Tag Archives: Theocracy

Ayaan Hirsi Ali talks about the war on Christians in Muslim countries

Map of Africa
Map of Africa

This story appeared in the radically left-wing Newsweek, of all places.

Excerpt:

From blasphemy laws to brutal murders to bombings to mutilations and the burning of holy sites, Christians in so many nations live in fear. In Nigeria many have suffered all of these forms of persecution. The nation has the largest Christian minority (40 percent) in proportion to its population (160 million) of any majority-Muslim country. For years, Muslims and Christians in Nigeria have lived on the edge of civil war. Islamist radicals provoke much if not most of the tension. The newest such organization is an outfit that calls itself Boko Haram, which means “Western education is sacrilege.” Its aim is to establish Sharia in Nigeria. To this end it has stated that it will kill all Christians in the country.

In the month of January 2012 alone, Boko Haram was responsible for 54 deaths. In 2011 its members killed at least 510 people and burned down or destroyed more than 350 churches in 10 northern states. They use guns, gasoline bombs, and even machetes, shouting “Allahu akbar” (“God is great”) while launching attacks on unsuspecting citizens. They have attacked churches, a Christmas Day gathering (killing 42 Catholics), beer parlors, a town hall, beauty salons, and banks. They have so far focused on killing Christian clerics, politicians, students, policemen, and soldiers, as well as Muslim clerics who condemn their mayhem. While they started out by using crude methods like hit-and-run assassinations from the back of motorbikes in 2009, the latest AP reports indicate that the group’s recent attacks show a new level of potency and sophistication.

The Christophobia that has plagued Sudan for years takes a very different form. The authoritarian government of the Sunni Muslim north of the country has for decades tormented Christian and animist minorities in the south. What has often been described as a civil war is in practice the Sudanese government’s sustained persecution of religious minorities. This persecution culminated in the infamous genocide in Darfur that began in 2003. Even though Sudan’s Muslim president, Omar al-Bashir, has been indicted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, which charged him with three counts of genocide, and despite the euphoria that greeted the semi-independence he grant-ed to South Sudan in July of last year, the violence has not ended. In South Kordofan, Christians are still subject-ed to aerial bombardment, targeted killings, the kidnap-ping of children, and other atrocities. Reports from the United Nations indicate that between 53,000 and 75,000 innocent civilians have been displaced from their resi-dences and that houses and buildings have been looted and destroyed.

Both kinds of persecution—undertaken by extragovernmental groups as well as by agents of the state—have come together in Egypt in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. On Oct. 9 of last year in the Maspero area of Cairo, Coptic Christians (who make up roughly 11 percent of Egypt’s population of 81 million) marched in protest against a wave of attacks by Islamists—including church burnings, rapes, mutilations, and murders—that followed the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorship. During the protest, Egyptian security forces drove their trucks into the crowd and fired on protesters, crushing and killing at least 24 and wounding more than 300 people. By the end of the year more than 200,000 Copts had fled their homes in anticipation of more attacks. With Islamists poised to gain much greater power in the wake of recent elections, their fears appear to be justified.

Egypt is not the only Arab country that seems bent on wiping out its Christian minority. Since 2003 more than 900 Iraqi Christians (most of them Assyrians) have been killed by terrorist violence in Baghdad alone, and 70 churches have been burned, according to the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA). Thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled as a result of violence directed specifically at them, reducing the number of Christians in the country to fewer than half a million from just over a million before 2003. AINA understandably describes this as an “incipient genocide or ethnic cleansing of Assyrians in Iraq.”

The 2.8 million Christians who live in Pakistan make up only about 1.6 percent of the population of more than 170 million. As members of such a tiny minority, they live in perpetual fear not only of Islamist terrorists but also of Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy laws. There is, for example, the notorious case of a Christian woman who was sentenced to death for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad. When international pressure persuaded Punjab Gov. Salman Taseer to explore ways of freeing her, he was killed by his bodyguard. The bodyguard was then celebrated by prominent Muslim clerics as a hero—and though he was sentenced to death late last year, the judge who imposed the sentence now lives in hiding, fearing for his life.

Such cases are not unusual in Pakistan. The nation’s blasphemy laws are routinely used by criminals and intolerant Pakistani Muslims to bully religious minorities. Simply to declare belief in the Christian Trinity is considered blasphemous, since it contradicts mainstream Muslim theological doctrines. When a Christian group is suspected of transgressing the blasphemy laws, the consequences can be brutal. Just ask the members of the Christian aid group World Vision. Its offices were attacked in the spring of 2010 by 10 gunmen armed with grenades, leaving six people dead and four wounded. A militant Muslim group claimed responsibility for the attack on the grounds that World Vision was working to subvert Islam. (In fact, it was helping the survivors of a major earthquake.)

