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“We’re Proud of Killing Him!” Muslim Persecution of Christians, July 2022

Gatestone Institute The following are among the abuses Muslims inflicted on Christians throughout the month of July 2022: The Muslim Slaughter of Christians Burkina Faso: On Sunday, July 3, Muslim terrorists entered a Christian village and surrounded a church, where they murdered at least 22 people. Discussing that and others attacks on Christians in recent […]

Gatestone Institute

The following are among the abuses Muslims inflicted on Christians throughout the month of July 2022:

The Muslim Slaughter of Christians

Burkina Faso: On Sunday, July 3, Muslim terrorists entered a Christian village and surrounded a church, where they murdered at least 22 people. Discussing that and others attacks on Christians in recent months, Dr. Caroline Hull, National Director of Aid to the Church in Need (UK), said:

Across all of Africa—particularly the Sahel region where Burkina Faso is—jihadism is growing and, with that, Christian persecution. Christians are murdered, people are abducted, women are raped and treated terribly…. “It is heart-breaking …. The international community needs to keep a close eye on this new epicentre of terrorism because left unchecked it could become incredibly disruptive, not just to Africa but to the rest of the world too.

According to a July 22 report, Catholic churches and parishes are especially under assault:

An explosion of Islamist terrorism in Burkina Faso has left one diocese in a dire situation, with parishes directly attacked and forced to close down, and priests unable to minister to 95 percent of their flock….  Terrorists in the West African country have attacked five of the diocese’s 16 parishes, which then had to close, while in seven other parishes, ministry is restricted to the main church because terrorists control land routes and have destroyed telephone communication networks.

More moderate Muslim elements, while allowing for Christian worship, have taken it upon themselves to “correct” Christian teaching and conduct. As one report explains:

In many parts of [the diocese of] Fada N’Gourma, Islamist sermons have become common and other religious practices are forbidden, while in other areas, Catholic services are permitted, but jihadists enter the chapels to ensure that men and women are seated separately.

Nigeria: Among other atrocities Muslims committed against Christians are the following:

According to a July 19 report, “At least 68 Christians have been killed—with many more abducted or displaced—in the last two months,” in just one Nigerian region, Benue State.  Discussing this situation, Bishop Wilfred Chikpa Anagbe, of Makurdi diocese, Benue State, said:

The scale of killings, displacement and wanton destruction of property by these Fulani jihadist militia only buttresses the now revealed agenda to depopulate Christian communities in Nigeria and take over lands. Tellingly, the government in power in Nigeria at the moment continues to do nothing about these persistent attacks, save to give laughable reasons like ‘climate change’ or that some Muslims too are sometimes killed in attacks by so-called bandits.

After the above report appeared, on Sunday, July 31, Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed seven more Christians, including four children, during an attack in a separate region, Plateau State.  In another attack that occurred ten days earlier in Plateau, the Muslims killed five other Christians.

According to a July 7 report, “gunmen” shot a Christian pastor and his two sons; the sons died.  The terrorists also abducted the pastor’s 13-year-old daughter.

 The Muslim Slaughter of Apostates & Preachers in Uganda

On Sunday, July 3, three Muslim men slaughtered a former Muslim convert to Christianity, in part because he was leading other Muslims to Christ. Simolya Latifu, 47, had just left a Christian worship center building in the evening when other Christian witnesses heard wailing and cries for help coming from his direction, near a swamp:  “The killers were condemning him for converting Muslims to Christianity,” said one witness. “We hid ourselves in a thick bush.”  They then saw one of the Muslims, whom they had recognized, strike him “on the head with a sword, and thereafter they left. We remained there for about 30 minutes, and then we took courage and slowly went to see the slain man and discovered that he worshipped with us at Christ Discipleship Worship Center.”  After converting to Christianity in 2019, Simolya publicly spoke about his experiences as a Muslim in churches, angering many Muslims.  After police arrested the man responsible for striking him on the head with a sword, Ali Buyinza told police, “We warned him to come back to our religion and gave him several opportunities, but he turned a deaf ear—we’re proud of killing him.”

