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‘Use a Nail Gun to Nail the Heads and Crucify Them’: The Persecution of Christians, February 2023
‘Use a Nail Gun to Nail the Heads and Crucify Them’: The Persecution of Christians, February 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 February 2023:
The Muslim Slaughter of Christians
Democratic Republic of Congo: On February 12-13, Muslim terrorists massacred 22 people in the 95% Christian-majority nation. The terrorists were members of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), “a Ugandan armed group that has operated in east Congo for decades…. It has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State and stages frequent deadly raids on villages.” Although Reuters claims that “There was no indication as to the motive” of the attacks, others are more forthright. Discussing the ongoing terrorization of the DRC, the human rights group, Open Doors, wrote:
“These predominantly Christian communities are attacked by an Islamic extremist group with a clear Islamic expansionist agenda…. The ideology, the agenda of establishing a ‘caliphate’ in the region, and the way they operate is the same, and we can see how they afflict terrible suffering on innocent people.”
Similarly, speaking of an earlier attack on his village, when the ADF slaughtered about 20 people, a Christian clergyman further shed light on their motivations:
“They tried to force some of our Christians to convert to Islam. They also tried to force my wife and our four children to convert to Islam, but when they refused to convert, they shot my wife in the head while our four children were cut into pieces with a Somali sword… the rebel militants intend to establish an Islamist state ruled by sharia [Islamic law].”
Nigeria: On Sunday, Feb. 5, Muslims raided and killed at least five people in Christian villages. Witnesses say that the terrorists were heard to chant Islam’s cry, “Allahu Akbar” [“Allah is the Greatest!”], as they opened fire on the fleeing Christians.
Mozambique: According to one report:
“Islamic State Mozambique (ISM) announced the killing of five Christians in the village of Chapa in Cabo Delgado Province on February 4. In a statement the Islamists said that ‘the soldiers of the Caliphate… captured five Christians and slaughtered them, praise be to God.'”
Pakistan: On Feb. 6, Rana Muhammad Waseem, a Muslim landowner, and five other Muslims, beat a Christian farm laborer to death on the accusation that he had stolen oranges from his orchard. According to the slain Christian’s nephew:
“My uncle was busy in work when Waseem and the other men approached him and accused him of stealing their citrus. He pled his innocence, but the men lunged at him and beat him up mercilessly, resulting in his death…. He was very hard-working and honest, and police found no evidence from the crime scene that suggested that he had committed any theft… We are very poor and too weak to even think of offending the Muslim villagers. They know that we are helpless and that they can get away with anything, even murder… The fact that we are Christians makes us more vulnerable to injustice.”
The slain Christian, Emmanuel Masih, 48, was the only breadwinner for his wife and six children.
Less than a month earlier, in January, a Christian farmer found Muslims on his land laughing, eating, and destroying his crops. When he asked them to stop, they flew into a rage that a Christian had dared to confront them, and murdered him on the spot.
Muslim Abuse of Christian Women in Pakistan
On Feb. 1, a Muslim man splashed acid onto the face of a teenage Christian girl, because she refused to date him and convert to Islam. According to the report, when Sunita Munawar, aged 19, stepped off the bus on her way to work:
“she noticed that Kamran Allah Baksh a local neighbour who had been stalking and harassing her for several years, was already waiting at the bus stop. Despite a sense of foreboding, Miss Munawar bravely exited the bus and headed towards her workplace. As she passed by Mr Baksh without warning he threw something on Miss Munawar’s face. She could feel intense pain in her eyes and on the skin of her face, arms, torso and legs and knew immediately, that something was seriously wrong. She screamed and tried to wipe away the acid but found that the pain would not stop, a pain so severe that at some point Miss Munawar fainted and collapsed to the ground.”
Munawar was taken a nearby hospital, where it was confirmed that she had suffered 20% acid burns. From her hospital bed she said of her assailant:
“He wanted me to be his girlfriend but I refused his advances. I can’t believe what he has done to me, I did nothing to deserve this. It feels like he has destroyed my life. I have bright scars everywhere he sprayed the acid on me, it’s so hard to take.”
Munawar’s uncle added:
“He would try to force her to renounce her Christian faith, assuring her that he would marry her once she became a Muslim, but she refused to surrender to his illegitimate demands…. Sunita had informed her siblings about Kamran’s harassment, and they had repeatedly complained to his parents, urging them to stop him, but that did not work…. Sunita is just 19, but now her whole life has been physically and mentally scarred by Kamran. *** Even if he is convicted for his crime, will Sunita be able to live a normal life again? We all know how our society treats acid attack survivors….”
