An Evil from the Pits of Hell’: The Muslim Persecution of Christians, June 2023

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The following are among the murders and abuses inflicted on Christians by Muslims throughout the month of June, 2023.

The Muslim Slaughter of Christians

Uganda:  On the evening of June 16, Islamic terrorists crying “Allahu akbar” (Allah is greater) stormed a private high school, where students were closing the night by singing Christian hymns.  Over the next 90 minutes, the Muslim invaders committed unspeakable horrors against the Christians—murdering, in the end, at least 42 people, 37 of them teenage boys and girls. Most of the boys were burned alive.

Locked in their dormitory, the Muslim terrorists poured fuel on and set the building on fire.  Some of the boys were so “charred beyond recognition” that investigators had to use DNA samples from relatives to identify them. Most of the girls were hacked and stabbed to death with machetes and knives.  An investigative team which visited the site reported that “It was a devastating and upsetting scene.  Lots of dried blood is still on the ground outside the girls’ dormitory.”  As for the incinerated boys’ dormitory, “the smell of death is unmistakeable—beds have been reduced to wire mesh with pieces of flesh still stuck to them.”  Further positioning the massacre along religious lines, “The rebels,” a survivor recounted, “asked for Muslims among the students, but there were none. The rebels said they do not kill fellow [Muslim] believers.  [Then] they slaughtered every student in their sight using pangas [machetes], axes, and sharp objects.”  As detailed here, separating Muslims from Christians during a jihadist raid, and then butchering only the Christians, is not only a very common practice—with examples from many nations, including the U.S.—but further underscores that the attack was entirely about religion, namely, killing Christians.

Four days later, on June 20, more machete-wielding Muslims stormed another church in Uganda, where they “hacked one member to death.”  A Christian official said of the incident, “It is an evil from the pits of hell to shed blood of innocent people inside a church.” The murders occurred around 1 am, following an all-night prayer vigil.  According to the report, once inside the church, the invaders “started hacking people who had dozed off during overnight prayers.”  In the words of an official:

After the night prayers, they [Christians] decided to sleep in the church.  However, shortly after sleeping, people armed with pangas [machetes] raided the church and started randomly hacking members of the congregation.  One died on [the] spot while others are nursing grave injuries.  Others fled the church to save their lives.

After pointing out that the Muslim murderers consisted of three men, a later report quotes the pastor of the church:

The police cannot quickly ascertain the nature of the attack since the three assailants have not been arrested. But we know that there has been increasing friction between Christians here and the Muslims. Some of them claim that the churches are making a lot of noise—as if we do not have Mosques here that have prayers five times a day.

The pastor added that this cannot be categorized as a generic crime: “if they were just thieves, they would have stolen something. The three stormed in, attacked [and killed] worshipers, and left.”

Nigeria:  The genocide of Christians at the hands of Muslims continued to rage throughout the month of June.  According to a June 3 report, Muslim “Fulani jihadists” slaughtered 2,500 Christians in just the first six months of 2023. In the years prior, 31,700 total Christians were slaughtered, 18,200 churches were “burned down or wantonly destroyed” and 50 million Christians “forced out of their ancestral homes and lands into displacement and homelessness.”

Between mid-May and the first few days of June, Muslim Fulani slaughtered over 300 Christians and destroyed 28 churches in Plateau state alone, according to a June 7 report.

Thereafter, during the first three weeks of June, the Muslims slaughtered an additional 150 Christians in Plateau.  Discussing one of these raids, which claimed 15 Christian lives, an area resident said:

The attackers of our villages are Muslims who are Fulani herdsmen.  They attacked our villages of Bwoi and Chisu while we were sleeping at about 11 p.m. The herdsmen burnt down our houses, including a church worship building…  Some of the Christian victims were burnt alive in their houses as the herdsmen set fire on their houses.

Markus Artu, a member of the Mangu Local Government Council, which is also under attack, said: “All I can say is that war has been declared on Christians in Mangu.  The terrorists are just attacking and killing Christians in most of the communities around Mangu… Christians here really need help.”

