Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This report was first published by the Gatestone Institute.
The following are among the abuses Muslims inflicted on Christians throughout the month of September 2021:
Muslim Slaughter of Christians
Afghanistan: Muslims linked to the Islamic State murdered four Christians. While trying to escape the country, a Christian family was intercepted by the jihadists. According to a local source, “ISIS asked them, ‘we have tape about you that you are no longer Muslims. So is it true that you are not Muslim?’ They said, ‘Yes, we are not Muslims anymore. We are Christians.’ So the men of this family were killed at the spot. The children and women, they let them go.”
Also and in keeping with what several international human rights groups are warning, former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote an article in which he expressed his concern that a “genocide” of Christians is brewing in Afghanistan:
[T]he humanitarian crisis that is developing as the Taliban returns to power is likely to become a genocide against Christians if the Biden Administration does not act…. [T]he Taliban’s persecution of Afghan Christians … is now only just beginning. There are at least as many Christians in Afghanistan today as there are stranded Americans. Given that many of them are Muslim converts—a crime punishable by death under the dictates of Shariah Law which the Taliban has openly embraced—the possibility of there being a genocide against Christians in the wake of this withdrawal is extremely high. Already, the Taliban is compiling lists of known Christians and their communities. They are going door to door searching Afghan homes for Bibles, even searching smartphones for Bible apps. Afghan Christians are being forced to flee the country, and it should be a priority of the United States government to do what it can to get them out of harm’s way. Unfortunately, if the Biden Administration cannot even manage to get Americans out, there is scant hope they can be trusted to protect religious freedom as well.
A 27-year-old man from northern Israel was charged on Monday [9/27] with murdering his mother and hiding her body last month, after she converted from Islam to Orthodox Christianity.
According to the charge sheet, Rasha Muklasha, 46, left her husband and severed ties with her five children — including the suspect, Muad Hib — in 2006. She then moved from the town of Zarzir to Nof HaGalil and converted to Christianity.
Recently, she resumed contact with her children following the death of her ex-husband. Prosecutors allege that her conversion, which greatly angered Hib, was the motive for the murder.
According to the indictment, the murder was premediated, with Hib setting up a meeting with his mother on August 5 near Nazareth with the intention of killing her and disposing of her remains.
After picking up Muklasha in his car, he ‘strangled the deceased with a rope or his hands, alone or with others, with the intention of causing her death,’ the court documents said.
He buried her body along the Jordan River, where it was later discovered and led to the son’s arrest.
Uganda: Muslims targeted and killed Dante Tambika, a 19-year-old Christian youth and son of a deceased evangelist. According to his friend Stephen, who survived the attack, on Aug. 31, he, Dante, and two other friends were walking toward a lake where they planned to do some fishing when suddenly five Muslim teenagers started following and accosting them. “They tried to provoke us by calling us infidels and saying that they were going to crush us just like Allah did to those who used to attack their prophet, Muhammad,” Stephen said. The four Christians did not respond, reached the lake, boarded a boat, and went fishing. Two hours later, they returned to shore only to find the same Muslims standing there, with one shouting “Allah Akbar [Allah is greater].” “From nowhere we saw six other Muslims approaching our fishing boat, furious and uttering defaming words against us,” continues Stephen. “I told my friends that we were in trouble and that each of us should prepare for self-defense. I led them in prayers.” The Muslims came in close and one of them jumped into the boat and began beating Dante with a stick: “He commanded us to believe in Allah, or else they will kill us. Dante replied that we can’t renounce Christianity, saying, ‘If you want to kill us, kill us, know that we are ready.’” In response, more Muslims jumped into and swarmed the boat. Dante’s three friends jumped into the water, swam for shore, and ran for help. When they returned with assistance, the jihadists had fled. Dante’s body was later found floating in the water; he had been “beaten on the head, tied with a rope and strangled.” According to the report,
[Dante] Tambika’s father had mentored his son in how to share the gospel, and area Muslims began monitoring Tambika’s movements after he led five teenage Muslims to Christ, sources said. His father had led a community leader and about 30 other Muslims to Christ before he died in 2019. The conversions led to confrontations with clan members, and several former Muslims who put their faith in Christ left the area due to threats on their lives, sources said.
