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Muslim persecution of Christians is widespread. Particularly despised are former Muslims who converted to Christianity, for they stand in violation of traditional Islamic Law's injunction against apostasy. According to all contemporary schools of Islamic jurisprudence, that is a crime punishable by death, in accordance with the Prophet Muhammad's command: “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.”

Islamic Law mandates that Christians be subjected to a second-class status requiring them to pay a special tax (jizya) from which Muslims are exempt. Christians are not permitted to hold any kind of authority over Muslims; are forbidden to build new churches or to repair old ones; and must submit to various other humiliating and discriminatory regulations.

Because many Muslims listen to directives from radical imams preaching hatred of “infidels,” a wave of terror has engulfed Christians in Muslim nations throughout the Middle East and North Africa. For example, in October 2006 a Muslim group from Syria kidnapped an Orthodox priest, Fr. Boulos Iskander, while he was shopping in the Iraqi city of Mosul. His captors demanded not only that a large ransom be paid, but also that Fr. Boulos’ parish publicly denounce some remarks critical of Islam that the Pope had made the previous month in an address in Germany -- and to which Muslims in numerous nations had responded by rioting. The ransom was paid and the church dutifully posted 30 large signs all over Mosul denouncing the Pope's comments. In response, his captors not only murdered Boulos but dismembered his body.

This killing took place against a backdrop of increasing persecution of Christians in Iraq. Women there have been threatened with kidnapping or death if they fail to wear a headscarf. In accord with traditional Islamic legal restrictions on Christians openly displaying wine or pork, liquor-store owners in Iraq have likewise been threatened, and many of their businesses have been destroyed. In March 2007 Islamic gangs knocked on doors in Christian neighborhoods in Baghdad, demanding payment of the jizya. At least half of the 700,000 Christians who lived in Iraq prior to 2003 have fled the country since the fall of Saddam Hussein.

In Egypt, Coptic Christians have suffered discrimination and harassment for centuries, and their plight is worsening. Mob attacks on churches and individual Christians are becoming ever-more frequent. In February 1996, a swarm of approximately 10,000 Muslim youths pillaged and burned three Christian villages 60 miles northeast of Cairo. Many Christians living in Upper Egypt have been forced to pay "protection money" to Muslim racketeers.

In Pakistan, Christians are commonly denied equality of rights with Muslims and are subjected to various types of discrimination. Jihadist aggression, in the form of mob violence and threats, is widespread. In one attack in October 2001, 18 Pakistani Christians were murdered during a worship service.

In Saudi Arabia, absolutely no public expression of Christianity is permitted. It is illegal even to wear a cross necklace, to read a Bible, or to whisper Christian prayers in the privacy of one's own home. There is a nationwide ban on all Christian churches, artifacts, and literature. A special religious police force, known as the muttawa, conducts forcible (and unannounced) inspections of people's homes, searching for evidence of non-Islamic behavior or possessions.

In Indonesia the extremist group Laskar Jihad has killed as many as 10,000 Christians. In addition, it has forcibly converted thousands more to Islam, and has destroyed hundreds of Christian churches.

In Sudan, the Khartoum regime for years waged a bloody jihad against the Christians in the southern part of the country, killing two million of them and displacing five million more. According to Nina Shea, an expert on the persecution of Christians in the Muslim world:

"The Sudanese government and its agents have bombed, burned, and looted southern villages; enslaved women and children; forcibly converted Christians and other boys and sent them into battle; relocated entire villages into concentration camps called 'peace villages'; and withheld food aid to starving Christian and animist communities until they converted to Islam."

In Spring 2003, Sudanese jihadists burned to death a Christian pastor and his family while carrying out an unprovoked massacre of 59 villagers.

In Nigeria, Muslim mobs have torched churches and have enforced Sharia codes on Christians, horse-whipping female Christian college students whom they deemed to be dressed improperly.

Even in Lebanon, traditionally the Middle East’s sole Christian land, Christians suffer persecution – marked most notably by the ongoing series of assassinations of Christian political leaders. Lebanese Christian communities that date back to the dawn of Christianity have been steadily decreasing in numbers; now the faith is on the verge of disappearing from the area altogether.

All around the Muslim world, an assertive, combative, and expansionist Islam is newly energized. This resurgence stems in large measure from the billions of Saudi oil dollars that have been made available for the spread of the global jihad. Another major factor is the communications revolution, which has allowed for the quick and easy dissemination of jihadist ideology into areas of the Islamic world where it had lain dormant for centuries. Christians have been the principal victims.

Adapted from "Islamic Prejudice: Christians,"  by Robert Spencer (October 4, 2007); and In the Lion's Den, by Nina Shea (Nashville, Tennessee: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1997).



