On Easter Sunday in Pakistan, March 27, a suicide bombing took place near the children's rides of a public park, where Christians were known to be celebrating the resurrection of their Lord. At least 74 people — mostly women and children — were killed and nearly 400 injured. "There was human flesh on the walls of our house," a witness recalled.
"We claim responsibility for the attack on Christians as they were celebrating Easter," said a group affiliated with the Taliban. In a media statement, the group's spokesman said it had "deliberately targeted the Christian community." "We had been waiting for this occasion," he said.
Click here, here, here, here, and here, for more examples of lethal attacks, worldwide, on Christians celebrating their holidays who also "had been waiting for this occasion." Even "the terror cell that struck in Brussels in March, killing 34 was planning to massacre worshippers at Easter church services across Europe, including Britain, intelligence chiefs believe, according to a report.
In Scotland, a Muslim man stabbed another Muslim man to death for wishing Christians a Happy Easter. Asad Shah had posted messages on Facebook that said "Good Friday and very happy Easter, especially to my beloved Christian nation" and "Let's follow the real footstep of beloved holy Jesus Christ and get the real success in both worlds." Police said a 32-year-old Muslim man was arrested in connection with Shah's death, and confirmed that the attack was "religiously prejudiced." Islamic law (Qur'an 5:52) forbids Muslims from participating in or congratulating non-Muslims for their religious holidays as doing so implicitly validates other religions.
A Muslim nanny in Russia beheaded a 4-year-old girl, Anastasia, whom she had been taking care of for the last three years. Gulchehra Bobokulova, a Chechen, went to a Moscow metro station and, for 20 minutes, waved the child's severed head while screaming "Allahu Akbar" ["Allah is Greatest"]. After her arrest, she said the murder "was what Allah ordered." In the months before the slaughter, Bobokulova was said to have become "more religious." She began wearing a hijab, and telling her son to pray five times a day and live in accord with Sharia [Islamic law]. Authorities concluded that, as she is "insane," she will not face a murder trial.
"ISIS carries out Good Friday crucifixion of Indian Catholic priest in Yemen after he was kidnapped three weeks ago in attack on old people's home where four nuns were shot," the Daily Mail reported. Father Thomas Uzhunnalil, a 56-year-old Indian Catholic priest, was seized by Muslim gunmen who attacked an old people's home in Aden. According to the Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, Uzhunnalil had been crucified. Most recently, a report appeared indicating that Fr. Thomas was likely still alive and "that talks between the Indian government and Yemeni rebels to ensure his release were continuing."
The rest of March's roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Muslim Slaughter of Christians
Unknown Middle Eastern Nation: Islamic radicals killed four workers of a Christian organization that translates and publishes Bibles. Wycliffe Associates issued a statement saying that the attackers shot and destroyed all the equipment in the Bible translators' office, but failed to note the name of the country where the attack occurred. Two workers were apparently killed by gunshots, while two others lay over the head translator and died while "deflecting bludgeoning blows from the radicals' spent weapons," They saved his life. Several other people were also injured in the raid. The organization explained that the remaining team has vowed to redouble their efforts to translate, publish and print the Gospel.
Bangladesh: Two attackers with sharp weapons killed 68-year-old Hossain Ali, who converted to Christianity from Islam in 1999. ISIS claimed responsibility for the murder of the apostate from Islam in a tweet:
"A security detachment from the soldiers of the Caliphate was able, by the grace of Allah the Almighty, to kill the apostate (Ali), who changed his religion and became a preacher for the polytheist Christianity."
The statement added that the murder was "a lesson to others." In recent months ISIS has claimed being behind a series of attacks on religious converts and minorities in Bangladesh.
Yemen: Four Muslim gunmen attacked an old people's home in the port of Aden, killing at least 15 people, including four nuns who were Missionaries of Charity of Mother Teresa. Two of the nuns were from Rwanda, one from India, and one from Kenya. Another nun survived by hiding inside a refrigerator in a storeroom. The gunmen, who initially told the guard they were at the old people's home to visit their mother, stormed into the home with rifles and opened fire. The dead included two Yemeni women working at the facility, eight elderly residents, and a guard. The motive of the gunmen was not known. After the attack, they fled.
Ivory Coast: A squad of boatmen shouting "Allahu Akbar!" — "Allah is Greatest!" — leapt onto a beach in the resort town of Grand Bassam and proceeded to round up and kill Christian tourists. By the time security forces killed the terrorists, 14 tourists and two special forces personnel were dead, "all of them presumably Christians," noted the report. At some point, witnesses said the gunmen captured a pair of children, one five-years old. A gunman "with a long beard" threatened them. Both boys fell to their knees in prayer, and begged for their lives. The first boy knew an Islamic prayer by heart, so he was spared, but the five-year-old, a Christian, had no hope, and was shot dead. Images of the aftermath showed bodies strewn across the beach, several of them believed to be French tourists. Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb, via social media, claimed responsibility for the attack. According to the report, "Ivory Coast is becoming a target for Islamic extremists who want to spread Islam around the globe. Previously confined to the desert regions of the Sahara, Muslims have recently started a campaign of aggressive, militant expansion into West and Central Africa. "
Nigeria: According to a March report, since 2000, some 12,000 Christians have been slaughtered for their faith and 13,000 churches destroyed, and not just by the Muslim terrorist organization, Boko Haram: "Northern Muslim political and religious elite are also major actors of targeted violence towards the Christian minority." From mid-February to mid-March alone, 500 Christian farmers were butchered by Muslim herdsmen.
