Video footage, shared and later condemned by many Christian groups on social media, showed two Turks dancing atop and "desecrating" an old Armenian church in Istanbul, late in the evening of Sunday, July 11. In the footage, the men appear gyrating next to a stone cross atop the courtyard gate of Surp Takavor Armenian Church (pictured above in 2012), which has been desecrated before, such as in 2018, when racist graffiti was spray-painted on its walls and garbage dumped in front of it. (Image source: aachim3/Panoramio/Wikimedia Commons)
The following are among the abuses inflicted on Christians by Muslims throughout the month of July, 2021:
The Abduction, Rape, and Forced Conversion of Christian Girls in Pakistan
A Muslim teacher raped an 8-year-old Christian in a school bathroom, and the school and police are covering it up. According to the July 11 report, Shahzad Masih's young daughter was "shaking and screaming in pain when she returned home from school that day, June 22, her uniform spotted with blood." "She did not utter a word all afternoon and just kept crying and screaming in pain," her father explained.
"After much asking, my daughter told her mother that she had been raped at her school. We rushed to the Sanjan Nagar Trust School where my daughter is a class-three student. Rather than listening to our grievance, school principal Farzana Kausar and another Muslim teacher, Tehmina, outright refused to admit that she had been raped on the school premises."
Security guards were summoned and "pushed him and his wife out of the building." When they went to register a complaint with local police, they too refused to listen and told them to settle their dispute directly with the school. "We again approached the school management, but they were very hostile and told us that we should not involve the school in the case," Masih continues. "Later they alleged that she had been raped by a class-seven Christian student."
"When the girl told her teacher that another teacher had assaulted her, her Muslim female teacher and other teachers told her not to name the assailant and threatened to expel her from school, Masih said. The teachers told the girl that she should instead name a Christian boy named Joel as the culprit, he said.
"'We then contacted Joel's family, but they told us that their son was not even present in school on the day of the incident,' Masih said.
"The family contacted the administration and demanded to see the attendance register, which proved Joel was absent that day, he said.
"'When the principal and other administration officials saw that their lie to falsely accuse the Christian boy had been exposed, they turned violent and started hurling threats and curses at us,' Masih said. 'We again turned to the police, but they too were very hostile.'"
Several officers pressured the family to withdraw their complaint and settle the case privately. "They told us that we were poor Christians and could not rival the power of the school's management," Finally, on July 2, the police station reluctantly registered the complaint, though, as of last reporting, they had not taken any actions against the school. According to the victim's father:
"They are continuing to pressure us to name Joel as the alleged rapist and are also not cooperating in carrying out a detailed medical examination of the child. [An initial forensic report confirmed that the girl was raped.] We have been informed by some sources that the management is covering the incident to protect the Muslim teacher who raped my daughter. Our pleas for justice are falling on deaf ears. The school management is protecting the rapist, and the police are colluding with them. Who should we look to for justice?... One cannot imagine my pain and agony every time I see my daughter, who is still reeling from the trauma of rape. Our repeated visits to the police are not bearing any results, and I don't think she will get justice from this system."
Separately, on July 24, another Christian girl—this time only 3-years-old—was raped at a school sponsored by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF). The man who raped Anna Chand is allegedly the female principal's own husband, Muhammad Saleem. When her parents picked her up that day, the child was in extreme pain and later started crying. Initially thinking it was something she ate, on questioning her, Anna's father learned that:
"After the study hours ended in the school, Saleem ... asked Anna's brother to go out to play and took Anna to a classroom. Saleem raped her in the classroom, and we noticed blood stains on her cloths when she reached home and was crying."
Her parents rushed the toddler to the local hospital where a medical examination confirmed that she was raped. Since filing charges, friends of Muhammad were reportedly threatening to accuse the Christian parents with blasphemy—which would likely lead to jail or worse—unless they dropped the charges.
Finally, on July 1, Lahore's High Court "upheld a ruling in Pakistan granting custody of a 13-year Christian girl to a Muslim accused of kidnapping her, forcibly marrying her and converting her to Islam." The report continues:
"Setting aside her parents' pleas that Nayab Gill was underage and hence could not legally marry or change her religion on her own [the Muslim judge] rejected the girl's official birth documents showing she was 13... [T]he court instead accepted her claim, considered to be made under severe threats of harm to her and her family, that she was 19 years old and married 30-year-old Saddam Hayat, a married father of four children, after converting to Islam of her own free will in Gujranwala on May 20."
