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Muslim Fulani Herdsmen Ambush, Kill Nine Christians in Plateau State, Nigeria
(Morning Star News) – Nine Christians were buried in north-central Nigeria yesterday after Muslim Fulani herdsmen ambushed and killed them earlier this week, sources said.
The victims, all members of the Church of Christ In Nations (COCIN), were buried after a funeral service in Plateau state’s Riyom Local Government Area. They were killed, and three others seriously injured, on Tuesday (Nov. 7) evening at about 7:30 p.m. in Rim village as they returned from a nearby market.
In a text messsage to Morning Star News, COCIN Church Rim elder Gyang Dahoro identified those killed as Felix Ngwong, 34; Gyang Emmanuel, 29; Chuwang Bitrus, 31; Daniel Nini, 52; Dagam Danbwarang, 29; Rueben Danbwarang, 25, Sunday Danbwarang, 52; Dachollom Shom, 37; and Daniel Shom, 45.
Dahoro said the injured Dalyop Bwede, Darwang Samuel and Toma Sunday were being treated at the Plateau State Specialist Hospital in Jos.
The Rev. Dacholom Datiri, president of the COCIN, confirmed the killing of members of his church.
“We are saddened again by yet another attack on members of our church,” he said. “We have continued to be forced into mourning the death of some our members for no just cause. Whatever it is, our faith is dependent on Jesus Christ, our Savior.”
Istifanus Gyang, a member of parliament in Nigeria’s National Assembly, decried unabated attacks on Christians in Plateau state. Gyang said the attacks were carried out by “blood-thirsty killers and terror militia” whom he said were prosecuting “ruthless banditry and brutal slaughter” in order to wipe out Christian communities and occupy their lands.
“We shall therefore overcome this season, as it is written, “weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning,” he said.
A similar attack was carried out in the same area a few weeks ago, when a Christian woman and her son and a daughter were brutally killed by armed Muslim Fulani herdsmen who have been raiding Christian communities in the central Nigerian states of Plateau, Kaduna, Benue, Taraba and Niger.
The chairman of the Riyom Council, Emmanuel Damboyi, called for the arrest of Fulani leaders in Riyom, according to Nigerian newspaper The Nation, as they had vowed to attack Berom communities due to the alleged killing of a missing Fulani boy.
The Fulani leaders made the threat at a Security Council meeting, according to Damboyi.
“I think the Fulani leaders are not ready for peace, they should be arrested and questioned for these killings,” he reportedly said.
Plateau State Police Command spokesman Terna Tyopev said in a press statement that the number of those killed was 11, with four injured.
“Eleven people who were returning from a weekly village market of Makera were shot dead at about 7:30 p.m.,” he said. “No arrests yet, but investigations are ongoing, and we shall definitely get to the roots of this.”
Christians make up 51.3 percent of Nigeria’s population, while Muslims living primarily in the north and middle belt account for 45 percent.
Nigeria ranks 12th on Open Doors’ 2017 World Watch List of countries where Christians suffer the most persecution.
Muslim Migrant Boat Captain Who Threw Praying Christians Overboard, On Trial For Murder
Cameroonian immigrant has been put on trial in Spain for the murder of six fellow occupants of a flimsy migrant boat because of their Christian religious beliefs.
Survivors of the hellish 2014 crossing from Morocco to the southern shore of Spain described how the accused, the Muslim captain of the inflatable craft identified as Alain N. B., blamed Christian passengers for the onset of a storm and forced six men off the boat to a certain death.
According to some of the 29 survivors from the more than 50 sub-Saharan migrants who boarded the boat near Nador, northern Morocco, the accused “blamed the rough seas which were rocking the boat on the prayers led by a Catholic pastor on board”.
Read survivor accounts of what transpired in the Full Report
Brave Female Arab journalist asks, ‘What if Christians were suicide bombers?’
