U.S. ‘Chose to Stay Silent’ on Muslim Persecution of Christians

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). 


cpReprinted from Gatestone Institute.

The endemic rise of Christian persecution in the Middle East was noted in November when Pope Francis declared “We will not resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians” and stressed the importance of “the universal right to lead a dignified life and freely practice one’s own faith” after he met with patriarchs from Syria, Iran, and Iraq, all countries where Christian minorities are under attack.

On the other hand, powers best placed to do something about the plight of Mideast Christians—namely, the U.S. Obama administration—made it clear that they would do nothing, even when well leveraged to do so.

In November, the wife of American pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been imprisoned in Iran for over a year for practicing Christianity, said she and her family were devastated after learning that the Obama administration did not try to secure the release of her husband as part of the newly signed deal on Iran’s nuclear program.

“The talks over Iran’s nuclear program were seen by his [Abedini’s] family and those representing them as one of the most promising avenues yet for securing his release,” said Fox News. “But the White House confirmed over the weekend that Abedini’s status was not on the table during those talks.”

“I don’t think we have any more leverage,” said Abedini’s wife. “We now have to consider other avenues and having other countries speak out because our country when we could have used our leverage chose to stay silent.”

The rest of November’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

Lebanon: An unidentified attacker firebombed the reception area of the newly built Christian cathedral of the town’s patron Saint, Mar Zakhya.  Despite the loud boom heard in the town’s main square, there was limited damage; some building material used for the building process of the cathedral was destroyed.  Although Lebanon was Christian-majority in the mid-20th century, today it is roughly 60% Muslim, 40% Christian.

Sudan: Police and security forces used a truck and two land cruisers to batter down the fence around Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church, before breaking into the church and beating and arresting the Christians present as Muslim onlookers shouted “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is greater”).  The government, which has been destroying or taking over church buildings in retaliation to the secession of the mainly Christian South Sudan in July 2011, is believed to be behind the move, on the pretext that parts of the church’s property actually belong to a Muslim business investor.

Syria: Nine children were killed and 27 people wounded after Islamic rebels targeted and fired mortar rounds at the St. John of Damascus Christian School and the school bus. Also, the aftermath of the rebel invasion and occupation of the city of Qamishli in the northeast near the Turkish border revealed and included—among other atrocities such as killing and beheading Christians and their clergy—the destruction of all Christian icons in the local church and theft of the church’s most prized possession, a reportedly two-thousand year-old icon of the face of Christ.

Turkey: Historically the oldest Christian place of worship in Istanbul, the ancient monastery of San Giovanni in Studion founded in 462, currently classified as a museum, is now going to serve as a mosque. This would be the third ancient Christian building and heritage site to be set to be transformed into a mosque.  Earlier it was announced that the ancient churches of Hagia Sophia (St. Sophia) in Trabzon and in Iznik would also be turned into mosques.

Islamic Attacks on Christian Freedom: Apostasy, Blasphemy, Proselytism

India:  TJ Joseph, a Christian college professor, was finally acquitted of all blasphemy charges, though he is still missing an arm. Back in 2010 he had his right hand and part of his arm cut off by a group of men, following accusations that some of his exams contained offensive questions about Islam’s prophet Muhammad.  Although he had apologized, after he was mutilated, he was also fired by his college.  According to one source: the most serious aspects of this episode “was the attitude of the police, who registered the complaint against him and also arrested him, and of the institution, which has suspended him from duty. Fortunately, the Mahatma Gandhi University, to which Newman College is affiliated, revoked the decision of the school authorities and has offered him his job back.”

