Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches
United States: A pro-ISIS group calling itself the United Cyber Caliphate defaced the website of the Christian Reformed Church in the city of Lamont, Michigan. A 15-year-old teenage girl discovered the website’s defacement—which consisted of a YouTube ISIS propaganda video and Arabic text—while searching for the church’s phone number. The video’s spokesman says, “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses and enslave your women by the permission of Allah, the Exalted. This is His promise to us, He is glorified and He does not fail in His promise.”
Ethiopia: Rioting Muslims accusing Christians of converting Muslims rampaged throughout the East Shewa Zone. They burned down 14 churches—belonging to Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant denominations—and left more than 2,000 Christians without worship venues. One church cemetery was also vandalized. A church leader said: “We have been worshipping outside and sitting on the bare ground bearing the hot sun. We appeal to our brothers elsewhere to come and assist us. The attackers poured petrol and were chanting ‘Allahu Akbar’ [Allah is greater] before setting the church building on fire.” Ethiopia is roughly 60 percent Christian and 34 percent Muslim.
Uganda: Around midnight on April 12, an angry Muslim mob demolished a Christian church. They were heard chanting: “We cannot live together with neighbors who are infidels. We have to fight for the cause of Allah.” The church’s 450 members were left without shelter during the rainy season. Musical instruments, more than 500 plastic chairs and other property were also destroyed. Two days earlier, a group of Muslims shouting “Allah only is to be worshipped, and Muhammad is his prophet” slaughtered a church leader’s pigs, a key source of income. He had previously received a text saying, “Let this be known to your church members that pigs are extremely unholy and an abomination before Allah, very outrageous and shameful. They are haram [forbidden] and unlawful as our holy Quran does prohibit them.” Muslims also sent a text message to a church member– “We are soon coming for the heads of your pigs” – before killing eight of his swine.
Iraq: The Islamic State blew up Mosul’s iconic Clock Church, famed for its soaring clock tower, with explosives. According to the Assyrian International News Agency, “Militants cordoned off areas surrounding the church and looted the building for profitable artifacts and antiquities before destroying the remaining parts with explosives…. The Clock Church … became a target of ISIS attacks last year, when its cross was removed.” Although Mosul was once home to about 45 churches, most have either been destroyed or converted into courts or jailhouses since the Islamic State took over in June 2014.
Indonesia: An Islamist group vandalized a new church in Bekasi and demanded that the local mayor cancel its permit. The Santa Clara Church had received its permit in July 2015 and opened this year on March 7. The Islamic Forum Community and other Muslim leaders accused church leaders of acquiring the permit through false means. The mayor of Bekasi denied the allegation and refused to annul the church’s permit. He said it had fulfilled all the legal requirements necessary for construction. “Despite this,” explained the Asian Human Rights Commission, “law enforcement agencies have failed to protect the Santa Clara Church congregants; in fact, it seems the agencies have no will or policy to enforce the law against vigilantes. As a result, the church congregation lives under pressure and intimidation.” The rights group further called upon the local police to “take a strong stance” against the Islamic Forum Community and “ensure that the government guarantees protection to the Santa Clara congregation to practice their religion.”
Algeria: “Churches in Algeria are facing intimidation and harassment, despite constitutional provisions guaranteeing freedom of worship in the country,” noted World Watch Monitor on April 29. That week, authorities claimed that a church in the Kabylie region was ordered to cease all religious activities on the grounds that it was violating a 2006 law that regulated non-Muslim worship. Authorities threatened to commence legal proceedings against the church if Christian worship continued there. Last February, authorities issued a notice to the church in the town of Aït Djima, also in Kabylie, citing the same law. Critics say the 2006 law, which is aimed at regulating all religious worship except Islamic worship, is used as a tool of persecution by the authorities. According to Rev. Haddad, pastor of a Protestant church in the city of Algiers: “It is an unjust law against Christians, who were denied their right to worship and the opportunity to share the Gospel freely…. the situation of Christians in Algeria will not improve until the outright law, which is no longer justified, is repealed.”
