by Raymond Ibrahim
Jesuit Father Henri Boulad, an Islamic scholar of the Egyptian Greek Melkite rite, pulled no punches in an interview concerning the motives of Islamic terror and Western responses to it. “Islam is an open-ended declaration of war against non-Muslims” and those who carry out acts of violence and intolerance are only doing what their creed requires, said the priest. The interview continues:
Those who fail to recognize the real threat posed by Islam are naïve and ignorant of history, he said, and unfortunately many in the Church fall into this category.
Citing a letter he wrote last August to Pope Francis, Father Boulad said that “on the pretext of openness, tolerance and Christian charity — the Catholic Church has fallen into the trap of the liberal left ideology which is destroying the West.”
“Anything that does not espouse this ideology is immediately stigmatized in the name of ‘political correctness,'” he said.
The priest went so far as to chastise Pope Francis himself—a fellow Jesuit—suggesting that he has fallen into this trap as well.
“Many think that a certain number of your positions are aligned with this ideology and that, from complacency, you go from concessions to concessions and compromises in compromises at the expense of the truth,” the priest wrote to Francis.
Christians in the West and in the East, he wrote the Pope, “are expecting something from you other than vague and harmless declarations that may obscure reality.”
“It is high time to emerge from a shameful and embarrassed silence in the face of this Islamism that attacks the West and the rest of the world. A systematically conciliatory attitude is interpreted by the majority of Muslims as a sign of fear and weakness,” he said.
“If Jesus said to us: Blessed are the peacemakers, he did not say to us: Blessed are the pacifists. Peace is peace at any cost, at any price. Such an attitude is a pure and simple betrayal of truth,” he said.
The priest also stated his belief that the West is in an ethical and moral debacle, and its defense of Islam is a denial of truth.
“By defending at all costs Islam and seeking to exonerate it from the horrors committed every day in its name, one ends up betraying the truth,” he wrote.
June’s roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Muslim Attacks on and Desecration of Christian Churches
Philippines: On June 21 in the village of Malagakit, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) — which earlier pledged allegiance to the Islamic State — vandalized a Catholic church. Describing the desecration as “wicked,” the chief police inspector said the “crucifix and images of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ were destroyed while the sacred hosts were thrown all over the floor.” Cardinal Quevedo, who condemned the sacrilege in the strongest terms possible, challenged the leaders of the BIFF to punish its men who desecrated the chapel: “If the BIFF wants to have an image as a respecter of all religions, it must punish its members who perpetrated the odious desecration and educate all its members in strictly respecting other religions,” the prelate said. “Last month, terrorist gunmen also desecrated St. Mary’s Cathedral in Marawi, some 150 kilometers from Cotabato,” the report noted. “The gunmen were seen on a video [here] destroying religious images and burning the cathedral.”
Egypt: An Islamic terror cell consisting of six members, two of whom were described as “suicide bombers,” planning on bombing yet another Coptic Christian church in Alexandria, was exposed and arrested by police before they could launch their attack. According to a statement from the Egyptian Interior Ministry, “one attacker had planned to detonate an explosive vest inside the church and the other to blow himself up when police arrived to the scene.” Several similar, recent attacks on Christian churches in Egypt had left about 100 churchgoers dead and hundreds severely wounded.
Separately, authorities raided a church-owned building being used by the local Coptic Christian community for worship. After police removed furniture, Christian iconography and other items from the building, they chained down the doors to prevent Christians from entering the building. Christians had for some time tried to have the building legally recognized as a church, only to face a backlash from both local Muslims and authorities. According to a local Christian:
“During the early hours of Friday, June 16, we [Christians] were surprised to find the furniture, rugs, icons, pictures, and worship utensils … had been thrown outside and the building closed down with seals and chains. We took the belongings into our homes. We don’t know why the police did that.”
When dozens of church leaders met with the local governor insisting that they needed a place to worship, he told them the building they were using had been found to be in a state of disrepair and needed to be demolished.
Algeria: On June 9, the state oversaw the demolition of the Catholic church located in Sidi Moussa, 15 miles from Algiers. According to Kamel Abderrahmani, an Arab journalist who covered the incident:
“Algerian authorities found a very shallow argument to justify this anti-Christian act. According to the authorities concerned, the church was listed in the red category by the technical inspection services. The legitimate question that arises from this is, since the building was deemed in danger of collapse, why was it not restored and listed as part of the national heritage? The statement of the mayor was of unprecedented clarity. He had announced the construction of a mosque and a Quranic school on the same site. Such statements caused outrage, as many saw the demolition as an act of vandalism.”
Kamel also noted how the Algerian government had demolished other churches on other pretexts, and concluded by calling Muslim governments and activists “hypocrites”:
“If the mayor of Paris or Rome had destroyed a mosque to build a church, what would have happened? Sunni Muslims would have shouted scandal and Islamophobia! This question shows the hypocrisy of Islamists and their double standards. They defend freedom of worship in the West in order to ban it in their homeland. They fight to build mosques in someone else’s homeland whilst destroying churches and synagogues where they have power.”
