Originally published by the Gatestone Institute
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center
At the height of one of the worst months for Christians under Islam—as documented in the report below—both the U.S. government and American “mainstream” media continued to ignore the plight of Christians.
Despite the U.S. government’s acknowledgement that ISIS is committing genocide against Christians in in Iraq and Syria, statistics showed the number of refugees the Obama administration has welcomed since the start of 2015 is far skewed in favor of Muslim refugees: Syria: 5,435 Muslims; 28 Christians; Iraq: 11,086 Muslims; 433 Christians.
As for the mainstream media, they covered if not obsessed over the death of a gorilla six times more than the Muslim slaughter of Christians for their faith.
June’s roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Muslim Slaughter of Christians
Egypt: A Coptic Christian priest was Fr. Raphael Moussa, 46, was shot dead in “a hail of bullets” by an unidentified gunman outside the Church of the Martyr of St George in Sinai. No one claimed responsibility for the attack but Islamic terrorists affiliated with ISIS have targeted Christians in Arish before. In 2013, another Coptic Christian priest, Mina Cheroubim, was also shot dead as he left his church in Arish.
Syria: Non-ISIS rebel fighters considered “moderate” by establishment counterterror analysts slit the throat of a Christian man in front of his wife. The murderer told her: “Your Jesus did not come to save him from us.” The murder took place in the ancient Christian town of Maalula, where Jesus’ language Aramaic was still spoken. According to a resident: “They arrived in our town at dawn and shouted ‘We are from the Al-Nusra Front and have come to make lives miserable for the Crusaders.’” Separately, a suicide bomber disguised as a priest attempted to enter an event commemorating the genocide of Christian Assyrians, but was stopped by Assyrian forces. The bomber detonated his bomb outside the hall, killing himself and three members of the Christian Assyrian Sutoro security forces and wounding five. It is believed the bomber was targeting Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem of the Syriac Orthodox Church, who led the commemoration event.
Pakistan: Three Muslim men slaughtered a 15-year-old Christian student, Wajaesh Shono, on June 14. One of the murderers was the boy’s schoolteacher. According to local sources, “Because of Shono’s success in school, a local group of Muslims often pressured Shono to convert to Islam…. Shono’s Muslim classmates never allowed him to use their study table or chairs. They always avoided playing with him because of his Christianity, and hated when he drank water from the school tap.“ When the boy continued to insist on rejecting Islam, two men grabbed him while the third, possibly his teacher, stabbed him 15 times.
Bangladesh: On Sunday, June 5, Muslims associated with ISIS slaughtered a 65-year-old Christian shopkeeper in his store. According to local priest Father Rebeiro, Sunil Gomez “attended Sunday prayers at my church and then went to his grocery store. The next thing we know he was hacked to death. I can’t imagine how anyone can kill such an innocent man.” That same afternoon local Christians held a protest rally demanding the immediate arrest of the killers and accusing police of being indifferent to such attacks on Christian minorities. They cited the previous murder of Christian resident Gabriel Costa whose killer is still at large as evidence of police complicity.
Lebanon: Eight suicide bombers launched two separate attacks on the Christian town of Al Qaa on June 27. At least five people were killed. One of the attacks was near a church and witnesses heard the attacker shouting “Allahu Akbar” before blowing himself up. According to the town’s priest: “People are stuck in their houses, not daring to go out and fearing more suicide bombers… We’re living in terror in this town.” No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attacks, although both al-Qaeda’s Nusra Front and the Islamic State are active on the Syrian side of the border. Lebanon has also taken in approximately 1.5 million refugees from Syria, an act that has raised fears that militants are hiding among them.
Muslim Slaughter of Christians in Nigeria
Agbahime and her husband, pastor Mike Agbahime of Deeper Life Bible Church in Kano, were later meeting with the market landlord about the persistent problem when Dauda and other Muslims returned and began chanting that she must die for blasphemy. The landlord pleaded for them to return later to talk about it, but they began stoning him, and he fled. Shouting the jihadist chant “Allahu Akbar,” Dauda and the mob accused Agbahime of blasphemy against Muhammad, the prophet of Islam… Pastor Agbahime tried in vain to protect her. The assailants overpowered the few policemen present, and Agbahime knelt and began to pray before she was beaten and clubbed to death….
Muslim Slaughter of Christians in Uganda
The body of Yokannah Zirinkuma … was found in a pool of blood in nearby Kadama village, near the home of the primary suspect… Well known in the area for evangelistic preaching in a marketplace by which several Muslims came to faith in Christ, Zirinkuma two weeks prior had engaged Muslims in Kasasira village in open debate that became heated. He later received a threatening letter from unknown Muslims. “You should stop misleading Muslims, and if you fail to adhere to this, then you will face the judgment sword from Allah,” a letter in Arabic warned him.
Soon thereafter, the pastor was led to a house through an elaborate ruse and murdered.
