Archive for the ‘Islam and Christianity’ category

Europe’s New Official History Erases Christianity, Promotes Islam

October 18, 2017

Europe’s New Official History Erases Christianity, Promotes Islam, Gatestone InstituteGiulio Meotti, October 18, 2017

[I]t is hard to understand the “logic” behind the official European animosity toward Christianity and its attraction to a basically totalitarian Islam. Europe could easily be secular without being militantly anti-Christian. It is easier to understand why thousands of Poles just took part in a mass protest along Poland’s borders to voice their opposition to “secularization and Islam’s influence“, which is exactly the same as the official crazy EU credo.

During the Second World War, the Allies avoided bombing Brussels, because it was to be the site of European rebirth. If the European elite continue with this cultural repudiation of their Judeo-Christian-Humanistic culture, the city could be its grave.

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“The patrons of the false Europe are bewitched by superstitions of inevitable progress. They believe that History is on their side, and this faith makes them haughty and disdainful, unable to acknowledge the defects in the post-national, post-cultural world they are constructing.” — The Paris Statement, signed by ten respected European scholars.

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière’s proposal to introduce Muslim public holidays shows that when it comes to Islam, Europe’s official “post-Christian” secularism is simply missing in action.

A few days ago, some of Europe’s most important intellectuals — including British philosopher Roger Scruton, former Polish Education Minister Ryszard Legutko, German scholar Robert Spaemann and Professor Rémi Brague from the Sorbonne in France — issued “The Paris Statement“. In their ambitious statement, they rejected the “false Christendom of universal human rights” and the “utopian, pseudo-religious crusade for a borderless world”. Instead, they called for a Europe based on “Christian roots”, drawing inspiration from the “Classical tradition” and rejecting multiculturalism:

“The patrons of the false Europe are bewitched by superstitions of inevitable progress. They believe that History is on their side, and this faith makes them haughty and disdainful, unable to acknowledge the defects in the post-national, post-cultural world they are constructing. Moreover, they are ignorant of the true sources of the humane decencies they themselves hold dear — as do we. They ignore, even repudiate the Christian roots of Europe. At the same time they take great care not to offend Muslims, who they imagine will cheerfully adopt their secular, multicultural outlook”.

In 2007, reflecting on the cultural crisis of the continent, Pope Benedict said that Europe is now “doubting its very identity“. In 2017, Europe took a further step: creating a post-Christian pro-Islam identity. Europe’s official buildings and exhibitions have indeed been erasing Christianity and welcoming Islam.

One kind of official museum recently opened by the European Parliament, the “House of the European History“, costing 56 million euros. The idea was to create a historical narrative of the postwar period around the pro-EU message of unification. The building is a beautiful example of Art Deco in Brussels. As the Dutch scholar Arnold Huijgen wrote, however, the house is culturally “empty”:

“The French Revolution seems to be the birthplace of Europe; there is little room for anything that may have preceded it. The Napoleonic Code and the philosophy of Karl Marx receive a prominent place, while slavery and colonialism are highlighted as the darker sides of European culture (…) But the most remarkable thing about the House is that.as far as its account is concerned, it is as if religion does not exist. In fact, it never existed and never impacted the history of the continent (…) No longer is European secularism fighting the Christian religion; it simply ignores every religious aspect in life altogether”.

The Brussels bureaucracy even deleted the Catholic roots of its official flag, the twelve stars symbolizing the ideal of unity, solidarity and harmony among the peoples of Europe. It was drawn by the French Catholic designer Arséne Heitz, who apparently took his inspiration from the Christian iconography of Virgin Mary. But the European Union’s official explanation of the flag makes no mention of these Christian roots.

The European Monetary and Economic Department of the European Commission then ordered Slovakia to redesign its commemorative coins by eliminating the Christian Saints Cyril and Methonius. There is no mention of Christianity in the 75,000 words of the aborted draft of the European Constitution.

The European Commission ordered Slovakia to redesign its commemorative coins by eliminating the Christian Saints Cyril and Methonius. (Image sources: Coin – European Commission; Bratislava, Slovakia – Frettie/Wikimedia Commons)

German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, of Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democratic Party, recently suggested introducing Muslim public holidays. “In places where there are many Muslims, why can’t we think about introducing a Muslim public holiday?”, he said.

“The submission is moving ahead,” replied Erika Steinbach, the influential former chair of the Federation of Expellees — Germans expelled from various Eastern European countries during and after World War II.

Beatrix von Storch, a leading politician from Alternative for Germany Party (AfD), just tweeted: “NO! NO! NO!”.

De Maizière’s proposal shows that when it comes to Islam, Europe’s official “post-Christian” secularism is simply missing in action.

A few weeks ago, a European Union-funded exhibition, “Islam, It’s also our history!”, was hosted in Brussels. The exhibition tracks the impact of Islam in Europe. An official statement claims:

“The historical evidence displayed by the exhibition – the reality of an old-age Muslim presence in Europe and the complex interplay of two civilisations that fought against each other but also interpenetrated each other – underpins an educational and political endeavour: helping European Muslims and non Muslims alike to better grasp their common cultural roots and cultivate their shared citizenship”.

Isabelle Benoit, a historian who helped design the exhibition, told AP: “We want to make clear to Europeans that Islam is part of European civilisation and that it isn’t a recent import but has roots going back 13 centuries”.

The official European establishment has turned its back on Christianity. The establishment appear unaware of the extent to which the continent and its people still depend on the moral guidance of its humanitarian values, especially at a time when radical Islam has launched a civilization challenge to the West. “It is simply a problem of a packing that tends to fill a ‘void'”, just wrote Ernesto Galli della Loggia in the Italian daily newspaper Il Corriere della Sera.

“It is impossible to ignore that behind the packing are two great theological and political traditions — that of the Russian Orthodoxy and Islam — while behind the ‘void’ there is only the fading of the Christian consciousness of the European West”.

That is why it is hard to understand the “logic” behind the official European animosity toward Christianity and its attraction to a basically totalitarian Islam. Europe could easily be secular without being militantly anti-Christian. It is easier to understand why thousands of Poles just took part in a mass protest along Poland’s borders to voice their opposition to “secularization and Islam’s influence“, which is exactly the same as the official crazy EU credo.

During the Second World War, the Allies avoided bombing Brussels, because it was to be the site of European rebirth. If the European elite continue with this cultural repudiation of their Judeo-Christian-Humanistic culture, the city could be its grave.

Giulio Meotti, Cultural Editor for Il Foglio, is an Italian journalist and author.

Liberal Democrats ignore persecution of Christians outside the U.S.

February 11, 2017

Liberal Democrats ignore persecution of Christians outside the U.S., Washington Times

christiansintroubleDozens of Coptic Christians were killed in a December bombing at St. Mark Cathedral in central Cairo. Each month, about 322 Christians are killed, 214 churches or Christian properties are destroyed, and 772 acts of violence are carried out. . . .

 

“I think the case could be made that Donald Trump did more in one afternoon than President Obama did over the last six years.”

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Advocates who work to protect persecuted groups say there is a “blind spot” in the West concerning the plight faced by Christians around the world — a shortsightedness evident in the overwhelmingly negative reaction to President Trump’s executive order granting preferred refugee status to persecuted religious minorities.

From the Coptics in Egypt and the “house churches” in China to the “subversives” in North Korea and the “apostates” in Pakistan, Christians are under fire on the international stage.

Paul Coleman, deputy director of the Alliance Defending Freedom International, said the international persecution of Christians is unrivaled.

“No person or group should live in fear of being killed, tortured or oppressed because of their religious beliefs,” Mr. Coleman said in a statement. “By all accounts Christians are the most persecuted group on the planet.”

Each month, about 322 Christians are killed, 214 churches or Christian properties are destroyed, and 772 acts of violence are carried out on Christians because of their faith, according to Open Doors, a nonprofit group that helps persecuted Christians.

Andrew Doran, vice president of In Defense of Christians, said their cries for help often fall on deaf ears in Europe and the United States because Christianity is the dominant faith in an increasingly secular culture.

Mr. Doran pointed to the Obama administration’s lethargic response to the Islamic State’s Christian genocide, saying people who see Christians as domestic enemies have trouble shifting gears when atrocities are committed against the faith group on the global stage.

“Christians in the West have been somehow identified as the oppressor class, and that view seems to be extended to Christians in the Middle East,” he said. “But the fact is that couldn’t be further from the truth.”

Mr. Doran said that “blind spot” was evident in the reaction to Mr. Trump’s executive order, which temporarily suspended refugee flows until proper security measures could be implemented, but made exceptions for religious minorities who are persecuted.“Whether someone is Muslim, Yazidi, Jewish, Christian or atheist, they should be given priority if they’re facing persecution, and certainly that would be so where there’s a finding of genocide,”

“Whether someone is Muslim, Yazidi, Jewish, Christian or atheist, they should be given priority if they’re facing persecution, and certainly that would be so where there’s a finding of genocide,” Mr. Doran said.

But Larry T. Decker, executive director of the Secular Coalition, said the policy is tantamount to a “religious test” for entry to the country.

“President Trump’s executive order must be recognized as the establishment of a religious test that is incompatible with our Constitution and our values as Americans,” Mr. Decker said in a statement. “The Trump campaign repeatedly denigrated Muslims and pledged to enact policies that discriminated against them. Now, at the expense of our First Amendment and our nation’s credibility, the Trump administration is attempting to make good on this campaign promise.”

Polls support the notion that some segments of the West are ignorant of the persecution faced by Christians around the world.

A Rasmussen survey published Tuesday showed that the majority of Democrats believe Muslims in the United States are mistreated because of their faith, but fewer were willing to say the same for Christians in the Islamic world.

While 56 percent of Democrats said Muslims in America are mistreated because of their faith, that number fell to 47 percent for Christians living in Islamic nations. Sixty-two percent of Americans overall, and 76 percent of Republicans, said Christians are persecuted in countries where Islam is the dominant religion.

Last year, former Secretary of State John F. Kerry declared that Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East are victims of genocide carried out by the Islamic State.

But advocates had been calling for that recognition for years, Mr. Doran said, and the Obama administration failed to take any additional steps to alleviate the plight of Christians.

More than 19,000 refugees from Syria were admitted to the United States during Mr. Obama’s tenure, but less than one-half of 1 percent of them were Christians.

Mr. Trump has said the United States will do more to alleviate the suffering of Christians in the Middle East.

“They’ve been horribly treated,” Mr. Trump said last month in an interview. “Do you know if you were a Christian in Syria, it was impossible, at least very tough, to get into the United States? If you were a Muslim, you could come in, but if you were a Christian, it was almost impossible, and the reason that was so unfair, everybody was persecuted in all fairness, but they were chopping off the heads of everybody, but more so the Christians. And I thought it was very, very unfair. So we are going to help them.”

Mr. Doran said the president’s call for the establishment of safe zones in Syria and Yemen is an “excellent idea” and that they also should be considered in Iraq.

