Pakistani television, the cleric boasted of how when a destitute Christian man came for aid, the “staff of the organization offered him conversion against food which he accepted.” The man was subsequently renamed Muhammad Ramadan, signifying his conversion had occurred during the Muslim holy month. The cleric had added that Muhammad was then fasting (which is ironic considering hunger is what prompted him to convert in the first place).

About this Series

The persecution of Christians in the Islamic world has become endemic.  Accordingly, “Muslim Persecution of Christians” was developed in 2011 to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that occur or are reported each month. It serves two purposes:

1) To document that which the mainstream media does not: the habitual, if not chronic, persecution of Christians.

2) To show that such persecution is not “random,” but systematic and interrelated—that it is rooted in a worldview inspired by Islamic Sharia.

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

Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and locales—from Morocco in the West, to Indonesia in the East—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.

By Raymond Ibrahim crossposted on Gatestone Institute

Ibrahim’s writings, translations, and observations have appeared in a variety of publications. He is theauthor of the recent book, Sword and Scimitar, Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Young Christian Woman and Pregnant Convert Seriously Injured in Eastern Uganda

(Morning Star News) – A young woman who told a Muslim about Christ and a pregnant, formerly Muslim woman beaten for her new faith suffered serious injuries in eastern Uganda, sources said.

Radical Muslims assaulted Lydia Nabirye, 23-year-old daughter of a Church of God evangelist, on April 7 at about 1 p.m. near Luwooko village, Buwunga Sub-County, Bugiri District, she said.

Nabirye said she shared her faith with a young Muslim woman in early March who subsequently became a Christian. The former Muslim woman, unnamed for security reasons, received threats from her Muslim family due to her new faith, so Nabirye’s family gave her refuge in their home, where six other former Muslims are staying due to threats, she said.

“Her mother knows that her daughter is with me, because we have been close friends with her for more than four years,” Nabirye told Morning Star News by phone. “The family knows about our relationship with her.”

On April 7 Nabirye’s father, Paul Kaikiya, sent her to Bukolwa village to visit another former Muslim who was mourning the loss of a son who had died, and Muslims saw her entering their property, she said.

On her way back, Nabirye was about six miles from the bereaved mother’s home and close to the home of the woman she had recently led to faith in Christ when she was attacked by a group of radical Muslims, three of which she could identify, she said.

“They held me and started beating me up,” Nabirye told Morning Star News. “They slapped me, and others hit me with sticks, saying that they were out to kill me because I was changing Muslims to become Christians.”

An area source told Morning Star News that the Muslims ambushed, strangled and severely beat her. When she shouted and screamed, neighbors called police, and the assailants fled when officers arrived, he said.

“When I met her at her home on April 14, she was still in pain from multiple injuries – head, right eye and left hand injuries,” the source told Morning Star News. “At the moment Nabirye’s father is very fearful of a possible attack. The Muslims in Luwooko village have sworn to harm Kaikiya. The family needs prayers at this difficult moment, especially for the security and the safety of the Muslim-background believers.”

Expectant Mother Beaten

In Pallisa District in the town of the same name, also in eastern Uganda, a six-months pregnant woman in Odwarata village is recovering from injuries after her family beat her for becoming a Christian, sources said.

Sylvia Shamimu Nabafa, 27, had attended church services secretly for five weeks after putting her faith in Christ in January, but as she was leaving church on the sixth week, a Muslim neighbor on Feb. 16 saw her and reported it to her father, Haji Juma Suleiman, Nabafa said.

That evening, her father asked her if she was a Christian, said Nabafa, who at the time was five months pregnant.

“I did not respond. He began hitting me with kicks and blows,” Nabafa told Morning Star News. “He then took a blunt object and hit my right leg. I started bleeding, and the next thing I knew, I found myself in the hospital bed at Palissa Health Centre.”

She was discharged after six days at the hospital, on Feb. 22, she said.

Still unable to undertake much activity, Nabafa has taken refuge with one of her church’s elders.

“The doctor said that the unborn child is well,” the church elder, whose name is withheld for security reasons, told Morning Star News. “At the moment she needs support and encouragements as she recalls the ordeal she has gone through after giving her life to Jesus Christ. At times I find her weeping. She needs food, clothes, medication and hospital check-ups.”

