Christmas Holiday, Islamic Horror

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). 


main_holysep_600x300As Christians in the West go to church and worship during this Christmas season, it is well to reflect on how these two simple acts—going to church to worship—can be life-threatening for Christians in the Islamic world, especially on Christmas.  Raymond Ibrahim, a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, has written extensively on the plight of Christians under Islam.  The following excerpt from his book, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (pgs. 42-45), provides a glimpse at the horrors and humiliations Christians throughout the Muslim world are exposed to whenever they try to meet and worship in church on Christmas and other Christian holidays.

Christians in the Islamic world today are suffering attacks motivated by the very same diabolical animus as a thousand years ago under Hakim [Egyptian caliph who ordered the destruction of reportedly 30,000 churches in the 10th –11th century].  Proof of this is that some of the most terrible assaults occur precisely on Christian holidays—Christmas, Easter, and New Year’s Eve (which is a major church day in the Middle East). And no wonder, considering that some Muslim clerics insist that “saying Merry Christmas is worse than fornication . . . or killing someone.”

After some fourteen centuries of church attacks and other persecution—punctuated by a brief Christian Golden Age—Egypt’s Copts began the new year in 2011 once again under assault, at one of their largest churches: during midnight Mass in the early hours of January 1, 2011, the Two Saints Coptic Church in Alexandria, crowded with hundreds of Christian worshippers, was bombed, leaving at least twenty-three dead and approximately a hundred injured. According to eyewitnesses, “body parts were strewn all over the street outside the church. The body parts were covered with newspapers until they were brought inside the church after some Muslims started stepping on them and chanting Jihadi chants,” including “Allahu Akbar!” Witnesses further attest that “security forces withdrew one hour before the church blast.” And a year earlier, Muslims shot and killed six Christians as they were leaving church after celebrating the Coptic Christmas Eve midnight Mass in Nag Hammadi.

December 25, 2011, was called Nigeria’s “blackest Christmas ever.”  In a number of coordinated jihadi operations, Reuters reported, Islamic terrorists bombed several churches during Christmas liturgies, killing at least thirty-eight people, “the majority dying on the steps of a Catholic church after celebrating Christmas Mass as blood pooled in dust from a massive explosion.” Charred bodies and dismembered limbs lay scattered around the destroyed church. This attack was simply a reenactment of Christmas Eve one year earlier, in 2010, when several other churches were set ablaze and Christians were attacked, also leaving nearly thirty-eight dead. There was no reprieve for Nigeria’s Christians when the next religious holiday came; some fifty Christians were killed “when explosives concealed in two cars went off near the Assemblies of God’s Church during Easter Sunday services” in April 2012 in a predominantly Muslim region. According to the pastor, “We were in the Holy Communion service and I was exhorting my people and all of a sudden, we heard a loud noise that shattered all our windows and doors.” December 25, 2012, saw a repeat of the last few Christmases: in two separate attacks, Islamic gunmen shot and killed twelve Christian worshippers who had gathered for Christmas Eve church services, including one church’s pastor.

The violence in Indonesia, which has the largest Muslim population in the world, was not so bloody, but Muslims’ hostility was equally clear.  In December 2012, more than two hundred Muslims threw rotten eggs at nearly one hundred Christians desiring to hold a Christmas Mass in empty land outside Jakarta, since their church, the Philadelphia Batak Protestant Church, had been illegally closed. A photographer saw angered Muslims—men, women wearing the hijab (the Muslim headscarf), and children—blocking the road and hurling rotten eggs at those attempting to worship. According to the Reverend Palti Panjaitan, the incident followed a Christmas Eve attack when “intolerant people” threw not only rotten eggs but also “plastic bags filled with urine and cow dung” at the Christians. “Everything had happened while police were there. They were just watching without doing anything to stop them from harming us.”

