Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow; this article was originally published by the Gatestone Institute.
The following are some of the abuses, categorized by theme, that Muslims inflicted on Christians throughout the month of June, 2019:
Slaughter of Christians
Mali: On June 9, Islamic Fulani gunmen massacred 95 Christians—including women and children—during their rampage of a Christian village, which they set ablaze before leaving; several of the slain were burned alive. “About 50 heavily armed men arrived on motorbikes and pickups,” a survivor recalled. “They first surrounded the village and then attacked—anyone who tried to escape was killed…. No one was spared—women, children, elderly people.” Security sources confirmed that the raiders also randomly killed domestic animals in the village which was “virtually wiped out.”
Burkina Faso: Islamic terrorists slaughtered another 29 Christians over the course of two separate raids. The first occurred on Sunday, June 9, in the town of Arbinda; 19 Christians were butchered. On the next day, another ten Christians were murdered in a nearby town. An additional eleven thousand Christians fled the region and were left displaced, as they feared they would be next if they were to remain in their villages. “There is no Christian anymore in this town [Arbinda],” said a local contact; he added that “It’s proven that they [terrorists] were looking for Christians. Families who hide Christians are [also] killed. Arbinda had now lost in total no less than 100 people within six months.” These June attacks follow a string of Islamic terror attacks in the West African nation over the preceding six weeks that left at least another 20 Christians dead.
Nigeria: Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed at least 24 Christians in three separate raids. On June 17, the herdsmen slaughtered 13 Christians—three of whom were children, one reportedly only eight years old—in Kaduna and Plateau States. Two churches, over 200 Christian homes, and crops were also torched to the ground. On the same day in Tarabu State, “Muslim Fulanis riding Bajaj motorcycles” raided another Christian village, where they butchered another 11 Christians. “They burned houses and shot us as we fled,” a contact said. Discussing these incidents, human rights activist John Eibner elaborates, “Like Boko Haram, they [Fulani] are inspired by the jihad and caliphate of their Fulani kinsman Usman dan Fodio. The extensive death and destruction caused by Fulani terrorists rarely makes major headlines in the West. But, according to the Global Terrorism Index, ‘In 2018 alone, deaths attributed to Fulani extremists are estimated to be six times greater than the number committed by Boko Haram.’”
Morocco: According to the ringleader of an Islamic terror cell, the sole reason that he and his men slaughtered two female Scandinavian students—a Dane, 24, and a Norwegian, 28—who were hiking through the North African nation’s Atlas Mountains, was because they were Christian (many Muslims assume that all Europeans are practicing Christians). Abdessamad Ejoud, 25, confessed to this motivation during his and two other terrorists’ court trial over the slaughters that occurred last December. Ejoud, who professed his “love” for ISIS in court, personally beheaded one of the two women because, as Christians, they are Allah’s “enemies,” he said, and are responsible for “killing Muslims.”
Pakistan: Three Muslim men and one woman robbed, beat, and poisoned Sagheer Masih, a 35-year-old Christian auto rickshaw driver. According to the report, he “was targeted because of religious hatred, prejudice and apparent jealously of his success”:
Sagheer Masih’s work ethic and personality drew several customers to him. He was well-mannered, polite and very friendly. Knowing he had the responsibility of taking care of three younger siblings after the death of his father, he ensured that he always got to work early and left late in order to gather as much money as he could to care for them. At work, he experienced discrimination because of his faith. Several of the other drivers called him “Choora” which is a derogatory word for a Christian in Pakistan, but he never saw his death coming. On the night of the incident, he stayed at work later than usual to drive for people he thought were customers. The group requested that he take them on a longer route than usual and made it clear to him that they were willing to pay an extra fee. After moments of driving, they directed him to a remote location and, at knife-point, demanded that he give them all his money. Sagheer, being scared for his life and concerned for his siblings, gave all he had, but begged that they spare his life. Instead of killing him in on the spot, they forced him to drink poison and acid and left him there to die. Sagheer Masih spent that night on laying on the street unconscious. When he was finally found, he was unable to eat or drink anything and he consistently vomited blood for almost a week.
