‘What Is the Sin Committed by Christians?’: The Persecution of Christians, May 2023


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‘What Is the Sin Committed by Christians?’: The Persecution of Christians, May 2023
By Raymond Ibrahim

Originally Published by the Gatestone Institute.

The following are among the murders and abuses inflicted on Christians by Muslims throughout the month of May 2023. Note: Because there were so many incidents of persecution in Pakistan, a separate article was dedicated to it here.

The Muslim Slaughter of Christians​

Nigeria: Muslim terrorists of the Fulani variety slaughtered 43 Christians during raids on two villages in Nasarawa State. A local Christian described the jihad on Takalafiya village, on the night of May 12-13, as the Christians slept:

“Most of the victims killed during the attack are women, children and the aged, as most of them were unable to escape as the armed Muslim terrorists and herdsmen shot randomly at anyone they sighted during the ambush on the village.”

A pastor and his wife were among those murdered. The village church was also torched.

Another Christian, discussing the same raid, said:

“My elder brother was critically injured and is lying between life and death. The question is, what is the sin committed by Christians in Takalafiya and Gwanja communities? Is it because we’re Christians that we’re being attacked, and the Muslim-controlled state and federal governments do not care to protect us?”

Two days later, during the night of May 15, Fulani terrorists armed with AK-47s and machetes murdered another 50 Christians, including another pastor, while assaulting villages in Plateau State. The attacks were again launched in the middle of the night, when Christian villagers were asleep. Most of those murdered were again women and children.

Democratic Republic of Congo: Between May 12-14, militants of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) — an Islamic terror group connected to the Islamic State — burned to death at least eight Christians during a series of raids. The report adds that “Violent persecution continues to rise in the region, and assaults like this are shocking but sadly not surprising.” A local pastor added that “The ADF is killing God’s people.”

Burkina Faso: On May 25, Islamic terrorists murdered seven people, including a pastor. A local church leader related:

“The terrorists encircled the village, shooting in the air to create panic. Then, they entered a compound where they killed two people. A third person who was there fled and got to the pastor’s compound. The jihadists followed him to the church leader’s compound… [T]hey went in and shot the young man and pastor dead, in front of his wife.”

Uganda: A Christian student was slaughtered for “sharing Christ with Muslims,” according to a May 1 report. Jeremiah Mwanga, 24, a student at a Christian school, was killed in his dorm room by a Muslim student. According to a friend of his:

“Jeremiah complained about messages from one of the students threatening to kill him for misleading Muslims by preaching to them the gospel of Christ as well as converting them to the Christian faith in the school. He requested prayers from the Christian Union fellowship.”

Then, on the night of Apr. 14, the same friend heard cries on the school premises:

“After 30 minutes I rushed to the scene of incident and found out that it was Jeremiah’s room. Inside the room was a pool of blood.”

Jeremiah had already been rushed to a nearby medical clinic. His friend immediately set out after him:

“Reaching the clinic, I was told by the medical personnel that… he was pronounced dead upon arrival. I found him lying in the hospital bed, dead.”

A search through Jeremiah’s phone revealed that the death threats were made from a Muslim who also attended the school.

Egypt: On May 15, a Muslim bulldozer driver at a construction site killed his supervisor, a Christian, by crushing him to death. According to the report:

“[The Muslim worker] shoved engineer Fadi Nabil Mikhail, the site supervisor, with the bucket (ram) of his loader several times before crushing him…. The workers at the site heard the victim’s screams, and saw him lying on the ground next to the loader, drowning in his blood…. [He] succumbed to his fatal wounds by the time the ambulance arrived.”

Before a court, the Muslim, whose name is withheld, admitted that he “intentionally and with premeditation” murdered his victim, because he had “felt annoyed when the victim gave him some orders,” and so “I hit him with the loader’s ram twice on his head.” Citing eyewitness, however, the report states that they “did not mention such a justification, but indicated instead that the killer felt some grudges against Christians.” Moreover, “nobody saw a dispute taking place between him and between the victim in the past or prior to the incident.” Despite this, last reported, prosecution was inclined to believe that the murderer “may be suffering from a mental illness,” and, therefore, referred him to a “mental health facility to examine and report on his condition.”

