The following are among the abuses inflicted on Christians by Muslims throughout the month of May, 2021:
The Slaughter of Christians
Uganda: On May 3, hours after he engaged in a public debate about Islam and Christianity, Muslims severed the tongue of and beheaded Pastor Thomas Chikooma, a well-known pastor and father of 11 who had planted 50 churches in eastern Uganda. During the open air event, which Muslims had invited him to, he used the Bible and Koran to make his points. He won over several people—including six Muslims, who went on to convert to Christianity—prompting angry Muslims in the crowd to cry “Allahu Akbar,” which, in turn, prompted the pastor and his young son to rush away from the event. “Two motorcycles carrying two Muslims each and dressed in Islamic attire speedily bypassed us,” his son, a minor, later explained. “When we were 200 meters to reach our house, the two motorcycles stopped at the junction opposite Nalufenya primary school and the road near our house.” The pastor told his son to wait while he went to confront the four men. “Immediately some commotion began as the men started talking about the open-air debate, and soon one of them slapped my father,” said his son. “I got scared and fled … and arrived at home.” The boy eventually met up with his mother, and they went searching for Pastor Thomas. According to the wife, “As we continued doing the search, we found my husband in a pool of blood, beheaded and his tongue removed.” His tongue was likely cut out as punishment for “speaking against Islam.”
Separately, Muslims poisoned and killed a Christian pastor over his land and whether a church or mosque would be built over it. Initially, area Muslims urged Pastor Yolonim Oduchu to sell them his land, so they can construct a mosque on it. According to the pastor’s brother, Francis, “Aliasa Opeduru and a number of [other] Muslims had approached my brother to sell them the piece of land several times, but my brother declined because their offer was small, and he also wanted to have part of the land set aside for constructing a church structure. Later my brother received a threatening message from Opeduru saying he would not negotiate with him again.” Eventually the Muslims “found a sponsor in Turkey to fund the construction of the mosque.” Now the problem became that the Muslims did not want a church near their mosque, but Pastor Yolonim began clearing his parcel of land in preparation of construction. Then, one day, after eating at a hotel owned by a Muslim, “my husband,” said his wife Mary, “took a motorcycle and arrived at home complaining of severe stomach pains, diarrhea and started vomiting. We rushed him to a nearby clinic, and he succumbed to poisoning.” Soon after his burial, his brother saw blood sprinkled atop the pastor’s grave with papers with Arabic writing: “We then sought assistance from police, who came with a sniffing dog that directed the mourners up to Opeduru’s home, where we found the suspect inside the house sleeping. When police asked him about the blood, he admitted to pouring the animal blood there because the pastor didn’t respect him.” After being interrogated by angry residents, the hotel owner confessed “Muslims had given him poison and instructed him to put it in Pastor Oduchu’s food.” The pastor is survived by his wife and eight children, ages 2 to 16.
Pakistan: A group of Muslims abducted, beat, and poisoned a Christian man, before dropping him for dead in the middle of a street. Thirty-two-year-old Arif Masih’s crime was that he had tried to defend his younger sister from sexual harassment. According to the report, on May 20,
Rehana Bibi, 18, had gone to the bazaar to buy some milk. Returning home, two young men, Muhammad Tariq and Muhammad Majid, began to harass her. The girl tried to escape and took refuge in the house. The two broke into the house and got into a fight with Arif [her brother]. The two young men also took the girl and dragged her to the bazaar, tore off her clothes and mocked her.
Although the family registered a complaint with police, the latter failed to act. Instead, Masih began to receive threats from the two accused men to drop the complaint or else. Then, on May 23, “both perpetrators went to Arif’s home and attacked him. They loaded him onto their motorcycle and then beat and poisoned him, throwing him on the street. Local people informed the family that their son was lifeless in the middle of the road.” He was rushed to two different hospitals but, “due to his injuries and the poison, he died.” Because they could not get justice, Masih’s family took his body and exhibited it in the middle of a road, stopping vehicles and begging for justice (picture here).