In another incident, on July 29, Muslims murdered an evangelist in his home.  A week earlier, Sozi Odongo, 45, an open air preacher, who often compared and contrasted the Koran with the Bible, received a message from Nasuru Ongom, a Muslim cleric: “Please stop preaching to our people using the holy Koran, or else you risk your life.”  On the evening of his murder, Sozi, his wife, Stella, and their four children were having dinner when they heard what sounding like a large mob approaching their home. “We heard them talk in the Arabic language and wondered what could be the matter,” Kilo said. “They then arrived and knocked at the door.”  The wife and children fled to another room, as Sozi opened the door, at which point the assailants lunged at and began beating him: “He screamed while mentioning the name of Nasuru, saying, ‘Leave me Nasuru, Nasuru, Nasuru, please don’t kill me, just tell your colleagues to leave me.’  Then I heard a loud hit, and thereafter no more screaming.” After the mob had left, when the wife and children emerged from hiding, they found Sozi lying in a pool of his own blood, with deep gashes to his head and neck.

Finally on July 10, a Christian man died of wounds he received by Muslims.  Earlier, on July 6, Robert Bwenje had accompanied Assistant Pastor Ambrose Mugisha of Elim Pentecostal Church to an open-air debate about between Christianity and Islam.   Eight Muslims converted to Christianity following the debates.  “This angered the Muslims, but they could not attack us because we had tight security from the police,” Ambrose later said.  As Ambrose and Robert were returning home, Muslims ambushed them: “We saw men dressed in Islamic attire coming from the bush in different directions and shouting ‘Allah akbar, Allah akbar [God is greater].’”  The Muslims began by seizing the two Christians’ books. “They removed the Koran and then burned the rest of the books, including the Bibles, and then beat us with sticks,” said the assistant pastor.  One of the men struck and cut him on the head but Ambrose “jumped into the water and managed to swim and cross to the other side.” Passersby found him bleeding and rescued him.  His companion, Robert, was found in worse condition.  Both men were transported to a hospital, where Robert succumbed to his wounds days later.

The Muslim Abuse and Rape of Christian Women in Pakistan

After raping a Christian woman, her Muslim employer told her and her family—both still reeling from the shock—to get back to work.  Rimsha Riaz, 18, and several others of her Christian household worked at a glass crushing company, where they were described as “hard-working loyal employees for Haji Ali Akbar, a successful Muslim businessman.”  On July 6, after a tiring shift, as the family was preparing to go home, a supervisor told Rimsha to go to Akbar’s office for some extra paid work.  Her mother and brothers returned home; Rimsha arrived an hour later, visibly distressed.  When her mother pressed her as to what was wrong, the 18-year-old broke into tears and said she was raped by Akbar at gunpoint.  In her own words:

In his office, Mr. Akbar pulled out his pistol [and] threatened to kill me if I did not do what he wanted. He then started raping me. I cried out as loud as I could but no-one came to help. After he finished with me, Mr. Akbar put the pistol to my ear and threatened to kill my brothers and other family members, if I dared to tell anyone.

The mother instructed the rest of the family never to go back to work for Akbar, but also “did not go to police, because Christian families are generally frightened of them, and expect little justice.”  Less than two days later, however, Akbar, accompanied by four armed men, came pounding on the Christian household’s door with the butt of his gun and shouting for them to “open the door or face dire consequences.”   Fearful of the threats, one of Rimsha’s brothers opened the door, at which point Akbar began to revile the family, including by yelling, “How dare you leave my factory without my permission? You filthy Chooras [dirty Christians]. I will kill you if you remain absent tomorrow—and make sure you bring the girl.”  According to the report,

The whole family was left terrified and when he left the family began discussing what they should do. While they were planning what to do, Rimsha, who was very distressed, fainted and collapsed on the floor.  Her brother Arslan took her to District Headquarters Hospital, Gujranwala where she received treatment and a diagnosis confirmed she had been raped.

