The Muslim Persecution of Christians: A Censored Pandemic, Part 1

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Few phenomena are as widespread as they are virtually unknown — at least in the West — as the worldwide persecution of Christians, especially at the hands of Muslims.

The general facts are undeniable and have been and continue to be documented in a number of reports issued by a variety of human rights organizations around the world.

According to one of the most recent compilations, Open Doors’ “World Watch List, 2024,” which was published in January 2024, and which annually ranks the top 50 nations where Christians are most persecuted for their faith, in 2023, 4,998 Christians around the world — 13 a day — were “killed for faith-related reasons.” Another 4,125 were illegally detained or arrested, and 14,766 churches and other Christian institutions were attacked, many destroyed.

Overall, the global persecution of Christians remains higher than ever, with 365 million believers suffering “high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith.” One in seven Christians around the world (14%) is persecuted. In Africa, that number grows to one in five (20%), while in Asia it is as much as two in five — meaning 40% of all Christians are persecuted on that continent.

The Worst Offender: Islam

Christians suffer “extreme levels of persecution” in the top 13 of the 50 ranked nations. They are: 1) North Korea, 2) Somalia, 3) Libya, 4) Eritrea, 5) Yemen, 6) Nigeria, 7) Pakistan, 8) Sudan, 9) Iran, 10) Afghanistan, 11) India, 12) Syria, 13) and Saudi Arabia. The form of persecution experienced in these 13 worst offenders ranges from being assaulted, raped, imprisoned, or murdered on being identified as a Christian or attending (often underground) churches.

Rather tellingly, the “extreme persecution” meted out to Christians in 11 of these worst 13 nations comes either from “Islamic oppression” or takes place in Muslim-majority nations. This means that approximately 84% of the absolute worst persecution around the globe takes place in the name of Islam.

This trend affects the entire list: the persecution that Christians experience in 37 of the 50 nations (or 74%) also comes either from Islamic oppression or occurs in Muslim-majority nations.

Real People, Real Tragedies

While the above numbers are important, including in displaying the magnitude of the problem, one should not lose sight of the real people they represent. What they experience, when read in detail — girls chained and gang raped; Christians burned alive for supposedly “blaspheming” Muhammad; Muslim husbands and wives stabbing and poisoning each other whenever one apostatizes to Christ; another 30 having their heads sawn off just for the heck of it — is bloodcurdling.

The following, for example, are among the most recent incidents to occur as of this writing (excerpted from the March 2024 edition of my monthly “Muslim Persecution of Christians”):

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Russia: On March 22, Muslim terrorists armed with automatic weapons launched an attack, massacring at least 139 people and injuring more at Crocus City Hall. ISIS quickly claimed credit for the attack, saying it was intentionally designed to target “thousands of Christians.”

Uganda: On two separate occasions, Muslims slaughtered two Christian men for leading Muslims to Christ. Also in March, a Muslim man murdered his 19-year-old daughter after learning she had embraced Christ, and another man beat and scorched his wife and 10-year-old daughter with boiling water for the same reason.

Somalia: On Good Friday, Muslims connected to the Islamic terror group Al Shabaab (“the youth”) slaughtered six Christians from bordering Kenya for spreading Christianity.

Kenya: On March 8, Muslims ambushed and slaughtered an evangelist and seriously wounded three other Christians.

Nigeria: The ongoing Muslim genocide of Christians there include:

  • March 26: “Herdsmen Kill Pastor, Five Other Christians in Central Nigeria”
  • March 27: “Pastor, His Family and Other Christians Killed in Nigeria”
  • March 28: “Herdsmen Kill Seven Christians in Central Nigeria”

Pakistan: On March 6, police arrested Ashbeel Ghauri, an 18-year-old Christian youth, after his Muslim classmates accused him of blaspheming against Islam (in reality, he had refused to renounce Christ and convert to Islam). Once a promising college student, he now faces 10 years in prison. Also, and as usual, several young Christian girls were abducted by Muslim men, raped and, in some instances, forcibly converted to Islam (with police and judges siding with the rapists). And, after a local Muslim vowed to prevent Christians from celebrating Easter in their church, the building went up in flames hours before Resurrection Day.

Also, and as usual, dozens of churches, cemeteries, and public crucifixes were vandalized, torched, and desecrated all throughout Western European regions with large Muslim populations.

As mentioned, these are just a few examples from the latest reportEvery month contains similar, often worse, accounts, both in quantity and quality.

Why Is This Happening?

As to why this happening — and why Muslims commit the lion’s share of the persecution 365 million Christians around the world experience — Islamic doctrine sheds light. Shari‘a, that body of teachings that Muslims are obligated to adhere to, teaches hate for and violence against all non-Muslims. In the words of Koran 60:4, “We [Muslims] renounce you [non-Muslims]. Enmity and hate shall forever reign between us — until you believe in Allah alone.” Such sentiments are to be applied to all non-Muslims — “even if they be their parents, children, siblings, or extended family” (58:22; see also 3:28, 4:89, 4:144, 5:54, 6:40, 9:23).

Based on such verses, any number of fatwas, authoritative Islamic decrees from venerable sheikhs, call on Muslims to do things like hate their non-Muslim wives (while “physically” enjoying or benefitting from them) and to hate and be disloyal to the Western nations they reside in, even if they benefit from them.

In short, and as the Islamic State once explained in an unambiguously titled article, “Why We Hate You & Why We Fight You”: “We hate you, first and foremost, because you are disbelievers.” (Lest it seem that ISIS is an aberration that hardly speaks for Muslims, a Pew poll found that in just 11 nations, as many as 287 million Muslims — just those who answered honestly — sympathized with and/or supported ISIS.)

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.