Islamic Forced Conversions—Past and Present

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). 


copticsOriginally published by The Blaze.

The lost history of Christians forced to convert to Islam—or die—is reemerging, figuratively and literally. According to the BBC: “Pope Francis has proclaimed the first saints of his pontificate in a ceremony [last Sunday] at the Vatican—a list which includes 800 victims of an atrocity carried out by Ottoman soldiers in 1480.They were beheaded in the southern Italian town of Otranto after refusing to convert to Islam.”

The BBC adds in a sidebar: “The ‘Martyrs of Otranto’ were 813 Italians beheaded for defying demands by Turkish invaders to renounce Christianity.  The Turks had been sent by Mohammed II, who had already captured the ‘second Rome’ of Constantinople.”

Historical texts throughout the centuries are filled with similar anecdotes, including the “60 Martyrs of Gaza,” Christian soldiers who were executed for refusing Islam during the 7th century Islamic invasion of Jerusalem.  Seven centuries later, during the Islamic invasion of Georgia, Christians refusing to convert were forced into their church and set on fire.  Witnesses for Christ lists 200 anecdotes of Christians killed—including by being burned at the stake, thrown on iron spikes, dismembered, stoned, stabbed, shot at, drowned, pummeled to death, impaled and crucified—for refusing to embrace Islam.

If history is shocking, the fact is, today, Christians—men, women, and children—are still being forced to convert to Islam.  Pope Francis alluded to their sufferings during the same ceremony: “As we venerate the martyrs of Otranto, let us ask God to sustain those many Christians who, in these times and in many parts of the world, right now, still suffer violence, and give them the courage and fidelity to respond to evil with good.”

Consider some recent anecdotes:

In Pakistan, a “devoted Christian” was butchered by Muslim men “with multiple axe blows [24 per autopsy] for refusing to convert to Islam.” Another two Christian men returning from church were accosted by six Muslims who tried to force them to convert to Islam, but “the two refused to renounce Christianity.”  Accordingly, the Muslims severely beat them, yelling they must either convert “or be prepared to die. . . . the two Christians fell unconscious, and the young Muslim men left assuming they had killed them.”

In Bangladesh some 300 Christian children were abducted in 2012 and sold to Islamic schools, where “imams force them to abjure Christianity.”  The children are then instructed in Islam and beaten. After full indoctrination they are asked if they are “ready to give their lives for Islam,” presumably by becoming jihadi suicide-bombers.  (Even here the historic patterns are undeniable: for centuries, Christian children were forcibly taken, converted to and indoctrinated in Islam, trained to be jihadis extraordinaire, and then unleashed on their former Christian families.  Such were the Janissaries and Mamelukes.)

In Palestine in 2012, Christians in Gaza protested over the “kidnappings and forced conversions of some former believers to Islam.” The ever-dwindling Christian community banged on a church bell while chanting, “With our spirit, with our blood we will sacrifice ourselves for you, Jesus.”

Just as happened throughout history, Muslims today regularly “invite” Christians to Islam, often presenting it as the only cure to their sufferings—sufferings caused by Muslims in the first place.

In Pakistan, a Christian couple was arrested on a false charge and severely beaten by police. The pregnant wife was “punched, kicked and beat” as her interrogators threatened to kill her unborn baby. A policeman offered to drop the theft charge if the husband would only “renounce Christianity and convert to Islam,” but the man refused.

In Uzbekistan, a 26-year-old Christian woman, partially paralyzed from youth, and her elderly mother were violently attacked by invaders who ransacked their home, confiscating “icons, Bibles, religious calendars, and prayer books.” At the police department, the paralyzed woman was “offered to convert to Islam.” She refused, and the judge “decided that the women had resisted police and had stored the banned religious literature at home and conducted missionary activities. He fined them 20 minimum monthly wages each.”

In Sudan, Muslims kidnapped a 15-year-old Christian girl; they raped, beat and ordered her to convert to Islam. When her mother went to police to open a case, the Muslim officer of the so-called “Family and Child Protection Unit,” told her: “You must convert to Islam if you want your daughter back.”

