Reports of Muslims torturing, raping, and forcing Christians to embrace Islam continued to mount throughout the month of October. Alice Assaf, a Christian woman recounted the experiences of Christians—including her son’s execution for refusing to deny his faith—in a village near Damascus at the hands of the Islamic State. She also told how the Islamic State massacres children in cruel and unusual ways—including by throwing them into an industrial sized dough mixer: “[W]e heard that the militants grabbed six strong men working at the bakery and burned them inside the oven. After that, they caught some 250 kids and kneaded them like dough in the bakery dough machine…. Members of 200 different families were killed right before our eyes.” Some Christian and Yazidi women captured by ISIS militants were sold at auctions in Saudi Arabia, America’s close friend which is supposedly part of the coalition fighting ISIS.
In Pakistan, a group of armed Muslims kidnapped and took turns raping a teenage girl after her Christian family refused to convert to Islam. According to the report, after they broke into the Christian home in the middle of the night while everyone slept:
Six men and a woman known locally by the family who were armed with guns, sticks and metal poles began to beat the family asking them to convert to Islam or die. Despite the pain and threats to their lives the family stayed resolute to their Christian faith and refused to convert. This incensed the Muslim attackers even more. All the family members were tied up and blindfolded and two of them, 20-year-old Arif [male] and 17-year-old Jameela [female], were kidnapped and dragged into a van outside. The two of them were taken to an unknown building and tortured but Arif refused to convert to Islam. He could hear her screaming and was told by his captors that they were taking turns raping his sister and that all he had to do to save her was to convert to Islam, but still he refused though in great anguish for her.
Arif eventually managed to escape though the fate of his sister was unknown.
In Gaza, recent years have “witnessed a critical upsurge against the Christians,” said an Arabic language report published in October. Local authorities have reportedly abandoned the tiny Christian minority—2,500 people surrounded by approximately 1.5 million Muslims—to their fate. “At times we hear of the bombing of a Christian bookshop and assaults on churches and other Christian institutions; other times we hear of the kidnapping of Christians and the coercion of them to embrace the religion of Muhammad,” notes the report.
Christians in Gaza led a protest, calling for the return of their kidnapped children and loved ones. Bishop Alexios of the region “confirmed that the Christians who converted to Islam did so under threats, coercion, compulsion, and force.” His church also submitted a formal petition to the governor of the region, Ismail Haniyeh, calling on him to investigate matters, but received no response. The report adds that Gaza’s Christians are calling on the Christian world to intervene. The bishop said that he is trying to communicate all of this to the Vatican, the United Nations, and the United States.
Statistics concerning the global jihad on Christians also emerged in October. Between 2003 and June 9, 2014, ISIS killed at least 1,131 Christians and destroyed or damaged at least 125 Christian churches. “Murder of Christians is commonplace” in Iraq, Syria, and Libya, states the report. “Many have been killed in front of their own families.”
Between January 2013 and May 2016 and in one Nigerian region alone—the Middle Belt, Nasarawa—Muslims, often connected to the Islamic terror group Boko Haram, killed 826 Christians, injured 878 injured, destroyed 102 churches and 787 Christian houses, and displaced 21,000 people.
The rest of the month of October’s worldwide Muslim persecution of Christians includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches
Ethiopia: Three separate attacks on one church took place over the course of a month revealed an October report. One Christian was killed. On August 30, a Muslim mob assaulted the church during service. They broke doors, windows, and chairs; they beat men, women and children with their fists and sticks—seriously wounding 30—and they hacked with machetes a 55-year-old founding member. The father of eight died from his wounds. The day after the slaughtered Christian’s funeral a group of Muslim men strangled a female member of the congregation and left her for dead. On September 27, a Muslim mob attacked more church members as they returned home after church.
United States: Wendell Buchanan, a recent convert to Islam, shot up three rural churches in Shelbyville. One, the Horse Mountain Church of Christ, was targeted three times and the bullets caused thousands of dollars in damages. Before Facebook deleted it, Buchanan had written on his account, “I’m just doing my job as a messenger for my Lord, I owe absolutely everything to Allah because he has set me free from my spiritual cage.” The Muslim convert is facing four counts of destruction of utility equipment, five counts of desecration of a venerated object, and nine counts of felony vandalism.
Separately in San Antonio, unknown vandals defaced two churches—the Gethsemane Lutheran Church and Saint Gregory Catholic Church—by spray painting “No to wall” and “Islam or die” next to the entrance of the church. Islamic terror cells are known to be operating across the border in Mexico.
Italy: A Muslim refugee from Ghanai severely vandalized four churches in Rome (video of rampage here). He first invaded the Church of San Martino ai Monti and broke a statue. Next he went to the ancient Basilica of Santa Prassede, where he demolished several more statues of saints, purposefully smashing them to the ground and stamping on them. He then ripped a large crucifix from the wall and was preparing to destroy it when he was stopped by a priest who grabbed him by the leg. The refugee continued his rampage and vandalized two other churches, San Vitale and the Church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini in Piazza d’Oro, where he destroyed several other precious statues. He was finally arrested by police in Rome’s historic district and charged with vandalism and religious hatred.
