“This Is a Warning to Christians in All Parts of the World”: The Persecution of Christians, December 2020

by Raymond Ibrahim January 24, 2021 at 5:00 am

  • Muslim fighters tortured a 58-year-old Christian woman of Armenian descent by hacking off her ears, hands, and feet before finally executing her. — Medium.com, January 14, 2021, Artsakh.
  • As to why she was mutilated before being killed, jihadis often cite the Koran’s calls to cut off the hands, feet, and throats of infidels (e.g., Koran 5:33, 47:4). — Artsakh.
  • One of the survivors… managed to escape his home in time and hide in the outside bathroom: “through the ventilator of the latrine he saw the rebels killing 4 members of his family including his wife and 3 children.” — Virtueonline.org, December 3, 2020, Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • “My husband began reading verses in the Koran that allowed men to beat their wives if they disobey them, and after that he started beating me….” — Morning Star News, December 17, 2020, Uganda.

The following are among the abuses inflicted on Christians by Muslims throughout the month of December, 2020:

The Slaughter of Christians

Nigeria: In a video that appeared on Dec. 29, Islamic terrorists executed five Christians. The footage shows five armed members of the Islamic State (West African province) standing behind five men dressed in orange suits, and on their knees with their arms tied behind their backs. The terrorists order each of the men to say their names and the hostages oblige, each adding, “I am a Christian.” One of the terrorists then says “This is a warning to Christians in all parts of the world and those in Nigeria…. Use the heads of these five of your brethren to continue with your ungodly celebrations,” a reference to Christmas. The five Muslims then open fire into the back of the Christians’ heads and kill them.

A few days earlier, on Christmas Eve, and into the early morning of Christmas Day, Muslim raiders terrorized a Christian village, where they slaughtered between seven and 11 people, including a 5-year-old, and kidnapped 11 more (it is believed that the five Christians who were executed on video were from among these 11). Riding on trucks and motorcycles, the jihadis opened fire indiscriminately, torched 10 homes and one church, and plundered the food supplies meant to be distributed on Christmas Day. Although traumatized, some Christians remained defiant. A text by Markus Bulus, a local, on Christmas Day states:

“Whatever Boko Haram planned against us has failed. Whatever it is, we shall still celebrate Christmas. Jesus, we’re so grateful this day even with the bad experience we had last night. We have nothing to offer as our thanksgiving, but we offer our hearts in deep supplication to your majesty on this Christmas Day.”

Elsewhere throughout month of December, Muslim Fulani herdsmen “killed 33 Christians, destroyed 18 homes and displaced more than 2,500 people.” Moreover, according to a report released by the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (“INTERSOCIETY”), between Jan. 2020 and Dec. 13, 2020, Muslims massacred at least 2,200 Nigerian Christians. Of this figure, “Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen,” it said, were responsible for about “1,300 Christian deaths, followed by Boko Haram and its splinter groups (ISWAP and Ansaru) with 500 Christian deaths…. Nigeria in 2020 has lost an average of six Christians per day and 180 per month.”

Uganda: A Muslim mob attacked and killed a man “a few days after he renounced Islam to follow Christ.” On Nov. 30, Yusuf Kintu, 41, then an imam at a mosque, converted to Christianity. Pastor Andrew Nyanma said:

“We had been talking on several occasions, but he was so argumentative when we touched on matters related to faith. He was a brilliant Muslim Imam but also respected other people’s faith. On this day [of his conversion], he was calm and receptive.”

Three days later, his wife divorced him and left the house with his two youngest children. On Dec. 6, one week after his conversion—or, in Muslim eyes, apostasy—an angry Muslim mob rose up against him. According to one source, “the local Muslim community was upset in [sic] Yusuf for leaving Islam and becoming a Christian. Yusuf was seriously beaten and left unconscious.” Pastor Andrew found him in the morning and took him to a hospital, where, on Dec, 7, Yusuf succumbed to his injuries.

Egypt: On Dec. 10, two Muslim brothers went on a stabbing spree targeting Christians in Alexandria. One man was killed and two others, severely injured, were hospitalized. According to authorities, the brothers went on their murderous rampage because they were “upset” that earlier that day, their mother had died.

