Christian persecution is certainly nothing new. The rise of Islamic extremism is putting increasing pressure on Christians in Muslim countries, where they are routinely victims of murder, violence and discrimination. Christians are now considered the most persecuted religious group around the world. To say that in recent months and years the number of attacks on Christians — their homes, churches, convents, schools, and orphanages — in certain parts of the world is alarming would be understatement.
In some cases the incidents were politically motivated. In Iraq, the weeks leading up to the March 7 general elections were marked by a spate of anti-Christian attacks. Bombings and shootings were recorded almost daily in the northern city of Mosul, home to the longstanding struggle for territory and power between Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds. The minority Christians’ vote was thought to be the primary motivating factor in this particular case. Nevertheless, the persecution of Iraqi Christians is more often religiously motivated. The general message to Christians: Leave Mosul or convert to Islam. In fact, most Christian families have left Mosul and live as refugees in other parts of the country or in Syria.
Elsewhere, as in Iraq, politics is seldom the primary motivating factor. Typically, we’re talking about religious persecution in predominately Muslim countries. Anti-Christian violence in Pakistan makes headlines every week – at least in the Asian press. Last year, 125 Christians were charged with “blasphemy” in Pakistan. Many of those are already sentenced are on death row. Their only crime: Saying or doing something perceived to be an insult to Islam. Others are put to death for “apostasy,” that is, converting from Islam to Christianity. Aside from state-sanctioned anti-Christian persecution, anti-Christian crimes too often go unpunished. In late February, for example, 150 Muslims stormed the streets of Karachi attacking Christian churches, shops, and homes in the city’s only predominantly Christian neighborhood. The result: Forty Christians were accused without basis with beating Muslim men, abusing Muslim women and girls, ransacking Muslim homes and looting expensive items from Muslim homes. Many of these innocent Christians were arrested – for only one reason: to intimidate the Christian community. Also in February, Pakistani Christians protested the release of a Muslim lawyer accused of raping, torturing and killing a 12-year-old Catholic girl employed in his household as domestic worker. Such cases in Pakistan are de riguer. They are also de riguer throughout the Muslim world. Consider that, during the same week of the anti-Christian Pakistan violence, a Muslim mob burned down two churches, a clinic, shops, and a mayor's house in Liberia; and in Nigeria, a Muslim mob burned down eight churches.
In Malaysia, where 60% of the population is Muslim, the so-called “Allah controversy” has escalated to absurd proportions. The facts in the case almost defy belief. Malay Muslims, who claim “Allah” – both the word and the God — for themselves, fear that if Christians are allowed to refer to God as “Allah,” it will lead Muslims astray. Since Malay Christians don’t have another word for God, the High Court decided to allow them to use the word "Allah" to define “God.” Malay Muslims were not happy. Imams spoke out virulently against the December 31, 2009 decision, and a wave of anti-Christian violence ensued. Eleven churches, many of them Catholic, were attacked with stones or fire-bombed. To make matters worse, Prime Minister Najib Razak, a Muslim, hinted that the perpetrators would not be called to account. The Malay government supports the Islamic groups and has declared its intention to appeal against the decision of the court.
In many other countries where Islam has sway over politics — Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Algeria, Sudan, Indonesia, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia — Christians aren’t allowed to build churches, buy Bibles, or hold certain jobs and positions. In other instances of religious discrimination in these countries Christians are routinely blackmailed, robbed, expelled, abducted or murdered.
Even in countries like Egypt, whose government is not hostile towards western ways, a Christmas Eve attack in the southern town of Nag Hammadi last December killed six Christians and wounded nine right outside a Coptic church. To compound the problem, Egyptian State Security arrested and tortured Coptic Catholics who demonstrated in the aftermath of the massacre there.
Government-tolerated persecution occurs even in Turkey, the most secular country in the Muslim world, where around 110,000 Christians make up less than a quarter of 1 percent of the population. Christians in Turkey, who numbered well over two million people in the 19th century, at this point are simply fighting for their continued existence.
If this comes as a surprise to you, you’re not alone. Anti-Christian persecution – murder, rape, arson, and other acts of terrorism in the service of Islam – is not a popular topic with Western media. First, political correctness sadly dictates that religiously motivated acts of Muslim terror go largely uncovered. They often go wholly unreported by mainstream media, but even when these incidents do make news, they’re downplayed and the religious motivations are ignored or dismissed.
The hard facts indicate that in most Muslim-dominant countries, Islam has a plan to eliminate (by jihad) or subjugate (by dhimmitude) Christianity. It’s not just Al Qaeda-trained warriors out to wreak havoc on the western economy and way of life. It is also residents of Islamic states, members of religious sects, and sometimes supposedly pious citizens. For them, simply put: Christians are not welcome. Christianity is not tolerated. “Apostasy” from Islam is punishable by death.
As Islam continues to gain a stronghold throughout formerly Christian Europe, Muslims are bringing their anti-Christian persecutions closer to home. Cities such as London, Milan, Paris, Rotterdam and Amsterdam are already breeding grounds for Muslim jihadists. Yes, it is true that many Muslims just want to live in peace alongside their co-religionists, but far too many are under the influence of intolerant imams and political leaders who preach death and destruction to apostates and infidels.
Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi, for example, recently called for jihad against Switzerland over the ban adopted last year on the construction of minarets in the country. “It is against unbelieving and apostate Switzerland that jihad ought to be proclaimed by all means,” Kadhafi said during a speech in the Mediterranean coastal city of Bengazi to mark the birthday of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed (Agence France Press, Feb 25). “Jihad against Switzerland, against Zionism, against foreign aggression is not terrorism,” Kadhafi said. “Any Muslim around the world who has dealings with Switzerland is an infidel (and is) against Islam, against Mohammed, against God, against the Koran,” the leader told a crowd of thousands in a speech broadcast live on television.
That nicely sums up the jihadist attitude. Notice Kadhafi is not motivated by politics or some arcane cultural reason. His motivation is religious: Down with all infidels! Not just infidels in Muslim countries, but so-called infidel nations and infidels in Christian nations. Down with Christianity in Europe and in the world.
But Christians, both religious and secular, in Europe are in a pickle. Their religious and political leaders often teach that it is somehow anti-Christian or politically incorrect to resist the colonization of Europe by Islam. Object to Muslim jihadist mentality and you’re labeled an Islamophobe, much the same way that those who object to same-sex marriage are dubbed homophobes.
Take for example the recent case of Nicholas Kafouris, a Greek Orthodox Cypriot who was fired from his teaching job in London after complaining that some of his Muslim students openly praised Islamic extremists in class and described the September 11 terrorists as “heroes and martyrs.” According to Kafouris, others students said, “We want to be Islamic bombers when we grow up,” and “The Christians and Jews are our enemies – you too because you're a Christian.” According to a complaint filed by Koufaris, not only did the school fail to take action against the students, the headmistress proceeded to excuse and justify the students’ remarks “as if I had no right to be offended” (Daily Mail, February 9).
Here then is a classic case of situation irony: Christians are routinely and violently persecuted in Islamic countries. Many Muslims from these same Islamic countries are invited to live as welcome immigrants in Judeo-Christian countries, where they exploit the Western political system, which guarantees them the right to free speech, well-being, and respect for religious rights, in order to ultimately impose their intolerant anti-Christian laws on that same Western society. In the words of Brigitte Bardot in her bestselling book Un cri dans le silence, “Not only does [Islam] fail to give way to our laws and customs. Quite the contrary, as time goes by it tries to impose its law on us.”
It may already be too late for Europe. America, are you listening?