Indeed, because Christian females are the most vulnerable segments of Islamic societies, they are especially targeted for forced conversions. In 2012, U.S. Congress heard testimony about the “escalating abduction, coerced conversion and forced marriage of Coptic Christian women and girls [550 cases in the last five years alone].Those women are being terrorized and, consequently, marginalized, in the formation of the new Egypt.”

As my new book Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians documents, wherever there are large numbers of Muslims—whether in the Arab World, Africa, Asia, or even in the West—Christians are being persecuted.  Forced conversions are the tip of the iceberg, and certainly not anomalies of history.

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  • Mike

    After the Turks conquered Armenia, they began persecuting them for the next 500 years because Armenians are Christian. In the late 19th century they decided to eliminate all Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire. Sultan Abdul Hamid II killed 200,000 Armenians in 1895, In 1908 his successors killed another 30,000 Armenians. Finally, in 1915 Turks killed 1.5-million Armenians and deported the rest–women, children–to the desert. During this period they also kidnapped Armenian women and girls and forcibly converted to Islam or else … the sword. There are fewer than 60,000 Armenians left in Turkey. They often change their name and hide their identity. This is "modern, progressive, tolerant Muslim Turkey".

    • Defcon 4

      Don't forget the million Assyrian Christians slaughtered and enslaved by Turkish muslimes during the same time period.

  • Smote

    We need leadership in the West and we need it now!

  • Michael Copeland

    You do a wonderful job, Mr. Ibrahim, in bringing these matters to the attention of the West. The pity is that so many are hypnotised by television fiction and by Hollywood, and betrayed by the news-filtering media. We shall do what we can to spread the word. Thank You.

    • Parenthetical Phrase

      "Hollywood" is not responsible for the behavior of Muslims towards Christians; nor is it responsible if more Christians are not aware of it. If you want to place blame for not educating Christians about the history with Islam, why don't you start with Christians themselves — especially churches. I read about numerous interfaith dialogs between Muslims and Christians. Usually they involve Christians praising Muslims, offering to protect them against evil "Islamophobia" and demonizing Israel. There have been numerous articles and video reports in the West of Muslim persecution of Christians in the non-Western world. The response from Christians in the West: Snore. I remember one American Christian woman responded when asked what she thought of the intimidation of Arab Christians by Arab Muslims replied by saying that in Christianity, her relationship with Jesus is an individual one. She is not concerned with other Christians as a group.

    • Parenthetical Phrase

      Instead of laying the responsibility for the protection of Christians on Hollywood, how about asking the Pope why getting his picture taken kissing the Koran and washing the feet of Muslims is more important than demanding an end to the persecution of Christians by Muslims. Ask the Presbyterian, Methodist and Episcopal Church associations why they spend so much energy on the BDS of Israel movement and NOTHING on speaking out on behalf of Christians in the Muslim world.

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    IF the Muslim Brotherhood prevails – and they are the umbrella group for all Islamist players – then the sword of Islam will be all over the world, especially for those who refuse to bow to Islam. This is all manifestly underpinned by Sharia Law, and these laws are above ALL else.
    In effect, to expect Islam to change with the times is to expect pigs to fly – literally!

    And those who disagree are free to do so. But know this: Islamists couldn't care less what you think, they only want all to submit to Allah, one way or another – http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/02/06/islam-barbari

    What happened centuries ago was not yesterday's news!

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

  • Chezwick

    Jim Crow. That's the angle we should be taking when engaging in discourse about Islamic supremacism with our friends and family. According to Islamic tradition,

    1) Muslims are free to proselytize their religion to non-Muslims, but non-Muslims are forbidden to proselytize THEIRS to Muslims.

    2) It is legal for non-Muslims to convert to Islam, but illegal for Muslims to convert to another religion

    3) Muslim men are free to marry non-Muslim women, but non-Muslim men are forbiden to marry Muslim women

    4) No non-Muslim house of worship may be as tall or taller than the nearest mosque

    5) Non-Muslims must pay a special tax (Jizyah)

    Most of us in the West were raised on the idea of the 'Golden Rule'. Such an ethic does not exist in Islamic tradition. So folks, emphasize these Jim Crow aspects of Islam….and then ask your liberal friends who give Islam a pass, how they can be so hypocritical about their opposition to racial discrimination while turning a blind eye to religious discrimination. And when you've got them on the ropes, then pull out the gender-discrimination that defines Islam….