“If he succeeds in creating safe zones, that will have be a substantial step toward bringing the Syrian conflict to a conclusion, putting pressure on the Assad regime to cease hostilities and come to the negotiating table,” Mr. Doran said. “I think these are actually very positive steps.”

He said Mr. Trump’s early actions to protect the victims of persecution and bring the Syrian refugee crisis to an end represent a seismic shift from his predecessor’s policy.

“I think the case could be made that Donald Trump did more in one afternoon than President Obama did over the last six years.”

 

“Islam Strengthening in Europe with the Blessing of the Church”

January 29, 2017

“Islam Strengthening in Europe with the Blessing of the Church”, Gatestone InstituteGiulio Meotti, January 29, 2017

These politicians, bishops and cardinals might convince Pope Francis not to abandon Europe, the cradle of Christianity and Western civilization, to a looming dark fate. Michel Onfray wrote at the end of his book: “Judeo-Christianity ruled for two millennia. An honorable period for a civilization. The boat now sinks: we can only sink with elegance”. It is urgent now to prevent that.

There are now many Catholic commentators who are questioning the Church’s blindness about the danger Europe is facing.

“Islam has every chance massively to strengthen its presence in Europe with the blessing of the Church…. the Church is not only leading Europe to an impasse, it is also shooting itself in the foot.” — Laurent Dandrieu, cultural editor of the French magazine Valeurs Actuelles.

“It is clear that Muslims have an ultimate goal: conquering the world…Islam, through the sharia, their law…allows violence against the infidels, such as Christians….And what is the most important achievement? Rome.” — Cardinal Raymond Burke, interview, Il Giornale.

“[T]hey are not refugees, this is an invasion, they come here with cries of ‘Allahu Akbar’, they want to take over.” — Laszlo Kiss Rigo, head of the Catholic Hungarian southern community.

François Fillon published a book entitled, Vanquishing Islamic Totalitarianism, and he rose in the polls by vowing to control Islam and immigration: “We’ve got to reduce immigration to its strict minimum,” Fillon said. “Our country is not a sum of communities, it is an identity!”

Everyone in Italy and the rest of Europe will “soon be Muslim” because of our “stupidity”, warned Monsignor Carlo Liberati, Archbishop Emeritus of Pompei. Liberati claimed that, thanks to the huge number of Muslim migrants alongside the increasing secularism of native Europeans, Islam will soon become the main religion of Europe. “All of this moral and religious decadence favours Islam”, Archbishop Liberati explained.

Décadence is also the title of a new book by the French philosopher Michel Onfray, in which he suggests that the Judeo-Christian era may have come to an end. He compares the West and Islam: “We have nihilism, they have fervor; we are exhausted, they have a great health; we have the past for us; they have the future for them”.

Archbishop Liberati belongs to a growing branch of Catholic leaders who refuse to see the future belonging to Islam in Europe. They speak in open opposition to Pope Francis, who does not seem too impressed by the collapse of Christianity due to falling birth rates, accompanied by religious apathy and its replacement by Islam.

2248Monsignor Carlo Liberati, Archbishop Emeritus of Pompei (left) belongs to a growing branch of Catholic leaders who refuse to see the future belonging to Islam in Europe, and who speak in open opposition to Pope Francis (right).

Pope Francis’s official vision is personified by Bishop Nunzio Galantino, who was appointed by the Pontiff as the Secretary General of Italy’s Bishops. Last December, Galantino gave an interview in which he dismissed any religious motivation behind jihadist attacks and claimed that, instead, “money” is what is behind them.

There are now many Catholic commentators who are questioning the Church’s blindness about the danger Europe is facing. One is the cultural editor of the French magazine Valeurs Actuelles, Laurent Dandrieu, who writes:

“Islam has every chance massively to strengthen its presence in Europe with the blessing of the Church. The Church is watching the establishment of millions of Muslims in Europe… and Muslim worship in our continent as an inescapable manifestation of religious freedom. But the civilizational question is simply never asked …. By breaking away from the Europe’s indigenous peoples and their legitimate concerns, the Church is not only leading Europe to an impasse, it is also shooting itself in the foot”.

Dandrieu lists Pope Francis’ gestures and speeches in favor of Islam and migrants:

“On October 1, 2014, the Pope received Eritrean survivors of a shipwreck off Lampedusa; on 8 February 2015, he made a surprise visit to a refugee camp in Ponte Mammolo, northeast of Rome; on April 18, he used the first official visit of the new Italian president, Sergio Mattarella, to demand ‘a much larger commitment’ for migrants; on 6 September 2015, at the conclusion of the Angelus in St Peter’s Square, he called for ‘every parish, religious community, monastery and sanctuary in Europe to host a family’ of refugees; on March 24, 2016, he chose to celebrate the Holy Thursday in a structure housing 900 refugees, and to wash the feet to twelve asylum seekers; on May 28, he received children whose parents died in a boat that sank, filled with migrants; during the general audience of June 22, Francis went down to the crowd to bring back fifteen refugees”.

But as Liberati’s case demonstrates, resistance to Pope Francis’ vision of Europe is growing inside the Catholic Church.

“It is clear that Muslims have an ultimate goal: conquering the world”, Cardinal Raymond Burke said.

“Islam, through the sharia, their law, wants to rule the world and allows violence against the infidels, like Christians. But we find it hard to recognize this reality and to respond by defending the Christian faith (…) I have heard several times an Islamic idea: ‘what we failed to do with the weapons in the past we are doing today with the birth rate and immigration’. The population is changing. If this keeps up, in countries such as Italy, the majority will be Muslim (…) Islam realizes itself in the conquest. And what is the most important achievement? Rome”.

The first to denounce this dramatic trend was Italy’s most important missionary, Father Piero Gheddo, who said that, due to falling fertility and Muslim fervor, “Islam would sooner rather than later conquer the majority in Europe”. These concerns do not belong only to the Conservative wing of the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna and a candidate tipped to be the next Pope, is very close to Pope Francis, and is a centrist. Last September, on the anniversary of the Siege of Vienna, when Turkey’s Ottoman troops nearly conquered Europe, Schönborn delivered a dramatic appeal to save Europe’s Christian roots. “Many Muslims want and say that ‘Europe is finished'”, Cardinal Schönborn said, before accusing Europe of “forgetting its Christian identity”. He then denounced the possibility of “an Islamic conquest of Europe“.

After a Tunisian, who arrived among a flood of migrants into Germany, murdered 12 people at a Christmas market in Berlin, the Catholic archbishop of the German capital, Heiner Koch, another “moderate” Catholic leader appointed by Pope Francis, also sounded a warning: “Perhaps we focused too much on the radiant image of humanity, on the good. Now in the last year, or perhaps also in recent years, we have seen: No, there is also evil”.

The head of the Czech Roman Catholic Church, Miloslav Vlk, also warned about the threat of Islamization. “Muslims in Europe have many more children than Christian families; that is why demographers have been trying to come up with a time when Europe will become Muslim”, Cardinal Vlk claimed. He also blamed Europe itself for the Islamic takeover:

“Europe will pay dearly for having left its spiritual foundations; this is the last period that will not continue for decades when it may still have a chance to do something about it. Unless the Christians wake up, life may be Islamised and Christianity will not have the strength to imprint its character on the life of people, not to say society”.

Cardinal Dominik Duka, Archbishop of Prague and Primate of Bohemia, has also questioned Pope Francis’ “welcoming culture”.

Among the Eastern Catholic bishops there are many voices raising concerns about Europe’s demographic and religious revolution. One belongs to the leader of the Catholics in Lebanon, who paid an extremely high price for the Islamization of their own country, including murder and exile, and now see the danger coming to Europe itself. “I have heard many times from Muslims that their goal is to conquer Europe with two weapons: faith and the birth rate”, Cardinal Bechara Rai said.

Another voice belongs to the French-born Bishop Paul Desfarges, who heads the diocese of Constantine in Algeria: “It’s no surprise that Islam has taken on such importance”, Desfarges said. “It’s an issue that concerns Europe”. Sydney Cardinal George Pell then urged “a discussion of the consequences of the Islamic presence in the Western world”. Pell was echoed by Laszlo Kiss Rigo, the head of the Catholic Hungarian southern community, who said that “they are not refugees, this is an invasion, they come here with cries of ‘Allahu Akbar’, they want to take over”.

On the political level, there is another a tendency, that of strong Catholic leaders who challenge Pope Francis on the Islamic question and immigration. The most important is the French presidential candidate François Fillon, one of the first politicians who “doesn’t hide the fact that he’s Catholic“. Fillon published a book entitled, Vanquishing Islamic Totalitarianism, and he rose in the polls by vowing to control Islam and immigration: “We’ve got to reduce immigration to its strict minimum,” Fillon said. “Our country is not a sum of communities, it is an identity!”

These politicians, bishops and cardinals might convince Pope Francis not to abandon Europe, the cradle of Christianity and Western civilization, to a looming dark fate. Michel Onfray wrote at the end of his book: “Judeo-Christianity ruled for two millennia. An honorable period for a civilization. The boat now sinks: we can only sink with elegance”. It is urgent now to prevent that.

Virginia Church Hosts Lecture on “Islamophobia,” Professor Claims It’s Driven By “Imperialism”

January 28, 2017

Virginia Church Hosts Lecture on “Islamophobia,” Professor Claims It’s Driven By “Imperialism”, Jihad Watch

todd-green

“I have lots of relationships with Muslims. They have taught me compassion and peace,” stated Luther College Professor Todd Green during a January 22 presentation at McLean, Virginia’s Lewinsville Presbyterian Church (LPC). Here this self-proclaimed “scholar of Islamophobia” and “anti-Islamophobia activist” reiterated his fantasy that interpersonal relationships with Muslims can refute supposed “Islamophobic” prejudices arising from Western sins like imperialism.

Green, author of the 2015 book The Fear of Islam:  An Introduction to Islamophobia in the West, is currently a Franklin Fellow at the United States Department of State, where Green “assesses and analyzes Islamophobia in Europe.” He has had ample opportunity to expound the book’s themes in various appearances in radio (see here, here, and here) and online, as well as public presentations such as at the 2016 Peacestock conference of the leftwing Veterans for Peace. He also writes for left-leaning publications such as the Huffington Post and Sojourners.

Without specific definitions, Green has concluded that “Islamophobia is an irrational fear, hostility, or hatred of Muslims and Islam” and is “one of the most acceptable prejudices in the United States today.” This presents a “cultural racism” in which “Muslims are essentialized; they are treated as a race,” he elaborated at LPC. Nonetheless, he has previously vaguely qualified that critical study of any such posited bigotry “is not an attempt to cut off critical conversations about Islam.”

Green has assessed that “imperialism is one of the main factors driving Islamophobia in the past and in the present,” resulting from historical “imperial tension and imperial competition” between Christians and Muslims. “In the seventh century when Islam came on the scene, it spread very quickly and Islamic empires developed quite quickly,” he has stated, while leaving unmentioned the Islamic supremacist jihad doctrine that propelled such conquests. With shifting power balances between Western and Islamic civilization across the centuries, Islamic empires gave way to the European colonialism that subjugated many Islamic lands.

