Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article first appeared on the Gatestone Institute.
The following are among the abuses Muslims inflicted on Christians throughout the month of June, 2022:
The Muslim Slaughter of Christians
Nigeria: On Pentecost Sunday, June 5, terrorists stormed the St. Francis Catholic Church in Ondo, and massacred about 50 Christians who were otherwise peacefully worshipping their God. Videos, according to one report, “showed church worshippers lying in pools of blood while people around them wailed.” Western media presented the attack as a baffling aberration for Nigeria, arguing, as the AP did, that “It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack on the church.” Not once did the AP even mention the words “Muslim,” “Islam,” or “Islamist,” in its determined attempt to ignore the fact that Islamic terrorists have routinely stormed churches and slaughtered many Christians over the years in Nigeria—here, here, and here for three notable examples.
In fact, exactly two weeks after the St. Francis Church attack, on Sunday, June 19, motorcycle-riding Muslims raided two other churches in Nigeria, the Maranatha Baptist Church and the St. Moses Catholic Church. According to one report,
“[T]hree worshippers were killed while several others were abducted when the attackers in large numbers swooped on the worship places…. [T]he terrorists shot indiscriminately as they approached the various churches, killing three while several others sustained injuries.”
The Christians of Nigeria are, in fact, being purged in a genocide, according to several NGOs (here and here, for instance). One Christian is killed every two hours in Nigeria. As a June 19 report notes, “Painfully, the attack on St. Francis Church was not the only one that jolted Christians in Nigeria. In fact, more than 100 worshippers were killed that week across the country.” Among these hundred other Christians to be killed, the report notes the killing of 32 Nigerian Christians inside their church “a few days before” the St. Francis attack.
The report adds that,
“Heavily armed bandits, many of whom are said to be ethnic Fulanis, are waging their own form of Jihad; killing, abducting and terrorizing worship centers and educational institutions owned by churches as well as impoverished communities in the North and Middle Belt regions.”
Such bandits and terrorists have further abducted/killed 35 pastors over the last 17 months. As one example, according to a June 26 report, “bandits” gunned down and murdered a Catholic priest. The Biden administration’s response to the jihadist onslaught against Christians in Nigeria—where 13 Christians are slaughtered every day—has been to remove Nigeria from the State Department’s list of Countries of Particular Concern, that is, nations which engage in, or tolerate violations of, religious freedom.
Democratic Republic of Congo: On June 24 and 25, Islamic terrorists targeted two Christian villages, where they slaughtered a total of thirteen Christians. The Muslims also torched many Christian homes and shops in both villages, and stole much of the residents’ property.
“The landlocked Sahel state, one of the world’s poorest countries, is in the grip of a nearly seven-year-old jihadist insurgency. Thousands of people have died and nearly two million have been driven from their homes.”
Uganda: A Muslim man stabbed his daughter in the eyes and killed her for embracing Christ. Earlier that day, in the morning of Sunday, May 29, Hawa Amoti, aged 28, visited her Christian neighbor. “Amoti came to our home very early in the morning and needed to know more of Issa [Jesus], whom she had seen in a dream,” he said. “After explaining to her about eternal life and forgiveness of sin that comes from Jesus who came to take away the sins of the whole world, she willingly accepted Jesus for the salvation of her soul. I then prayed for her, and then together we went to church in Nansana.” After church, she joined the neighbor’s family for lunch at their home and stayed until about 5:45 p.m., when she left for her home. Her father, Haji Shariifu Agaba, and brothers were already aware of where she had been and what she had been doing. When she arrived home, her father “Agaba ordered his sons to seize and beat her, then took a sharp knife and pierced her eyes,” one of her brothers who had tried to defend her later said. “I want to remove these eyes so that you stop seeing churches forever—even if you die, we are not going to bury you,” her Muslim father said. Concludes the report:
“Amoti’s wailing and screaming drew neighbors who rushed over to rescue her… As more members of the community arrived, Agaba and his sons went inside their house. Neighbors arranged for a vehicle to rush Amoti to a nearby hospital, where she succumbed to profuse bleeding from her eye injuries…”
In a separate story in Uganda, a court sentenced Alias Mohammed Wamala, a Muslim man, to life in prison for killing Christians. According to a local pastor, “the accused confessed to having killed Zulaikha Mirembe and several other Christians to fulfill what was written in the Koran about supporting the cause of Allah by killing infidels.” The report adds that, “During the trial, Wamala and other Muslims were accused of ritual killings as part of an occult practice that involved a shrine where the bodies were buried, [an] area Christian said.”