    1) Muslim men may divorce their wives simply by saying "I divorce you" thrice. Muslim women must go through a legal process.

    2) Muslim women get custody of their children 7 or under with divorce, but automatically forfeit that custody if they remarry

    3) Muslim men are legally empowered to beat their wives (Quran 4.34)

    4) Muslim sons get twice the inheritance of Muslim daughters (Quran 4.11)

    5) Muslim women's testimony equals only HALF that of a Muslim man's in a Sharia court of law (Quran 2.282)

    And if your liberal friends are unmoved after all that, recommend they just go ahead and convert.

    • Chezwick

      PS – If your liberal friend or family member comes back with : "so what do you want, that I hate all Muslims?"….try responding with something like this…

      "Of course not, I would only hope that you take the first step necessary for the resolution of ANY problem, and that is acknowledging in your own mind that there IS a problem with Islam, that it IS supremacist, intolerant, sexist and discriminatory.""

      • Defcon 4

        Why shouldn't I hate muslimes? They CHOSE to believe in a Jew hating, totalitarian, supremacist ideology that calls for the oppression or murder of all unbelievers. I hate muslimes the same way I hate nazis and I see no reason whatsoever to change my stance, and even less reason on practically a daily basis.

    • Mary Sue

      If your Liberal Friends are steeped in Identity Politics, they will likely respond with "But Muslim women have their Own Agency, therefore it is Immoral to "Speak for them" (ditto for Persons of Color), because as we all "know", Muslims are mainly the brown peoples, therefore it is impossible for them to oppress anyone.

    • Defcon 4

      I had a friend whose Egyptian Jewish wife had been formerly married to an Egyptian muslime, in Egypt, through coercion. When he tired of her, he simply took her out in the street, publicly pronounced: "I divorce you." three times and that was it. There were no court proceedings to determine custody of the children. NO court proceedings to determine a fair partition of the goods/property held in common. She was left out in the streets w/the clothes on her back and THAT was islamofascist justice under Egyptian law for her.

  • Marty

    If only islam was simply a mental disease. Sadly, it is even worse. No society has ever voluntarily converted to islam because islam is an ideology of totalitarian brute force. And no islamic society has ever evolved into a political democracy because of horrific sharia law. islami cannot be negotiated with or appeased; it can only be confronted and, hopefully, destroyed.

    • submitter

      bible scholars and priests are embracing Islam worldwide. Their followers depend on which region worldwide are following the footsteps of those priests as they ebgan to read Quran

  • Rebas Thgil

    Islam itself is the problem and it can go directly back to blazes where it came from.

    It seems overly simplistic that the only choices are convert or lose your head / die in any number of ways… Other choices should include No I won't convert and any number of you islamists can experience a whole lot of misery and death while trying to make me do so.

  • swamijyoti

    'CONVERSION' is the root cause of all violence and problems in the world. The Abrahamic religions (Muslims and Christians, in particular) should therefore give up forthwith this mad pursuit of 'CONVERSION' ('proselytomania'), stop harping upon the supremacy of their faith, their Book and the Prophet/Son of God, and publicly declare that they stand for mutual respect (not just tolerance) and that they respect all other religions in the world as true and different pathways to the One Reality (call if God or by any other name of your choice). There has been so much bloodshed and persecution in the name of the 'only religion', the 'only book', and the 'only prophet'/' the son of God', the word has suffered enough. No more…Stop 'CONVERSION', for God's sake, and prove to the word that you want PEACE to prevail everywhere in the present-day troubled world. God bless you and every one.May PEACE prevail all over the world. May world be a single family. May all be happy and peaceful. This is our earnest prayer. OM SHANTIH, SHANTIH, SHANTIH.

