‘Slaughtered in Cold Blood’: The Muslim Persecution of Christians, September 2023

Sept. 7, 2023, Nigeria: Rectory of St. Raphael’s Catholic Church, where one Christian was burned alive, goes up in flames (Morning Star News)

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

The Muslim Slaughter of Christians

Nigeria: As the multi-year genocide of Christians continued, a Sept. 1 report found that “Of the 5,500 Christians who were killed last year because of their faith, 90 percent”—or about 4,950—“were Nigerian.”

On the night of Sept. 7, Muslims torched a Catholic seminary in Kaduna State.  Although two priests managed to escape, one young seminarian, Brother Na’aman, 25, who was on the verge of completing his priesthood training, was burned alive. Police were contacted even before the attack, but came only after the terrorists had fled. “It is sad that killings and this type of evil against Christians are still going on in spite of our appeal and pleading to Nigerian government to take measures towards ending these attacks,” said the Rev. John Hayab, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Kaduna State Chapter Hayab.  In a statement he elaborated:

What is disheartening about this particular attack is the fact that the place of attack is just by the Kaduna – Kafanchan Major highway with a military checkpoint not far from the Parish. The Parish is located at the heart of Kamantan town, and the attack was carried out at about 8:00 p.m. This causes us to wonder some more, ‘Where is the hope, how much more terrible could the situation get?…. [W]e invite the Governor of Kaduna State and all relevant stakeholders to immediately swing into action and ensure that those responsible for the Kamantan evil night are apprehended and made to face the law.  Security is everyone’s business; it is disappointing that this kind of unholy activity could be recorded at the heart of the Fadan Kamantan community, and the criminals will operate unchallenged. It is a slap to the security forces within that jurisdiction, it is a slap to the religious leaders, traditional and community leaders.

Other murders of Christians to occur in September 2023 follow:

  • 10: On a Sunday, terrorists killed 10 Christians in the same area of Plateau State where 27 other Christians were killed in the previous month.
  • 10: Terrorists murdered a Christian couple, wounded several others, and abducted six people in Taraba State.
  • 13: Gunmen kidnapped a pastor and two other Christians in Jos East County.
  • 15: Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed 15 Christians and kidnapped 32 in southern Kaduna state.
  • 20: Fulani herdsmen raided a village in Nasarawa State, killing one Christian and wounding three others, including a pastor.
  • 19-27: Muslim terrorists slaughtered 16 Christians in a series of attacks throughout Kaduna State.
  • Sept 30: Twenty-five Christians, most of whom were members of a church choir, were abducted as they were on their way to attend a funeral.

Mozambique:  On Friday, Sept. 15, militants connected to the Islamic State invaded a village where they slaughtered at least 11 Christians.  Prior to the carnage, the terrorists made it a point to separate the Christian villagers from the Muslims before the former were “slaughtered in cold blood.”  The attack occurred in a village in the province of Cabo Delgado, which has been under assault by the Islamic State for years. According to information provided by a local Friar, Boaventura, of the Poor of Jesus Christ Brothers, the Muslim terrorists “arrived in the early afternoon and summoned the entire population. They then proceeded to separate Christians from Muslims, apparently based on their names and ethnicity…. [Next] they opened fire on the Christians, riddling them with bullets.”  The Friar added that this is not the first time that Muslim terrorists distinguish between Muslims and Christians before slaughtering the “infidels” (as documented here).

Uganda:  On Sept. 6, Muslims beat an evangelist to death for leading Muslims to Christ at an evangelistic event.  After it was over, Philip Bere, 33, and his colleague, Mudenya Sirasi, began traveling home on a bicycle.  Before long, according to Mudenya,

We heard people talking from both sides of the road at a nearby bush saying, ‘They are the ones who converted our members today – they are not supposed to live, but to be killed.’ From nowhere, one man who was stationed in front of us grabbed our bicycle that we were riding on and hit Bere with a blunt object on his back.

As Philp fell, Mudenya leapt off the bike and ran and hid: “I could see the attackers brutally injuring my friend.  One of the attackers hit him with a big stone, and he bled to death.”

Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches

Pakistan: A Sept. 6 report offers different stories of the “horror experienced” by Christians during the August 2023 rampage prompted by a false allegation of blasphemy, when Muslims rioted and destroyed two dozen churches, hundreds of Christian homes, and dislocated some 1,600 Christians.  Concerning what happened to her small church, Sara (last name withheld for security) said:

Hundreds rushed to the church, and we watched in horror from our homes as they destroyed each part of the church. Some had mallets, sledgehammers, pickaxes and axes, and others had metal rods and wooden sticks. They piled up the Bibles and hymn books and set them on fire. They smashed the furniture and poured fuel over the small worship area….  We heard them running on the roof as our home was connected to the roof of the church….  We heard them running, and with each thump, we heard more people on the roof. We just prayed, ‘Lord, keep us safe.’ My daughter was crying, and my son stood at the doorway with a stick – just in case the protesters decided to break in….  In that moment of terror [when the mob had reached the family’s front door, banging on it and shouting verbal abuse] we held onto each other and prayed, ‘Dear God, You are our high tower and our fortress. Please save us.’ The banging got worse. For over 20 minutes, a group of about 15 men tried but the door held, so they gave up and left with my son’s motorbike which was parked in the alleyway….  [Afterwards] we wandered the streets and met with [Christian] neighbours who had left their homes to the mob.  Everything was gone, even the dowries of daughters about to be married, worth a lifetime of saving.

Another man, Asad, told of what happened to a local church, as well as the torching of his home:

They took anything [from the church] that could be sold and loaded it onto trucks. They then poured acid over the items. I saw them trample the crosses and Bibles. I saw them throw the Bibles out onto the street and jump on them. It looked like they had no sense at all – just blind hate. They poured fuel from their petrol bombs, lit the Bibles on fire, and watched them burn, only walking away when satisfied….  Today, I have nothing.  I saw my house and my place of worship burn in front of my eyes. I was helpless. I saw my [Muslim] neighbours betray us. We have never done them any harm; we always respected them. Then why? Why did they become part of an agenda that was so anti-Christian? What about my daughter? What will become of her?

Uganda:  On Sunday, Sept. 3, police announced that they had foiled a bomb attack on a cathedral in Kampala.  A  Muslim “man accused of trying to detonate an explosive in a crowd of worshippers” was arrested. According to a police spokesman,“We have carried out a controlled detonation of the improvised explosive device which was made of nails, a motorcycle battery, a charger and a telephone handset which was to be used in the attack.” According to the pastor of the targeted cathedral, Robert Kayanja, “The lord has saved us from deaths.  The terrorist was a few yards to the entrance of the church, but the security put up resistance and (he) was arrested before he can enter the church and detonate the bomb.” The report adds that in June, Islamic terrorists of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF),

crossed the border from the Democratic Republic of Congo and massacred 42 people, including 37 students, in a gruesome school attack.  It was Uganda’s worst attack since twin bombings in Kampala in 2010 killed 76 people in a strike claimed by the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab [Muslim terror] group.

Indonesia: On Aug. 29, a “machete-wielding Muslim threatened to kill members of a house church,” as he and other Muslims broke into and broke up a private worship service in a rented house. The attack started when a Muslim woman began hurling stones at and smashing the home’s windows, while shouting at the congregation to stop worshipping. According to the report, “Later the woman’s husband came to the house with a machete, accompanied by another man with a wooden club. Brandishing the machete, the Muslim shouted at the congregation that he was going to cut their throats into pieces and told them to stop worshiping.” The congregation eventually complied. One of the Christians went to report the matter to police and ask them to prosecute.  He told them that “the assailants had committed criminal acts, including threats with sharp weapons, vandalism, use of sharp weapons and human rights violations.”  Police, however, dismissed his complaint, and said it was “just a misunderstanding” over “neighborhood ethics.”  The Christian complainant was then told to go home since he was obviously “suffering from mental disorders.”

Egypt:  On Sept. 5, a Muslim mob attacked a Coptic Christian man’s property on the false assumption that he was building a church.  The incident occurred in the village of al-Khiyari, in the Abu Qurqas center.  The Muslims apparently confused two developments.  Because the village has no church, a Coptic priest had been traveling to and meeting with the Christians of al-Khiyari in a certain area near the home of Imad Wajih, the aforementioned Coptic man.  In that same area, Christians had submitted a request for a permit to build a church, so they could hold proper worship services, as opposed to meeting with a traveling priest in random spots.  In the meantime, Imad began building a smaller private home on his property.  Although it had nothing to do with the proposed church, local Muslims grew suspicious and incited one another, including on social media, where they complained that “the Copts are building a church without a permit!”  So they attacked Imad’s property, committed arson, and stole building materials, including concrete blocks and reinforced iron.

