On Saturday, a frenzied mob of three thousand Muslims stormed the tiny Pakistani Christian village of Gojra. Enflamed by (unconfirmed) charges that a Christian had burned pages of the Qur'an, the mob burned down fifty homes, burned eight Christians alive, and wounded twenty others. Thousands of Christians fled the area.
Last Thursday, enraged by the same report of blasphemy, another Muslim mob torched seventy-five Christian homes, along with two churches, in Koriyan, a village near Gojra.
Muslims are not persecuting Christians only in Pakistan. On July 18, Muslims in Alexandria, Egypt kidnapped a sixteen-year-old Christian girl, Amira Markos, while she was on her way to work. Shortly thereafter her mother received a phone call: "At 10 o'clock of the same morning someone called me and asked if I was Amira's mother. He introduced himself as Sheikh Mohammed, and said that my daughter is fine and will convert to Islam. When I cried and begged him to let me have my daughter back, he said he would let me see her again after her conversion to Islam, and ended the call."
Amira's mother went to a local mosque, where matters got even worse. A Muslim sheikh told her: "Listen, mother of Amira, I am warning you not to report the abduction to the police or do anything, the price will be your son Meena [a nine-year-old boy] being slaughtered in front of your own eyes. I am not threatening, I'm talking seriously. Listen, your daughter Amira will convert to Islam next Friday, and we are now preparing her for that. Now go home and stay indoors until everything is quietly over."
This is nothing new. The leader of Egypt's Coptic Church, Pope Shenouda III, said in 2004: "I have received so many letters about what's happening to the Christian girls who go to supermarket stores to shop. At the store they tell them that they have won and have to go upstairs to receive their award or prize. After that we don't know what's happening to these girls upstairs. We don't know where they took the girls. They could be anywhere." They most likely have been taken to places where they can be pressured to convert to Islam.
Explained Wilfred Wong of the Jubilee Campaign, a Christian human rights group: "The attempts to force Christians to convert to Islam in Egypt are on the increase and the methods are getting increasingly varied and well organized." These efforts "are being conducted by well funded groups. It is common for money to be offered to Christians to convert to Islam...but it also common for intimidation and force, including kidnapping and the threat or use of rape to be adopted as a method of making Christians convert to Islam. Christian women and girls are especially vulnerable to these attacks and the Egyptian authorities do nothing to protect the Christians. The Egyptian police even order the families of kidnapped Christian women to forget about their daughters and not to try to get them back."
From where does the Islamic animus toward Christians come? Certainly Islamic jihadists despise Christians based on Qur'anic imperatives -- verses that say that those who "call Christ the son of Allah" are under "Allah's curse" (9:30), and that command Muslims to "fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day...(even if they are) of the People of the Book" -- that is, primarily Jews and Christians (9:29). Islamic apologists in the West assure non-Muslims that Muslims do not take such passages literally today, yet the daily news contradicts them. Muslims in far too many areas of the world are growing increasingly less tolerant toward their non-Muslim neighbors.
Destruction of lives and property over unsubstantiated charges that would be trivial even if they were substantiated. Kidnapping and forced conversion. Yet these incidents have received only scant attention in the mainstream media. And not only the international media, but also the human rights establishment and the United Nations, continue to take no notice. In their conceptual framework, only Westerners can do evil, and Christians cannot possibly play the role of victim. The sooner the world casts off these Leftist/jihadist fantasies, the better off we'll all be. But there are no signs that such an awakening will take place anytime soon, if ever.
By Robert Spencer
Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of eight books, eleven monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including the New York Times Bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book, Stealth Jihad: How Radical Islam is Subverting America without Guns or Bombs, is available now from Regnery Publishing.