The family eventually reported the rape to police who arrested Akbar.  However, because the family is sure that he will eventually be released and that the arrest was only for show, they have since relocated.  As for Rimsha, who was engaged to be married, “her fiancé has now broken the engagement on discovering the rape incident. Rimsha is visibly traumatized and depressed.”   Discussing this incident, Juliet Chowdhry of the British Asian Christian Association, said: “Rimsha is a Christian women in a country where here status makes her vulnerable. The fact that the rapist employer felt he could force Rimsha and her family to return to work after such an ordeal, is an illustration of the weak standing of Christians.”

In another incident, according to a July 6 report, yet another Christian girl was abducted, forcibly converted to Islam, and “married” to a Muslim man.  Problems began for Meerab Palous, 15, when Gulnaz, a female Muslim neighbor and friend of the family, “gave Meerab a glass of water mixed with drugs and sleeping pills. When the Christian girl fell asleep, she called her half-brother Muhammad Asif and they took her away.”  Around midnight, the girl’s parents awoke and began frantically searching for their daughter.  Neighbors informed them that “they had seen Gulnaz, Muhammad and another person loading her into a car unconscious.”  Before long, Gulnaz’s Muslim family contacted the Christians and informed them that “Meerab must convert to Islam and marry Muhammad Asif.” Shocked by this betrayal, the parents ran to local police, but they “refused to register their complaint.”  Meanwhile, the Muslim family went to a Faisalabad court where they presented two fake documents, a conversion certificate and a marriage certificate, which claimed that the girl had voluntarily converted to Islam and married Muhammad.  The documents further falsified Meerab’s age, saying she was 18.

Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches and Cemeteries

Syria: During an inauguration celebration on Sunday, July 24, an Islamic terror group fired rockets at a newly constructed church, known as the Little Hagia Sophia, in the predominantly-Greek Orthodox city of al-Suqaylabiyah.  Two of the many Christians gathered to celebrate the opening of the new church were killed and about a dozen seriously wounded.  This newly constructed church  was supposed to be a defiant response to the Erdoğan regime’s slap in the face of millions of especially Orthodox Christians, when he transformed the Hagia Sophia basilica in Constantinople/Istanbul—which was originally built, and for a millennium functioned, as a Christian cathedral—into a trophy mosque again.  Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, the Muslim terrorist group behind the Sunday church bombing, is believed to be backed by Turkey.  According to one report,

Although designated a terrorist organization by the Turkish government in 2018, in recent years the relationship between Turkey and HTS [Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham] has dramatically shifted.  HTS has fought alongside the Turkish-backed and funded Syrian National Army (SNA) and several Turkish military outposts have been constructed inside HTS-controlled Edleb.

Turkey: An ancient Christian cemetery and its human remains were found desecrated.  In the words of one report:

Assyrian tombs over a thousand years old destroyed and desecrated, bones of the dead and other sacred objects thrown outside. This [is the] latest, worrying episode of intolerance against a Christian place in Turkey.

The report adds that the location of the cemetery, in Mardin, where the “Christians made the bitter discovery,” is itself “the scene of intolerance episodes in the recent past,” a reference to the Ottoman genocide of Christians in the region.  June 29, the date of this desecration, also appears to have been deliberately chosen by the desecrators to affront Christians:

Eyewitnesses recount that the cemetery chapel, dedicated to the two apostles [Peter and Paul] that the Church celebrates on 29 June, the day of the attack, was built in 1967 within a burial ground that contains tombs dating back even to the first millennium. Every year, the local community—made up of Assyrian, Chaldean and Syriac Christians—visits the tombs on the feast day to pray and perform votive rites in front of the saints and the tombs of their ancestors. The discovery of the desecrated tombs aroused sorrow and despair within the Christian community….

