Muslim Persecution of Christians: July 2012

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and a CBN News contributor. He is the author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). 


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Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.

Several reports appearing in July indicate that Christian minorities all around the Muslim world—especially women and children—are being abducted, tortured, raped, forced to convert to Islam, and/or enslaved.

In Egypt, at least 550 such cases have been documented in the last five years, and have only increased since the revolution. Christians who manage to escape back to their families often find the government siding with their Muslim abductors. One young mother who recently testified before the Helsinki Commission explained how she was snatched in broad daylight, as her abductor shouted to bystanders while dragging her to a waiting taxi, “No one interfere! She is an enemy of Islam.”

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

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

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

Church Attacks

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apostasy and Blasphemy

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

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

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

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

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  • http://www.facebook.com/blossom.kelley.9 Blossom Kelley

    There are two ways to be fooled:
    One is to believe what isn’t true;
    The other is to refuse to accept what is true
    Soren Kierkegaard

  • Chezwick

    This article should go out to family and friends under the banner "Islam is peace"????

    The gist of it is, these aren't depredations caused by terrorists…or even corrupt governments (although the governments in question typically look the other way). No, the culprits are almost always neighbors in the community, typical Muslims. The persecution is systematic and mainstream. It is Islam in practice.

    In America, the MSM conscientiously blacks out coverage of such daily intolerance…and yet, bacon being left out for park animals near a Muslim festival in New York causes a sensation that receives coverage by almost every MSM outlet. One has to ask the question, why the double standard?

    The only credible answer: To build a narrative, that Muslims are victims, not perpetrators, and that hence, Islam is benign, not dangerous……all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.

  • Sunbeam

    One wonders when all these atrocities and genocide will stop. It's been far too long these victims have suffered in the hands of the perpetrators. There seems to be no rescue from anyone – just let them die; can't be bothered attitude. No mercy help, no compassion. The world is silent. Not even 1 politician stood up to say anything. In contrast, if this were to happen to a Muslim minority in a non Muslim country, all the Muslim will stood up and caused an uproar. It's time we non Muslim should be united just as they were. It has to start somewhere to get things moving. What is the Vatican doing? Why is it keeping itself mum over this grave matter?

  • Wesley69

    And there is not a new Islamic war going on????? Chirstians across the Islamic world are threatened as never before in Modern times. Radical Islam has given way to total intolerance. Chiristians and Jews are viewed as the infidel and their deaths are pleasing to Allah. And what is the West saying about all this?????? Nothing. And the Islamists are smart – using Western freedoms to protect their own enclaves within Western countries. They use those freedoms to inluence the create of laws favorable to them. And Obama is perfectly alright with this.

  • Wesley69

    Here is an amendment that I feel may need to be added to our Constitution in order to insure religious liberty for all of us and to stop the spread, specifically, of Sharia Law.

    AMENDMENT 1 RESTRICTIONS ON RELIGIOUS PRACTICES & LAW

    *While all citizens enjoy freedom of religious preference within this country or its territories, and individuals have a right to ground their offspring in the tenets of a particular religion, practices forbidden are those which:
    1) coerce belief in individuals by the use of force;
    2) indoctrinate minors using public funds in the tenets of a religion for purposes of conversion;
    3) use religious law to physically, mentally or monetarily harm an individual;
    4) are in conflict with a citizen's rights under the Constitution & its Amendments.

    *Nor shall the practices or beliefs of a religious group:
    1) serve as the basis for local, state and federal laws, and how it is adjudicated in courts of any jurisdiction;
    2) be imposed on the citizens of any municipality or state;
    3) be imposed upon any business concern;
    4) seek to overthrow by subversion or insurrection governmental institutions.

    • goemon

      I would go further and add that it is okay to own a Koran and read it, but to believe it would be considered a mental illness punishable by life in an asylum.

  • Wesley69

    *While religious courts are permitted, their authority is limited to doctrinal, ceremonial, organizational duties for which they have been established.

    *Religious institutions or congregations may, for purposes of membership, require that certain religious tenets and other obligations be observed. However, the usage of physical punishments for violations of such tenets is forbidden.

    *Expulsion from a religious organization or congregation does not constitute mental injury to an individual.

  • Sandry

    thank you Mr Raymond Ibrahim for consistently and comprehensively cataloguing the TRUTH about Christian persecution in Muslim world. yours is an invaluable service, and I can only pray that it eventually finds its way to the right people.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Adherents to the Koran should be declared enemies of mankind and if found in America deported
    back to the sand flea hell holes they came from………………Obama brought them here and
    as the pied piper of anti-Americanism he should retire to a desert in Iran………………….William

  • http://www.facebook.com/BreNelEntGroup Nelson Hernandez

    What does the bible say? "You reap what you sow?" It's amazing how for many centuries Christians have ridden out on their pompous mission to "save" and "convert" the world. Look at your own Christian history, even till this day.