The attack was a repeat of what had happened several months earlier, during an Ascension Day church service in May 2012. Then some six hundred Muslims threw bags of urine, stones, and rotten eggs at the same congregation. The mob also threatened to kill the pastor. No arrests were made. The church had applied for a permit to construct its house of worship five years ago. But pressured by local Muslims, the local administration ordered the church to shut down in December 2009—though the Supreme Court recently overruled its decision, saying the church was eligible for the permit. Regardless, local Muslims and officials demand the church cease to exist.

In the Philippines, during Mass on Christmas Day 2010, a bomb exploded inside a packed Catholic church in the “Muslim-dominated” island of Jolo, injuring six worshippers including the priest. The bomb was planted by the al-Qaeda-linked Abu Sayyaf group, which according to the Daily Mail “has been blamed for several bomb attacks on the Roman Catholic cathedral in Jolo since the early 2000s and for kidnapping priests and nuns.”

While many more examples of church attacks on Christian holidays could be given, the four examples above demonstrate an important point. Egypt, Nigeria, Indonesia, and the Philippines have very little in common. These countries do not share the same language, race, or culture. What, then, do they have in common that explains this similar pattern of church attacks during Christian holy days? The answer is Islam. All four countries have large Muslim populations.

If Islamic jihadis target churches during Christian holidays, Islamic governments exploit the law to oppress Christian worship during those same holidays. For example, in December 2011 in Iran, several reports appeared indicating “a sharp increase of activities against Christians prior to Christmas by the State Security centers of the Islamic Republic.” Local churches were “ordered to cancel Christmas and New Year’s celebrations as a show of their compliance and support” for “the two-month-long mourning activities of the Shia’ Moslems” (activities which culminate with a bloody exhibition of self-mutilation and flagellation during Ashura). Two days before Christmas 2011, state security raided an Assemblies of God’s church. Most of those present, including Sunday school children, were arrested and interrogated. Hundreds of Christian books were seized. As one reporter put it, “Raids and detentions during the Christmas season are not uncommon in Iran, a Shi’a-majority country that is seen as one of the worst persecutors of religious minorities.”

Indeed, such oppression of Christians during Christmas is not uncommon throughout much of the Islamic world. In Iraq, some Muslim school teachers in Mosul’s elementary and high schools scheduled exams on December 25, 2012, forcing Christian students to attend school on Christmas Day and miss Christmas Mass, “even though authorities had identified the 25th of December as an official holiday for Christians.” In December 2011 in supposedly moderate Malaysia, priests and church youth leaders were required to obtain “caroling permits” by submitting their full names and identity card numbers at police stations—always a harrowing experience—simply to visit their fellow church members and sing carols like “Joy to the World” and “Silent Night.” In Pakistan in 2011, Christians lamented that “extreme power outages have become routine during Christmas and Easter seasons.” In Indonesia, December 2011, after “vandals” decapitated the statue of the Virgin Mary in a small grotto days before Christmas, the “embattled” church of GKI Bogor, another Christian church that local Muslims want eliminated, was forced to move its Christmas prayers to a member’s house after Islamic groups warned Christians not to meet at the site of the church.

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  • Chris Behme

    Our president has never said an unkind word about Islam, and indeed has aided and abetted Islamic jihad in many many ways. Yet he has not a word of outrage for the cleansing of non Muslims from majority Muslim countries. The head hackers, pillagers, looters, rapists, and torturers for allah, have nothing to fear from America; Obama is an ally. Islamic conquest has and will continue to make great strides as long as that treasonous little quisling is president. God bless Israel, and God bless America. Islam will eventually be defeated. But at what cost? None at all for the Muslim barbarians as long as the chief pantywaist is in the oval office. They laugh at our pathetic joke of a president. And as Barry golfs and plays with his boy toys in Hawaii, Christians and Jews are dying and churches and synagogues are burned by feral savages.
    I’m sure he doesn’t give it a moment’s thought.

  • mackykam

    This will slow down or stop when civilized westerners begin burning mosques, beating muslims in the street and deporting Islamic trash back to their hellholes. When one gives better than one gets the muslim dogs will slink back to their hovels, their tails firmly between their legs. All it takes is willpower to fight back..