Some of the more notable slaughters of Christians and destruction of their churches to occur during the month of September follow:
According to a Sept. 21 report, in one state alone, Muslim Fulani herdsmen slaughtered 50 Christians—including several women (at least two of whom were pregnant) and children; they also destroyed 254 homes and attacked seven churches. Discussing these massacres, Dominic Gambo Yahaya, a local leader of the Christians in the affected areas, said,
The unrestrained violence unleashed on poor, defenseless, innocent Christian farmers of Atyap land has reached a sorry state that no farmer can venture out to the farmland, as the chances of returning home alive are very slim… We are under siege of terror attacks from herdsmen, as the Muslim Fulani community that lives with the Atyap Christians have been seizing the Christians from their farms to kill them… We allowed the Fulani Muslims who are migrants to settle among us on our lands for free. Now, Christians who welcomed and accommodated them have become targets of their attacks.
On Sunday, Sept. 26, Muslims butchered 44 Christians in coordinated attacks on three Christian communities in Kaduna State. Many of those killed were women and children, “slaughtered like rams to be used for barbecue,” to quote one witness. During these jihads, a Christian church was also invaded; in it, one worshipper was killed and several wounded. Pastor Matthew Atayi of that church described what happened:
The kidnappers stormed the church while I was conducting the call to worship, and they were shooting sporadically. They disrupted the service, and I escaped from the church by running.
One of the abductors chased me and ordered me to stop, but I refused to stop. I kept falling while running, but I did not stop running. I returned to the Church after I realized that no one was chasing me.
Upon my return to the church, I noticed that people were weeping. I entered the church to see the corpse of Mr. Ruben Gbenga while another worshipper was lying in a pool of blood. I eventually joined others who were crying. Every member of the children’s department escaped except my daughter. We went about crying and searching for her until we found her hiding in the toilet.
According to a Sept. 27 report, a Muslim mob brandishing machetes hacked the Rev. Yohanna [John] Shuaibu to death; they then burned down his New Life Church, the school attached to it, and his home.
On Sept. 11, Muslims “hacked to death” another Christian pastor, the Rev. Silas Yakubu of the Evangelical Church of Winning All.
On Sunday, Sept. 19, Muslim gunmen invaded a church, murdered one person, injured three, and kidnapped two.
Muslim Attacks on Apostates, Blasphemers, and Evangelists
Uganda: A group of Muslims severely beat and almost killed an 83-year-old Christian widow. Earlier, Harriet Namuganza had given refuge to two Muslim converts to Christianity, aged 18 and 22, after a local pastor asked her for aid. During this time their household received calls from another pastor who said he knew of their plight and wanted to help them. Then, “on Sept. 8 at about 10 p.m., a person who said he was the pastor who had offered to help knocked on the door,” one of the converts explained:
When he mentioned that he was a pastor, we opened only to see several men outside. We rushed into one of the rooms and hid ourselves on top of the ceiling. The attackers could not find us and landed on our spiritual grandmother, saying, ‘Let us kill her.’ Another said she was too old. One assailant started beating and kicking her as she screamed for help. Another said, ‘Let us leave her—we’ll come back to look for the boys who mysteriously escaped.’
The elderly woman was taken to a hospital where she received medical treatment for injuries to her back, rib and chest. Instead of recovering, nearly two weeks later, on Sept 21, she was sent to another hospital for more intensive treatment.
Indonesia: After Muhammad Kace, formerly a Muslim cleric who converted to Christianity in 2014, was detained for allegedly insulting the Muslim prophet, Muhammad, on YouTube, police and fellow prisoners vilely tortured him—including by smearing feces all over his face. A high-ranking police official, whose name is given as Napoleon Bonaparte, confessed to the incident. According to an official, Bonaparte “and several other perpetrators” admitted that they “beat Kace. They also covered his face and body with human feces.” During his hearing, the unrepentant Bonaparte said, “Anyone can insult me, but not against my Allah, the Quran, the Prophet and my Islamic faith. Therefore, I swear I will take any measured action against anyone who dares to do so.” Rather than blame the assailants, the highest Islamic authority in the nation, the Indonesian Ulema Council, said that “this case sends a message that the issue of blasphemy is a sensitive matter”:
No matter how high a person’s position is and no matter how great people’s knowledge of the law is [Bonaparte is a two-star general and former head of the international division of the national police], if their religion and beliefs are disturbed, then what will speak apart from ratios is also their feelings of faith.
Conversely, according to the Indonesian bishops’ Advocacy and Human Rights Forum, “The torture is a new case which should be looked at separately from the blasphemy case that Kace faced. The blasphemy case that he was accused of cannot justify his torture.”
