“Christians Enjoy No Rights in This Country”: The Persecution of Christians, October 2021


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“Christians Enjoy No Rights in This Country”: The Persecution of Christians, October 2021
By Raymond Ibrahim

Originally Published by the Gatestone Institute.

The following are among the abuses Muslims inflicted on Christians throughout the month of October 2021:

The Muslim Slaughter of Christians​

United Kingdom: On Oct. 15, Ali Harbi Ali, a 25-year-old Muslim man of Somali descent, lunged at and repeatedly stabbed British MP Sir David Amess with a knife. Amess, 69, died soon after. The murder took place inside Belfairs Methodist Church in Essex, where Amess had gone to meet with his constituents. Although initial reports indicated that the motive was unclear, police later declared it a “terrorist incident,” with “a potential link to Islamist extremism.” It is worth noting that, when it comes to severely persecuting and slaughtering Christians, Somalia is the world’s third-worst ranked nation, after Afghanistan (#2) and North Korea (#1).

Uganda: Two Muslim men murdered Pastor Barnabas Musana for his role in bringing Muslims to Christ. Discussing what happened, Pastor Simon Okot of the same church, Life of God Ministry, said that:

“In February 2020, the Muslims got irritated and furious when he said that Jesus is the Son of God and hence is more than prophet Muhammad. They shouted at him, and the church members whisked him away before they could mount an attack. Since then, he started receiving threatening messages that he should leave the area.”

At that point, Musana stopped evangelizing and debating and spent his time training other evangelists. They, in their turn, won over 15 Muslims within six months. “This angered the Muslims most,” Okot continued, “and he was given a second warning to leave the area.” Before long, area Muslims began to harass their church: “Whenever they met me going to church,” said Okot, “some shouted at me, calling me, ‘Kafir! [infidel],’ and a[t] times they sent children to throw stones on the roof of the church to interrupt the service.” As for Pastor Musana,

“Muslims started saying abusive things to him, his wife and two children, along with throwing stones on top of his roof at night. One of the killers, Faluku Gaju, at one time said that if he killed him, then Allah will reward him with Jannah [Garden Paradise] in a place called Firdausi [highest level of heaven], where the prophet will be.”

Soon thereafter, Musana was found murdered; witnesses saw two local Muslims following him around earlier that day. His body was found “strangled and with numerous deep wounds and scars, caught in water plants at the river’s edge.”

Pakistan: On Oct. 8, a Muslim mob shot and killed two Christian brothers. “A Muslim family had religious hatred against us and other Christians living in the village,” Indriyas Masih, an eyewitness and survivor of the attack, explained. “They never like the development of Christians in the village and therefore opposed us in getting a contract for a piece of land for cultivation.” When, finally, local authorities granted the Christians lease of six acres of land for cultivation, “five of us went to the agricultural fields for irrigation work”; once there, “a mob of over two dozen armed men attacked [us].” While shouting “anti-Christian slogans,” the Muslims opened fire on the five Christians. “The attack resulted in the killing of Yaqoob and Haroon.” “The Christians are treated as slaves bounded to Muslims,” Asif Muniwar, a local human rights defender, said while discussing this incident. “Christians enjoy no rights, no dignity, and no protection in this country. The overall system of society is based on religious hatred against Christians and other minorities.”

In another incident in Pakistan, on October 3, three Christian workers died after Muslim emergency staff refused to rescue them because Christians are supposedly “ritually unclean.” Problems began when the Muslim employers of sewage worker Michael Masih, aged 33, threatened to fire him unless he entered a highly toxic sewer without any personal protective equipment or masks. According to the report:

“Michael tried to refuse the work but received a heavy verbal tirade full of expletives. The disgusting language included the use of the term choorah, an insult given to Christians meaning dirty cleaner and was heard by many of his colleagues…. Faisal grudgingly entered the dangerous sewer at around 10pm with intent to clear a blockage. Three sanitary supervisors — Muhammad Farooq, Muhammad Amjad and Muhammad Rashid — were present when Michael entered the sewage pipe without any safety equipment. Within minutes Michael had passed out, and other staff raised the alarm. The result of which was a barked command from Mohammad Farooq to two other Christian men Nadeem Masih (40 yrs) and Faisal Masih (34yrs), to enact a rescue. The two men terrified for their own lives asked for some PPE [personal protective equipment] but were refused; desperate to save the other man’s life, however, they quickly entered the main sewer… The two rescuers grabbed Michael from the floor of the main sewer and managed to heave him out above of the sewer with the help of other workers. But as they were to begin their ascent out of the sewer to safety they were caught in a heavy current of water which dragged them to the floor far away where they became unconscious. Only at this point did Muhammad Farooq call emergency services … An emergency team got to the sewer within 10 minutes but on arrival they looked down the pipe and could see the men but refused to save them. This was on account that they were choorah and would cause the Muslims to become ritually impure.”

The three Christian men died soon thereafter.

Democratic Republic of Congo: A number of lethal Islamic terror attacks launched by the Allied Democratic Forces — which, despite its name, is an affiliate of ISIS, which is striving to create an Islamic caliphate in the heart of Africa — struck the predominantly Christian nation (nearly 90%). Over the course of three terror attacks, approximately 27 Christians were hacked to death.

Nigeria: Some of the more notable slaughters of Christians and the destruction of their churches during the month of October follow:

In late September, Muslims butchered 38 Christians in one region; they were all buried in a mass grave that was 15 feet wide, 30 feet long, and 5 feet deep. According to the Rev. Michael Cosmas Magaji, who spoke at their funeral, all 38 were murdered “simply because they were Christians.” The same report quotes Ephraim Kafang, the incumbent Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN):

“The situation of Christians in Nigeria is no doubt extremely pathetic. Such killings have been on for no less than two decades. The state government has shown no concern to bring an end to it. Obviously, there’s no political will to rescue Christians…. [W]hat is happening to us in Nigeria is an Islamic agenda, an effort to Islamize the country.”

During another ambush, Fulani Muslim herdsmen murdered four Christians, including a priest. According to a survivor quoted in the October 1 report:

“The attackers came with guns shouting ‘Allahu Akabar’ (Allah is greatest). I did nothing to them — the [Fulani militants] wanted to kill me because I am a Christian. My friends and our catechist were killed because they were Christians.”

“The killing is against Christians,” confirmed another local Christian, Ezekiel Bine. “Christians are persecuted daily in my community, most especially villages in Plateau state. The government continues to remain silent. We are left under the mercy of gunmen.”

On October 5, Boko Haram Islamic terrorists descended on a Christian community; they randomly opened fire on the villagers and set homes ablaze. “Two committed and dedicated Church members were killed,” a local pastor said. “Many shops were looted after they set them on fire. Church of Christ in All Nation (COCIN) was also burned down…. “Many houses were set ablaze. Bulls used for farming were also killed.” A local eyewitness said the murderers were dressed in Nigerian army uniforms and traveling in two vans owned by the Nigerian army. The report adds:

“The Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram has killed tens of thousands of Christians in Nigeria and displaced millions in an attempt to discard western influence and impose strict Islamic Sharia law. They target those who do not share their radical interpretation of Islam, often attacking villages and forcefully converting Christians, other religious minorities, and the many Muslims who they feel do not appropriately adhere to the teachings of Muhammed. While the Nigerian military repeatedly insists that the group has been defeated, attacks are ongoing.”

On October 11, Fulani Muslim herdsmen opened fire on and murdered a Christian pastor and his traveling companion as they were returning home from their farms.

Fulani shot to death Dr. Habila Solomon, a medical doctor who also served as a Christian pastor and president of Charity and Hope Ministry. According to a fellow pastor who knew Solomon,

“This is the second attack on him, as he was first attacked by herdsmen in his house on Oct. 1, but God shielded him. However, on Oct. 14, the herdsmen returned and shot him in his chest, killing him instantly. He was the reason why many people saw hope. Dr. Solomon was a great missionary, as he positively impacted thousands of lives for Christ. In the course of doing missions, God used him to provide drinking water, shelter, free education and feed the poor.”