“The men used farm sickles and scythes to inflict large gaping wounds to the head and body of the murder victim. They then threw bricks at his head smashing his skull—probably to make sure he was dead. A hose was then placed around the neck of the corpse which was dragged through the farm onto the streets nearby the home of the murder victim. His family were later awoken at 3.30 am by the terrified employer of the deceased Christian who had found his dead body between the farm and the victim’s home. A police investigation later uncovered that the two Muslim men, both of whom owned neighbouring farms, were involved in the murder. As of now neither murderer has revealed the motive for the killing.”
“I could not recognize the dead body of my father,” said one of his sons: “His face was severely deformed due to the violence.” From the start, police have been uncooperative, the slain man’s family says. After they called police, and “though a dead body involved in a murder crime was on the streets, Bambanwala Police Station officers did not arrive at the scene of the crime till 7am. A delay believed to be induced by the fact that a ritually impure Christian was killed. It should be noted that the police station itself is only 30-40 minutes away from the place the body of Mr. Masih was found.” Gulfam, another of Masih’s sons, said:
“We contact the police every day to learn of any development in their investigation, but police are not cooperating. Muhammad Abubakar Nawaz [one of the murderers] threatened me in the presence of the station house officer and they did nothing to stop him. He boldly told me that though he has confessed to murdering my father, there is nothing I can do to get justice. Though I am scared I will do all I can to seek justice.”
Irfan, his brother, added:
“The behaviour of the police is creating more agony. They have not explained why our father was murdered so brutally. We have no property or anything of value that could lead to such violence. We are poor people who labour to earn for our families. We demand to know why this despicable fate has befallen our father.”
Egypt: On Sunday, June 5, 2022—the same day Muslims attacked a packed church in Nigeria, massacring 50 Christians—Abdullah Hosni, a Muslim man attacked a Christian, Kirollos (Cyril) Megali, with a meat cleaver in a village in Sohag. According to an Arabic report, Kirollos, who was rushed to a hospital “drenched in blood and with multiple stab wounds,” spent three days in an intensive care unit before succumbing to his injuries, including hack wounds to his skull. According to the deceased’s brother, Abdullah was locally known for harassing Christians. He had relocated to Libya for a time but returned two days before assaulting Kirollos. The Christian himself had been working abroad (in Kuwait) and was visiting family, when Abdullah knocked him off his motorbike and started hacking at him. According to the report, “A state of anger prevailed among the village’s Copts, because the perpetrator, Abdullah Hosni, had previously assaulted and always harassed Copts, but no action was ever taken against him.” Mourning Christians attending Kirollos’s funeral were heard to chant “With our souls, with our blood, we will redeem you, O Cross. The rights of Kirollos must be returned—and where is the media?”
In a separate but similar incident in Egypt, another Muslim man attempted to slaughter a Christian woman with a sickle. According to a June 15 Arabic-language report, Qassim Falah Muhammad attacked Mona Wafdi Marzouk, 35, as she was walking to her family farm early in the morning to assist her sick and ailing father. Muhammad crept up behind her and began to strangle her; then, according to the report, “he grabbed a sickle and tried to slaughter her with it.” Luckily, the blade had dulled over the years and did not fully slice though the arteries of her neck. Muhammad then fled the scene, as reported by Mona’s cousin, Makari, who saw the incident from a distance and ran to the butchered woman’s aid. He and other family members quickly transferred her to the nearest medical center, where she received seven stitches to her neck. Although she survived, “Mona lives in a state of terror and panic after the harsh experience of this extremist person.” While it is unclear why Muhammad targeted Mona, it is clear and well established that he hates Christians and has targeted them before. Just the day earlier, he invaded the home of another Copt in the same village and robbed him of his money and possessions. In response to a police investigation, Muhammad’s family produced a certificate indicating that he is “mentally ill”—a tactic on regular display in Egypt whenever a Muslim is caught after attacking a Christian, to get him the most lenient sentencing. But as the report notes,
“If he is mentally ill, why does he exclusively target Copts? Is it sensible to promote the ‘psychopath’ narrative in every single incident against the Copts—as if the mentally ill only see and try to kill Copts?”
Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches
Egypt: On the evening of June, 23, 2022, Muslim mobs attacked the homes of Christians, including by hurling stones through their windows, in al-Hilla, a village in Luxor governate. This occurred soon after Muslims learned that the Church of Michael the Archangel, which was originally built in 2003, had finally received formal recognition to begin functioning as a church. Soon after this news spread, the angry mobs, which were augmented by others from neighboring villages, had grown very large and, “amidst hostile chants” began hurling stones through the windows of Christian homes. According to the report, “the security force charged with protecting the church tried to rebuff them, but the number of assailants was too large.” Before peace could be regained, many Christian homes had been damaged; several vehicles and motorcycles parked in front of Coptic homes were also “smashed” or set aflame, including the village priest’s vehicle. On the following day, Friday, June 24, Luxor police forces reinforced their presence in the village in anticipation of more Muslim anger following Friday mosque prayers—when imams habitually whip the faithful into a frenzy concerning the alleged sins of the “infidels” who need to be punished. Armed security and national forces, including several armored vehicles, were deployed all throughout the village, especially around the Church of Michael the Archangel, Christian homes, and surrounding mosques. Meanwhile, and as the report notes, the traumatized Christians maintain that their “only sin” was to have “obtained an official decision to legalize the church.”
Sudan: On June 14, police marched into a church Bible study class and arrested two Christian leaders, Pastor Kabashi Idris of the African Inland Church and Evangelist Yacoub Ishakh of the Independent Baptist Church, where the Bible class was being held. They were arrested for “violating public order,” under Article 77 of Sudan’s penal code. According to their lawyer,
“[The pastors] were accused by a radical Muslim neighbor who filed a case against them at the police station in the area, prompting the police to arrest the two church leaders. The radical Muslim told police his children were singing the songs of the Christians and feared they might convert to Christianity.”
Although the Christian leaders were released later that day on bail, a guilty verdict could result in a prison sentence of up to three months, a fine or both, and the court could issue an order for them to cease worship services. According to the report,
“Following two years of advances in religious freedom in Sudan after the end of the Islamist dictatorship under Omar al-Bashir in 2019, the specter of state-sponsored persecution returned with a military coup on Oct. 25, 2021. After Bashir was ousted from 30 years of power in April 2019, the transitional civilian-military government managed to undo some sharia (Islamic law) provisions. It outlawed the labeling of any religious group “infidels” and thus effectively rescinded apostasy laws that made leaving Islam punishable by death. With the Oct. 25 coup, Christians in Sudan fear the return of the most repressive and harsh aspects of Islamic law.”
Turkey: On Sunday, June 5, ceremonies for the reopening of a historic church were marred after a large Muslim mob attacked a Christian family that had planned on attending the re-opening service. According to one report,
“The Yilmaz family—the only Assyrian [Christian] family who live in the village—were attacked at their home by a group of around 50 Muslims. The family were at the time entertaining visiting clergy who had come to officiate at the service. The attackers were led by a Muslim family with whom the Yilmaz family have had a long-standing dispute over land. The mob attacked the home with stones, sticks and other weapons. They then set fire to wheat being grown by the Yilmaz family.”
“They threatened us,” said Cengiz, one of the Christian Yilmaz family, “saying that they would not let us live in the village … But we are not afraid. We will continue to stay here.” The Christian family “accused the attackers of specifically choosing the day of the church ceremony to re-open the land dispute” and thus spoil the long expected event. Adds the report:
“The tiny remnant Christian community in Turkey is mainly historic Christian ethnic groups such as Assyrians (like the Yilmaz family) and Armenians; they still bear the trauma of the Armenian, Assyrian, Syriac and Greek genocides of the early twentieth century. During these genocides, at least 3.75 million believers were killed by Ottoman Turks, with many attacks occurring in south-eastern Turkey…. In August 2021 an Assyrian Christian village in northern Syria was bombed by the Turkish air force in a campaign against Kurdish militants.”