United Kingdom: On May 1, a Muslim man who had been randomly slicing at people’s faces in the streets of London, stabbed a female Christian charity worker in the neck, killing her:

“Mohamed Nur, 33, was charged on Friday for the murder of 31-year-old Johanita Kossiwa Dogbey [the Christian aid worker] and for three counts of causing grievous bodily harm with intent after allegedly attacking a man and two other women in separate incidents just two days prior to the murder.

“On Tuesday, the London court heard how Nur, dressed in dark clothing, had approached Ms. Dogbey from behind as she walked alone…

“She had been returning home after buying a birthday gift for her mother in the city center.

“Using a makeshift blade, Nur allegedly stabbed his victim in the neck, causing her to bleed out and die at the scene of her injuries.

“Prosecutor Julian Evans told the court it was a ‘completely unprovoked attack’ on Ms. Dogbey, insisting ‘there is no suggestion she and the defendant were known to one another.’

“The court heard how Nur had also allegedly attacked three other victims late on the evening of April 29, just two days before Ms. Dogbey’s murder. Again, without provocation or warning, two women and a man were attacked by a man with a bladed article [made from a piece of broken mirror] in Brixton…”

Spain: On May 14, a Muslim migrant from Morocco attacked a van transporting a conservative Christian group, injuring one woman. The man hurled objects at the van and the woman — hitting her in the back with a heavy “porcelain figure.” It took four policemen to subdue him, and all four received injuries. During his tirade to the Christian party — which included threats of “ripping off” and putting their heads “in bags,” and “burying them” — he accused them of trying to “take away our aid,” an apparent reference to the welfare and upkeep of migrants. Prior to this incident, the Muslim migrant had been detained, including for “attempted murder.”

Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches​

Sudan: On Sunday, May 14, militants stormed the St. George Coptic church in Omdurman during mass. According to Reuters, “The gunmen sprayed bullets at a priest, nuns, and sextons, wounding five of them.” They called the worshippers inside “infidels,” “sons of dogs,” and told them to convert to Islam:

“During the attack, the assailants led the priest to his house at gunpoint and menaced him with a dagger, before seizing a safe that held gold and cash and stealing a car… They also vandalised the church offices and a sanctuary for Bishop Sarabamon, the top Coptic Church leader in Sudan, who was present during the attack and beaten with a chair and sticks… The church had an annex with elders and orphan girls, some of whom were hidden as the attack was unfolding.”

The attack comes in the context of a civil war that erupted a month earlier between the Sudanese army and its paramilitary, Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Both sides are led by Islamists “trying to portray themselves to the international community as pro-democracy advocates of religious freedom,” and both blamed each other for the attack on the church, though it is more likely that RSF is responsible: they had attacked several other churches in May.

Discussing the plight of Christians, who make up between 3-5% of population of Sudan, one report notes:

“Sudan has been governed by sharia (Islamic law) since 1983, and is one of only a few countries in modern times where the death penalty for apostasy has been carried out.”

In one such case from 1994, “two Christians from a tribal group that had converted from Islam in the early 1970s were executed by crucifixion.”

“Recent reforms introduced by a transitional government led to hopes that these days had passed, but in 2022 four Christian converts were charged with apostasy, despite the apostasy law having been formally abolished two years earlier. Thankfully the case against the four men was dismissed. The recent violence has laid bare the Islamist attitudes that prevail in Sudan. No wonder that many believers have fled for refuge in neighbouring countries such as Egypt and South Sudan.”

Nigeria: On Sunday, May 7, Muslim terrorists stormed a Baptist church during service and abducted 40 Christians, though some escaped. According to the Rev. John Hayab:

“The worshippers were in the Sunday service in the Church when around 9:30 am they heard gunshots very close to the Church. The gunmen attacked the Church and went away with 40 worshippers. Along the way, somehow 15 of the kidnapped persons returned remaining [sic] the rest [of the] 25 who are presently in captivity without any word from their abductors.”