Nabafa’s journey to Christ began after she heard a series of radio sermons by a pastor in the region, she said.

“The pastor preached about Jesus as the only Way, the Truth and Life, which touched my heart,” Nabafa said. “That very night I had a dream of attending a church service, and the pastor was telling me that that the only way to escape from destruction was to believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Immediately after the dream I became restless.”

Increasingly without peace, she began looking for the pastor, whose identity is withheld for security reasons. She met him and two elders at the church office on Jan. 11, she said, after getting past wary church staff members.

“It was quite difficult for me to meet the pastor,” she said. “After interrogation from the watchman and a search, I was allowed into the church. I was very fearful as I narrated to the pastor and his two elders about the dream that I had had, as well as the condition of my heart.

“The pastor prayed for me, and immediately I felt a great relief from my heart, and thereafter he prayed for me to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior of my life. After confessing with my mouth my sins and praying for the Lordship of Jesus in my heart, I was full of joy as I returned back home.”

The cases are the latest of many instances of persecution of Christians in Uganda that Morning Star News has documented.

Uganda’s constitution and other laws provide for religious freedom, including the right to propagate one’s faith and convert from one faith to another. Muslims make up no more than 12 percent of Uganda’s population, with high concentrations in eastern areas of the country.

Christians Abducted, Attacked in Bangladesh Refugee Camp

View of the sprawling Kutupalong refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo: Russell Watkins/Department for International Development

Human Rights Watch) Taher, a Rohingya Christian pastor, and his 14-year-old daughter were abducted from their shelter in a refugee camp in Bangladesh on the morning of January 27. The previous night scores of men attacked 22 Christian families living in Kutupalong Camp 2 in Cox’s Bazaar. The attackers beat up residents, vandalized homes, and looted personal property in the sprawling Rohingya refugee camp. At least 12 Rohingya Christian refugees were injured and hospitalized following the attack. A makeshift Christian church and school were also smashed. After the attack the families relocated to a United Nations transit center and filed a police case against 59 alleged assailants.

The Benar News Agency and Radio Free Asia have reported that camp residents believe that the attackers are linked to the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), an ethnic Rohingya armed group. An ARSA representative denied and condemned the attacks on Christians, saying the assailants were harming the group’s fight for Rohingya rights.

Taher’s wife, Roshida, fears that her husband has been killed and her daughter abducted. She told Human Rights Watch that, “No one can give me any clear information, but my relatives told me that my daughter has been forced to convert to Islam and marry.”

Approximately 1,500 Rohingya Christians are among the more than 700,000 predominantly Muslim Rohingya forced to flee to Bangladesh as the result of the Myanmar military’s 2017 campaign of ethnic cleansing.

Victims say the Bangladesh authorities, who described the attack as an “ordinary law and order incident” and not an attack aimed at Christians, are not doing enough to protect them or to find Taher and his daughter. Camp officials “try to avoid our queries,” said one man. Another said a police officer in Cox’s Bazar told him that if the victims wanted to be safe they should “go to the moon.”

Rohingya Christians have previously reported facing threats and violence in the camps. The UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, has expressed her concern for Rohingya Christian refugees who are facing “hostility and violence.” The Bangladesh authorities should urgently locate Taher and his daughter and bring those responsible to justice. The government should also act immediately to protect all vulnerable groups in the country’s refugee camps, including religious minorities like Rohingya Christians.

Coptic Christian Family Attacked in Upper Egypt; Adult Son in Intensive Care

Egypt, (Morning Star News) – A Coptic Christian is in critical condition after he, his mother and brother were stabbed in Egypt on Sunday night (Nov. 17), according to media reports.

The Muslim assailant in a village in Upper Egypt’s Minya Governorate told them that Christians must not sit outside before attacking them, leaving the adult son in critical condition at a hospital’s Intensive Care Unit with several wounds to the stomach, according to media reports.

Area residents told Egyptian news media that a non-Christian with a criminal reputation assaulted the family members with a dagger at about 10:30 p.m. after arguing with them as they sat in front of their house in Nassiriya village, near Beni Mazar. Beni Mazar is 219 kilometers (136 miles) south of Cairo on the west bank of the Nile River.