According to another source:

“[Solomon] also provided the [Muslim] herdsmen and their families with free medical care. I believe that because some of them have professed Christ, some of the fanatical herdsmen must have seen Dr. Solomon as a threat to Islam, hence their decision to kill him.”

On October 13, Muslim gunmen abducted Father Godfrey Chimezie of St. Theresa’s Parish. While driving away from his church, where he had just concluded morning mass, the kidnappers forced his car to a halt and “bundled him into their SUV jeep and escaped,” an eyewitness said. Later that same day a woman believed to be Christian was also abducted, near a Catholic hospital.

Discussing the plight of Nigerian Christians in The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom 2021 annual report, Commissioner Gary L. Bauer called Nigeria a “killing field” of Christians, before elaborating:

“The hour is late. Nigeria’s government seems unable or unwilling to stop the growing carnage. In large swaths of the country, Christian parents fear for their children every day when they go to school. Those children are targeted by savage Islamists who kidnap and force them to renounce Christ or face death. Every time a Nigerian Christian family worships at a church, they are painfully aware it may be the last thing they do on this earth. The churches are ripe targets for Boko Haram and other jihadists. Christians have been blown up or ‘mowed’ down in their places of worship. All too often this violence is attributed to mere ‘bandits’ or explained away as hostility between farmers and herdsmen. While there is some truth in these assertions, they ignore the main truth: radical Islamists are committing violence inspired by what they believe is a religious imperative to ‘cleanse’ Nigeria of its Christians. They must be stopped. The failure of many in the international human rights community and the Western media to accurately describe what is really happening in Nigeria is inexcusable. More Christians have been killed for their faith in Nigeria in the last year than in the entire Middle East. Unless we find our voice, what is happening in Nigeria will move relentlessly toward a Christian genocide.”

Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches​

France: On October 11, an illegal Muslim migrant from North Africa barged into the Notre-Dame de l’Assomption Basilica in Nice, a city that has a significant Muslim population. He began to “scream in Arabic” and spit on the church’s floor. He left, only to return 10 minutes later and resume his yelling and spitting; he also began to threaten the sacristan, who contacted police. Although the Muslim migrant tried to escape, police managed to apprehend him. Three months earlier, in July, another Muslim was arrested after entering the same basilica and shouting at the congregants, “I’m going to come back and I’ll kill you all.” And a year earlier, on October 29, 2020, a Muslim terrorist slaughtered three Christians in the same basilica.

Germany: A migrant from Afghanistan vandalized church property in the city of Nordhausen. The man, who came to Germany as an “asylum seeker” in 2015, was found angrily removing many of the church’s objects — including the crucifix that hung on its main wall, altar items, and hymn books — out of the church building. When the pastor confronted him about his actions, the man replied that he “can’t accept the Christian faith.” According to the October 30 report:

“The ‘refugee’ describes the Christian faith as ‘wrong’ and takes the view that it is fundamentally a mistake that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, which is why he felt compelled to redecorate such a house of worship…He made his point of view clear that he cannot accept the Christian faith.”

Police were eventually called and the man expelled from the premises. Some of the church’s items were damaged by him, including the Christ figure which broke off the cross; and “a showcase inside the church was also broken into and cleared out.”

Muslim Attacks on Converts to Christianity​

Uganda: Two separate accounts of Muslims beating, starving, and even trying to set their family members on fire for converting to Christianity surfaced in October:

Mustafa Obbo — a former sheikh who converted to Christianity and was beaten and expelled from his village in 2018 — learned that his mother was deathly ill and hurried back to her homestead on Oct. 19. It was his first visit since he was driven out of the region. Once there, his family ambushed and beat him. Obbo had told one of his brothers that he was coming only to be betrayed: “As I arrived home,” Obbo later explained, “my dad and uncles ambushed me, tied me up and flogged me with several long sticks and said they were going to kill me if I did not recant my Christian faith.”

