Nigeria: Jihad against Christians

by Uzay Bulut

  • The current violence, which has been getting worse since early 2017, “is slightly different, in that it is a series of targeted attacks on Christian communities attempting to displace farmers and take land for herders.” — Nathan Johnson, International Christian Concern, Regional Manager for Africa.
  • “Christians in Nigeria are treated as second-class citizens in the twelve northern states, where sharia law is implemented. They are victimized in many ways. Christian girls are kidnapped and forced into marriage to Muslim men. Pastors are abducted for ransom. Churches are vandalized or completely destroyed.” — Nathan Johnson.
  • “The Nigerian government and the international community… have from the start done little to address the situation. This lack of participation is not surprising: they cannot even acknowledge its roots, namely, the intolerant ideology of jihad. As a result, the death toll of Christians has only risen — and will likely continue to grow exponentially — until such time that this reality is not only acknowledged but addressed.” — Raymond Ibrahim, author and Middle East expert.

 

Christians are being massacred in Nigeria by Fulani and Boko Haram jihadists — and no one seems to care.

The most severe persecution of these defenseless Christians — who make up half of Nigeria’s total population — has been taking place mostly in the Muslim north of the country, which is governed by sharia law, and in the states known as the “Middle Belt,” which are a transition zone between the northern and southern states.

According to the human rights organization International Christian Concern (ICC):

“Fulani militants continued to carry out violent attacks throughout Nigeria’s Middle Belt region in March. The brutal attacks perpetrated by these hardline Islamic militants persistently spark fear among Christians living in the Middle Belt, as death tolls continue to rise… Last month [March 2019], at least 150 people were killed.

“… Nigerian bishop William Amove Avenya of Benue State said, ‘Fulani tribesmen armed to the teeth, are murdering pregnant women and children, and destroying our smallholdings.

“‘This is a time bomb that threatens to ignite the whole region. We cannot wait for a mass genocide to happen before intervening,’ he added.

“… Below are the largest attacks that took place in March:

  1. March 4, 2019: Fulani militants attack Benue State, killing 23
  2. March 11, 2019: Fulani militias attack Kajuru, burning more than 100 homes, killing 52
  3. March 18, 2019: Boko Haram sieged a Christian majority town in Adamawa State, inhabited by more than 370,000 people.”

ICC Regional Manager for Africa, Nathan Johnson, who recently visited Nigeria, told Gatestone that this deadly violence began less than 20 years ago.

“It really only started in 2001, after riots between Muslims and Christians in the Plateau region left more than 1,000 people dead and many churches destroyed. There were also deadly riots in 2008 and 2010, and the tension between the two communities has been growing ever since.”

Johnson noted that the current violence, which has been getting worse since early 2017, “is slightly different, in that it is a series of targeted attacks on Christian communities attempting to displace farmers and take land for herders.”

He said that the hostility includes a complex set of factors — socio-economic (herder vs. farmer), ethnic (mainly Fulani vs. everyone else except Hausa) and religious (Muslim vs. Christian), however:

“The Nigerian government and the mainstream media have downplayed the fact that radical Muslims are slaughtering Christian communities in Nigeria. They would much rather describe the crisis as a clash between two ethnic or socio-economic communities who are killing each other — even though nearly 80% of the casualties are Christians.”

Johnson added:

“Christians in Nigeria are treated as second-class citizens in the twelve northern states, where sharia law is implemented. They are victimized in many ways. Christian girls are kidnapped and forced into marriage to Muslim men. Pastors are abducted for ransom. Churches are vandalized or completely destroyed.

“The Christians I met during my recent trip to Nigeria, who have suffered from both the Fulani and Boko Haram, are hoping that others around the world are concerned about and praying for them. Many lack food, water and shelter, because they have been driven off their lands and into cities where they cannot farm or find work. Hundreds of thousands of Christian children across the country are unable to go to school because their parents cannot afford it, do not have access to it or fear that their children could be attacked or abducted on their way to or in the classroom.”

As the Middle East expert Raymond Ibrahim wrote last year:

“The Nigerian government and the international community… have from the start done little to address the situation. This lack of participation is not surprising: they cannot even acknowledge its roots, namely, the intolerant ideology of jihad. As a result, the death toll of Christians has only risen — and will likely continue to grow exponentially — until such time that this reality is not only acknowledged but addressed.” (Click to Source)

Uzay Bulut, a Turkish journalist, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute.

 
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Nigerian Muslim Militants Kill 120 Christians in Three Weeks

 

The recent death toll of Christians in Nigeria has reached 120 with this week’s slaughter of more than 50 by Fulani Muslim militants in the Kaduna state of Nigeria, the Christian Post reported.

The Fulani jihadists, who have become a greater threat to Nigerian Christians than the Islamist terror group Boko Haram, stormed the villages of Inkirimi, Dogonnoma, and Ungwan Gora in the Kajuru Local Government Area last Monday, destroying 143 homes, killing 52 people, and wounding dozens more.

The assailants reportedly split into three groups, the first of which fired upon the people, the second set fire to buildings, and the third chased down people fleeing from the scene. Victims of the assault included women and children.

Monday’s incident followed an attack the day before in the Ungwan Barde village in Kajuru, where 17 Christians were killed and dozens of homes were burned.

In the first week of March, Muslim extremists massacred more than 30 Christians in Karamar village, setting fire to several houses and a church. The terrorists reportedly shot at families trying to escape the fire, killing 32.

The spate of recent attacks against communities has taken place within the predominantly Christian Adara chiefdom of southern Kaduna.

The governor of Kaduna state, Nasir El-Rufai, has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on the Kajuru Local Government Area to try to contain the violence.

In late February, militants attacked the Maro village, killing 38 Christians and torching homes as well as a Christian church.

The Christian Post reported that Fulani militants killed thousands of Christians in 2018 alone in what many are calling a Christian genocide in Nigeria’s Middle Belt.