Munawar is just one of many acid victims in Pakistan.
Separately, on Dec. 15, 2022, Rana Tayyab, a 60-year-old married Muslim man, kidnapped, forcibly converted, and “married” a teenage Christian girl, Saira Arif, age 15. She had used to work for Tayyab’s wife, Naila Ambreen, a Muslim government school principal. Arif’s father, a physically handicapped Catholic, described what happened in a Feb. 13 report:
“I went to the police station to report my daughter’s kidnapping, but they refused to accept my complaint and forced me out of the building.”
He made repeated attempts to file a criminal complaint against Tayyab, but the police ignored his pleas.
“Madam Naila [wife of the abductor] is a government employee, and both she and her husband have considerable influence on the police, which is why they outright rejected my application. After repeated humiliation and intimidation to stop pursuing the matter, I surrendered to my fate thinking that I won’t be able to see my daughter again. It’s been nearly two months since my wife and I haven’t seen our daughter or heard anything regarding her safety and well-being. Only God knows our pain and suffering since the day she was taken from us…. We have always been very protective about our daughter, and it never occurred to us that she would be targeted by a man five times her age.”
Finally, on Feb. 3, Akmal Bhatti, an influential lawyer, learned of the Christian family’s ordeal, and managed to set up a meeting with police, where a First Information Report was registered. When police, however, went to Tayyab’s home, not only were Tayyab and abducted teenage girl gone, but Tayyab’s wife Naila presented police with an Islamic marriage certificate between him and Saira Arif. According to Bhatti,
“This is the modus operandi in all cases involving forced marriages of underage minority girls. The accused first rapes the victim and then uses the cover of an Islamic Nikah [marriage certificate] to escape punishment for this heinous crime… If the police had acted when the crime was first reported, the child could have been recovered sooner, but the prolonged delay has given the accused ample time to change his locations. Some sources have told us that the accused has taken Saira to Islamabad, and we are now pressing the police to find them there.”
According to the Feb. 13 report:
“Forced conversions and underage marriages are a long-standing issue in Pakistan. At least 1,000 women from religious minorities, including Christians and Hindus, are forcibly converted and married annually in the country, according to Forbes magazine, quoting human rights organizations, in February 2021. Although Pakistan dismissed the report as ‘rubbish and baseless,’ Forbes reported that the actual numbers could be much higher as many cases go unreported.”
Muslim Attacks on Christian Evangelists and Apostates
Uganda: On Feb. 10, Muslim clerics invited a Christian pastor to a debate in their mosque. The contest ended with the apparent conversion of 37 Muslims to Christianity — followed by the same clerics who had invited him, as well as other Muslims, severely beating him. As a result, Pastor Arthur Asadi Babi, 42, was hospitalized for eight days with severe injuries and broken bones. According to Bishop Michael Okia:
“We [had] received an invitation letter from the sheikh of Nakaloke mosque. I decided to send Pastor Babi to debate with the Muslims because of his scholarship skills in the Koran and the Bible… On Feb. 10, at the end of his defense [of Christianity], the pastor made an appeal for a response from the audience to believe in Christ. Surprisingly, 29 adults and 8 children gave their lives to Christ Jesus, all Muslims.”
Speaking from his hospital bed, Pastor Babi described what happened next:
“From nowhere, Muslims started throwing stones, and then with sticks and clubs attacked me by beating me, including the new Muslim converts who had embraced the Christian faith. I was hit on my right hand and left leg while some tried to strangle me. One Muslim kicked me and injured my private parts, which is still in pain to date.”
Babi himself converted from Islam seven years ago, and is a married father of six children, ages 3 to 17.
Sudan: On Feb. 17, authorities arrested a Christian man for preaching to Muslims at an open-air event. According to one report,
“Yousif Ayoub Hussein… was accused of inciting religious hatred and preaching to Muslims, though there is no law in Sudan against proclaiming one’s faith… Area Muslims expressed fear that his preaching would encourage their children to convert… The arrest violates religious rights and international treaties to which Sudan is a party….”
In a separate incident, a Muslim man who became a Christian evangelist, was threatened and hounded by his extended family all throughout February. Initially, Ahmad Adam Mohamad, 49, went into hiding after his Muslim uncles accused him of “apostasy.” Then, on Feb. 6, relatives stormed his home and ordered him to “renounce Christianity and return to Islam.” Three days later, on Feb. 9, his family sent “a group of Muslim extremists” to find him. “Again on Saturday, Feb. 11,” he said, “another group was sent to my house with a mission to arrest and kidnap me;” again, he narrowly escaped. Since then, he has been secretly moving from one location to another to avoid kidnapping or arrest. Last heard from on Feb. 13, he said:
“The situation is extremely difficult — I am not safe at all. I urge all the brothers to pray and help me get out from this area to a safer place… I have not eaten for almost two days now.”
Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches
Indonesia: On Sunday, Feb. 5, authorities entered into and broke up a church service in Bogor, West Java. They said the church did not have the proper permit to hold worship services. But as one report says, “Local leaders have historically made it difficult for Christian churches to obtain such permits” in Muslim-majority Indonesia.
Two weeks later, on Sunday, Feb. 19, another official leapt over the meter-high fence of another church, to disrupt and stop worship services at the Tabernacle of David Christian Church in Sumatra Island. A video shows Wawan, the official, pushing away a pastor as others cry that they are in “a house of God” and only praying. Wawan then takes the pulpit and motions his hands, indicating that the service is over. When some Christian women are heard urging him, “Be patient, be patient, sir,” he responds, “stupid.” A female member of the church said,
“He threatened with harsh words, asking the congregation who were worshiping to dissolve… [He said] if it doesn’t, more [Muslim] people would be brought in, and then he threatened to weld [shut] the church gate.”
Before long, another ten people who had also jumped over the fence appeared to insist that the service was over. As a church leader said:
“[One of these invaders] came straight into the church and climbed onto the pulpit and choked the pastor. The pastor suffered from a slight scar on his hand because he was trying to defend himself. The atmosphere was tense, and finally the congregation dispersed.”
The official and other invaders justified their actions by also saying that the church did not have a permit to operate. In fact, after having met all the conditions, the church had applied for a permit back in 2014, but officials had refused to reply. Responding to these ongoing attacks, on Feb. 20 the Communion of Indonesian Churches (PGI) issued a statement:
“PGI asks the government and security forces not to allow cases like this to continue without firm and transparent legal action. The state’s inaction will result in the loss of state authority, the development of distrust, and the accumulation of friction at the grassroots level which can be ignited at any time by irresponsible people into open conflict…. PGI understands that there are rules that must be met in order to build a house of worship. Even so, incomplete permits should not be an excuse for forcibly stopping an ongoing worship service, let alone since the dissolution was carried out in a very undignified way and caused terror and fear.”
Egypt: On Sunday, Feb. 19, in the Giza Governorate, a fire broke out in a Christian church and “devoured” it. Even though there were no casualties, “Copts gathered around their church amid scenes of grief.” The official explanation is that a small candle left by a worshipper on a votary stand caused the fire. However, images from surveillance cameras clearly show that “the candle ignited suddenly and in an unusual way.”
According to one Egyptian researcher, Magdi Khalil, “close to one thousand churches have been attacked or torched by mobs in the last five decades [since the 1970s] in Egypt.” More recently, however, churches continue to burn to the ground, though these are increasingly being attributed to accidents — including 11 churches that mysteriously “caught fire” in one month alone (August 2022). As such, foul play is suspected in this latest church fire. But as the report states, authorities refuse “to investigate in depth, contending that an ordinary ‘candle’ is behind the accident.”
Generic Muslim Abuse against Christians
France: An Iranian migrant was arrested after he made death threats against at least two Christian priests in Paris. According to one report, the Muslim migrant,
“is suspected of having threatened priests of the parishes of Saint-Sulpice and Saint-Germain-des-Prés on January 26 and February 6. The victims had filed a complaint. According to a police source, the person was the subject of a wanted poster for a temporary ban from French territory and another entry for activities related to terrorism. He was taken into police custody.”
Such death threats should not be ignored. Around the same time in neighboring Spain, on Jan. 25, 2023, a machete-waving Muslim migrant screaming, “Allahu akbar,” [“Allah is the Greatest!”] attacked two churches. In one, he hacked at the 74-year-old priest, who was just then celebrating morning mass; the elderly clergyman survived, though only after immediate medical treatment and surgery. The 32-year-old illegal Moroccan migrant, then moved onto another church where he slaughtered a sacristan. Three other Christians were seriously injured in the rampage.
Pakistan: Due to entrenched social discrimination and economic hardships, Christians have no choice but to stack the bodies of their deceased loved ones in one grave. According to a Feb. 16 report,
“[The] Christian community is forced to bury five to 10 bodies in a single grave that is already filled with skeletons and bones as there are four graveyards for more than 70,000 Christians living in Peshawar and other cities….. [and] old graves are being dug up and used for burying the dead…. [The] local Muslim community is not allowing them to construct a graveyard. [Alaica] Khan [a social activist in Peshawar] called on the government to take urgent action as they are forced to bury dead in old graves. ‘We ask for other land and urgent actions because we are forced to bury our dead in old graves.'”