A human rights activist who wrote about his experiences as a Coptic Christian in Egypt has gone on trial on the charge of spreading false news.
Patrick George Zaki is a researcher on gender issues for the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR).
He was arrested in February 2020 at Cairo airport upon his return from Italy, where he had been studying.
He denies the charge and local rights groups say he is being prosecuted simply for expressing his opinion.
Patrick had been studying for a master’s degree in Italy when he decided to return to Egypt for a brief visit. On landing in Cairo International Airport, authorities detained him and he was held incommunicado for 24 hours. During this time he was “subjected to torture, including with electric shocks, while being questioned about his activism.” He was eventually indicted on the charge of “spreading false news inside and outside of the country,” which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison in Egypt, due to an opinion piece he published on the Daraj news website in July 2019, titled, “Displacement, Killing and Restriction: A Week’s Diaries of Egypt’s Copts.” In it, he “described his experiences as a Coptic Egyptian and his views on current events affecting the religious minority.” He pled not guilty to the charges on Sept. 14 when his trial was, once again, adjourned. Days earlier, ten human rights organizations in Egypt issued a joint statement saying that he was being detained “without legal justification,” and that his trial was “an infringement on the rights of all Egyptians to freedom of expression, and the rights of Christian Egyptians in particular to demand their right to equality both socially and in front of the law.”
The young woman is a Christian convert from Islam, something which she had successfully kept secret from her family for a number of years, with only an atheist relative knowing. He advised her to leave Egypt for her own safety. She successfully applied to a university in Texas and was awarded the Presidential Scholarship, worth $22,000.00 per year, along with other smaller scholarships. She was working through the American Embassy in Cairo to plan her travel.
Although the “reason for her arrest is unclear,” continues the report, it may be that “her family discovered her plan to leave the country, and her conversion to Christianity, and called the police. Muslim converts are frequently threatened by their family members and detained by the Egyptian authorities, making their situation particularly perilous.”
The small community of Christian converts in Rasht [where the three were arrested] has been affected perhaps more than any other in Iran in recent years, with 11 local Christians currently serving long prison sentences, another living in internal exile, and a further four facing a combined 13 years in prison.
Discussing these most recent arrests, Mansour Borji, an Iranian human rights activist, said:
These latest arrests show that the Iranian authorities are determined to ignore the civil and constitutional right of the Christians to assembly and worship by continued attacks on this community in Rasht, who have done nothing more than to meet together to pray and worship…. [T]heir lives may also be at risk, given that in many smaller Iranian prisons there is no segregation between political prisoners like them and dangerous common criminals who may feel hostility towards Christian converts.
Malaysia: Four new Sharia stipulations were drafted by the federal government in early September—including one titled the “Control and Restriction on the Propagation of Non-Muslim Religions Bill”—which was heavily denounced by the nation’s Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, and others. According to a Sept. 10 report, several Christian leaders especially “criticized draft proposals to restrict faiths other than Islam, saying the measures should not be put to a vote [in Malaysia, which is 60 percent Muslim],” since it “would curb the rights of around 40 per cent of Malaysians who adhere to beliefs other than Islam.” According to the Catholic Archbishop of Kuching, the government’s proposed “Control and Restriction on the Propagation of Non-Muslim Religions Bill” amounts to “directly contravening the very spirit of the formation of Malaysia…. Such bills … should never be allowed to be tabled in our multiracial and multi-religious Malaysia.”
Sweden: Anas Khalifa—for 20 years one of the most influential Salafist preachers in the nation—now calls Salafist Islam (fundamentalist Islam) “a cancer” and “a worldview that is spreading rapidly among young people.” According to a Sept. 22 report, Anas also said that “They [Salafists] spread hatred against Christians and Jews, strong prejudices about other groups. The basic message is hatred.”
Muslim Attacks on Churches
Pakistan: On Sunday, Sept. 5, during afternoon church service, a group of Muslims attacked and opened fire on the New Hope Church in Lahore; afterwards they opened fire on nearby Christian homes. Several Christians were wounded—including a pregnant woman—some with life-threatening injuries. In the days before this latest attack, Christians, especially women, were “the victims of harassment,” according to the report: “families going to church were mocked and insulted with offensive language.” “I was cleaning a room when suddenly I heard shots coming from the street,” one of the women in a nearby Christian house shared her experiences. “I fainted for a while.” After she regained consciousness, “I remembered my three-year-old son was playing in the courtyard. I ran out to him. While I was rescuing my son, a stone broke a window and a piece of glass injured my hand.” The attackers “had military-style weapons and fired directly at the houses,” said a local source. They “wounded several people, including the New Hope Church pastor, Rev. Asif Nawab Masih.” Discussing this incident, the secretary general of the Pakistan Minority Rights Commission said that “in the last three years, incidents and abuses against minorities have increased by 40 per cent.”