If the shoe was on the other foot…
A courageous, female Arab journalist who lives in Qatar has penned a bold article that asks Muslims in the Middle East how they would respond if Christian suicide bombers struck their public markets, collapsed their tall buildings or tried to force Muslims to convert to Christianity.
Liberal Saudi journalist Nadine Al-Budair writes in Kuwait’s Al-Rai newspaper that Arab countries have refused to address the problem of terrorism and have yet to create a climate that matches the liberal, humanitarian climate of the West. She asked Muslims to consider what their world would be like if Christians the world over had responded to Muslims the way terrorists have spread radical Islam.
“Imagine a Western youth coming here and carrying out a suicide mission in one of our public squares in the name of the Cross. Imagine that two skyscrapers had collapsed in some Arab capital, and that an extremist Christian group, donning millennium-old garb, had emerged to take responsibility for the event, while stressing its determination to revive Christian teachings or some Christian rulings, according to its understanding, to live like in the time [of Jesus] and his disciples, and to implement certain edicts of Christian scholars,” Al-Budair writes in a translation of the editorial provided by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
Al-Budair asks her readers to imagine Christian priests calling Muslims infidels over loudspeakers and chanting that God has demanded their deaths. She also writes they should also consider what would happen if Arab countries had provided Westerners with entry visas, benefits, modern healthcare only to have them turn on their hosts to kill them in the name of religion – likely a reference to the San Bernardino attacks carried out in December 2015.
“These images are far from the mind of the Arab or Muslim terrorist because he is certain, or used to be certain, that the West is humanitarian and that the Western citizen would refuse to respond [in this manner] to the barbaric crimes [of the Muslim terrorists],” Al-Budair writes. “Despite the terrorist acts of Al-Qaeda and ISIS, we [Muslims] have been on [Western] soil for years without any fear or worry. Millions of Muslim tourists, immigrants, students, and job seekers [travel to the West] with the doors open [to them], and the streets safe [for them].”
She writes, however, that tolerance for Muslims is fading in the West because Muslims refuse to confront the problem of Islamic extremism. As evidence of this, she points to the presidential campaign of New York billionaire Donald Trump, who in a “scary declaration,” she writes, “demanded to bar Muslims from entering the U.S.”
Al-Budair wrote that Muslims do not have the right to condemn statements like those made by Trump without addressing the failures of Arab educational systems which teach jihad and hatred of the West in madrassas (Islamic schools) around the world. Al-Budair claims Muslim nations should apologize to the rest of the world.
Much of what she said about education in the Middle East was voiced a year ago by Jordan’s Queen Rania in addressing the United Arab Emirages UAE Government Summit in Dubai.
Al-Budair isn’t confident, however, that anyone will heed her call for tolerance.
“After all these farces, some Arab analyst comes out touting a pathetic message, and reciting the same words in his friend’s ear that he has repeated millions of times: ‘Those [Muslims who commit terrorism] do not represent Islam, but only themselves.’
“This is all we [know how to do] – absolve [ourselves] of guilt,” she wrote.
Al-Budair, who describes herself, as a feminist, last year encouraged Muslim women to flee their “benighted countries” for the safety, security and opportunity of the West.
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When Family Becomes Enemy Number 1: Egypt’s religious divide forces women and Christians to pay a high price
(World Watch Monitor) Not for the first time in Egypt, a romance between a Muslim divorcee and a Copt eventually ended in tragedy late last year, when the woman, who had ‘converted’ to Christianity, was killed by members of her family.
Many parts of the story seem inexplicable: how a romance between a Muslim woman and a Christian man could end in marriage in a country where Sharia makes this legally impossible; and how a mother could pay with her life for being with a Christian, while her killers remain at large. There appears to be a pattern of collective punishment, favouring the strong against the weak. It’s a sectarian twist to a notoriously familiar ‘honour-killing’ scenario plaguing many Islamic cultures.