Westerners colonizing Muslims, Green has argued, realized that “with imperial projects there must be some ‘other’, and this ‘other’ must be demonized and dehumanized in order for the imperial nation to galvanize popular support.” The “neo-imperialism” of rival Cold War superpowers followed European colonialism. Even post-Cold War, “much of U.S. foreign policy is incomprehensible apart from understanding that we are still engaged in the imperial project.”

Casting Muslims as passive victims of Western aggression, Green believes that such stereotypes influence Americans today who “have seen and continue to see Muslims in many parts of the world as obstacles to our imperial ambitions.” In the Huffington Post, he emphasizes the “history of Western interventionism in Muslim-majority contexts, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the U.S. exploitation of energy resources in the Middle East, the legacy of European colonialism.” The oft-debated question “Is ISIS [the Islamic State in Iraq and (Greater) Syria] Islamic?” is merely a “thinly veiled form of Islamophobia intended to heighten our fears of Islam while absolving the U.S. of its own responsibility in contributing to the rise to ISIS.”

“Religion is rarely the driving force behind terrorism,” Green’s article claims, befitting his oft-disproved analysis that socioeconomic disadvantage, not Islamic doctrine, lies behind jihadist violence. At LPC, he described Muslims joining ISIS because of factors like discrimination in Europe or oppression from Middle Eastern dictatorships, just as socioeconomic factors might influence Westerners to join rightwing movements. “White Christians have an empire to hide behind.  Many of these young men joining ISIS don’t.  When you are politically disenfranchised you will sometimes find other ways to find power.”

In identifying “Islamophobia’s” past and present purveyors, Green resorts to well-worn, hackneyed tropes. He embraces the fraudulent Edward Said’s Orientalism thesis that “knowledge about Islam coming from Orientalism was being distorted by the imperial project.” Past Western Islamic studies served not intellectual inquiry, but rather “knowledge for the sake of control” over Muslims.

Green today castigates “professional Islamophobes” supposedly motivated by pure malice, such as Pamela Geller, Daniel Pipes, Jihad Watch’s Robert Spencer, and Geert Wilders. “From the time they wake up in the morning to the time they go to bed at night, their job is to figure out ‘how can I better demonize Muslims today.’” While “Islamophobia” often appears among conservatives, it is “more dangerous in the way it manifests itself among those who claim to be liberal,” such as talk show host Bill Maher, Green noted at LPC. He meanwhile makes the common yet baseless claim that “Islamophobia” forms a well-funded “powerful industry,” while the “anti-Islamophobia side does not pay quite as well” for individuals like him.

Contrastingly, in Green’s estimation Islamic belief seemingly can cause no harm, as he rejects “misconceptions” that “sharia law is somehow incompatible with democracy or with the West.” “The overwhelming majority of Muslims” globally “really are trying to practice their religion that helps them and their fellow human beings flourish,” he has argued. At LPC he added that “I hate the language of ‘radical Islamic terrorism’” and its “simplistic understanding that Islam programs people to be violent.”

Islamic rule past and present thus raises few concerns for Green while he condemns the United States for having supported dictators like Iran’s shah. Like many academics, he whitewashes Islam’s often brutal, subjugated “status of dhimmis or protected minorities” for non-Muslims, stating that “for much of the history of Islam Christians and Jews were protected and lived in peace with Muslims.” Today Americans in the Middle East should “be very consistent when it comes to supporting democratic movements, even if that means risking losing an alliance with an autocratic government,” irrespective of such “democratic” results in 1979 Iran and 2011 Egypt.

More often than not, non-Muslims draw Green’s criticism. Writing in Sojourners, he approved of President Barack Obama’s regurgitation of the common canard that the Crusades were unjustified aggression, not a just war defensive response to jihadist conquests. “Obama did his best at the National Prayer Breakfast in February [2015] to address the legacy of violence carried out in the name of Christianity.” Green also has falsely relativized that the “Bible has its fair share of violent texts” along with the Quran, thereby ignoring fundamental differences between violent verses in these two scriptures.

Green’s Huffington Post writings betray a less than stirring defense of free speech against jihadist censorship. Geller and Spencer’s 2015 Muhammad cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, where security guards killed two Muslim assailants, merely exemplified “hate rallies that engage in Muslim-bashing under the pretense of defending freedom of speech.” Reviewing Iran’s 1989 blasphemy death sentence for British writer Salman Rushdie, Green mused that “minorities rarely have possessed the same opportunities to shape public opinion as those with political power or cultural capital.” Therefore, “Rushdie and some of his more outspoken supporters adopted a fairly uncritical approach to freedom of expression, assuming at times that this freedom benefits all members of Western societies equally.”

For Green, individual relationships between Muslims and non-Muslims are the antidote to what he has called a “perfect storm of Islamophobia” in a French television interview. He laments supposedly skewed media representations emphasizing Islam’s violence while “there simply are not enough strong relationships in the West between Muslims who are in the minority and the non-Muslim majority.” As one venue for interfaith outreach, he advocates the Muslim Brotherhood (MB)-derived Muslim Students Association (MSA), which he addressed in 2010 at Minnesota’s St. Cloud State University.

One of Green’s book interviewees, Muslim congressman Keith Ellison, currently under fire for his anti-Israel statements and extremists Islamist affiliations, presents for Green the kind of Muslim people should befriend. “If you have a really jaded, negative view of politicians and think that they are intellectually disengaged, you should have a conversation with Keith Ellison, and you will change your mind,” Green has stated about the Minnesota representative. Accordingly, Green’s wife and fellow leftist, Tabita, has written about how he took Luther College students from their Iowa campus on a field trip to Ellison’s Minneapolis mosque, where the radical imam Siraj Wahaj has been a featured speaker. Tabita also noted that the field trip included a visit to the Minnesota chapter of the Hamas-derived Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) “to learn about their civil rights work.”

Green’s tweets round out his Islamist sympathies. In one, he calls the radical, anti-Semitic Woman’s March on Washington organizer Linda Sarsour a “shining star in the battle against racism and bigotry” and therefore “#ImarchwithLinda.” In another, his CAIR and MSA affiliations apparently make him worry that “[d]esignating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist org. will open the door to witch hunts aimed @ Muslim civil liberties groups.”

Yet even Green recognizes that interfaith relations with Muslims are not without their pitfalls. “You want to see a nonstarter happen,” he has indicated in his various appearances, including at LPC, then introduce the subject of “Palestine” between Jews and Muslims. Before tackling such hot topics, he recommends that interfaith groups undertake noncontroversial community projects like Habitat for Humanity homebuilding; “I tend to prefer more organic relationships to evolve,” he has stated. Apparently then, Jewish legal legend Alan Dershowitz should build a house with Ellison before deciding to leave the Democratic Party if he becomes the Democratic National Committee chairman.

Reality belies Green’s “getting to know you” thesis in which individual relationships with Muslims dispel reservations towards Islam that actually come from the faith’s hard facts, not imagined prejudice. Numerous Christians from Muslim-majority countries have impressed upon this author Islam’s oppressive nature towards non-Muslims, even though these individuals lack no opportunity to meet Muslims as Green bemoans in the United States. Likewise Europe’s significantly larger Muslim populations, recently increased by an influx of “refugees,” have done little to improve Islam’s popularity.

The arguments of Green, who by self-admission is by training a student of American and European religious history, not Islamic studies, might impress his fellow leftists as indicated by his largely positive reception at LPC. Paralleling the Obama Administration’s State Department, LPC has made an appeal to “Actively Support the Boycott of Products Made in Israeli Settlements” and is pro-LGBT. Yet individuals like James Lafferty, head of Christians Against Radical Islam (CARI), indicated during audience questions why skepticism is warranted. He recalled a local presentation 25 years ago by Anwar al-Awlaki, an imam once feted as a Muslim “moderate” and later killed in Yemen as an Al Qaeda supporter by a 2011 American drone strike. “He said many times exactly the same words I have heard tonight,” Lafferty noted.

Sisi’s church donation stirs religious controversy

January 27, 2017

Sisi’s church donation stirs religious controversy, Al-Monitor

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attends a meeting with Egyptian Coptic Pope Tawadros II, head of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church, with some members of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church at the Ittihadiya presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt July 28, 2016 in this handout picture courtesy of the Egyptian Presidency. The Egyptian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. - RTSK39U

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi attends a meeting with Egyptian Coptic Pope Tawadros II, head of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church, with some members of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church at the Ittihadiya presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt July 28, 2016 in this handout picture courtesy of the Egyptian Presidency.

“In addition to making a donation for the building of a church, [Sisi] also donated his money to establish a mosque, thus putting both communities [Christian and Muslim] on the same pedestal.”

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CAIRO — Egypt’s Coptic Christians have become used to visits by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. On Jan. 6, for the third year in a row, Sisi celebrated Coptic Christmas at the Abbasiya Cathedral in Cairo, extending Christmas wishes to the country’s Copts and Tawadros II, the pope of Alexandria and patriarch of the See of St. Mark.

This year, the celebration was different. The cathedral where Sisi addressed the congregation and delivered Christmas wishes stands just meters from St. Peter and St. Paul Coptic Orthodox Church, where an explosion during a service on Dec. 11 claimed the lives of 27 people and wounded 48, mostly women and children.

Sisi responded to the attack not just by visiting the church, but by announcing a 100,000 Egyptian pound (roughly $5,200) personal donation toward building a church and mosque in the new administrative capital of New Cairo.

Hamdi Rizq, the host of the show “Al-Nazra” (“The View”) on satellite TV channel Sada al-Balad, reacted by announcing during his show Jan. 6 that donations were being collected for the building of a mosque and a church in the new capital.

Amina Naseer, a professor of religion at Al-Azhar University and a member of parliament, who also serves on the parliamentary education committee, said in a Jan. 7 phone call on “Al-Nazra” that she had also donated 100,000 pounds to be split equally between the mosque and the church.

During the same show, other donors came forward: Farag Amer, the chair of the parliamentary committee for youth and sport; member of parliament Mustafa Bakry; and businessman Mohammed Abul-Enein, the owner of the Sada al-Balad network.

“The president’s call for donations for a mosque and a church should be an example to all,” Alaa Wali, head of the parliament’s housing committee, told Al-Monitor. “I suggested setting up a fund to receive donations for places of worship in general, including for renovating churches damaged because of terrorist attacks, but the priority will be a mosque and a church in the administrative capital so they can be as beautiful as possible.”

Naseer told Al-Monitor she had urged all members of parliament to donate to the fund. “Those donations are for all Egyptians, not just for the Copts,” she said. “It is true that they will go toward building a church, but that is a reaction by all Egyptians against everyone who tries to impose a foreign mandate on us, as the US Congress tried to do.”

Naseer was referring to a bill debated in Congress on Dec. 28 that would require Egypt to report annually to the US State Department on its work to restore churches vandalized by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was toppled from power in July 2013. Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeed rejected in a press statement issued on the same day the bill and the debate, calling it flagrant intervention in Egypt’s affairs.