He died a week later.
Sri Lanka: The Islamic suicide bombing of churches and hotels on Easter Sunday, April 21, that claimed more than 250 lives claimed another life in June: Arun Prashanth, who heroically helped others after his church was bombed, had been struggling between life and death in an intensive care unit for 40 days, when he finally succumbed to death on June 4. According to the report, “Arun, [30,] the sole family breadwinner who cared for his widowed mother, was very active in Christian ministry and known as someone who was always available to help out anyone in need.”
Attacks on Churches and Christian Institutions
Niger: On June 15 and in response to the arrest of a popular Muslim imam who had accused proposed legislation of being “anti-Islamic,” a Muslim mob of more than 150 people set the Assembly of God Church in Maradi ablaze; they also intentionally torched the pastor’s car and raided another neighboring church. A senior official of Niger’s Ministry of Interior later said that there is “nothing anti-Islamic” in the proposed legislation, which is intended to counter measures advocated by “obscurantist terrorist organizations.” The Imam, Sheikh Rayadoune, was released the day after his arrest, at which point he announced that “all my supporters must stop making trouble in the town. Islam does not recommend that.”
United States of America: A Muslim man from Syria, who in August 2016 was admitted into the U.S. as a “refugee,” was “arrested on terrorism charges in relation to a plan to attack a church in Pittsburgh, according to the Justice Department,” a report dated June 19 notes:
Mustafa Mousab Alowemer, 21, was arrested based on a federal complaint charging him with one count of attempting to provide material support and resources to the self-described Islamic State, also known as ISIS, according to the U.S. Justice Department. He’s also charged with two counts of distributing information relating to an explosive, destructive device or weapon of mass destruction in relation to a plan to attack the Legacy International Worship Center on the city’s north side. The complaint states that Alowemer in May gave “multiple instructional documents” detailing how to build and use explosives, including improvised explosive devices, to an undercover FBI agent he believed was an ISIS supporter. Federal prosecutors allege that the man handed over these documents intending for them to be used in assembling a weapon to conduct an attack.
Alowemer had purchased several items—including nails, batteries and consumer products containing hazardous chemicals—to be used in his improvised explosive device.
Ethiopia: Authorities ordered an evangelical church congregation to vacate the building it had been using for the last decade. Complaints from neighbors of loud noises were cited in the eviction letter, which gave the congregation 30 days to vacate premises. “This decision is nothing other than a display of animosity towards Protestant churches in the region,” explained one local. “Similar tensions are bubbling under the surface in other parts of Oromia. We have even heard of places where Muslims had asked Christians to vacate the area. And though this call is veiled as ethnic rivalry by some media and observers, it is at its very core a religious matter.” According to the report,
There is concern that these measures are part of a concerted effort to discourage Christian activity in Oromia state, the birthplace of [Muslim] President Abiye Ahmed. Leaders say they also fear that if these government actions are successful, it might encourage Muslims in other communities in Oromia to initiate similar complaints. As of the 2007 census, the state was about 51 percent Christian (17.7% protestant, 30.4 orthodox) and 47.6% Muslim…. It’s not only the state’s Protestant churches that face problems. Some Ethiopian Orthodox churches have reported an increase in difficulties…
Lebanon: Security agents arrested a Syrian national and ISIS-sympathizer, aged 20, for plotting a series of attacks against the nation’s Christian churches and Shia mosques. He was inspired by the April 21 Sri Lanka terror attacks on Christian churches and tourist designations that left 250 dead. According to the report,
Within the Middle East context, Lebanon is considered a comparatively safe country for Christians. It is the only country with a Christian president. Even so, challenges persist. The Iranian backed terrorist group, Hezbollah, has a strong political influence in the country. Lebanon is home to over a million refugees and asylum seekers. Lebanese Christians are well-aware of how this combination could place them into situations which make them more vulnerable to attacks.
