Unlike those nations, such as Saudi Arabia, that have eliminated Christianity altogether, Muslim countries with significant Christian minorities saw much persecution during the month of May: in Egypt, Christians were openly discriminated against in law courts, even as some accused the nation’s new president of declaring that he will «achieve the Islamic conquest of Egypt for the second time, and make all Christians convert to Islam«; in Indonesia, Muslims threw bags of urine on Christians during worship; in Kashmir and Zanzibar, churches were set aflame; and in Mali Christianity «faces being eradicated.»
Elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa—in Nigeria, Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, the Ivory Coast—wherever Islam and Christianity meet, Christians are being killed, slaughtered, beheaded and even crucified.
Categorized by theme, May’s assemblage of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed in alphabetical order by country, not severity. Note: Because Pakistan had the lion’s share of persecuted Christians last month, it has its own section below, covering the entire gamut of persecution—from apostasy and blasphemy to rape and forced conversions.
Indonesia saw several church-related attacks:
France: Prior to celebrating mass, «four youths, aged 14 to 18, broke into the Church of St. Joseph, before launching handfuls of pebbles at 150 faithful present at the service.» They were chased out, though «the parishioners, many of whom are elderly, were greatly shocked by the disrespectful act of the youths of North African origin.»
Kashmir: A Catholic church made entirely of wood was partially destroyed after unknown assailants set it on fire. «What happened is not an isolated case,» said the president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, and follows the «persecution» of a pastor who baptized Muslims. «With these gestures, the Muslim community is trying to intimidate the Christian minority.»
Kuwait: Two months after the Saudi Grand Mufti, in response to a question on whether churches may exist in Kuwait, decreed that all regional churches must be destroyed, villa-churches serving Western foreigners are being targeted. One congregation was evicted without explanation «from a private villa used for worship gatherings for the past seven years»; another villa-church was ordered to «pay an exorbitant fine each month to use a facility it had been renting… Church leaders reportedly decided not to argue and moved out.»
Zanzibar: Hundreds of Muslims set two churches on fire and clashed with police during protests against the arrest of senior members of an Islamist movement known as the Association for Islamic Mobilization and Propagation. Afterwards, the group issued a statement denying any involvement of wrong doing.
Pakistan: Apostasy, Blasphemy, Rape, Forced Conversions, and Oppression
[General Abuse, Debasement, and Suppression of non-Muslims as «Tolerated» Citizens]
Egypt: A court verdict that was criticized by many human rights groups as «unbelievable» and «extremely harsh» towards Christians was decided according to religion: all twelve Christians were convicted to life imprisonment, while all eight Muslims—including some who torched nearly 60 Christian homes—were acquitted, all to thunderous cries of «Allahu Akbar!» in the courtroom. Another Muslim judge in Upper Egypt dismissed all charges against a group of Muslims who terrorized a Christian man and his family for over a year, culminating with their cutting off his ear in a knife attack while trying to force him to convert after they «falsely accused him» of having an affair with a Muslim woman. And a new report describes the plight of Coptic girls: «hundreds of Christian girls … have been abducted, forced to convert to Islam, and forced into marriage in Egypt. These incidents are often accompanied by acts of violence, including rape, beatings, and other forms of physical and mental abuse.»
Eritrea: Activists taking part in a protest outside the Eritrean embassy in London revealed that «Some 2,000 to 3,000 Christians are currently detained in Eritrea without charge or trial… Several Christians are known to have died in notorious prison camps» and «thousands of Eritreans flee their country every year,» some falling «into the hands of abusive traffickers, and are held hostage in torture camps in the Sinai Desert pending payment of exorbitant ransoms, or the forcible removal of organs.»
Ethiopia: A Christian man accused of «desecrating the Koran» spent two years in prison, where he was abused, pressured to convert to Islam, and left paralyzed. Now returning home, he has found that his two young children have been abducted by local Muslims: «My life is ruined—I have lost my house, my children, my health. I am now homeless, and I am limping.»