This Month in Muslim Persecution of Christians (Introduction)

List of Islamic Terror Attacks on Christians (Since 9/11)


Muslim Persecution of Christians (pamphlet)
By Robert Spencer

215 Million Christians Persecuted, Mostly by Muslims
By Raymond Ibrahim
January 21, 2018

Islamic Prejudice: Christians
By Robert Spencer
October 4, 2007

World Ignores Christian Exodus from Islamic World
By Raymond Ibrahim
August 6, 2014

The Existential Elephant in the 'Christian Persecution' Room
By Raymond Ibrahim
January 17, 2014

World WatchList: Persecution of Christians Around the World
By Open Doors USA
June 2014

Death to Churches Under Islam: A Study of the Coptic Church
By Raymond Ibrahim
April 25, 2013
Islam’s Religious Intolerance
By Rachel Ehrenfeld
December 19, 2005

Muslim Persecution of Christians
By Robert Spencer
May 15, 2009

The Mass Exodus of Christians from the Muslim World
By Raymond Ibrahim
May 8, 2013 

The Forgotten Genocide: Why It Matters Today
By Raymond Ibrahim
April 25, 2013 

The Tip of the Iceberg of Christian Persecution
By Raymond Ibrahim
September 13, 2012
The Arab Spring and Christian Persecution
By Joseph Puder
September 8, 2011

Islamists Targeting Christians "Wherever They Can Reach Them"
By Raymond Ibrahim
December 3, 2010
Raped and Ransacked in the Muslim World
By Raymond Ibrahim
June 2, 2011

Destroying One Koran vs. Destroying Many Christians
Which is Worse?

By Raymond Ibrahim
April 8, 2011

Ramadan: Islam’s ‘Holy Month’ of Christian Oppression
By Raymond Ibrahim
August 28, 2012
Christian Dhimmitude in the Middle East
By George Weigel
May 9, 2011

Christianity "Close to Extinction" in Middle East
By The Telegraph
December 24, 2012

Persecuted on All Sides: Christians in the Modern World
By Andrew Harrod
April 11, 2013

Killings of Christians by Islamists Doubled in 2013
By Majid Rafizadeh
January 17, 2014


The Christian Era in the Middle East is Over
By Israel Nation News
April 4, 2012


Egypt's Deadliest Church Attack
By Raymond Ibrahim
December 12, 2016

A Christian Pogrom in Egypt
By Raymond Ibrahim
November 13, 2013

Jihad on Egypt’s Christian Children
By Raymond Ibrahim
June 7, 2013

Islam’s Collective Punishment of Christians
By Raymond Ibrahim
April 23, 2013

An Islamic Declaration of War on Christianity
BY Raymond Ibrahim
April 17, 2013

Jihad Erupts on Egypt’s Christians, Again
By Raymond Ibrahim
April 9, 2013

Al Qaeda Flag Flies High Above Christian Churches
By Raymond Ibrahim
August 7, 2013

Victimization of Egypt's Christians Worse After Revolution
By Raymond Ibrahim
September 4, 2012

Egypt's Massacre of Christians: What the Media Does Not Want You To Know
By Raymond Ibrahim
October 31, 2011
Silence on Egypt’s Christian Slaughter
By Joseph Puder
October 19, 2011

Christians Under Siege in Egypt
By Rick Moran
October 11, 2011

100,000 Christians Have Left Egypt Since March
By The Assyrian International News agency
September 27, 2011

Muslim 'Inferiority Complex' Kills Christians
By Raymond Ibrahim
May 14, 2011


World Ignores Christian Exodus from Islamic World
By Raymond Ibrahim
August 6, 2014

The Silent Extermination of Iraq’s ‘Christian Dogs’
By Raymond Ibrahim
April 19, 2011

Revisiting “The Silent Extermination of Iraq’s ‘Christian Dogs’”
By Raymond Ibrahim
August 21, 2014

Sebastian Gorka: Christian Holocaust Underway in Iraq; USA and World Look on
By Breitbart.com
July 19, 2014


Christian Slaughter in Libya
By Raymond Ibrahim
February 17, 2015

Hatred of Christians Unleashed in Libya
By Raymond Ibrahim
March 6, 2013

Mass Arrest and Torture of Christians in Libya
By Raymond Ibrahim
March 1, 2013


Islam’s Persecution of Christians in Malaysia
By Front Page Magazine
Junev22, 2011


A Day in the Tortured Life of Christians in the Middle East
By Theodore Shoebat
February 13, 2013

World Ignores Christian Exodus from Islamic World
By Raymond Ibrahim
August 6, 2014

Muslim and Non-Muslim Persecution of Christians, Compared
By Raymond Ibrahim
February 5, 2015


Nigeria: Where Jihad and Christian Persecution Run Rampant
By Raymond Ibrahim
October 2, 2013

U.S. at Easter: When Christians Are Slaughtered, Look the Other Way
By Raymond Ibrahim


Islamist "Justice": Slow, Painful Death for Christian Mother in Pakistan
By Raymond Ibrahim
July 31, 2015

56 Dead As Philippine Troops Start to Fight Their Way into Rebel-Held Villages
By the Associated Press
September 14, 2013

Christian Genocide in Somalia
By Frank Crimi
August 19, 2011


Syria’s Christians Nearing "Extermination"
By Raymond Ibrahim
September 24, 2013

"Largest Massacre of Christians in Syria" Ignored
By Raymond Ibrahim
November 21, 2013


World Watch List


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