Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
Reprinted from the Gatestone Institute.
The following are some of the abuses Muslims inflicted on Christians throughout the month of March, 2020, thematically arranged:
The Kidnap, Rape, and Forced Conversion of Christians
Pakistan: A group of motorcycle-riding Muslim men kidnapped and gang raped two 12-year-old Christian boys. The children were playing video games at a local arcade when a gang of Muslims approached and lured them to check out and eventually sit on their motorcycles. Once the boys were atop the vehicles, the men rode off to a remote field where “the young boys were beaten till they submitted to the demands of the Muslim men, at which point the 12 year olds were raped,” notes the March 23 report:
After the ordeal Suneel and Harry [the two boys] were threatened not to say anything by the gang as they rode off … leaving the boys behind naked. Suneel and Harry then tearfully and in pain got dressed and walked for 3 hours till home. Suneel managed to stagger home at 3:30 am early the following morning and was received by his father Naeem (40 yrs) who had not slept all night. Naeem and other family members were praying for Suneel and were shocked when they found him crying and trembling with fear.
Last reported and according to his mother:
Suneel is not eating properly. He cries all the time and has said he does not want to go to a local school. Other boys have been teasing him and it has created a dark sorrow within him. We cannot take him to church as they are all closed [due to COVID-19] and he is slowly entering a deep depression.
Separately, on March 1, two Muslim men abducted a 13-year-old Christian girl, forcibly converted her to embrace Islam, and married her off to a Muslim. Saima Javid was kidnapped while fetching water from a pump near her home. “I was deeply depressed and thought of committing suicide when I lost my daughter,” her mother said while discussing this incident. “Young Christian girls are not safe in this country. Muslims consider them as their property or slaves and therefore humiliate them as they wish.” After confirming that “our daughters are often sexually harassed by influential Muslims,” the girl’s father added that “The police did not listen to us for five days. However, when news of the abduction went viral on social media, the police registered a First Information Report (FIR # 137/20) against the abductors on March 5.” As a result, on March 26, the 13-year-old Christian girl appeared in court where she “testified that she had been abducted and was forced to convert to Islam and forced to marry [a Muslim man].” The judge ordered her returned to her family. “This order marks a rare victory for Pakistani Christians affected by the issue of abduction, forced conversion, and forced marriage,” the report correctly observes.
Nigeria: On March 12, the Hausa Christian Foundation of Nigeria announced that a young girl named Sadiya Amos had managed to escape from her Muslim kidnappers. The girl was originally abducted in early January; she was subsequently forcibly converted to Islam and married off to one of her kidnappers. Sadiya was thereafter kept in a small room under guard. One day, the guards fell asleep without locking her room. She managed to sneak out and flee back to her family’s home—only to find her father experiencing his own problems for trying to rescue her: a Sharia court was accusing him of trying to prevent his daughter from embracing Islam—and had even produced a forged certificate to that effect—in an effort to assist her abductors. The statement adds that,
The case of abducting Christian Girls and their forceful conversion to Islam as well as forcing them into marriage has become a water shed issue in Northern Nigeria…. The moment these girls are abducted, they are subjected to all manners of evil just to take control of their minds. Once they took hold of their minds, these girls will only do everything they are asked to do. While the parents fight for the release of their daughters, these abductors continue to sexually abuse these girls, hypnotized [subliminally influencing?] their food, drinks, clothes, where they sleep, perpetually evoke evil spirit upon them to the point that these girls completely lost their minds and never think of going back to their home. Usually, the moment a Christian girl is abducted they ensure that they get married to her within one or two weeks. She will be sexually abused even before the marriage to make the parents give up on her when she becomes pregnant.
Egypt: An unknown woman posing as a Coptic nun, along with an unknown man posing as her monk assistant, were exposed as frauds who were using their religious garb to target and lure young and trusting Christian girls. The issue was apparently serious enough for the Coptic pope himself to make a statement disavowing the two charlatans. On social media, the “nun,” known only as Theodora, had a photo shopped picture of herself with the pope. It is unclear what the exact scam was—whether it was for later extortion or identifying potential kidnapping victims. Elaborate schemes to target Christian girls in Egypt are not uncommon.