    • S.Smith

      Christianity is not even comparable to Islam ! Nowhere does Jesus advocate violence..Read His words and realise Christianity is based upon HIM whereas Islam is based upon a fascist,bullying desert war-Lord whose main preoccupations were violence, lust ,wealth and power.
      Good Christians follow Jesus and good Muslims follow Mohammad. Am I correct ?
      There will never be peace if Islam is not stopped as it was before. Islam wants nothing less than to convert the world for allah through violence , oppression and persecution.
      Islam that has achieved nothing else. Even most of it's so-called ancient inventions were discovered long before Islam.

    • PJG

      Don't tell us. Go to an Islamic country and tell THEM. We are not killing anyone for not converting, THEY are. Get real, swami.

    • Mary Sue

      You're Hindu, correct? Or something like that?

      Hindus are not a-scared to whoopass when Muslims try to slaughter Hindus for not accepting Islam.

      Conversion is not the problem. COMPULSION is. People are free to believe what they want.

    • Defcon 4

      A thinly disguised argument of false equivalence. The coercive means by which muslimes are converting people to islam is nowhere comparable to Christianity in the here and now.

  • swamijyoti

    ========================
    Christian Atrocities and Inquisitions — The Burning Cross — Origins of Christian Theology — Atrocities and Crusades "Explore the history and origins of a mysterious Jewish cult that became one of the most powerful religions in the world — through deception, religious intolerance, and mass-murder!" http://web.archive.org/web/20090409180902/http://
    * * *
    PARTIAL HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN MISSIONARY ATROCITIES: Index of Christian Missionary Atrocities
    Christian missionaries are generally depicted as simple religious folk with a pure desire to peacefully spread their gospel and message of love. In reality, their methods of propagation are often anything but peaceful and usually leave behind a native population stripped of their culture and often decimated. With Christianity failing in the west, the evangelists seek new and greener fields in the poor and uneducated sections of third world countries, backed by huge coffers from the less zealous. http://web.archive.org/web/20090329072621/http://
    * * *
    The Italian Inquisition – Diarmaid MacCulloch
    A religion claiming to be based on precepts of love and forgiveness cannot but hang its head in shame at the record of inquisitions in the Western Church of the Latin Rite. Maybe inquisitions didn’t achieve such a high percentage of executions as contemporary secular courts among those they indicted, and maybe they didn’t torture http://bharatabharati.wordpress.com/2012/06/09/bo
    * * *
    Christian Churches and Genocide in Rwanda http://faculty.vassar.edu/tilongma/Church&Gen
    * * *
    An account of the Inquisition at Goa, in India (1819) http://archive.org/details/accountofinquisi00dell
    * * *
    'Goa Inquisition was most merciless and cruel' http://www.rediff.com/news/2005/sep/14inter1.htm
    * * *
    The Goa Inquisition tells the ghastly story of Christian atrocities and persecutions initiated by 'St. Xavier' that began in India in the 17th century and led to the deaths of thousands of innocent men, women and children. And all in the name of Jesus. http://www.oocities.org/hindoo_humanist/goa1.html
    * * *
    PORTUGUESE INQUISITION IN GOA ORDERED BY FRANCIS XAVIER http://ajitvadakayil.blogspot.in/2010/12/portugue
    * * *
    Francis Xavier : A Saint or Ruthless Father of Bloodiest Inquisition in Goa http://www.hindujagruti.org/news/13112.html
    ==========================

    • tedd

      all the thing you wrote about will be true. but all the thing you wrote about christianity around the world is misleading. because none of the topic you wrote about is supported in the bible it is unrealated. if you have a time just read about the 10 commandments. they are rule of law for all human being given by god to the prophet mosses. so all i can say follow the word of the creator not createe

    • gray man

      Proverbs 26:4

    • Defcon 4

      Then move to Pakistain, Bangladesh, Somalia, Soddy Barbaria, Iran, Iraq, Syria and NEVER be bothered by the scary Christians ever again.

  • SoCalMike

    In the West the Left are the greatest enablers of Islamic jihad and the Republicans either wont call them on it or in the case of John McCain he aids and abets Islamic supremacism and jihad because he is so comfortable and accustomed to selling out his party and his own people.
    In this way he keeps maintains himself as the darling of the Left.