    • Lea

      You see the problem with that is that we cannot and must not stoop to their level for it will only bring Jesus Christ into disrepute and it is in defiance of his teachings. I feel the same way as you do but we are to be as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves. Muslims do have to be subdued and since their evil ideology is opposed to democracy, indeed they feel oppressed by democracy, we are entitled to apply the same rules to them as they do to non muslims in Islamic countries eg. no mosques, no religious dress etc, no public worship or demonstrations, no vote etc. like in Saudi Arabia. To use their hero’s own words, to subdue them. Stop the immigration and welfare grants. This can be done through lobbies and votes according to democratic principles.

      • mackykam

        Well, I’m Jewish and “turning the other cheek’ isn’t
        Jewish doctrine. Not that Christians have had much experience in turning the other cheek over the centuries.

        • defcon 4

          Initially they did. Initially Christians were the persecuted, not the downpressors.

          • mackykam

            Well times, they are a changing. The Christian west is certainly turning the other cheek in response to muslim depredations against christians.

        • Lea

          We cannot turn the other cheek in this instance. Christians are not called to defend themselves but they are called to defend others and to expose the works of darkness. In this respect we do not have an excuse as Christians to stand by idly while Muslims are carrying out a jihad on the world, in particular Christians. This Christmas is not merry since I have just awoken from my stupor with regard to the evil pagan death cult called Islam.

        • kate5778b

          So was Jesus who kept and didn’t do away with the Torah as he states in Matthew 5:17, Christians don’t understand what this means, as they don’t recognize the legitimacy of the Torah. The whole section this verse is cherry picked from is about not avenging out of spite, even Jesus did turn the other cheek but defended himself by pointing out their unlawful action.

      • defcon 4

        What a naif. The muslimes are infiltrating and subverting the very institutions you propose to use to combat them.

        • Lea

          I am aware of that. America does not even know yet that it has a Muslim president. Muslims have been saying for ages now that they are going to destroy America from the inside. Somehow when the Arab Muslims who call themselves Palestinians shout “death to America” it does not seem to penetrate. They are treated as youthful deviants. But we have to try. Send a complaint to the UN:

          civilsociety@ohchr.org

          Title it Islam and provide specific instances of Muslim atrocities.
          I would appreciate any practical ideas from others too.

    • kate5778b

      Then we wouldn’t be civilized westerners ;-) we could just open up the first 3 pages of their texts and point out where it doesn’t confirm the Torah and Injil as it claims to do so.

  • http://www.teaparty.org/about-us/ Nixys

    Yeah, Indonesia is such a GREAT example of a peaceful, moderate, Islamic democracy! LOL.

  • john spielman

    Islam: killing raping stealing and spreading terror since 625 AD.

  • kstev99

    Meanwhile, the politically correct encourage them to build their mosques here in the US

  • CurmudgyOne

    We have let this go too far. It is time for the people to demand action against regimes that continue to persecute Christians. The people must, because the regime we have in place in our own country will not do it. But, will the Christians in this country do anything? Not likely, since we have become a country of sheep, in the worst sense.

  • RACH’s Idea

    If you enjoy freedom you better be able to stand for what it is. If not get out of the way of the people that will.

  • http://www.abay.vn/Ve-quoc-te/ve-may-bay-di-tay-ban-nha Nhóm Đào Tạo

    The muslimes are infiltrating and subverting the very institutions you propose to use to combat them.

    vé máy bay di London
    vé máy bay di Berlin
    ve máy bay di Anh

  • Allah is Dead

    Islam is for barbarians

    • kate5778b

      Islam is for those who refuse to think.

  • Ross

    Just an update from ‘Festive’ Indonesia. http://rossrightangle.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/merry-xmas-war-aint-over-java-church-terrorised/
    It’ll get worse before it gets better!

    • defcon 4

      “Moderate” islam0nesia.