Germany: During court proceedings, it was learned that a Muslim migrant from Syria murdered his sister’s boyfriend for being Christian. According to the May 18 report,
[H]e had killed his sister’s boyfriend because, as a Muslim, he would not tolerate his sister’s relationship with her Christian boyfriend. According to the verdict, the man waited more than an hour in the backyard for the victim in January 2019. When the 25-year-old got out of the car, the defendant fired shots from close range. The man died in the hospital from his gunshot wounds.
Democratic Republic of Congo: The Allied Democratic Forces, which is designated by the U.S. as an Islamic terror group, massacred between 50 and 57 people in the Christian majority nation, and torched 25 homes between May 29 and 30. The group is committed to creating an Islamic Caliphate in Central Africa.
Burkina Faso: On May 18, Islamic terrorists attacked a Christian baptismal ceremony, where they massacred 15 Christians. “People are shocked and many are running,” a native in contact with town residents had reported at the time. It is the fourth such attack in the nation’s Sahel region. According to the report,
Violence linked to al-Qaida and the Islamic State extremists has left thousands dead in the West African nation over the last several years. In recent weeks, attacks have spiked in Burkina Faso’s Sahel region and in the country’s east. Two Spanish journalists and an Irish conservationist were among more than 50 people killed during one week in April. The violence has displaced more than 1 million people, and aid groups say it’s also brought tens of thousands to the brink of starvation by disrupting aid operations to those in need.
South Sudan: On Sunday, May 19, a group of Muslims launched an attack on and killed over a dozen Christians. The attack and other forms of “senseless violence” before it are occurring in the most northern part of the nation, particularly in Abyei, “an area that experiences Islamic encroachments followed by harassment, intimidation and frequent attacks carried out by Arab Islamic militias,” said the Episcopal Church of South Sudan in a statement. Of the most recent attack, the Bishop of Abyei, Michael Deng Bol, said that the village of Dungob-Alei, had been
barbarically attacked by militiamen of Sudan since around 5.30 am on Sunday 16 May, killing 13 people and wounding eight others. The fighting is still continuing up to now [late Monday night]….This is not the first attack of its kind. In 2020 Kolom village, 12km away from Abyei town, and Mabok Diil village, 18km east of Abyei town, were also attacked in the same way with 38 killed and 22 wounded, together with the abduction of 17 children and burning down of 77 houses including our prayer centres and medical facilities.
Nigeria: Some of the massacres of Christians at the hands of Fulani Muslim herdsmen throughout the month of May follow:
May 23: “Fourteen Christians were butchered to death, including children,” a survivor from a raided village wrote in a communique. “Eight members of one family have all been killed. This is beside an additional six other Christians killed by the herdsmen in the village.” More Christians were killed in another village on or around that same day, for a total of 37 dead. Survivors heard the attackers shouting the jihadist war-cry, “Allahu Akbar.” Discussing the fate of her brother, one woman said, “The armed Fulani herdsmen spotted him and shot him dead. I feel very sad about the way my brother was killed in cold blood. Why must we live in fear every day, not knowing the evil that awaits us as Christians in this country?”
May 21: Fulani herdsmen killed two Christian men—both of which left behind young families. That same day, a young Catholic priest’s body was found thrown in the bush. “Sokoto Diocese has been struck again by another set of blood-sucking demons,” church member Emmanuel Albert wrote in a text. “The Rev. Fr. Alphonsus is gone but will never be forgotten. He died because of his Christian faith, and as he has gone to meet his Maker, may eternal rest be granted to his soul.” Another church member said, “My aging mother’s wailing when I broke the news to her over the phone is jaggedly ringing in my soul…We pray for other priests and good people in captivity that God will bring them back home.”
May 20: The Muslim herdsmen killed two Christians, 21-year-old Ladi Jeffrey, mother to a 16-month-old child, and her nephew, during a nighttime raid on the family’s home.
May 19: The Fulani murdered eight Christians and burned down a church.
Finally, according to another report published on May 12, between January and April of this year alone, 1,470 Christians were hacked to death by the Muslim Fulani. On average this comes out to about 368 Christians killed every month for four months straight.