“The matter began with insults and curses to the shopkeepers for being Christians,” said Fr. Michael Gamil, whose nearby church was also targeted. “The Copts present responded with patience. Then, when one of them, Ramses, quietly went to close and lock [sic] his shop door, they lunged at and stabbed him with knives.” Ramses’ brother, who ran a grocery store nearby, saw what was happening, rushed to his brother’s aid, and was also stabbed. The brothers then barged into the clothing shop of another Christian man and stabbed him near his heart. All three men were hospitalized with serious injuries in intensive care; Ramses died of his wounds. The rampaging brothers then entered Fr. Michael’s church and cursed at a partially blind priest. Discussing the alleged motive, Fr. Michael said:

“They [Egyptian authorities] say they started cursing the Copts because their mother died; and two years earlier, they cursed the Copts because their brother died: what does [sic] [a familial] death and the Copts have to do with each other?”

He emphasized that the two brothers had been in the habit of verbally harassing and insulting Christians for years—although on that day, they clearly took their hatred to another level.

Artsakh: Muslim fighters tortured a 58-year-old Christian woman of Armenian descent by hacking off her ears, hands, and feet before finally executing her. According to the Jan. 14 report:

“On the same day of talks between Erdogan and Putin, when Turkey’s leader said he would like to create conditions of ‘coexistence’ between Armenians and Azeris, officials located the body of an Armenian woman today who had been reported missing.

“The woman has been identified as 58-year-old Alvard Tovmasyan who was a resident of Karin Tak village, near the Shushi region of Artsakh currently occupied by Azerbaijani forces.

“Tovmasyan was a second degree intellectually disabled person killed and ‘tortured beyond recognition’ outside of her home with her hands, ears, and feet cut off, according to her brother Samvel Tovmasyan who confirmed her identity by recognizing the clothes she was wearing.”

As to why she was mutilated before being killed, jihadis often cite the Koran’s calls to cut off the hands, feet, and throats of infidels (e.g., Koran 5:33, 47:4).

According to a separate Dec. 15 news report, “Armenians are being brutalized” and have “lost territory to their jihadist neighbors before agreeing to a cease-fire enforced by Russia…. Prior to violating the so-called peace agreement, the Turkish Muslims of Azerbaijan did as Muhammad commanded in beheading Christians.” The report linked to a video of camouflaged soldiers overpowering and forcing down a struggling, elderly Armenian man, and then casually carving at his throat with a knife: “Azerbaijan has accused Armenia of violating the peace deal first,” the report continues, “but observers note the only provocation Muslims need to attack Armenians is their continued existence.”

Democratic Republic of Congo: Members of the Allied Democratic Forces, widely acknowledged as “an insurgent jihadist group,” slaughtered at least 30 Christians and raped ten women and girls in five villages between Nov. 20 and Dec. 3. One of the survivors, Tony Longi, managed to escape his home in time and hide in the outside bathroom: “through the ventilator of the latrine he saw the rebels killing 4 members of his family including his wife and 3 children.” According to one local official, “We got information that as they killed the Christians the[y] were saying that they were killing them because they refused to convert to Islam.” Another report describing these raids said there were “scenes of terrified Christians flooding into the streets as the jihadists surrounded churches in each of the five villages armed with guns, machetes, clubs, swords and axes.”

Attacks on Muslim Converts and Christian Preachers

Uganda: A Muslim man beat and forced his wife to drink pesticide on learning that she had become Christian. Three months after Zubeda Nabirye, a 38-year-old mother of three, had secretly converted, her husband discovered Bibles in her possession and demanded if she had apostatized. She told him that “a friend had given me the Bibles, and I was using it to compare it with what is written in the Koran, and after all religion is a matter of personal choice… My husband began reading verses in the Koran that allowed men to beat their wives if they disobey them, and after that he started beating me with slaps and sticks. As if this was not enough, he forced me to take Dithane M-45,” a toxic pesticide. He forced the poison into his wife’s mouth; though she managed not to swallow most of it, she “ingested some while he was trying to strangle her and hitting her leg with sticks… He also injured her chest, neck and thigh.” It was late in the night when “I regained consciousness and found myself surrounded by neighbors.”

One of them later explained that “we heard groaning from a nearby banana plant, and there we found Zubeda Nabirye, who had just regained her consciousness but with vomit and blood all over her body.” They took her to a nearby hospital. According to the Dec. 17 report, “she suspects her husband took her to the banana plants expecting she would die there.” Even so, she did “not file charges with police over the assault as it could provoke further violence. She still looks very weak and asks about the wellbeing of her three children,” who at the time were staying with her husband’s mother due to COVID-19 travel restrictions: “I am worried about my children [aged 9, 13, and 16], who are under the care of my mother-in-law,” Zubeda said. “I know it will be very difficult for me to see them and reunite with them.”

