The Islamic State (IS) has just released another video where it executes more Christians, this time for not paying jizya—extortion money demanded of the “People of the Book” according to Koran 9:29.
Two scenes appear in the 29-minute-long video published by al-Furqan, the Islamic State’s media wing. The first scene consists of a group of Christian Ethiopians dressed all in black, on their knees, with their arms tied behind their backs. Masked IS members stand behind the Ethiopians with rifles aimed at their heads. According to the video, this scene takes place in the city of Fezzan. The Christian captives are called “Worshippers of the cross belonging to the hostile Ethiopian Church.”
The second scene shows more Christian Ethiopians dressed in orange uniforms and standing on the shores of Barqa, the same region where 21 Egyptian Christians were earlier decapitated for refusing to convert to Islam.
Other scenes include the narrator referencing the fatwas of medieval jurist Ibn Taymiyya that proclaim all Christians “infidels.” Then Abu Malik ibn Ans al-Nashwan, apparently one of the group’s leaders, appears saying that “The dealings of the Islamic State with Christians under its authority is according to Allah’s Sharia [Islamic law]. Jizya [tribute] is imposed on those who accept, and war on those who resist.”
The final scene is of the Christians in Fezzan being executed by gunfire to the back of their heads and the Christians in Barqa all having their heads carved off.
It is likely that the reason these Christians “resisted” to pay jizya was that they did not have the money—migrant Christian workers in Libya, whether from Egypt or Ethiopia, are about as poor as they get.
And they refused the only other option that could have spared their lives according to Islamic law—renunciation of the Christian Trinity and conversion to Islam.
The narrator continued by saying that IS had “invited” the Christians of Raqqa, Syria to enter Islam, but they refused. So IS demanded of them payment of jizya and they complied and were permitted to live. Next follows a scene depicting Christians in Raqqa—according to the video’s claims—saying how “peaceful” life is under the Islamic State, and that the caliphate does not compel them to do anything except pay jizya.
Whether scripted or not—and odds are on the former—these supposedly “content” Christians are hardly representative of the overwhelming majority of Christians in territories annexed by the Islamic State.
In the summer of 2014, IS issued a statement concerning Christian minorities, saying “We offer them three choices: Islam; the dhimma contract—involving payment of jizya; if they refuse this they will have nothing but the sword.” Hours after this ultimatum was proclaimed, the jihadis began painting the letter “n” on Christian homes in Mosul—in Arabic, Christians are known as “Nasara,” or “Nazarenes”—signaling them out for the slaughter to come and prompting a mass exodus of Christians from the region. Many older and disabled Iraqi Christians, unable to pay the jizya or join the exodus, opted to convert to Islam.
In one instance, three Islamic State members burst into the home of a Christian family, demanding jizya. When the father of the house pleaded that he did not have the money, the intruders raped his wife and daughter in front of him. The man was reportedly so traumatized that he committed suicide.
And, lest Western readers in general, Christians in particular, think this is just happening “over there,” the same narrator, speaking to the West in general, also said—right before the slaughtered and decapitated bodies of the Ethiopian Christians were shown—that “you won’t have safety, even in your dreams, until you embrace Islam.”
The New Year began with Muslim gunmen killing a dozen people at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris on January 7. The attack was motivated by the publication of unflattering caricatures of Islam’s prophet Muhammad.
Lesser known is that, all throughout the Islamic world, the magazine’s caricatures of Muhammad were blamed on Christianity by Muslims who seem not to realize that the magazine habitually pokes fun at Christ, Moses, and all other religious figures. In Palestinian territories, for example, protesters held up a sign with images of the Muslim killers behind the Charlie Hebdo massacre; the caption below said “Expect more from the champions of Islam, O you slaves of the Cross” (bold in original Arabic).
Accordingly, Muslims around the Islamic world attacked Christian minorities in the context of “collective punishment.”
In Niger, Muslim mobs, reportedly spurred on by the Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, torched approximately 45 Christian churches, a Christian school and orphanage, two nuns’ convents, and pastors’ homes in response to the Muhammad cartoons. At least 10 people were killed in the clashes; pastors in the capital Niamey said anyone associated with churches—anyone exposed as Christian—was targeted.
According to a nun who escaped the violence, “the intention was to torch all the churches with us inside them” and thus “burn us alive!” Added the nun: “Boko Haram students believe they must kill Christians in order to take their place in paradise but we won’t surrender to fear because love must prevail over hatred.”