    Christians murdering others in a convert or die crusade.
    Racism and slavery promoted because a 2000 yr old book says that the Curse of Ham was for blacks to be slaves
    Priests and Pastors (yes Evangelicals, you are not exempt), molesting and raping our youth.
    Salem witch trials
    etc. and etc.

    Although in "modern times" Christians are more subtle or rather less violent than their past actions, they still hold the same bigotries and biased thoughts as their Muslim counter parts. I at least can appreciate the in your face approach. You Christians crack me up! I don't condone the murder/rap/genocide of anyone and I do think what is going on is horrible. But you guys kind of asked for it. You mission into other peoples lands and homes to try and tell them that their whole way of life is incorrect. If they resist and kick you out. Well then you just sneak in and preach anyway. Then you wonder why they do not like you?

    The Islamic word is steeped in their beliefs. More so than today's Christians. They live in an actual theology, which hasn't happened with Judeo-Christianity in centuries.

    Look at how much Christians in America protest to other beliefs and religions. Yet you are shocked by others response to you? The arrogance. Pure hypocrites.

    Christians…your roosters have come home to roost. Thank you for bringing the rest of us into your dirty little faith war.

    P.S. Funny. Islam as a religion is growing vs Christian faith. Allah is winning against Christian God. Be warned.

    • God Loves You

      Hi Nelson, when you look at Christian violence in history, you will find that majority of it, and the things you mentioned, where caused by Catholics. You might think, "oh well, they're all the same", but in reality Catholics are quite different. A true Christian is meant to abide by the Bible, and learn to be a loving, non-hypocritical person. On the other hand, Catholics are very much influenced by the Pope and the Vatican; you see, the medieval crusades, and persecution of PROTESTANT CHRISTIANS, were all done by Catholics. The Vatican has created many rules for Catholics/Christians, which don't abide by the scripture of the Holy Bible, and hold many traditions and rituals which are really pagan in essence. The historical power of the Pope was huge in the medieval times(even now), and the title was basically as powerful a the king, if not more. Many Popes have been corrupt and power hungry, often relatives of kings. It is easy to see that the Pope's power and influence over the Catholic religion combined with their historical corruptness could easily create incorrect changes in doctrines and beliefs in Catholics/Christians, for a variety of reasons, i.e., money, power. The repercussions of this are the breaking away of the coptics, the orthodox church, church of England and Protestants.
      Don't get me wrong, I don't have anything against Catholics personally, but do you understand that the violence wasn't caused by true Christians and Christian belief?
      The molesting probably comes from Catholic priest's compulsory abstinence, which isn't condoned at all in the bible.
      I'm not an American, so i'm not so familiar with the promotion of slavery and racism; but it sounds to me more like Southern American rednecks trying to find excuses and reasons to enslave blacks. It seems more like ignorance, arrogance and greed to me. Just like how the Australian Aborigines were treated like animals by the Europeans, more or less white supremacy. I'm not so familiar with the salem witch trials either, but witches aren't really mentioned, at least not in the way we imagine them, in the bible. It mostly talks about witchcraft as being bad (which ironically is being practiced more and more these days). Taking religion out of that picture, it probably still would've happened because of the human weaknesses of paranoia, ignorance, even hatred. Plus witch hunts have been practiced since antiquity, with or without Christianity. These are more historical events of human ignorance.
      Have you ever met a TRUE Christian? We are Christian because we feel love and happiness from the lord, and we feel it is our duty to share this beauty with others. If you found something wonderful, would you not find it necessary to share it with family, and, everyone else you knew? The lord is meant to fill the void in your heart, and you can only fill it if you are genuinely willing to feel and accept it. I'm sorry if there was a Christian who came to your home and told you your whole way of life was incorrect, but do you not agree that everyone has flaws? In this modern day and age, when religion has been abandoned, can you not see morals and ethics being lost around you? Sexual immorality, violence, untruthfulness, drunkenness, disrespect towards others and even parents, and so many other things have become the norm, even venerated as 'cool'. And all these things are practiced for what? A temporary high, which leaves you more depressed and void then you were before. I hope you will take what I have said with an open heart, and the right intention, and think about it in relationship to yourself. Do you feel sad, or empty, or like there's no direction in your life? Jesus is the answer.

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