It all began in 2013, when a romance started between Marwa Mohamed, 26, and her Coptic neighbour, Karim Eid, 27, in the town of Tamia, 87 km southwest of Cairo.
The Muslim mother of two (Sahar, eight, and Omar, six), used to frequent a nearby Christian jeweller’s shop where Eid was working.
“The frequent visits by Marwa to meet Karim at the shop gave reason for Karim’s employer to dismiss him,” explained George Fahmi, a relative of Eid and a resident of their home town of Tamia.
“During the summer of 2013, the couple made it secretly out of Tamia to Alexandria [280 km away].”
Marwa’s desperate family tried unsuccessfully to locate her. Their attempts included storming the local St. George church and the priest’s home, according to Fahmi.
Unable to bear the shame of his daughter’s elopement with a Christian, Marwa’s father, together with her mother and siblings, left Tamia for Cairo, where he earned a meagre living as a concierge.
During this time, according to Fahmi, Mohamed converted to Christianity (a ‘conversion’ not backed by official papers), and lived with Eid in Alexandria for nearly 30 months, during which time she became pregnant and they had the baby aborted.
‘Honour’ killing with religion twist
On 6 November last year, Eid took Marwa back to see his family in Tamia. Sahar, Marwa’s daughter from her previous husband is said to have spotted her mother. Eid might have thought Marwa’s now quite changed appearance, with Western clothes and without a headscarf, would mask her identity.
Word spread quickly, and as male guardians of the family’s honour – in absence of her father in Cairo – Marwa’s cousins took it upon themselves to storm Eid’s home, where they assaulted his mother and forcibly took Marwa away to her parents in the capital. Eid was not in at the time.
Another uncomfortable fact is that Eid then escaped for his life. For, following constant taunting by the community, the incensed relatives retrieved Marwa from her parents’ Cairo home back to Tamia, where she was killed.
“Marwa stayed in hiding with us for 10 days until her uncle and his two sons found her in my house,” recalled Ahmed Mohamed, Marwa’s father. “They took us all back to Tamia, where they abused us. Early on Wednesday, 18 November, they killed her in front of me, and her mother and sister.”
Marwa’s younger sister was made to slit her older sister throat, “as a way to deter her from following in her footsteps”, Egyptian media quoted sources as saying. Another version of the story said, however, that Marwa was strangled.
After the body was dumped near a cemetery, Marwa’s parents reported her uncle and their nephews to the police for murdering their daughter. But these men are still at large and no charges have been filed against them. (Egyptian courts are known to look with leniency upon perpetrators of ‘honour’ killings, especially when a convert is involved.)
A conciliatory meeting was convened between the Muslim woman’s clan and Eid’s family. In the presence of the local priest and under the auspices of high-ranking security officials, “it was agreed that the Christian family would sell their homes and leave the town for good, and never set foot therein”, sources told Egyptian media.
Ten days were given for Eid’s immediate family to relocate from their hometown, in order to “avert a sectarian incident”.
“Whenever one party is a Christian, such extrajudicial measures are resorted to,” said human rights activist Adel Shafiq. “Christian families are forced to relocate. The weaker side bears the brunt.”
Read more: Egypt — A timeline of ‘forced relocations’ of Copts
“In scores of incidents, Christian properties were attacked. Often Copts, related to the incident merely by religious association, have been victimised. Offenders are seldom brought to justice,” added Mina Milad, a lawyer and member of the Egyptian Union of Human Rights Organisation.
“When the romance is the other way round, i.e. a Christian woman converting to Islam for the sake of a Muslim lover, or to escape family pressures, the state deals with it very differently. In this case, the conversion is made legal and paperwork is expedited, even in cases of underage girls,” journalist Nader Shokri wrote on the website, Copts United.
While these issues are not new, one Muslim journalist bemoaned the trend.
“Apparently ISIS is a mentality which puts the knife to the neck of this country,” said Ali Aweiss, suggesting many ordinary Muslims might think or behave in ways not so different from the jihadist movement whose theologically-justified atrocities have made headlines around the world.