While Sisi’s donation was welcomed by some, the suggestion that Egyptians should donate to the fund was slammed by his opponents. Lawyer Tarek Elawady wrote on Facebook Jan. 6: “Sir, Egypt does not need mosques and churches; it needs schools, factories and workplaces.”

Magda Ghonem, a professor of economics and rural development at Ain Shams University in Cairo, tweeted on Jan. 7: “We have a surplus of places of worship, no smaller than the surplus in outbidding and hypocrisy. What about building the biggest home for street children, or the biggest university, or the biggest training center?”

In a lengthy post on Facebook Jan. 7, Cairo University political science professor Hazem Hosny said that the state may not have allocated the necessary funds for a church or a mosque, rather intending to rely on donations made by the citizens. “The president made the first donation, but the whole thing is an attempt to get Egyptians to pay for the new capital under the pretext of building a mosque or a church,” Hosny wrote.

Political activist Mamdouh Hamza satirized Sisi’s donation, tweeting Jan. 7: “Donate for the building of a mosque or a church, because the faithful are lining up outside thousands of mosques and churches; there’s a critical shortage of places for prayer.”

While some critics played down the importance of building mosques and churches at the present time, other bloggers and anonymous activists condemned the idea of donating for church building on religious grounds, saying it violates Sharia.

“The Christian faith is in opposition with Sharia and Islamic doctrine on many issues,” a Salafist scholar who asked not to be named told Al-Monitor. “It is haram for Muslims to donate to the building of any institution that will be a base for discussion and promotion of anything that contradicts Sharia and Islamic doctrine.”

For his part, Abdel Fattah Idriss, a professor of comparative jurisprudence at Al-Azhar University, told Al-Monitor, “There is no jurisprudence proof or any sunna in the holy Quran that prohibits a head of state from donating funds for the building of a church or any other house of worship for the monotheistic religions. Islamic Sharia had approved of this as per Prophet Muhammad who gave the right for Jews of Medina to build their temples.”

Idriss said, “The donation made by a head of state is widely welcomed, as he is considered the [protector] of all communities residing in Egypt and has the complete authority to build houses of worship. Such donations strengthen people’s patriotism and make them feel part of the nation, qualities that Islam has always sought to instill.”

He added, “In addition to making a donation for the building of a church, [Sisi] also donated his money to establish a mosque, thus putting both communities [Christian and Muslim] on the same pedestal.”

A similar controversy broke out in 2009 regarding Sharia rulings on Muslim donations for the building of churches. The sheikh of Al-Azhar at the time, Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, met a delegation from the Egyptian Union for Human Rights, headed by Naguib Gibrael, an adviser to the Orthodox Church. The media reported he had ruled that Muslims donating for church building was permitted by Islamic law. His office denied the reports after a wave of opposition from scholars at Al-Azhar.

Egypt’s Dar al-Iftaa, a government body that advises on Islamic religious affairs, ruled on Jan. 7, 2016, “Christians in Egypt may, according to Islamic law, build churches if they need that for their worship, and Islam demands they be allowed to remain, according to the laws laid down by the Egyptian state. There is nothing in any reliable text on Islamic law to prohibit that.”

Sisi’s attempt to rein in the anger of the Copts after the bombing attack of St. Peter and St. Paul Coptic Orthodox Church thus prompted a range of criticism. But it appears that the opposition comes from a pre-existing state of antagonism between him and his critics who bemoan the lack of social, economic and educational progress in Egypt.

US Catholic bishops hold “dialogue” with Hamas-linked group to engage in “advocacy in support of Muslim community”

January 11, 2017

US Catholic bishops hold “dialogue” with Hamas-linked group to engage in “advocacy in support of Muslim community”, Jihad Watch

“Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago… said that as part of the dialogue’s launch last February, Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego held a public discussion with Sayyid M. Syeed, national director of the Islamic Society of North America’s Office for Interfaith and Community Alliances.”

The Islamic Society of North America: “ISNA leaders view Islam as being superior to all other faiths and destined to replace them. Taha J. Alwani, a leading official of the Fiqh Council of North America, which is run under ISNA, writes: ‘In considering the earth as an arena for Islam, Allah has promised its inheritance to His righteous people, and He has promised that Islam will prevail over other religions.’…In July 2008, ISNA’s lawyers conceded that their organization, through its affiliate NAIT, had given financial support to Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzook. Their defense was that documentary evidence of those ties dated back to the late 1980s and early 1990s, before the U.S. government had officially designated Hamas as a terrorist organization.”

“Cirelli cited statistics documenting a higher number of anti-Muslim activities…”

Anti-Jewish hate crimes are two times more common than anti-Muslim hate crimes. What is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops doing to combat anti-Jewish activities? Why, nothing. Nothing at all.

“Cirelli cited statistics documenting a higher number of anti-Muslim activities nationwide as well as a recent study by The Bridge Initiative, a Georgetown University research project on Islamophobia, showing that Catholics who regularly obtained information from Catholic media were more likely to unfavorably view Muslims than those who did not.”

The Bridge Initiative is part of Georgetown University’s Saudi-funded Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU). It is run by Nathan Lean, the gutter thug who has several times published on Twitter what he thinks is my home address, in an obvious attempt to alert jihad murderers to my whereabouts and/or intimidate me into silence. Its study was designed to defame those who tell the truth about the nature and magnitude of the jihad threat, and strong-arm Catholic bookstores into not carrying books by me and others who enunciate these unwelcome truths.

So it looks as if the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is throwing in completely with Hamas- and Saudi-linked groups that are determined above all to clear away all obstacles to the advancing jihad.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is a disgrace to Catholicism, to Christianity, and to humanity.

“Leave them; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14)

catholic-muslim-dialogue

“Catholic-Muslim dialogue opens to support American Muslims,” by James Martone, Catholic News Service, January 10, 2017 (thanks to M.):

WASHINGTON, D.C. – An emerging Catholic dialogue with Muslims aims to show public support for Islamic American communities.

The dialogue stems from concerns expressed by U.S. bishops in the wake of “a serious uptick in violence against American Muslims … to make sure that they are sensitive to what is going on in the (Muslim) communities,” said Anthony Cirelli, associate director of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The dialogue, underway since last February, will build on three already existing regional Catholic-Muslim dialogues, also overseen by the secretariat. Those gatherings have involved Muslim and Christian scholars and religious leaders and have focused largely on academic discussions and comparisons of their respective religious texts, Cirelli said.

The regional dialogues – mid-Atlantic, Midwest and West Coast – have been effective in creating a better understanding among Muslim and Catholic leaders on a theological level, Cirelli explained.

The national dialogue also will help Muslim leaders to better advocate for current concerns, “especially with the incoming (U.S.) administration,” said Cirelli, referring to calls by President-elect Donald J. Trump and others to monitor American Muslims and limit entry of Muslim visitors from abroad.

“While our meetings will still have as a central component the all-important theological conversation, right now there is an urgency to engage more in a kind of advocacy and policy in support of the Muslim community,” Cirelli told Catholic News Service.

Cirelli cited statistics documenting a higher number of anti-Muslim activities nationwide as well as a recent study by The Bridge Initiative, a Georgetown University research project on Islamophobia, showing that Catholics who regularly obtained information from Catholic media were more likely to unfavorably view Muslims than those who did not.

“The bishops’ priority at the moment is to listen to (Muslims’) concerns, their fears, their needs … and so discern how we as Catholics can help them achieve their goals of full participation in their communities,” Cirelli said.

He said Muslim counterparts to the dialogue were still being identified.

“At this point in our nation’s history, we, the bishops, are mainly concerned with listening to and, when appropriate, coming to stand with our Muslim colleagues in their own difficult work of addressing the fears of ordinary Americans with respect to Muslims as well as their work in trying to change the negative narrative surrounding Muslims in our popular media,” Cirelli said.

The creation of the dialogue was motivated by the call of “Nostra Aetate,” the Second Vatican Council’s declaration on the relations with non-Christian religions.

“As the national conversation around Islam grows increasingly fraught, coarse and driven by fear and often willful misinformation, the Catholic Church must help to model real dialogue and goodwill,” Bishop Mitchell T. Rozanski of Springfield, Massachusetts, chairman of the bishops’ Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, said at the time the dialogue started in February.

Cardinal Blase J. Cupich of Chicago was designated as the dialogue’s Catholic chairman and assumed the position Jan. 1, Cirelli said.

He said that as part of the dialogue’s launch last February, Bishop Robert W. McElroy of San Diego held a public discussion with Sayyid M. Syeed, national director of the Islamic Society of North America’s Office for Interfaith and Community Alliances.

During the widely publicized event at the University of San Diego’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, Bishop McElroy challenged U.S. Catholics to take an active role in combating “the scourge of anti-Islamic prejudice.”…

“Now Is Time to Behead Unbelievers”

January 1, 2017

“Now Is Time to Behead Unbelievers”, Gatestone InstituteRaymond Ibrahim, January 1, 2016

“[W]e heard that the [ISIS] militants grabbed six strong men working at the bakery and burned them inside the oven. After that, they caught some 250 kids and kneaded them like dough in the bakery dough machine…. Members of 200 different families were killed right before our eyes.” — Syria.

Some Christian and Yazidi women captured by ISIS militants were sold at auctions in Saudi Arabia, America’s close friend, which is supposedly part of the coalition fighting ISIS. — Saudi Arabia.

“[T]he Christians who converted to Islam did so under threats, coercion, compulsion, and force.” — Bishop Alexios, Gaza.

“We have our sights set on you, and by Allah we will kill every single infidel student at this school.” — Social media message targeting McAuley Catholic School, United Kingdom.

Authorities ordered the closure of house churches… after Muslims complained that they were being disturbed by the Christian prayers. Christian worship services in private homes has become more common. The closure of these house churches is seen as the government’s way of cracking down on them. — Pakistan.

In compliance with Islamic law, the island nation banned the construction of churches. — Brunei.

As Turkey’s government continues to build nearly 9,000 mosques in the last decade, it banned Orthodox Christian liturgy in a monastery inaugurated in 386 AD, roughly 1,000 years before Muslim Turks conquered Asia Minor. — Turkey.

“To all Muslims: now is the time to behead the unbelievers.” A female Iranian refugee said one night a group of men shouted: “Whoever finds an Iranian woman today may rape and kill her. Kill them all. You may kill and rape them. You can do it, everywhere. Wherever you find them, you may do that.” — Report from a refugee center, Germany.

Reports of Muslims torturing, raping, and forcing Christians to embrace Islam continued to mount throughout the month of October. Alice Assaf, a Christian woman recounted the experiences of Christians—including her son’s execution for refusing to deny his faith—in a village near Damascus at the hands of the Islamic State. She also told how the Islamic State massacres children in cruel and unusual ways—including by throwing them into an industrial sized dough mixer:

“[W]e heard that the militants grabbed six strong men working at the bakery and burned them inside the oven. After that, they caught some 250 kids and kneaded them like dough in the bakery dough machine…. Members of 200 different families were killed right before our eyes.”

Some Christian and Yazidi women captured by ISIS militants were sold at auctions in Saudi Arabia, America’s close friend, which is supposedly part of the coalition fighting ISIS.