Not even Indonesia—often touted as the world’s most tolerant, democratic, and modern majority-Muslim nation—has been immune to the fevers of Christophobia. According to data compiled by the Christian Post, the number of violent incidents committed against religious minorities (and at 7 percent of the population, Christians are the country’s largest minority) increased by nearly 40 percent, from 198 to 276, between 2010 and 2011.

The litany of suffering could be extended. In Iran dozens of Christians have been arrested and jailed for daring to worship outside of the officially sanctioned church system. Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, deserves to be placed in a category of its own. Despite the fact that more than a million Christians live in the country as foreign workers, churches and even private acts of Christian prayer are banned; to enforce these totalitarian restrictions, the religious police regularly raid the homes of Christians and bring them up on charges of blasphemy in courts where their testimony carries less legal weight than a Muslim’s. Even in Ethiopia, where Christians make up a majority of the population, church burnings by members of the Muslim minority have become a problem.

Please read the whole thing.

I am actually perplexed as to how this got published in Newsweek, a magazine that might as well be edited by George Soros. But there it is, so we need to read it and share it while it lasts. I would expect that this is the first that any of Newsweek’s readers have heard about how Christians are persecuted in the Middle East.

Republican speaker John Boehner urges Iran to spare Christian pastor

Middle East Map
Middle East Map

From AFP.

Full text:

US House Speaker John Boehner urged Iran on Wednesday to spare the life of an Iranian pastor reportedly facing execution for refusing to recant his Christian faith and return to Islam.

“I urge Iran?s leaders to abandon this dark path, spare Yusef Nadarkhani’s life, and grant him a full and unconditional release,” Boehner, a Republican and the number-three US elected official, said in a statement.

Nadarkhani, now in his early 30s, converted from Islam to Christianity at the age of 19 and became a pastor of a small evangelical community called the Church of Iran.

He was arrested in October 2009 and condemned to death for apostasy under Iran’s Islamic Sharia laws, which however allow for such verdicts to be overturned if the convicted person “repents” and renounces his conversion.

After his conviction was upheld by an appeal court in Gilan province in September 2010, Nadarkhani turned to the supreme court. His wife, who was initially sentenced to life imprisonment, was released on appeal.

In July, Nadarkhani’s lawyer told AFP that Iran’s supreme court and overturned the death sentence and sent the case back to the court in his hometown of Rasht — but fresh media reports this week said a provincial court in Gilan had again sentenced him to death.

“Religious freedom is a universal human right,” Boehner declared, saying the prospects Nadarkhani could be executed “unless he disavows his Christian faith are distressing for people of every country and creed.

“While Iran’s government claims to promote tolerance, it continues to imprison many of its people because of their faith. This goes beyond the law to an issue of fundamental respect for human dignity,” said Boehner.

He’s the top Republican, so his voice carries weight.

Iran prepares to execute evangelical Christian pastor for apostasy

Middle East Map
Middle East Map

From National Review.

Excerpt:

The American interfaith delegation — Catholic cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Episcopal bishop John Bryson Chane, and Council on American Islamic Relations director Nihad Awad — who made headlines when they traveled to Tehran and secured the release of the two American hikers last week should pack their bags again. They need to make a return trip. And they better hurry.

As early as this week, the British-based Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports, Iran may execute Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani for refusing to recant his Christian faith.

As my colleague Paul Marshall recently wrote, evangelical Pastor Nadarkhani was sentenced to death for apostasy because he converted to Christianity. He had been tried and found guilty a year ago, even though the court also found that he had never been a practicing Muslim as an adult. Nadarkhani, from Rasht, on the Caspian Sea, converted to Christianity as a teenager.

Iran’s Supreme Court, which upheld the verdict in June, ordered that the pastor be given four chances to renounce Christianity and accept Islam. Two hearings for this purpose took place yesterday and today. Two more are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Pastor had been arrested in 2009 when he tried to register his church with authorities. His defense lawyer Mohammed Ali Dadkhah was himself sentenced in July to nine years imprisonment for “actions and propaganda against the Islamic regime.” He is now appealing.

I think the solution to this is to take a tougher foreign policy stand against Iran’s Muslim theocracy.

It is funny to me how many Americans make a fuss over executing convicted cop-killers, but no fuss at all over innocent Christian pastors getting the death penalty. Whenever stories like this come out, I think about how much ink is spilled by Western journalists crying about the convicted criminals, and how little is written about the plight of Christians facing persecution for their faith abroad. But I guess they don’t want to portray Christians as victims, otherwise that might interfere with their “Christians are evil, Muslims are good” narrative.

Pakistan Muslims murder Christian politician for opposing blasphemy laws

Middle East Map
Middle East Map

Story from leftist CNN. (H/T Mysterious M)

Excerpt:

A Pakistani government minister who had said he was getting death threats because of his opposition to a controversial blasphemy law was shot to death Wednesday.

