Muslim Persecution Of Christians: October, 2012
“Why these acts? Why are we not safe?”
Despite promises to reform the school textbooks, the Saudi education system continues to indoctrinate children with hatred and incitement, especially against Christians and Jews. The textbooks teach — among a long list of hate-filled passages, all of which originate in the Qur’an or the Hadith — that “Christians are the enemies of the Believers,” and that “the Apes are the people of the Sabbath, the Jews; and the Swine are the infidels of the communion of Jesus, the Christians.”
These reports of the persecution of Christians by Muslims around the world during the month of October include (but are not limited to) the following accounts, listed by form of persecution, and by country, in alphabetical order—not according to severity.
Canada: 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, firefighters 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 St. George Church in the Beni Suef Governorate. Armed with batons, they assaulted Christians as they exited the church after Sunday mass; five were hospitalized with broken limbs. The Salafi grievance is that Christians from neighboring villages, who have no churches to serve them, are traveling and attending St. George. The priest could not leave the church for hours after the mass, even though he contacted the police; they came only after a prominent Coptic lawyer complained to the Ministry of the Interior concerning the lack of response from police. “I want the whole world to know,” he said, “that a priest and his congregation are presently held captive 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, on claims that he bought the 9th century church; in fact it had earlier been sold to the Copts by the Greeks, due to the Greeks’ 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. “We stayed at the police station for over six hours with the police, “Fr. Maximos said, “begging prosecutor Kamel and his two sons not to demolish the church.” Fr. Luke said that the prosecutor had so far 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 alight. Flames eventually spread to the pastor’s residence. Only the intervention of the fire department and volunteers prevented the blaze from causing major damage 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, including the 2005 beheading of three Christian girls going to school. Meanwhile in Aceh, Indonesian officials, using the famous pretext that a permit had not been issued, shut down nine [more] Christian house-churches and six Buddhist temples; they argued 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 and enforce Islamic law and stop any non-Muslim worship activity that is not approved.” Further, the province of Aceh is 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 and arrested 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 centers. 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.”