Last December, a leading Anglican bishop in Nigeria, Dr. Benjamin Argak Kwashi, said that the Muslim Fulani militants represent the number one terrorist threat facing Christians in Nigeria.

“The government is able to provide protection [to the Christians], but what’s obvious to everybody is that the government is unwilling,” Kwashi told Breitbart News.

“The Fulani herdsmen are a bigger threat,” Kwashi added. “Boko Haram operates in the northeast and scantily moves into other areas, but the Fulani herdsmen are widespread. They’re everywhere now. So the Fulani are a bigger threat.” (Click to Source)

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“Is It Really Human Beings Doing This?” Muslim Persecution of Christians, January 2019

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Massacres in and Attacks on Churches

Philippines: On Sunday, January 27, Islamic militants bombed a Catholic cathedral during Mass.  At least 20 people were killed and 111 wounded.  Two explosives were detonated about a minute apart in or near the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Jolo around 8:45 a.m.  According to one report, “The initial explosion scattered the wooden pews inside the main hall and blasted window glass panels, and the second bomb hurled human remains and debris across a town square fronting the cathedral.”  Photos on social media showed human bodies and remains strewn on the street just outside the cathedral.  The officiating priest, Fr. Ricky Bacolcol, “was still in shock and could not speak about what happened,” to quote a colleague.  After the first bomb detonated, army troops and police posted outside the cathedral rushed in, at which point the second bomb went off.  Fifteen of the slain were civilians, five military men; 90 of the wounded were civilians.  Located in a Muslim-majority area, the cathedral was heavily guarded as it had been hit before: grenades were hurled at it twice in 2010, both times damaging the building; and in 1997, Bishop Benjamin de Jesus was gunned down just outside the cathedral.  The Islamic State claimed this most recent attack, adding that the massacre was carried out by “two knights of martyrdom” against a “crusader temple.”

Egypt: An Islamic terror plot to bomb a packed Christian church on the evening of January 6,  when Coptic Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas, was foiled by police.  According to one report,

[F]our explosive devices were planted around the Church of the Virgin Mary and St Mercurius in … Nasr City.  Three were removed safely but the fourth, concealed in a bag, exploded when police bomb disposal technicians attempted to deactivate it. Police Major Mostafa Ebeid was killed in the blast, which wounded two other officers and a bystander. The explosion was the latest in a series of incidents apparently targeting Egypt’s Coptic Christian population, occurring the day before Orthodox Christmas eve….

Separately, between late December and early January, authorities forcefully shut down four more churches in Egypt after angry Muslim mobs rioted in protest of their existence.  In one instance, on Friday, January 11, over one thousand Muslims surrounded and demanded the instant closure of St. George Church in Minya. Not only did authorities comply but they evicted the two priests who were holed up inside the church and hauled them off in a vehicle used for garbage, prompting “an elated response from a jubilating, gloating mob,” which included triumphant cries of “Allahu Akbar”(Allah is greater; a brief video of the mob can be seen here.)  Police “ behaved with the priests as they would with killers,” one human rights lawyer said.  “What happened frightened us,” added another clergyman. “I am a priest and it is possible for the police to cuff me if the extremist neighboring Muslims protest or gathered in front of my church. Things are getting worse, but let us pray to make God keep us in peace.”  The local Coptic Christian bishopric said in a statement,

This is not the first time a place used for worship by Copts in Minya is closed. The common factor among all closures, however, is that they were done to appease fundamentalists and extremists to the detriment of the Copts. It appears to indicate that extremists now hold the upper hand, and appeasing them is the easy way out of problems….  This comes in the wake of declarations by the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmad al-Tayyeb in favour of churches, also positive talk and actions by President Abdel-Fattah a-Sisi that every Egyptian has the right to practise his or her religion of choice, and to Pope Tawadros’s efforts on that front.

A January 15 report discussing this attack computes that, “In total, Egyptian authorities have closed four churches within the last four and a half weeks. No formal procedures against the attackers of these churches have begun.”

Cameroon: Muslim militants invaded and ransacked two Christian villages in the middle of the night of January 24.   They destroyed 190 homes, plundered and desecrated four churches, set a Christian hospital on fire, and killed livestock.  “Is it really human beings who are doing this?” a local eyewitness was later quoted as saying.   According to the report,

The attack on Gochi and Toufou [the Christian villages] is the fourth by militants in two weeks. In the previous attacks three people were killed and churches and homes were damaged or destroyed….  Christian villages in the far north of Cameroon are subject to attacks by Boko Haram Islamist militias [as] they attempt to establish an Islamic caliphate from north-eastern Nigeria all the way to northern Cameroon, which is where most Cameroonian Muslims live in what is a predominantly Christian country.

Nigeria:  Militant Muslims have destroyed a total of 1,125 churches belonging to one Christian denomination alone, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, which is primarily based in the Muslim majority northeast of the nation, a January 23 report found. The President of the denomination, Rev. Joel Billi continues making appeals for the local Muslim majority government to expedite the rebuilding of these places of worship: “Why are we flagrantly neglected as if we deserve to be punished? If not for the inadequacy of our security forces and political undertone, Boko Haram would not have overrun us. So, why do we pay for the sin that was not committed by us?”

Ghana:  Irate and machete wielding Muslim youth vandalized a church after its pastor predicted that the Chief Imam Sheikh Osman Nuhu Sharunutu would die this year. Afterwards they made a video giving the pastor an ultimatum to withdraw his prophecy or else: “We’re warning you,” said the group leader. “You have only 24 hours to capture yourself in a video to apologise to all Muslims. Don’t bring your fake prophecies on the Muslims or our Chief Imam. If you don’t apologise, we’ll drink your blood.”