Uganda: A Christian primary school, which takes in Muslim children kicked out by their parents for converting to Christianity, was unexpectedly demolished by authorities after local Muslims complained that the school was conducting loud and disruptive worship services in the evening. One written compliant was sent directly to the school and threatened that “If you do not stop night prayers, we are going to take tough action against the school.” Soon thereafter, the school was demolished at 2 am on June 2 and without previous notification.
Attacks on Apostates, Blasphemers, and Preachers
Uganda: Local authorities banned open air evangelical church events after some Muslims converted to Christianity—while others, angered by such apostasy, threatened church leaders with text messages such as “Tomorrow we are coming to kill all of you during the open air crusade.” Several of the Christians who spoke at the event were former Muslims and openly discussed what they deemed problematic Islamic doctrines that prompted them to embrace Christianity. “We cannot allow the Christians to use the Koran in their meetings or to allege that Jesus is the Son of God,” explained one mosque leader; “this [is] a serious blasphemy to Muslims.” Another sheikh openly threatened the apostates with death: “We cannot watch the Christians changing our faithful members to Christianity. If those who have joined Christianity will not return back to Islam, then we are going to treat them as infidels, hence deserving death according to the teaching of Islam.” “I am very afraid for my life,” said a former Muslim cleric turned Christian. “I have received threatening messages in my phone that the Muslims want my head.” Local authorities responded to these threats by shutting down the evangelical events.
Egypt: A Sudanese Muslim cleric who on converting to Christianity fled his persecutors in Sudan and came to Egypt continues to be threatened. Most recently, a phone caller told Al Hadi Izzalden Shareef Osman that he is “an infidel and fuel for hell.” It was the voice of a cleric who a week earlier came to Osman’s Cairo apartment with five other Muslim sheikhs demanding that the apostate renounce Christ and re-embrace Islam or prepare to face the consequences. “They kept telling me to go mosque, but I refused,” Osman said. “I was afraid and had to relocate from the apartment to another location…. Egypt is no longer safe for me. I want to relocate elsewhere, I am tired of these threats.”
Separately, on June 10, an angry Muslim mob attacked Christians in the village of Ishnin, in Upper Egypt, following the Islamic call to prayer, portions of which announced that a young Christian had made a post on Facebook deemed offensive to Islam. Fadi Yousef, 25, the accused, says his account was hacked; he deleted the post once he saw it—posting in its place an explanatory apology. “He is apologizing because he respects your feelings,” his sister later explained. “He is not a child to do such a thing…” Regardless, a mob gathered around and barged into his family home and the homes of two other relatives; they destroyed furniture and tore out the electrical wiring. According to a local, “The extremists were roaming the village saying, ‘There is no god but Allah.’ We were very afraid in that time…. All of us are now in our homes.” “This is a village which is full of many Muslim Brotherhood members,” said another Christian woman. “I’m sure that unless the police had entered the village, the extremists would have killed every Christian, one by one. Now there are many armored police in the village.” The young Christian, his wife and small daughter barely managed to escape “minutes before the Muslim extremists broke in and destroyed the refrigerator, television set, mattresses, furniture and windows,” a statement from the local bishopric indicated; it adds that the mob was “shouting against the Christian religion and the Copts of the village.”
On the next day, police arrested the accused on the charge that he insulted Islam, which in Egypt is punishable by as many as five years in prison.
Pakistan: Apparently angered at the success of and eager to prevent a Christian pastor’s fruitful ministry, a Muslim mob consisting of about 35 men attacked him and his family at their home. Thanks to a police officer who was passing by and saw the attack in progress, “Pastor Aziz, his wife, and their daughter escaped with minor injuries, though they only have the clothes on their backs,” says the report. “They are now homeless as the attackers seized Pastor Aziz’s property.” According to a Western source, who knows him, “Pastor Aziz, who himself had come out of a Muslim background, has been evangelizing and church planting… These Muslim militants want to see that stopped. But we are very glad that he is alive and he is determined to continue his ministry, even though he now has no home.” This attack—the third since Aziz became Christian—has also stirred up traumatic memories: “More than 15 years ago, he has a son who was five-years-old who was kidnapped, again, because of the family’s faith in Jesus Christ. And Aziz and Ruhab have never seen him since.”