Islamic State: Due to the burning of a Koran by Rasmus Paludan, a Danish-Swedish politician, ISIS publicly called for the slaughter of Christians anywhere, but especially in Europe. According to a Feb. 6 report,
“In the last few days, ISIS’s media elements launched an incitement campaign calling for terrorist attacks against Christians around the world…. [V]ideos and posts calling on the operatives to carry out attacks around the world, especially in Europe, were distributed on social media [see here for more on social media’s role in spreading Islamic radicalization]…. Muslims around the world are called upon to see the act of burning the Quran as an insult to the religion of Islam and to ‘shed the blood of the perpetrator….’ According to one of the posts, the killing of over 20 Christian citizens in a pub in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo on January 23, 2023, and several attacks in which Mozambican army soldiers were killed recently were in fact reprisals for the burning of the Quran in Sweden, as ‘Christians everywhere are considered Paludan’s brothers.'”
In another video published on Feb. 1, an Islamic State operative says in fluent English,
“Kill them wherever you find them [a verbatim quote of Koran 9:5]. If you are a tradesman, use a nail gun to nail the heads and crucify them on woodwork. If you are a truck driver, run them over until their streets are washed with their filthy blood or pour oil on their houses, while they are sleeping, and set them on fire, so that the message [not to insult Islam] will be burned into their heads.”
Syria: On Feb. 25, a monument for the 750,000 Assyrian Christians massacred in the Turkish genocide of WWI was vandalized. (During that genocide, 2.5 million Christians — 1.5 million Armenians and 1 million Greeks — were also slaughtered.) The now-desecrated Assyrian monument was originally erected on Jun. 16, 2019, as both a remembrance of the recent genocide and as a link to the historic genocide of Christians in Syria at the hands of Muslim terrorists. According to the report, “No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.”
Uganda: A Muslim man posing as the head of a Christian charity abducted 40 Christian children, whom he was apparently planning to sell to the Allied Democratic Forces, an Islamic terror group operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Pretending to be a Christian offering free scholarships and other educational opportunities, he lured the children to a hotel and trapped them there. After the Christian community learned what was happening, an investigation was launched; on Feb. 2, the children were rescued from the hotel and the Muslim man and his accomplice arrested.
Egypt: On Feb. 27, Coptic Solidarity launched an “online grassroots campaign” dedicated to reuniting a child with his adoptive Christian family. Nearly five years earlier, a newborn baby boy, was found abandoned in a church. The priest entrusted the baby to a childless couple from his congregation. Considering that they had been praying for a child for nearly 30 years, they joyously embraced the boy as their own and baptized and named him Shenouda, a popular Coptic name. For the next four years everything went well. Shenouda became the joy of his adoptive parents’ lives. Then the Egyptian state learned about this otherwise happy development and seized the 4-year-old child from his loving parents’ arms and sent him to an overcrowded and underfed orphanage. There, the child was “returned” to — that is, forced into — Islam, issued a birth certificate marked “Muslim” under religion, stripped of his formerly Christian name and given a Muslim one. Because Islam teaches that every human is born as a sort of prototypical Muslim (until their parents conform them to their own religion), and because the religious identity of Shenouda’s biological parents is unknown, the state considers him a Muslim; entrusting Muslim children to non-Muslim parents — infidels — is strictly forbidden. Because, however, the child was found in a church, his adoptive parents and their supporters argue that Shenouda was most likely born to a Christian mother — or at least to a mother who thought Christians would best know how to raise her unwanted child. Since Shenouda’s original seizure by the state, in Feb. 2022, the adoptive parents have only been allowed to see him once, on Dec. 31, 2022. During that meeting, and “much to their despair,” they found the boy “confused” and “slightly distant.” His adoptive mother, Amal Ibrahim reported:
“There was something off about him…. They [the authorities] talk about human rights, yet they took my son away from me and placed him in an orphanage.”
The couple has since appealed to President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. According to Ehab Ramzy, a Christian member of Parliament’s Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee,
“The next trial hearing on March 18 will not only determine Shenouda’s fate, it will also determine the fate of the entire country, signaling whether Egypt is on its way to becoming a secular state or a theocratic country, one where Sharia is imposed not just on Muslims but on all citizens.”