Muslim Persecution of Christians, October 2012

Raymond Ibrahim does a great, if depressing, service by periodically cataloging Muslim persecution of Christians around the world. This month’s recitation includes, among others, these incidents:

Egypt: A Muslim mob, consisting mostly of Salafis, surrounded St. George Church in the Beni Suef Governorate. Armed with batons, they assaulted Christians as they exited the church after Sunday mass; five were hospitalized with broken limbs. The Salafi grievance is that Christians from neighboring villages, who have no churches to serve them, are traveling and attending St. George. The priest could not leave the church for hours after the mass, even though he contacted the police.

Indonesia: [T]wo law enforcement agents who were investigating a recent attack on the Christian community were kidnapped; their murdered bodies were later found dumped near an “extremist Muslim” group’s training ground.

Kenya: A grenade was thrown into the Sunday school building of St. Polycarp Anglican Church; it blew off the roof, killing one boy and injuring eight other children who were attending Sunday school.

Nigeria: An Islamic suicide bomber rammed an SUV loaded with explosives into St. Rita Catholic Church holding Sunday Mass; he killed eight people and wounded more than 100. … Also, the Church of Brethren was raided by Islamic gunmen who killed at least two people and set the church ablaze. Many churches, fearing further attacks, are shutting down.

Pakistan: The Catholic Church of St. Francis, the oldest of the archdiocese of Karachi, was attacked by a Muslim mob of 600, who destroyed property but did not manage to break through the front door.

Sudan: Asia Omer, a Christian mother of seven, the youngest of which is four months old, was killed in an aerial bombardment near a church by “Sudanese government forces as they continue a ruthless campaign of ethnic and religious cleansing in the predominantly Christian regions of the Nuba Mountains.”

Syria: A Greek Orthodox priest, Fr. Fadi Jamil Haddad, was kidnapped by armed groups from among the opposition. Days later, his body, which was “horribly tortured and his eyes gouged out,” was found dumped near the place he was abducted. … Also, the last remaining Christian in the center of Homs, an 84 year-old Greek Orthodox, was killed, and the convent of the Jesuits hit again.

To Ibrahim’s list I would add the murder of Birgitta Almby, a 71-year-old Swedish woman who was gunned down by two men in Lahore, Pakistan. Almby was a teacher of Christian children in Pakistan. Ben Cohen reports in Commentary:

Were it not for the valiant agency Morning Star News, which specializes in documenting the persecution of Christians around the world, even fewer news consumers would know the name of this angelic-looking, 71-year-old Swedish lady who was gunned down in the Pakistani city of Lahore:

Shot by two armed men outside her house in Lahore’s upscale Model Town as she returned from her Full Gospel Assemblies (FGA) office in the Kot Lakhpat area, Almby died at about 10 p.m. Pakistan Standard Time at Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm, FGA Bible School Principal Liaqat Qaiser told Morning Star News.

…There is much that can be said about the significance of Almby’s murder. To begin with, it is a particularly horrific example of the violence meted out towards Christians in the Islamic world, whether natives or foreigners, from Egypt to Indonesia. Additionally, Superintendent Dogar’s statements are yet more confirmation that, whether through fear or collusion or a combination of the two, every Pakistani security agency appears to crumble at the mere mention of the Taliban. …

Yet what stands out most of all is the media silence around the killing of Birgitta Almby. Outside of Swedish press outlets like Aftonbladet, which published a heart-rending photograph of Almby with one of her young charges, no media organization of any significance has yet picked up the story.

The lack of media coverage of these incidents is certainly troubling, but it reflects the indifference that most Christians apparently feel toward the brutal fate of their fellow Christians in Muslim-majority regions.

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