Indonesia: A Muslim mob stormed a house church meeting on Sunday, January 13, in the North Sumatran capital of Medan.   Video footage shows a loud and angry throng led by men wearing Muslim skullcaps and women in hijabs surrounding a pastor’s residence, which had allegedly been converted into a place of worship for use by the Bethel Indonesia Church congregation.  The mob shouted at and shoved Christians in attendance before forcing the service to a close.  “We didn’t do things that were prohibited,” wrote one church member on Instagram. “We only wanted to pray, but why was our church attacked this morning? Where is justice in this country? Where is our religious tolerance? God is with us.”  Due to this and similar incidents, Christians are increasingly  “feel[ing] intimidated to worship in their own country,” the report notes, before adding that:

members of the congregation claim that they have obtained some permits for the building to function as a house of worship but are still missing some documents, which they say have been difficult to obtain from government officials, especially during the recent holiday period.  In September, authorities in the East Sumatran city of Jambi sealed three churches, which had been used as places of worship for over a decade, because they lacked official permits. An administrator at one of the churches said they were given no warning prior to the closure and that he suspected the churches were shut due to pressure from certain groups who threatened to protest if they remained open. Officials from one of the churches said their attempts to obtain the proper permits had proven difficult as government officials [in the Muslim majority nation] always denied them.

Algeria: After authorities shut down their church, a 300-strong Christian congregation began to meet and worship in a tent—only to be forced out of and ordered to dismantle it as well on January 28.  The tent was erected on the grounds of Azaghar Church, allowing the congregation to continue worshipping following the forced closure of their church on spurious “health and safety” reasons.  According to one report,

The church … lost the use of its building in October 2018, despite the congregation responding to requests to install fire exits and fire extinguishers.  While conversion from Islam is not a criminal offence in Algeria, those who witness to Muslims potentially face a five-year jail sentence.  The officially recognised church had been open for five years and is a powerful ministry to local Muslims. ….  A number of churches have been shut down since the start of 2018, either for alleged breaches of health and safety, or because authorities claim they are not properly registered.

Violence against Christians and Conversion Pressure

Uganda:  Muslims beat and hospitalized a Christian woman for praying to Christ in her home.  “Today we have come to warn you that you should avoid noisy prayers and the use of Issa [Jesus] in your prayers,” one of the four assailants informed Deborah Gimbo’s after bursting into her home.  They added that a local cleric had said that “people who pray in Jesus’ name should be fought and pressured until they accept only worship of Allah, or else be killed.”  “I cannot stop praying,” she responded, “and more so, Issa [Jesus] is my Lord and Savior, and I will continue praying in His name….  Immediately two of the intruders left the house, and in no time entered the room again with sticks and started beating me. I was hit on my face, and blood started flowing down my face as I started shouting for help.”  Neighbors came to her rescue; she was hospitalized for two days.

Iran:  During their final appeal hearing held on January 15,  two Christians “were asked by presiding judges Hassan Babaee and Ahmad Zargar to renounce their faith, but refused to do so,” says one report.  Earlier, on September 22, 2018, the two, Saheb Fadaie and Fatemeh Bakhteri, were sentenced to prison on the charge of “spreading propaganda against the regime,” and “promoting Zionist Christianity.”  The January 15 verdict also “claimed that discussions of Christian doctrine held in house churches were considered attacks on Islam.”  A human rights activist familiar with the case elaborated:

The conviction of Mr Fadaie and Ms Bakhteri for asserting Christian doctrine is not only a grave violation of their right to espouse a religious belief of their choosing, but also criminalises the Christian faith, which the Iranian constitution purports to recognise…. We call for the verdict against Mr Fadaie and Ms Bakhteri to be overturned, and urge the Iranian authorities to ensure due process in cases involving religious minorities. We also continue to urge the Iranian government to cease all forms of harassment and intimidation of peaceable religious communities, and to release all those detained in connection with their religion or belief.

Somalia: “It’s very dangerous for anyone to identify you as a Christian in this country,” an underground pastor going by the pseudonym of John explained in a January 7 report concerning the dangers of being outed as a Christian in the Islamic Horn of Africa. “You will, in fact, be counting your days on Earth.  So we are always silent as long as we meet and share the word of God in private.”  The report elaborates:

Hundreds of Christians in Somalia, typically foreigners from nearby countries who work across the East African nation, fear [that] Muslim extremists — both jihadists in al-Shabab, a group linked to al-Qaida, and rogue elements among their otherwise peaceful neighbors — would kill them if they knew they held Christian services.  Around 99.8 percent of Somalis are Muslim….  In recent years, the situation for Christians in the Horn of Africa has worsened, as illustrated by killings shared on social media. In the region under the control of al-Shabab, the militants hunt for Christians.

Attacks on Muslim Converts to Christianity

Kenya: “Muslim policemen on Saturday (Jan. 19) beat and arrested a Christian man on the outskirts of Nairobi, in retaliation for refusing to recant Christianity,” states one report. “Accompanied by two Muslims of Somali descent who had attacked him previously, the policemen arrived at the home where Hassan (surname withheld for security reasons) lives with his widowed mother, and the officers along with the two others punched, kicked, trampled and struck him with blunt objects…”  According to his mother:

The police arrived and carried Hassan away with blood flowing from his body. My son’s leg is bruised, he has serious chest and back pain, he is unable to walk and some of his teeth were removed.  My family is in danger, where are we going to hide ourselves? I cannot go back to Islam. I am better dying with my family than going back to Islam….I have suffered several persecutions from the Muslims for converting to Christianity….  My stomach is ailing from the attack I suffered few years ago. I cannot stand in an upright position. I and my family have chosen the cause of Christ. No turning back.