Sweden: An Islamic terror attack targeting a church at a time when it would have been packed was thwarted, according to a May 23 report:

“Two Syrian brothers plotted to bomb a church. No details were given on the exact target of the attack. Both brothers are now in custody. The target was an unspecified church in Sweden, where people would have been gathered at the time of the planned attack. Investigators did not disclose further details. The two Syrians, who arrived in Germany separately in 2015, are in custody in Hamburg.”

France: On Sunday, May 28, several “unidentified” people broke into and vandalized the Saint-Laurent church in Cugnaux, which has a large Muslim presence. They defaced a crucifix, overturned candles onto the ground, and damaged picture frames — before lighting the church on fire. A passerby called the fire department, which arrived swiftly and put out the flames. In response, Albert Sanchez, the mayor of Cugnaux said,

“To guarantee living together in Cugnaux, it is crucial that we collectively oppose hatred and intolerance, by promoting dialogue and understanding between the different religious and cultural communities of our city. Diversity is our strength and our pride, so let’s stand together and mobilize so that Cugnaux remains united, resilient and determined to face intolerance and violence.”

Separately, in France, on May 4, parishioners were shocked to find “Long live Islam and peace,” as well as Arabic writing, spray painted on the wall of their church in Lieusaint in Seine-et-Marne. The Grand Mosque of Lieusaint condemned the vandalism “in the strongest terms” and expressed its “total outrage” — while also saying that it doubted Muslims had made the inscriptions. The report adds:

“This is not the first time this church has been vandalized… Several statues had been damaged and knocked over, but police had not been able to arrest the perpetrators.”

Indonesia: On May 19, Muslim mobs stopped Christians from worshipping in two cities in Sumatra Island: in Riau, Muslims “stopped Bethel Indonesia Church’s worship service,” and in Binjai, at least 40 Muslims “disrupted Christians as they worshipped in a café”.

Muslim Attacks on Apostates to Christianity​

Uganda: Angered at his wife’s conversion to Christianity, a Muslim man starved her before trying to feed her to wild animals. On May 10, Sharifa Muhando, 27, the married mother of a 2-year-old boy, fell asleep in her room after having read the Bible and prayed. “Unfortunately I left the door open,” she said from her hospital bed.

“My husband came back from his place of work and called me, and I didn’t respond because I was deep in sleep. He opened the door and found me with my Bible and a notebook on my chest. He shouted, ‘Allah Akbar [Allah is the greatest]! I was terrified after seeing him; he asked me what the matter was. I answered him that this is a holy book. He got annoyed and beat me that night and told me that he was punishing me for leaving Islam, and that he will automatically be rewarded in Jannah [paradise] by Allah.”

During the following two days, he prevented her from eating — along with confinement, a standard sharia punishment for apostate women — and threatened to murder her. Then, on May 17, he took her to nearby Queen Elizabeth National Park:

“My husband said he had received a dream from Allah of taking me somewhere. He took me on his vehicle and dumped me inside Queen Elizabeth National Park to be eaten by wild animals.”

Christians from the church she had secretly been attending happened to drive by and recognize the woman in time. They rescued and took her to a nearby hospital. According to her pastor:

“Sharifa’s health was in a bad state, and she has been undergoing treatment while suffering from injuries—her spleen especially was affected, as her husband hit her with a blunt object, and she has pain around the neck. The doctors are also treating her for starvation and trauma-related symptoms.”

Separately, in Uganda on May 2, Muslims beat a convert to Christianity unconscious. Shaquru Ndifuna, 33, was formerly an Islamic teacher who became Christian following an open-air evangelistic event earlier this year. Rumor of his conversion spread and local Muslims, led by a mosque cleric, confronted him. “They questioned me about my absence as a teacher at Noor Mosque,” Shaquru said from his hospital bed.