In Pakistan, some 300 Muslim students armed with iron bars and sticks and shouting anti-Christian slogans, attacked a Christian boys’ school in “retaliation” to the Muhammad cartoons, leaving four Christian students injured. According to eyewitnesses, the three officers deployed to guard the school stood by and watched.
The rest of January’s roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed by theme and country in alphabetical order, not necessarily according to severity.
Death and Destruction at Christian Churches
Egypt: The courtyard of St. George the Martyr, a partially constructed Catholic church in Hijazh village, was set on fire by unknown persons on Christmas day (January 7 for Egyptian Christians). Christian worshipers were planning on praying in the church’s courtyard — since the church building had been left unfinished for 23 years due to Muslim protests—and had furnished the courtyard with chairs and tents. They “were surprised” to find “flames” engulf much of the courtyard. In 2010, a wooden church build aside the unfinished church was also burned down, though at that time faulty electricity was blamed. Pictures can be seen here. Separately, on January 25— the anniversary of Egypt’s “Arab Spring”—gun shots were fired at the church of St. Raphael the Archangel in Maadi. Several Coptic Christians were killed, including a child, Mina Rifa’at. In other areas, such as Beni Suef, security forces closed the streets around the churches to prevent attacks by Muslim Brotherhood affiliated gangs. According to the local bishop, Antonios Aziz Mina, “clashes occurred between the police and groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, that aim to credit the image of a still destabilized Egypt.”
Italy: Churches, crosses, and religious statues were attacked in the European, Catholic-majority nation: On New Year’s Day, a 67-year-old Moroccan man seen mumbling verses from the Koran hurled to the groundand severely damaged five statues and other religious objects in the parish church of Santa Maria Assunta in Cles, Trentino. He used an iron rod to throw to the ground the statue of the Madonna and Child, the Immaculate, those of Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Sorrows and the statue of St. Joseph with the Child. The Koran-quoting vandal also targeted the marble altar and the baptistery—which were shattered—two altars and a large painting of the Assumption. All damaged items are cataloged at the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage of the Autonomous Province of Trento. The man was arrested by police on the charge of aggravated damage. Then, on January 9, in the chapel of St. Barnabas in Perugia, as a man was kneeling in prayer before a St. Mary statue, while holding the photograph of a loved one, five “foreigners,” described as being of North African descent, attacked him: “The first thing they did was rip the photo from his hands. Next they unleashed their hatred against the image of the Virgin Mary. They broke the statue to pieces and then urinated on it.” Finally, on January 17, a crucifix was destroyed in Cinisello Balsamo, a municipality in the Province of Milan, in close proximity to a populated mosque. The municipality’s Councillor, Giuseppe Berlin, did not mince words concerning the identity of the culprit(s): “It’s time to put an end to the do-gooders’ policies of welcoming and integrating by a certain political party. Before we put a show of unity with Muslims, let’s have them begin by respecting our civilization and our culture. We shouldn’t minimize the importance of certain signals; we must wake up now or our children will suffer the consequences of this dangerous and uncontrolled Islamic invasion.”
Kenya: An unknown gunman shot a Christian dead at the gate leading to a church on Sunday, January 11 in Mombasa. One of two men following 25-year-old George Muriki as he arrived with two other church members at the gate leading to Maximum Revival Ministries Church shot him three times in the back, after mistaking him for the church pastor. According to the pastor, “The two other church members, who happened to be ladies, were pushed aside and one of the attackers said, ‘This is the church pastor,’ and there and then the attackers fired three times right at the back of George, who died at the spot…. My life is in danger—I know I was the target, but God protected…. Someone has been following me for the last one month.” The pastor later named his stalker as one “Mohammed.” “The school hall also is not safe,” he added. “We have to move to another location; otherwise we are going to lose many members who are now afraid to come to church.”
Nigeria: During a New Year church service, an Islamic suicide bomber blew himself up at the gates of a church in the city of Gombe. Eight people were wounded. In the words of a Red Cross official: “This morning [January 1] while people were in church for the New Year worship, a suicide attacker rode on a motorcycle trying to gain entrance to the premises of the church. When he was stopped at the gates by the church guards … he blew himself up and injured eight people.” Separately, after several Western mainstream media reported that Nigeria’s Muslims protected Christian churches during Christmas Day celebrations, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) debunked such claims, saying in a statement: “It has become imperative for us to clarify this falsehood and confusion in local and international media. Many of our members have been calling and asking questions whether a Church was protected from being attacked by Muslims in [the] Sabo area on Christmas day? And we said it is not true.” CAN added that not one of 600 churches was protected by Muslims on Christmas., contrary to Western media reports.