The Slaughter of Christians
Nigeria: According to a March 8 report titled, “Nigeria: A Killing Field of Defenseless Christians,”
Available statistics have shown that between 11,500 and 12,000 Christian deaths were recorded in the past 57 months or since June 2015 when the present central [Muhammadu Buhari-led] government of Nigeria came on board. Out of this figure, Jihadist Fulani herdsmen accounted for 7,400 Christian deaths, Boko Haram 4,000 and the “Highway Bandits” 150-200.
According to numerous Christian leaders in Nigeria, the reason formerly simple Fulani herdsmen have managed to kill nearly twice as many Christians as the “professional” terrorists of Boku Haram is because one of their fellow tribesmen, the president of the nation, Muhammadu Buhari, is enabling their jihad.
Kenya: On March 11, Muslims connected with the Islamic terror group, Al Shabaab (“the Youth”) killed two more Christians and abducted a third in yet another roadside ambush. In the first instance, a passenger bus was stopped and stormed by the terrorists, who proceeded to order all the passengers out. “They abducted the only Christian on the bus, the mechanic, and allowed the others to continue with their journey,” a police officer reported. The second attack occurred an hour later in the same region. Two medical transporters—both Christians—delivering much needed medicine to Mandera, which has suffered much from ongoing Al Shabaab violence, were stopped in their truck; they were “killed by shooting and their bodies dumped on the roadside,” an official confirmed. In the previous three months, at least 13 other Christians were killed under nearly identical circumstances in Kenya—yanked out of ambushed vehicles and slaughtered on being identified as Christian.
Pakistan: More details concerning the February 28 torture and murder of Saleem Masih, a Christian farm laborer who dared use water from the same well used by Muslims emerged in a March 3 report: When his tormentors first gathered around and starting beating and kicking him, “they called him chura (filthy Christian cleaner), while making him lick their boots telling him kaffir (non-Muslim) dogs deserve such treatment.” They then dragged him by the hair and chained him in a barn where the torture began in earnest: they “rolled a thick iron rod across the whole of Saleem’s body which by now had many fractures and internal injuries. Saleem was tortured and spat at for at least 4 hours until he went unconscious.” The report concludes by quoting Juliet Chowdhry, a Pakistani human rights activist in the UK:
A senseless violent attack has ended the life of a young Christian man, left a mother and father heart-broken and community beleaguered. The men who undertook the attack are so blinded by hate they are showing no evidence of remorse. Overcoming such hate will take a miracle as it is ingrained into every aspect of culture and society in Pakistan and is reinforced via a biased national curriculum. It will take decades to remove such entrenched intolerance and I fear I will not see it in my lifetime…. Nations such as the UK naively continue to send foreign aid to Pakistan despite the existing social malaise – this naive attitude contributes to Pak-Government apathy and perpetuates the status quo.
The Jihad on Churches
Norway: A Muslim migrant set fire to two churches. According to the March 21 report, the man, aged 28, from a Middle Eastern or African nation, torched the churches in “revenge” for some unclear but supposedly “blasphemous” treatment of the Koran at the hands of a Norwegian. He was imprisoned for four weeks, which the court said was “not disproportionate,” as “it is a serious crime.”
United Kingdom: A 23-year-old man who was initially only described as a “Norwegian”—but who was later revealed as a Muslim born to Somali refugees—was arrested for plotting to bomb St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. “Based on the material we seized and reviewed, we believe that he may be suspected of having participated in the terror organization Islamic State,” police added. He is also accused of managing to destroy evidence in a still-in-progress terrorism case in Denmark. According to the March 23 report, his co-conspirator and fellow arrestee, Safiyya Amira Shaikh, a British woman born as Michelle Ramsden who converted to Islam in 2007, admitted to the planned terror attack: “the goal was to kill as many people as possible in a suicide bomb attack on St. Paul.” Earlier, in an encrypted chat with an undercover police officer, Safiyya had said that she would “rather die young and get to Jannah (paradise) the quickest way possible… I always know I wanted to do something big… killing one kafir (infidel) is not enough for me.” She had further expressed a desire to target a church on a Christmas or Easter day, when they would be packed, to kill more people.