Egypt: According to an Arabic language report, on September 7, a Coptic Christian prayer hall was demolished in Egypt. Christians in the village of Bastra in Damanhour, who number over 500, were not permitted to have a church, so they decided to build a building, not to be used as a church, but as an event hall for their Christian community, as they had nowhere else to meet for wedding and funeral services. Apparently this was still too much for Muslim sensibilities: soon after the building was constructed, and without a word of warning, the city council sent demolition squads, supported by armed Central Security forces, to tear down the building, which stood atop a vast and empty field, on the pretext that it did not have the proper permits. According to the report, the “simple Copts” of the village, who had worked hard to erect this building, instinctively rose to its defense, and were beat for it. Among other reprisals, security forces fired tear gas canisters into their midst, suffocating many. In the end, four Christians, two of whom were female, were seriously injured: one woman suffered a broken jaw and another suffered multiple injuries to her head. An additional 21 Christians were arrested and hauled off. There and then, “before crying and screaming women,” the city council forces proceeded to tear down the building that the Christians had spent much time, effort, and money on. The report concludes by mentioning how this building was “the village Copts dream destroyed.” One Christian interviewed explained that the nearest church was very far away and difficult to reach, and all they wanted was a place to celebrate their newlyweds and mourn their dead—just as their Muslim counterparts do.
Separately, an ancient church near the Nile River was inundated and partially ruined following a higher than normal flooding season (pictures here). Long aware of the threat posed by the Holy Virgin Church’s proximity to the Nile, its leaders had petitioned the government several times for a permit to build a wall, but the authorities refused. (Based on Sharia, or Islamic law, building or renovating preexisting churches is forbidden.) According to the September 6 report,
Everything on the basement level on the church grounds is covered with water: all rooms and halls, as well as the passageway leading from the Nile up to the church courtyard.…. [The Holy Virgin Church] was first mentioned by historians in the 10th century, but may have existed before that date. It was renovated several times throughout its history. The church is built on the site where the Holy Family is believed to have boarded a boat and sailed up the Nile to Upper Egypt.
USA: A Muslim refugee from Syria who plotted but failed to bomb a Christian church in Pittsburgh changed his plea to guilty. According to the Sept. 16 report:
Pittsburgh resident Mustafa Mousab Alowemer, 23, entered the plea to attempting to provide material support and resources to the Islamic Stage group, a militant extremist organization.
Authorities have said he had detailed plans in 2019 to bomb the Legacy International Worship Center, a small Christian church on the city’s North Side.
Federal prosecutors said at the plea hearing that he talked about potentially planting a second explosive device, timing the detonation to coincide with when first responders would begin to arrive…
In a release, the U.S. attorney’s office said Alowemer wanted to inspire other U.S. supporters of the Islamic State group to conduct similar actions.
Alowemar was initially exposed when he gave an undercover FBI agent pretending to be a fellow ISIS supporter instructions on how to build and detonate explosives. He also later procured the necessary materials to construct a bomb and gave the agent “maps with arrival and escape routes, and a handwritten, 10-point plan about how he would deliver the explosives in a backpack.”
Separately in California, on Sept. 23, another Armenian church was vandalized during what its pastor called a “hate crime.” Surveillance footage shows a young, masked man walk up to the St. Peter Armenian Apostolic Church in the greater Los Angeles area, at which point he begins to smash its glass-stained windows with a baseball bat. According to the report,
After more than 20 strikes to the church’s windows… the suspect shattered a total of eight windows on Thursday at around 1:30 a.m. Shards of glass were left all over the floor and the window sills of the sanctuary. At least two protective outer windows were also shattered and destroyed… [T]he vandal also damaged the sign of a neighboring church on the property.
“A young man in his 20’s came well-organized and you can tell it’s premeditated,” Fr. Shnork Demirjian of the church said. “Initially, you feel surprised and then you realize what’s happening, the devastation and the damage. We have to control our sentiments, but you still feel angry.” Although local police are investigating the incident as vandalism, “Demirjian believes it’s a hate crime”: “By coincidence on September 21, it was the celebration of the independence of Armenia. I really believe that it’s against Armenians who happen to be Christians.”