Pakistan: Sharoon, a Christian boy who achieved academic excellence despite years of entrenched discrimination and bullying—and whose poverty-stricken parents had worked hard to put him in MC Model Boys Government High School—was beaten to death by Muslim pupils. On his first day at the school, the teacher slapped him across the face while blurting an anti-Christian slur. Having set a precedent, the rest of the classroom of Muslim boys continued harassing him throughout the same first day: they hurled out derogatory terms against Christians, denied him access to drinking water, and told him, "You're a Christian don't dare sit with us if you want to live." According to one report: "His academic prowess ... only added to the disdain for him felt by other pupils." Another report said, "there were repeated attempts to convert him to Islam. Sharoon however, never quit his faith to the chagrin of the Muslim children around him, exacerbating his pariah status." Then, on August 27—his fourth day at the prestigious Model school—Muslim students attacked him in the classroom (the teacher supposedly did not notice; he was reading his paper). "The violence," continues the report, "was of such sickening ferocity that poor Sharoon died where he was in the classroom." A cacophony of insults accompanied the beating; he was called a "filthy Christian" and a "demon." According to the murdered teen's mother:
"My son was a kind-hearted, hard-working and affable boy. He has always been loved by teachers and pupils alike and shared great sorrow that he was being targeted by students at his new school because of his faith. Sharoon and I cried every night as he described the daily torture he was subjected to.... The evil boys that hated my child are now refusing to reveal who else was involved in his murder. Nevertheless one day God will have His judgement."
Kenya: Islamic militants from Al Shabaab, centered in neighboring Somalia, beheaded four Christian men in two separate attacks. Approximately 30 heavily-armed assailants surrounded several homes in two different areas; they called victims out by name, before pulling them out and slitting their throats or decapitating them. In the previous two months (August and July), Al Shabaab militants slaughtered thirteen other Christians in a similar manner. "The knock at the door confirmed our fears that what happened in nearby Malamande village in 2014 [was] happening again," recounts one of the slain men's wives:
"We were reluctant to open [the door] and that is when the gang of about 20 broke in and dragged my husband out. I climbed and hid in a space up the roof and I heard everything that was going on. My husband was struggling and screaming for help but the gang overpowered him, slit his throat and chopped off his head. I am very bitter and worried about how I will live without [Gerald]. I treasured him because he loved me and provided everything that I needed. I am still in shock from what I saw that night; blood all over, his body lying lifeless and the head a few meters away. Why did they kill my husband?"
Nigeria: Muslim Fulani herdsmen, accompanied by known "Islamic extremist militants," states a report, raided a Christian village and massacred 20 Christians, including a three-month-old baby and eight other children, as they slept sometime after midnight, Friday September 8. Police, who apparently treated the incident with some indifference, said it was a "reprisal" attack for the discovery of a decapitated Muslim boy; but dumbfounded Christians argued that the murder happened in another village more than a year ago and that they had nothing to do with it.
In another incident, a Catholic priest, Cyriacus Onunkwo, was abducted by Islamic gunmen on Friday, September 1 and found slaughtered in the bushes the following day. Nothing was stolen from his car and no ransom was demanded for his release.
Iran: Iranian national media reported that several Christians, almost all of whom are converts, in Tehran, Rey, and Pardis, were arrested after a video surfaced showing dozens of Bibles and other Christian literature, allegedly also confiscated by authorities. Little other information is provided.
Mali: Not only were several Catholic churches "ransacked and torched, forcing parishioners to flee" throughout September, but "militants told Christians they would be killed if they were seen in church," a report noted. A Catholic church leader explained:
"Our churches and chapels are now being targeted by extremists who've told Christians not to gather to pray.... But we're also alarmed the attacks are being mounted by isolated Islamist groups, acting in their own name.... On previous occasions, the government has deployed military units in our parishes. But this still hasn't been done against these new attacks."
Turkey: Photos taken clandestinely of the largest Armenian cathedral in the Middle East "reveal considerable damage to the sanctuary and walls of the now desecrated church in southeast Turkey," a report disclosed. Its crucifix was "defaced," its windows smashed, and its pews used as firewood; garbage was dumped in its sanctuary. First built in the 1600s, Surp Giragos Armenian Apostolic Church is one of six Christian churches in the Sur district to be confiscated by the state. For three years now, Christians—Armenian, Assyrian, Chaldean, and Protestant—have been unable to worship in their churches as authorities placed all Christian property in Diyarbakir on the Turkish cabinet's expropriation plan. "We have been exposed to ethnic and religious discrimination for years," said a local pastor.
One hundred and ten girls are missing after an attack on a school in northeast Nigeria by suspected Boko Haram insurgents, the information ministry said on Sunday, in what may be one of the largest abductions since the Chibok kidnappings of 2014.
The Islamist militant group attained international notoriety after abducting more than 270 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok. That case drew global attention to the insurgency and spawned high profile social media campaign Bring Back Our Girls.
Boko Haram, whose name translates as “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language widely spoken in northern Nigeria, has killed more than 20,000 people and forced two million to flee their homes in a violent insurgency that began in 2009.
President Muhammadu Buhari, the 75-year-old former military ruler elected in 2015 after vowing to crush Boko Haram, has described the disappearance of the girls after Monday’s attack in the town of Dapchi, Yobe state, as a “national disaster”.
The insurgents drove into the town of Dapchi on Monday and attacked the girls’ school, sending hundreds of students fleeing. Some of the attackers were camouflaged, with witnesses stating that a number of students thought they were soldiers.
“The federal government has confirmed that 110 students of the Government Science and Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe State, are so far unaccounted for, after insurgents believed to be from a faction of Boko Haram invaded their school on Monday,” the information ministry said in a statement.