The Muslim Slaughter of Christians
Nigeria: A new report, published by the Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law on July 18, provides important statistics concerning the ongoing Muslim slaughter of Christians in the West African nation. Excerpts follow:
"The number of defenseless Christians hacked to death by Nigeria's Islamic Jihadists and their collaborators in the security forces in the past 200 days or 1st January to 18th July 2021 has risen to no fewer than 3,462 and this is just sixty-eight deaths less than the total deaths of Nigerian Christians in 2020 which ... [was] 3,530.... The Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen are responsible for majority of the killings with at least 1,909 Christian deaths in 200 days, followed by Boko Haram, ISWAP [Islamic State West Africa Province] and Muslim Fulani Bandits who jointly killed 1,063 Christians, while Nigerian Army, joined by the Nigeria Police Force and other branches of the Armed Forces accounted for 490 Christian deaths.... The number of Churches threatened or attacked and closed or destroyed or burnt since January 2021 is also estimated to be around 300 with at least ten priests or pastors abducted or killed by the jihadists. ... [T]ill date those responsible for the anti-Christian butcheries in the country have continued to evade justice and remained unchecked, untracked, uninvestigated and untried; leading to impunity and repeat-atrocities. The surviving victims and families of the dead victims are also totally abandoned by the Government of Nigeria ...[which] face[s] sharp criticisms and strong accusations of culpability and complicity in the killings and supervision of same.... In the North, the jihadists operate freely under the cover and protection of the security forces; abducting, killing, looting, destroying or burning and forcefully converting their captive and unprotected Christians and their homes and sacred places of worship and learning."
Some of the more notable slaughters of Christians to occur during the month of July in Nigeria follow:
On July 7, Islamic militants riding atop motorbikes raided a village where they slaughtered 18 people and set aflame their two churches.
On Sunday, July 11, Fulani herdsmen ambushed, beat, and beheaded a Christian father, 46, and his 7-year-old son, as the couple were returning home in the evening after choir practice. A local woman was also later killed by the same assailants.
"Seventeen of our people have been killed by Fulani herdsmen this year [in our village]" a local spokesman said in a statement. "The international community should come to our aid; we are under heavy siege." Another local resident and youth leader said, "As a people, we are continuously under attack and nobody seems to be hearing our cry for help. It appears that killing our people has become a routine."
Elsewhere on that same July 11, "Eighteen Nigerians were killed in Christian-majority southern Kaduna State when suspected Fulani Islamist militants stormed two villages." During one of the raids, the Christian villagers "were asleep when a large number of gunmen swept into the village at 2 a.m... killing nine villagers and razing houses. Many others were injured." "The entire village is in confusion," said residents. "The destruction by the suspected Fulani is unbelievable. These attacks are too much for us to bear, no one is safe in our communities. Nobody can go to his farm now."
On July 24, Muslim herdsmen tortured to death a Christian pastor they had kidnapped two weeks earlier.
On July 28, two years after murdering a Christian man, Fulani terrorists killed his son. Then, during the youth's funeral, the same Muslim terrorists appeared again and opened fire on those in attendance. "Fulani (militants) killed my husband two years ago and burned down my house," Celina, the widow and now childless survivor later said. "My farm was destroyed three days ago, now my son is killed, and my house burned down again."
According to a July 23 report, "Members of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) in Borno State have been kidnapping Christian passengers and leaving the Muslim ones to go their way at roadblocks... [F]or three weeks now, the terrorists have been stopping vehicles ... and kidnapping motorists and commuters without any disturbance." A local official elaborated:
"When ISWAP kidnap passengers in a bus, they keep the Christian passengers captive and release the Muslim passengers, this is not just once, it has been happening. They just stop the car, enter into the bush, release the Muslims and hold the Christians captive. Just recently, a bus driver was stopped and they asked how many Christians are in the bus, he said two, they picked those two and the rest continued on their journey. This thing is getting to another dimension. Our people are afraid. We don't even have security. It is terrible."
Discussing all these unchecked massacres, Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto sent an urgent message to the United States House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee on Religious Freedom, an excerpt of which follows:
"There have been dastardly actions directed at Christians because of their faith. We have cases of pastoral agents, such as priests and nuns, who have been kidnapped, released after the payment of ransom or brutally murdered. Churches, medical facilities, presbyteries have been razed to the ground with no provocations from the communities."
Finally, on July 5, Muslim Fulani herdsmen broke into a Christian high school and abducted nearly 180 students. According to one report:
"Shooting wildly, the armed assailants breached the walls of Bethel Baptist High School in Maraban Rido ... and took the students in the school hostel away at gunpoint."