Sudan/Egypt:  A January 31 report recounted the persecution experienced by a former Muslim woman turned Christian. Ebtehaj Alsanosi, 42, “had fled to Egypt in 2005 after being jailed five times for her faith in Sudan.”  She eventually married another convert who had also fled Sudan and birthed a daughter.  Her persecutors eventually tracked her down, kidnapping her on the way to market in Egypt:

They called her name, grabbed her, covered her nose and mouth, twisted her hands and sprayed some chemical on her that left her unconscious…They took her to the windowless room in an unknown house where they poured water on her, pulled her hair and tied her hands and legs to a chair, all the while shouting her name. Covering her eyes, they reminded her of her Islamic upbringing in Sudan, and how after her school years she moved with her family to Saudi Arabia. Her Sudanese father, they reminded her, is a sheikh (Islamic teacher) in Saudi Arabia.

“You are disgrace to your Muslim family, you brought shame to the family,” they yelled at her as they beat her. “You are ‘kafira’ [infidel].”  They ordered her to return to her Sudanese family in Saudi Arabia, otherwise, she, her husband, and daughter aged 11 would all be slaughtered.  “I will not go back to Islam—I hate Islam,” she shot back, prompting them to beat her even harder.  One of her abductors then brought “a copy of the Koran and began reciting verses that call for the killing of those who leave Islam”—even as they all shouted “Allahu Akbar”  in between recitals.  “The extremists then untied her, forced her to lie on the floor and ripped her clothes. In spite of her pleas to stop, they raped her in turns.” One of the men said, “This is lesson number one.”  They continued abusing and beating her, asking after each torture session if she was ready to renounce Christ and resubmit to Muhammad, only for her to refuse.  She was eventually struck unconscious, and when she came to, was lying in the middle of a busy street.

A separate January 21 report revealed the sufferings of a Muslim man who also fled from Sudan to Egypt after converting to Christianity.  Osman “left Khartoum in April 2014 after police from Sudan’s Criminal Investigation Department accused him of apostasy, punishable by death in Sudan.”  At one point, “National police arrested him from the streets of Khartoum, covered his eyes with a cloth and took him into secret detention, where they tortured him for three weeks…  He was suspended from the ceiling while agents poured cold water on him, leaving his left hand permanently damaged…”  “[T]hey told me they were going to kill me if I do not return back to Islam,” he explained.  “I fled Sudan for my life after I learned that my life was in danger.”  Before long, however, unknown persons in Cairo began sending him death threats via phone texts.  Most recently, his apartment was raided and his passport stolen, prompting him to go into hiding.   “My life is in great danger as Egypt is becoming an insecure place for me,” Osman was last reported as saying.

Uganda: The story of a mother and daughter who were driven out of their home by their Muslim husband/father after they converted to Christianity appeared in a January 7 report.  According to Adijah, the mother:

All the years that I was a Muslim, I found nothing wrong with it. But last year, when I was listening to a radio program about Jesus, I started thinking about Christianity and why there was so much enmity between Muslims and Christians. I did not know [it then, but it] started my journey to Christianity.  My husband learned that I had accepted Christ when he found a Bible in the house. I pleaded with him to allow me to try out my new faith and see how far I would go, but he was reluctant. Within days, he became hostile towards me and Nuriah [the daughter] who had also started reading the Bible. I was given a one-week ultimatum to decide if I wanted to become a non-Muslim and follow the lost religion of Christianity.

Knowledge of her apostasy from Islam eventually spread throughout the region and extended family and others urged her husband to drive her out: “You are an infidel,” he eventually burst out.  “I do not want to see you here. Pick your clothes and leave with Nuriah because she has also started reading the Bible and singing Christian hymns. See the shame and destruction you have brought to us. Nuriah used to be a good Muslim, but now she hides and goes with you to church.”

The following day before we left [continues Adijah], he had uprooted all the cassava crops I had planted. Shouting at the top of his voice, he threatened to take back everything that he had put under my name so that I will not inherit any property from him. He said these were the dire consequences of forsaking Allah and his prophet and following after other gods.

According to his daughter, Nuriah, “I am ready to become a Christian, but my father might look for me and beat me. I still love my father but he doesn’t want us to worship the way we want. He should not force us into Islam. One of our relatives has informed us that my father is looking for ways to kill us.”  He has since remarried. “I hear that he has looked for a Muslim lady and they are staying together in the same house we used to live,” said his ex-wife. “We live in fear because we don’t know what he is planning to do to us.”   The destitute mother and daughter have experienced much  poverty and turmoil since, and were last reported as taking refuge with a Christian family in another part of the nation.

Separately in Uganda, a former Muslim turned Christian lives in fear for his life after local Muslims razed the church he led to the ground and threatened him with death for apostatizing and causing other Muslims to apostatize from Islam.    “A gang of radical Muslims entered the church compound,” Simon Mustafa Waseke, who became Christian in 2017, recalled, “and pulled down the church building while shouting ‘Allah Akbar [Allah is greater], away with this church and Pastor Mustafa Waseke. No more prayers in this place, or else you will all lose your lives,’ and in no time the church was on its ground.”  A clandestine Christian in touch with the Muslim community informed him that they are plotting his murder:  “Even if am given police protection, I am not sure of the security of my members of the church, who are now very fearful.  I am at a crossroads of not knowing what to do. My church members are scattered like sheep without a shepherd. Soon their faith in Christ will diminish, and they will possibly return to Islam…. The Muslims are now out to kill me and my family—we are having sleepless nights.  How long are we going to hide ourselves from our enemies of Christianity? Please pray for us.”

Pro-Muslim and Anti-Christian Bias in the West

United Kingdom: A Christian man who had been residing in the UK for 15 years was in early January deported back to Pakistan, even though he had been persecuted there.  Asher Samson, 41, “first arrived in the UK in 2004 to carry out his theology training in order to become a pastor, but later applied for asylum after receiving threats from Islamic extremists during visits home,” notes a report. His former pastor, Rev Lorraine Shorton from Hall Green United Community Church, described his current situation:  “I’ve received some messages from him. He’s very scared, he’s fearful for his life….  He’s in hiding in Pakistan and his family are terribly worried for him….  At the moment he has no funds to live on—he can’t work …. [T]he UK is sending people back to these countries where their lives are in danger. Pakistan is number five on the World Watch List for extremism against Christians and it’s just disgraceful really that we’re sending people potentially to their death…. Pray that the government will see sense.”