[V]iolence against Christian communities has continued, despite the changes that have occurred in Sudan over the last year… [T]he first attack took place … in Omdurman on Saturday February 29. A church building of the Sudanese Church of Christ was torched. It is not known who the perpetrators are. The second incident occurred on March 9, when militants set fire to the Presbyterian Evangelical Church in Bout, El Tadamon local in Blue Nile state. The church was destroyed completely, including the furniture and books within it.
Counting these latest, five churches have been torched in Sudan since the start of 2020.
Indonesia: Around mid-March, authorities closed down another church in response to ongoing protests by the Islamic Defenders Alliance, a Muslim advocacy group—even though the building had been used as a church between 2017 and 2020. Initially, local Muslims had complained that it had a visible cross, which the congregation quickly removed. However, that was not enough, and the Islamic Defenders Alliance issued a statement saying, “We, from the alliance, demand that the church be demolished as soon as possible.” Since Muslims first began protesting the existence of the church, its pastor has tried to find a new place to build a new church, but has been unsuccessful, as local residents reject having a church near them. “Many Christians across Indonesia face religious persecution that is embedded in the culture and legal system,” said another March report: “Christianity, both Protestants and Catholics, make up 10% of the population. That’s close to 26 million people that are being affected by this discrimination.”
Pakistan: A Muslim man beat “to near death” his Christian servant for threatening to quit unless permitted to attend church. Shaan Masih, 21, had never wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and be a household servant to the wealthy and influential Muslim but was pressured into it after his father died. Shaan “was working from 7am to 7pm every day and suffered a lot of bullying at work, was pushed and beaten,” the report explains. “He was constantly called a Chura (dirty Christian cleaner) and soon cleaning toilets became a regular part of his work despite his protestations” that his original contract stipulated that he would not clean toilets. Only he, the report adds, “was required to clean the toilets and none of the Muslim servants,” who “were also treated with more respect.” On March 13, after Shaan asked his employer’s wife if he could leave a little early so he could attend evening mass at church, she exclaimed, “You Chura are always going to those dirty churches and bringing your germs into our home! Before you go, clean our toilets and take our germs to your church so that they can suffer instead.” Shaan refused: “Being before God is a sacred thing and I want to be comfortable with God and would not feel good, if I clean your toilets before I go.” When she threatened to fire him, he said he quit and went straight to church; when he returned home, his Muslim boss called and asked him to come and collect his things and get paid. Shaan “was really pleased about this as he had waited so long for the payment and was beginning to feel pressure from a large number of growing debts.” According to the report, when he arrived,
Kashif [the boss] and other servants were waiting for Shaan with a hot iron rod and leather belt. Shaan was resoundly [sic] beaten, spat at and tortured for at least 20 minutes by the family members of Kashif and his servants… While he was beaten Kashif berated Shaan for leaving his place of work without express permission from him: ‘You are a Chura and should not leave a Muslim masters premises until told to. Your nerve to stand up to Muslims is a blasphemy and I will kill you for this!’ Kashif ran inside his home to grab a gun and shoot Shaan who was by now terrified and in fear for his life.
A servant helped Shaan to escape during the commotion; he “sped towards his home bleeding along the route.” When a relative opened the door, “he collapsed on the floor” and his mother “began screaming in a panic…. Shaan fell unconscious for several hours from the pain of his injuries.” “The attitude of both the police and medical staff was really disappointing,” Shaan later said in an interview, regarding how both had ignored his pleas for justice and help. “Despite severe burns on my body and immense pain, they treated me like an animal.” According to his mother, “He used my son like a donkey, never paid him and then enacted such violence for no reason. I fear he can kill my son anytime he wants because of his influence and power.”