Attacks on Apostates, Blasphemers, and Evangelists
Pakistan: Another Christian nurse was falsely accused of blasphemy. Sometime in early May, Sakina Mehtab was shocked to see videos of her Muslim colleagues marching on hospital premises while shouting Islamic slogans and accusing her of blasphemy. Soon thereafter she began to receive anonymous but threatening messages to “maim and kill” her—prompting the Christian nurse to go into hiding. Her “crime” was to have shared a video on WhatsApp of a Pakistani Muslim in France criticizing the response of Pakistan to an EU resolution. “There was no religious element in it, but a group of nurses spread lies that the video was anti-Islamic and accused me of blasphemy,” said Sakina, who was set to retire from the Punjab Institute of Mental Health in Lahore in two years. “My life has been put at serious risk with this false allegation, and I don’t know how I’ll be able to resume work at the hospital with the fear that someone might attack me from nowhere. My fear is not unfounded.” According to the report,
Hours after she shared the video, a large group of Muslim nurses and paramedical staff, some armed with clubs and sticks, staged a protest rally. Witnesses said the protestors intimidated Christian workers in hospital wards and repeatedly tried to provoke them into fights. There are about 345 Christians in the 600-strong workforce.
The Muslim mob then stormed into a hospital auditorium that Christian staff members and patients used as a church for worship and prayer. They “desecrated Bibles and other property and asserted that there would be no more Christian prayer gatherings there”; they, moreover, “took over the church and threatened their Christian colleagues with blasphemy cases if they failed to raze the church and convert to Islam.”
Speaking on condition of anonymity, another Christian nurse said that such false blasphemy charges are part of a systematic plan to “replace them [Christians] with Muslims…. The administration’s bias towards Christians is evident, because no action has been taken against the persons who brought the false charge against Sakina and put her life at risk.” This is the third instance this year in Pakistan that Christian nurses are falsely accused of blasphemy. Earlier,
On April 9, two Christian nurses complying with a supervisor’s orders to remove stickers at a government hospital were arrested in Faisalabad after a Muslim employee attacked one of them with a knife over the removal of a sticker bearing Koranic verses.
Nurse Mariam Lal and student nurse Navish Arooj were charged under Section 295-B of Pakistan’s blasphemy statutes against “defiling the Koran” after an Islamist mob demanded “death to blasphemers” inside Civil Hospital… Conviction under Section 295-B is punishable by up to 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine.
The two Roman Catholic nurses are in judicial custody while their families have gone into hiding out of fear of Islamist mobs.
On Jan. 28, Tabeeta Gill, a nurse at a Karachi hospital and a gospel singer, was slapped, beaten and locked in a room by a violent mob after a Muslim co-worker baselessly accused her of blaspheming Islam. Police initially cleared her of denigrating Muhammad but later succumbed to pressure of an Islamist mob and charged her with insulting Islam’s prophet, punishable by death under Section 295-C. Gill has reportedly fled the country to avoid arrest.
Uganda: After beheading her husband some years back, on May 2, Muslims burned down the reconstructed home of Kanifa Namulondo and her children. Earlier, the Muslim family had converted to Christianity; local Muslims responded by beheading the father in 2015, prompting Kanifa and her children to flee their home. Recently, however, and through the help of friends, the apostate family moved back into the same home, which had been reconstructed, on April 25, 2021. On May 2, Kanifa noticed that the Muslim calls to prayer were unusually early. Then, “around 4 o’clock [in the morning] I heard people talking near the door,” she later explained. One of the voices said, “The husband betrayed our religion. We should do away with the entire family.” She responded by hurriedly awakening her children, escaping through the backdoor, and breaking into her neighbor’s home, where she and the children locked themselves in the bathroom. She soon saw flames through the window and realized that her home had been set ablaze by the would-be murderers. Last reported, she and her children were “living in great fear in temporary quarters … and must relocate far away, again.”