“Two lines into the heart-wrenching story of Marwa, one reads right next to it, ‘German family openly convert to Islam’… with a picture showing a man, his wife and two children, mother and daughter clad almost totally in black,” added Aweiss, writing for the Egyptian news site, Misr Times.
“I wonder, would this [German] family be equally hunted down by their relatives and their whole community back home for having departed from their religion of birth?”
VOP Note: Please pray for our brothers and sisters who have converted from Islam. We are in touch with converts in Egypt and it is a hard life for them. But they are not willing to turn back after finding their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. They have been filled with so much joy, they are sharing the Gospel and starting ‘churches’. Oh Father, protect these dear ones. Guide them with wisdom and without fear to be fruitful in Your Kingdom purposes and will. In Jesus holy name, we pray.
Muslim Soldiers Killing Christian Soldiers in Egypt
On Sunday, August 23, a Coptic Christian soldier was killed in his army unit in Egypt. Baha Saeed Karam, 22, was found shot dead with four bullet wounds at the headquarters of his battalion in Marsa Matruh. Although transferred to a hospital in Alexandria, he was pronounced dead upon arrival.
According to Baha’s brother, Cyril, the Coptic soldier had recently told him that he had gotten into arguments with other Muslim soldiers in his unit and that one had threatened him with death.
Baha is certainly not the first Coptic Christian serving in his country’s military to be killed over his religious identity.
Two months earlier, on June 24, the only Christian in his army unit was found shot dead in a chair at the office of the military base he was stationed. Baha Gamal Mikhail Silvanus, a 23-year-old conscript, had two gunshot wounds and a gun at his feet. Relatives who later saw the body said he also had wounds atop his head, as if he had been bludgeoned with an object.
The military’s official position was that the Copt committed suicide—despite the fact that suicides are rarely able to shoot themselves twice or first hit themselves atop the head with blunt objects. Moreover, according to Rev. Mikhial Shenouda, who knew the deceased, “A person who commits suicide is a disappointed and desperate person, but Baha was in very good spirits. He was smiling always. He was keeping the word of God,” and planning on entering the monastic life after his military service.
A friend of the deceased Christian said that Silvanus had confided to him that he was regularly pressured by other soldiers in his unit to convert to Islam: “He told me that the persecution of the fanatical Muslim conscripts in the battalion against him had increased … and that they would kill him if he wouldn’t convert to Islam.”
On August 31, 2013, another Copt in the armed services, Abu al-Khair Atta, was killed in his unit by an “extremist officer” for “refusing to convert to Islam.” Again, the interior ministry informed the slain Copt’s family that he had committed suicide.
However, Abu al-Khair’s father, citing eyewitnesses who spoke to him, said that “one of the radical, fanatical officers pressured and threatened him on more than one occasion to convert to Islam. Abu al-Khair resisted the threats, which vexed the officer more.”
Then there was 20-year-old Guirgus Rizq Yusif al-Maqar, who died on September 18, 2006. Without notifying him why, the armed forces summoned his handicapped father to the station in Asyut. After making the arduous journey, he was verbally mistreated by some officers and then bluntly told, “Go take your son’s corpse from the refrigerator!” The father “collapsed from the horror of the news.”
Officials claimed the youth died of a sudden drop in blood pressure. Later, however, while family members were washing Guirgus’ body, they discovered wounds on his shoulders and a large black swelling around his testicles.
Assuming these were products of injuries incurred during harsh training, his family proceeded to bury him. Later, however, a colleague of the deceased told them that Guirgus was regularly insulted, humiliated, and beaten—including on his testicles—simply because he was Christian. The dead youth’s family implored authorities to exhume Guirgus’ body for a forensic examination but was denied.
And on August 2006, the mutilated and drowned body of another Copt serving in the Egyptian military, Hani Seraphim, was found. Earlier he had confided to his family that he was being insulted and abused for being a Christian by his commander, both in public and in private.