Iran: The fate of Hossein Saketi Aramsari, a Christian known as “Stephen” among his friends, remained unknown.  Iran’s secret police arrested him back in July, 2013, on suspicions that he was engaging in “evangelistic activities.”  According to sources, apparently to increase pressure on him, authorities transferred him from one jail to another; he has also been in solitary confinement.  Then, in October, a judge of the local Revolutionary Court “officially charged him with doing evangelism.”  It is believed that he is currently held in the same prison where Benham Irani, another Christian “prisoner of conscience” is being held, abused, and refused medical treatment, also on the charge of proselytizing. Explaining this rise in crackdowns on evangelizing, Mohabat News said, “Conversion of youth and their families has become a major concern for the Iranian security authorities and Islamic leaders.”  Separately, a former Muslim and drug addict who twice attempted to commit suicide before he converted to Christianity at a rehabilitation center at the hands of another former Muslim and ex-drug addict woman who had earlier become Christian, was, according to those close to him, falsely convicted of selling drugs in the facility, severely beaten, and sentenced to prison, after authorities learned that he himself had begun to proselytize in the rehabilitation center. Police also temporarily arrested Armin Davoodi’s parents at their home and confiscated his personal belongings, including the Bibles he used to take to the rehabilitation center.  Relatives with strong government connections were able to get him released under numerous conditions, including a requirement that he state in writing that Christians had misled him into the faith and that he would never again go to a church or talk to other Muslims about the Gospel, and that if he did, he would be executed by the state.  So he agreed to their proposal and has since fled.

Pakistan: Blasphemy cases against Christians have reached an all-time high.  Four such cases were reported in November, which, according to activists, is four times higher than the monthly average recorded over the past two years. Activists and clergy further stressed that the overwhelming majority of blasphemy accusations are being used as “instruments of revenge” against Christians, as a sure way to see them get punished for whatever real or imagined grievance accusing Muslims may have.  Separately, Younis Masih, a 35-year-old Christian who had been imprisoned and sentenced to death on blasphemy charges since 2005, was finally released after judges decreed he did not blaspheme Islam.  He and his family are still in hiding since some Muslims still seek to kill him despite his being cleared of the blasphemy charge.  According to Younis: “I have four children and I have no job, no one is helping me. I live with the fear of being killed.”  And in the words of his lawyer: “Christians in Pakistan fear threats, attacks, violence, discrimination and hatred. The law of blasphemy is always a sword of Damocles hanging over their heads: Their life is not safe even after their release from prison.”

Somalia: A Muslim convert to Christianity living in Mogadishu was killed by Islamic gunmen accusing him of spreading the faith.  Two men armed with pistols shot Abdikhani Hassan, 35, seven times as he approached his home after closing his pharmacy. He is survived by his wife, who is pregnant, and five children ranging in age from 3 to 12.  He and his wife converted to Christianity back in 2000.  Before killing him, one of the assailants told a neighbor, “We have information that Hassan is spreading wrong religion to our people, and we are looking for him.”  According to a source, “The men who murdered Abdikhani [Hassan] are suspected to be Al Shabaab militia,” the Somali wing of al-Qaeda which has vowed to cleanse the country of any Christian presence.

Turkey: A Christian pastor was reportedly arrested on charges of organizing human trafficking and prostitution.  The Christian community of Agape (or “Brotherly Love”) Church, where Orhan Picaklar, 42, is pastor, insists that he is innocent, and that “the allegations are entirely instrumental, as the Pastor was under observation for suspected ‘illegal missionary activity.’”  Later, the church where the Agape community meets was damaged by vandals, although the congregation has obtained the formal status of “association” in 2005 (as with other Christian communities in Turkey, the government does not grant official recognition of “church” to new communities).

Dhimmitude

Central African Republic: 450,000 Christians have fled their homes in the 80% Christian-majority nation since the Islamic takeover in March 2013.  Then, Seleka—a coalition of local and foreign Arabic-speaking Islamic militias—seized control of the capital, Bangui, in an orgy of violence, bloodshed, and rape, against Christians.  As one analyst put it, “But Seleka does not rape, loot and kill indiscriminately. Rather, Seleka attacks Christians and spares Muslims, causing traditional community trust to evaporate, and creating a sectarian tinderbox.”  And in fact, Christians, who make the majority of the African nation, are fighting back, leading to an extremely volatile situation.  Christian Bishop Albert Vanbuel stated “a rebellion of religious extremism with evil intentions, characterized by profanation and planned destruction of religious buildings, especially Catholic and Protestant churches” is now in power.