General Attacks on and Abuse of Christians
Pakistan: On June 6, a 15-year-old Christian girl told a court how she was kidnapped and raped by a Muslim accused of abducting and forcibly converting her to Islam and marrying her. “While most girls facing captors’ threats to harm them or their families are pressured into making false statements that they voluntarily married and converted to Islam, Saba Nadeem Masih of Faisalabad showed great bravery in truthfully sharing her ordeal before a judge,” Lala Robin Daniel, a local human rights advocate said of the young girl: “Saba was in severe mental and physical trauma when the relatives of the accused produced her before police on May 31. The recovery was made possible due to the pressure built by church leaders and rights activists by holding a daily protest from 7 p.m. till midnight.” According to the young girl’s testimony against her abductor, 45-year-old Muhammad Yasir Hussain, who has since gone into hiding,
“We were heading to work when the accused forcibly put me in a rickshaw after pushing away my sister. He then put something on my mouth due to which I fell unconscious….. He raped me for two days. I kept crying and pleaded with him to let me talk to my parents, but he did not listen.”
Discussing this case, local human rights activist Lala said:
“Today’s development is very important because it exposes how these predators sexually exploit underage minority girls and then prepare forged documents of Islamic marriage and religious conversion to seek immunity for their crimes. Saba’s statement proves that the Islamic Nikah [marriage] and conversion certificates submitted by the accused to the police are fake. He should now be charged with statutory rape and related offenses and made an example for all those who target minority girls for their evil designs.”
Discussing this same case, Bishop Azad Marshall, president of the Anglican Church of Pakistan, said,
“It’s very sad and tragic that a large number of teenage girls from both the minority Christian and Hindu communities continue to suffer sexual exploitation at the hands of these predators, but very few are able to pull such courage and share their trauma in public…. Rape scars the victims for life, and in case of girls as young as 10, one cannot even imagine the pain and horror these children of God have suffered in the cover of religion. Enough is enough.”
In a separate incident in Pakistan, a June 14 report tells the story of Rehmat Masih, a Christian man who “has been in prison for five months in a new fabricated blasphemy case. He is accused of profaning and desecrating the pages of the Koran, but in reality he allegedly simply refused an offer to change religion. The police also threatened the family, warning them not to prosecute the case. As a result, he had to move to a safer location.” For the previous 20 years, Rehmat, a 44-year-old father of two teenagers, had worked as a cleaner at the Zam Zam publishing house, which prints Korans. There, the “owners and employees had offered him to convert to Islam, but he had repeatedly refused to change religion.” Shortly after Christmas, 2021, his employers asked him about some torn pages of a Koran found in the sewage drain; he replied that he knew nothing about that. A few days later, on January 3, “police arrested Rehmat Masih, accusing him of committing blasphemy and tortured him severely” in an effort to make him admit to desecrating the Koran, an offence punishable by life imprisonment under Section 295-B of the Pakistan Penal Code. On January 19, 2022, a bail application was filed for the defendant, but the judge rejected it. Rehmat has been in prison since, awaiting his trial. The report closes by quoting several human rights activists on this situation:
“Malook Samuel described it as unthinkable that—with no eyewitnesses to the alleged event and no evidence—the accused is behind bars, while the complainants and witnesses involved in making false allegations against the accused enjoy impunity, and are not instead prosecuted for charges of perjury under Section 182 of the Penal Code, which provides for sentences of five to seven years.
Pastor Tariq George added that it is regrettable that innocent people are being targeted to settle personal scores, and that this story was created to punish religious minorities who do not want to change their faith.”
Egypt: A June 19 report argues that “institutionalized discrimination against Copts in Egypt” is even evident in that nation’s diplomatic corps, based on an evaluation of 155 diplomats:
“Copts, the indigenous Christian inhabitants of Egypt, account for, at the very least, 10 percent of Egypt’s population, and should, therefore, account for, at the very least, 10 percent of Egypt’s diplomatic corps [though they are nowhere near that amount]. Nor is such discrimination limited to diplomatic corps; it permeates every state institution. As one recent example, on March 3, 98 female judges took the legal oath in preparation for assuming judicial roles in Egypt’s State Council. This was considered a major and unprecedented development; since its inception 75 years earlier, not a single woman had sat on the podium of the State Council court—and now 98 will. And yet, not one of them is a Christian—again, despite the fact that the Copts account for at least 10 percent of the nation’s population, suggesting that at least 10 of the 98 should have, for proper representation, been Copts.”
Raymond Ibrahim, author of the new book, Defenders of the West: The Christian Heroes Who Stood Against Islam, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.