Since then, a few dozen have been released, although the majority remain captive.
Uganda: Local Muslims burned a Christian pastor to death, "beyond recognition," because he not only left Islam for Christianity, but, as an evangelist, was leading other Muslims to Christ. Due to the threats to his life, he originally fled his village in 2017 and worked for a Christian organization in a distant area where he resettled. But when that charity was permanently closed due to Covid-19 lockdowns, he had no choice but to return to his home village. According to a local source,
"Immediately after arriving at his house, Muslims sent a young boy aged 14 who was a student at an Islamic school. He greeted the pastor in the Islamic way, 'Asalamu Asalamu alaikumu ["Peace be upon you," in Arabic, which Muslims are only to offer to fellow Muslims].' The pastor refused to answer [according to the acceptable Muslim formula], but instead replied that Jesus loves you. The boy spat saliva on the ground and uttered the Islamic [jihadist] slogan, 'Allahu Akbar [Allah is Greatest]' and ran away.'"
That night, the pastor had supper at his brother's house right next door, before returning home. "Upon arriving, he heard some footsteps outside and became fearful, and there and then he made a phone call telling me of his fears," said his brother:
"By 10:30 we saw flames of fire and smoke from his house. Arriving at the scene, the house was completely burnt up, and nearby was a small steel jerrycan, a cap and Koranic notes. The notes read, 'Your enmity to Islam is what you have ripe [reaped?].'"
The pastor is survived by his wife and two children, ages 10 and 17 (who at the time were in hiding elsewhere).
Pakistan: Following arguments and conflicts with Muslims, two Christian men were separately poisoned to death. According to the July 13 report, "Samuel Masih ... was poisoned to death by his Muslim coworkers after a religious debate regarding the topic of Christian fasting." Police initially refused to register a complaint, and did so only after the family loudly protested in the street. Separately:
"On May 23, Arif Masih, a 32-year-old resident of village 370/GB near Gojra City, was poisoned to death by Muhammad Tariq and Muhammad Majid... [T]he two Muslims abducted Masih from the street and took him to an unknown location. There, the men tortured Masih and forced him to ingest a substance that left him unconscious. Masih later died in hospital."
The Muslim murderers were apparently upset with him because he refused to withdraw a complaint he earlier submitted to police concerning how the two Muslim men had "humiliated and abused Masih's sister, Rehana, while she was in the market purchasing groceries."
Attacks on Apostates, Blasphemers, and Evangelists
Great Britain: On Sunday, July 25, a knife-wielding Muslim man, whose face was concealed by a standard coronavirus mask, punched and stabbed Hatun Tash, a female Christian refugee who fled Turkey to escape persecution following her conversion (video footage of the incident here). The attacker tried to stab her in the eye, but managed only to strike her forehead with his knife; a second swing stabbed her wrist, which she had raised to parry the blow. This occurred at Speaker's Corner in Hyde Park, London, a place that is famous for debates, polemics, and apologetics between Muslims and Christians. After dropping his knife, the assailant fled the scene. Although police chased him, it is unknown if he was ever captured.
Uganda: A Muslim father beat and forced his daughter to swallow poison in an effort to kill her for converting to Christianity. Problems began for Hajat, a 38-year-old mother of three, soon after she converted earlier this year. "My mother warned me that the family was planning to kill me," she later explained from her hospital bed, which prompted her to flee and take refuge with a pastor and his family. On learning of this, her father mobilized other Muslim relatives to track her down. In late June they found and beat her before the pastor's house, when he was not there:
"My father, Al-Hajji Mansuru Kiita, recited many Koranic verses cursing and denouncing me as no longer one of the family members. He started beating and torturing me with a blunt object, inflicting bruises on my back, chest and legs, and finally forced me to drink poison, which I tried to resist but swallowed a little of it."
The commotion eventually drew neighbors, which prompted the Muslim family to flee. The pastor "later came and found me fighting for my life. I was rushed to the nearby clinic for first aid, and later I was taken to another place for treatment and prayers.... I am restless with continuous pain in my stomach." Adding to her woes, Hajat has since lost access to her three young children, who remain with their Muslim father.