In a separate incident in Uganda, on Dec. 21, Muslims gang-raped a female church pastor. The widowed mother of five was walking home from Christmas preparations at her church when she heard someone crying for help in the dark. “When I stopped,” explained the 50-year-old whose name is withheld for security reasons, “I was surprised to see people coming from the bush, and one of them shouted in the Arabic language, ‘Allah is greater—we have warned you several times to stop converting Muslims to Christianity. Today we shall teach you a lesson that you will not forget.'” One of the men covered her mouth with a chemical-doused handkerchief that caused her to lose consciousness. She awoke three hours later and was found by her nephew. “He saw blood on my torn skirt. He could not stop tears rolling from his cheeks, crying and shouting for help, and he took me to a nearby clinic for medical treatment.”

Two months earlier, a Muslim neighbor had complained to her: “I am warning you not to come to our home. My children are now singing some Christian songs. I know soon they will come to your church. We as Muslims have no relations with infidels.” A church member said that the rape victim remains traumatized: “Sometimes she is quiet for about one hour; … she is having severe headache[s], swelling at her neck and severe pain in her private parts.” “I am hurt,” confirmed the visibly emotional and tearful pastor from her hospital bed during an interview on Christmas Eve. “I will miss Christmas celebration with my church members…. I hope these Muslim rapists have not infected me with deadly diseases. I forgive them,” added the mother of five who was widowed five years earlier.

Attacks on Churches

Pakistan: On Christmas day, a mob consisting of as many as 60 Muslim men attacked a church during Christmas service. According to the Dec. 30 report, “They aimed to kidnap and assault the women in attendance.” However, the church’s security guards and male congregants “fought back with bare hands against the staff-wielding intruders, giving the women time to escape. Many Christian men suffered blunt trauma injuries and fractures in the fight.” Before things got violent, the Muslim invaders had made derogatory comments about the Christian women, adding that they were “looking dashing today. Let us have all of them in our beds.” When one of the Christian defenders angrily rose up, “The Muslims,” he said, “warned me never to stop them from doing whatever they wanted to do with Christian girls.” The authorities, on arriving, “helped the defeated Muslims escape, and blamed Christians for fighting back.” According to a spokesman for the Christians:

“They scolded and threatened the Christian community, the Christian church, saying it’s illegal to have their own security. Which is truly an unjustified and illegal action by the police, because it was announced by the government of Pakistan two years ago, that every church must have its own security. They must have their own CCTV cameras, barbed wires, and medical equipment.”

Sudan: A temporary church structure of the Sudanese Church of Christ has been burned down five times by what one pastor described as “radical Muslims.” They also threatened to butcher the Christians if they dared erect another tent again. According to the Dec. 22 report:

“Saying they didn’t want a Christian presence in the area, the extremists have burned down the structures on Jan. 19, 2019, and this year on Jan. 4, Jan. 19, Jan. 28, and Aug. 7…. The church decided to report the attacks to police after the Aug. 7 arson in spite of the threats.”

The original church building, which had been in operation since 1993, was first torched in 2019; since then, the 150-member congregation have been worshipping inside tents, though all five have been “reduced to ashes along with Bibles and prayer books.” Church members identified several of the assailants. Police initially refused to file a case until an attorney got involved. Five of nine suspects involved have been arrested.

Discrimination, Misogyny, and Violence against Christians

Egypt: In what human rights activists described as an “egregious miscarriage of justice,” a court acquitted three Muslim men charged with assaulting a Christian grandmother, including by spitting on and beating her, stripping her naked and parading her in the streets of their village, on the accusation that her son was romantically involved with a Muslim woman. Although this attack took place in 2016, and although video evidence and witnesses have identified the three Muslim men, the Egyptian courts refused to render a decision. As a Dec. 21 press release from Coptic Solidarity explains:

“After multiple delay tactics, including judges ‘recusing’ themselves and retrials by different court circuits, the case reached this sad conclusion. The Egyptian judiciary has revealed their true face of Islamist fanaticism and blatant bias against Coptic victims. This is indeed shameful for a country that has employed some form of a ‘modern’ justice system for 150 years.

