Human rights organization Open Doors published its 2014 World Watch List in January, highlighting and ranking the top 50 nations that persecute Christians. The overwhelming majority of countries making the list—and nine of the top ten worst offenders—are Muslim, and include nations from among America’s allies (Saudi Arabia, Kuwait) and its contenders (Iran); from among economically rich nations (Qatar) and poor nations (Somalia and Yemen); from among “Islamic republic” nations (Afghanistan), “democracies” (Iraq), and “moderate” nations (Malaysia and Indonesia).
The report also indicates that every Muslim nation that the U.S. has helped “liberate,” including in the context of the “Arab Spring,” has become significantly worse for Christians and other minorities. Previously moderate Syria is now ranked the third worst nation in the world to be Christian, Iraq fourth, Afghanistan fifth, and Libya 13th. All four receive the worst designation in the ranking process: “extreme persecution.”
Three of these countries—Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya—were “liberated” in part thanks to U.S. forces, while in the fourth, Syria, the U.S. is actively sponsoring “freedom fighters” against the regime, many of whom have been responsible for any number of atrocities—including massacres, beheadings, and the crucifixion of Christians and others.
Despite this track record of interfering in Islamic nations only for the human rights of minorities to plummet, and despite the fact that Syria has gotten dramatically worse for Christian minorities, Secretary of State John Kerry declared in January that, if only Bashar Assad goes away, “I believe that a peace can protect all of the minorities: Druze, Christian, Isma‘ilis, Alawites—all of them can be protected, and you can have a pluralistic Syria, in which minority rights of all people are protected.”
The same was predicted of Iraq over a decade ago, yet today, well more than half of the Christians are either dead or fled, after years of constant attacks on their churches and persons once Arab dictator Saddam Hussein was ousted.
Libya offers a more recent precedent. Since U.S.-backed “rebels” overthrew Qaddafi, Christians—including Americans—have been tortured and killed (some for refusing to convert), their churches bombed, and their nuns threatened.
January’s roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed by theme and country in alphabetical order, not necessarily according to severity.
Attacks on Christian Churches
Egypt: Christian churches were severely targeted during the first month of 2014. Among other incidents, during New Year Eve church services, Muslim Brotherhood supporters attacked St. George Church in Ain Shams; one young Coptic man died from a bullet wound to the head. International Christian Concern reports that on Friday, January 3, Muslim Brotherhood supporters also attacked an Evangelical Church in the Gesr El Suez area of Cairo, “pelt[ing] stones on the church and chanting slogans against Christians,” in the words of a local. Reports indicate that “there was no security for the church building and that the attackers operated with impunity.” On Sunday, January 5, security forces in Suez disrupted a terrorist cell belonging to the “Supporters of Jerusalem,” which was plotting to attack a nearby church during January 7 Orthodox Christmas celebrations. Among other things, a bomb was found in the bathroom of the Three Saints Church in Beni Suef city, which was diffused by police. On January 10, security forces “arrested a bearded person in possession of four hand grenades in a handbag next to the Church of two Saints,” according to a local Christian. (In 2011, a suicide attack on the same church on New Year’s Eve resulted in the killing of over 20 Christian worshippers). On January 24, authorities found explosives inside a car parked behind the Al Malak church, which was targeted, “to be exploded,” sources told International Christian Concern. On Saturday, January 25, Security forces in Ismailia Security directorate found 26 Molotov Cocktails inside a bag next to the church of St. Bishoy in Ismailia city. Witnesses say that the person in possession of the bag of explosives was sitting in a car next to the church and that “he fled when he saw the policemen.” On January 28, “A group of armed men,” reported Asia News, “attacked the Coptic Orthodox Church of the Virgin Mary in the governorate of Giza. Police responded to gunfire and one officer died in the shootout, while two others were injured.”… Click for complete report