According to MCN, “His unit commander ordered him to renounce Christianity and join the ranks of Islam.” The Coptic youth refused, warning his Muslim commander: “I will notify military intelligence about this,” to which his superior replied, “Okay, Hani; soon I will settle my account with you.”
His body was later found floating in the Nile covered with signs of torture.
It should come as no surprise that some Muslim soldiers insist that the men fighting alongside them be Muslims as well. “Infidels” are seen as untrustworthy fifth columns (hence why Islamic law holds that non-Muslim subjects, or dhimmis, are forbidden from owning weapons). In Islam, allegiance belongs to the Umma—the abstract “Muslim world” that transcends racial, linguistic, and territorial borders—and not to any particular Muslim nation.
Thus it may seem reasonable for all Egyptian citizens—Muslims and Christians alike—to serve in their nation’s military. But for Muslims who equate “war” with “jihad,” having non-Muslims fighting alongside them is unacceptable—hence the aforementioned anecdotes of pressure on Christian soldiers to convert to Islam.
Nor is this sort of thinking limited to Egypt. In Kuwait, no one can become a citizen without first converting to Islam, and indigenous Kuwaitis who openly leave Islam lose their citizenship. In nations as diverse as Iran and Sudan, prominent church leaders are regularly persecuted, some put on death row, on the accusation that, because they are not Muslim, they must be treasonous agitators working for the West (which, in the popular Muslim mind, continues to be conflated with Christianity).
Finally, all these modern day slayings of Christian soldiers who refuse to convert to Islam thoroughly contradict the historic narrative being peddled by Mideast academics in America. Put differently, the present sheds light on the past.
In an attempt to whitewash the meaning of jizya—the extortion money non-Muslims redeemed their lives with—Georgetown University’s John Esposito writes that jizya was actually paid to “exempt them [non-Muslims] from military service.” Similarly, Sohaib Sultan, Princeton University’s Muslim chaplain, asserts that jizya was merely “an exemption tax in lieu of military service.”
Such assertions are absurd: Muslim overlords never wanted their conquered and despised “infidel” subjects to fight alongside them in the name of jihad—holy war against infidels, such as the conquered subjects themselves—without first converting to Islam.
That’s how it was in the past, and, increasingly, the way it is in the present.
Raymond Ibrahim is a Middle East and Islam specialist and author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). His writings have appeared in a variety of media, including the Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst, Middle East Quarterly, World Almanac of Islamism, and Chronicle of Higher Education; he has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS, Reuters, Al-Jazeera, NPR, Blaze TV, and CBN. Ibrahim regularly speaks publicly, briefs governmental agencies, provides expert testimony for Islam-related lawsuits, and testifies before Congress. He is a Shillman Fellow, David Horowitz Freedom Center; a CBN News contributor; a Media Fellow, Hoover Institution (2013); and a Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow, Middle East Forum . Ibrahim’s dual-background — born and raised in the U.S. by Coptic Egyptian parents born and raised in the Middle East — has provided him with unique advantages, from equal fluency in English and Arabic, to an equal understanding of the Western and Middle Eastern mindsets, positioning him to explain the latter to the former.
Egypt ‘Christians Expecting Death Any Time’
(CBN)Egyptian government may no longer be in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood, but the country’s Christian population still faces death and violence in their daily lives.
‘They Are Slaughtering Us Like Chickens’: Muslim Persecution of Christians, December 2013
As happens at Christmas every year throughout the Muslim world, Christians and their churches were especially targeted—from jihadi terror strikes killing worshippers, to measures by Muslim authorities restricting Christmas celebrations. Some incidents follow:
Iraq: “Militants” reported the Associated Press, “targeted Christians in three separate Christmas Day bombings in Baghdad, killing at least 37 people, officials said Wednesday. In one attack, a car bomb went off near a church in the capital’s southern Dora neighborhood, killing at least 26 people and wounding 38, a police officer said. Earlier, two bombs ripped through a nearby outdoor market simultaneously in the Christian section of Athorien, killing 11 people and wounding 21.”
