This article was first published by the Stonegate Institute.
The beginning of the New Year saw only an increase in the oppression of Christians under Islam, from Nigeria, where an all-out jihad has been declared in an effort to eradicate the Muslim north of all Christians, to Europe, where Muslim converts to Christianity are still hounded and attacked as apostates. According to the Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, “The flight of Christians out of the region is unprecedented and it’s increasing year by year”; in our life time alone, he predicts “Christians might disappear altogether from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt.”
An international report found that Muslim nations make up nine out of the top ten countries where Christians face the “most severe” persecution. In response to these findings, a Vatican spokesman said that “Among the most serious concerns, the increase in Islamic extremism merits special attention. Persons and organizations dedicated to extremist Islamic ideology perpetrate terrible acts of violence in many places throughout the world: the Boko Haram sect in Nigeria is but one example. Then there is the climate of insecurity that unfortunately in some countries accompanies the so-called “Arab spring”—a climate that drives many Christians to flee and even to emigrate.”
Categorized by theme, January’s batch 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 of anecdote.
Iran: A Christian convert who was arrested in her home has been sentenced to two years in prison. Previously she endured five months of uncertainty detained in the notorious Evin prison, where the government hoped she would come to her senses and renounce Christianity. She was convicted of “broad anti-Islamic propaganda, deceiving citizens by formation of what is called a house church, insulting sacred figures and action against national security.” Likewise, Iranian Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani continues to suffer in prison. Most recently, he rejected an offer to be released if he publicly acknowledged Islam’s prophet Muhammad as “a messenger sent by God,” which would amount to rejecting Christianity, as Muhammad/Koran reject it.
Kenya: Muslim apostates seeking refuge in Kenya are being tracked and attacked by Muslims from their countries of origin: An Ethiopian who, upon converting to Christianity, was shot by his father, kidnapped and almost killed, is now receiving threatening text messages. Likewise, a Ugandan convert to Christianity is in hiding, his movements severely restricted since “the Muslims are looking to kill me. I need protection and help.”
Kuwait: A royal prince who openly declared that he has converted to Christianity, confirmed the reality that he now might be targeted for killing as an apostate.
Norway: While out for a walk, two Iranian converts to Christianity were stabbed with knives by masked men shouting “infidels!” One of the men stabbed had converted in Iran, was threatened there, and immigrated to Norway, thinking he could escape persecution there.
Somalia: A female convert to Christianity was paraded before a cheering crowd and publicly flogged as punishment for embracing a “foreign religion.” Imprisoned since November, “the public whipping was meant to mark her release.” She received 40 lashes as hundreds of Muslim spectators jeered. An eyewitness said: “I saw her faint. I thought she had died, but soon she regained consciousness and her family took her away.” Likewise, “Somali Islamists arrested a Muslim father after two of his children converted to Christianity” and fled. He is accused of “failing to raise his sons as good Muslims,” because “good Muslims cannot convert to Christianity.”
Zanzibar: After being robbed, a Muslim convert to Christianity called police to his house; they discovered a Bible during their inspection. The course of inquiry immediately changed from searching for the thieves to asking why he “was practicing a forbidden faith.” He was imprisoned for eight months without trial, and, since being released, has been rejected by his family and is now homeless and diseased.
Azerbaijan: A pastor has been threatened with criminal proceedings following a raid on his church during Sunday service. Earlier, he was told that “a criminal case had been launched over religious literature arousing incitement over other faiths,” and was pressured by authorities to leave the area, which he did, traveling great distances each week to lead church services.
Egypt: Before a bishop was going to inaugurate the incomplete Abu Makka church and celebrate the Epiphany mass, a large number of Salafis and Muslim Brotherhood members entered the building, asserting that the church had no license and so no one should pray in it. One Muslim remarked that the building would be suitable for a mosque and a hospital.
Indonesia: A sticker on the back of the car of a member of the beleaguered Yasmin church saying “We need a friendly Islam, not an angry Islam,” distributed by the family of the late Muslim president, prompted another Islamic attack on the church: scores of Muslims “terrorized the congregation and attacked several church members.” Since 2008, the congregation has been forced to hold Sunday services on the sidewalk outside the church and then later in the home of parishioners. Not satisfied, hundreds of Muslims later searched and found the private home where members were congregating and holding service and prevented them from worshiping there as well: “It crosses the line now. The protesters now come to the residential area, which is not a public place.” A new report notes that anti-Christian attacks have nearly doubled in the last year.
Nigeria: Soon after jihadis issued an ultimatum giving Christians three days to evacuate the region or die, armed Muslims stormed a church and “opened fire on worshippers as their eyes were closed in prayer,” killing six, including the pastor’s wife. Then, as friends and relatives gathered to mourn the deaths of those slain, “Allahu Akbar” screaming Muslims appeared and opened fire again, killing another 20 Christians. Several other churches were bombed, and seven more killed.
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