    • Paul

      Please do explain how this is so. most of the leftists I know don't like any organized religion, but most especially not islam.

  • S.Smith

    Ditch the links Swami, readng others opinions,and think for yourself. Read the Bible AND the Quran, Hadiths etc. THEN come to your conclusions.
    I will be happy to discuss with you further then.

  • Mary Sue

    oh, because saving people from eternal damnation is some sort of malevolent "agenda" [/sarcasm]

  • Pulsar182

    I guess you forgot to mention the 1971 Hindu genocide in Bangladesh…

    • Defcon 4

      So did the rest of the world, whether islamofascist or not. This was a genocide of some ~2.5 million (or more) Hindus committed by muslimes, in Bangladesh. Thousands of Hindu women were reportedly raped by muslimes as well.

  • swamijyoti

    ===========================
    The prime characteristic of Islam and Christianity is the denial of individual conscience. They are systems which are based on complete coercion. If you are not a Muslim or a Christian you will go to hell. Throughout history whenever these two religions have gained the upper hand they have committed horrific barbarities against people who are not adherents…..

    “…The honour of Islam lies in insulting kufr and kafirs. One who respects the kafirs dishonours the Muslims… The real purpose of levying jiziya (religious tax) on them is to humiliate them to such an extent that they may not be able to dress well and to live in grandeur. They should constantly remain terrified and trembling. It is intended to hold them under contempt and to uphold the honour and might of Islam…”

    "Our job is to change the constitution of America." — Sayyid Syeed, Islamic Society of North America

    The Savage History Of Jihad In India: Forced Conversions to Islam http://themuslimissue.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/th
    ==========================

  • swamijyoti

    ====================
    Conversion is an Act of Violence: Aggressive religions have no God-given right to destroy ancient faiths and cultures http://www.votebankpolitics.com/source/sds/pdfs/chttp://swamij.com/conversion-violence.htm

    Countering Conversion: Why do you say conversion is a form of violence? What is the US view of India's religious freedom? http://tinyurl.com/qcocv6h

    Secular State has to protect every religion including Hinduism http://tinyurl.com/oaakfsl

    The Moslem Conquest of India Probably the bloodiest story in history http://www.scribd.com/doc/142229342/The-Moslem-Co
    ====================

  • swamijyoti

    Religious conversions a growing source of stress – and violence – in Egypt http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/religio

  • swamijyoti

    Conversion Mafia, Jihadi terrorists, Italian Mafia and dynasty, and phony secular Hindus in India….

    From: Gulati
    Date: Mon, Jun 3, 2013 at 7:03 PM
    Subject: SLAVE TRADE TODAY

    Slavery was officially abolished from the world. It still exists in different forms and different disguises every where. One such form is highlighted herebelow.

    Can the Hindu Masters, who preach unthinkingly and unaware of the political reality, go to any Mohammedan country, any where in the world, and state: "Hinduism is eternal and it will survive" and "It has survived".

    Of course the majority of India are still Hindus. But can we, Hindus, at least go without any let or hindrance to Kashmir, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Missoram and Kerala, the land of Snakaracharya?

    Abstract ideas can still float in air. But we have to live in dignity, freedom, and should be able to practice our Dharma, promote our culture and protect our women and children.

    We lost Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kashmir, Nagaland and northern Kerala (Malappuram).

    Conversion Mafia is very active in Ranchi, Kanyakumari, Rameswarm, Mehalaya, Missoram, and Assam.

    Jihadi terrorists and Maoists are speeding their mayhem at will.

    Italian Mafia and the dynasty are seeking phony secular Hindus and turning them into human zombies and slaves. They work for long hours as slaves to keep the dynasty rule. Our foreign ministers are Muslims, defense Minister is a Catholic, and India a Hindu country is ruled by Mohammedans and Christians. Unless Hindus wake up, come out and participate in politics and democracy such whimsical and wanton and meaningless utterance will continue in India and India will continue to be under the slave masters.

  • submitter

    Some interesting article to read regarding how non-muslims in the past living under sharia were treated.

    http://usa.mediamonitors.net/content/view/full/35750