Another separate report from January 20 asserts that, when it comes to offering asylum, the UK “appears to discriminate in favour of Muslims” instead of Christian minorities from Muslim nations. Statistics confirm this allegation:  “out of 4,850 Syrian refugees accepted for resettlement by the Home Office in 2017, only eleven were Christian, representing just 0.2% of all Syrian refugees accepted by the UK.”

New Zealand:  Of those foreign nationals offered asylum between October 31, 2017 and October 31, 2018, seven were from Iraq, 105 from Afghanistan, and 277 from Syria—yet all were Muslims a report found: “Figures for previous years … are equally bleak. In 2016, only six Christians were among the 377 Syrians granted sanctuary, and in the five weeks up to 10 February 2017 no Christians were among the 45 Syrians, all Muslims, who were allowed to settle. Christians made up 10% of the population of Syria before the war.”  Responding to this disparity, a government spokesman said refugees were considered for resettlement on the basis of “their protection needs and not religious affiliation.”  However, considering that the Islamic State regularly targets people based on their “religious affiliation” suggests that Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities have many more “protection needs” than Muslims.

Raymond Ibrahim, author of the new book, Sword and Scimitar, Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

About this Series

The persecution of Christians in the Islamic world has become endemic.  Accordingly, “Muslim Persecution of Christians” was developed to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that surface each month. It serves two purposes:

1)          To document that which the mainstream media does not: the habitual, if not chronic, persecution of Christians.

2)          To show that such persecution is not “random,” but systematic and interrelated—that it is rooted in a worldview inspired by Islamic Sharia.

Accordingly, whatever the anecdote of persecution, it typically fits under a specific theme, including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; apostasy, blasphemy, and proselytism laws that criminalize and sometimes punish with death those who “offend” Islam; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam;  theft and plunder in lieu of jizya (financial tribute expected from non-Muslims); overall expectations for Christians to behave like cowed dhimmis, or third-class, “tolerated” citizens; and simple violence and murder. Sometimes it is a combination thereof.

Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and locales—from Morocco in the West, to Indonesia in the East—it should be clear that one thing alone binds them: Islam—whether the strict application of Islamic Sharia law, or the supremacist culture born of it. (Click to Source)

 
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Persecution in Nigeria has resulted in 16,000 Christians dead in less than 3 years

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16,000 Christians Dead in Less Than 3 Years: Report Reveals Extent of Violence in Nigeria

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U.S. President Donald Trump and his counterpart, Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, have been told that at least 16,000 Christians have been killed in Nigeria since June 2015, many of them victims of radical Islamic violence.

The International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law submitted a petition to Buhari last week, where the civil society organization urged the president to “wake up from [his] slumber” and protect the millions of endangered Christians in Nigeria.

The “Christians at Crossroads in Nigeria” letter, shared online by Elombah.com, said that 16,000 people, mostly Christians, have been killed since Buhari took office in 2015, including the 5,800 victims of Boko Haram and Fulani herdsmen, based on Intersociety’s investigation.

Intersociety, which sent a copy of the letter to Trump and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Gutteres, said that the 30 million or so Christians in Northern Nigeria have for decades suffered discrimination and violent attacks at the hands of radical terror groups.

“The estimated 16,000 deaths are specifically composed of 2,050 victims of direct State violence, 7,950 victims of police custody or captivity killings through racial profiling and unprofessional crime detection management, 2,050 victims of Boko Haram insurgency and 3,750 victims of terror Fulani Herdsmen killings,” the group calculated, noting that hundreds of churches have also been destroyed.

(PHOTO: REUTERS/AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE)A woman attends a community dialogue meeting as she sits in front of a burnt building belonging to Christ Holy Church International in Uzo-Uwani village near Nimbo town in Nigeria’s southeastern state of Enugu August 4, 2016.

Buhari vowed to defeat Boko Haram when he came to power, and although authorities said on a number of occasions throughout 2017 that the radical Islamic group is being successfully driven out of the country, bombing and kidnapping attacks continue.

“In the months of December 2017 and January 2018 alone not less than 350 mostly Christians were killed by Fulani Herdsmen and Boko Haram in the States of Adamawa, Taraba, Borno, Benue and Southern Kaduna,” the report said.

“In January 2018 alone, not less than 250 defenseless citizens composed of mostly Christians were killed in the above named States.”

Intersociety pointed out that despite Buhari’s promises, attacks against Christians have increased by 62 percent since June 2015, and blamed the government for doing “little to nothing” in terms of bringing those responsible to justice.

The group declared:

“We hereby strongly call on Mr. President to put an end to slaughtering of thousands of defenseless Christians on annual basis by terror Fulani Herdsmen in Northern Nigeria and proscribe the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria as well as fish out their leaders and culpable elements and charge them for manslaughter and culpable homicide, respectively, among other felonies committed against the State of Nigeria and its population.

“Mr. President must wake up from Mr. President’s slumber and discharge Mr. President’s sworn constitutional duties and functions courageously and impartially so as to prevent a situation where millions of the threatened and endangered Christians in Nigeria will be forced to take recourse to self-defense and other self-help mechanisms to prevent their Christian religion and practices going the way of their counterparts in Lebanon, Asyut in Egypt and Turkey and other parts of Middle East.”

The Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans has also been increasingly critical of Buhari, and warned in a statement last week that the country is fast becoming “rudderless.”

“CANAN commiserate with the recent victims of the Herdsmen massacre in several states in Nigeria particularly in Benue and Nasarawa. We pray that God will console the families of those who lost their lives in this dastard acts, and further states as follows,” the group said, and outlined several grievances it has with the Buhari administration.

It accused government officials of inaction and refusing to provide the necessary support to protect Christian communities, but it also warned that the conflict should not be seen as one between regular Muslims and Christians.