Muslim Attacks on Christian Apostates, Blasphemers, and Preachers
Uganda: A Muslim man burned his 9-year-old son for accepting Christ. On June 5, after attending church with a Christian friend, Nassif Malagara “requested that he wanted to receive Jesus as his personal savior,” said that church’s pastor: “I was a bit hesitant, but after his continuous press, I then prayed with him, and he left.” Afterwards, the boy refused to engage in Islamic activities. His father Abubakar Malagara and stepmother became furious when they learned of the boy’s conversion. They began abusing him, including by starving him, in keeping with Islamic law recommendations for apostate women and children. Two days later his father caught him eating food the boy had smuggled from a neighbor. According to the boy: “He started beating me up with sticks, but I managed to escape to a nearby bush. My father then followed me and got hold of me back to the homestead, where he tied me up to a banana tree. He went into the house and came back with a hot piece of wood. The banana tree had dry leaves, which caught fire and caused serious burns on my body.” Neighbors heard the child screaming for help. They rescued and took him to a nearby hospital. The neighbor who introduced the boy to church fears for his life, especially after receiving a text message: “We know that you are behind the conversion of Nassif to Christianity. You will soon reap what you have sown, which will be a lesson to others. Islam is against such conversion.”
Unknown Mideast nation: Three Christians (pastor Stephan, pastor Samuel and evangelist James) who worked for a missionary organization that delivers Bibles to several nations of the Middle East, suffered from “a brutal attack by Islamic extremists” on the evening of June 12, said Paul Ciniraj, the organization’s spokesman: Shouting “Allahu Akbar!” the Muslims “jumped out on the pastors from a dark corner and brutally [beat] them with iron pipes.” While hospitalized, the three men suspected they were being stalked inside the health-care facility and, despite their serious injuries, asked to be discharged early. Upon their release from the hospital, they disappeared. Their organization suspects “terrorists” abducted them.
Nigeria: An Islamic cleric beat his wife with a blunt instrument after their 6-year-old daughter told him how she was healed at a church service, where the woman and their seven children all became Christian. According to a neighbor: “There was loud screaming, and we rushed to Siraji’s house and found his wife bleeding. Her husband left for a nearby mosque.” The neighbor took the woman and her children to the church site before her irate husband returned, but the sheikh and five other angry Muslims arrived looking for them, the pastor said: “I saw them outside the church gate and sensed danger for the new converts. I told the church guard not to open the gate, and after two hours they left. Early the next day, I sent her and her children to some church members.” The mother and children are now hiding in another village, living in a tattered house with a thatched roof that leaks. The children are unable to return to school.
Pakistan: A Christian man who converted to Islam two years ago taught his Christian relatives a “good lesson”:
Sonu tried to persuade his [Christian] cousins to convert to Islam as well, but when they refused, their discussion quickly turned into a dispute. Sonu threatened Salamat and the others, saying that he was going to “give them a good lesson.” On June 10, Sonu went to the nearest mosque and claimed that Salamat and his friends had made derogatory remarks about the Prophet Muhammad. Without waiting to verify Sonu’s report, more than a dozen men from a nearby Islamic seminary came and attacked Masih’s house. The men beat the three teenagers and knocked over household items. As the men carried out the attack, they chanted abusive slogans at the Christians. After the attack, the men went to the police to register a complaint [blasphemy accusation] against the three boys. Since the attack, the teenagers have been forced into hiding.
Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches
Sweden: On Sunday, June 26, around 3 a.m., a man broke into St. Paul’s Church in central Malmö and vandalized it, including by breaking the window panes. When police arrived, the man attacked them instead. Officers, according to the report, used pepper spray to overpower the “aggressive” man, who is being charged with a hate crime: “Police suspect that the man went to the attack on the church because it is a symbol of the Christian faith.” Witnesses heard him shouting Islam’s ancient war-cry, “Allahu Akbar” during the attack.
Nigeria: After a Christian was accused of making a blasphemous remark (see below) on his Facebook page, Muslims rose in violence. As a result, “One of our churches, Fellowship Baptist Church, has been burnt by the Muslims. Another church too was vandalized and destroyed, and the Christian accused of blasphemy was killed,” said a local pastor.
Egypt: Hundreds of angry, rioting Muslims burned down 80 Christian homes on June 17, on the rumor that Christians were trying to build a church. When the neighboring village’s priest heard what was happening, he rushed to the scene — only to be attacked in his car; Muslims climbed, stomped on, and damaged it. Among the hundreds of rioting Muslims were many women and children shouting “Allahu Akbar!” and “We’ll burn the church, we’ll burn the church.” As usual, Egyptian TV reported the one-sided attacks from the Muslim majority on the Christian minority as “clashes.” After arriving, the police stood back and allowed the mob to continue rioting, plundering and setting more Christian homes and vehicles on fire. The Muslims then performed their afternoon prayers outside those Christians’ homes they had not destroyed — with loudspeakers pointed at their doors. “No one did anything and the police took no pre-emptive or security measures in anticipation of the attacks,” said Anba Makarios, a representative of the normally diplomatic Coptic Christian church.
