Skip to content

‘If We Like, We Will Kill You, Too’: The Persecution of Christians, November 2023

‘If We Like, We Will Kill You, Too’: The Persecution of Christians, November 2023
By Raymond Ibrahim

Originally Published by the Gatestone Institute.

The following are among the abuses and murders inflicted on Christians by Muslims throughout the month of November 2023.

The Muslim Slaughter of Christians

Pakistan: A Muslim man murdered a young Christian because he was “driven by a strong hatred for Christians and Jews.” On Nov. 9, around 3 a.m., Muhammad Zubair broke into a Christian household while everyone was asleep. After opening fire on Farhan Qamar, 20, the youngest of four siblings, the intruder held the entire family hostage at gunpoint for nearly 40 minutes, preventing them from going near the fatally injured youth. According to the slain man’s father, Ul Qamar:

“My son was struggling for his life, bleeding profusely from the bullet wounds, but his murderer, Muhammad Zubair, did not allow us to even give him some water, let alone comfort him. He repeatedly called us ‘Jews’ as he cursed and waved his weapon at us. We all watched helplessly, pleading with him to leave, but he wouldn’t go…. [Finally, before Muhammad left the murder scene, he] pointed the gun towards my wife and ordered her to unlock the main gate. He sat on his motorcycle that was parked outside, fired three shots in the air with his pistol, and shouted, ‘Allahu Akbar [‘Allah is greatest’] two-three times before speeding away.”

Once Muhammad left, the family gathered around their blood-soaked son and brother and started crying for help, but “None of our neighbors intervened even after they heard the first three shots fired on Farhan by Zubair.” Farhan died on the way to the hospital; doctors confirmed that had he been brought to them even a few minutes earlier, they could have saved him. According to the report:

“[Muhammad] Zubair had never hidden his hatred for Christians, but his behavior worsened after the Israeli-Palestinian conflict erupted into war in Gaza last month… Several Christian families fled the village after Muslims beat two Christian brothers, Aqib Javed and Asher Javed, for reportedly expressing support for Israel.”

When the murder was first reported, the family withheld the religious element because the father said they “feared backlash from local Muslims”:

“We have been keeping quiet because we did not want the religious leaders to think that we are giving our son’s murder a ‘religious color,’ but this is the truth… We want to see Farhan’s killer punished in accordance with the law. If we are unable to find good legal representation, I fear the murderer will be let off, and then no Christian will be safe in this village. Please help us.”

Mozambique: Muslim terrorists raided a Christian village in the terrorism-plagued Cabo Delgado region, and killed four. The Islamic State later took credit for the attack. According to one report:

“Through propaganda channels, the group assumed that the attack on the ‘Christian village’ took place on Friday November 10, using machine guns by ‘soldiers of the caliphate.’ The attack took place during a ceremony in preparation for a female initiation ritual that was scheduled for Sunday November 12, with the terrorists entering the camp, firing bursts of gunfire.”

Nigeria: A few November headlines from the ongoing jihadist-genocide of Christians in the African nation follow:

At Least 10 Christians Slain in Taraba State
Kidnapped Pastor Killed in Nigeria after Ransom Payment
Terrorists Kill Christian, Kidnap 25 Others in Northern Nigeria
Pastor Slain, Wife Kidnapped in Kaduna State
Pastor’s Wife Shot Dead in Taraba State

General Muslim Violence and Hostility against Christians

Ireland: On Nov. 23, a Muslim man of Algerian origin stabbed a group of preschool children attending Saint Mary’s, a private Catholic primary school in Dublin, as the children were leaving school around 1:30 pm. Three children — two girls and a boy aged between 5 and 6 — and a care assistant who tried to defend them, were stabbed in the assault. Stabbed near the heart, a 5-year-old girl was critically injured and, as of the last reporting from December, remains hospitalized in critical condition. According to one report:

“The motivation behind the attack remains unclear; however, considering the assailant’s background and the specific target being children leaving from a well-known Irish Catholic primary school, an anti-Christian motive seems not unlikely.”

