Christians "Most Persecuted Group in World"

David Virtue david at virtueonline.org
Wed Dec 24 16:27:31 EST 2014


Christians "Most Persecuted Group in World"

By Raymond Ibrahim
GATESTONE INSTITUTE
http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4365/christians-most-persecuted
December, 2014

"This is not a mosque for prayers but a base for recruiting Muslim
youths to engage in terrorist activities." -- Police official, Mombasa,
Kenya

A new law appeared in the Indonesian province of Aceh saying that
Islamic laws (Sharia) be extended to non-Muslims, the majority of whom
are Christian.

"Over the last few years, religious minorities have been targeted, their
villages burned, accused in false cases of blasphemy, victims of
intimidation, forced marriages, and forced conversions. When a Christian
is accused of blasphemy, the people of a neighborhood gather to punish
the culprit, burning him alive or lynching him. The police and the
government have never punished such acts." -- The Anglican Bishop of
Karachi, Pakistan

The most historic and emblematic sign of Muslim persecution of
Christians returned in February: Christians in Raqqa, Syria, under the
occupation of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria [ISIS], which has
since consolidated more territory, were given the three classic choices
of Islam: 1) convert to Islam or 2) payjizya (tribute or extortion
money, as in the Koran 9:29) and uphold all the conditions stipulated in
the medieval Conditions of Omar--which include heavy restrictions on
Christian worship--or 3) the sword.

According to the BBC, ISIS issued a directive: citing the Islamic
concept of "dhimma", [which] requires Christians in the city to pay tax
of around half an ounce (14g) of pure gold in exchange for their safety.
It says Christians must not make renovations to churches, display
crosses or other religious symbols outside churches, ring church bells
or pray in public. Christians must not carry arms, and must follow other
rules imposed by ISIS (also known as ISIL) on their daily lives. The
statement said the group had met Christian representatives and offered
them three choices--they could convert to Islam, accept ISIS'
conditions, or reject their control and risk being killed. "If they
reject, they are subject to being legitimate targets, and nothing will
remain between them and ISIS other than the sword," the statement said.

A Pew study confirmed that Christians are "the most persecuted religious
group in the world" and that their persecution is occurring primarily
throughout the Islamic world. In the category of "Countries with Very
High Government Restrictions on Religion," Pew lists 24 countries--20 of
which are Islamic and precisely where the overwhelming majority of "the
world's" Christians are actually being persecuted.

February's roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world
includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed by theme
and country in alphabetical order, not necessarily according to
severity.

Attacks on Christian Churches

Nigeria: Among other church-related atrocities, the Islamic terror group
Boko Haram attacked a church during Sunday services in the Muslim
majority northeast of the nation. According to Christian Today, "They
locked the doors before the end of the service and shot at the
congregation, slitting the throats of those who tried to escape. They
also detonated bombs before going on a four hour rampage, burning houses
and taking hostages from the village."

Sudan: "In what Sudanese Christians believe is part of a campaign by
Islamist President Omar al-Bashir to rid the country of Christianity,"
reported theMorning Star News, "bulldozers accompanied by local police
and personnel from the National Intelligence and Security Services
destroyed the Sudanese Church of Christ building in the Ombada area of
Omdurman, across the River Nile from Khartoum." According to a local
Christian: "The government has confiscated the land where the church was
built--please pray for the church to get a place for worship. We had not
any prior indication from the officials that the church would be
destroyed; they have not even warned us." The only reason officials gave
for demolishing the 300-member church was that it was located in a
"Muslim area" and so "not wanted there," reported one church member. The
police officer in charge of demolition reportedly said: "We have orders
from above to demolish this church building. We do not want any church
in this area."

Zanzibar: Several churches were attacked in the Muslim majority islands.
A bomb that was remotely detonated rocked the entrance of Christ Church
Cathedral on February 24. The day before, Sunday, February 23, another
bomb exploded near the door of the Evangelistic Assemblies of God
Zanzibar Church, just before the end of service. The bomb caused minor
injuries to several worshippers. Earlier, a mob invaded the Sunday
service of a Pentecostal Evangelism Fellowship of Africa church;
apparently they intended to kill the senior pastor. After failing to
find him, they battered a visiting clergyman. According to local
activists, "Additionally at least 20 churches have been looted and
either burnt or demolished by mobs in recent months."

