There was a surge of anti-Christian violence by Muslims around the world that included the destruction of nearly 200 Christian churches in Nigeria during a short period around October, according to a new report from the GateStone Institute.
The organization’s Raymond Ibrahim, who has documented his discoveries in “Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War in Christians,” released the assessment of the recent surge on Friday.
“In just two months, from August to October, nearly 200 Christian churches were destroyed in Nigeria by the Islamic organization Boko Haram and its Muslim allies, after their capture of towns and villages in the northeastern states of Borno and Adamawa,” the report said. “In the words of Rev. Gideon Obasogie, the director of Catholic Social Communication of Maiduguri Diocese in Borno State, ‘the group’s seizure of territory in both states has seen 185 churches torched and over 190,000 people displaced by [Boko Haram.]”
Ibrahim noted that, “Also in October, the Center for the Studies of Global Christianity in the United States concluded that, ‘About 100,000 Christians die every year because of their religious beliefs, that is to say one every five minutes. In addition, in many countries, many other religious minorities suffer violence and persecution. In countries such as Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Cameroon, Sudan, Pakistan, Somalia and Egypt the Christian elderly, women, men and their children live in conditions of total insecurity. They are driven from their homes; put in prison for blasphemy, and brutally killed during liturgical celebrations, churches are burned. Girls are kidnapped and forced to marry.'”
Among the other incidents of Muslim violence against Christians during that October period that were uncovered by Ibrahim include:
A report from Arabic media described how a “homemade bomb” exploded next to the Evangelical Church of God in Minya in upper Egypt. The report said there were no casualties.
And in Germany, a “Coptic Christian church in the European nation was attacked and torched.” According to the report, ‘The mayor of Berlin condemned attacking and burning St. Athanasius and St. Shenouda Coptic Orthodox Church in Berlin by extremists…”
Then in Iraq, there were bombings that “hit and devastated the Church of the Resurrection near the town of Qaraqosh. The Christian place of worship was being used as a base for jihadis, who had broken off the cross from the building’s roof.”
In the Philippines, “A grenade attack on a church during worship service left two Christians – Felomina Ferolin, a 54-year-old nurse, and teacher Gina Cabilona, 39 – dead, and three others injured.” According to the assembled information, “Two men on a motorbike fired a grenade launcher at the door of the United Church of Christ before fleeing.”
And, according to Ibrahim’s report, in the Sudan, the “air force dropped four bombs on an Episcopal Church … in the Nuba Mountains.” A pastor reported the whole property was decimated.
The attacks sometimes took the form of court rulings, Ibrahim reported.
He said in Iran, three Christians were sentenced to six years in prison for being involved in house churches. Jason Demars, of Present Truth Ministries, said in the report that Iranian officials want to “silence them – then want to move them away to a place that is tough to get to, for their family to get to.”
And in Kazakhstan, two Christian men, Vyacheslav Cherkasov and Zhasulan Alzhanov, were given prison terms for distributing Christian literature after authorities claimed one of the books incited religious hatred.
The book was “Jesus: More than a Prophet,” which is a collection of testimonies of those who fled Islam for Christianity.
Ibrahim reports that in Lebanon, a Christian convert from Islam was forced into hiding because his father and brothers were looking for him to “cut my throat.”
The Gatestone report said in Malaysia, a Muslim leader was calling on people to find Bibles and burn them.
And in Pakistan, a court upheld the death penalty for Asia Bibi, a Christian mother who was accused of blasphemy.
In Sudan, a Muslim convert to Christianity escaped an attack on his life when a gunman broke into his home and opened fire. And in Uzbekistan, a Christian man was fined 50 times the nation’s minimum monthly wage for having “religious literature.”
Ibrahim writes in his report, the compilation isn’t meant to be exhaustive.
“While not all, or even most, Muslims are involved, persecution of Christians is expanding. ‘Muslim Persecution of Christians’ was developed to collate some — by no means all — of the instances of persecution that surface each month. It documents what the mainstream media often fails to report. It posits that such persecution is not random but systematic, and takes place in all languages, ethnicities and locations,” he explained.