“I tried to explain to them about my other commitments elsewhere. One of them mentioned about me having become a Christian, but I did not respond. Afterwards the three Muslim leaders left.”

Then, on the evening of May 2, four Muslims enetered his house.

“They forcefully entered into the house, shouting about me having blasphemed the Islamic religion and trying to force me to confess that Jesus is not the Son of God, and that Allah is the only God to be worshipped and Muhammad is His prophet. I refused to renounce Jesus as the Son of God. They started beating me up.”

Thinking him dead, the Muslims left. Meanwhile, his wife — who, along with their three children, had hidden in a room during the assault — called a family friend for assistance. The friend came and drove Shaquru to a nearby clinic, where he was treated for several injuries, including a deep cut to his forehead, a fractured hand, and neck injuries from strangulation. His vision has also been impaired, he has difficulty breathing, and cannot swallow food, relying on a drip of intravenous fluids. “Please take care of my children, I am not sure whether I will survive,” Shaquru said from the hospital. “The Muslims who injured me were trying to force me to return to Islam, but I refused.”

Muslim Hate for Christianity and Christians​

Turkey: On May 13, an article devoted to examining the lives of Christian minorities in the Muslim nation was published. It interviewed a Christian man living there, who said:

“When I was little, Muslim children would spit on the Christian cross and kiss the Islamic crescent moon in front of us. We, the Christian children in the village, were called slaves and cockroaches…. The hatred towards our [Christian] communities may be less visible now, but it is still there. This is because Muslims know that the authorities are behind them. For example, in another town not far from here, Christian high school students were regularly pelted with stones. One was even injured and had to be treated in hospital. When adults, Muslims and Christians, have a dispute among themselves, Muslim children take it out on Christian children…. several Muslim boys carried knives and were able to intimidate Christian students…. one boy taught other Muslim children to say ‘kill the infidels.’ Such things are still threatened…. When a Christian is invited to dine with Muslims, the plate is cleaned with sand afterwards. That symbolizes death or the grave. Essentially, this is saying that that Christian is dead to them. Only after it has been cleaned with sand is it washed with soap and water…. The Armenian Genocide was not a one-time event if you ask me, because it happened systematically.”

Germany: A Baby Jesus in a 400-year-old painting had his throat slit with a knife. This was one among many centuries-old Christian paintings — including the even older “Christ as Man of Sorrows,” made in 1435 — that were slashed and scratched in Hamburg’s main churches, St. Petri and St. Jacobi, between May 26-31. Citing “Islamic hatred for Christian values,” the report says:

“Church desecrations have been increasing in the best Germany we have ever had for years. Saints are spat on, crosses desecrated, people urinate in holy water fonts. This was the case in Nordhausen, Thuringia, where a 25-year-old Afghan ‘refugee’ smashed a crucifix that had been rescued from the rubble after the bombing of Nordhausen in World War II. Just one case out of thousands in which churches with an affinity to Islam remain silent…. [T]he extent of attacks on Christian symbols in Central Europe [is significant but suppressed]. Churches, chapels, cemeteries, even summit crosses [attacked] by Muslims are on the increase.”

Corsica: The heads of the Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus were decapitated from a statue standing in Ajaccio, the capital of the French island which in recent years has taken in Muslim migrants. According to the May 29 report, “This is yet another act of vandalism perpetrated on religious symbols in just a few months in Corsica.” In April alone, an altar and another statuette of Mary were vandalized, while a large cross on the Saint-Jean pass was also “decapitated.”

Raymond Ibrahim, author of Defenders of the West, Sword and Scimitar, Crucified Again, and The Al Qaeda Reader, is the Distinguished Senior Shillman Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and the Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.



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We must remember the persecuted church in our prayers constantly. Voice of the Martyrs is a great resource, but most of all just pray that our brothers and sisters stand strong, that our Father strengthens their faith, comforts them in affliction, and protects them from dangers. That they are reminded that their reward in heaven awaits. No matter what, I pray His will be done concerning all of His saints, regardless of where on earth they live.