United Kingdom: A Catholic school was threatened by a social media message saying, “We have our sights set on you, and by Allah we will kill every single infidel student at this school #McAuleySchoolMassacre.” The post, which targeted McAuley Catholic High School, Doncaster, appeared on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, and prompted widespread fear. The school apparently downplayed the incident and said authorities and police were alerted and investigating. But not all were reassured. Parent Shanie Varley took her 15-year-old daughter out of school and argued that, although many knew of the message, “parents weren’t told.” When the mother contacted the school, she was told that police were there and that it was “nothing to worry about.”
Kosovo: Muslims turned a Christian chapel and cemetery into a public toilet and garbage dump. Earlier, a local Christian clergyman repaired and cleaned the chapel, only to return and see it being used again as a toilet. The only action taken by the local Muslim mayor has been to prevent Christians from accessing the chapel and cemetery in order to clean it for visits from family members of those buried there; but he has done nothing to prevent the site from being desecrated, despite Christian petitions. Similarly, on September 10, Muslims in Pristina set fire to Christ the Savior Cathedral. “Immediately after the fire,” noted the report, they “started using it [the church] as a toilet…. Since the Albanian Muslims took possession of this Orthodox land, hundreds of churches and monasteries have been burnt to the ground.”
Pakistan: Authorities ordered the closure of house churches in the city of Bahawalpur after Muslims complained that they were being disturbed by Christian prayers. Christians were ordered to hold worship and prayer services in only one of four official churches in the city. Because the construction of new churches in Pakistan is highly regulated with countless hurdles to overcome—as in most Muslim nations—meeting and holding Christian worship services in private homes has become more common. The closure of these house churches is seen as the government’s way of cracking down on them.
Indonesia: Following local Muslim protests, the mayor of South Jakarta closed a Protestant church by claiming it lacked a permit. When pressed about the claim, he said the congregation did have a permit, but only to build a “home-office and not to the elevation of a church.” The report adds that “The process for the construction of a church in Indonesia—Catholic or Protestant—is complicated and may take five to ten years to get all the permissions required.”
Brunei: In compliance with Islamic law, the island nation banned the construction of churches. There are currently three churches there; no more can be added. Although the nation is Muslim majority, approximately 10% of the population is Christian. According to the report, “Christians living in Brunei feel the brunt of the divisive law.”
Turkey: As the government continues building mosques—nearly 9,000 were constructed between 2005 and 2015—it banned Orthodox Christian liturgy in the Sumela Monastery, a historic site inaugurated in 386 AD, roughly 1,000 years before Muslim Turks conquered Asia Minor. According to the report, “The ban has caused great disappointment to thousands of Pontian people worldwide, and people from Greece who had planned to travel to the region these days to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption. Sources within the Patriarchate of Constantinople … fear that Christian mass will never be allowed in the historic monastery again. This arbitrary ban seems to be yet another demonstration of the ‘unofficial’ second-class status of Christians in Turkey…. What secular, democratic republic builds thousands of mosques with state funds — taxpayer money — while closing the Halki Seminary of the Eastern Orthodox Church and confiscating countless Christian properties?”
Muslim Slaughter of Christians
Australia: A 42-year-old Muslim man in Sydney stabbed to death his 35-year-old wife for converting to Christianity. The Iranian couple had been living on visas for four years. Prior to the woman’s apostasy, there was no known history of domestic violence between the couple. The report adds that “Christianity has been spreading rapidly among Iranians in recent years. This has caused many of them being forced to leave Iran as the government doesn’t tolerate conversion from Islam.”
Pakistan: A 24-year-old Muslim man from Lahore murdered his 18-year-old sister for marrying a Christian, an act banned under Islamic law. He shot her in the head with a gun. The arrested man later said, “I told her I would have no face to show at the mill [where he worked], to show to my neighbors, so don’t do it. Don’t do it. But she wouldn’t listen. I could not let it go. It was all I could think about. I had to kill her. There was no choice.”
Kenya: Islamic militants raided a village in the Christian majority nation at 2 am while everyone was asleep and slaughtered six people. The Islamic terror group Al Shabaab—“the youth”—headquartered in neighboring Somalia, claimed the attack on “Christianity’s power in the region.” It released a statement: “We are behind the Mandera attack in which we killed six Christians.” One witness said that the slain, “were gunned down mercilessly and their heads chopped off and smashed by grenades. I do not know how to say it better. I am psychologically bullied.”
Nigeria: Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed more than 40 people during a massacre in a Christian village. The Fulanis have been responsible for several other brutal attacks which targeted Christians. They are portrayed as “infidels” who should be driven off the farming land.