In Pakistan, a group of armed Muslims kidnapped and took turns raping a teenage girl after her Christian family refused to convert to Islam. According to the report, after they broke into the Christian home in the middle of the night while everyone slept:

Six men and a woman known locally by the family who were armed with guns, sticks and metal poles began to beat the family asking them to convert to Islam or die. Despite the pain and threats to their lives the family stayed resolute to their Christian faith and refused to convert. This incensed the Muslim attackers even more. All the family members were tied up and blindfolded and two of them, 20-year-old Arif [male] and 17-year-old Jameela [female], were kidnapped and dragged into a van outside. The two of them were taken to an unknown building and tortured but Arif refused to convert to Islam. He could hear her screaming and was told by his captors that they were taking turns raping his sister and that all he had to do to save her was to convert to Islam, but still he refused though in great anguish for her.

Arif eventually managed to escape though the fate of his sister was unknown.

In Gaza, recent years have “witnessed a critical upsurge against the Christians,” said an Arabic language report published in October. Local authorities have reportedly abandoned the tiny Christian minority—2,500 people surrounded by approximately 1.5 million Muslims—to their fate. “At times we hear of the bombing of a Christian bookshop and assaults on churches and other Christian institutions; other times we hear of the kidnapping of Christians and the coercion of them to embrace the religion of Muhammad,” notes the report.

Christians in Gaza led a protest, calling for the return of their kidnapped children and loved ones. Bishop Alexios of the region “confirmed that the Christians who converted to Islam did so under threats, coercion, compulsion, and force.” His church also submitted a formal petition to the governor of the region, Ismail Haniyeh, calling on him to investigate matters, but received no response. The report adds that Gaza’s Christians are calling on the Christian world to intervene. The bishop said that he is trying to communicate all of this to the Vatican, the United Nations, and the United States.

Statistics concerning the global jihad on Christians also emerged in October. Between 2003 and June 9, 2014, ISIS killed at least 1,131 Christians and destroyed or damaged at least 125 Christian churches. “Murder of Christians is commonplace” in Iraq, Syria, and Libya, states the report. “Many have been killed in front of their own families.”

Between January 2013 and May 2016 and in one Nigerian region alone—the Middle Belt, Nasarawa—Muslims, often connected to the Islamic terror group Boko Haram, killed 826 Christians, injured 878 injured, destroyed 102 churches and 787 Christian houses, and displaced 21,000 people.

The rest of the month of October’s worldwide Muslim persecution of Christians includes, but is not limited to, the following:

Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches

Ethiopia: Three separate attacks on one church took place over the course of a month revealed an October report. One Christian was killed. On August 30, a Muslim mob assaulted the church during service. They broke doors, windows, and chairs; they beat men, women and children with their fists and sticks—seriously wounding 30—and they hacked with machetes a 55-year-old founding member. The father of eight died from his wounds. The day after the slaughtered Christian’s funeral, a group of Muslim men strangled a female member of the congregation and left her for dead. On September 27, a Muslim mob attacked more church members as they returned home after church.

United States: Wendell Buchanan, a recent convert to Islam, shot up three rural churches in Shelbyville, Tennessee. One, the Horse Mountain Church of Christ, was targeted three times and the bullets caused thousands of dollars in damages. Before Facebook deleted it, Buchanan had written on his account, “I’m just doing my job as a messenger for my Lord, I owe absolutely everything to Allah because he has set me free from my spiritual cage.” The Muslim convert is facing four counts of destruction of utility equipment, five counts of desecration of a venerated object, and nine counts of felony vandalism.

Separately in San Antonio, unknown vandals defaced two churches—the Gethsemane Lutheran Church and Saint Gregory Catholic Church—by spray painting “No to wall” and “Islam or die” next to the entrance of the church. Islamic terror cells are known to be operating across the border in Mexico.

Italy: A Muslim refugee from Ghana severely vandalized four churches in Rome (video of rampage here). He first invaded the Church of San Martino ai Monti and broke a statue. Next, he went to the ancient Basilica of Santa Prassede, where he demolished several more statues of saints, purposefully smashing them to the ground and stamping on them. He then ripped a large crucifix from the wall and was preparing to destroy it when he was stopped by a priest who grabbed him by the leg. The refugee continued his rampage and vandalized two other churches, San Vitale and the Church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini in Piazza d’Oro, where he destroyed several other precious statues. He was finally arrested by police in Rome’s historic district and charged with vandalism and religious hatred.

United Kingdom: A Catholic school was threatened by a social media message saying, “We have our sights set on you, and by Allah we will kill every single infidel student at this school #McAuleySchoolMassacre.” The post, which targeted McAuley Catholic High School, Doncaster, appeared on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, and prompted widespread fear. The school apparently downplayed the incident and said authorities and police were alerted and investigating. But not all were reassured. Parent Shanie Varley took her 15-year-old daughter out of school and argued that, although many knew of the message, “parents weren’t told.” When the mother contacted the school, she was told that police were there and that it was “nothing to worry about.”

Kosovo: Muslims turned a Christian chapel and cemetery into a public toilet and garbage dump. Earlier, a local Christian clergyman repaired and cleaned the chapel, only to return and see it being used again as a toilet. The only action taken by the local Muslim mayor has been to prevent Christians from accessing the chapel and cemetery in order to clean it for visits from family members of those buried there; but he has done nothing to prevent the site from being desecrated, despite Christian petitions. Similarly, on September 10, Muslims in Pristina set fire to Christ the Savior Cathedral. “Immediately after the fire,” noted the report, they “started using it [the church] as a toilet…. Since the Albanian Muslims took possession of this Orthodox land, hundreds of churches and monasteries have been burnt to the ground.”

Pakistan: Authorities ordered the closure of house churches in the city of Bahawalpur after Muslims complained that they were being disturbed by Christian prayers. Christians were ordered to hold worship and prayer services in only one of four official churches in the city. Because the construction of new churches in Pakistan is highly regulated with countless hurdles to overcome—as in most Muslim nations—meeting and holding Christian worship services in private homes has become more common. The closure of these house churches is seen as the government’s way of cracking down on them.

Indonesia: Following local Muslim protests, the mayor of South Jakarta closed a Protestant church by claiming it lacked a permit. When pressed about the claim, he said the congregation did have a permit, but only to build a “home-office and not to the elevation of a church.” The report adds that “The process for the construction of a church in Indonesia—Catholic or Protestant—is complicated and may take five to ten years to get all the permissions required.”

Brunei: In compliance with Islamic law, the island nation banned the construction of churches. There are currently three churches there; no more can be added. Although the nation is Muslim-majority, approximately 10% of the population is Christian. According to the report, “Christians living in Brunei feel the brunt of the divisive law.”

Turkey: As the government continues building mosques—nearly 9,000 were constructed between 2005 and 2015—it banned Orthodox Christian liturgy in the Sumela Monastery, a historic site inaugurated in 386 AD, roughly 1,000 years before Muslim Turks conquered Asia Minor. According to the report:

“The ban has caused great disappointment to thousands of Pontian people worldwide, and people from Greece who had planned to travel to the region these days to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption. Sources within the Patriarchate of Constantinople … fear that Christian mass will never be allowed in the historic monastery again. This arbitrary ban seems to be yet another demonstration of the ‘unofficial’ second-class status of Christians in Turkey…. What secular, democratic republic builds thousands of mosques with state funds — taxpayer money — while closing the Halki Seminary of the Eastern Orthodox Church and confiscating countless Christian properties?”

2174The Turkish government recently banned Orthodox Christian liturgy in the Sumela Monastery, a historic site inaugurated in 386 AD, roughly 1,000 years before Muslim Turks conquered Asia Minor. (Image source: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen/Wikimedia Commons)

Muslim Slaughter of Christians

Australia: A 42-year-old Muslim man in Sydney stabbed to death his 35-year-old wife for converting to Christianity. The Iranian couple had been living on visas for four years. Prior to the woman’s apostasy, there was no known history of domestic violence between the couple. The report adds that “Christianity has been spreading rapidly among Iranians in recent years. This has caused many of them being forced to leave Iran as the government doesn’t tolerate conversion from Islam.”

Pakistan: A 24-year-old Muslim man from Lahore murdered his 18-year-old sister for marrying a Christian, an act banned under Islamic law. He shot her in the head with a gun. The arrested man later said, “I told her I would have no face to show at the mill [where he worked], to show to my neighbors, so don’t do it. Don’t do it. But she wouldn’t listen. I could not let it go. It was all I could think about. I had to kill her. There was no choice.”

Kenya: Islamic militants raided a village in the Christian majority nation at 2 am while everyone was asleep and slaughtered six people. The Islamic terror group Al Shabaab—”the youth”—headquartered in neighboring Somalia, claimed the attack on “Christianity’s power in the region.” It released a statement: “We are behind the Mandera attack in which we killed six Christians.” One witness said that the slain, “were gunned down mercilessly and their heads chopped off and smashed by grenades. I do not know how to say it better. I am psychologically bullied.”

Nigeria: Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed more than 40 people during a massacre in a Christian village. The Fulanis have been responsible for several other brutal attacks which targeted Christians. They are portrayed as “infidels” who should be driven off the farming land.

Muslim Contempt for and Abuse of Christians

Germany: A human rights group issued a report in October shedding more light on the ongoing violence and discrimination Christian minorities face in refugee camps. Almost 750 Christians reported that they have experienced religiously motivated violence, including death threats and “sentencing” from unofficial Sharia courts. In one instance, Christian refugees returned from a church meeting to find a notice in one of the rooms that said: “To all Muslims: now is the time to behead the unbelievers.” A female Iranian refugee said one night a group of men shouted: “Whoever finds an Iranian woman today may rape and kill her. Kill them all. You may kill and rape them. You can do it, everywhere. Wherever you find them, you may do that.” Iranians are being targeted for being Shia and/or converting to Christianity. The woman added:

“We came here to live a free life, but now we are being oppressed heavily. It is just like the Daesh [ISIS]: we feel very oppressed… I am living her under constant pressure and cannot take it any more. Nobody is allowed to know that I am a Christian, for I am afraid that they might find out about it in Iran. I am living under constant fear and oppression.”

Nigeria: A 40-year-old Muslim cleric, Saheed Gbadamosi, was arrested after he threatened to bathe a local Christian pastor with acid and destroy his church. The prosecutor said that the “accused conspired with others still at large and stormed the defendant’s church armed with different types of dangerous weapons as they beat up the pastor identified as Emmanuel Ugbo, destroying church property and threatening to pour acid on him.”

Ethiopia: Hours after releasing an 18-year-old Christian known only as Deborah on bail, police re-arrested her. She and three younger teenage girls (two aged 14, one 15) were initially arrested for handing out a booklet entitled, “Let’s speak the truth in love: Answers to questions by Ahmed Deedat,” which rebutted accusations against the Christian faith by the named and prominent Muslim cleric. This enraged some local Muslims, who said the book was an insult to Islam. They proceeded to riot and attack a church, damaging its windows and doors; this onslaught led to the arrest of the four teenage Christian girls. “It is not yet clear why Deborah was re-arrested. A police investigation failed to bring formal charges against her and the three other girls. Their bail application was approved by a judge, and the four teenagers were released after paying Birr 3,000 (about US$135),” said the report.