Iraq: In June 2015, when Mosul was under the Islamic State’s control, the group had announced it was converting St. Ephrem Church into a “mosque of the mujahedeen.” The cross from the dome was broken off, and all Christian symbols were purged from within the house of worship. Now, months after Mosul was liberated, the occupied church was exposed as being used as a sex-slave chamber where approximately 200 Yazidi girls and women were abused by the Islamic State. A report recounts “ISIS’ depravity towards Yazidi women and girls. On the floor of the iconic house of worship lie tiny pieces of pink and yellow underwear and flower headbands belonging to the very young Yazidi sex slaves the barbaric terrorist group took captive.” The June 14 report also notes:
“Last week, according to local activists, ISIS publicly caged and burned alive 19 Yazidi girls for refusing to have sex with ISIS fighters, according to local activists. Yazidi leaders last year showed Fox News photographs of the Islamic jihadists burning babies to death on a slab of sheet metal, photos that show tiny, roasted bodies side by side as flames engulfed them….The butchered Christian building and its Yazidi remnants serve as chilling reminders of the genocide experienced by the two religious minorities.”
Spain: A Muslim man stormed a Christian church during a marriage ceremony, and started shouting “Allahu Akbar” — “Allah is greatest.” He “tried to throw liturgical objects around him to attack the priest and churchgoers,” according to a report. A number of wedding attendants managed to apprehend the 22-year-old Moroccan and hand him over to police, who reportedly charged him with “disturbing public order, crime against religious feelings and threats.” Police also investigated the church for potential explosives before permitting the wedding ceremony to resume. According to the officiating priest, the incident began when a “group of young troublemakers” started making offensive noises at the back of the church.
“Suddenly, someone started to shout and charged at the altar. A lot of people, including the bride’s mother, were crying, and there were people who had already jumped out of the pews because we did not know whether this person came alone or not, or if he was armed.”
Turkey: The Erdogan government seized at least 50 Syriac churches, monasteries, and Christian cemeteries, many of which were still active, in Mardin province, and declared them “state property.” According to the report, “The Syriacs have appealed to the Court for the cancellation of the decision.” The Chairman of Mor Gabriel Monastery Foundation — a 1,600 year-old monastery that was still in use and also seized — said, “We started to file lawsuits and in the meantime our enquiries continued.”
The Syriac Orthodox Mor Gabriel Monastery is one of at least 50 Syriac churches, monasteries, and Christian cemeteries in Mardin province, Turkey that were recently seized by the Turkish government and declared “state property.” (Image source: Nevit Dilmen/Wikimedia Commons)
The Muslim Slaughter of Christians
Pakistan: A Chinese Christian couple—Lee Zing Yang, 24, and his wife Meng Lisi, 26 — were abducted in Quetta and executed on the accusation that they were preaching Christ to Muslims; the Islamic State claimed responsibility for their killing and released “video footage showing the bloodied body of the Chinese man, Lee Zing Yang, taking his last breaths,” says a report. The Pakistani government cited the murdered couple’s “misuse of the terms of a business visa” as playing a major role in their deaths: “instead of engaging in any business activity they went to Quetta and under the garb of learning Urdu language … were actually engaged in preaching.”
Kenya: Armed Muslims connected to neighboring Somalia’s Islamic terrorist group, Al Shabaab, walked into an elementary school compound in Garissa and shot a Christian teacher to death. When a Muslim teacher interfered with their attempts to abduct another Christian teacher, “Al Shabaab got angry,” reported another anonymous teacher, “and told the teacher, ‘We are going to teach you a lesson for protecting the infidels,’ and immediately the two were carried away to unknown destination”—but not before the Somali militants proceeded to “beat Muslims of Somali descent at the school for housing Kenyan Christians.”
Philippines: More news and revelations concerning the jihadi uprising that began in late May in the Islamic City of Marawi appeared in June. The eight or nine Christians originally reported as being tied together and shot dead, execution style, had apparently first been ordered to recite the Islamic confession of faith, which they refused to do, an act leading to their execution. “Their bodies were reportedly thrown into the ditch, and a signboard was placed beside them reading ‘Munafik,’ which means traitor or liar,” said a report. “The assailants also asked Police Senior Inspector Freddie Solar to recite the Muslim creed, and as a non-Muslim [Christian] he too declined and was killed.” Seventeen others were found ritually decapitated or butchered by the Islamic State-affiliated militants. A priest and 13 parishioners from the St. Mary Cathedral were also kidnapped; the priest “appeared in a propaganda video on Tuesday (May 30) pleading for his life.”
Egypt: More eyewitness details concerning the Islamic State massacre of 29 Christian pilgrims traveling to a Coptic monastery in the Egyptian desert in May 2017 emerged. One ten-year old boy, who witnessed the slaughter of his father, recounted:
“We [he and his 14-year-old brother] saw dead people, just dumped on the ground. They asked my father for identification then told him to recite the Muslim profession of faith. He refused, said he was Christian. They shot him and everyone else with us in the car…. Every time they shot someone they would yell God is great [Allahu Akbar].”
Although President Sisi had depicted the terrorists as “foreigners,” the ten-year-old said that the fifteen assailants “had Egyptian accents like us and they were all masked except for two of them … They looked like us and did not have beards.” The same report states that, a month after the massacre, the Egyptian government had failed to provide adequate security for the residents of Dayr Jarnous, a Christian village that was home to seven of those killed, “and has done nothing to help the victims’ families.”
Muslim Attacks on Christian Religious Freedom
Separately, after a Christian couple was slaughtered for preaching Christ among Muslims (see Slaughter section), a South Korean Christian was arrested for allegedly also engaging in “illegal preaching activities.” Authorities revoked his visa and ordered him to leave the Muslim nation.
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