The Slaughter of Christians
Egypt: In a video released on April 17, Muslims connected to the Islamic State in Sinai executed 62-year-old Nabil Habashi Salama, a Christian. Salama appears on his knees in the video, with three men holding rifles standing behind him. The one in the middle launches into a typical jihadi diatribe: “All praise to Allah, who ordered his slaves [Muslims] to fight and who assigned humiliation onto the infidels” —pointing contemptuously at the kneeling Christian before him — “until they pay the jizya while feeling utterly subdued.” The words are a paraphrasing of Koran 9:29, which commands Muslims to “fight the people of the book,” understood as meaning Christians and Jews, “until they pay the jizya (monetary tribute) with willing submissiveness and feel themselves utterly subdued.”
The middle speaker continued by threatening “all the crusaders of the world” — a reference to Christians in the West — while singling out the countrymen of the one about to be slain: “as for you Christians of Egypt, this is the price of your support for the Egyptian army.” The speaker then points his rifle at the back of the Christian’s head —as chants of “jihad! jihad! jihad!” blare out — and fires at point-blank range, killing him.
It is unclear when the video was made — Salama was abducted at gunpoint over five months earlier for helping to build the only church in the area. “He kept the faith till the moment he was killed,” the group Sinai Province said of the slain Copt in a statement. During the months of his captivity, several Egyptian activists accused the authorities of indifference in not being able to locate and secure the release of Salama, which they say could easily have been done. Ironically, the Egyptian government issued a statement the day after the video was released saying that they had located and killed the same three terrorists that had executed the Copt—without offering any specifics. The claim was met with skepticism.
In a separate incident, on April 3, in the streets of Minya, a Muslim man butchered a Christian woman and her toddler son with a machete—”as if he were slaughtering chickens,” said eyewitnesses. The murderer, a tuk-tuk driver, is Abu Muhammad al-Harami; his victims were Mary Sa’d and her six-year-old son, Karas. When their paths crossed in the streets, he had made threatening and derogatory comments to Mary. When she said she would report him to police, Abu Muhammad leapt on her with his machete, butchering her and her son. Although Egyptian media and authorities claimed, as they always do, that the man’s motives appear not to have been religious, the fact is every once in a while such “random” attacks on Egypt’s Christians occur.
In late December 2020, for instance, two Muslim brothers went on a stabbing spree against Christians, killing one and critically injuring two others. Authorities said the brothers were in mourning and upset because their mother had died earlier that day. But as a local Christian clergyman said, “what does the death [of the Muslims’ mother] and the Copts have to do with each other?”
The same year, on January 12, 2020, a Muslim man crept up behind a Coptic woman walking home with groceries, pulled her head back with a hand full of hair, and slit her throat with a knife in his other hand. Catherine Ramzi was rushed to a nearby medical center, where her throat was sewn with 63 stitches; doctors told her she came within an inch of dying. It is believed that he may have identified her as a Christian for not wearing a hijab around her hair or for having a cross tattoo on her wrist.
Nigeria: On Sunday, April 25, Islamic herdsmen launched a lethal terror attackon a Baptist church: “The Fulani herdsmen came to our village as the church service was going on,” Jacob Bala, a church member explained. “They surrounded the church and started shooting. They came at about 9 a.m., and they rode on motorcycles. They shot at us randomly and at anyone they sighted.” Jacob’s uncle, Zakaria, a medical doctor, was shot dead, and five worshippers—including Jacob’s sister-in-law, stepmother, and niece—were kidnapped. Samuel Aruwan, state commissioner for internal security denounced the attack “as a shocking act of depraved persons far-removed from humanity…. [A]ttacking innocent worshipers who were exercising their natural and lawful right to assemble in worship represented the worst kind of evil.”
In a separate but similar incident, Muslim herdsmen attacked the congregation of an Anglican church; eight people were killed and four women abducted. “The abduction of the Anglican Church members,” the April 7 report adds, “came 12 days after their counterparts from the Redeemed Christian Church of God were abducted on the same road.
According to a separate April 28 report, over the course of several attacks in Benue State alone, in just one week, Fulani slaughtered 33 other Christians, many of whom had earlier been displaced by the same terrorists and were living in a refugee camp.