About two weeks later, on July 15, a Jewish cemetery in Istanbul was also desecrated.  According to one report, “The vandals desecrated 81 graves, some excavated and opened, strewing the area with bones and broken stones. Those responsible for the attack were under 18, acting on orders of a gang of adults.”  Discussing this incident, Garo Paylan, an Armenian lawmaker tweeted, “The fact that the attack on the Jewish cemetery was carried out by children aged between 11 and 13 does not alleviate the situation; it aggravates it. Who and what mentality have filled those children with hatred towards Jews?” Similarly, David Vergili, a Syriac-Assyrian journalist, said:

In the past two months, the graves of Syriac and Jewish communities in Turkey have been attacked and destroyed. The graves and holy places of the Armenian community have also experienced similar attacks before. These incidents and especially the attacks on the sacred places, graves and values of non-Muslim communities are not new and they constitute hate crimes. These attacks have racist, religious motives and mostly target groups that are not part of the Turkish-Islamic ideology. These attacks have been happening for years and there has been no improvement in the way the government responds to them. Given the past trauma of and attacks against the Christian and Jewish communities as well as the Turkish government’s denial of its own crimes, it is obvious that even the dead are affected by these violations. The hatred and humiliating discourse towards minority groups in Turkey manifest themselves as direct attacks on minority groups. Not only the living non-Muslim minority communities, but also their sacred places and their dead are not fully recognized and respected by large segments of the society and the government/state of Turkey.

Spain: On July 21, a Muslim migrant from Morocco barged into a Catholic cathedral and began shouting Islamic slogans, including: “Allahu akbar [Allah is greater]!  He is the only true god! Yours is false and you are a bunch of infidels!”   The invader then hurled a copy of the Koran, Islam’s holy book, toward the assembled congregation, before abruptly leaving.  Police arrived at the scene, the migrant insulted them as well, and tried to flee, but was apprehended and taken into custody.

France: On Sunday, July 24, a Muslim man interrupted evening mass at the Saint-Germain church.  He began shouting, hurling insults, and, as some later described, acted as if he was “possessed.”  A parishioner recalls:

He called us hypocrites. He said we were f**king Christians. He said we were fooling him…..  He was shouting a lot of abuse. He accused the church of being racist when he had come to pray like a Muslim. He shouted: Satan has entered me! We have to sacrifice some of them… I don’t want to hear the priest’s words. He also said that he was the second son of God because his blood was the blood of Jesus. All this was done by lashing out and spitting.

In response, and because many Christians were terrified and the children crying, another Christian present walked to and asked the Muslim to leave, at which point the invader head-butted him in the face, knocking out two of his teeth.  Others then acted fast and subdued the Muslim trespasser until police arrived.

Uganda: On Sunday, June 26, Muslims attacked and demolished a church building and severely beat its pastor.  Three days earlier, Pastor Baingana James, 48, received a phone call from a Muslim sheikh ordering him to leave the region and “to return to Islam seven Muslims who had converted to Christianity ….  We therefore want to warn you to leave the place within two days, if not we are coming to destroy your home and church.”  Then, on the morning of the attack, while Pastor James was conducting Sunday service, a Muslim mob, led by the sheikh in question, barged into the church.  According to James:

They started beating us, including mothers who were breastfeeding and youths, while shouting in four languages—English, Luganda, Swahili and Arabic—and ordering us to stop the service and leave immediately. As we were struggling to go out in serious panic and tension while others were with serious injuries, they started breaking and pulling down the building.

Generic Muslim Abuse of Christians

Egypt: A Muslim man stabbed an elderly Christian man “multiple times” and his son.  According to the report,

Joseph Israel, 70, was sitting outside his shop in the Omrania district (near Giza pyramids area) in the early morning of 28 July when a man approached him and stabbed him multiple times. When Israel’s son, Emil, rushed to help him, he was stabbed too. Both men were rushed to hospital with critical injuries. Ahmad Mohamed Salah, 43, was detained in connection with the attacks pending police investigations.