Muslim Contempt for and Abuse of Christians
Germany: A human rights group issued a report in October shedding more light on the ongoing violence and discrimination Christian minorities face in refugee camps. Almost 750 Christians reported that they have experienced religiously motivated violence, including death threats and “sentencing” from unofficial Sharia courts. In one instance, Christian refugees returned from a church meeting to find a notice in one of the rooms that said: “To all Muslims: now is the time to behead the unbelievers.” A female Iranian refugee said one night a group of men shouted: “Whoever finds an Iranian woman today may rape and kill her. Kill them all. You may kill and rape them. You can do it, everywhere. Wherever you find them, you may do that.” Iranians are being targeted for being Shia and/or converting to Christianity. The woman added: “We came here to live a free life, but now we are being oppressed heavily. It is just like the Daesh [ISIS]: we feel very oppressed… I am living her under constant pressure and cannot take it any more. Nobody is allowed to know that I am a Christian, for I am afraid that they might find out about it in Iran. I am living under constant fear and oppression.”
Nigeria: A 40-year-old Muslim cleric, Saheed Gbadamosi, was arrested after he threatened to bathe a local Christian pastor with acid and destroy his church. The prosecutor said that the “accused conspired with others still at large and stormed the defendant’s church armed with different types of dangerous weapons as they beat up the pastor identified as Emmanuel Ugbo, destroying church property and threatening to pour acid on him.”
Ethiopia: Hours after releasing an 18-year-old Christian known only as Deborah on bail, police re-arrested her. She and three younger teenage girls (two aged 14, one 15) were initially arrested for handing out a booklet entitled “Let’s speak the truth in love: Answers to questions by Ahmed Deedat,” which rebutted accusations against the Christian faith by the named and prominent Muslim cleric. This enraged some local Muslims, who said the book was an insult to Islam. They proceeded to riot and attack a church, damaging its windows and doors; this onslaught led to the arrest of the four teenage Christian girls. “It is not yet clear why Deborah was re-arrested. A police investigation failed to bring formal charges against her and the three other girls. Their bail application was approved by a judge, and the four teenagers were released after paying Birr 3,000 (about US$135),” said the report.
Sudan: Six more Christians, three of whom are pastors, were jailed for refusing to hand over a school run by their evangelical church to the government. They were later released on bail. According to the report, “The arrests follow a number of other arrests of Christians in the country, where Christians face persecution…. Five other churches – three belonging to the Sudan Church of Christ, one to the Presbyterian Church and the other to the Episcopal Church – have been told their buildings will be demolished.”
Kyrgyzstan: A family of mixed religious background was forced to bury and exhume its 76-year-old mother three times due to religious restrictions. The family—the daughter is Christian, the father is Muslim—were told they could not bury their mother because she “had been a practicing Christian in a village that was overwhelmingly Muslim, and local religious leaders restricted the cemetery to Muslims,” said the report. Authorities were said to be investigating the case. One of the charges was “desecration of the dead.”
Pakistan: A Muslim mob beat Michael Robert, pastor of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Farooqabad, and his family, before forcibly evicting them from their home. According to the Muslim assailants, the house, which the Christian purchased two years ago, is Muslim property. Robert’s family filed a suit for fraud and the judge issued a restraining order barring anyone from forcibly evicting them until ownership was settled. Undeterred, 50 armed Muslim men stormed the house and, according to a lawyer, “left Pastor Robert, his father Robert Masih and his wife seriously injured. The assailants arrived in the dark of night and started firing in the air with their weapons to terrorize the locals. They then forced open Pastor Robert’s gate and attacked the family, thrashing them violently as they threw household items out in the open.”
Separately, authorities shut down 11 Christian television stations which they described as “illegal broadcasts.” In response, Father Mushtaq Anjum, a Pakistani priest involved with the media, said, “The proclamation of the good news is now illegal. Christians have no place in public television channels.”
In Khanewal district, local authorities have allowed the only Christian graveyard to deteriorate over the past thirty years and have taken no restorative measures despite Christian pleas. One man said that local authority, Muhammad Khan Daha, was contacted repeatedly but has overlooked the matter, despite having pledged to allocate funds to restore the boundary wall, and provide electricity and water connections. He also said the graveyard was so full that in two years’ time there would be no more room to bury their dead.
Niger: Jeff Woodke, a 55-year-old American Christian missionary who had been living and serving his community for 24 years, was abducted from his home by Islamic militants after they killed two security guards. The mayor of the region said it was a “terrible tragedy” and that locals “wept with sorrow, lamenting the loss of a friend” the day after his abduction: “This man has lived among us for years, even in when it has been difficult to accompany vulnerable populations… Everyone knows his goodness.”
Egypt: Armed Muslim men ambushed and abducted three Christian men and one of the men’s 9-year-old son as they were driving their car near Assyut. After the family could not meet the initial ransom demand of 500,000 Egyptian pounds, a ransom of 150,000 Egyptian pounds ($8,000 USD) was agreed upon and the kidnapped victims were freed.
Germany: A kindergarten in Kassel canceled all Christmas celebrations and banned Christmas songs, trees, and any mention of the Nativity to accommodate the “diverse cultures” of their students. Approximately 12% of the 200,000 population are “foreign or have foreign roots.” The report adds that “Because of the high percentage of Muslim children at the Sara-Hussbaum Kindergarten, teachers at the school must pay special attention to make sure the children don’t swap food at lunch. This will make sure the Muslim children do not eat pork. Pork is not offered on the school’s menu.”
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.
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.