Germany: A Muslim mother is being tried for killing her toddler son, allegedly over fears that he would eventually grow up in Germany to be a Christian. According to the April 13 report, the 40-year-old mother “killed her four-year-old son: she deliberately threw him from a bridge in Rotenburg into the Wümme, said [the] public prosecutor… The child drowned in the river. The charge is manslaughter.” Earlier, in November 2020, the boy was sent to a medical facility “with severe burns. He had to be operated three times. The mother, who is Turkish, said that she accidentally scalded him with hot water while washing, the prosecutor said.” The report continues:
“The employees in the hospital found the injuries suspicious, [and] they wanted to call in the youth welfare office. The mother then took her child out of the clinic. ‘The defendant feared that her custody would be withdrawn,’ said Geisler [the prosecutor]. In the imagination of women, this also meant that the boy would grow up not as a Muslim but as a Christian. That’s why she threw her son over the railing of the bridge into the water to kill him. She then wanted to commit suicide, but did not succeed. Hours later, the police in Rotenburg picked up the distraught woman. The body of the drowned child was found in a nightly search. The mother was first placed in a psychiatric hospital and later in custody.”
Attacks on Churches
Germany: Three young Muslim migrants disrupted a church during Easter Sunday service, including by shouting Islamic slogans, in the town of Nidda. They initially entered the church and stood in a corner videotaping the worshippers, an act that made the latter uncomfortable. When the pastor confronted them, they loudly declared the shahada—the Muslim profession of faith, “there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger” — followed by takbirs (chants of “Allahu Akbar”) and other Islamic slogans. Although the pastor and others managed to drive the invaders off, the remainder of the Easter service was ruined, the April 12 report notes, as the “horror” of the men’s “threatening behavior” persisted for some time among the church. This, the report adds, is the second year in a row that the Nidda church has been interrupted under similar circumstances during Easter worship service.
Separately, a church in a Gelsenkirchen, which holds a large Muslim migrant population, was torched on April 5, the day after Easter celebrations. Although police would not confirm if arson caused the fire, witnesses saw a group of migrant youths running away from the church just before it was ablaze. Police had been deployed to the church over similar disruptions twice before.
In another incident, unknown persons entered a church, defecated near its Bibles and urinated on its walls, before setting a fire in the premises. This was just the most recent of many attacks on the church in Oberschopfheim. According to the April 21 report,
“Almost exactly two years ago on April 8th, the toilet facility in the parish hall was destroyed. Above all, the extent of the brutality with which the strangers acted caused horror. At that time, damage of several thousand euros was incurred. Windows were smashed, toilets torn from their anchoring or sinks torn from the wall. Gutters were smashed and shutters on the parish hall were smashed. The toilet facility was out of order for several months.”
Greece: Muslim migrants entered into and completely ransacked a small church; they also videotaped portions of the incident and uploaded it on TikTok (available here). It shows a topless migrant dancing to rap music as he walks into the church. The next clip shows the aftermath: devastation inside the church, with smashed icons and altar overthrown. Discussing this incident, an April 12 Greek City Times report says,
“We should remember that Greece spent 400 years under Turkish Islamic rule and that the fight for freedom was bloody. With that in mind it is even more dramatic seeing these images of fighting age migrants desecrating Greek holy places and having no respect for the country they are allegedly seeking refuge in. It reminds us that the only solution to this sort of escalation is closing the border and imposing a strict deportation campaign.”
Cyprus: A group of young Turks held a techno party inside the historical Sourp Magar Monastery (named after the Coptic Saint Makarious), the only Armenian monastery left in Cyprus; unfortunately for it, it is also located in the illegally occupied Turkish zone, hence the disregard and desecration. Responding to this incident, the U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus, Judith Garber, said in an April 7 tweet:
“The U.S. Embassy strongly condemns the misuse of Saint Magar Armenian Monastery. Freedom of worship is a fundamental value, and we echo the call from religious leaders that all places of worship, in use or not, be protected against misuse, vandalism, and desecration.”