Egypt: Three months after the Egyptian military liberated Delga from Muslim Brotherhood supporters and sympathizers—who were forcing Christians to pay jizya, or tribute, for right of life—they continued to terrorize Christians in other towns across Egypt.  Especially throughout regions in Upper Egypt like Minya, extortionists using the threat of kidnap, torture and murder seized money, land and other property from Christians.  One Copt was tied by his kidnappers as they repeatedly shot an automatic rifle next to his ear.   According to Morning Star News, “Besides the emotional damage he suffered, the shockwaves exiting the rifle combined with the muzzle blast shattered the Christian’s eardrums and burned his face. The Copt begged his family to gather the ransom money, and eventually they paid the kidnappers some 50,000 Egyptian pounds (US$7,260). He returned to his family shattered and unable to speak of the ordeal until recently.” According to the founder of the Maspero Union, targeting Christians in the context of seizing their money and property is seen “as a religious duty.”  The director of a human rights organization in Upper Egypt said, “This past month alone, we had nine cases of kidnapping in Minya, and they all paid their ransom, which was between 100,000 and 250,000 Egyptian pounds [US$14,500 to $36,300] for each case.”  Separately in Minya, after a Coptic boy was accused of being in a relationship with a Muslim girl, “Muslims burnt down the house of the boy’s father and an adjacent house.”

Nigeria: After kidnapping a teenage Christian girl named Hajja, members of the Boko Haram terrorist organization kept her as a slave, eventually putting a knife to her throat and offering her one of two choices: convert to Islam or die.  “If I cried, they beat me. If I spoke, they beat me. They told me I must become a Muslim but I refused again and again…  They were about to slaughter me and one of them begged me not to resist and just before I had my throat slit I relented. They put a veil on me and made me read from the Koran.”  According to Reuters, “She ceremonially converted to Islam, cooked for the men, carried ammunition during an attack on a police outpost and was about to be married to one of the insurgents before she managed to engineer a dramatic escape. She says she was not raped.” Recounting how her captors used her to lure people into traps, the 19-year-old told Reuters, and “They took them back to a cave and tied them up. They cut their throats, one at a time.  I thought my heart would burst out of my chest, because I was the bait.”  Among those who did the slaughtering was the Muslim wife of a leader, the only other woman in the band of jihadi terrorists.  Separately, a Baptist high school principal and some teachers were beaten to a “pulp” and “state of coma” at the hands of “unknown persons,” who used, among other weapons, axes.  The reason was that the school had earlier sent home a female student for wearing a veil, or Islamic hijab, while on school premises.  Finally, over 70 Christians were killed by what were described as “Islamic extremists”: Boko Haram terrorists killed 34 Christians in Borno state, while “Muslim herdsmen” slaughtered 37 Christians, injured dozens, and looted and destroyed their homes, in coordinated attacks on four Plateau state villages.

Pakistan: An entire Christian community has been forced to flee a Lyarni neighborhood known as the “Slaughter House,” due to the endemic killings, rapes of young girls, thefts, drug dealing, and extortions.  Before surrounding Muslims began their incursions, the residential area was 90% Christian, 10% Hindu, with four churches and three temples. “It is almost empty now,” disclosed a Christian elder of a Christian family. “We all are separated now. We won’t be reunited again.” “A lot of the families have left the compound since 2008, after their daughters were kidnapped and raped,” claimed another community elder. “No one knows where they have gone.” He recalled an incident when a teenage girl, who was dancing at her brother’s wedding, was kidnapped. “Her parents, brother and relatives cried and appealed to the kidnappers but they didn’t listen,” he narrated. “She was dishonoured and was left outside the compound the next morning. That family was never seen in the city again.”

About this Series

While not all, or even most Muslims are involved, 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.

Previous Reports:

  • The Facts

    Raymond Ibrahim is an ingrate who uses the United States when it serves his promotional purposes. What utter trash, to accuse a whole country of “remaining silent.” What’s the opposite of that? A country wailing its head off. Point proven.