Iran: Five Muslim converts to Christianity were arrested from a house-church during a Christmas celebration. Plain clothes Iranian security authorities raided a house where, according to Mohabat News, “a group of Christians had gathered to celebrate Christmas on Tuesday, December 24.” Before arresting the five apostates, authorities “insulted and searched those in attendance, and seized all Christian books, CDs, and laptops they found. They also took the Satellite TV receiver.” The original report received by Mohabat stated: “These Christians had gathered to worship and celebrate [the] birth of Jesus.”
Indonesia: Muslims in the Aceh province protested against Christmas and New Year celebrationsand called on authorities to ban them. Days earlier, an influential Islamic cleric organization, the Ulema Consultative Assembly, issued a fatwa, or edict, “prohibiting Muslims from offering Christmas wishes or celebrating on New Year’s Eve,” said the Associated Press. Aceh is the “only province in predominantly Muslim Indonesia that is allowed to implement a version of Islamic Shariah law.”
Kenya: “Youths,” reported Reuters, “threw petrol bombs at two Kenyan churches on Christmas day … in the latest bout of violence against Christians on the country’s predominantly Muslim coast.” The attacks occurred “in the early hours of December 25 after churchgoers held services to usher in Christmas.” The churches were located in Muslim-majority regions. One church was “completely destroyed.”
Somalia: The more “moderate” government—as it is often portrayed in comparison to Al Shabaab (“The Youth”) opposition—banned Christmas celebrations. Hours before Christmas Day, the Ministry of Justice and Religious Affairs released a directive banning any Christian festivities from being held in the east African nation. In the words of one ministry official: “We alert fellow Muslims in Somalia that some festivities to mark Christian Days will take place around the world in this week. It is prohibited to celebrate those days in this country.” All security and law enforcement agencies were instructed to quash any Christian celebrations.
Pakistan: During Christmas Eve services, “Heavy contingents of police were deployed around the churches to thwart any untoward incident.” In some regions, “prayer service at major churches focused on remembering the Pakistani Christians who lost their lives in terror attacks.” For example, three months earlier, Islamic suicide bombers entered the All Saints Church compound in Peshawar following Sunday mass and blew themselves up in the midst of some 550 congregants, killing some 130 worshippers, including many Sunday school children, women, and choir members, and injuring nearly 200 people.
Even in Western nations like Denmark, Christmas Eve witnessed Islamic demonstrations and cries of “Allahu Akbar” (or “Allah is greater”).
Also in December, Syria’s Greek-Catholic Church declared that it had three “true martyrs”—men from the small town of Ma’loula, an ancient Christian site where the inhabitants still spoke the language of Christ. According to Asia News, “When the town fell [in Sep
tember, to al-Qaeda linked rebels], a climate of fear was imposed… When three men refused to repudiate their religion, they were summarily executed in public, and six more were taken hostage. This was followed by a failed attempt by Syrian government forces to retake the town.” In the words of Patriarch Gregorios III to Pope Francis in a meeting: “Holy Father, they are true martyrs. Ordered to give up their faith, they proudly refused. Three others however gave in and were forced to declare themselves Muslim, but later returned to the faith of their ancestors.” According to the families who fled from Ma’loula, “some of their Muslim neighbors took part in the attack that devastated this historic village where people still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus. Muslims are approximately one third of the population of the village…”
The rest of December’s roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed by theme and country in alphabetical order, not necessarily according to severity.