Greece: Abet Hasman, the deputy mayor of Patras who recently passed away, left a message to be revealed only in his obituary—that, though born to Muslim parents in Jordan, he was «secretly baptized» a Christian (demonstrating how some Muslims who convert to Christianity, knowing the consequences of apostasy, opt for secrecy).
Indonesia: A predominantly Christian neighborhood was attacked for several days by «unidentified persons» who set fire to homes and cars. Dozens of Christian families fled their homes, «many fear[ing] the involvement of Islamic extremist groups.»
Iran: A prominent house church pastor remains behind bars, even as his family expresses concerns that he may die from continued abuse and beatings, leading to internal bleeding and other ailments; authorities refuse to give him medical treatment. Also, the attorney of Youssef Nadarkhani—the imprisoned Christian pastor who awaits execution for apostasy—was himself «convicted for his work defending human rights and is expected to begin serving his nine-year sentence in the near future.» Meanwhile, in a letter attributed to him, the imprisoned pastor wrote: «I have surrendered myself to God’s will…[and I] consider it as the day of exam and trial of my faith…[so that I may] prove my loyalty and sincerity to God.»
Jordan: After the Jordanian Dubai Islamic Bank decreed that all females must wear the hijab, the Islamic veil, or be terminated, all female employees who refused to wear the hijab—mostly Christians, including one Christian woman who worked there for 27 years—were fired. There are suspicions that this new policy was set to target and terminate the Christian employees, since it is they who are most likely to reject the hijab.
Lebanon: A 24-year-old woman, the daughter of a Shiite cleric, who was «physically and psychologically tortured by her father for converting to Christianity three years ago,» managed to escape and then got baptized by a Christian priest—who was abducted and interrogated to disclose the whereabouts of the renegade woman. In connection, Muslim assailants fired gunshots at the house of another priest and at a church. This «is part of an escalating pattern of violence against local Catholics,» in the words of the region’s prelate.
Macedonia: After some Muslims were arrested in connection to a «series of murders of Christians,» thousands of fellow Muslims demonstrated after Friday prayers, shouting slogans like «death to Christians» and calling for «jihad.»
Mali: Ever since the government was overthrown in a coup, «the church in Mali faces being eradicated,» especially in the north «where rebels want to establish an independent Islamist state and drive Christians out… there have been house to house searches for Christians who might be in hiding, church and Christian property has been looted or destroyed, and people tortured into revealing any Christian relatives.»
Nigeria: Muslim gunmen set fire to a home in a Christian village and then opened fire on all who tried to escape the inferno, killing at least seven and wounding many others, in just one of dozens of attacks on Christians.
Sudan: Without reason, security officials closed down regional offices of the Sudan Council of Churches and a much needed church clinic for the poor; staff members were arrested and taken to an undisclosed location: «Their families are living in agony due to the uncertainty of their fate.»
Syria: Jihadi gunmen evicted all the families of a Christian region, «taking over all the homes of the village, occupying the church and turning it to their base.»
Uzbekistan: Police raided a Protestant house church meeting, claiming «that a bomb was in the home.» No bomb was found, only Christian literature which was confiscated. Subsequently, 14 members of the unregistered church were heavily fined—the equivalent of 10-60 times a monthly salary—for an «unsanctioned meeting in a private home.» Between February and April, 28 Protestants were fined and four were warned for the offence, with three Baptists also being fined for not declaring their personal Bibles while crossing the border from Kazakhstan into Uzbekistan. Fines and warnings were accompanied by the confiscation of religious literature.
About this Series
Because the persecution of Christians in the Islamic world is on its way to reaching epidemic proportions, «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:
Accordingly, whatever the anecdote of persecution, it typically fits under a specific theme, including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam; apostasy and blasphemy laws; theft and plunder in lieu of jizya (tribute); overall expectations for Christians to behave like cowed «dhimmis» (barely tolerated citizens); and simple violence and murder. Oftentimes it is a combination thereof.
Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and locales—from Morocco in the west, to India in the east, and throughout the West, wherever there are Muslims—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.