Turkey: Six churches were seized by the government in April. After ten months of conflict in the nation’s southeast, the government expropriated huge sections of property in the region’s largest city, Diyarbakir. “But to the dismay of the city’s handful of Christian congregations,” notes a World Watch Monitor report, “this includes all its Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant churches. Unlike the state-funded mosques, Turkey’s ancient church buildings – some of which pre-date Islam – have been managed, historically, by church foundations. The new decision has effectively made the Diyarbakir churches – one 1,700 years old, another built only in 2003 – state property of Turkey, an Islamic country of 75 million.” Few Christian houses of worship remain in Turkey’s southeast. Although it is the ancestral homeland of Syrians and Armenians, well over a million of these ethnic Christians were massacred and sent on death marches during the final years of the Ottoman Empire at the beginning of the 20th century.
Palestinian Territories: In Gaza City, authorities demolished a recently discovered, 1,800-year-old Christian church and its treasured artifacts, despite attempts by Palestinian Christians to save them. Protests failed to win the attention of the international community, including United Nations agencies such as UNESCO, whose mission is to secure the world’s cultural and natural heritage. The ancient church was found in an area where Hamas is planning to build a shopping mall. “The dramatic discovery of the antiquities did not seem to leave an impression on the construction workers, who removed artifacts and continued with their work at the site… Bulldozers were used to destroy some of the church artifacts — a devastation that drew sharp criticism from Palestinian Christians, some of whom rushed to accuse both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) of copying ISIS tactics in demolishing historic sites,” notes the report. “For Palestinian Christians, the destruction of the church… ruins is yet a further attempt by Palestinian Muslim leaders to efface both Christian history and signs of any Christian presence in the Palestinian territories.”
Muslim Slaughter of Christians
Nigeria: Muslim Fulani herdsmen slaughtered approximately 40 people in a Christian majority village and burned Christ Holy Church International to the ground. Ten homes were razed by arson, cars and motorcycles were destroyed, and animals randomly killed. From his hospital bed a survivor said, “I was coming out from the house when I heard the community bell ringing. I was going with a friend to know what the bell was all about, only to see about 40 Fulani herdsmen armed with sophisticated guns and machetes. They pursued us, killed my friend and shot at me several times but missed. They caught up with me and used machetes on me until I lost consciousness.”
Pakistan: After a Christian man warned local Muslim drug dealers to “stop recruiting young Christians to participate in the sale and consumption of drugs,” two men assaulted him while he was working in the field and “sliced open his throat.” According to local pastor Alfred Azam, “This is not the first incident of persecution of Christians in our village, local Muslims are always creating problems for our Christian community. Before and after our church services Muslim drug dealers swarm around our church trying to sell drugs to our vulnerable youth…” Azam explained that drug pushers regularly beat young Christians and force them to take drugs to try to get them addicted. “When our older men tell these criminals to leave our young people alone they get killed.” As usual, police officials “refused to register a report for the crime or take any action whatsoever.”
Separately, Muslims lynched a Christian, 18-year-old Qaisar Masih, on the accusation that he was romantically involved with a Muslim girl. He was “killed by the girl’s family in an attack led by her father, Mohammad Billa.” They had warned Qaisar not to have anything to do with her and threatened to kill him. According to Qaisar’s sister, he was hanged after being killed to make it look like suicide: “My brother was innocent, he tried not to contact Mehwish [the Muslim girl] but Mehwish said that she cannot live without him… We told her sisters to ask Mehwish to avoid my brother because her father is a criminal and he will kill my brother. But none of our efforts could save my brother.” Qaisar’s mother, Rani Sardar, said: “We all know who killed my son, he was the youngest, he was the apple of my eye and they killed him brutally and hanged him in front of our house. I only demand justice.”
Syria: ISIS militants slaughtered 21 Christian hostages, three of whom were women, in al-Qaryatain. This was discovered after the town was retaken by Russian-backed Syrian forces in April. Some were reportedly killed for violating the terms of their “dhimmi contract,” Islam’s discriminatory body of rules that govern Christian minorities and others. Another five missing Christians were believed to be dead, while many girls are believed to have been sold into sex slavery.