Separately, a Muslim motorcyclist intentionally targeted and struck Hassan Muwanguzi, a former Muslim turned Christian long known for helping other persecuted converts from Islam; Hassan suffered a leg injury. After he was struck, passersby surrounded both men and prevented the Muslim from fleeing the scene. “The mob wanted to beat him,” the victim explained, “but he shouted, saying, ‘This man has been a trouble-maker to our Islamic religion,’ Soon the police arrived and arrested him.” He was later released on bail. Before this, Hassan had been receiving threatening messages from Muslims. A recent one said, “You have been converting Muslims to Christianity. We have been warning you about this several times. But you have refused to heed to our directive, so be ready with whatever action we are going to take.”
Attacks on Churches
USA: Ali Alaheri, a 29-year-old Muslim man, went on an anti-Christian and anti-Jewish crime spree in Brooklyn, NY, until he was finally arrested and charged with hate crimes. During his rampage he knocked down and destroyed a large crucifix that had stood for eleven years outside of St. Athanasius Church in Bensonhurst. He also burned the American flag on the church’s premises. The damage was discovered on May 14. “It was a terrible morning,” said Monsignor David Cassato. “It was probably the saddest day in my life, to see this desecration of a cross of Jesus and the desecration of the flag.” The Muslim man also deliberately set fire to a yeshiva and synagogue on 36th Street in Brooklyn. Surveillance video shows Alaheri piling and lighting garbage bags alongside the building. Firefighters responded in time to extinguish the flames. He also “allegedly attacked a man wearing traditional Hasidic garb.”
Turkey: In the same village where Christians were earlier persecuted, on May 11, the Marta Shimoni Church in eastern Turkey was desecrated and vandalized by unknown persons. A year earlier, the elderly parents of a Chaldean priest were kidnapped; the wife was later found dead, whereas the husband remains missing. According to the report,
Marta Shimoni is a cave church built into the mountains, and thus cannot be destroyed in the same way as other churches. Video footage … shows that the destruction was primarily against the Christian items and relics inside the church. Crosses, pictures of Jesus, and rosaries were strewn across the path leading away from the mountain church’s entrance.
Armenia/Azerbaijan: Azerbaijan continued to abuse the Christian heritage of the ancient Armenian territory of Artsakh, which was recently appropriated by its Muslim neighbor. For example, in October 2020, Azerbaijan shelled and damaged Ghazanchetsots Cathedral in Shushi. Although Azerbaijan claims to be repairing the damage they caused, subsequent pictures and video footage suggests that they are actually defacing it some more; angles that sat atop the pillars of the main entrance are now gone, as are its domes. According to Nagorno-Karabakh Ombudsman Gegham Stepanyan, Azerbaijan is seeking to alter the cathedral’s appearance: “We have seen many times how Azerbaijan actually treats Armenian cultural values, and it is already clear what is hidden under the ‘restoration work.’ The goal is to eliminate traces of the Armenian presence.” In a statement, the Armenian Foreign Ministry said that “Azerbaijan carries out actions related to the church without consulting the Armenian Apostolic Church, which clearly violates the right of Armenian believers to freedom of religion.” UNESCO experts have also been denied access to Armenian cultural heritage sites.
In the same area of Shushi where the cathedral is being profaned, Azerbaijan is preparing to build a “victory” mosque. On May 12, the same day Azerbaijani troops entered Armenian territory, President Ilham Aliyev laid the foundation for the new mosque on ancient Armenian land. Further underscoring that it is meant to be a “victory” mosque, the new structure was commissioned to resemble the figure 8, because Shushi was conquered on November 8, while its two minarets will represent 11, for the month of its conquest.
Finally, Azerbaijan is using gravestones from Armenian Christian cemeteries as building material. During a May 10 interview, Foreign Minister pf Artsakh, David Babayan, said,
There is evidence showing that the Azerbaijani are demolishing the Hadrut cemetery. ….This is another manifestation of cultural genocide and barbarism with a political purpose. They are not only completely destroying the Armenian trace, but are also using it for economic purposes.
The gravestones, he said, are being used for the construction of the Hadrut-Shushi road, thereby allowing Azerbaijan to save money on construction material.