Sudan: Six more Christians, three of whom are pastors, were jailed for refusing to hand over a school run by their evangelical church to the government. They were later released on bail. According to the report, “The arrests follow a number of other arrests of Christians in the country, where Christians face persecution…. Five other churches – three belonging to the Sudan Church of Christ, one to the Presbyterian Church and the other to the Episcopal Church – have been told their buildings will be demolished.”

Kyrgyzstan: A family of mixed religious background was forced to bury and exhume its 76-year-old mother three times due to religious restrictions. The family—the daughter is Christian, the father is Muslim—were told they could not bury their mother because she “had been a practicing Christian in a village that was overwhelmingly Muslim, and local religious leaders restricted the cemetery to Muslims,” said the report. Authorities were said to be investigating the case. One of the charges was “desecration of the dead.”

Pakistan: A Muslim mob beat Michael Robert, pastor of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Farooqabad, and his family, before forcibly evicting them from their home. According to the Muslim assailants, the house, which the Christian purchased two years ago, is Muslim property. Robert’s family filed a suit for fraud and the judge issued a restraining order barring anyone from forcibly evicting them until ownership was settled. Undeterred, 50 armed Muslim men stormed the house and, according to a lawyer, “left Pastor Robert, his father Robert Masih and his wife seriously injured. The assailants arrived in the dark of night and started firing in the air with their weapons to terrorize the locals. They then forced open Pastor Robert’s gate and attacked the family, thrashing them violently as they threw household items out in the open.”

Separately, authorities shut down 11 Christian television stations which they described as “illegal broadcasts.” In response, Father Mushtaq Anjum, a Pakistani priest involved with the media, said, “The proclamation of the good news is now illegal. Christians have no place in public television channels.”

In Khanewal district, local authorities have allowed the only Christian graveyard to deteriorate over the past thirty years and have taken no restorative measures despite Christian pleas. One man said that local authority, Muhammad Khan Daha, was contacted repeatedly but has overlooked the matter, despite having pledged to allocate funds to restore the boundary wall, and provide electricity and water connections. He also said the graveyard was so full that in two years’ time there would be no more room to bury their dead.

Niger: Jeff Woodke, a 55-year-old American Christian missionary who had been living and serving his community for 24 years, was abducted from his home by Islamic militants after they killed two security guards. The mayor of the region said it was a “terrible tragedy” and that locals “wept with sorrow, lamenting the loss of a friend” the day after his abduction: “This man has lived among us for years, even in when it has been difficult to accompany vulnerable populations… Everyone knows his goodness.”

Egypt: Armed Muslim men ambushed and abducted three Christian men and one of the men’s 9-year-old son as they were driving their car near Assyut. After the family could not meet the initial ransom demand of 500,000 Egyptian pounds, a ransom of 150,000 Egyptian pounds ($8,000 USD) was agreed upon and the kidnapped victims were freed.

Germany: A kindergarten in Kassel canceled all Christmas celebrations and banned Christmas songs, trees, and any mention of the Nativity to accommodate the “diverse cultures” of their students. Approximately 12% of the 200,000 population are “foreign or have foreign roots.” The report adds that “Because of the high percentage of Muslim children at the Sara-Nussbaum-Haus Kindergarten, teachers at the school must pay special attention to make sure the children don’t swap food at lunch. This will make sure the Muslim children do not eat pork. Pork is not offered on the school’s menu.”

About this Series

While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, persecution of Christians by Muslims is growing.

The report posits that such Muslim persecution is not random but rather systematic, and takes place irrespective of language, ethnicity, or location.

Islamic State publishes addresses of thousands of U.S. churches, calls on Muslims to attack them

December 22, 2016

Islamic State publishes addresses of thousands of U.S. churches, calls on Muslims to attack them, Jihad Watch,

Surely these churches have nothing to worry about if they don’t have any clergy or parishioners who have drawn Muhammad, stood up for the freedom of speech, or otherwise provoked the poor dears and poked them in the eye, right? Surely the churches that have pursued “dialogue” with Muslims even at the cost of remaining silent about the Muslim persecution of Christians and abandoning those Christians to their fate have nothing to worry about, do they? The Islamic State will surely see how accommodating they have been and spare them, won’t it? Surely the Islamic State will go easy on the cowards and appeasers, no?

No.

dabiq-break-the-cross74

“Exclusive: ISIS Puts Out Holiday Attack List Of U.S. Churches,” by Gilad Shiloach, Vocativ, December 22, 2016:

The Islamic State published the names and addresses of thousands of churches in the United States and called on its adherents to attack them during the holiday season, according to a message posted late-night Wednesday in the group’s “Secrets of Jihadis” social media group.

A user going by the name of “Abu Marya al-Iraqi” posted an Arabic-language message calling “for bloody celebrations in the Christian New Year” and announced the group’s plans to utilize its network of lone wolf attackers to “turn the Christian New Year into a bloody horror movie.”

The series of messages appeared in a pro-ISIS group on Telegram, which also provides manuals for the use and preparations of weapons and explosives for aspiring assailants. The information, distributed in a number of posts, was all previously available online and includes a public directory of churches across all 50 states. (Vocativ does not publish specific information found in lists like these.)

In another group post, a member summoned “the sons of Islam” to target “churches, well-known hotels, crowded coffee shops, streets, markets and public places,” and shared a list of addresses in the United States, as well as in Canada, France and the Netherlands….

Europe’s Compassionate Hatred of Israel

December 22, 2016

Europe’s Compassionate Hatred of Israel, Gatestone Institute, Bat Ye’or, December 22, 2016

(Please see also, Obama sits while the UN moves toward a boycott of Israel. — DM)

The Jerusalem Declaration of UNESCO seeks to Islamize, with the help of many governments in Europe and other Christian countries, the ancient history of the people of Israel.

But what does this declaration mean for Europe and Christianity? Wasn’t Christianity born out of Israel? Wasn’t Jesus a Judean Jew, as were the apostles and evangelists? Or was it Islam that Jesus was preaching, in Arabic and in the mosques?

Where are the great Catholic or Protestant voices to protest against this Islamization of Christianity? This passivity, this indifference makes you think that Europe will soon look more like Lebanon.

European countries recognize terrorism everywhere except in Israel, where they themselves are allies of these terrorists whom they call “freedom fighters” or “militants”, against “occupation”.

This alliance has ruined Europe — because the enemies of Israel are also enemies of Christianity and of Europe. How can you ally yourself with those who want to destroy you, without in fact dying yourself?

The same obsessive hatred Hitler had for Israel, which led to the ruin of Europe, has persisted today in the European Union against the Jewish State. The great irony is that in trying to destroy Israel, Europe has destroyed itself.

Today we are witnessing the coming of the worldwide caliphate. This expression means that the Muslim view of history is currently prevailing in international institutions. We see it with the Jerusalem Declaration of UNESCO, this palace of revisionism. The Jerusalem Declaration seeks to Islamize, with the help of many governments in Europe and other Christian countries, the ancient history of the people of Israel.

The Venice Declaration of 1980, issued by the European Community, which tried to force Israel to survive in an indefensible territory, already prescribed its disappearance and replacement with a people that had never even manifested itself before 1969 — and all with the assistance of the Soviet Union and especially France. The Islamization of Jerusalem and the delegitimization of the State of Israel were already set out in the Venice Declaration, which to this date the European Union has continued to view as valid.

The Venice Declaration of 1980 was a gift from the European Community to the Arab League, aimed at reestablishing good economic relations with Arab countries, which had been angered by the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt in 1979, a peace Europe had not been able to prevent. Jewish holy sites and the survival of the Jewish State were sacrificed by the European Community in exchange for petrodollars.

Since that time, the European Union has expressed remorse for the Holocaust and love and compassion for Israel, but has continued to support, fund and encourage a population whose mission is the destruction of Israel, as proclaimed in its doctrine, and with which Europe is quite familiar. European countries zealously spend billions to promote a worldwide Palestinian campaign of hatred against the State of Israel. They recognize terrorism everywhere except in Israel, where they themselves are allies of these terrorists, whom they call “freedom fighters” or “militants”, against “occupation”. The so-called “Jewish occupation” of Judea and Samaria refers to land that was conquered by war and occupied by Jordan from 1949 to 1967, and from where Palestinian Jews were killed, or dispossessed and expelled.

Does not this policy, championed by France, remind you of something? During WW II, the Pétain-Hitler and the fascists’ alliance with the Mufti of Jerusalem, head of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine, sought the extermination of the Jewish people, whom they accused of being the cause of evil. Today, this same policy, this same alliance, has set itself the same objective with the same motivation: Israel, to them, is the cause of the wars in the Middle East and must be wiped out. Men from the 1940s have passed away, but their heirs kept their policy, disguising it under compassion and love, driving Israel to suicide “for its own good”. Of course!

2146During WW II, the alliance of Pétain and Hitler with the Mufti of Jerusalem sought the extermination of the Jewish people, whom they accused of being the cause of evil. Today, this same policy, this same alliance, has set itself the same objective with the same motivation: Israel must be wiped out.

Now, with the declaration of UNESCO, we are witnessing the suppression of the history of the Israeli people – the “Holocaust of Memory”, as defined by Giulio Meotti — with the EU joining in.

But what does UNESCO’s declaration mean for Europe and Christianity? Wasn’t Christianity born out of Israel? Don’t churches tell the history of the people of Israel in their paintings, sculptures and stained glass windows? And isn’t the Bible, this historical shrine of the people of Israel for more than two millennia, left open on every pulpit of these churches? Hasn’t it been read? Commented on for twenty centuries? Wasn’t Jesus a Judean Jew, as were the apostles and evangelists?

Or was it Islam that Jesus was preaching, in Arabic and in the mosques?

If Israel never had a history in Judea, then Christianity and the Bible are lies. Are the ancient texts attesting to the existence of Israel from the time of the Pharaohs, Assyria, the Greeks, the Romans all lies? And the Arch of Titus in Rome, did that Menorah on there come from the mosque? There were not even any mosques around at that time — not even in Arabia.

What the UNESCO’s declaration is forcing us to accept is not just the destruction of our identity and culture, and the replacement of Christianity — a graft of Israel — with the Muslim faith, but also the destruction of the principle underlying Western civilization itself: reason, the very thing that lifts man above the beasts. We see that Israel, in its defense of the historical principle of its legitimacy, is also theologically protecting the legitimacy of Christianity, also linked to the Bible.

But if this declaration is not true, then the Jewish State’s sovereignty over Jerusalem is legal. And if it is legal, why has no one heard the protests of human rights defenders? How many Christians are there in the world? Two and a half billion? How many of these protested? A million? A hundred thousand? Ten thousand? Fifty, if that? And where are the great Catholic or Protestant voices to protest against this Islamization of Christianity? This passivity, this indifference, makes you think that Europe will soon look more like Lebanon.