In Benue state, between June 3-4, Muslims butchered 46 more Christians in a number of villages.  According to a statement from local officials,

Altogether, 46 Christians were killed by the terrorists in the two days of attacks on our communities.  Most disturbing also is the fact that the identity of the perpetrators is known to security agencies and the Nigerian government, and yet nothing has been done to end this carnage.

Democratic Republic of Congo:  On June 8, members of the Allied Democratic Forces (an Islamic terror group affiliated with ISIS), hacked to death 12 people—four children, four women, and four men—in the Christian nation.  According to officials, the Muslims “were opening doors and decapitating people with hatchets and machetes.”

Pakistan:  On June 7, the mutilated body of Shazia Imran Masih, a 40-year-old Christian widow, was found.  Earlier, four Muslims had “abducted, gang-raped and killed” her “for refusing to convert to Islam and marry the primary suspect,” according to the report:

[T]he assailants slashed her neck and doused her with acid … though it was not known if the acid burns came before or after her death. The primary suspect has confessed to the killing… Shazia Masih’s husband also was killed a year and a half ago, and the family has seen no justice in that case either as police cast it as an accident…

According to her brother, a Muslim man named Noman Gujjar,

a notorious area criminal … had been pressuring her to convert to Islam along with her children and marry him… Shazia did not share this with us due to fears for our security, but three days before her abduction, she told [another relative] that Gujjar had threatened to kill her if she did not surrender to his demand.

She then disappeared on June 7, and her family alerted police:

Later in the day we received a call from the Hyer police station that they had found a body from a plot that matched Shazia’s description.  We immediately went to the police station, but when we saw the body, we could not believe our eyes. Shazia’s jugular vein had been slit with a sharp object, and her body had been badly burnt by acid.

The report adds that

A forensic examination revealed that she had been gang-raped before being killed…. Police arrested Gujjar, and though he confessed to the murder, officers seemed uninterested in arresting three suspected accomplices, Gujjar’s brother and two cousins.”

The murdered woman’s brother continues:

The accused are very influential, and they have been persistently threatening us to reconcile and withdraw the case.  Due to these threats, we have been forced to go into hiding and are not even free to pursue the case. Gujjar is still in police custody, but we doubt that we’ll get justice for our sister, as the police’s bias is evident by its inaction against the remaining accused… We have lost all hope for justice and appeal to our church leaders and government officials to provide justice and security to us.

Muslim Attacks on Christians and Churches in France:

Note: Only one of the following five incidents (the beating of an 80-year-old priest) occurred after the June 27 Nahel Merzouk protests:

On June 20, a “gang of college students” entered the St. Roch Church in Nice, doused themselves with holy water, and began shouting “Allahu akbar,” which the report correctly notes is “regularly heard during Islamist attacks.”  The first deputy mayor of Nice, Anthony Borré, responded by assuring the city that he takes such incidents “very seriously.” He further urged his higher ups to also take such matters seriously.  In a letter to the president of the Alpes-Maritimes, Charles-Ange Ginesy, Borré wrote:

Since October 29, 2020 and the Islamist attack on the Notre-Dame Basilica in our city [when another “Allahu akbar” yelling Muslim slaughtered two French women—one by beheading—and a man inside a church], you are not unaware of how traumatic it can be for our fellow citizens to hear such remarks within a church and the painful memories that they can revive. Faced with these attempts to destabilize society and with the attacks on our secular Republic, we must provide a strong and collective response.

Police sources, however, said that the teenagers did “not fall under any Islamist movement,” but had rather pulled a “joke”—one admittedly in “bad taste.”

On Friday, June 23, three young Muslims, aged between 12 and 13, broke into the St. Joseph Church in Nice, during an afternoon mass, and also began hollering “Allahu akbar.”  Although they quickly ran away, police managed to track them down.  “It still looks like a child’s joke in very bad taste,” insisted a French officer.  Nice, of course, is where other “Allahu akbar” screaming Muslims murdered 84 people in 2016.

On June 3, invaders vandalized the Chuch of Mailhac. According to the report, “Many candles lay broken on the floor, and there are clear signs that someone had tried to open the trunk. The sacristan had already filed a complaint for the destruction of candles in the past. As a consequence of this act, the church has been closed for an indefinite time.”