His brother who betrayed him was among those beating him. The convert was so thrashed that “he felt he was going to lose his life.” But just as “they were sending someone for petrol to burn me up, a Toyota vehicle was approaching the homestead. When they saw the vehicle entering the compound, they took off each in his direction.” It was a school friend, who was bringing food to his ailing mother; he found and untied Obbo. According to the report:

“Obbo sustained injuries to both legs, including a bone fracture in one, along with a back injury, bleeding and swelling. Fearing retaliation from his family or other Muslims, he has not reported the assault to police.”

In another incident, a Muslim man starved his wife and 8-year-old son by locking them in a bedroom for two weeks without food—all because he found Bibles in her bags while she was fetching water on Oct. 5. On returning, “he slapped me, then pulled out the bag and removed two Bibles and started questioning me concerning the Bibles,” Jafalan Muduwa said. She remained quiet as he continued to slap her.

“When I realized that he could kill me, I told him that the Bibles were mine. He started reciting Koranic verses and labeling me a blasphemous wife. He continued beating me with a stick, and also beat our child. After that he locked us up in the room whenever he left the home. He gave us only a little piece of bread.”

Imprisoned on October 5, the woman and her son finally managed to escape on October 18:

“My husband received a call in the morning from his business partner that he needed him urgently. He forgot to lock the door, and there we managed to escape back to my family with my son…. People were very shocked to see the state we were in. I thank God that we’re still alive. I cannot think rightly at the moment. We need prayers so that God my restore back our health.”

General Abuse and Discrimination against Christians​

Pakistan: Although the abduction, rape, and forced conversion to Islam of Christian girls and other religious minorities is rampant in Pakistan — with Muslim police, judges, and authorities often siding with the kidnappers and rapists — the nation is now witnessing record breaking numbers. According to an October report, during the first 10 months of 2021, 36 underage non-Muslims girls (21 Christians and 15 Hindus) were abducted and forcibly converted to Islam. This represents a nearly 300% increase from 2020, when only 13 cases were reported.

This report comes on the heels of the Pakistani government’s rejection of an anti-forced conversion bill, which would have helped protect such minor girls. Discussing these developments, Nasira Iqbal, a retired judge of Lahore High Court, said:

“Religion is yet again being used to defend the abuses against minority women and children. In fact, it is a huge disservice to religion in the current context to try to cover up heinous crimes perpetrated against minor girls of the minorities in Pakistan.”

Libya: On September 30, at least 17 Coptic Christian workers from Egypt disappeared; they were living in a predominantly Egyptian village in Tripoli. Their whereabouts remain unknown. Some family and friends believe that they were taken by authorities, while others fear they were abducted by Islamic terror groups. Many fear that these 17 Copts will end up like the 20 Copts (and one Ghanaian) that were abducted in a similar fashion, only to appear in a 2015 video being decapitated by ISIS.

United Kingdom: A 61-year-old Christian woman who escaped her Nigerian homeland to Britain in 1988 in order to worship freely is now experiencing something similar in her adopted home. Mary Onuoha, formerly a nurse at Croydon University Hospital in England since 2002, was pressured and finally “bullied” out of her job by management for refusing to remove her small cross necklace. As she explained in an October 8 interview:

“This has always been an attack on my faith. My cross has been with me for 40 years. It is part of me, and my faith, and it has never caused anyone any harm…. At this hospital there are members of staff who go to a mosque four times a day and no one says anything to them. Hindus wear red bracelets on their wrists and female Muslims wear hijabs in theatre. Yet my small cross around my neck was deemed so dangerous that I was no longer allowed to do my job. From a young age I naturally always wanted to care for people — it was in my blood. All I have ever wanted is to be a nurse and to be true to my faith. I am a strong woman, but I have been treated like a criminal. I love my job, but I am not prepared to compromise my faith for it, and neither should other Christian NHS staff in this country.”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which is representing Mary, said:

“From the beginning this case has been about one or two members of staff being offended by the cross—the worldwide, recognised and cherished symbol of the Christian faith. It is upsetting that an experienced nurse, during a pandemic, has been forced to choose between her faith and the profession she loves. Why do some NHS employers feel that the cross is less worthy of protection or display than other religious attire?”

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.