Pakistan: On December 29, a Protestant Christian church was set on fire, leaving the Christian community in “dismay and terror.” According to Pastor Qamar Zaman, in charge of the pastoral care of the affected community, “it is an act of intimidation to spread terror and create enmity between Christians and Muslims.” Responding to this incident, lawyer and activist Sardar Mushtaq Gill said: “Christians in Pakistan suffer from a sense of distrust and fear. Extremists continue to sow terror in the minds of citizens and have no regard either towards the people or the holy places. They want to create disharmony among the faiths in Pakistan and create unrest in the country. Our answer can only be a response of faith and prayer.”
Syria: On January 9, a number of Christian churches in Aleppo, some around 200 years old, were bombed by Islamic rebels. Among them was the Armenian Catholic Cathedral, St. Rita — or, “Our Lady of Pity,” built in 1830 — which was left partially destroyed (pictures here). According to the Aleppo-based Rev. Fr. Krikor Milad, the bombing took place around 5:30 a.m., while everyone slept: “If the bombing had taken place just two hours later, the church would have been full of worshippers. God saved them.” Four months earlier, the Armenian Genocide Memorial and Church of Der Zor was destroyed by the Islamic State.
Nearby, the Holy Trinity Armenian Evangelical church was little more than a burned shell. Walls were blackened by smoke; wooden pews, tapestries, Bibles and kneeling cushions had all been incinerated in a fire that appeared to have raged until there was nothing left to burn.” Zavinar Sargdegian, a 58-year-old resident, explained her ordeal: “I was at home with my husband when they raided the house. They broke down the front door. They pushed us on to the street. We were on our knees and they put a gun to our heads. From the road I saw the Angelic Church burning. Fire was coming out of the doors and windows.”
Uganda: A Muslim father and imam, or prayer leader, beat his 15-year-old daughter to death for converting to Christianity and was reportedly trying to kill her hospitalized, traumatized 12-year-old sister, also for abandoning Islam for Christ. According to a local source, around mid-December, “Their father got the information that his daughters have converted, and he organized a small group of fellow Muslims, about 17 people, to go and attack the Christians. He found the [church] campaign had finished but went back to his home and waited for the daughters. When they went back home, the father picked up the club and started beating them badly till one called Jamirah died.”
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.
Incitement and indoctrination are at the heart of the Jew-hatred raging through the Arab and broader Muslim world and now infecting much of Europe.
Within the Palestinian realm, both Palestinian governments – the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza – regularly call for annihilation of the Jews. Hamas’s charter cites the oft-quoted Hadith (a statement attributed to Muhammed but not found in the Koran) declaring that Judgement Day will not come until all Jews are killed. It pledges the organization’s dedication to that goal. The necessity of exterminating the Jews has likewise been declared by PA-appointed religious leaders, and genocidal Jew-hatred is routinely promoted in PA mosques, media and schools.
Similar genocidal rhetoric is a fixture of media, mosques and schools throughout most of the Arab world and, largely through Arab financing and disseminating, has become a constant theme in much of the wider Muslim world and within Muslim communities elsewhere, not least in Europe.
Beyond explicit calls for genocide, anti-Jewish indoctrination entails labeling Jews as sub-human, blaming them for virtually all the world’s ills, characterizing them as a disease within the body of humanity, and attributing to them the most reprehensible qualities and the most vile crimes. This demonization of Jews routinely draws upon both old anti-Jewish Islamic texts and classic European anti-Semitic materials including medieval European blood libels, the czarist-generated “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” and Nazi anti-Semitic propaganda and caricatures.
This indoctrination is obviously not a matter of objection to particular policies of the state of Israel or to the so-called “occupation.” It, of course, insists that Israel, the Jewish state, cannot be allowed to exist within any borders. Its essential message and popularity pre-date Israel’s entry into the West Bank and Gaza in the 1967 war.
In part because there are so many Muslims disseminating this anti-Jewish indoctrination in Europe, in part because its message also has a receptive audience among much of the indigenous European population, which is more than ready to rationalize, justify and embrace the Jew-hatred, Europe has seen a dramatic rise in what is labeled the “new anti-Semitism.” Contributing to this phenomenon in Europe is the fact that very few European institutions have addressed the indoctrination and challenged its promotion of murderous hatred.