The residents said the argument started when the assailant, identified only as Ali M., walked by the family members as they sat in front of their house and began shouting for them to go back in, saying no Christians were allowed outside. A Facebook post identified the assailant as a Muslim named Ali Eid Morsi; the post has since been removed.

When the adult son, identified as Shinoda Aziz, objected and stood up to the assailant, the suspect retrieved a dagger from his home, returned and attacked him, according to the area residents. When his mother started screaming, the assailant started stabbing her in the head and also attacked the younger son, cutting his face, they said.

Al Mowatna News reported that news anchor Osama Eid confirmed the attack. The news outlet added that the assailant is known for involvement with drugs and prostitution.

The family reportedly told police the assailant intended to kill them.

Security forces in Minya have reportedly arrested the suspect and are questioning witnesses.

An area source told Morning Star News by phone that the village is tranquil. The area was said to be predominantly Coptic Christian in the country that is about 90 percent Muslim.

Egypt ranked 16th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

 

Nigerian Church Leader Calls for Gov’t Protection After Gunmen Kill Pastor, Abduct His Wife

(CBN) A Nigerian pastor was reportedly killed and his wife abducted for ransom by unknown assailants Sunday evening while traveling on a highway where being attacked by criminals has become a common occurrence.

The Punch reported Jeremiah Omolara, the pastor of Living Faith Church in Romi New Extension, a suburb of Kaduna state, was shot and killed when the attackers ambushed his vehicle on the Abuja-Kaduna Highway.

In addition to Omolara’s wife, the couple’s son was also in the vehicle. He was able to escape, according to news reports.

The assailants are demanding a ransom in the amount of more than $138,000 for the pastor’s wife.

Omolara’s murder and his wife’s abduction were confirmed by Rev. Joseph Hayab, chairman of the state chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

Hayab urged the Nigerian government to tighten security in the state, according to to the Daily Post Nigeria.

He also told of how kidnappings in the Kaduna are on the rise, especially the abduction of clergy.

“Just last week a clergyman was attacked in Kasuwan Magani,” Hayab explained. “The security man was killed immediately as they struggled to find their way into the house. Thank God, the gunmen could not gain entrance into the room.”

He also added the daughter of a Baptist pastor was recently abducted and the kidnappers are demanding a huge ransom.

“Now the Living Faith Church pastor was killed along Kaduna-Abuja in the presence of his wife, who was later abducted,” Hayab told the newspaper. “That tells you that the new trend is to attack us in our homes or in our churches or on the roads. We are just not safe anywhere and we are asking the same question we have been asking: ‘Where are our security agencies?'”

“Are we being told tactically that we should defend ourselves?” he continued.

Nigerians at risk are often told by authorities to become vigilantes and protect their own villages.

“If we start defending ourselves, it means that we no longer have security or we no longer have government. Or is this government only for those they love and they don’t care about others?”

“We don’t want a situation where we will be forced to think of how to protect ourselves, we believe that government is there to protect us,” Hayab concluded.

As CBN News has reported, hundreds of Christians have been killed in Nigeria by radical Islamic militias, including the Fulani herdsmen.

“Nigeria is now the deadliest place in the world to be a Christian,” explained attorney Emmanuel Ogebe. “What we have is a genocide. They are trying to displace the Christians, they are trying to possess their land and they are trying to impose their religion on the so-called infidels and pagans who they consider Christians to be.”

 

Christians in Coastal Kenya Fearful after Slaughter of 13 Non-Muslims

Kenya (Morning Star News) – Al Shabaab militia over the weekend killed 13 non-Muslims, mostly Christians, in coastal Kenya, sources said.

Village Muslims in the Pandanguo settlement of Lamu County helped Islamic extremists from the Somalia-based Al Shabaab identify locations where the Christians resided, a survivor of the attack told Morning Star News from a hospital in Mpeketoni. Several of the victims were beheaded.

