via Christians Pay Islam’s Price for Freedom: Muslim Persecution of Christians, January 2015 | Raymond Ibrahim.
The New Year began with Muslim gunmen killing a dozen people at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris on January 7. The attack was motivated by the publication of unflattering caricatures of Islam’s prophet Muhammad.
Lesser known is that, all throughout the Islamic world, the magazine’s caricatures of Muhammad were blamed on Christianity by Muslims who seem not to realize that the magazine habitually pokes fun at Christ, Moses, and all other religious figures. In Palestinian territories, for example, protesters held up a sign with images of the Muslim killers behind the Charlie Hebdo massacre; the caption below said “Expect more from the champions of Islam, O you slaves of the Cross” (bold in original Arabic).
Accordingly, Muslims around the Islamic world attacked Christian minorities in the context of “collective punishment.”
In Niger, Muslim mobs, reportedly spurred on by the Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram, torched approximately 45 Christian churches, a Christian school and orphanage, two nuns’ convents, and pastors’ homes in response to the Muhammad cartoons. At least 10 people were killed in the clashes; pastors in the capital Niamey said anyone associated with churches—anyone exposed as Christian—was targeted.
According to a nun who escaped the violence, “the intention was to torch all the churches with us inside them” and thus “burn us alive!” Added the nun: “Boko Haram students believe they must kill Christians in order to take their place in paradise but we won’t surrender to fear because love must prevail over hatred.”
In Pakistan, some 300 Muslim students armed with iron bars and sticks and shouting anti-Christian slogans, attacked a Christian boys’ school in “retaliation” to the Muhammad cartoons, leaving four Christian students injured. According to eyewitnesses, the three officers deployed to guard the school stood by and watched.
Regarding this attack, Nasir Saeed, director of the NGO Center for Legal Aid Assistance & Settlement, said: “It is very sad that Islamic radicals attack Pakistani Christians because of Charlie Hebdo. Christians condemn the blasphemous cartoons. It is a shame that even after 67 years since the birth of Pakistan, Christians have not yet been considered Pakistani citizens, but are seen as “Western allies”…. Whenever incidents occur in western countries, the faithful Pakistanis are attacked. Christians, who are already living under constant fear for their lives, become even more vulnerable.”
In fact, from an Islamic perspective, peoples are not classified according to nationality but religion. It is irrelevant that those who insult the prophet of Islam are French, or European, or American. To Muslims around the world, all those terms are synonymous with “Christians.” Thus, years before the world heard of “ISIS,” Christian minorities in Iraq were being targeted and killed “over their religious ties with the West.”
The rest of January’s roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed by theme and country in alphabetical order, not necessarily according to severity.
Death and Destruction at Christian Churches
Egypt: The courtyard of St. George the Martyr, a partially constructed Catholic church in Hijazh village, was set on fire by unknown persons on Christmas day (January 7 for Egyptian Christians). Christian worshipers were planning on praying in the church’s courtyard — since the church building had been left unfinished for 23 years due to Muslim protests—and had furnished the courtyard with chairs and tents. They “were surprised” to find “flames” engulf much of the courtyard. In 2010, a wooden church build aside the unfinished church was also burned down, though at that time faulty electricity was blamed. Pictures can be seen here. Separately, on January 25— the anniversary of Egypt’s “Arab Spring”—gun shots were fired at the church of St. Raphael the Archangel in Maadi. Several Coptic Christians were killed, including a child, Mina Rifa’at. In other areas, such as Beni Suef, security forces closed the streets around the churches to prevent attacks by Muslim Brotherhood affiliated gangs. According to the local bishop, Antonios Aziz Mina, “clashes occurred between the police and groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, that aim to credit the image of a still destabilized Egypt.”
Italy: Churches, crosses, and religious statues were attacked in the European, Catholic-majority nation: On New Year’s Day, a 67-year-old Moroccan man seen mumbling verses from the Koran hurled to the ground and severely damaged five statues and other religious objects in the parish church of Santa Maria Assunta in Cles, Trentino. He used an iron rod to throw to the ground the statue of the Madonna and Child, the Immaculate, those of Our Lady of the Rosary and Our Lady of Sorrows and the statue of St. Joseph with the Child. The Koran-quoting vandal also targeted the marble altar and the baptistery—which were shattered—two altars and a large painting of the Assumption. All damaged items are cataloged at the Superintendence for Cultural Heritage of the Autonomous Province of Trento. The man was arrested by police on the charge of aggravated damage. Then, on January 9, in the chapel of St. Barnabas in Perugia, as a man was kneeling in prayer before a St. Mary statue, while holding the photograph of a loved one, five “foreigners,” described as being of North African descent, attacked him: “The first thing they did was rip the photo from his hands. Next they unleashed their hatred against the image of the Virgin Mary. They broke the statue to pieces and then urinated on it.” Finally, on January 17, a crucifix was destroyed in Cinisello Balsamo, a municipality in the Province of Milan, in close proximity to a populated mosque. The municipality’s Councillor, Giuseppe Berlin, did not mince words concerning the identity of the culprit(s): “It’s time to put an end to the do-gooders’ policies of welcoming and integrating by a certain political party. Before we put a show of unity with Muslims, let’s have them begin by respecting our civilization and our culture. We shouldn’t minimize the importance of certain signals; we must wake up now or our children will suffer the consequences of this dangerous and uncontrolled Islamic invasion.” Continue reading
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