Sunday, January 27, 2019

Persecution Update: November 2018

  • After it was announced that Asia Bibi -- a Christian women who had spent nearly a decade on death row for allegedly "blaspheming" against Islam -- had been acquitted, Muslims rioted throughout early November; in one march, more than 11,000 Muslims demanded her instant and public hanging. A leading Muslim party announced that the judges who had acquitted her deserved death. The lawyer who represented her fled the nation due to many death threats. — Pakistan.

  • While under arrest, he asked police to allow him to "kill the infidels... otherwise you will become infidels like them." Authorities later said the man had mental problems and was under the influence of drugs. The Christians replied that the media always present such Muslims who attack churches and Christians as suffering from mental illnesses. — Egypt.

  • "[A]t least 350 Christian owned properties have illegally been seized. The government has stopped only 50 of these properties from being sold... Iraqi Christians have long complained about the disproportionate targeting of their properties for illegal seizures. These seizures often occur in waves which follow violent incidents of persecution." — Iraq.

  • "[T]he government... protect the aggressors and leave the victims mercilessly helpless... The devastation in terms of massacre of lives and destruction of property is unimaginable." — Rev. Dacholom Datiri, President of the Church of Christ in Nigeria.

Egypt: On November 2, heavily armed Islamic terrorists ambushed and massacred Christians returning home after visiting the ancient St. Samuel Monastery in Minya. Seven pilgrims—including a 12-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy—were shot to death. More than 20 others were left injured, with bullet wounds or shards of broken glass from the buses' windows. "I pray for the victims, pilgrims killed just because they were Christian," Pope Francis saidafter the attack.

Pictures posted on social media revealed "bodies soaked in blood and distorted faces of men and women." In one video posted, a man can be heard crying, "The gunshot got you in the head, my boy!" and repeating, "What a loss!" One of the female survivors, shot in the legs, recalls that an explosion of gunfire suddenly opened on all sides of their bus; by the time she could register what was happening, she saw pieces of her brother-in-law's brain splattered on her lap. Another woman, after realizing that her husband and daughter had been killed, begged the jihadis to kill her, too. "No," they said, "you stay and suffer over your husband and daughter." Then they shot her in the ankles. In a separate report, another survivor said the terrorists told her, "We will kill the men and children and leave you to live the rest of your lives in misery." Coptic Bishop Anba Makarios of Minya confirmed that, "The pilgrims were killed in such a savage and sadistic way, as if they were enemy combatants, when they were just simple Christians come to get a blessing from a monastery." The attack was almost a duplicate of another that occurred on May 26, 2017: then, extremist Muslim gunmen ambushed buses full of Christians returning from the same monastery. Twenty-eight Christians—ten of whom were children, including two girls, aged two and four—were massacred. "Who can accept these incidents?" asked another Christian. "Every day, there are many incidents harming Christians. We must leave our land and get out of here. I'm so exhausted... it's so dull and dark these days."

Central African Republic: A militant Islamic group raided a Catholic church compound and massacred dozens of Christians, including two priests, in the small town of Alindao, on November 15. According to the report, the group, which consists of "mainly Muslim and Fulani militia, stormed the cathedral and the nearby refugee camp hosting more than 26,000 people displaced following previous attacks in the town and its surrounding villages." Pictures and testimonials "revealed the scale of the devastation as dozens of bodies littered the ground, mixed with the burned debris of tents ... Some of the victims were burned beyond recognition, while others had been shot or dismembered with machetes. Bishop Juan Jose Aguirre Muños provided more details: "The men of Ali Darassa assaulted, looted and set fire to the displaced camp and killed women and children; they burned down the cathedral where they killed the two priests." Immediately afterwards, the terrorists "allowed groups of young Muslims of the western part to enter the eastern part of Alindao and looted the bishop's residence and burned the presbytery and the centre of Caritas." 

Uganda: A Muslim man poisoned and killed his friend for apostatizing to Christianity. After Abdul Hamza converted, his wife "threatened him that leaving Islam would attract grievous measures from their family," explained his pastor, the Rev. Canon Kainja. Although he was ostracized from the Muslim community, some Muslims still remained on friendly terms with him. "One evening, Abdul Hamza and his friends went out to the local market to have some tea and snacks," continues Kainja.
In a separate but similar incident in Uganda, a Muslim man who converted to Christianity died from wounds sustained during a severe beating on the orders of his father. 

Sudan: More details concerning the October 13 arrest and beating of Christians who were attending a house church in Darfur emerged in a November 6 report. According to a local contact, after entering the house and asking "Are you Christians" and receiving a reply in the affirmative, security agents "tortured them beating them a whole day and night and telling them you face death because you changed your religion." The report continues:

Malaysia: After angry Muslims filed complaints, police arrested four Finnish nationals—two men and two women between the ages of 27 and 60—on November 20 for reportedly passing out Christian literature on the streets of Langawi Island the day before. Police further confiscated 336 Christian pamphlets from their hotel room. According to the November 28 report:
The four Christians remain in custody today on the charges of "disturbing religious harmony." If they are found guilty in court, they could face up to five years in a Malaysian prison. This is the third report of foreigners or Malay nations being arrested for Christian activities in recent weeks. Earlier, five Nigerians were arrest[ed] for Christian activities followed by six locals for similar activities. In Malaysia, it is illegal to convert from Islam to Christianity and therefore it is against the law to evangelize in Malaysia.
Indonesia: A Muslim organization accused Grace Natalie, a Christian and founder of the Indonesian Solidarity Party, of blasphemy, after she toldreporters that "The implementation of religion-based bylaws [a reference to Sharia] victimize women and I have become a victim as well for criticizing such regulations." The Indonesian Muslim Workers' Brotherhood was so offended by this remark that it lodged a blasphemy complaint: "Her comments appeared hostile [to Islam] and was considered hate speech against religion," a representative of the Islamic group said.

Christians: Islamic radicals have destroyed 1,125 churches

A Christian denomination in Nigeria is asking its government for help in rebuilding 1,125 church buildings destroyed over the years by the Islamic jihadist group Boko Haram

The Church of the Brethren, according to the Nigeria Daily Mail, said the destroyed buildings include its headquarters office complex, a church auditorium and an adjacent pastor’s residential quarters.
Robert Spencer, the editor of Jihad Watch, commented: “Imagine if Christians anywhere destroyed 1,125 mosques. The outcry would be immediate, sustained, impassioned – and justified. There would governmental studies and lavish media examination of Christian ‘Islamophobia.’ But no one will take any particular notice of this.”
Boko Haram was responsible for the kidnapping of 276 school girls in 2014. Since its insurgency started in 2009, members have killed tens of thousands and displaced 2.3 million from their homes. In 2015, Boko Haram was ranked as the world’s deadliest terror group by the Global Terrorism Index.

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