“Upon hearing news of the court ruling, Mrs. Thabet [the victim], burst into tears, simply saying ‘What shall I do after being so humiliated! My right is in the hands of my Lord who shall render me His justice.'”

Pakistan/China: Christian and Hindu women in Pakistan are being marketed to China as concubines and forced brides, a Dec. 9 report revealed. Due to China’s longstanding one-child only policy and cultural preference to give birth to boys, the nation suffers from an acute shortage of females, causing Chinese men to import women from abroad. Speaking on Dec. 8, the top U.S. diplomat for religious freedom, Samuel Brownback, said that “religious minorities, Christian and Hindu women” from Pakistan are “being marketed as concubines and as forced as brides [sic] into China.” This, he added., is because “there’s discrimination against religious minorities that make [sic] them more vulnerable” in Muslim Pakistan.

France: “Handwritten letters were mailed to seven black African priests with their names and the address of the rectory where they live,” reported the Vicar General of the Diocese of Avignon Pascal Molemb Emock: “The mail only says ‘Allah Akbar’ in French and in Arabic.” Because violent Islamic attacks on clergymen and Christians in general have been escalating in France—five weeks earlier a Muslim man crying “Allahu Akbar” entered a church in Nice and slaughtered three Christians—an investigation was quickly opened. As a police source explained on Dec. 9, “These are not direct death threats, but in the context of a terrorist threat, this matter is taken very seriously.” “I am not afraid for myself,” said one of the priests. “I will continue to live alone in my rectory. But I am responsible for a community, I must be careful for the parishioners.”

Iraq: Throughout November and December, at least 14 shops that sell alcohol in Baghdad—most of which are owned by Christians—were firebombed. According to a Dec. 16 report, these escalating attacks have “terrified shop-owners who fear hardline Islamists are flexing their muscle against alcohol consumption.” Discussing the situation, Andre, an Iraqi Christian, reported that the recent bombing of his shop had cost him thousands of dollars in repairs. “These groups want the last of the Christians to leave the country,” he said of the attackers: “They’re targeting us.” He also blamed security forces for leaving their post for hours, thereby providing the attackers with “time to place the explosives, take pictures before and after and publish them on Facebook.” “Why doesn’t the government arrest them?” he added, pointing out that he had even provided authorities with the license plate number of the attacking vehicle as captured by the store’s surveillance camera.

Christmastime Terror

Spain: On Christmas day, a Muslim of Moroccan background, known only as Muhammad Q., stalked through a Christmas street celebration while brandishing a machete and crying out, “Allahu akbar, I’m going to kill you,” at random passersby. He lunged at police when they arrived and slightly injured them, though they managed to subdue and arrest him. Subsequent investigations revealed that the 45-year-old had a criminal record relating to the sexual abuse of a minor and ties to the Islamic State.

France: A group of Muslims thrashed another Muslim for participating in a Christmas Day dinner. After Nabil, 20, published pictures of the dinner online, a schoolmate expressed his “shock” via text that a fellow Muslim would celebrate Christmas, at one point texting, “I’ll show you what a real Arab is.” Nabil and his scandalized Muslim schoolmate then agreed to meet and discuss the matter; but when Nabil arrived, the schoolmate and four other men ambushed and beat him, leaving him with a bloodied and bruised face and a warning not to report the incident to police, or else. Undeterred, he contacted local authorities who subsequently arrested the schoolmate. During his trial, he continued to assert his “shock” that Nabil had posted such pictures, adding “It is not Muslim to celebrate Christmas.”

Western Europe: Some Christians in a few nations celebrated Christmas under threat. According to a Dec. 3 report, British intelligence, relying on a former al-Qaeda bomb-maker, warned that “a senior Isis commander is plotting a Christmas terror campaign in European countries, including Britain.” The Muslim terrorists had allegedly “decided to try and use the lifting of lockdown restrictions during the Christmas period to launch attacks in Europe, in particular against the UK, France and Germany.”

Germany: In a video that appears embedded in a Dec. 19 article, a Muslim cleric living in Braunschweig declared that “Christmas is an insult to Allah” (Click to Source)

Raymond Ibrahim, author of Crucified Again and Sword and Scimitar, 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.

About this Series

While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, persecution of Christians by extremists is growing. The report posits that such persecution is not random but rather systematic, and takes place irrespective of language, ethnicity, or location.

Previous reports

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