France: On April 8, prosecutors said they would file charges against a Muslim woman “accused of plotting a jihadist attack on a church over the Easter weekend.” The 18-year-old woman “was arrested over the weekend [of April 2-4] at her home in Béziers. She was arrested as part of an anti-terrorist investigation into a suspected attack plot targeting the city of Montpellier.” In a statement, the anti-terror prosecution team said that an investigation was “opened following intelligence concerning the threat of an attack on a church over the Easter weekend.” During the raid on her home, police found a map of the church and “even found an image of Samuel Paty, the schoolteacher who was killed in October 2020 after showing his class cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.”
Attacks on Apostates and Blasphemers
Uganda: A sword-waving Muslim man attacked and seriously injured his wife and mother of seven children on the premises of a church on Eastern Sunday. Three days earlier, Salimati Naibira, 37, had converted to Christianity, and this was her first time inside a church; but then, from a church window “I saw my husband,” she later explained, “and some family members enter the church gate shouting ‘Allah Akbar.’ The church members took off from church worship to save their lives.” The Muslims stormed into the church with sticks and other weapons; her husband came wielding what is known as a “Somali sword.” Although the pastor and others tried to protect her, her Muslim relatives overpowered them, seized the apostate woman, forced her into a van and drove to a wooded area. “They started beating me with sticks, then my husband cut me with the Somali sword at the thigh and the back.” At that point she fainted. “I regained consciousness only after several hours,” when a passerby found her lying in a pool of her own blood and took her to a clinic. As of this writing, a female Christian friend has taken Naibira into her custody in an undisclosed location, where she is recovering from wounds to her face, thigh, and back. She fears that she will be unable to gain custody of her seven children, who range in age from 4 to 17: “I hope my children are safe,” she said.
Pakistan: On April 9, medical professionals attacked two Christian nurses — one with a knife — after a Muslim nurse accused them of scratching a sticker of a Koran verse off a cupboard. Although the two young nurses, named Maryam Lal and Navish Arooj, were acting on the orders of their supervisors to remove all stickers, they were subsequently arrested and charged under Section 295-B of the Pakistan Penal Code, which outlaws and punishes any desecration of the Koran, or “extract therefrom,” with life in prison. Before police could arrive, a furious mob had gathered outside the hospital crying “death to blasphemers” (video here). Due to ongoing threats, both women’s families have gone into hiding. According to one report,
“A video circulated over social media shows an employee of the hospital [later identified as Muhammad Waqas] calling Mariam vulgar names and telling a room full of other employees that she tore down a sticker, which contained a Muslim prayer, from the medicine cabinet. He further said in the video that ‘our’ Muslim nurse called Rukhsana saw it and snatched the torn sticker from Mariam’s hand so that it’s not further defiled or thrown on the ground. Then he said that when he found out about it, he confronted the Christian nurse Mariam. He said, ‘I am a Muslim; how can a Muslim sit quietly over blasphemy of his Prophet.’ Then he proudly told the employees gathered in the room that he attacked Mariam with a knife, but failed when the blade broke, only injuring her arm.”
“This is not the first incident of this kind,” said Nasir Saeed, a Pakistani human rights activist in the UK:
“[I]n the past, we have seen how people use this law to settle their personal grudges or punish their rivals. I still remember 2009 when a Lahore Muslim factory owner was accused of committing blasphemy for removing an old calendar inscribed with holy Quranic verses from a wall. A factory worker killed him and two other men, and the enraged mob also assaulted management employees and set the factory on fire.”
Three months before this incident, another Christian nurse and gospel singer in Pakistan, Tabitha Gill, was slapped, spit on, locked in a hospital room and “tied up and tortured” by her Muslim colleagues, after one of them with a grudge against Gill falsely accused her of blaspheming against the Muslim prophet Muhammad, which is punishable by death. Although police initially cleared her of the charge, when an angry Muslim mob descended on their station, they reinstituted it.