Although the Algerian attacker had a prior criminal record, his order of deportation was revoked and in 2014 he was granted Irish citizenship. In response to the stabbing, angry Irish citizens took to the streets and rioted that evening.

Greece: On Nov. 11 in the town of Colonos, a 38-year-old Muslim man of Afghan origin knifed a 56-year-old Egyptian because the Egyptian had converted to Christianity. He was stabbed in the head and in one of his hands. He told police, who arrived on the scene and arrested the Afghan, that he was attacked “because he was a Muslim and was baptized a Christian.”

Nigeria: “Islamic police (Hisbah) responsible for enforcing Sharia law in northwest Nigeria,” a Nov. 24 report relates, “recently harassed, and stopped five Christian girls from going to church in Kano State”:

“The Christian girls were walking to Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) when Hisbah Police stopped the girls and asked them to dress like Muslims. When the girls refused, one of the officers told them they would be punished if they went to the church. The girls were released after standing in the sun for three hours, and after the church service ended.”

One of the five girls, Mary, said that the Muslim officers told them that they were being targeted because “Israel is killing our sisters in Gaza. If we like, we will kill you, too.”

Uganda: A Muslim man set his wife on fire for becoming Christian. Although Hajara Namwase, a 32-year-old mother of three children, had embraced Christ back in May, she kept it secret from her husband, Musa Kalele, 42. On Oct. 17, however, he returned unexpectedly from South Sudan, while she was still away at church. She rushed home. “I got scared upon seeing him,” Namwase said “because I had some gospel tracts and a small New Testament Bible which I could not hide.” On seeing the Christian items, her husband

“became furious, left the room and returned with a container of gas… He took some bedsheets, covered them around my body and then removed me out of the house. He forced me to lie down. He took the petrol, then poured it on me and thereafter took a matchbox, lit it, and the fire began burning me up.”

Her daughter alerted neighbors who managed to rescue and take her to a hospital. Her husband has since fled to South Sudan. According to the report:

“Namwase said she is worried about where she will stay after her release [from hospital], as all her relatives are Muslims, and what will become of her children, ages 4, 6 and 9, who have come under the care of their paternal grandmother. Still hospitalized in Kampala, Namwase has third-degree burns on much of her body, with nerve damage and multiple red spots on her skin…”

Separately, in Uganda, on Nov. 13, a gang of Muslims severely beat two Christians, after their presentation during an interfaith debate between Muslims and Christians held at a church. During their presentation, the two Christians, Musa, 32, and Swidiki, 27, quoted from both the Bible and the Koran to argue that Muhammad was a false prophet and that Christ was the truth. Before they had even finished, Muslims forced the Christians to flee to a nearby Christian’s house. Two hours later, when the coast seemed clear, the two Christians emerged from hiding and began returning home on a motorcycle. Before long, a group of Muslims emerged from the darkness and stopped them. According to Swidiki, the Muslims began yelling:

“Allah Akbar, these are the enemies of our prophet, Muhammad, as well as our religion. Kafir [Infidels]! Kafir!”

The Muslims broke their motorcycle “to pieces and tore up” their Bibles and other Christian literature.

“Thereafter they started beating us badly with blunt objects that led to the fracturing of Musa’s right leg. Two of the attackers held me tightly and beat me with sticks as four others were beating Musa and stepping on him while he was lying down in the middle of the road.”

Before the beating had reached a lethal level, a taxi arrived; its flashing headlights prompted the terrorists to flee. Christians, including a pastor who recognized one of the men, rushed them to a hospital.