This UNESCO declaration, to which Europe raised no objections — with the exception of four countries, whose abstention was not a protest, but an act of cowardice — is the very charter of the Islamization of Europe and of Christianity. It details a policy that dovetails with what we see unfolding with mass-immigration and its consequences starting in 1973, the date when the European Community allied itself with the enemy of Israel, the PLO. It is this policy of alliance with the enemies of Israel that led to the abandonment of the Lebanese Christians when they were attacked by the Europe-supported Palestinians. It was this policy that led to the denial of the history of jihad, of dhimmitude and of the tragedy of Christians, hostages in the Arab world — because Palestinians embody jihadist and dhimmitude values against Jews, Christians and Europe.

Europe’s alliance with the enemies of Israel, for the purpose of delegitimizing and destroying it, has simply continued the policies of Hitler and Pétain; but how can you destroy Israel without destroying Christianity? What would Christianity be without the Bible, the prophets, a Jewish Jesus, the universal values that these teach? This alliance has ruined Europe — because the enemies of Israel are also enemies of Christianity and of Europe. How can you ally yourself with those who want to destroy you, without in fact dying yourself?

The same obsessive hatred Hitler had for Israel, which led to the ruin of Europe, has persisted today in the European Union against the Jewish State. The great irony is that in trying to destroy Israel, Europe has destroyed itself.

The people of Europe will regain their freedom and identity by extricating themselves from this Euro-Arab alliance that joins them in a genocidal scheme against Israel and the West, in which they themselves are both protagonists and victims. Then and only then will they be able to help those Muslims who are bravely struggling to release their brethren from the hatred disfiguring the human face — jihadi hatred — and persuade them to accept human diversity. We have neglected these Muslims. They have been fighting alone for both them and us. It is imperative to help them.

“The Crescent Must be Above the Cross”

December 18, 2016

“The Crescent Must be Above the Cross”, Front Page Magazine,Raymond Ibrahim, December 18, 2016

Three Christians were sentenced to be flogged for sipping wine during a communion Mass. “In a shock move,” however, “oppressive officials in Tehran have charged the three with ‘acting against national security’ for taking part in the Christian ritual.” — Iran.

“One begins to wonder if Catholic priests have become an endangered species.” Clergyman discussing latest murder of priest. — Nigeria.

“We are at a breaking point. People can’t put up with any more of this.” — Christian bishop, Egypt.

“They said all Christians should be killed. They said we were evil demons and made Pakistan impure.” — Christian survivor of Muslim mob attack, Pakistan.

Officials arrested 27 Christians — including several women and children — for the crime of “conducting Christian prayers” and being “in possession of Bibles.” — Saudi Arabia.

 

In September 2016, a group of escaped ISIS sex slaves finally revealed the true fate of Kayla Mueller — the 26-year-old American aid worker in Syria whom ISIS had reported dead more than a year ago. Her former fellow captives said Mueller had “refused to deny Jesus Christ despite being repeatedly raped and tortured.” In February 2015, ISIS claimed their captive had been killed during a Jordanian airstrike and sent photos of her dead body in a white burial shroud, apparently as a sign of respect. One former sex slave said that Mueller “put others before herself,” and once even refused a chance to escape with the other girls because she thought her American appearance would stand out and endanger the others.

2133Kayla Mueller was a 26-year-old American Christian aid worker in Syria. The Islamic State abducted her, and repeatedly raped and tortured her, then claimed that she was killed during a Jordanian airstrike. Above, Mueller is shown before her enslavement and death (left), and during her captivity (right), taken from an ISIS propaganda video.

An ISIS-related plot to butcher Christians with chainsaws in a Belgian shopping center was exposed in September after authorities interrogated a Muslim youth. The teen — the son of a man being described as a “radical imam” — was arrested for calling for the execution of Christians while walking down a street. Theo Francken, a Belgian official, said:

“I already signed the order to remove the Imam from Belgian soil. But he appealed the decision, so I can only hope for a quick sentence. Clearly radicalism runs in the family.”

Speaking for the first time about the slaughter of the 86-year-old French priest Jacques Hamel, eyewitness Guy Coponet — who was himself stabbed several times, including in the neck, and was not expected to survive — revealed how the jihadi murderers also forced him to hold a camera and record them slitting the throat of the elderly priest: “They even checked the quality of the image and that I wasn’t trembling too much. I had to film the assassination of my friend Father Jacques!” He said the assailants planned on using the video as propaganda, “which would allow them to earn their fame as a ‘martyr’ of Allah.”

Meanwhile, Hungary became the first government in Europe to open an office specifically to address the persecution of Christians in the Middle East and Europe. Zoltan Balog, Hungary’s Minister for Human Resources, said:

“Today, Christianity has become the most persecuted religion, where out of five people killed [for] religious reasons, four… are Christians. In 81 countries around the world, Christians are persecuted, and 200 million Christians live in areas where they are discriminated against. Millions of Christian lives are threatened by followers of radical religious ideologies.”

This move came weeks after Prime Minister Victor Orban drew criticism in the EU by saying, “If we really want to help, we should help where the real problem is…. We should first help the Christian people before Islamic people.”

Around the same time — and despite the many instances of Muslim migrants raping, murdering, and terrorizing Europeans — Pope Francis urged Europeans to take in more Muslim refugees, including into their homes. He explained that the best way to combat terrorism is by warmly welcoming migrants and helping them integrate into the “European context.”

The rest of the bloody month of September’s worldwide Muslim persecution of Christians includes, but is not limited to, the following:

Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches

Kosovo: On September 10, Albanian Muslims in Pristina set fire to Christ the Savior Cathedral, “Immediately after the fire,” notes the report, they “started using it [the church] as a toilet…. Since the Albanian Muslims took possession of this Orthodox land, hundreds of churches and monasteries have been burnt to the ground.”

Spain: On September 8, a Muslim refugee from North Africa “attacked and burned several images of the Virgin in the Church of Fontellas.” One of the side chapels was completely destroyed and several statues were torched. Part of the ornamentation of the chapel ceiling fell, and the nave was blackened by soot. Two days later, a judge issued an order banning the North African from being within ten meters of all religious centers of Catholic worship. According to the report, the man remains unrepentant and claims to have earned heaven by his actions, and police suspect he may be responsible for “other attacks on churches in nearby locations in the Ribera de Navarre, doing damage to Catholic religious symbols, such as defacing sacred books.” (According to a canonical hadith attributed to Muhammad, “Do not leave any image without defacing it or any built-up grave without leveling it.”)

Iran: Three Christians were sentenced to be flogged for sipping wine during a communion Mass. “In a shock move,” however, “oppressive officials in Tehran have charged the three with ‘acting against national security’ for taking part in the Christian ritual,” said the report. “[S]acramental wine is used by billions of Christians worldwide in celebration of the Eucharist. It is often watered down and is used during Holy Communion alongside small bread wafers.” However, because the judicial system of the Islamic Republic of Iran is based on sharia (Islamic law), which forbids the consumption of alcohol, all Christians who seek to partake of communion risk being arrested and flogged.

Indonesia: Muslims interrupted a funeral ceremony in a Catholic church in Purwosari, where 200 Christians were assembled. During a Bible reading over the dead, two Muslims who had mixed in with the congregation began heckling and cursing the priest and crowd. The police were able to remove them, but they came back with a Muslim mob, then threatened and pushed the priest and his assistant to the point where they fled the church and suspended the funeral ceremony.

In a separate incident, an angry Muslim mob, led by the Islamic Defenders Front, surrounded and protested against a Protestant church on the false accusation that it did not have the proper papers to renew its permit. “The presence of the Church in this area does not have the approval of most of the Muslim population,” explained a local Muslim spokesman. “Residents said they never gave permission for the renewal of the project.” However, the reverend of the church explained, “after we laid the first stone of the church, the mayor visited the site and officially recognized the project.”

Syria: In September, a prominent Syriac Catholic church in Aleppo sustained significant damage from military shelling. At least 20 other Christian churches in Aleppo have been destroyed by ISIS and other “freedom fighters.” Many of the churches destroyed were historically important — such as St. Mary’s, which ISIS detonated on Easter Day, 2015. Before the war, there were well over a million Christians in Aleppo; today, about 30,000 remain.

Pakistan: On the morning of September 2, four Taliban-linked Islamic terrorists wearing suicide vests stormed the church of a small Christian community of approximately 30 families in Peshawar. According to the report, “Thanks to the actions of a church security guard [who died in the shootout] and local security forces, a massacre of Christians was averted.”

Yemen: Unidentified armed militants attacked the Church of Banjasar in Aden. A local source said, “Armed militants accompanied by youths from the village broke into the church after morning prayers and looted the contents of the church.” Although Christian churches in Yemen are few in number, attacks on them have been on the rise. Not long ago, Houthi militias had stormed the St. Anthony Church in al-Tawahi, also in Aden, and plundered it of all its contents. Later, Saudi forces — purportedly fighting the militants — bombed and seriously damaged the church.

Egypt: Despite the recently passed church construction law, which was supposedly designed to relieve tensions by making church construction legally more acceptable, authorities are actually “sending a message that Christians can be attacked with impunity,” according to Joe Stork of Human Rights Watch. The new law still allows governors to deny church-building permits, requires that churches be built “commensurate with” the number of Christians in an area, and contains security provisions that subject decisions on whether or not a church can be built to the whims of violent mobs. Although the diplomatic Coptic Church publicly welcomed the law, “many other Christian clergy, activists, local human rights groups, and Christian members of parliament criticize the law for upholding restrictions that continue to discriminate against Christians.” The status of hundreds of churches that were used for years but then denied license renewals remains unresolved by the new law.

Violence, Prison, and Death for Christian “Blasphemers” and “Apostates”

Jordan: Nahed Hattar, a Christian writer and activist, was killed on September 25 outside of a courthouse in Amman. The 56-year-old man was earlier arrested for sharing a “blasphemous” cartoon about the prophet Muhammad. As he was walking into court to stand trial for “contempt of religion” and “inciting sectarian strife,” a man dressed in traditional Muslim garb shot him dead. The report adds:

“Approximately 70 percent of Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East and North Africa have blasphemy laws that make it illegal to criticize or dishonor religious symbols and teachings. In practice, many of these laws apply exclusively to Islam.”

Uganda: A Muslim convert to Christianity was killed, and two others beaten, in three separate incidents:

1) The blood-stained body of 32-year-old Enoch Shaban — a Muslim convert to Christianity and member of the Church of Uganda — was found hanging from a tree. A local resident of the village said he heard Shaban shouting for help after another man said, “We have warned you several times of being a disgrace to our religion, and you have not taken seriously our warnings.” The witness added: “Two weeks before meeting his death, he had mentioned several messages on his phone warning him to recant the Christian faith and return to Islam.” The slain apostate appeared to have been struck on the head with a metallic object. The morning before his death, Muslims were reportedly seen loitering around his workshop, a mile away from the murder scene. Although Uganda is majority-Christian, the area where Enoch was killed is predominantly Muslim.