The assailants killed four non-Muslims in Kipini (sometimes called Kadundu) on Sunday (July 9), not far from the Boni forest, a reputed hiding place of Al Shabaab rebels battling the government in Somalia. Early Saturday morning in Jima they killed nine non-Muslims in attacks that began at around 11 p.m. the previous night, shooting some and hacking others to death with machetes, including beheadings, area sources said.

“The Christians were asked to recite the Islamic dogmas, which they could not, hence they were killed,” a source said. “We urged the government to investigate and bring to book these local Muslims who are harboring these Al Shabaab terrorists, because the Christians who were decapitated were farmers.”

Those who managed to flee and survived have had their crops damaged by wild animals and are still in great shock, the source added.

“The government has now beefed up security in the area, and we hope the victims who fled will soon return back, but they need some trauma counseling first,” he said.

Area Christians have now left their villages.

“We are now residing at the police station in Hindi for fear of possible attacked,” one area resident told Morning Star News.

Many area people are still missing or unaccounted for, and there are fears the casualty toll may increase.

Two other sources in Lamu County said Christians in the coastal region of Kenya are in serious crisis as they face food shortages after fleeing their farms.

Acting Interior Secretary Fred Matiang’i has imposed a three-month curfew in Lamu, Tana River, and Garissa counties in an effort to counter Al Shabaab’s attacks. The curfew began on Sunday (July 9) and is in effect until Oct. 9.

Rebels from Al Shabaab, which is allied with Al Qaeda, have launched several attacks in northeast Kenya since Kenyan forces led an African coalition into Somalia against the rebels in October 2011 in response to terrorist attacks on tourists and others on Kenya’s coast. Attacks on non-Muslims on Kenya’s coast have also continued.

Kenya ranked 18th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2017 World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

If Chip and Joanna Gaines are bigots, then Jesus was, too – Christian leader

Christian couple Chip and Joanna Gaines are the hosts of HGTV's highest-rated program, Fixer Upper.

Christian couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines are the hosts of HGTV’s highest-rated program, Fixer Upper.

DALLAS (Christian Examiner) – Christian leaders are pushing back against a Buzzfeed article that questioned HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines for attending a church that opposes same-sex marriage. The Gaines are the hosts of HGTV’s highest-rated program, Fixer Upper.

The Nov. 29 story quickly was labeled a “hit piece” by critics, who questioned why it was newsworthy that a famous couple’s church holds to traditional beliefs that have been affirmed by Christians for 2,000 years.

The story carried the headline: “Chip And Joanna Gaines’ Church Is Firmly Against Same-Sex Marriage” and said in a subhead: “whether the Fixer Upper couple agrees is unclear.” It has been read more than 500,000 times.

Glenn T. Stanton, director of family formation studies at Focus on the Family, said such accusations should be answered “bluntly.” READ MORE

Christians in Jharkhand, India Attacked with Axes, Clubs

india-church

(Morning Star News) – An attack on a prayer meeting in Jharkhand state that sent six people to the hospital on Sept. 4 began when Hindu women entered the home where it was held and began insulting Christians, sources said.

By the end of the day, Hindu extremists with guns, axes, spades and clubs had broken bones of Christians of Anugrah (Grace) Church in Hututag village, Palamu District and beaten women unconscious before threatening to finish them off if they continued worshiping Christ, a local pastor said.

About 30 people from the church had gathered at the house of Mukh Dev for a Friday prayer meeting when some women entered and began verbally abusing Pastor Sarvajit Bharti and others, the Rev. Akash Nandi told Morning Star News.

“Thereafter, two men entered and asked the pastor and the others to go outside, but the Christians refused to go,” he said.

Shouting insults, the Hindu extremists then took Pastor Bharti’s motorbike key, damaged the vehicle and dragged out associate pastor Mitilesh Kumar. They asked Kumar whether he would stop worshipping Jesus and instead worship Hindu idols, Pastor Nandi said.

“Mitilesh replied that they are not doing anything wrong in worshipping Christ, and that they will not stop,” Pastor Nandi said.

Later, some 15 furious Hindu extremists armed with guns, axes, spades and clubs broke into the prayer meeting, but by then members had hidden Pastor Bharti on the roof. The assailants demanded to know his whereabouts. The Christians said he had gone to the police station.