On June 12, a “group of young people” beat and called Fr. Joseph Eid, of Notre-Dame-du-Liban parish, a “dirty Christian.”  Sometime after 8 pm, a dozen Muslims made a hole in the church fence and invaded the presbytery.  When the priest confronted them, they claimed they were looking for their soccer ball.  According to one report, “The situation seems to have escalated and the priest was violently thrown to the ground, then grabbed by the back of the neck before being helped by witnesses. The assailants then fled, hurling anti-Christian insults.”

Responding to this latest incident of Muslims attacking Christians, several mosque heads in France expressed their “indignation and anger,” adding in a statement that such behavior is “contrary to the values of Islam and the teachings of the Koran, which call for respect and protection of the ‘People of the Book,’ meaning Jews and Christians.”

Finally, on Friday, June 30, Muslims savagely beat an 80-year-old Catholic priest of Saint Vincent de Paul in Saint-Étienne.  After knocking Fr. Francis Palle to the ground, they continued beating and kicking the octogenarian, until he fell unconscious, at which point they also mugged him of his wallet and phone.  In the words of one report,

According to eyewitnesses, a group of rioters suddenly attacked Father Palle, surrounding and targeting him for no apparent reason. They hit him with extreme force, causing him to fall violently to the ground. Worse still, these individuals continued to beat him when he was already on the ground, leaving the priest in critical condition.

Last reported, the elderly cleric had been hospitalized in the intensive care unit in serious condition.

Muslim Attacks on Christian Freedom and Worship

Uganda: On June 3, Muslim relatives of two brothers who converted to Christianity beat them following a funeral service for their sister.  On the night before, one of their Muslim brothers found them offering Christian prayers for their dead sibling.  He quickly informed the rest of the family who hurried into the Christians’ room to see for themselves.  The family then asked why they were “praying in the name of Christ rather than Muhammad.”  The brothers remained silent.  At that point, according to Kakembo, one of the brothers,

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They accused us that we are no longer Muslims.  Our elder brother, Shaban, a teacher by profession at Ibun Bazi Islamic Center, got angry with us and started beating us with a blunt object which he had with him as the rest of the members also joined in and started beating us badly.

Their father then came in and began shouting: “Stop, don’t kill them in my house, just send them away from my home—from today on, I am no longer their father, and they are no longer my children.” Kakembo continues:

My brothers obeyed our dad and sent us away in the night.  I was bleeding from a deep cut near the right eye and the forehead, while my brother suffered a deep cut on his forehead, an eye injury and a swollen neck…. We are ostracized and disowned—we need prayers so that God may comfort us as we feel rejected.

Indonesia:  Muslims forcibly prevented Christians from worshipping on several occasions:

On June 18 in Central Java, a group of Muslims hollering jihadist slogans, including “Allahu akbar,” blocked entry into a church building by sealing off the door with a banner saying the church had no right to exist.  One report gives background on Indonesia’s draconian laws concerning non-Muslim places of worship:

Requirements for obtaining permission to build houses of worship in Indonesia are onerous and hamper the establishment of such buildings for Christians and other faiths, rights advocates say. Indonesia’s Joint Ministerial Decree of 2006 (SKB) makes requirements for obtaining permits nearly impossible for most new churches. Even when small, new churches are able to meet the requirement of obtaining 90 signatures of approval from congregation members and 60 from area households of different religions, they are often met with delays or lack of response from officials. Well-organized radical Muslims secretly mobilize outside people to intimidate and pressure members of minority faiths.

Separately, but on the same day of June 18 nearly 500 miles away near Jakarta, other Muslims forcibly stopped Christian worship inside a private home.  The Muslim group was led by a local official, and the house church was mostly attended by women.  Video footage of the incident showed the official “using harsh language against a woman trying to defend the fellowship.”  While trying to pacify the Muslim intruders, the Christian woman, Elysson Lase, insisted that they were not trying to turn the home into a formal church, but rather were privately and quietly trying to worship in a home:

We want to hold a worship service—should I ask permission to worship from you when we want to hold worship?…  The important thing has been conveyed to the village office, that we are not building a church. So what’s the problem? When we pray, where is the problem?