2) On the same day Shaban was killed, Aisha Twanza, 25 — another Muslim convert to Christianity — was poisoned by Muslim family members who put insecticide in her food. After their conversion last January, Aisha and her husband were forced to flee their village because relatives threatened to kill them. On August 10, family members informed Aisha that her mother was dying; she rushed to the village only to find that it was a lie to lure her back. Questioned about her conversion to Christianity, she refused to deny her new faith. “They were very disappointed with me for deserting Islam.” Her family then served her food and allowed her to return home:

“Reaching home, I started feeling stomach upset that continued… Soon the pain intensified, and my husband rushed me to Mbale hospital, then I was taken to Pallisa, where poisoning was discovered after several tests. I never expected my parents to do such a thing to me, but I thank God for saving me.”

3) A Muslim husband savagely beat his wife after she attended church. Neighbors found Fatuma Baluka, 21, unconscious and rushed her to a hospital: “When I arrived home, my husband shouted at me as an ‘infidel,’ and then and there started hitting me with a metallic object. I fell down, only to find myself in a hospital bed.” She has since been abandoned by her husband and extended Muslim family.

Ethiopia: Six weeks after a Muslim man discovered that his wife, who is mother to his three children, had converted to Christianity, he locked her in the house and beat her with sticks; during her ordeal, neighbors heard him shouting — including that she “should die for forsaking Islam.” Neighbors found her soaked in blood from a deep gash in her forehead and rushed her to the hospital.

Pakistan: A 16-year-old Christian youth was arrested and could be executed for the crime of “blasphemy.” He allegedly posted or liked on Facebook a picture of the Kaaba, Islam’s sacred temple in Mecca, with a pig on top of it. Infuriated Muslims who saw the image immediately reported it to authorities, an act leading to his arrest. Authorities also removed the image in an effort to calm local Muslims and prevent them from rioting. The arrested youth’s family fled their home in fear of reprisals. Accusations of blasphemy against Pakistan’s minorities are common and often false. Religious hatred, personal score-settling, and economic gain are just a few of the motives behind false accusations of blasphemy.

Muslim Slaughter of Christians in Nigeria

The ongoing jihad on Christians by both Boko Haram, an Islamic jihad group, and allied Muslim herdsmen, left many dead in its wake:

  • At least eight Christians were randomly shot dead by militants on motorbikes as they were exiting Sunday church service. A couple of weeks earlier, Boko Haram had said it would begin “booby-trapping and blowing up every church that we are able to reach, and killing all of those who we find from the citizens of the cross.”
  • Another senior priest was kidnapped after his car was ambushed by Muslim herdsmen; during the attack they violently beat and tried to kill two other members of the clergy in the car; one was shot in the head. On the same day, a Vincentian priest was kidnapped along with his brother. Discussing these and other attacks on Christian clergy in recent weeks and months, several fatal, the communications director of the local diocese said: “One begins to wonder if Catholic priests have become an endangered species.”
  • Boko Haram insurgents killed at least two people during raids on Christian villages. They tied up one man with a rope and slaughtered him in front of his wife and children. They also burned homes and set the market square of one village ablaze.
  • A group of Fulani Muslim tribesmen attacked a 60-year-old Christian farmer while he was working his land and hacked him to death with machetes. He is “the latest victim of attacks by Muslim Fulani herdsmen in Nasarawa State who have burned church buildings and homes and destroyed crops in the past four years,” said the report.
  • According to a separate report, Muslim Fulani tribesmen also killed another Christian pastor; raided Ningon village– murdering two Christians as they slept in their homes, and seriously wounding a girl with gunshots; and raided the Christian village of Ungwar Mada, forcing their way into a married couple’s home and slaughtering them.

Muslim Contempt for and Abuse of Christians

Saudi Arabia: Officials arrested 27 Christians — including several women and children — for the crime of “conducting Christian prayers” and being “in possession of Bibles.” The group of Christians, most if not all of whom were Lebanese nationals, were celebrating a feast day for the Virgin Mary when authorities stormed their residence and arrested them. Authorities, the dreaded “religious police,” proceeded to strip them of their visas and deport them back to Lebanon. Ironically, this is a much better fate than that suffered by other Christians caught engaging in “acts of Christianity” in the Islamic kingdom. In 2012, a group of 35 Christian Ethiopians were arrested and abused in prison for almost a year, simply for holding a private house prayer. One of them reported after being released: “They [Saudis] are full of hatred towards non-Muslims.”

Iran: At least 25 Christians were arrested in Kerman for unknown reasons. Security forces broke into the Christians’ homes, searched them, seized various objects, and then took the Christians in. Officials did not reveal the reason for the arrest nor where the Christians were taken, leaving family and friends in distress.

In another incident, authorities raided a family garden party after they noticed it wasn’t closely observing conservative Islamic norms; without a warrant, they arrested five men, former Muslims who had converted to Christianity. Then they searched the premises and confiscated several items, including three Bibles. The arrested men were taken to an unknown location, though later reports suggest they were sent to Evin Prison, where Iran’s worst criminals are held.

Uzbekistan: Eight Christians were arrested and fined for possessing Christian literature, which is illegal in the Muslim majority nation. One Baptist, Stanislav Kim, was sentenced to two years in a “corrective-labor” camp for being caught with Christian literature a second time in one year. The Christian literature was ordered to be handed over to the state-backed Muslim Board.

Malaysia: After Ben-Hur, originally a novel, was made into a 2016 film, moviegoers were left disappointed and confused: authorities had cut out all scenes that portrayed Christ or had anything to do with Christianity, making the movie unintelligible. “I felt cheated,” said one viewer:

“The novel from which this movie is adapted is Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ. It means Jesus is central to the plot. It was censored so much the storyline made no sense! How did Judah’s mother and sister get cured from leprosy? They just appeared at the end of the movie healed.”

Such anti-Christian edits are consisted with the government’s ban on and confiscation of Bibles in the majority Muslim nation.

Separately, three Muslims who sought legally to convert to Christianity were denied conversion by the court system, due to the implementation of sharia (Islamic law), which maintains that anyone born into Islam — namely, whose father was Muslim — must remain Muslim. According to a source discussing this report, those trying to convert are often sent to a “purification center,” where they are made to recite different Islamic creeds so they are again considered Muslim: “This purification center utilizes torture, beatings, and psychological attacks to terrify new believers into recanting their faith in Jesus Christ.”

Egypt: After weeks of attacks more frequent than usual on the Christian minority in Minya, Upper Egypt, the government responded by appointing a Muslim cleric, Mahmoud Gomaa, to investigate the situation. Gomaa then appeared in a televised interview insisting that “Everything was good…. No one has been killed. No one has even been wounded. There’s no conflict. The problem is really with the journalists writing about it.”

Bishop Makarios of Minya responded by saying, “I have nothing to do with Mahmoud Gomaa. We are at a breaking point. People can’t put up with any more of this.” He explained how in recent weeks Christians have indeed been killed — including a priest who was gunned down at the entrance of his church and a man who was stabbed to death by an angry mob — as well as numerous incidents of mob violence on Christians which left many injured and their properties looted and burned.

United States: In September, when Coptic Christians were suffering abuses “every two or three days” in Egypt, an Egyptian Muslim woman living in America made a video calling for more Muslim hostility against Egypt’s Christian minority, in the guise of an economic boycott. In a video, Ayat Oraby — a Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer who has nearly 1.5 million followers on Facebook — called the Coptic Church a “bunch of gangsters,” a “total mafia” that “rules [Egypt] behind the curtains.” Oraby claimed that Copts are “stockpiling weapons in churches” and “striving to create a Coptic statelet” in order to continue waging “a war against Islam.” That Oraby hates Copts simply because they are Christian came out clearly towards the end of her tirade, when she said: “They [Copts] must learn very well that the Crescent [Islam] must be above the Cross [Christianity].” In fact, Copts pose no danger to Egypt’s Muslims — but they dare to want equal rights, when they should be content with second-class status.

Pakistan: Hate, Rape, and Murder of Christians

“Christian girls are being ‘systematically’ kidnapped and abuse[d] in Pakistan,” according to a September report, causing even “a Supreme Court justice to express alarm.”

“But as far as the Pakistani police and government are concerned, this is not happening. They are claiming that the more than 1,000 children reported missing last year in just one province alone, in Punjab, actually left their home on their own free will.”

Some of the missing children are boys. Christian leaders in Faisalabad accused local police of covering up the sexual assault and murder of Zeeshan Masih. The 14-year-old Christian boy was sexually molested, murdered, and then left hanging on a tree. Police reluctantly filed a complaint before declaring it to be a “natural” death — despite the fact that autopsy reports clearly showed signs of sexual abuse and witnesses pointed to unidentified Muslim men. According to a local human rights group:

We now know that other children are complaining about sexual abuse and it is believed that Zeeshan was killed for threatening to tell his parents…. The manner in which police officers have attempted to camouflage this crime has hurt and angered them. They are calling for an independent inquiry into the handling of their son’s death… The (incidence) of rape, sodomy and murder in Pakistan (is) reaching unprecedented levels. Christians and other minorities are natural targets as they are disenfranchised by the country’s laws and statutes, which confer second-class citizenship upon them.

In a separate incident, because he refused to drop charges against them, Muslims shot and critically injured the father of a 27-year-old Christian woman they had earlier kidnapped, raped, and held for four months until she escaped. This happened three days after police refused to comply with a court order to arrest the four guilty Muslim men. Gulzar Masih, the father, was in an empty plot of land when the attack occurred:

“I was immersed in thoughts regarding the case when I saw Ghulam Hussain and Akram [two of the rapists] running towards me, hurling threats and abuses. As soon as they came near me, Hussain whipped out a pistol and fired a shot aimed at my chest. He then fired two more bullets at my legs, after which I fell down on the road. He then asked Akram to break my skull with a metal object that he was carrying. I was hit in the head, after which I lost consciousness…. They may try again to kill me, but I will not stop from knocking on the doors of justice to avenge my daughter’s dishonor. Hussain and his friends are also threatening my three sons with dire consequences, but we have resolved not to sit quiet and let them get away with such a heinous crime.”

Separately, a drunken Muslim mob stormed the homes of Christians and savagely beat their residents after a Christian woman asked the drunken revelers — who were shouting loudly and saying lewd things to young girls passing by — to quiet down. The Muslims instantly became enraged at “the audacity of ‘ritually impure’ Christians making demands on them,” said the report: “The drunk Muslim men gathered up at least a dozen of their friends and grabbed sticks, metal rods and other assorted weapons.” The mob stormed Christian homes and indiscriminately attacked men, women, and children. According to a Christian witness:

“They said all Christians should be killed. They said we were evil demons and made Pakistan impure. I thought I and my family would be killed. It was very frightening.”

Seven Christians were injured, five of whom had to go to the hospital to receive treatment for their injuries.

About this Series

While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, persecution of Christians by Muslims is growing.

The report posits that such Muslim persecution is not random but rather systematic, and takes place irrespective of language, ethnicity, or location.