Pakistan: A Muslim man shot dead a Christian boy and threatened to rape his sisters, after their mother rejected his advances in the town of Qayum. The Muslim suspect, 57-year-old Tahir Jutt, who had a "known long-term infatuation" with 42-year-old Shazia Tahir, tried to intervene in a family argument. Tahir rebuffed his offer to help. Later that day, he returned to the Tahir family home and started shooting at family members, killing 17-year-old Noel Tahir, and wounding several others, including the husband and wife. Although initially detained by police, Jutt was eventually set free, only to continue threatening and terrorizing the Christian family. According to a rights activist:
"This family are in desperate need for [sic] help, the perpetrator of violence has shown no remorse for the violence he meted out on this poor family and has increased their tension by stating he will repeat the violence if they dare to challenge him through the courts. Local police are being extremely slow and sluggish with this case, allowing Mr Jutt to exhort [sic] great pressure on the family who have already had to suffer the surprising ignominy of the murderer of their son being set free on bail."
Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches
United States: Three Christian statues at St. Margaret Parish, a Catholic church in Massachusetts, were vandalized. Two statues had their hands severed and multiple sets of rosary beads removed and scattered on the ground. The third statue, located near the rectory and depicting the Virgin Mary, had its head severed and both hands removed. Although the identity of the vandals is unknown, Robert Spencer, an expert on Islam, correctly observes that
in light of the curious fact that the head and hands were severed, the perpetrators could have been Muslims acting upon this Qur'an verse: "When your Lord inspired to the angels, 'I am with you, so strengthen those who have believed. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieved, so strike upon the necks and strike from them every fingertip.'" (Qur'an 8:12).
Turkey: Late one night, four Muslim men went to the Agape Church in the Black Sea region and began banging and kicking at the front door. The church caretaker and a few members of the congregation were inside but refused to open the door. After they noticed they were being videotaped by a security camera, the assailants destroyed it and fled. (Image of the men kicking the door appears here.) According to the church's pastor, Pıçaklar,
"They attacked us knowing that they would get caught – they even looked at the security camera and smiled. Later they went to the police and turned themselves in, and today they were set free. So what should I do [in response] to these guys who drink until they get drunk, and when they get caught [attacking the church building], instead of fear and sadness, yell, 'Allahuu Akbar!'? ["Allah is Greatest"]
Pastor Pıçaklar said the incident was not just a "kick the door and go. These guys wanted the door open and to go inside and hit someone or attack in some other way."
Greece: The Church of All Saints in Kallithea, Athens region, was set on fire. The kitchen was completely destroyed, but thanks to the fire department's quick response, the fire was contained. According to witnesses, "Arabic speakers" were behind the arson attack.
Dhimmitude (Non-Muslims' Status of Inferiority in Islam)
Uganda: After several threats and attacks — including the rape of her 13-year-old daughter — a mother with her five children, who had left Islam for Christianity, fled their village. Amina Napiya, a 42-year-old widow, converted to Christianity in 2014, after her husband, Mohammed Dongo, died. She and her family remained secret believers until the beginning of 2016, when relatives discovered they were followers of Christ. Attacks started soon after: two motorcycles that had belonged to her late husband were stolen in January, apparently by Muslim relatives. They left an unsigned note:
"We have taken the motorcycles, and soon we are coming for your life if you continue embarrassing the religion of the family. You have become an embarrassment to the family as well as the Muslim family."
A month later, Napiya's daughter was raped while fetching firewood near their home. The rapist told the girl, "This is the second warning to your mother for disgracing the faith of the Muslims."
Finally, Napiya received an anonymous text, saying, "We have warned you several times, and our warnings are falling on deaf ears. We are on the way coming for you and your children." The Christian woman and her children fled and were last reported living in dire straits.
Separately in Uganda, a Muslim youth who converted to Christianity was attacked and ostracized by his family. After Mohammed Nsera graduated from high school last year, his Muslim family built a small house for him on their homestead. A week after he converted to Christianity, his Muslim family burned it down. According to the convert,
"I could not deny Christ when my father asked me whether I had joined Christianity. With a lot of joy I answered him affirmatively, with a yes. My uncle, who had a walking stick, hit me on my back, and my father tried to get hold of my shirt, but I managed to escape with a tattered shirt and a bleeding back."
While recovering at the home of a Christian 13 miles away, he learned that his family had burned his house down. "I received reports that my parents, uncle and some other Muslims were looking for me. I have lost my entire valuables, especially my academic certificates." He has since taken refuge in an undisclosed village more than 60 miles from his home.