“On hearing this, the extremists mercilessly beat up the Christians,” Pastor Nandi said. “Among the seriously injured, Munni Devi, 60, had both hands fractured, and they beat her up so severely that her whole body turned blue and black, and she fell unconscious.”

Another woman, 30-year-old Mani Matiya, loss consciousness after one of the assailants beat her head with a spade. Associate Pastor Kumar, 22, received a deep cut on his head and abrasions on his body, while 60-year-old Mukh Dev took an axe-blow to the head that left a deep gash.

Sarita Kumar, 18, sustained stomach wounds, and her 16-year-old brother, Pappu Kumar, had the skin at his stomach split. The other Christians also sustained bruises and cuts. At least six received treatment at Sadar Hospital, Pastor Bharti said.

“Four of them received treatment for 10 days, while the rest were given first aid and some medicines,” he said. “Since April of this year we have been pressured to choose between Christ and our lives, and we are constantly threatened to be chased out from the village if we do not denounce Christ.”

As the village head backs the Hindu extremist actions, it has been difficult to hold worship meetings, and the Christians have been forbidden from walking on the main road and getting water from the main pump, Pastor Bharti said.

The pastor had to relocate from the village this year after Hindu extremists chased him out during a midnight raid in July, he said.

Death Threats

In West Singbhum District, on Wednesday (Sept. 9) a massive throng of people opposed to Christianity from various villages amassed to insult and threaten to kill Christians in Sagarkatta village, sources said.

Among the Ho tribal villagers near Chaibasa, seven Christian families from the Pentecostal Holiness Church were socially boycotted and threatened with death if they continued to follow Jesus, Pastor Nandi told Morning Star News.

“One baptized widow out of intense fear and pressure decided to return to Hinduism, and two men who started attending church services also promised not to take part in any of the Christian meetings again,” he said.

Officials prohibited the Christians from walking on the main road and from fetching water from the village well, he said. They also threatened to cancel the Christians’ tribal certificates, necessary for obtaining certain benefits, and told them their lands and goods would be seized if they did not renounce Christ.

Hostilities against the Christians broke out in different villages in the state in July. Area church leader Rampath Nayak told Morning Star News that a group was formed that identified villages where there were few Christians, called public meetings in those areas and filled villagers’ minds with malicious lies about Christianity.

The Hindu extremists in August called for public meetings in which they publicly humiliated Christians for their faith, forced them to renounce Christ and subjected them to local ordinances calling for them to be socially boycott from the Ho community.

The first Christian in Sagarkatta village, a man who goes by the single name of Buthram, began to lead worship services at his home earlier this year, and many started to attend, Pastor Nandi said. Opposition from villagers culminated in June, when Hindu extremists gave poison to his two sons, ages 10 and 12.

“The local Hindu extremists called the two boys and offered them jackfruit, and immediately after eating, the two boys died,” he said. “The boys were rushed to the area government hospital, where the doctor declared that the boys died of food poisoning and even asked Buthram whether he wanted to submit a police complaint. For lack of any support legal or otherwise, Buthram did not file any police complaint.”

In Lupungi Messasai, a neighboring village 19 miles away, villagers incited by Hindu extremists in late August harassed four Christian families, accused them of leaving their traditional faith and socially boycotted them, Pastor Nayak said.

“The believers in this village could not go anywhere, as they are restricted from walking on the road and taking water from the public pump, and the children were banned from the school,” Pastor Nayak said. “They were not allowed to take care of their herds of cattle, and the extremists threatened to kill and take hold of all their possession if they did not denounce Christ.”

In Bichaburu village, less than 10 miles from Sagarkatta, 31 Christian families from the Pentecostal Church of God were summoned to a public meeting in August, Pastor Nayak said. The Christians were told that some village issues would be discussed, but when they arrived, Hindu extremists began reviling them, accusing them of betraying their traditional faith and threatening to kill them if they did not return to Hinduism, he said.

In Masessai and Sagarkatta villages, Hindu extremists have continued to threaten the Christians.

“The situation is tense, as the extremists are boldly pursuing the Christians and threaten to burn them if they do not leave Christ,” Pastor Nandi said. “It is especially hard for the children, with no proper water to drink as the Christians are restricted from taking water from the well.”

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