RAYMOND IBRAHIM (RaymondIbrahim.com) is a widely published author, public speaker, and Middle East and Islam expert. His books include Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). His writings, translations, and observations have appeared in a variety of publications, including Fox News, Financial Times, Jerusalem Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times Syndicate, United Press International, USA Today, Washington Post, Washington Times, and Weekly Standard; scholarly journals, including the Almanac of Islamism, Chronicle of Higher Education, Jane's Islamic Affairs Analyst, Middle East Quarterly, and Middle East Review of International Affairs; and popular websites, such as American Thinker, the Blaze, Bloomberg, Christian Post, FrontPage Magazine, Gatestone Institute, the Inquisitr, Jihad Watch, NewsMax, National Review Online, PJ Media, VDH's Private Papers, and World Magazine. He has contributed chapters to several anthologies and been translated into various languages.
A few days ago in Pakistan, a Christian pastor who has been “tortured every day in prison” since 2012 when he was first incarcerated, was sentenced to life in prison. Zafar Bhatti, 51, is accused of sending “blasphemous” text messages from his mobile phone; but human rights activists contend that the charge “was fabricated to remove him from his role as a Pastor.” His wife, Nawab Bibi, says: “Many Muslim people hated how quickly his church was growing; they have taken this action to undermine his work. Yet despite their actions the church grows. I wish our persecutors would see that Christians are not evil creatures. We are human beings created by God the same God that created them although they do not know this yet.”
A lie conceals the truth. And ugly but hidden truths never have a chance of being acknowledged, addressed, and ameliorated. Because of this simple truism, one of the greatest lies of our age—that violence committed in the name of Islam has nothing to do with Islam—has made an intrinsically weak Islam the scourge of the modern world, with no signs of relief on the horizon.
It is, therefore, useful to expose the main strategy used by liars in government, media, and academia: 1) to ignore the generic but chronic everyday reports of Muslim violence against non-Muslims around the world; 2) to address only spectacular Muslim violence, which, because it is almost always committed by professional jihadi groups can be portrayed as a finite, temporal, localized problem: defeat that particular “terrorist group” and the problem vanishes.
During his visit to Egypt last week, “Pope Francis visited al-Azhar University, a globally respected institution for Sunni Islamic learning,” and “met with Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the imam of the government-run Al-Azhar mosque and an Islamic philosophy professor.” This has been reported by several media, often with much fanfare.
A study from the Europe-based Center for Studies on New Religions recently confirmed that “Christians continue to be the most persecuted believers in the world, with over 90,000 followers of Christ being killed in the last year ,” which computes to one death every six minutes. The study also found that as many as 600 million Christians around the world were prevented from practicing their faith.
Which group is most prone to persecute Christians around the world? The answer to this was made clear by another recent study; it found that, of the ten nations around the world where Christians suffer the worst forms of persecution, nine are Islamic, though the absolute worst—North Korea—is not.
Tragic stories of Christian experiences under the Islamic State continued to emerge throughout the month of January. A Christian doctor who forfeited the chance to escape his Syrian village after ISIS had captured it because he wanted to stay and help the sick and needy, both Christian and Muslim, was kidnapped by the Muslim terrorists and ordered to renounce Christ for Muhammad. When he refused, they publicly slaughtered him. Similarly, after ISIS ordered another Christian youth in Syria to embrace Islam, he too refused and was slaughtered for it. His mother—who was prevented from burying her martyred son’s body—recalled that when ISIS first invaded their village, he reminded her of Jesus’ assertion in the New Testament: “If you deny me before men I will deny you before the Father.”
After ISIS raided the home of Zarefa, an elderly Christian woman in Iraq, they discovered crucifixes and Christian icons. “They forced me to spit on the Cross,” she recalled. “I told them that it was not appropriate, that it was a sin. He said that I must spit. ‘Don’t you see that I have a gun?’ he asked me. I said to myself, ‘Oh, the Cross! I am weak, I will spit on you. But Lord, I ask you to take revenge for me. I cannot escape from this.’” According to the report, “The shame is still visible on Zarefa’s face when she recounts the memory; her town, Qaraqosh, is liberated now, but she is still recovering from the traumatic two years that are only just behind her.”
While this incident received some coverage in Western media, attacks on churches in Egypt on or around Easter are not uncommon. For instance, this last April 12, just two days after the Palm Sunday attacks, authorities thwarted another Islamic terror attack targeting a Coptic monastery in Upper Egypt. Similarly, on April 12, 2015, Easter Sunday, two explosions targeting two separate churches took place in Egypt. Although no casualties were reported—hence no reporting in Western media—large numbers could easily have resulted, based on precedent (for example, on January 1, 2011, as Egypt’s Christians ushered in the New Year—another Christian holiday for Orthodox communities—car bombs went off near the Two Saints Church in Alexandria, resulting in 23 dead worshippers and dozens critically injured).
Less than four months earlier, around Christmas, another Christian church was bombed in Egypt, leaving 27 worshippers—mostly women and children—dead and wounding nearly 70. On New Year’s Day, 2011, yet another Egyptian church was bombed, leaving 23 worshippers dead.