“This is an isolated incident orchestrated by criminal herdsmen. To this end we should all rally support for the victims as injury to one is injury to all,” CANAN said. (Click to Source)

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“Oh You Cross-Worshippers, We’ll Kill You All”

Muslim Persecution of Christians, August 2017

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Sweden recently decided to deport Aideen Strandsson, a female Iranian convert to Christianity. When Strandsson pleaded that in Iran she could face the death penalty as an apostate, Swedish officials told her, “it’s not our problem if you decided to become a Christian, and it’s your problem.” (Image source: Facebook/Aideen Strandsson)

  • A popular Arabic-language newspaper attacked Morocco’s Christian activists for their faith and ended with the message: the “Koran requires the killing of apostates.” — Morocco.
  • Muhammad and the imam tracked down the boy and attacked him again. When a passerby saw the violence and contacted police, “instead of protecting the teenager from his attackers, [police] arrested and booked him into prison on blasphemy charges.” Hours later, the imam and “a mob of more than 300 Muslim fundamentalists surrounded the prison, and called for a public lynching of Stephen.” — Pakistan.
  • Sweden decided to deport a female Iranian convert to Christianity. When the convert, Aideen Strandsson, pleaded that in Iran she could face the death penalty as an apostate, Swedish officials told her, “it’s not our problem if you decided to become a Christian, and it’s your problem.” Meanwhile, Sweden continues accepting Muslim refugees.
  • In the name of “fighting terrorism,” Bangladesh made changes to a law that forced approximately 200 Christian organizations to shut down.

    A document drafted by members of the global Christian community convening at the 3rd International Christian Forum, held in Moscow, detailed how over the past ten years the Middle East’s Christian population has shrunk by 80% and warned that unless current trends are reversed, Christianity “will vanish” from its ancient homelands in a few years’ time. Around the year 2000, there were 1.5 million Christians in Iraq; today there are only 100,000 — roughly a 93% percent drop, the document notes. In Syria, the largest cities “have lost almost all of their Christian population.”

    Other experts offered similarly dismal statistics. The Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Hamilton, Massachusetts, had predicted that by 2025, the percentage of Christians in the Middle East — which in 1910 was 13.6% — could go down to around 3%.

    Christians seeking to return to areas in Iraq and Syria liberated from the Islamic State (ISIS) continue to face discrimination from local Muslim and Kurdish communities. Andrew White, also known as the “vicar of Baghdad,” had said that, “the time has come where it is over, no Christians will be left. Some say Christians should stay to maintain the historical presence, but it has become very difficult. The future for the community is very limited.”

    Others, such as Former Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), are more optimistic: “Now is the time. We have an administration that’s open to doing something,” he said, indicating the US Trump administration.

    Meanwhile, ISIS continued to harbor high hopes. In a video released by the terrorist organization in August, an extremist tore up a photo of Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI, while saying, “Remember this, you kuffar[infidels] — we will be in Rome, we will be in Rome, inshallah [Allah willing].” The narrator of the video also vowed that, “After all their efforts, it would be the religion of the cross that would be broken. The crusaders’ enmity toward the Muslims only served to embolden a generation of youth.” When asked about this, the pope’s top aide said, “Pope Francis hasn’t changed a thing in his agenda, nor is he going to. Furthermore, he’ll continue to foment dialogue, creating bridges, defending peace. With Muslims and Christians.”

    August’s roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes, but is not limited to, the following:

    Muslim Slaughter of Christians

    Kenya: Islamic terrorists hacked four Christian men to death for refusing to renounce Christ and embrace Islam. On Friday, August 28, jihadis from the Somali-based group, Al Shabaab, rounded up three men (two in their forties, the other 17) and held them at one of the Christians’ homes. They ordered them to recite the shahada — that “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger” — and thereby renounce the Trinity and become Muslim. When the men refused, the Muslims hacked them to pieces with machetes. They then went and slaughtered the mentally handicapped older brother of one of the slain. According to the “severely traumatized” wife of one of the men, “Al-Shabaab knew these men as Christians, and Joseph [her slain husband] as a church elder.”

    Nigeria: Gunmen massacred as many as 50 Christian worshippers inside ‎St. Philip’s Catholic Church in Amambra State during a Sunday morning service. Initial reports claimed that “the gunmen were hunting for a drug baron, traced him to his house but were told he had gone to church.” When they found he was not in the church, “out of anger, probably, they rained bullets on worshippers in the church.” However, not only does the attack closely follow the pattern of other jihadi terror attacks on churches in Nigeria, but at least one group, Act for Biafra, a Biafran independence organization, issued a statement referring to the attack as a “jihadist slaughter” of Christian churchgoers.

    Separately, during an attack on a Christian community in a Muslim majority region that enforces Sharia (Islamic law), Muslim terrorists slaughtered a Christian father and his son, and abducted three women and a baby. Aside from habitual attacks on Christians “in northern Nigeria, [which is Muslim majority] Christians who have already been displaced by Boko Haram extremists are being forced out of their refugee camps and denied access to vital aid,” according to human rights activists.

    Pakistan: Javid Masih, a Christian man who sold himself into slavery to a Muslim family for two years to buy his family a home, was regularly abused, kept from going to church, and finally murdered in August. When the two-year contract was nearly up and Javid told one of the family that he looked forward to getting married, he was told, “There is no way you will ever be free from us and leave this place.” When his term was up and he asked for his freedom, he was severely chided by the family’s sons: “You filthy Chura [“worthless thing”], how dare you ask for your freedom. Your life is ours. You will clean our excrement every day of your life from now on or you and your family will die.” Afterwards, “he was grabbed by the brothers, tied up, beaten and spat upon for a whole day. He had never told his family about this because he was both embarrassed and fearful of the repercussions on his family if they got involved. Other employees were made to see the brutal torture of Javed to instill a sense of fear amongst them.” He continued as a slave but his productivity dropped, and the Muslim family decided to do away with him. They poisoned him and then dumped him in front of his family’s home. When his widowed mother begged them to drive him to a hospital, they spat on her. He died; the police reported the death a “suicide.” Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the British Pakistani Christian Association, said:

    “Despite anti-slavery laws in Pakistan bonded labour proliferates and is destroying the lives of many Christians. The Bonded Labour (Abolition) Act 1992 is not worth the paper it is written on and the Government’s clear apathy to enforce the law illustrates the low value placed on Christians and other minorities… There is a very small suicide rate in Pakistan of around 300 victims over two years—Pakistanis are hardy. It is inconceivable that Javed committed suicide when he expressed no such desire to anyone he knew and remained stoic for two years despite the pain inflicted on him.”