Separately but similarly in Uganda, a Muslim man tried to split open the head of his brother—a convert to Christianity—with a machete. Abudlawali Kijwalo, 39, who, according to the July 14 report, "comes from family of devoted sheikhs and hajjis (pilgrims to Mecca)," was grazing his cattle when his brother, Musoga Murishid, appeared and asked: "Are you still a Muslim, or you are now a Christian?" Earlier, the convert was playing Christian music, which was apparently heard. "I am for Christ," Kijwalo responded. At that point, according to the report,
"His brother revealed a machete that had been strapped beneath his long robe and struck him on the head, sending Kijwalo sprawling and screaming... As he bled heavily, Murishid walked away, likely thinking he had killed him."
A village elder who witnessed the attack called for help and Kijwalo was rushed to a hospital, where he received urgent care and will reportedly survive the damage to done to his cranium.
Iran: Three Christians, all converts from Islam, were punished under a newly amended law "aimed at halting the growth of Christianity," according to a July 6 report. Article 500 of Iran's penal code now states that "any deviant education or propaganda that contradicts or interferes with the sacred Sharia [Islamic law] will be severely punished." Earlier, Iranian intelligence agents raided the three men's homes; they "seized Bibles, cell phones and computers and ordered the group to stop all Christian activities." But because the men "stood firm and refused to stop pursuing their faith," they were each later charged under the amended article, and, on June 21, handed a five year prison sentence "for spreading 'propaganda' against Islam after they refused to renounce Christ," as well as fines of 40 million tomans (US$1,600). According to the report,
"Religious freedom activists warned that the amendment, which was first proposed in 2020 and passed by parliament on Jan. 13, could be used to attack religious dissidents and minority groups. The amendment was signed into law by then-President Hassan Rouhani on Feb. 18 and went into effect on March 5."
Algeria: On July 8, a judge sentenced a former Muslim man who had converted to Christianity to six months in prison and fined him 100,000 dinars (US$740) for distributing Bibles and "shaking the faith of a Muslim." He was also accused of accepting unauthorized donations to help spread Christianity in the North African nation. The charges against him fall under Algeria's Law 03/06, which appeared in 2005, and makes it a crime to "aim to undermine the faith of a Muslim." Punishments range from two to five years in prison. The man, Ahmed Beghal, denies all charges: "Accusations were brought against me by the National Gendarmerie to the court in a false and forged report." He also lamented "this injustice and pitfalls on the part of my family, society, court and security." Apparently because of to his conversion, Beghal's wife and children left him in 2017, and helped instigate against him.
Sudan: On July 2 around midnight, Muslim gunmen attacked Boutros Badawi, a Christian activist and advisor to Sudan's Minister of Religious Affairs. According to the report, "Armed with AK-47 assault rifles, they beat Badawi and threatened to kill him if he continued advocating the return of Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church property" to its rightful, Christian owners. "Next time we will kill you if you talk about SPEC property again," one of the attackers told him, before striking him with his rifle. Badawi had also been receiving several threatening text messages before the assault. "We will use means that you might not like, and we will confront you with all weapons we have," one read. The Christian official received hospital treatment for injuries. Badawi has been vocally advocating for the return of church properties confiscated under the previous regime.
Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches
Turkey: Video footage, shared and later condemned by many Christian groups on social media, showed two Turks dancing atop and "desecrating" an old Armenian church in Istanbul, late in the evening of Sunday, July 11. In the footage, the men appear gyrating next to a stone cross atop the courtyard gate of Surp Takavor Armenian Church, which has been desecrated before, such as in 2018, when racist graffiti was spray-painted on its walls and garbage dumped in front of it.
Separately, in southeastern Turkey, according to one report, the ancient Mor Aday Church, originally built in the year 620, is now being used by local villagers as a stable.
Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh: An important Armenian church and cultural center built in 1840 in Taghavard "is being threatened with destruction" by Azerbaijani authorities, notes a July 25 report. "In just over one month, between June 10 and July 12, a large swath of the village was destroyed. The current bulldozed section reaches just outside the church." Caucasus Heritage Watch, which monitors and reports via satellite images, has called on Azerbaijani authorities to cease bulldozing the region and respect the church's integrity. The report adds:
"St. Astbatsatsin is one of several historic Armenian churches facing potential destruction in Artsakh, ... after Azeri forces began to clear the region of any Christian history."
Libya: Union Church, founded nearly 60 years ago in Tripoli, in 1962, and formally recognized by the government, is on the verge of being evicted from its building over bureaucratic red-tape concerning its status since the Gaddafi regime first confiscated its land. It currently hosts four different Protestant congregations which are bracing to become churchless.
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. It includes incidents that take place during, or are reported on, any given month.
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