The number of dead from Sunday’s bombings of two Coptic churches in Egypt has climbed to 50: thirty Christians were killed at the St. George Church in Tanta, and 15 Christians and five police officials were killed in St. Mark in Alexandria. About 120 are seriously injured.
Because Islamic suicide bombings are on the rise and we risk becoming desensitized to them, and because one picture is supposedly worth a thousand words, below are several images and a video of the bombings.
Egypt’s Christians began Holy Week celebrations by being blown up today. Two Coptic Christian Orthodox churches packed with worshippers for Palm Sunday mass were attacked by Islamic suicide bombers; a total of 44 were killed and 126 wounded or mutilated.
Horrific scenes of carnage—limbs and blood splattered on altars and pews—are being reported from both churches. Twenty-seven people—initial reports indicate mostly children—were killed in St. George’s in Tanta, north Egypt. “Where is the government?” yelled an angry Christian there to AP reporters. “There is no government! There was a clear lapse in security, which must be tightened from now on to save lives.”
A direct correlation exists between Western ignorance of history and Western ignorance of Islam’s “troublesome” doctrines. It is this connection that allows Islam’s apologists to get away with so many distortions and outright lies meant to shield Islam.
The persecution of Christians around the world, but especially in the Muslim world, has reached an all-time high—with 2016 being the “worst year yet,” according to Open Doors, which recently released its annual ranking of the top 50 countries where Christians face the most persecution.
A little known fact: When Muslims persecute religious minorities in their midst, they often justify it by projecting the worst aspects of Islam onto the “infidels.” A well-known phenomenon, “projection” is defined as “the attribution of one’s own ideas, feelings, or attitudes to other people.” One academic article states, “Projection allows the killer to project his (unacceptable) desire to kill (torture, rape, steal, dominate, etc.) onto some target group or person. This demonizes his target, making it even more acceptable to kill.”
Accordingly, anyone who listens to the last video made by ISIS inciting violence against Egypt’s Copts would think the Christian minority is oppressing the Muslim majority—hence the need for “heroic” ISIS to “retaliate.” Similarly, after ISIS slaughtered 21 Egyptian Christians on the shores of Libya in 2016, it made a video portraying its actions as “revenge” against the Coptic Church, which ISIS bizarrely accuses of kidnapping, torturing, and forcing Muslim women to convert to Christianity—all things Muslims regularly do to Christians in Egypt. (Apparently the killing of nearly 60 Christians in a Baghdad church a few years earlier—which the jihadis then also portrayed as revenge against the Coptic Church’s forced conversion of Muslim women—was not enough).
Donald Trump’s new national security advisor, Lt. General H.R. McMaster, has made troubling remarks—such as “the Islamic State is not Islamic”—that one expects from the D.C. establishment. However, a hearty endorsement that he gave to a 2010 book points to the totality of McMaster’s views on security issues as being worse than simply his parroting politically correct memes on Islam.
The book in question is Militant Islamist Ideology: Understanding the Global Threat. Written by CDR Youssef Aboul-Enein, it was published by the Naval Institute Press in 2010. I read and reviewed it back in 2012 and found its claims—many of which the Obama administration followed to disastrous results—to be incorrect and problematic.
As in previous years, the month of Christmas saw an uptick in Islamic attacks on Christians—much of it in the context of targeting Christmas related worship and celebrations.
The one to claim the most lives occurred in Egypt. There, on Sunday, December 11, an Islamic suicide bomber entered the St. Peter Cathedral in Cairo during mass, detonated himself and killed at least 27 worshippers, mostly women and children, and wounded nearly 70. A witness described the aftermath: “I found bodies, many of them women, lying on the pews. It was a horrible scene. I saw a headless woman being carried away. Everyone was in a state of shock. We were scooping up people’s flesh off the floor. There were children. What have they done to deserve this? I wish I had died with them instead of seeing these scenes.” In death toll and severity, this attack (pictures and videos of the aftermath here) surpassed the New Year’s Day bombing of an Alexandrian church that killed 23 people in 2011. A couple of weeks before Dec. 11’s bombing, a man hurled an improvised bomb at St. George Church in Samalout. Had the bomb detonated—it was dismantled in time—casualties would likely have been higher, as the church was packed with thousands of worshippers congregating for a special holiday service. In a separate December incident, Islamic slogans and messages of hate—including “you will die Christians”—were painted on the floor of yet another church, that of the Virgin Mary in Damietta.
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis’ pick for undersecretary of defense for policy, Anne Patterson, is problematic. Politico briefly explains why:
If nominated and confirmed, Patterson would hold the fourth most powerful position at the Pentagon—and would effectively be the top civilian in the Defense Department, since both Mattis and his deputy, Robert Work, were military officers. As ambassador to Egypt between 2011 and 2013, Patterson worked closely with former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and his Islamist government. She came under fire for cultivating too close a relationship with the regime and for discouraging protests against it—and White House officials are voicing concerns about those decisions now.
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