This scenario has played out countless times in Egypt over the years: whenever there is even a rumor that a Coptic church is being built or repaired—local Muslim mobs riot and attack Christians. Authorities frequently respond by appeasing the rioters and permanently sealing up the “offending” churches on the charge that they represent a “security threat.”  Back in 2018, when several churches were shut down for the same reason, Gamil Ayed, a Coptic lawyer, voiced typical Christian sentiment:

We haven’t heard that a mosque was closed down, or that prayer was stopped in it because it was unlicensed. Is that justice? Where is the equality? Where is the religious freedom? Where is the law? Where are the state institutions?

France: On Sunday, Sept. 17, a Muslim migrant stormed into the Basilica of Notre-Dame in Nice; there, the 46-year-old Senegalese man interrupted morning mass, including by shouting “Allah” and other “incoherent” words.  Police forcibly hospitalized the man.

 Muslim Attacks on Christian Freedom:

(Jihad on Apostates, Blasphemers, and Evangelists)

Afghanistan: On Sept 3 and again on Sept. 13, according to a report,

The Taliban raided the offices of a Swiss nonprofit group based in Afghanistan, detaining 18 workers – including one American – for allegedly preaching Christianity, the country’s government said….They were transferred to an unknown location in Kabul.

The Swiss charity — which helps improve healthcare and education in the country — said it was ‘unaware of the circumstances that led to these incidents and have not been advised of the reason for the detention of our staff members,’ it said in a statement….

Taliban officials, however, said the detainees were taken into custody for ‘propagating and promoting Christianity’ in the largely Muslim country.

Government spokesperson Abdul Wahid Hamas said several women, including the American, were among those held, VOA News reported.

Pakistan:  On Sept. 8, Muslims accused a Christian couple, Shaukat Masih, 33, and his wife Kiran, 28, of committing “blasphemy,” by tearing pages of a Koran and hurling them from atop the roof of their home in Lahore.  On the following day, police imprisoned the parents of three, even though they were not home when the floating scriptures were espied.  Left with no family members to take care of them, their three children, aged 7, 9, and 13, were taken in by Nasir Jameel of advocacy group the Living Water Society. “The children are extremely upset,” he said, “due to their parents’ absence, and one can only hope and pray for their early release.”  According to Section 295-B of the Pakistani penal code, “Whoever willfully defiles, damages or desecrates a copy of the Koran or of an extract therefrom or uses it in any derogatory manner or for any unlawful purpose shall be punishable with imprisonment for life.”

Uganda: A Muslim man, according to a Sept. 28 report, “locked up his son and starved him for more than four months for accepting Christ.”  On Sept. 15, after rumor of this development reached a Christian evangelical team, they went and pled to enter the Muslim man’s home to pray for his family. After initial refusals, the Muslim father granted them five minutes.  According to the lead pastor, “As we were praying, there was a very strong, bad smell in the house.  Since we were many, we forcefully entered the inner room where the smell was coming from and found a teenage boy in a dilapidated state.” The 17-year-old boy appeared “in a starving condition with skin clinging to bones.” Some of the Christians forcibly took the youth to a nearby hospital, while others stayed and tried to reason with the Muslim family.  The father confessed that when his son returned home from boarding school, he and other relatives tied him up and denied him food because the boy had “become a Christian by making a public confession, which was disgrace to our family. The message reached us through his teachers at Ibun Baz secondary school in Iganga, where our son was schooling. His teacher called us over the phone and told us about him joining Christianity.” At the hospital, the emaciated boy was only able to utter a few words about his mistreatment. However, the pastor learned that “The mother used to sneak in with only water, but when her son fell sick, she didn’t bring him medicine but insulted him by calling him an infidel to the family religion, and that he should die.”