The United States has largely remained unscarred by this ugly bigotry. But incitement to it exists in America as elsewhere, and major American institutions, whose exposure of the hate-indoctrination as it flourishes in the Middle East and has spread across the globe could have a salutary effect, have instead been essentially silent. Their speaking out, calling the hatred’s propagators to account, alerting the public to the phenomenon and casting some potentially detoxifying sunlight upon it, could even have a salutary effect beyond our shores. Still, key institutions remain silent.
By their silence they serve, in effect, as enablers of anti-Semitic hate indoctrination.
Three major American institutions are particularly culpable, not least because they are all especially well-positioned to have a positive impact were they acting otherwise.
1) The Obama Administration.
2) Mainstream media.
The United Nations Security Council’s quarterly open debate on the Middle East invariably focuses on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Israel is invariably the punching bag. The April 21st session was no exception.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon started things off by calling upon Israel to re-affirm its commitment to the two-state solution and “to take credible steps to foster an environment conducive to a return to meaningful negotiations, including a freeze of settlement activity.” Nothing was asked of the Palestinian leadership, which time and again has walked away from opportunities to secure an independent state of their own on terms that would have given them virtually all of the West Bank as well as Gaza. Instead, the Secretary General praised the so-called “Palestinian reconciliation,” which is a euphemism for the Palestinian Authority’s willingness to partner with the terrorist jihad group Hamas.
The Palestinian Deputy Representative Feda Abdelhady-Nasser followed the Secretary General, delivering a lengthy tirade against Israel. She said that the crisis of the Palestinian people had become “existential,” all of which she asserted was Israel’s fault. She criticized the Security Council’s failure to pass last December a resolution proposed by the Palestinians and sponsored by Jordan, which would have set strict deadlines for a final settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the Palestinians’ terms, including Israel’s withdrawal to the pre-June 1967 lines. “The failure to act has greatly fostered Israel’s impunity and compounded the conflict, with the heaviest price paid in human suffering and the credibility of the international system,” Ms. Abdelhady-Nasser claimed. She demanded urgent action by the Security Council to bring about what she called the “globally endorsed” solution.
“The very last thing Israel can afford is another terror state in its backyard. Just imagine what this state would look like,” Ambassador Prosor said. We got a preview when Israel disengaged from Gaza in 2005. Hamas took over the Gaza Strip and created a terror stronghold.”
After noting that the conflict was not really about the right place for Israel’s borders, but “about Israel’s right to exist in the first place,” Ambassador Prosor declared:
“War has never been the choice of the State of Israel. Our choice is and always has been the path of peace. But when war and terror are forced upon us, we will not surrender and we will not back down. For nearly 2,000 years, the Jewish people were stateless and powerless in the face of hatred and indifference. Those days are no more.”
In short, Israel is willing to negotiate a two-state solution, but not with terrorists whose avowed objective is to destroy Israel, or on terms that would radically transform the demographics of pre-1967 Israel by overwhelming the Jewish state with millions of so-called Palestinian “refugees.”
The United Nations is at its worst when dealing with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Lies and hypocrisy are the order of the day. At the UN, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is often portrayed as the underlying root cause of virtually all of the tensions in the Middle East. This fictional narrative provides the Syrian and Iranian regimes an easy out and turns a blind eye to the toxic Islamist ideology fueling much of the jihadist terrorism spreading throughout the entire region today. At the UN, Israel is often assigned the full blame for the Palestinians’ plight. This fictional narrative relieves the Palestinian leaders of any responsibility for betraying the aspirations of their own people and for taking ill-advised actions that cost civilian lives amongst Palestinians as well as Israelis.
Shame on the Obama administration if it further enables this travesty.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke at the central memorial ceremony for fallen soldiers at the Mount Herzl military cemetery Wednesday, recognizing the sacrifice of those who gave their lives for the State of Israel and urging Israelis to appreciate the meaning of that loss.
“Our enemies must know they will not break us,” the prime minister said, quoting a widow who spoke Tuesday in the Knesset’s memorial ceremony.
“We express our gratitude for everything we have earned,” the prime minister said, “for the wonder of our sovereignty, the gift of freedom, the miracle of our renewal.”
Earlier Wednesday, a two-minute siren sounded at 11 a.m. throughout the country, bringing the nation to a momentary halt as Israelis stopped where they were and stood silent in remembrance of the dead.
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