By Northernscot-This is a lengthy article, but needs to be to allow explanation of a growing problem. Reports of Christian persecution by Muslims around the world during the month of October include (but are not limited to) the following accounts.
They are listed in country alphabetical order, not necessarily according to severity:
Please go to either of these sites to view full reported attacks on churches and people.
Canada: Just as happens regularly in Egypt (see below), a Molotov cocktail was hurled through the window of a newly opened Coptic church near Toronto.
Unlike in Egypt, however, fire fighters came quickly and little damage was done: “Police have no suspects or motive in the incident.”
Egypt: A Muslim mob consisting mostly of Salafis surrounded the St. George Church in the Beni Suef Governorate.
Armed with batons, they assaulted Christians as they exited the church after Sunday mass, leaving five hospitalized with broken limbs.
The Salafi grievance is that Christians from neighbouring villages, who have no churches to serve them, are travelling and attending St. George.
The priest could not go out of church for hours after mass, even though he contacted police, who only came after a prominent Coptic lawyer complained to the Ministry of Interior concerning the lack of response from police, saying “I want the whole world to know that a priest and his congregation are presently held captives in their church, afraid of the Salafi Muslims surrounding the church.”
Separately, a group of Muslims, led by Mostafa Kamel, a prosecutor at the Alexandria Criminal Court, broke into the Church of St. Mary in Rashid near Alexandria and proceeded to destroy its altar, under claims that he bought the 9th century church, which, in fact, was earlier sold to the Copts by the Greeks due to the latter’s dwindling numbers in Egypt.
Two priests, Fr. Maximos and Fr. Luke, rushed to the police station to try to bring the police to help. Kamel and his two sons also came to the police station where they openly threatened to kill the two priests and their lawyer.
Said Fr. Maximos: “We stayed at the police station for over six hours with the police begging prosecutor Kamel and his two sons not to demolish the church”;
Fr. Luke said that the prosecutor had earlier lost all the cases he brought against the church, “So when this route failed, he tried taking the matter into his own hands.”
Indonesia: On a Sunday, “unknown assailants” set fire to the Madele Pentecostal Church in the city of Poso, by dousing a collection box with petrol and setting it aflame.
Flames eventually spread to the pastor’s residence. Only the intervention of the fire department and volunteers prevented the blaze from causing major damages to the two buildings.
Weeks earlier in the same region, Christian homes were attacked and bombed. Also, two law enforcement agents who were investigating a recent attack on the Christian community were kidnapped; their murdered bodies were later found dumped near an “extremist Muslim” group’s training ground.
Because Poso has a large Christian presence, Muslim attacks are frequent, one of the most notorious being the 2005 beheading of three Christian girls going to school.
Meanwhile in Aceh, Indonesian officials, using the famous permit pretext, shut down nine [more] Christian house-churches and six Buddhist temples, arguing that homes cannot be used “for religious ceremonies or functions.”
According to the report, “Local Muslim extremists welcomed the decision. Yusuf Al-Qardhawy, head of the Aceh branch of the Islamic Defence Front (FPI), called on other jurisdictions to follow Banda Aceh, enforce Islamic law and stop any non-Muslim worship activity that is not approved.”
The province of Aceh is also the only one “which is subject to Sharia. Compliance is ensured by the ‘morality police,’ a special force that punishes violations in dress and behaviour.”
Iran: Security forces dismantled a network of four underground house churches arresting seven Christians on a Sunday night. Iranian propaganda media described the churches as a “network of criminals” affiliated with “Zionist propaganda.”
Sunday’s arrests are the latest in a wave of detentions in Shiraz. In the past few weeks, Iranian Intelligence Ministry agents in the city have arrested around 30 Christian converts and transferred them to detention centres.
According to another report, “State security agents have been permanently stationed at two churches in Esfahan, Iran, in the latest effort by the Islamic regime to frighten people off Christianity.
The agents constantly interfere in the activities of St Luke’s and St Paul’s, and harass those present. They order the pastors around and stop church elders from talking to Muslim seekers.
They also try to frighten away visitors by warning them of dire consequences if they continue attending, and create tension among the members by spreading false rumours. The children of church members are also threatened and often forbidden from attending….
This campaign of harassment by the Islamic authorities is not confined to churches in Esfahan. Similar tactics have been deployed at the central Assemblies of God church in Tehran.