Israel received “at least 30 stitches where he was stabbed in his neck,” said his son after being released from the hospital.  Emil also said that the attacker had attended a nearby mosque earlier that day, and then “walked up to my father who was sitting outside the shop and started stabbing him with a knife, shouting “Allah Akbar.  When I ran outside to try and stop the attack on my father, Ahmad started stabbing me with the knife as well.”  The Christians were apparently targeted for running a shop that sells liquor.  Six years earlier, “Some armed masked men broke in after midnight, took money and destroyed the bottles of alcohol,” Emil said.  The report continues:

“Alcohol is regarded as ‘haram’ [illegal, or forbidden] by Muslims, and those selling or consuming it are looked down upon or sometimes even threatened. In January 2017 a Copt was killed in Alexandria as he sat in front of his liquor store…. Emil and his father had never met Ahmad before, Emil said. However, Christians who live in the nearby area of El Plastic told a local source he is a supporter of the outlawed Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement and refuses to buy from Christian-owned shops. Ahmad’s family, meanwhile, have told the police and prosecutors that he is suffering from a mental illness. Such a defense often is used, and when successful, results in the minimum possible sentence.”

Pakistan:  On July 4, a Christian mechanic who had been imprisoned for the last five years, awaiting trial under a false accusation of allegedly insulting the Muslim prophet Muhammad, was sentenced to death by hanging in a Pakistani court. Five years earlier, on June 5, 2017, Ashfaq Masih, 34, had gotten into a quarrel with Muhammad Naveen, a rival who had established a mechanics’ workshop near Masih’s. According to Masih’s not guilty plea, Muhammad “was jealous because my business was running better,” and, after their altercation, “threatened me with dire consequences.” On the following day, June 6, according to Masih:

Muhammad Irfan came to my shop for wheel balancing for his motorbike. I balanced the wheel and demanded my amount of labour as settled between us. Muhammad Irfan refused to give me money and said, ‘I am a follower of Peer Fakhir [a Muslim ascetic] and don’t ask for money from me.’ I told him that I am a believer in Jesus Christ and I don’t believe in Peer Fakhir and please give me my labour.

At that point, Muhammad Irfan went—or perhaps returned—to the rival shop of Muhammad Naveed, and, moments later, a Muslim mob had formed around the Christian’s shop. As Masih explained:

They both made conspiracy against me and lodged a false FIR [First Incident Report] against me. I told the real story to a police officer but he did not record my version but conducted investigation ex-parte. I neither uttered any derogatory word against Prophet Muhammad nor can think about it.

Along with rival shop owner Muhammad Naveed, Muhammad Irfan, the complainant, also got two other Muslims — Muhammad Nawaz and Muhammad Tahir — to lie and tell police that they “heard Masih say derogatory words against the Muslim prophet,” even though none of them was present during the altercation between Irfan and Masih.  Masih was charged under Section 295-C of Pakistan’s penal code, which states:

Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.

Discussing this ruling, Nasir Saeed, the director of the Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement, a charity that supports persecuted Christians in Pakistan, said the judgement was “very sad but expected.” He added:

The judges are aware that such cases are made to punish and settle personal grudges with the opponents, especially against the Christians….  Masih’s case was very clear—the shop owner wanted him out and Naveed was a business rival who implicated him in a false blasphemy case. He is innocent and has already spent five years in prison for a crime he never committed.

Raymond Ibrahim, author of the new book, Defenders of the West: The Christian Heroes Who Stood Against Islam, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

About this Series

The persecution of Christians in the Islamic world has become endemic.  Accordingly, “Muslim Persecution of Christians” was developed in 2011 to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that occur or are reported each month. It serves two purposes:

1)          To document that which the mainstream media does not: the habitual, if not chronic, persecution of Christians.

2)          To show that such persecution is not “random,” but systematic and interrelated—that it is rooted in a worldview inspired by Islamic Sharia.

Accordingly, whatever the anecdote of persecution, it typically fits under a specific theme, including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; apostasy, blasphemy, and proselytism laws that criminalize and sometimes punish with death those who “offend” Islam; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam;  theft and plunder in lieu of jizya (financial tribute expected from non-Muslims); overall expectations for Christians to behave like cowed dhimmis, or second-class, “tolerated” citizens; and simple violence and murder. Sometimes it is a combination thereof.

Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and locales—from Morocco in the West, to Indonesia in the East—it should be clear that one thing alone binds them: Islam—whether the strict application of Islamic Sharia law, or the supremacist culture born of it.

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