Islamic Attacks on Christian Places of Worship
Egypt: After a Coptic Christian priest from the village of Tarshoub, Upper Egypt, left to service a new location and a new priest was sent to Tarshoub, Muslim Brotherhood supporters rioted and attacked the village Christians, including by throwing stones at their homes, burning property, and calling for the closure of the village church, which has been in existence for 40 years. The church was subsequently closed and the priest prevented from entering the village. The Christian Post reported that Christian villagers were “getting close to the New Year celebrations and Christmas, and yet they are not able to open the church…. security authorities have not arrested the aggressors, while Copts were forced to close the church for fear of more attacks, especially in light of continued incitement by the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Indonesia: Five more churches were closed by authorities, leaving thousands of Christians without a place of worship. First, claiming that the existence of a Protestant church in North Sumatra was illegal, hundreds of Muslims belonging to the Islamic Defenders Front attacked and disrupted its Sunday services, creating so much havoc that police had to escort Christians home. Then, two new churches—one in West Java, the other in South Sulawesi—were sealed off. The Sulawesi church was subsequently demolished by authorities. A few days later, two more churches near Jakarta were forced to stop holding services. According to International Christian Concern, “The reason behind this month’s rash of church closures, especially after seven months of relative quiet, is not exactly clear. It may be that the coming Christmas holiday has ignited always simmering anti-Christian sentiment among radical groups. In 2000, 16 were killed by bomb attacks on churches over the Christmas holiday.”
Russia: In December it was revealed that seven Christian churches were torched in 2013 in a Muslim-majority republic in Russia, according to Asia News: “Churches burned, attacks foiled and increased pressure on Christians to convert to Islam. In Tatarstan—autonomous republic of the Russian Federation, with a Muslim majority—the extremism alarm is increasing.” Although the culprits setting fire to churches are “unidentified extremists,” Father Dmitri Sizov, pastor of Pestrechinsky, said that “the whole community knows that it is the work of the Wahhabis [Islamic literalists]” who “roam, inviting the faithful to convert to Islam.” But “the priests remain silent because they are afraid of being accused of incitement to religious hatred,” added Fr. Dmitri.
Syria: Islamic rebel forces fired multiple mortar shells on a church in the southern province of Daraa, killing 12 people and injuring many others, including church volunteers who were there distributing charity aid to the locals. Separately, five young children were killed when rebels fired two rockets at a Christian school. According to the Patriarch of the Church of Antioch, more than 450,000 Christian Syrians have been displaced from the conflict, and more than a thousand have been killed.
Islamic Attacks on Christian Freedom: Apostasy, Proselytism, and Dhimmitude
Cameroon: David Dina Mataware, a Christian missionary, was slaughtered by neighboring Nigeria’s Islamic group Boko Haram. On the same day and in the same area that the missionary’s murder took place, a French priest, Father Georges Vandenbeusch, was also kidnapped. The slain missionary, whose throat was slit, had worked in a Nigeria-based mission agency in Cameroon for some fourteen years, bringing the Gospel to remote tribes.
Egypt: “The nation’s most well-known convert from Islam” to Christianity was arrested, including for allegedly inciting “sectarian strife,” and “is likely being tortured,” reported Morning News. Bishoy Armia Boulous, 31—popularly known by his former Muslim name, Muhammad Hegazy—was arrested while in a café. Authorities claim that he was working with a Coptic satellite station to create a “false image” of violence against Christians in Minya, Upper Egypt, where attack on Copts are most common. However, human rights activists close to Bishoy say “his arrest had nothing to do with any reporting work but constituted retaliation for becoming a Christian” and possibly for evangelizing to Muslims.
Iran: While raiding their home, the Islamic republic’s feared secret police assaulted the wife and children of jailed evangelical Pastor Behnam Irani. According to a source assisting the family with advocacy, “They confiscated her laptop computer and Christian materials… While the secret police were in her home they were yelling at her and doing their best to scare her. This really frightened the children, Rebekah and Adriel” and was apparently meant to create enough “fear to silence them.” The raid came after the imprisoned evangelical leader—and former Muslim—was told by a court to remain behind bars because he “did not change.”