Kazakhstan: Two Protestant churches were raided, according to members, under the ruse of a criminal case launched 15 months ago.
First, masked police raided Grace Church and seized computers, valuables and religious books they insisted were “extremist”; police requested church members to give blood samples, to see if the church uses “hallucinogenic” substances for communion. Nine days later the unrelated New Life Church was raided in the context of the same case.
“Members of both churches fear the authorities will use the case to prevent them gaining the mandatory re-registration,” that critics say is being used to shut down Protestant churches.
Kenya: A grenade was thrown into the Sunday school building of St. Polycarp Anglican Church, blowing off the roof, killing one boy and injuring eight other children attending Sunday school, including some requiring surgery.
The attack came soon after a Somali member of the Islamic terrorist organization Al Shabab, who had earlier targeted four other churches, was sentenced to prison after he confessed to planning attacks on Parliament.
According to the mother of one of the children, “We are in Eastleigh [a region with a large Somali population]. Many Christians, including myself, thought that something might happen.
Every week we’d wonder ‘What if it’s this Sunday?’ But we’d still go to church.”
Likewise, a parliament member said, “The life of an innocent child has been taken and others have been cruelly injured and traumatised in what should be the safest of places.
The sanctity of life has been heartlessly breached in a sanctified place. Such acts seem to be designed to spark civil unrest and intimidate the Christian church. In the face of such an outrage we ask, with the prophet Habakkuk, ‘O Lord, how long?’ and let us trust that God in his mercy will bring justice and relief as we cry out to him.”
Nigeria: Thousands of Christians continue to flee northern areas of Nigeria, which are predominantly Muslim, and where the jihadi organization Boko Haram holds sway, after a renewed spate of church attacks.
An Islamic suicide bomber rammed an SUV loaded with explosives into St. Rita Catholic Church holding Sunday Mass killing eight people and wounding more than 100.
One “journalist saw the bodies of four worshippers lying on the floor of the church after the blast, surrounded by broken glass. The body of the suicide bomber had been blasted into nearby rubble.”
The church building was devastated and charred black. Also, the Church of Brethren was raided by Islamic gunmen who killed at least two people and set the church ablaze.
Many churches are shutting down in fear of further attacks.
Pakistan: The Catholic Church of St. Francis, the oldest of the archdiocese of Karachi, was attacked by a Muslim mob of 600, who destroyed property but did not manage to break through the front door.
According to a priest: “Fr. Victor had just finished celebrating a wedding, when he heard noises and shouting from the compound of the church. Immediately all the faithful, women and children were sent to the parish house.
The radicals, shouting against the Christians, broke into the building and started devastating everything: cars, bikes, vases of flowers.
They broke an aedicule and took the statue of the Madonna. They tried to force the door of the church, throwing stones at the church and destroying the windows.”Police arrived an hour later, giving the terrorists plenty of time to wreak havoc.
The Archbishop of Karachi lamented that “the church of San Francesco has always served the poor with a school and a medical clinic run by nuns.
For nearly 80 years it carries out a humble service to humanity without any discrimination of caste, ethnicity or religion. Why these acts? Why are we not safe? ”
Syria: Two churches were attacked. One bomb was detonated near the historical gate of Bab Touma (“Thomas’ Doorway”) which is largely populated by the nation’s Christian minority.
The bomb; up to 10 people were killed. “Terrorists are doing this,” said George, a Christian who, like many residents in Bab Touma, lives in fear of the rebel fighters trying to gain control of the capital.
Another car bomb exploded in front of the only Syrian Orthodox Church in the town of Deir Ezzor, currently under opposition control. Five people near the church were killed.
In September the same church was desecrated and vandalized by armed gangs.
Tanzania: Muslim mobs burned several church buildings in various parts of the nation after two children’s argument concerning the supernatural powers of the Quran allegedly led a Christian boy to defile Islam’s holy book: two church buildings were set ablaze, while the roof of another one was destroyed; on the island of Zanzibar, Muslim rioters also demolished a building belonging to the Evangelical Assemblies of God; and in Dar es Salaam, three more church buildings were set on fire and another destroyed.
“We shall continue attacking the churches until they are no more in Tanzania” was echoed in several mosques in Tanzania,” said one source.
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