The Slaughter of Christians

Egypt: Near Aswan in Upper Egypt, one Mahmoud Muhammad Ali went on a
rampage, attacking several Christians, including employees of two
Coptic-owned pharmacies and two female students who were walking nearby.
A woman, stabbed in the neck, was killed, and another severely wounded.
According to the brother of the slain woman, Madline, 30, "He killed her
because she is a Christian. There was nothing else. He was targeting
Christian pharmacies. He went and tried to attack a Christian, and when
he failed, he went to the next Christian pharmacy." Human rights
activists and Copts also warned that authorities and others were trying
"to shift blame away from Ali and establish the groundwork for his
defense." That is, they were trying to establish that he was "insane or
somehow otherwise mentally incompetent to stand trial, allowing him to
escape punishment. The tactic has been employed frequently in clear-cut
cases of violence against Copts. Because of it, the impunity with which
people can attack Christians in Egypt without punishment encourages
other attacks."

Kenya: Lawrence Kazungu Kadenge, 60, a church leader in Mombasa, was
killed near his church, Glory of God Ministries Church, for reportedly
preaching Christianity near a mosque where jihadis [holy warriors in the
cause of Islam] were being trained. During the slaying of the pastor, a
witness heard one of two suspects say, "Make sure you have killed
him--he has been promoting his religion near our mosque." According to
another church leader, "We as the pastors in Mombasa are living in fear
because pastors are being eliminated one by one. We need prayers that
the church will survive these attacks as we are being targeted by the
radical Muslims." According to a Mombasa police official, "This is not a
mosque for prayers but a base for recruiting Muslim youths to engage in
terrorist activities."

Libya: After Ansar al-Sharia--a group that appears connected to Egypt's
now ousted Muslim Brotherhood--offered a reward to any Benghazi resident
who helped round up and execute the nation's Coptic Christian residents,
seven Copts were identified as Christians, forcibly seized from their
homes by "unknown gunmen," taken out and executed some 20 miles west of
Benghazi (graphic pictures appear here). A few days later, another
Coptic Christian, Salama Fawzi, 24, was shot in the head -- again by
several "unknown gunmen" -- while unloading food in front of his grocery
stand in Benghazi. The day after that, another corpse was found,
believed -- from the small cross tattooed on his wrist traditionally
worn by Egyptian Christians -- to be that of a Copt.

Nigeria: Chanting "Allah is great," reports the AP, "suspected Islamic
militants gunned down dozens of Christian villagers and slit the throats
of others" in a Saturday night raid on Izghe village in Borno state, a
primarily Christian village in a Muslim-majority region. Over 100 were
slaughtered in the attack, including an elderly woman. A local farmer
who escaped said the attackers, whom authorities suspect are affiliated
with Boko Haram, had gone door-to-door looking for those hiding in their
houses: "The attackers came around 9:30 pm in six trucks and some
motorcycles. They were dressed in military uniform. They asked men to
assemble at a place, and began hacking and slaughtering them." Gunmen
also attacked a fishing village on Lake Chad on Saturday, and killed an
unspecified number of residents. A survivor said several people drowned
in the lake while trying to escape the Islamic gunmen. Separately, more
"suspected Islamic militants," reports the Daily Mail, "killed 43
students in a pre-dawn attack Tuesday on a northeast Nigerian college...
The terrorists, thought to be from Boko Haram, set a locked hostel on
fire, before shooting and slitting the throats of those who tried to
climb out the windows. Some were burned alive."

Pakistan: A 24-year-old Christian husband and father of two, arrested by
the police on the false charge of theft, was, during an all-night
interrogation, "tortured to death" at the police station, according to
Asia News. The police said that he had committed suicide by hanging
himself. But autopsy results revealed that he died from "serious
internal injuries." Afterwards, the Catholic Church of Pakistan and
civil society groups staged a protest against police brutality, and said
that while police brutality in Pakistan is widespread, if a Christian is
detained, he "usually is treated worse by police or when he is in
prison."

Dhimmitude

Indonesia: In South Sumatra province, hundreds of armed Muslim men, led
by local Islamic leaders, stormed and forcibly occupied two acres of
land owned by the small Christian community. The raid was prompted after
local Muslims realized that Christians were planning to build a place of
worship. Days earlier the ceremony of laying the first stone had been
held, amid protests from local residents. According to Asia News, "The
process for building a church in Indonesia--Catholic or Protestant--is
quite complicated and may take five to ten years to obtain all permits
required by law... permission must be obtained from a number of [Muslim]
residents in the area where the building is to be constructed... And
even if the permission is granted 'unspecified reasons' can come into
play that will lead officials to block the projects. Often, this occurs
after pressure from the Muslim community or radical Islamic movements."

Also, in the Indonesian province of Aceh, a new law appeared saying that
Islamic laws (Sharia) be extended to non-Muslims, the majority of whom
are Christian. Elements of Sharia had already been in force but were
applied only to Muslims. The new by-law [Qanun Jinayat] was approved by
Aceh's legislative council and signed by Governor Zaini Abdullah, who
said "The qanun [law] does indeed oblige everyone in Aceh to follow
sharia without exception. It would be unfair if Muslims were punished
while non-Muslims were not, just because sharia violations are not
stipulated in the Criminal Code." Since then, non-Muslim women have been
harassed by police for not wearing veils, and men for wearing shorts.
Three-time violators of the dress rules could be publicly caned.