Muslim Persecution of Christians in Egypt

Egypt:  According to a Sept. 27 report, “The Disappearance of Christian Women in Egypt: A Crisis that Requires Urgent Attention,”

Not a week goes by without social media or Coptic sites reporting on the sudden disappearance of a Christian girl, and often the girl is a minor. Typically, rumors begin to reach her family about her conversion to Islam. This opens several questions about it being a crime that is lacking in transparency, about how security agencies deal with it and their desire to resolve the crisis or not.  When a woman disappears, families usually receive messages, either from the disappeared girl herself or from other persons, about the girl’s conversion to Islam. Most families confirm that they quickly become suspicious of an abduction rather than genuine intention to convert. This is usually the immediate feeling, given the absence of any prior indication of the disappeared woman’s intention to convert. At times, calls, messages or even videos are circulated about a disappeared woman, which increases families’ suspicion that she has come under threat.

The comprehensive report offers several examples, including the following:

On July 30, the family of 25-year-old Mariam Samir Fayez, from Al-Arish Governorate, announced her absence after heading to an inter-city bus station in Cairo on her way back home at 7:30 a.m. Mariam was working as a university teaching assistant, and preparing her master’s thesis at the University of Al-Menofeya.

Mariam’s father said that his daughter told him in a telephone call that she was on her way home, but then the call was disrupted. He later went to the police station to report her disappearance, and then he received a call from a person telling him that his daughter had converted to Islam. As he hadn’t seen any particular behavior to explain such a conversion, he suspected that his daughter was not well.

Days later, Mariam appeared in a video wearing a hijab, along with a certain Mahmoud Dawood, who identified himself as a comparative religions researcher, and asserted that she was not kidnapped nor forced to convert to Islam, adding ‘From now on, I would like to live in peace (..) no one should say that I was kidnapped, as in fact I left home (on July 29), convinced and determined.. I went to the Islamic Research Complex where I declared my conversion to be Muslim.’

After the video went viral on social media, along with a scan of her conversion document, many social media users accused certain groups of seeking to Islamize Coptic girls, and of forcing Mariam to appear in that video. A few days later, she appeared in the St Mary Church, in Mostorod, along with her family. A photo showed the cross on her wrist, asserting that she was still Christian and never converted, as claimed in the video.

The term kidnapping, which is frequently mentioned in connection with the incidents of disappearance of Coptic women, does not only refer to kidnapping in its known sense, but includes coercion, exploitation, and blackmail, as well as targeting, seduction, concealment, lurking, etc.; all of which are terms that fall under the broader expression, and are also used internationally.

A separate report from Sept. 17, “A Decade of Curricular Reform? Egypt’s Schools Still Teach Division and Discrimination,” offers an in-depth look on where the radicalization begins:

[A]ll programs—regardless of the classes and grades—include some Quranic verses and hadiths, and students of different religions are made to study and memorize them and sit for exams using these lessons. Some of the textbooks have passages that conflict with the beliefs of non-Muslims. One such instance can be found in an Arabic language lesson for the third preparatory level, as this Quranic verse is taught: ‘And who is better in speech than one who invites to Allah and does righteousness and says, Indeed, I am of the Muslims.’

Meanwhile, the education program is devoid of any lesson, text, or mention of other faiths or religions, with a total omission of Egyptian Christian or Jewish historical figures, or major non-Muslim religious holidays. The same goes for Coptic history, despite the fact that the Coptic Church played a prominent role locally or abroad in facing the Roman and Byzantine empires at the time. There is also a complete disregard for non-monotheistic beliefs such as the Baha’is.

Moreover, some courses deal with relations between Christians and Muslims from an Islamic perspective. One example is a short story in the Arabic language class for the third secondary level titled ‘The Church was enlightened’ about how Christians fast with Muslims to celebrate Ramadan, and how they are keen on extending their best wishes to their Muslim brothers on the advent of the holy month. The context of the story is based on the general premise of school textbooks that Islam and the tolerance of Muslims are the foundation of coexistence, which is shown by how Christians are welcoming of Islamic religious holidays. There is no mention, however, of Muslims wishing or participating with Christians in any of their religious rituals or social events. ….   [Another] characteristic of the educational content is the emphasis that Islam is the only source of virtues and positive values in such a way that depicts other faiths as inciting wrongdoing, or at least not upholding the same values.

Raymond Ibrahim, author of Defenders of the WestSword and Scimitar, Crucified Again, and The Al Qaeda Reader, is the Distinguished Senior Shillman Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and the 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 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:

Raymond Ibrahim’s website

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.