Turkey: The desecration of Christian cemeteries, many of which are attached to churches, is on the rise. According to a March 14 report, 20 of 72 gravestones in the Ortaköy Christian Cemetery in Ankara were found destroyed. “These attacks against cemeteries are making the Christian community across Turkey feel incredibly sad and desperate,” an Ankara-based pastor observed: “Nobody can watch over the graves of their loved ones like a guard.” In one instance, the desecraters broke a cross off a recently deceased women’s grave in a church cemetery; days earlier, her burial service was interrupted by cries of “Allahu Akbar!” “My son lies here,” another Christian woman explained: “He died last year. He was 17-years-old. Children his age came here and destroyed his grave. What type of conscience can accept this?… If my son were alive, he would not do such a thing. They have carried out similar attacks before, and no one was caught.” An “environment of hate” for Christians is behind this upsurge, said one local journalist:
But this hateful environment did not emerge out of nowhere. The seeds of this hatred are spread, beginning at primary schools, through books printed by the Ministry of National Education portraying Christians as enemies and traitors. The indoctrination continues through newspapers and television channels in line with state policies. And of course, the sermons at mosques and talk at coffee houses further stir up this hatred.
Pakistan: A March 1 report offered more details on the February 2 shooting and axe attack on Christians for daring to build a church on their land. According to the wife of Azeem Masih (32), who was shot in the head and has lost the ability to speak and other functions:
We were all asleep at 11 pm, as Azeem is a tailor and had to work from early in the morning. Suddenly we heard an evil-sounding cacophony of shouts. Some of the local community including Azeem went out of the house to see what was happening – other[s] were dragged out by a local Muslim gang that had gathered around the Christian properties. The men seemed intent to harm all the Christians; they were threatening to rape all the Christian women and beat and kill all other Christians. I was shuddering with fear. I got on my knees and prayed and then heard gunshots. After this people could be heard running and screaming. Someone told me Azeem had been shot, I ran to him and at first I thought he was dead. I sat their weeping until the police arrived and took us to hospital. I am heartbroken. Azeem and I have only recently had a child and he has hardly got to know Tabeel. Now I do not know if he will ever be able to speak to Tabeel again. I am not used to seeing Azeem like this; he has become so dependent on others, whereas he was always the first to help them. Azeem was a healthy and committed husband and father—a man of God who wanted to strengthen the church with a new building. I cannot understand why these men have acted so violently, as they were not provoked by us—we have tried to live peaceful lives.
COVID-19 Discrimination in Pakistan
A Karachi NGO has denied food aid to poor Hindus and Christians, who like Muslims are suffering from coronavirus…. The Saylani Welfare International Trust has been operating in the Korangi area since 1999, handing out aid and meals to homeless people and seasonal workers. Two days ago, the welfare organisation refused to give ration cards to non-Muslims, saying that only Muslims are entitled to them. The reason for this is that Zakat, Islamic alms giving (one of Islam’s five pillars), is reserved for Muslims. The Christian man said he begged for food to no avail. Farooq Masih, a 54-year-old Christian in Korangi, said that last Saturday, Abid Qadri, a member of Saylani Welfare, with other NGO members, handed out food cards in his area. But, when they got to Christian homes, they just moved on.
“A few days back there was an announcement made through a mosque’s loud speaker in the Sher-Shah neighborhood of Lahore inviting citizens to collect the government’s announced foodstuffs,” a pastor explained concerning another similar incident. “When Christians reached the distribution point and presented their national identity cards, they were asked by staffers to get out of the line claiming the foodstuff was only for Muslim citizens.” This same pastor received numerous phone calls from his flock, all of whom experienced the same denial. “Christians often face religious hatred and discrimination,” a Christian woman, aged 50, said of her experience. “However, we never thought of this biased behavior by the majority people at this critical time of COVID-19.”