Shahbaz Bhatti was the only Christian member of the Cabinet in Pakistan, where 95 percent of people are Muslim. He served as the government’s minister of minority affairs.

He was shot and killed in Islamabad on Wednesday morning, Pakistani police said. The Taliban claimed responsibility.

“(The) assassination of Bhatti is a message to all of those who are against Pakistan’s blasphemy laws,” said Ihsanullah Ihsan, a Taliban spokesman.

Bhatti had been critical of the law, saying at one point, “I am ready to sacrifice my life for the principled stand I have taken because the people of Pakistan are being victimized under the pretense of blasphemy law.”

Other officials have also been targeted for opposing the blasphemy law, which makes it a crime punishable by death to insult Islam, the Quran or the Prophet Mohammed.

In January, the governor of Punjab province, Salman Taseer, was assassinated by his security guard because he spoke out against the law.

After Taseer’s death, Bhatti pledged to continue pushing for amendments in the law.

“I will campaign for this … these fanatics cannot stop me from moving any further steps against the misuse of (the) blasphemy law,” he said at the time.

Bhatti said he was facing threats on his life, but was not afraid.

“I was told by the religious extremists that if you will make any amendments in this law, you will be killed,” he said.

Here is my previous post about the Governor of Punjab province, who was also murdered by Muslims for defending free speech.

What does it say about a religion when they are unwilling to debate you, but instead resort to murdering you? To me, when you have to resort to violence instead of arguments and evidence, it’s a clear signal that you have no evidence, and cannot win an argument. There is no debater like William Lane Craig in the Islamic world. And Muslims wouldn’t listen to arguments and evidence on both sides, anyway. But Christians flock to William Lane Craig debates, and clap politely after opponents of Christianity express their views.We don’t find them convincing, but we don’t kill them. We are confident in what we believe, because we know why we believe.

Christianity is a religion of truth, and Islam is a religion of murder.

You can find more stories like this one at Blazing Cat Fur.

500 Muslim scholars endorse murder of Pakistani governor who opposed blasphemy laws

Map of Middle East and Asia
Map of Middle East and Asia

From McClatchy. (H/T Gateway Pundit)

Excerpt:

The increasing radicalization of Pakistani society was laid bare Wednesday when the nation’s mainstream religious organizations applauded the murder of provincial governor Salman Taseer earlier this week, while his killer was showered with rose petals as he appeared in court.

Taseer, 66, the governor of Punjab, the country’s most heavily populated province, was assassinated Tuesday by one of his police bodyguards after Taseer had campaigned to ease Pakistan’s blasphemy law. Religious groups threatened to kill others who questioned the blasphemy statute, which is designed to protect Islam and the Prophet Muhammad from “insult.”

Pakistan is a key partner for the U.S. in the global fight against terrorism but waves of fundamentalism have produced an increasingly intolerant and anti-American country, making the alliance with Washington hugely unpopular.

Life Site News explains more.

Excerpt:

In November a Christian woman, Asia Bibi, was sentenced to be executed under the law for having defended her faith from insults by Muslims in the same state.

[…]While the Pakistani government denounced the murder, a group of 500 Muslim scholars issued an explicit statement endorsing the killing of Taseer. During initial court hearings Qadri was kissed and showered with flower petals by numerous supporters.

“We pay rich tributes and salute the bravery, valor and faith of Mumtaz Qadri,” declared the Jamaat-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat group in a statement issued to the press. They added that “there should be no expression of grief or sympathy on the death of the governor, as those who support blasphemy of the Prophet are themselves indulging in blasphemy.”

Extremist Islamic groups have held a national strike to protest the proposed repeal of the law, even though Pakistan’s ruling party has renounced plans to do so.  The groups have also demanded the execution of Bibi, who was arrested in 2009 after defending her faith against Muslim women who she said were taunting her for her Christianity. She denies having insulted Mohammed.

Meanwhile, Iran is rounding up Christian leaders.

Excerpt:

Iranian state television said Wednesday that leaders of the country’s Christian minority have been arrested and accused of spreading a hard-line version of their faith.

The report did not give the number of people arrested. The group was promoting hard-line Christian views at cultural gatherings with the support of Britain, the TV reported, quoting Tehran Governor Morteza Tamadon. It did not elaborate.

Tamadon was quoted as calling the group “a corrupt and deviant current.”

A website of Iran’s political opposition reported that 60 Christians have been arrested since Christmas, including a priest taken into custody on Friday.

The Sahamnews.org website said the priest, Leonard Keshishian, was summoned by security authorities in the central city of Isfahan and arrested.

It gave no further details or a reason for the arrests.

Where is Obama? Does he have anything to say about this? Shouldn’t the supposed leader of the free world have something to say about this?

Maybe he is too busy playing golf… in only TWO YEARS he has played twice as many rounds of golf as George W. Bush played in EIGHT YEARS.