What is it like to be a Christian in an Islamic state?

Robert Spencer’s Jihad Watch links to some interesting stories.

First, this story from Singapore, from AFP:

A Christian Singaporean couple were found guilty of sedition on Thursday for distributing evangelical publications that cast Islam in a negative light, court officials said.

Ong Kian Cheong and his wife Dorothy Chan had been charged with distributing a seditious publication to two Muslims in October and March 2007 and sending a second such booklet to another Muslim in December that same year, a district court official told AFP.

The publications were found to have promoted feelings of ill-will and hostility between Christians and Muslims, the Straits Times said on its website….

The sedition charge carries a jail term of up to three years or a fine of up to 5,000 Singapore dollars (3,437 US) or both….

I’m surprised, because Singapore has one of the most free economies in the world, next to Hong Kong. I guess someone there cannot tolerate a public discussion about which religion is more likely to be true. This story reminds me of atheists, who sometimes sue people for offering to pray for them.

Second, this story from Pakistan, from Compass Direct News:

Nine pastors from two neighboring villages in Pakistan could face prison time for using loudspeakers to broadcast prayers and sermons from their churches on Easter Sunday. Martinpur and Youngsnabad, 150 kilometers (93 miles) east of Lahore, are majority Christian villages. The nine pastors who lead congregations there say that local Muslim security forces have twisted the law to solicit a bribe….

This reminds me of the left-wing ACLU, which sometimes sues people for mentioning Jesus in speeches.

Third, this story from Tanzania, from Compass Direct News:

Worship in a house church near Zanzibar City, on a Tanzanian island off the coast of East Africa, did not take place for the third week running on Sunday (May 24) after Muslim extremists expelled worshippers from their rented property. Radical Muslims on May 9 drove members of Zanzibar Pentecostal Church from worship premises in a rented house at Ungunja Ukuu, on the outskirts of Zanzibar City.

Angered by a recent upsurge in Christian evangelism in the area, church members said, radical Muslims had sent several threats to the Christians warning them to stop their activities. The church had undertaken a two-day evangelism campaign culminating in an Easter celebration. On the morning of the attack, more than 20 church members had gathered for Saturday fellowship when word reached them that Muslim extremists were about to attack.

As the radical group approached, the Christians fled in fear of their lives. “The group was shouting, saying, ‘We do not want the church to be in our locality – they should leave the place and never come back again,’” said one church member who requested anonymity.

Scary, but free speech is regulated in Canada, too, thanks to those Human Rights Commissions.

Fourth, this story from Pakistan, from Worthy news:

Suspected Muslim militants with links to the terror groups Al Qaeda and the Taliban attacked a historic church in northwestern Pakistan and burned Bibles and other Christian books, but police are reluctant to investigate the case and detain suspects, Christians said Tuesday, May 26.

The destruction of the St. George Grecian Church was discovered by workers renovating the building, said the church’s pastor Ijaz Masih in a statement distributed by rights group International Christian Concern (ICC).

Masih said that shortly after he presided over a Sunday service, workers “were shocked when they arrived” in the morning of May 12, “and found the church’s cross broken in pieces, the altar demolished and partially burned, Bibles and hymnbooks burned and torn apart, and the pews reduced to ashes.”

Well, the secular left does commit violent acts against defenders of traditional marriage.

I was surprised to learn from an Indian commenter that Christians are also persecuted in certain areas of India for evangelizing. Why do states insist on forcing their view of evangelism on individuals who have a different view? I wouldn’t force my view on anyone else, yet atheists and some nationalist Hindus and fundamentalist Muslims seem to do it all the time.

And it isn’t just dogma or strongly-held beliefs that causes extremism. There is no room for coercion in Bible-based Christianity. The more you believe in Christianity, the less you believe in coercion, and the more you believe in persuasion by reason and evidence. That’s what Jesus did.

7 thoughts on “What is it like to be a Christian in an Islamic state?”

  1. The Singapore bit surprises me. I have been there a few times and admired the relative peace between the religions. I think it was about 1/3 each of Christian, Muslim and Eastern religions. I went to a fabulous worship service there — perhaps the most satisfying one ever.

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  2. Singapore is about 50% Buddhist, 15% various strains of Christianity and another 15% various strains of Islam.

    Anyway, based on the stringency of much of their laws (very, very authoritarian despite also being a democracy) I can’t say I’m surprised and I’d add that it’s possible that this isn’t neccesarily anti-Christian as it is anti-everything that is perceived as disrupting the peace. (Naturally, the article doesn’t provide enough granularity to reach that conclusion, however.)

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  3. Well, am not a least bit surprised. Similar incidents happen all the time in a few states in the ‘secular’ India, as well. In fact, some time back when churches were targeted in Mangalore, in the Indian State of Karnataka, the Christians who tried defending themselves from the attack were arrested!! The most ridiculous incident that happened in recent times was this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2009/mar/15/chaplin-film-hindu-activists

    India has only about 2.3% of it’s population as Christians. Though this no way justifies anything, why do incidents such as this (http://www.ndtv.com/news/diaspora/nri_nurse_in_uk_dismissed_for_church-visit_tip_to_patients.php) happen in countries like UK which supposedly have a major Christian population? In fact, I find incidents such as these more disconcerting.

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  4. Yes, this is all very shocking, but not very surprising given the type of countries that we are talking about. This is what I do not expect:

    Couple Ordered to Stop Holding Bible Study at Home Without Permit
    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,522637,00.html?test=latestnews
    Pastor David Jones and his wife Mary have been told that they cannot invite friends to their San Diego, Calif. home for a Bible study — unless they are willing to pay tens of thousands of dollars to San Diego County…

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  5. Talking about Christians in Islamic nations, have you read “The Torn Veil” by Gulshan Esther? She is a Pakistani Christian.

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