    • mo up in the northeast

      Please open up your heart to your fellow human being being crucified on utility poles, being beheaded, being tortured, being massacred. Join me in prayer, join me in affirming God will aid in our courage before the forces of evil destroy us all.

      • The Facts

        I agree. Don’t drink and drive.

        • mo up in the northeast

          I’m a lightweight, actually.

      • Drakken

        God helps those who help themselves, you want to put a stop to Christians being slaughtered, arm them, anything else is lip service.

        • Harry_the_Horrible

          I have been looking for a Christian Charity that delivers arms and ammo to at-risk Christian populations, but can’t find one.
          Bravo for the Christians Militias in the CAR that are running Moslems out; Ditto for the Buddhists in Malaya doing the same thing!

          • Drakken

            I don’t think that one exists at this point. The Christians in the ME are finally recognizing the fact that no one in the west is going to help them, so they are arming themselves.

          • Harry_the_Horrible

            I know, but we need one.
            I wonder if I could set one up without ending up in jail?

        • No RNC

          Why nothing about the arming of Islamic Al-CIA fighters murdering Christians by Israel, US, Saudis, Turks & others? BTW, the GD Bush era NeoCons (may they hang) did ZERO to help Religious minorities in Iraq, Afghan or anyplace else.

    • Habbgun

      Sorry Fartz….He came to America and not the Left Wing White Trash paradise people like you want it to be……..in a free land you have the right to point out atrocity in the world….its not ungrateful….wanting to be like the worst Eurotrash from that failed warmongering continent are the real ingrates. —–oh by the way…its rude not to answer me back….to acknowledge my concerns…to purposely not apologize for your horrible social condition and the burdens it brings to decent people. I want to hear from you. I want to know how you justify being such an example of low brain dead crap and how you came to be and find others like you. It is a stain on humanity but maybe we can clear this up.

      • The Facts

        Here you ago again with your obsession with whiteness. You need to stop blaming other people for your appearance, Habib. I know it it stinks to be unable to claim some kind of brown privilege, being Lebanesbian and all, but you know, most people can just be themselves. You should try it.

        • Habbgun

          Why do I need brown privilege to hate the Eurovictimizer? The Euro-aggressor, the totalitarian hate state made by Hitler and Stalin…..no …its better more moral people who hate that…and hate people like you…you are the the professional apologist…the slayer of individualism….the evil collectivist…..the buyer of Cabbage Patch dolls on Ebay….justice will be done!!!!!!!

          • The Facts

            Have fun with your hate. I didn’t realize Gilbert was founded by Hitler and Stalin. No wonder you’re all freaked out about not passing for white. I bet, if you wrote in to Frontpage, you could enter a big story about how people don’t accept you because you have conservative views that are so hot they need to be cooled with a fan.

          • Habbgun

            What’s Gilbert? ….. I am not longing for your acceptance…what I am trying to do is not have you put your propaganda over the sheeple’s eyes…that is noble and good on my behalf……….When will you admit there is a constant thrust by Europe to resume its imperialism…you never will….because you want to be an agent of it…for shame…aggressor….for shame….Oh by the way is the a website you love?? That is an agency for people like you?? Time for me to follow you there…..

          • The Facts

            Sure there is. Meet me here. Bring pie: https://www.facebook.com/habib.matar.5

          • Drakken

            Us Europeans should bring back Imperialism, it kept the muslims from slaughtering us. The muslims are either at our feet licking our boots, or they are at our throats, always keep your boots polished.

    • Drakken

      Well I see your in full support of the muslim jiahdists, why don’t you put your jihadist loving money where your mouth is and go join your muslim brothers?

    • herb benty

      Raymond Ibrahim tells the truth. His point was that this Admin.(Obama) does nothing while Christians are slaughtered all over the Islamic world. If Obama threatened to remove all Muslims from America, the slaughter would stop on a dime. The mullahs NEED America, She is the prize. Proven all beyond any doubt.