Muslim Attacks on Christian Freedom
(No Apostasy, Blasphemy, or Proselytization)
Uganda: A Muslim man beat and threatened to butcher his wife because of her commitment to Christ. The 38-year-old woman had fled to another village with their four children after he first beat her a year ago upon discovery of her conversion. “My husband shouted, ‘Allah Akbar,’ then he took a blunt object and hit me on my left hand. I cried for help, and neighbors arrived and saved my life. I then slept at a neighbor’s house with my four children that very night.” Last April she went back to visit her estranged husband to discuss child support. It wasn’t long before the man began again to harass the woman again her faith: “Again I answered him that Jesus is my Lord and Savior, and he took a panga [machete 16 to 18 inches long], but I managed to get hold of him before he could hit me, so the panga dropped, and he started strangling me. His younger brother woke up and rescued me. I then managed to escape.” The Muslim man was unrepentant before the judge. “I cannot live with the kafir [infidel] in my house, unless she returns back to my religion. If not, I will not stop hunting for her life, because our Holy Koran allows us to kill any apostate from Islam.”
Kenya: After a Muslim man named Godana converted to Christianity, his life changed for the worse. His troubles began last October, when his wife was hospitalized and treated for an unspecified but deadly illness for three weeks with no signs of recovery. “Soon thereafter,” notes the Morningstar News, “they received a visit from an Evangelist with the Evangelical Christian Church of Africa (ECCA), who prayed for her. His wife was not completely healed, but she was able to go about most of her daily activities, and a week later the couple invited the Evangelist and two other church leaders to their home. The couple decided to become followers of Jesus after talking and giving thanks with the church leaders, and they began meeting at their home for Bible study and prayer.” Soon Muslim neighbors informed Godana’s relatives that the couple had left Islam for Christianity. The same report continues, “Godana’s in-laws began sending him threatening texts: ‘You had a Muslim marriage, so it is against Islam to change your faith,’ one read. ‘If you continue in the Christian faith, we shall come and take our daughter.’ Then, in February, Godana’s in-laws took his wife. A few weeks later, they came and seized his young children as well. Continues the report:
His own family members are now threatening him. “Your life is at stake if you still hold on to the Christian faith,” one relative told him. Godana has become depressed under a continuing barrage of text messages from his in-laws, including demands for payment for medical follow-up care, he said. One text read, “We have continued treating our daughter, and now we demand that you pay us the money that we have used for her treatment.” “I am spending sleepless nights as the pressure from my wife’s family is being directed toward me,” he said. “I am also fearing for my life.”
Turkey: An American Christian evangelist was detained and later released by authorities—but only on order that he leave and never return. Declaring David Byle “a danger to public order,” authorities in Turkey took him into custody on April 6 after asking him to report to the immigration office in Istanbul regarding his application for a residency permit. There was no indication of what the “danger to public order” accusation was based on. Those close to Byle, 46, describe him as being “mild-mannered, polite and calm” and believe that he was detained and ordered deported because of his evangelistic activities. He was released on April 14 and given a “no-reentry order.” The arrest took place days before Byle was set to teach a class to a group of Turks on how to tell people about the gospel.
Egypt: An Egyptian Christian, Bishoy Kameel Garas, was finally declared “innocent”— but not before serving more than half of his six-year sentence. Bishoy was jailed in September 2012 for his alleged defamation of Islam. The charges were all connected to a fake Facebook account in his name. Bishoy was imprisoned even though he had posted warnings on his own Facebook page regarding the false account and had alerted cyber police whose subsequent investigation supported his innocence. “The court was besieged by mobs demanding his punishment and even accusing his defense lawyers of blasphemy for defending him.” Although innocent of the defamation charge, he lost his job as a teacher, which left his already impoverished father to pay for his legal fees; and although he spent more than three years of his life in prison, rights activists believe it is highly unlikely he will receive any reparations from the state.
Europe: Muslim migrants who thought they were now free to quit Islam and convert to Christianity continue to “fear murderous Islamic retaliation in Europe.” According to a Breitbart report:
Many migrants who are recent converts to Christianity fear retaliation from Muslims and that converting may become a “death sentence.” One of the more surprising aspects of the migrant crisis has been the number of Muslims from places like Syria and Afghanistan, that have been converting to Christianity in Austrian churches. The Archdioceses of the Austrian capital in Vienna can hardly keep up with the requests as they get five to ten per week. So far this year 83 percent of the recorded adult baptisms into the Catholic faith have been Muslims compared to 2015 when they were only 33 percent, reports Kurier. Muslims who convert and leave Islam face a very real potential for violence and even death. A migrant to Austria who now calls himself Christopher told the Kurier, “this could be my death sentence.” Christopher came to Austria in 2012 and requested that his new Christian name be used because he fears not only reprisal against himself but his family as well.
This is just a sampling from April, read it all. There’s also several years of archives.
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