Egypt: On Nov. 6, Coptic Solidarity, a human rights organization based in Washington, D.C., submitted a report to Ms. Nazila Ghanea, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief. Titled, “Advocacy of Hatred Based on Religion or Belief,” it traces the history and origin of the hatred and discrimination for Egypt’s indigenous Christians, the Copts, and how this hatred has even made its way into Egypt’s Constitution and classrooms:

“The status of Egypt’s indigenous Copts has been one of subservience and systematic discrimination for centuries. Copts suffer the double injustice of living under systematic discrimination by the Egyptian government, and also from regular members of Egyptian society who attack Copts and their properties with impunity. The reality for Copts in Egypt is one of life as second-class citizens.

“The Coptic people are an ethnoreligious population that identifies as the descendants of ancient Egyptians and civilization. Since the Arab invasion in mid seventh century, rulers have treated the Coptic population with various degrees of discrimination and persecution that ranged from radical increase in taxes to full-scale massacres. Most of the native population converted to Islam over six centuries to escape the jizya [protection tax] and humiliations of dhimmi status. The term ‘Copt’ came to define the native Christian population that had not converted to Islam….

“The primary vehicle for instilling hatred based in legal and policy frameworks that results in intolerance, discrimination, and violence based on religion is through the establishment of religion. In Egypt, the Constitution includes articles guaranteeing freedom of religion and criminalizing discrimination based on religion. Yet, the second article of the Constitution states that ‘Islam is the religion of the state…and the principles of Islamic shari’a are the main sources of legislation.’

“These statements are antithetical since shari’a repudiates religious freedom. Additionally, it is founded on non-equality—the superiority of the Believer (a Muslim) over a Non-believer (and also the superiority of men over women), and it actually proscribes discrimination and persecution of minority faiths. All the constitutional articles are to be interpreted in light of and in submission to Article 2. In short, the Egyptian government cannot implement contradictory principles…. [Even] Egypt’s educational curricula and schooling system are permeated with discriminatory teachings.”

Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches

Austria: On Friday, Nov. 24, a 29-year-old Muslim refugee of Syrian background wreaked havoc inside Kepler Church in Vienna and violently tearing a Madonna statue from its anchorage. According to one report:

“The refugee also took a wooden cross from the church. Through witness statements and analysis of video surveillance, the migrant was found in the immediate vicinity of the church and temporarily arrested. He was released on the orders of the Vienna public prosecutor’s office. The stolen wooden cross was brought back to the church by a woman. According to police, there is uncertainty about the Syrian’s motive, but they can supposedly rule out a political or religious motive.”

Two days later, on Sunday, Nov. 26, the same Muslim man (though most reports fail to make this connection) disrupted mass inside Vienna’s most celebrated place of worship, Saint Stephen’s Cathedral. He repeatedly shouted and jumped over the barrier surrounding the main altar. The following day, Nov. 27, he returned to the cathedral. After he was discovered by two security guards, the Muslim “went crazy and threatened to slit the two employees’ throats with a screwdriver…”

According to another report:

“After one of the two called the police, the 29-year-old fled. Police arrested the man on Stephansplatz and confiscated the screwdriver. The motive is still unclear. An interrogation has not yet been possible due to the accused’s aggressive behavior. He was taken to a prison by order of the Vienna public prosecutor’s office.”

Germany: On Nov. 27, “unknown persons” vandalized the Saint John Basilica in Saarbrücken. Among other acts of desecration, they severed one of the hands of a large Mary statue, and decapitated the baby Jesus held to her bosom. They also damaged the altar and destroyed two of its large candles. The beloved statues are approximately 300 years old. After confirming that, “The figure of Mary was badly damaged, the head of baby Jesus was cut off,” the cantor of the basilica, Bernhard Leonardy, said he was “completely shocked at how people could come up with such thoughts,” adding “This is not normal vandalism, but also has a very special symbolic meaning.”

Koran 8:12 comes to mind:

“I [Allah] will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off their fingertips.”

According to the report:

“Many were horrified in comments on the post [by the cantor]: ‘Unbelievable …,’ ‘That leaves me speechless!’ or ‘Who does something like that? I can’t understand that!'”