Iraq: Reflecting the growing lack of religious freedom and pressures to
convert to Islam, "the leaders of the Christian churches in Iraq,"
reported News VA, "hope that the right to freely choose one's own
religion when they reach adulthood is guaranteed to all citizens. The
Christian leaders issued a document that 'asked to explicitly guarantee,
at a legal level, the right to freely choose one's religion, also
modifying the existing legislation on the civil status of the child with
regards to religious matters.'"

Lebanon: Foreign al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadis, recruiting among Lebanon's
Palestinian camps, were "planning to start targeting Lebanese Christians
with suicide bombings," said Mahmoud Abdul-Hamid Issa, the former top
security official for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in
Lebanon. Since the proclamation of Lebanon's independence, the amount
land belonging to Christians has been reduced by half. According to
Agenzia Fides, "The drastic decrease in landed properties belonging to
Christians ... is also connected with the strong emigration tendencies
that characterize the Christian portion of the Lebanese
population"--Christian emigration is a growing occurrence in the Islamic
world in recent years. Due to several estate policies, "almost all of
the lands sold during those years increased from Christian owners to
Muslim owners. Several legislative proposals have been presented in
parliament to try to block the erosion of the land ownership of
Christians in Lebanon."

Malaysia: A Christian cemetery was attacked and desecrated in the middle
of the night by unknown persons in the Muslim-majority nation. "Local
witnesses said that some gravestones were completely smashed, and some
crosses were broken. Flowerpots and other stone markers were also
broken. It seems that perpetrators used a heavy tool to do the damage,"
reports Asia News: "The cemetery attack is the latest in a series of
incidents against the Catholic community in Malaysia, where religious
tensions have been on the rise."

Nigeria: A Muslim man kicked his wife of 16 years out of their home
after he learned that she had converted to Christianity and was
attending church on Sunday-- the local court agreed with his actions.
According to the judge, Alhaji Lawal Munir, the "Islamic legal system
[Sharia] provided that a mere denouncement [or "renouncement"] of Islam
by any of the parties automatically dissolved a marriage."

Pakistan: After Christians refused to sell their properties to local
Muslim businessmen, the Muslims "hatched a plan to drive out Christian
families residing there by alleging blasphemy." Sawan Masih, of the
Christian Joseph Colony, was first to be scapegoated. The businessmen
put up banners accusing him of blaspheming the Muslim prophet Muhammad,
and announcements were made in local mosques that "a Christian man had
committed blasphemy."

According to the Christian, "They played on religious sentiments of the
neighbours... registered a case against me and set the colony [including
200 houses] on fire." Masih also said the police were involved: "Police
caused alarm among the Christians who were advised to leave the colony
to save their lives."

Also, in a note to Agenzia Fides, the Anglican Bishop of Karachi
affirmed the deteriorating condition of non-Muslim minorities in the
country: "Religious minorities in Pakistan, and especially Christians,
have become the constant target of masses of extremists.... Over the
last few years religious minorities have been targeted, their villages
burned, accused in false cases of blasphemy, victims of intimidation,
forced marriages and forced conversions.... When a Christian is accused
of blasphemy, the people of a neighborhood gather to punish the culprit,
burning him alive or lynching him. The police and the government have
never punished such acts." The Bishop also pointed to "a new, subtle
form of psychological pressure: the extremists target Christians and try
to extort money from them by threatening a fatwa against them, using the
Islamic religion to blackmail."

Sudan: Authorities seized a Christian pastor as he was preaching during
Sunday service and threatened that he would "face justice" unless he
resigned his position. "They arrested me in a very shameful way and
threw me in the car," said the pastor. According to Morning Star News,
this move is "part of a government plan to take over properties of the
church's denomination, the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church
(SPEC)." Earlier, for example, "plain-clothes police officials raided
the offices of the SPEC in Omdurman in what church leaders called a bid
to take over the property. Without permission from government
authorities, the officers entered the church compound and chased SPEC
pastors and others out of the offices, a Christian leader said... Since
April 2012, a SPEC compound in Khartoum has been subject to attempted
takeovers and attacks by Islamic extremists."

About this Series

While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, persecution of
Christians is expanding. "Muslim Persecution of Christians" was
developed to collate some--by no means all--of the instances of
persecution that surface each month.

It documents what the mainstream media often fails to report.

It posits that such persecution is not random but systematic, and takes
place in all languages ethnicities and locations.

Raymond Ibrahim is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War
in Christians




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