    Another Christian man, a prisoner who was offered but rejected Islam, was found dead “under mysterious circumstances in police custody,” according to a report. Indaryas Ghulam, 38, was among 42 Christians arrested for the lynching of two Muslims associated with a 2015 church attack that killed nearly 20 Christians and wounded 70. Indaryas had denied involvement in the lynching and was one of the prisoners promised “release in exchange of reneging Christ.”

    “He could have saved his life, but decided to bear witness to his faith onto death…. The prison administration attributed his death to poor health; he had tuberculosis. But his wife Shabana and daughter Shumir, who saw the body, said that he had burns and cuts everywhere, clear signs of torture and of the brutality to which he had been subjected. What is more, they add that although he was severely ill, he never received adequate medical care behind the bars.”

    Muslim Attacks on Christian Freedom

    Iran: Approximately five hundred Muslim converts to Christianity have faced persecution in Iran, and fled to Turkey in search of asylum, notes an August report. One young convert who said he could not be who he wanted to be if he remained Muslim, added that he is now feeling “comfortable” as a Christian. Another said:

    “I changed my religion because I did not see anything in Islam. Whatever I saw was wrong. It is a fact that the government of Iran is an Islamic one, yet our youth are getting executed. In Iraq the same…. There is ISIS and [they] are killing people in the name of Islam, and there are vulnerable people who are being beheaded there. They have fled to Turkey, and we came to Turkey. That is why I did not see any good from Islam.”

    Open Doors USA, which monitors Christian persecution around the world, confirms that “Converts to Christianity from Islam make up the largest group of Christians and experience the most persecution.”

    Morocco: An August report reveals that earlier in 2017, a popular Arabic language newspaper attacked Morocco’s Christian activists for their faith and, considering that virtually all Christians in Morocco are converts from Islam, ended with the message: the “Koran requires the killing of apostates.” “Morocco is home to several thousand Christians who live across the nation, many of whom are new converts and forced to worship in secret churches,” the report adds. “Christians are regularly harassed by authorities, and societal pressure to renounce their faith is commonplace throughout the country.”

    Pakistan: Another Christian minor was beaten and charged with “blaspheming” against Islam. After a Muslim man, Muhammed Nawaz, accused Asif Stephen, 16, of stealing at a local bazaar, he beat the boy, then told the local imam, who, according to the report, “has a history of preaching hatred towards minority Christians,” that the youth had also burned a Koran. Muhammad and the imam tracked down the boy and attacked him again. When a passerby saw the violence and contacted police, “instead of protecting the teenager from his attackers, [police] arrested and booked him into prison on blasphemy charges.” Hours later, the imam and “a mob of more than 300 Muslim fundamentalists surrounded the prison and called for a public lynching of Stephen.”

    “As the mob overwhelmed local police, Stephen was removed from his cell and handed over to the mob, who consequently beat him until reinforcement officers stepped in to calm the situation. Police then moved Stephen to a higher security district jail where he plead guilty to blasphemy in what his family believed was a coerced confession.”

    Uganda: On August 7, Sophia Nakisaala, 35, a Muslim woman, embraced Christianity after her daughter was healed by a street preacher:

    “My child got healed instantly from high fever, which had caused several convulsions. The evangelist shared with me about Issa [Jesus], whom he said to be the healer and Savior. I then decided to accept Him as my Lord and Savior and then returned back home.”

    When she returned home and began telling Muhammad Lubaale, her husband, what had happened, “He got angry and slapped me. I kept quiet and did not respond to his interrogation about my new faith in Jesus.” Three days later, word of his daughter’s healing and confirmation that his wife had indeed embraced Christ reached Muhammad. “My husband arrived home on Aug. 10 and started beating me and injuring me with bruises on my head and right hand, using a stick,” Sophia explained. “Neighbors came to my rescue and housed me that very night.” The following morning, while her husband was away, she gathered her four children—aged 3, 5, 8 and 11—and went to an area pastor, who helped her find refuge.

    Sweden: The Western nation most renowned for taking in — and suffering from — Muslim migrants, Sweden, decided to deport a female Iranian convert to Christianity. When the convert, Aideen Strandsson, pleaded that she could face the death penalty as an apostate, Swedish officials told her, “it’s not our problem if you decided to become a Christian, and it’s your problem.” Meanwhile, Sweden, which is reputed as “the world’s humanitarian conscience and a safe haven for refugees,” continues accepting Muslim refugees, some of whom have helped make it known as the “rape capital of Europe.”

    Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches

    Egypt: Authorities closed down the 1,300-member Virgin Mary and St. Paula Church in the Minya governorate. The closure came in response to local Muslim opposition groups who protested the existence of the church, which had served Christians from three separate villages. The Coptic Bishop of Minya, Anba Makarios, issued a public statement chiding officials for siding with the aggressors against the victims:

    “The security apparatus has prevented Copts from practicing their rites in Kedwan, Minya, claiming that it was because of objections of some opposing factions in the village, and that it was necessary to be considerate of their feelings. However, this means that there is no consideration for the feelings of the Copts and those who do not ask for anything but to pray, as if the decision belonged to the opposing factions and not to a great state such as Egypt, which should have authority and law.”