Pakistan: On June 4, around 4:00 a.m., a group of unknown armed men opened fire on the St. Joseph Catholic Church near Lahore. Five bullets penetrated the church premises. The assailants escaped. Local Christians “expressed exasperation” concerning this latest in a long line of attacks on churches in Pakistan. They also complained that “none of the Muslims of the area have expressed solidarity with them, nor have voiced condemnation.” Separately, police stormed the United Church in Lahore’s Fazlia Colony. They hurled abusive language at the worshipers; when the pastor asked the officers to show respect for the house of worship, a policeman started cursing the church leader and slapping him around. The reason police had invaded the church is that someone complained that it was using loudspeakers—which is banned under Islam—an allegation that was later dismissed.
Dhimmitude: Muslim Hate for, and Violence against, Christians
Nigeria: A Muslim gang stabbed a Christian carpenter for eating on Ramadan. Francis Emmanuel, 41, sustained multiple wounds from the attack. From his hospital bed he explained: “As I was eating, about six Muslims came to ask me if I am a Muslim or a Christian, but I did not answer them. They asked why I was not fasting, then I told them that I am not a Muslim. Before I know it, one of them slapped me. As I stood up, the rest came and surrounded me and started attacking me with knives.”
Iraq: A Christian woman who escaped ISIS said the militants “married and divorced” her as many as nine times every night to justify the act of raping her. In the words of the woman, whose name is withheld: “They had me whenever they would desire it. Especially this one, Farouk, who was obsessed with me and he would [mockingly] say, ‘I like the people of Jesus.’“ She was enslaved in 2014 when she went looking for her husband who had disappeared soon after ISIS’ takeover of Mosul. Militants saw the crucifix tattoo on her arm, identifying her as a Christian, abducted and enslaved her. According to the report, “The woman, who sobbed and shook during the interview, said she is not the only one who experienced these things. She said she wants to tell the world to know what happened to her in the hopes that her story will prompt the world to do something to protect Christians, Yazidis, and others.”
Pakistan: According to a Christian man, “I was attacked, beaten, and abused for selling ice-cream to Muslim children and women.” Khaleel Masih, 42, supports his wife and six children by selling ice-cream from an ice chest on the back of his bicycle, which he rides everyday through several villages in order to find enough customers for his business. One day two Muslim brothers, both named Muhammad, came up to Masih and began insulting, beating, and torturing him for being an “unclean” Christian selling “unclean merchandise” to Muslim children. When they understood the context of the beating, approximately twenty other men joined in the attack, while Muslim women yelled slogans in the street, saying: “Christians are untouchables! They are not followers of our holy prophet. They are meant for cleaning our houses and therefore should not be allowed to sell anything edible to Muslims.” When Masih reported the attack at the local police station, the police refused to listen to his statement. Koran 9:28 refers to non-Muslims as “unclean.” Separately, police seized and publicly beat and humiliated a young Christian woman in the middle of a park because her brother had eloped with a Muslim woman. Police then threatened the entire Christian community. They said if the Muslim woman was not returned to her husband, they would gun down the entire family in a fake encounter.
Germany: Accounts of Muslim migrants abusing Christians in refugee shelters continue to grow. A report found that 88% of the 231 Christian refugees interviewed in Germany have suffered religiously motivated persecution in the form of insults, death threats, and sexual assaults. Some were pressured to convert to Islam. “I really didn’t know that after coming to Germany I would be harassed because of my faith in the very same way as back in Iran,” one Christian refugee was quoted as saying. “These are not isolated cases. I don’t know of any refugee shelter from Garmisch to Hamburg where we have not found such cases,” said Paulus Kurt from the Central Council of Oriental Christians in German.
Italy: Christians reciting the rosary inside St. Anthony Church in Ventimiglia were told by refugee-volunteers to keep their prayers down as they were bothering newly arrived Muslim migrants apparently living on the church premise. One of the female parishioners asked if the migrants couldn’t be taken to another church so she could continue to pray in peace in her own church. In response, Don Rito, the parish priest, appeared and proceeded to escort her and other parishioners to another church. “We have now entered an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ world where everything is upside down,” Fr. Ben Kiely said regarding this incident. “Europe is committing cultural suicide. It has lost its heart and its soul. As Pope Benedict so wisely reminded us, the foundation of Europe is Christianity. When you destroy a building’s foundation, it collapses. This is what we are watching.”
The persecution of Christians in the Islamic world has become endemic. 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 Islamic Sharia.
Accordingly, whatever the anecdote of persecution, it typically fits under a specific theme, including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; apostasy, blasphemy, and proselytism laws that criminalize and sometimes punish with death those who “offend” Islam; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam; theft and plunder in lieu of _jizya_ (financial tribute expected from non-Muslims); overall expectations for Christians to behave like cowed dhimmis, or third-class, “tolerated” citizens; and simple violence and murder. Sometimes it is a combination thereof.
Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and locales—from Morocco in the West, to Indonesia 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.