Indonesia: On May 31, police arrested 11 Islamic militants accused of plotting the bombings of several churches in the Christian-majority Papua province. The accused are members of a terror group that is affiliated with the Islamic State and which has carried out several suicide bombings in Indonesia before. Among the items confiscated during police raids were jihadi literature and bomb making manuals, chemicals for explosives, and modified air guns capable of firing real bullets.
General Attacks on Christians
Pakistan: Muslim men raped a Christian child and molested another. First, on May 2, Muhammad Awais, “beat, raped, and left for dead” Anum Bibi, an 8-year-old Christian girl, after he caught her trying to retrieve water with her 9-year-old brother. She was later found unconscious in the field and taken to a hospital. Two days later, on May 4, Christians protested on learning that an 8-year-old Christian girl was sexually harassed by her teacher’s brother. According to that girl’s mother, “Muhammad Amir, the Muslim culprit, attempted several rounds of wrestling with my daughter to fulfill his sexual desire; however, he did not succeed. Jemima started shouting and crying very loudly. Finally, she managed to escape from Amir’s arms and ran into the street.” “The assaults,” the report adds, “are only the most recent examples of the vulnerability of Christian women and girls who are targeted by sexual predators in Pakistan.”
Separately in Pakistan, after a petty dispute was sparked between some Christian youths who were cleaning their church, and their Muslim landlord—who accused them of throwing dust on them—a Muslim mob consisting of some 200 persons formed and terrorized the eighty Christian families living in the same village on May 15. Eight Christians were seriously injured and 15 Christian households ransacked. “They were armed with glass bottles, stones, axes, batons and bricks,” one Christian who lost a thumb in the attack said. “Others used stairs to climb to our roofs and started breaking our furniture. We pleaded to spare the women, but the attack continued for half an hour.” “They broke the locks, grabbed our hair and pulled us out one by one,” another female survivor said. “Young girls were assaulted and left with torn clothes.” The boys accused of dirtying their Muslim landlord were especially sought out and punished. “The weakness on the part of the administration encourages such attacks on religious minorities,” said a local clergyman. “The culprits are usually let off scot-free. Religion is used to settle personal scores. The locals fear another attack.”
Bangladesh: A group of Muslims attacked a Christian family and destroyed their home in an effort to seize their farmstead. “Muslims destroyed our mud house,” the mother later explained. “They stole our tin roof, took the rice, food, everything of value. They also beat me and my husband with a stick, even my children.” The attackers are from the same village, which contains only two Christian families; everybody else is Muslim. As a result, police failed to respond or make any arrests and instead asked for money of the victims. “Being Christian and a minority is a problem,” the mother continued. “If Muslims want to, they can take over our land, occupy it quickly and easily. But let us not lose hope. We shall fight to keep our land.” Although her family has been living on land that has long belonged to her ancestors, the Muslim attackers acquired land adjacent to the Christians’ and want to absorb it. A regional clergyman confirmed that the Christians “have valid property documents,” but “those Muslims want to seize their land illegally. It’s an injustice.”
Raymond Ibrahim, author of Crucified Again and Sword and Scimitar, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute, a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and a Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.
About this Series
The persecution of Christians in the Islamic world has become endemic. Accordingly, “Muslim Persecution of Christians” was developed in 2011 to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that occur or are reported each month. It serves two purposes:
1) To document that which the mainstream media does not: the habitual, if not chronic, persecution of Christians.
2) To show that such persecution is not “random,” but systematic and interrelated—that it is rooted in a worldview inspired by Islamic Sharia.
Accordingly, whatever the anecdote of persecution, it typically fits under a specific theme, including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; apostasy, blasphemy, and proselytism laws that criminalize and sometimes punish with death those who “offend” Islam; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam; theft and plunder in lieu of jizya (financial tribute expected from non-Muslims); overall expectations for Christians to behave like cowed dhimmis, or second-class, “tolerated” citizens; and simple violence and murder. Sometimes it is a combination thereof.
Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and locales—from Morocco in the West, to Indonesia in the East—it should be clear that one thing alone binds them: Islam—whether the strict application of Islamic Sharia law, or the supremacist culture born of it.
Reprinted with author’s permission from Raymond Ibrahim