In a separate incident, police illegally kept a Christian man in custody for more than two months, during which time they tortured him into confessing to a false blasphemy charge against Islam. Two months earlier, on Feb. 13, after Muslims heard Salamat Masih reading from the Bible in a park with his friend, they accused them of blaspheming against Muhammad. Although police arrested him that same day—the friend had hidden in time—Salamat was not presented before a judge until April. According to Aneeqa Maria, Salamat Masih’s attorney,
“During this period, he was kept in at least three different police stations and illegal torture cells, where he was mentally and physically tortured to confess to the baseless accusation…. [P]olice repeatedly threatened to kill him… Family members were not allowed to meet him, and his mother and siblings saw him for the first time in two months when the police brought him to jail after his appearance before a judge. Even then police did not let them talk to Masih… The police investigators forced him to admit to blasphemy. They also tortured him into naming other members of the Bible study circle… This is a serious human rights violation, yet no one seems to be bothered about it.”
General Abuse of Christians
India: An angry Muslim mob beat and forced a Christian farmer to eat the raw meat he was selling at a market in Kerala, because it was not halal — meaning not prepared according to Muslim ritual; they also torched the delivery trucks carrying the impure meat. (A separate report says several Christian farmers suffered the same treatment.)
“I can’t figure out what is their problem?” the abused Christian, Shaji M Varghese, later said. “Those who want to smoke, let them smoke. Those who want to eat buffalo meat, let them eat. Those who like pork, let them eat. Those who do not like it, why are they indulging in physical attacks on us.” The April 6 report offers some answers:
“[A] farmer’s collective called Kisan Mitra, which has about 6,000 members in Kerala, had initiated the sale of fresh non-Halal meat on the occasion of Easter Sunday. This initiative is what irked the Islamic fundamentalists, as the low quality of Halal meat in Kerala is an open secret…. The Non-Halal meat has received quite a positive response from the general public in Kerala… Fearing the end of Halal meat dominance as people prefer non-Halal is allegedly the primary reason behind the attack….The main coordinator behind Kisan Mitra, Manoj Cherian, has received death threats from Islamists. Islamists have threatened to hack him to pieces if Cherian sells pork, which according to the Islamists is ‘haram.'”
Pakistan: Members of an Islamic extremist political party forcibly converted a mentally challenged Christian man, and, last reported, were pressuring his entire family to renounce their faith and embrace Islam. On April 14, Adnan Bashir, who had been undergoing medical treatment since being diagnosed with a mental illness in 2018, wandered out of his home. Before long he saw his former boss, at what seemed to be a social gathering, beckoning for him to come and drink some sherbet. Adnan went, not realizing that the gathering was a protest by the radical Muslim group, Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TLP). Once there, according to Adnan’s brother, Fayyaz, “Ahmed [his former boss] and some others forced him to publicly recite the Kalima (proclamation of Muhammad’s prophethood, signaling conversion to Islam) and converted him to Islam.” Once surrounded by the radicals, the brother clarified, Ahmed “used the opportunity to force my brother to say the Kalima in the presence of the charged mobs.” They also renamed him “Khadim Hussain”—further suggestive of their malicious motives, as khadim means “servant.” To his way of thinking, Adnan still rejects the idea that he has renounced Christianity and embraced Islam. Last reported, he and his family were under threat: “Our lives have become miserable due to the threats and surveillance by TLP activists,” Fayyaz said. “Our children keep asking what will happen to them, as their Muslim friends keep raising this issue. We can neither seek help from the police or any other government or religious leader…”
Germany: Critics accused the Muslim mayor of Hanover of intentionally manipulating COVID-19 restrictions in a way that punishes Easter-observant Christians and rewards Ramadan-observant Muslims. An April 4 reportexplains:
“In the Hanover region, curfew restrictions are in place from 10 pm to 5 am due to high Corona infection rates. From April 1 to April 12, citizens are only allowed to leave their flats and houses for a valid reason. There is also an extension of the compulsory wearing of masks in public spaces. Thus, the Christian Easter falls under these restrictions, but not the Muslim Ramadan. Ramadan begins on April 12 [the same day the restrictions are lifted]. What makes the timing so suspicious is that the Lord Mayor of Hanover is a Muslim of Turkish origin named Belit Onay from the Green Party. He is responsible for the scheduling.”
Raymond Ibrahim, author of Crucified Again and Sword and Scimitar, 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
While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, persecution of Christians by extremists is growing. The report posits that such persecution is not random but rather systematic, and takes place irrespective of language, ethnicity, or location. It includes incidents that take place during, or are reported on, any given month.