    The Virgin Mary and St. Paula Church in Kedwan is just one of at least 15 Christian churches that have been closed in Minya province alone. “We have more than 15 places [of worship] closed on the order of the security apparatus, despite the existence of formal requests that are imprisoned in [desk] drawers,” Makarios added in his statement. “Also, there are 70 villages, farmsteads and hamlets without places for prayers.”

    Separately in August, security officials prevented Christians from meeting and worshiping in a private home in the village of Forn, in Minya. They said the home lacked a permit for worship. In a letter entitled, “We were prevented from prayer like criminals,” frustrated Christians wrote to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi:

    “We were surprised to find police forces surrounding and entering the village to prevent the Egyptian Copts from prayer and were prevented from going out of our homes. We were attacked with inappropriate words … As if we are criminals or outlaws and wanted for justice, accused of performing religious rituals. And is performing religious rituals a crime?”

    Iraq: Christians returning to the Nineveh Plain continued to encounter the remains of the Islamic State’s handiwork, including graffiti all around and inside their desecrated churches, such as “There is no place for the Cross in Islamic lands” and “The Cross is under our foot.” The following German writing was found in one church:

    “Oh you Cross worshippers, we’ll kill you all. Germany is an Islamic land. You are weak and don’t belong here…. Oh you Cross worshippers, you have no place in Islamic lands. Either you leave or we’ll kill you.”

    “They’d [ISIS] used the statutes of Jesus and Mary for target practice,” said one man of another church. “The altar was also destroyed. Daesh [ISIS] knew that the West would be reluctant to bomb a church, so [it] stored food and ammunition here.” Much of the graffiti has since been removed and altars are being restored. “To see our Christian symbols again is almost as important as food for us,” commented one Christian man.

    Somaliland: After agreeing to the reopening of a Catholic Church, which had been closed for nearly 30 years, the government of the Muslim nation reversed its decision. Spokesmen cited public anger, fomented by Islamic religious leaders who claimed the church reopening was part of the government’s conspiratorial plan to Christianize Somaliland. Explaining their decision during a press conference, Religious Affairs Minister, Sheikh Khalil Abdullahi Ahmed, said, “The Government of the Republic of Somaliland has decided to respect the wishes of its people and religious leaders and keep the church closed, as it has been for the past 30 years.” The Catholic church was one of many churches built 70 years ago when Somaliland was a British Protectorate.

    Sudan: The day after the Khartoum Parliament rejected the Ministry of Education’s call for Church Schools to operate on Sundays and follow only the Muslim week—a decision “viewed by Christians in Sudan and around the world as another means of harassment and discrimination against the minority group” — on August 2, the Sudanese government demolished yet another church in Omdurman, just west of Khartoum, from their list of 27 churches to be demolished.

    Muslim Contempt for and Abuse of Christians

    Iraq: More reports indicating that Christian suffering is hardly limited to ISISappeared in August. According to one, Chaldean Archbishop Habib Jajou said “that the remaining Christian families in Iraq fear that a new ISIS could come to power. He accused Baghdad of failing to foster religious tolerance amid the years of sectarian war and said a lot of people have been brainwashed by the terror group.” He also pointed out that the education ministry should begin to acknowledge Iraq’s Christian heritage and roots instead of falsely claiming that it was always Islamic and that Christians are essentially foreigners and agents of the West.

    Pakistan: The Islamic nation’s senate unanimously approved a bill requiring the compulsory teaching of the Koran to all primary and secondary school students, including non-Muslim ones. In part, the bill is meant to help the state discharge article 31(2) of the Pakistani constitution, which states that the “State shall endeavour to make the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and Islamiyat [all things Islamic] compulsory.” However, according to Nasir Saeed, the director of a Christian human rights organization, the bill “will have a negative impact on the non-Muslim students… It will promote bigotry and hatred against non-Muslims in Pakistani society, something which is already on the rise.”

    Bangladesh: In the name of “fighting terrorism,” the Muslim nation made changes to a law that forced approximately 200 Christian organizations to shut down. The Foreign Donations Regulation Bill, which is meant to be a check on terrorist cells receiving funds outside of Bangladesh, has especially created economic problems for Christian NGOs “geared specifically for the Christian community” explained one missionary. Because a majority of Christian organizations in overwhelmingly Muslim Bangladesh are economically supported from outside sources, 200 were no longer able to secure external funding and to close permanently.

    Sudan: The Islamist government arrested seven church leaders for refusing to comply with a court order to turn over leadership of their congregation to a government appointment committee in an effort to dissolve the church. They were interrogated for several hours and then released on bail. “Police said that in arresting them they were implementing orders from the Ministry of Guidance and Religious Endowments to impose its committee as new SCOC leadership, presumably to sell off the church property in Sudan’s bid to rid the country of Christianity,” notes the report, adding that “the arrests were seen as part of a recent upsurge in harassment of Christians.”

    Separately, in order to help a wealthy Muslim businessman take over church property, police evicted two more pastors and their families from their homes and onto the streets. The pastors “were terrorized when police pounded on the doors shouting threats,” “They came and knocked on the door strongly, they said, ‘Should you not open, we will have to break it by force to get in,” Pastor Nalu, 47-year-old father of a one-year-old boy, said. “The situation is very difficult, and we are living on the street.”

    Nigeria: Fulani terrorists, some allied with the Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, have been known to invade Christian farms and settlements and slaughter Christians. In August, when few such attacks were recorded, and (mostly Muslim) politicians portrayed the problem as settled, a Christian leader explained that, when not directly slaughtering Christians, Muslim Fulani herdsmen resort to “economic terrorism”: “As we gleefully wallow in the false sense of peace on the Plateau,” he said, “know it today that a deliberate economic terrorism and land-grabbing strategy is being launched on Christians of Riyom and Barkin Ladi on a daily basis with the sole aim of making them poor, weak and destitute in their own land.”

    About this Series

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