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The following article was originally published by the Gatestone Institute.
The war on Christianity and its adherents rages on in the Muslim world. In March alone, Saudi Arabia’s highest Islamic law authority decreed that churches in the region must be destroyed; jihadis in Nigeria said they “are going to put into action new efforts to strike fear into the Christians of the power of Islam by kidnapping their women”; American teachers in the Middle East were murdered for being or talking about Christianity; churches were banned or bombed, and nuns terrorized by knife-wielding Muslim mobs. Christians continue to be attacked, arrested, imprisoned, and killed for allegedly “blaspheming” Islam’s prophet Muhammad; former Muslims continue to be attacked, arrested, imprisoned, and killed for converting to Christianity.
To understand why all this persecution is virtually unknown in the West, consider the mainstream media’s well-documented biases: also in March alone, the New York Times ran a virulently anti-Catholic ad, but refused to publish a near identical ad directed at Islam; the BBC admitted it will mock Jesus but never Muhammad; and U.S. sitcoms were exposed for bashing Christianity, but never Islam.
Is it any wonder, then, that this same mainstream media ignores or at best whitewashes the nonstop persecution of Christians under Islam? Exposing such ugly truths would undermine their narrative of Islam as the “religion of peace.”
Categorized by theme, March’s batch 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:
Apostasy, Blasphemy, and Proselytism: Death and Prison
Egypt: A Christian man accused of insulting Islam’s prophet Muhammad was sentenced to six years in prison. Though “defamation of religion” is a misdemeanor under Egyptian law, punishable by a prison sentence of one month to three years, the judge doubled the sentence to appease Muslims, including an angry 2,500-strong mob that terrorized the courtroom, demanding death for the Christian. Likewise, an “anti-Christianization course” by an organization that is “specializing in the resistance to Christianity”—so Muslims are not “throw[n] under the feet of the Cross”—was initiated; according to an instructor, “Reoccurring attempts at the university in Aswan to convert Muslims to Christianity or provoke them with misleading information was the drive behind the course.”
India: A young woman was attacked and kicked out of her home “for daring to give thanks for healing in Christ’s name” in a predominantly Muslim village; “her parents helped Islamic extremists to beat her nearly unconscious.” In a village where “hard-line Muslims have threatened to kill the 25 families who initially showed interest in Christ, leaving only five frightened Christian families,” the woman was attacked when returning from church, called “pagan, among other verbal abuse.” The mob also harassed and threatened the Christian woman who “lured” her to convert to Christianity.
Iran: In a rare crackdown on a concentrated area, authorities arrested 12 more converts to Christianity living in Isfahan, the country’s third largest city, in what is seen as a tactic to discourage Muslims from attending official churches. Among the latest known Christian converts detained in the Isfahan area is a man who was reportedly taken into custody on March 2 while returning home from his work: “Security authorities raided his home and seized him without explanation.”
Iraq: An American teacher was shot to death by an 18-year-old student at a private Christian academy. He “was a devout Christian who frequently praised Christianity and prayed in the classroom, and his friends in Washington said his evangelism is what motivated him to teach in Iraq.” According to students, “Mr. Jeremiah’s hands were still folded in prayer when he fell”; others say a day before the shooting “a heated discussion” broke out “during which the pupil threatened to kill the teacher because of conflicting religious views.” In an interview, the father of the pupil condemned Christian evangelists, portraying them as “more dangerous than al-Qaeda.”
Malaysia: After religious police raided a Methodist church event due to “fears that Muslims were being converted,” Muslim officials created a seminar called “Strengthening the faith, the dangers of liberalism and pluralism and the threat of Christianity towards Muslims.” Due to criticism of the title, a lawmaker said the reference to Christianity would be removed, but the seminar’s content would remain unchanged: “The seminar is part of the right of Muslims to defend the faith of its practitioners from any action which may lead to apostasy. It is our responsibility.”
Pakistan: A Muslim mob attacked a 60-year-old Christian woman who had converted to Islam, only to reconvert back to Christianity six months later: she “was tortured—her head shaved—and paraded through the streets, garlanded with shoes.” Soon after, she received more threats of “dire consequences” from Islamic clerics, fleeing the region with her family. Likewise, a 26-year-old Christian woman, mother to a five-month-old girl, was falsely accused of “blaspheming” Muhammad and arrested. A few days prior, some of her relatives who converted to Islam pressured her also to do likewise: “She refused, telling them that she was satisfied with Christianity and did not want to convert,” and was arrested of blasphemy soon thereafter.
Yemen: Al-Qaeda gunmen fatally shot an American teacher. The terror network’s affiliate in Yemen issued a message saying, “This operation comes as a response to the campaign of Christian proselytizing that the West has launched against Muslims,” calling the teacher “one of the biggest American proselytizers.” He was shot eight times on a Sunday.
Bethlehem: One week after the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority told an audience of Evangelicals that his government respected the rights of its Christian minorities, the PA declared a Baptist Church illegal, adding that birth, wedding, and death certificates from the church are no longer valid. A pastor notes that “animosity towards the Christian minority in areas controlled by the PA continues to get increasingly worse. People are always telling [Christians], ‘Convert to Islam. Convert to Islam. It’s the true and right religion.’”
Egypt: Some 1500 Muslims—several armed with swords and knives and shouting Islamic slogans—terrorized the Notre Dame Language School in Upper Egypt, in response to calls from local mosques falsely claiming the private school was building a church: “Two nuns were besieged in the school’s guesthouse for some eight hours by a murderous mob threatening to burn them alive”; one nun suffered a “major nervous breakdown requiring hospitalization… The entire property was ransacked and looted. The next day the Muslims returned and terrorized the children. Consequently, school attendance has dropped by at least one third.”
Iran: The Armenian Evangelical Church in Tehran is the latest church to be ordered to cease holding Persian service on Fridays. The officers serving the notice threatened church officials, saying that “if the order is ignored, the church building will be bombed ‘as happens in Iraq every day.’” As another report summarizes, “Christians and Churches in the Islamic Republic of Iran are now banned from preaching the Gospel to non-Christians, holding Persian language services, teaching and distributing the Bible, or holding Christian classes.”
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