Syria: The anti-Christian strictures of Sharia, or Islamic law, continued to be applied onto Christians by Islamic rebels. According to Agenzia Fides, “Kanaye [a Christian region] has been invaded by Islamist militants that terrorize the population, threaten a massacre and have imposed the Islamic law… This has become a pattern that repeats itself and that in recent weeks has focused on a number of Christian villages: armed guerrillas penetrate into the village, terrorize civilians, commit kidnappings, kill, sow destruction.” Father George Louis of the village of Qara, which has been devastated and burned, explained: Maalula [the aforementioned Ma’loula], Sednaya, Sadad, Qara and Deir Atieh, Nebek: armed jihadists target a village, they invade it, kill people, burn and devastate it.”
Turkmenistan: Police and Secret Service agents in Dashoguz, a northern city, raided a group of believers of the Church of the Light of the East, a Protestant community. Forces raided two houses of prayer, seizing religious materials, including Bibles. An official of the Department of Religious Affairs, who is also an imam at the local mosque, went on to inform the pastor that his faith “is wrong” and warned him to convert to Islam, adding “Christianity is a mistake … it’s not a religion, but a myth.” Moreover, Christians practicing hymns for Sunday service were told by officers that “the songs of praise to God are banned here.” Adds Asia News: “Meanwhile, an increasing number of people are being incarcerated for crimes of opinion and defense of religious freedom.”
Carnage of Christians
Central African Republic: In just two days of violence, at least 1,000 people were killed in Bangui, CAR’s capital, following the chaos that has engulfed the nation after Seleka, a coalition of Muslim militia, whose members include many foreigners, ousted the Christian president—the nation is Christian-majority with a significant Muslim-minority—and installed a Muslim ruler. Because some Christians tried to resist with violence, killing some 60 Muslim males in combat, the Islamic group “retaliated on a larger scale against Christians in the wake of the attack, killing nearly 1,000 men over a two-day period and systematically looting civilian homes. A small number of women and children were also killed,” reported Amnesty. Tens of thousands of Christians fled from machete-wielding Muslims, many now living in desperate conditions around churches and bishoprics. “They are slaughtering us like chickens,” said one Christian. “We have had enough of Seleka killing, raping and stealing,” said another, adding that he was not sure whether he could ever go back and live among Muslims. “We are angry,” he said. “The Muslims should go back where they came from.”
Nigeria: Islamic Fulani herdsmen killed at least 205 Christian farmers in the latter half of 2013, while ten thousand more Christians were displaced and many of their churches destroyed or closed. As for motive, Christian leaders, “had no doubt the Muslim assailants aimed to demoralize and destroy Christians,” said Morning Star News. Several of the attackers appear to be mercenaries from outside the area, explaining how the Fulani farmers became so heavily armed. “Life has become unbearable for our church members who have survived these attacks, and they are making worship services impossible,” said a Roman Catholic bishop. Another area Christian leader said that “Many of our Christian brethren have been killed. The Muslim gunmen that are attacking our Christian communities are numerous; they are so many that we can’t count them. They are spread across all the communities and unleashing terror on our people without any security resistance.”
About this Series
The persecution of Christians in the Islamic world is on its way to reaching pandemic proportions. Accordingly, “Muslim Persecution of Christians” was developed to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that surface each month. It serves two purposes:
1) To document that which the mainstream media does not: the habitual, if not chronic, persecution of Christians.
2) To show that such persecution is not “random,” but systematic and interrelated—that it is rooted in a worldview inspired by Sharia.
Accordingly, whatever the anecdote of persecution, it typically fits under a specific theme, including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam; apostasy and blasphemy laws that criminalize and punish with death those who “offend” Islam; theft and plunder in lieu of jizya (financial tribute expected from non-Muslims); overall expectations for Christians to behave like cowed dhimmis, or second-class, “tolerated” citizens; and simple violence and murder. Sometimes it is a combination.
Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and locales—from Morocco in the West, to India in the East—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.