Hate for and General Abuse of Christians
Kuwait: Islamic cleric Othman al-Khamis was again accused of “stoking sectarian tension,” against Christians. In June he issued a fatwa, an Islamic ruling, comparing the Christian crucifix to Satan, adding that “Muslims cannot wear clothes bearing images of the cross or the devil unless it is in an insulting place such as socks.” Earlier this year he issued another fatwa encouraging his followers to kill those who apostatize from Islam.
United Kingdom: Muslim jail gangs are threatening and beating non-Muslim prisoners, the majority of whom identify with Christianity, into converting to Islam. According to a new Ministry of Justice report: “The tactic they use is to befriend someone when they come in,” a non-Muslim inmate was quoted as saying. “If they don’t convert, they will then start spreading rumours about them, that the person is a snitch (informer), so that they will be ostracised. Then the beatings follow.” Another prisoner summarized the gang leaders as follows:
This will be someone whose offence has validity. It could be for high profile terrorism… They will either be born to the [Islamic] religion or converted a long time ago, before they came into prison. Prison converts wouldn’t have the legitimacy to become leaders. Nothing will happen without the say so of the leader. If you can speak Arabic or learn passages of the Koran, this will allow you to get up the ranks. The leaders will be very polite to the faces of staff and won’t do anything to get into trouble with the authorities themselves… It’s all done though their footsoldiers.
“If I said I didn’t want to be a Muslim, I’d need to watch out just in case someone stabbed me,” said another prisoner. According to Christian prison pastor Paul Song—who was fired after a Muslim imam who disapproved of the Christian’s approach took over as head chaplain—non-Muslim prisoners who “want to lead a peaceful life in prison … need to become Muslim. That way they are protected…. Some people have been forced to convert with violence. How do I know? Because three or four people come up to me and tell me.”
Libya: An internal UN report states that Libyan authorities are not burying the dead bodies of those Christians who died in the overcrowded Zintan detention center, which houses migrants and refugees, “because the local community insists the cemetery is only for Muslims,” the Irish Times reported.
Egypt: On June 5, anti-Christian mob violence erupted in a majority-Muslim village after a former Christian woman who had run away with a Muslim man returned married, converted to Islam, and pregnant. During her absence, her now Muslim-in-laws regularly harassed and threatened her former Christian family, who live across the street. As part of the triumphant celebrations of her return as a Muslim, area Muslims began attacking and pelting the Christian household and others with stones, and reportedly to the encouragement and support of the police. “We live in a state of terror now,” the woman’s Christian brother last reported, “and the village has become chaotic as a result of the celebrations.”
Separately, and in response to an ISIS attack in Sinai that left eight Egypt security officers dead, the government responded by honoring the slain—except for one, a Christian. Seven schools were named after the seven slain Muslim officers, but the Christian, Abanoub Nageh, was denied this honor, until his family protested. Authorities initially responded by saying that a school would also be named after the Christian, but then reneged, saying “this could not be done because of severe objections by the village Muslims that a school would bear such a flagrantly Coptic name as ‘Abanoub.’” Instead, a rarely used canal bridge was named after him.
Pakistan: Eyewitnesses saw two Muslim men abduct Sania Lateef, a 15 year old Christian girl, as she was taking out garbage from her family home. Her distraught parents went to the local police, but they refused to open an investigation. An activist acquainted with the case said the girl is believed to have been coerced into converting to Islam and marrying one of her abductors. The report adds that “the case of the Christian girl is the latest in a long series of abductions for the purpose of forced conversion and marriage in Pakistan…. In Pakistan the victims of kidnapping and forced conversion are almost always girls from religious minorities, whose members lack the power and
Note: Click here for previous monthly reports of Muslim Persecution of Christians, going back to July 2011.
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