Pakistan: A 30-year-old Christian mother of three who was kidnapped and forced into an Islamic marriage. When she escaped months later, she was returned to her abductor by her own family, in hopes that it will spare other family members from persecution and arrest. Fouzia Sadiq, whose entire family works as bonded laborers in Pattoki, was abducted last July by her Muslim landlord, Muhammed Nazir. He told her family to forget about her as she "was now his property." With her family's aid, the women eventually escaped back to them. Her abductor-husband sent the police after her. They threatened her family, and suggesting that they might seize and deliver her younger sister to Muhammad as a "consolation" gift. According to a human rights activist:
"This family has gone through a torturous decision making process. They have not wanted to deliver their daughter back but the threats on their family were so extreme, including potential blasphemy law allegations and kidnap charges against Paris the brother of Fouzia, that they felt there was no other way out."
Fouzia is one of approximately 700 Christian girls who are kidnapped and forced into Islamic marriages every year in Pakistan.
Belgium: The council of Belgian imams rejected an initiative to pray for the souls of the victims of the Brussels terror attacks on the grounds that it is forbidden to pray for the souls of non-Muslims — "infidels." The Koran states:
"It is not for the Prophet and those who have believed to ask forgiveness for the polytheists, even if they were relatives, after it has become clear to them that they are companions of Hellfire." (9:113)
Instead, the Muslim scholars recommended the use of tawriya — using words that mean one thing to listeners and another thing from the speaker. One Muslim cleric said: We cannot pray over the souls of non-Muslims, but if we do this, we don't have to call it a prayer. We can call it something else: 'solidarity with the families of the victims.' We can stand by them and support them."
Another Muslim cleric suggested: "Since this was a general event, in which Muslims as well as non-Muslims [were hurt], we address all of the victims, and wish them peace, mercy, and health."
Italy: According to Archbishop Matteo Maria Zuppi, recently appointed to head the archdiocese,
"I really think it's time for a mosque in Bologna. Some people think otherwise but they are wrong. ... I also wish Islamic celebrations to be welcomed in schools... We shouldn't be carried away by hateful generalizations, like the comparison between Muslims and terrorists."
However, according to the report,
"Zuppi's reflections are far distant from those of his predecessors. Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, once warned the faithful to be wary of the West's current integration project of Middle-Eastern, largely Muslim migrants. The late Cdl. Giacomo Biffi, archbishop of Bologna before Caffarra, was a respected theologian known for being 'extremely politically incorrect,' and some note that his prophecies about Europe either returning to Christianity or surrendering to Islam were prescient for Italy today...."
Zuppi also seems to overlook the historic fact that, whenever a region was conquered by Islam, one of the first signs of consolidation was the erection of a mosque on top of the sacred sites of the vanquished: the pagan Ka'ba temple in Saudi Arabia was converted into Islam's holiest site, the mosque of Mecca; the Al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third holiest site, was built on top of the ruins of Solomon's temple in Jerusalem; the Umayyad mosque in Damascus was built on top of the Church of St. John the Baptist; and the Hagia Sophia in Turkey was converted into a mosque upon the conquest of Constantinople.
Sudan: Pastor Ayoub Tilian, moderator of the Sudanese Church of Christ in the Khartoum area, was arrested at his office and taken to an unknown location. He was later released, but ordered to report daily for interrogation to the security officials of Sudan's National Security and Intelligence Services, which is staffed by hardline Islamists. They are reportedly upset that he may have spoken about the Sudanese government's persecution of Christians. Discussing this incident, an area source said, "Things are very difficult here in Sudan as time after time we hear that a church leader is arrested."
Iran: A pastor and three other Christians, all of whom appear to be converts from Islam, were sentenced to serve one year in prison, and banned from holding or attending any church services for two years. They were arrested earlier during a picnic in Daniel-e Shoosh, in southern Iran. The plainclothes secret police came to them with guns drawn, threatening and beating some in the group. The report does not mention what the alleged crime is. Most likely, if this case is like other allegations against non-Muslims, they were sentenced under the pretense that they are a "security threat to the nation."
US and UK: Despite all the widespread attention and international condemnation given to the kidnapping by Boko Haram of nearly 300 (mostly Christian) Nigerian girls — recall First Lady Michelle Obama holding a sign saying "bring back our girls" — the US and British governments knew exactly where many of the girls were, but failed to launch a rescue mission. According to Dr. Andrew Pocock, the former British high commissioner to Nigeria: "A couple of months after the kidnapping, fly-bys and an American eye in the sky spotted a group of up to 80 girls in a particular spot in the Sambisa forest, around a very large tree, called locally the Tree of Life, along with evidence of vehicular movement and a large encampment." He said the girls were there for at least four weeks but authorities were "powerless" to act.
Pictured in a Boko Haram video, some of the hundreds of Christian Nigerian schoolgirls who were abducted in 2014 by Boko Haram. The U.S. and British governments knew the exact location of many of the captured girls, but failed to launch a rescue mission, according to Andrew Pocock, the former British high commissioner to Nigeria. (Image source:)
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 in all languages, ethnicities, and locations.
Raymond Ibrahim is the author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians (published by Regnery with Gatestone Institute, April 2013).
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