Separately, in Germany, two teenage Muslims, aged 15 and 16, were arrested before launching a massive terror attack designed to “set fire to the infidels at the Christmas market.” According to one report,

“In a video published on Telegram, two young people are said to have called for a ‘holy war’ against the West and at the same time announced a terrorist attack in Germany for December 1st…. The young people are said to have arranged to meet to discuss an Islamist attack. Accordingly, they wanted to use incendiary devices or a small truck to attack a Christmas market or a synagogue in Cologne. They are also believed to have discussed a specific date for their plans… Both young people are considered sympathizers of the ‘Islamic State’ (IS). The older man is classified by the security authorities in Brandenburg as a ‘relevant person’ in the Islamist scene and is said to have attracted attention in the past by spreading jihadist propaganda.”

France: On Sunday, Nov. 5, a Muslim man disrupted mass in Dunkirk’s Saint Éloi Church by twice shouting “Allahu akbar” (“Allah is greatest”), once during the Lord’s Prayer and once at the end of mass. The priest said the Muslim seemed “disturbed.”

Italy: A young Muslim man, identified as a Moroccan, appeared in a surveillance video inside a church, as he was kicking down and stomping on large crucifixes. In the words of Radio Genoa, which published the video on Nov.10, “Moroccan Muslim destroys 3 crucifixes in a church in Italy and threatens police officers. They hate us.” Earlier, on Nov. 4, a fire was started at the Church of Santa Maria in Vado. Although the arsonist was captured, no information about his or her identity was released.

Switzerland: Muslim migrants appropriated the Saint Laurent Church in Lausanne for their own use, including as a toilet. “Churches must remain open to everyone, but a minimum [level] of respect is required,” responded the Christian caretaker. “If you behaved like this in a mosque,” he added, “they would throw you out—and rightfully so.”

Armenia/Azerbaijan: According to a Nov. 10 report:

“Azerbaijan demolished an Armenian church in Nagorno-Karabakh, thereby violating the interim decision of the International Court of Justice…”

Sudan: At least two Christian buildings were bombed and severely damaged amid fighting between rival military factions of the Muslim nation. First on Nov. 1, a Presbyterian Evangelical Church in Omdurman “came under heavy shelling from the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) at about 9 p.m. that left its worship structure in ruins.” Although several people were in the church, which includes an orphanage, no one was hurt. Most of the church structure was devastated from the three strikes it suffered, and “everything inside was destroyed, including Bibles and hymnbooks.” Two days later, on Nov. 3, a Roman Catholic mission house in Khartoum was also bombed. A nun, as well as a mother and her two children, ages 4 and 7, were injured in the blast. Although these strikes are connected to the fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which began in April, it appears that Christian sites are intentionally being targeted in the chaos of war. According to the report:

“Christian sites have been targeted since the conflict began in April. On May 14 unidentified gunmen attacked the Coptic Orthodox Church of Mar Girgis (St. George) in the Masalma area of Omdurman… The RSF on May 15 seized a central Khartoum cathedral after having evacuated the Coptic Orthodox Church of the Virgin Mary near the presidential palace on May 14, converting the latter into a military headquarters… RSF had reportedly been intimidating and harassing those in the church for a week before forcing them to leave. The RSF reportedly stormed buildings of the Episcopal church on Khartoum’s First Street on May 16 to use as a strategic base … [and] a vehicle belonging to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Khartoum was stolen at gunpoint. On May 3, a Coptic Church in Khartoum North (Bahri) was attacked, after the Evangelical Church in the same area was bombed and partially burned in April…On April 28, the Gerief Bible School in the Gerief West area of Khartoum was bombed. Its worship auditorium, halls and student dorms were destroyed… On April 17, gunmen raided the compound of the Anglican cathedral in Khartoum…”

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.

Original Article

Back To Top