While Indonesian law is harsh concerning the building of churches, private home worship is (at least for the moment) still legal, though growing numbers of Muslims are resisting even this small concession.  Responding to this incident, the Rev. Henrek Lokra of the Communion of Christian Churches said the disruption was “illegal, and that the government should take tough action and enforce the constitution against such vigilante acts”: “The Christians don’t build churches. They only want to hold their routine Sunday worship. If it is not allowed, then where is this country heading?”

In yet another incident, more than a thousand miles from Jakarta, in Medan, another group of Muslims prevented Christians from using mall space they had earlier rented to worship in.  Due to the angry protests, organized by the influential Muslim Alliance (AUI), the property administrator of the city’s large Plaza Suzuya Marelan mall rescinded the rental.  According to the June 18 report, a Christian entrepreneur said that “the Muslim protests are part of broader opposition towards devoted Christians and Christian worship in her area.”

Egypt:  Abanoub Emad, a Christian student of dentistry is, according to a June 22 report, “being accused of ‘contempt of religion,’ after publishing some social media posts, which were considered to be insulting to Islam. A campaign has been launched demanding to arrest and punish him.” Even though the young man had “published evidence” showing that his own page had been stolen and manipulated, “certain extremists launched a hashtag against him, and went as far as publishing the phone numbers and addresses of his family, which is normally illegal as it puts them in high risk.”  The entire fiasco is ultimately a reminder that Egypt’s “contempt of religion” law, which is supposedly meant to protect the sanctity of, not just Islam, but Christianity and Judaism as well, is a farce.  As the report explains, this law exists solely for Islam’s benefit:

Investigating the matter, it turns out that certain [Muslim] individuals had published social media posts that mock the Bible. This prompted some Copts to respond with their own posts, including some in the alleged page of the young Abanoub… Some of the more enlightened [Muslims] and Copts responded by asking why the alleged response by Abanoub Imad were to be considered as a reason to arrest him and put him under trial [even if he did indeed post them], when it was simply a reaction to insults against Christianity? Why those who insulted Christianity in the first place are not to be tried as well? And why are Christians always the only ones to be held accountable for contempt of religions, even though there are countless pages/sites that insult Christianity non-stop? Furthermore, how can his family’s personal data be illegally leaked, thus endangering their lives, without any reaction by the authorities? And where does the law stand regarding these sites/pages that lure and provoke Coptic youth in order to trap them as they respond to insults to Christianity? Certain extremist individuals and organizations clearly stand behind such widespread activities, but sadly the security authorities appear to be quick to appease them by arresting Copts and prosecuting them, often without conclusive evidence. A case to remember is that of the Coptic young man, Sherif, who was sentenced to a year in prison, after he responded to comments by a woman named Nada Mahmoud who was mocking Christianity. Both were initially arrested and interrogated but, quite shockingly, Nada Mahmoud was released without charges while Sherif was sentenced. An obvious case of the policy of double standards.

About this Series

The persecution of Christians in the Islamic world has become endemic.  Accordingly, “Muslim Persecution of Christians” was developed in July 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.

Previous Reports:

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views the Virginia Christian Alliance

About the Author

Raymond Ibrahim
RAYMOND IBRAHIM is a widely published author, public speaker, and Middle East and Islam specialist.  His books include Sword and Scimitar: Fourteen Centuries of War between Islam and the West (Da Capo, 2018), Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (Regnery, 2013), and The Al Qaeda Reader (Doubleday, 2007). Ibrahim’s writings, translations, and observations have appeared in a variety of publications, including the New York Times Syndicate, CNN, LA Times, Fox News, Financial Times, Jerusalem Post, United Press International, USA Today, Washington Post, Washington Times, and Weekly Standard; scholarly journals, including the Almanac of Islamism, Chronicle of Higher Education, Hoover Institution’s Strategika, Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst, Middle East Quarterly, and Middle East Review of International Affairs; and popular websites, including American Thinker, Bloomberg, Breitbart, Christian Post, Daily Caller, FrontPage Magazine, NewsMax, National Review Online, PJ Media, and World Magazine. He has contributed chapters to several anthologies and has been translated into dozens of languages.