  • nopeacenow

    There are 56 Muslim countries in the world and most have some form of sharia law as the law of the land. While all Muslims are not persecuting Christians, the persecution of Christians takes place with the approval of the governments and religious leaders. Virtually no one speaks out denouncing the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in the Muslim countries and in the West. No one cares. We wouldn’t want to offend Muslims now would we?

    • herb benty

      The Koran ORDERS the killing of Jews and Christians. THAT is what we allow into our homeland. Look at Norway, Sweden, Britain, France……that is us in a while. Think about it.

  • tuva

    Raymond I thought you were in CAR with your machete. Raymond supports genocide of all muslims everywhere.

    • Drakken

      You bloody savages will bring about your own demise, us infidels have had it with you sub human savages, you and your religion are blight upon humanity, that day of reckoning is coming. Deo Volente!

      • tuva

        fck face!

  • Bert

    The title of this article is incorrect. It is OBAMA, not the U.S. that chose to stay silent. I could also ask where are the world’s 2 billion Christians?

    • herb benty

      We are working, raising our children and just living. Can I hop on a jet with my shotgun and save these Christians- of course not. We expected our government to do something, but not this Demoncrat wicked group. God is not holding America unaccountable- Thanks, OLENIN.

  • Nitpick Destroyer

    To all you complaining that the title of this article is the “U.S. chose to remain silent,” maybe if you read just the first couple paragraphs, you’d understand that that is a direct quote from someone else, namely, the wife o f the American fellow languishing in Iran

    • The Facts

      I did read the whole thing. It’s not my fault that only takes six seconds. Your thesis is that because Raymond Ibrahim didn’t originate his own accusation but merely repeated and amplified it, it is not his?

  • Chris Gait

    Really? A guy named Hussein isn’t going out of his way to help Christians? What a shock!

    • herb benty

      Obama was deviously presented to America as a Christian and one of “the melting pot” members. Hidden was his origin, grades in academia, religion(Islamic/liberation theology) and his Communism. The Marines should go to the White House and arrest him, not PC I know.

  • wileyvet

    Here is a modest proposal. For every Muslim outrage committed against Christians and Jews, we deport 1000 Muslims from western nations, back to their country of origin. At the rate they are persecuting people around the world, we will have our countries cleansed of this vermin in short order.

    • Drakken

      You have your numbers a little twisted up, for every Christian harmed, we deport 10,000, that sounds much more reasonable to me.

      • nopeacenow

        What politically correct Western leader is going to do that? The human rights commissions, NGOs and liberals would howl in protest.

      • Mr. Thatcher

        Or, more to the point, for every Christian that is harmed we JDAM 1000 mosques.

  • http://newworldisland.blogspot.com/ Arnoldr

    America has already raised the white flag surrendering our Judeo-Christian heritage because of the sense of world togetherness, non-offensiveness, multiculturalism, and whatever else the utopian new world order can envision.

    In the end; what difference does it make as the people, the masses are busy watching soap operas, American Idol, dancing with the stars, the super dooper bowl, getting front row seats at the latest concert, while garbled english texting hoping they’ll win the lottery. What difference does it make.

    • Grumpy

      Let us not forget, Christians are being duped by well meaning but horrabley ignorent Pastors buying into the Saddle Back/ Rick Warren indocternation. This is Christian PC on steroids. Given in stages, it starts out inoscent enough but, as time reveales, it eventually brings a congregation to the point of acceptance, tollerance, and understanding of Muslims, to the point of sacrificig all Christians standards for the sake of Interfaith worship. Let us all raise our glass of Koolaid to the One World Religion.

  • herb benty

    SIN isn’t just breaking the law or being immoral, sin is also NOT doing good if it’s in your power to do so. This present Admin. is dreadfully sinful.

  • Walter Sieruk

    As for all of these Muslims murdering of many Christians, this may be explained , in part, in the Bible. For the Bible teachers in Proverbs 29:10. “Bloodthristy men hate a man of integrity and seek to kill the upright.” [N.I.V.]