Translating Words, Interpreting Events

Muslim Persecution of Christians: A Centuries Old Phenomenon

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Arabic - Danish

The one glaring fact concerning the persecution of approximately 100 million Christians around the world today is that the overwhelming majority of it is being committed by Muslims of all races, nationalities, languages, and socio-political circumstances: Muslims from among America’s allies (Saudi Arabia) and from its enemies (Iran); Muslims from economically rich nations (Qatar) and from poor nations (Somalia and Yemen); Muslims from “Islamic republic” nations (Afghanistan) and from “moderate” nations (Malaysia and Indonesia); Muslims from nations rescued by America (Kuwait) and Muslims from nations claiming “grievances” against the U.S. (fill in the blank __).

A Coptic church burns in 2011, just as thousands of Coptic churches before it were burned over the course of almost 14 centuries, since Islam invaded and colonized Egypt

This fact is underscored in Open Doors’ recent 2015 World Watch List—a report that highlights and ranks the 50 worst nations persecuting Christians.  It finds that “Islamic extremism” is the main source of persecution in 40 of the top 50 countries—that is, 80 percent of the nations where Christians are persecuted are Muslim.  As for the top ten worst countries persecuting Christians, nine of them are Muslim-majority—that is, 90 percent of nations where Christians experience “extreme persecution” are Muslim.

Still, considering that the 2015 World Watch List ranks North Korea—non-Islamic, communist—as the number one worst persecutor of Christians, why belabor the religious identity of Muslims?  Surely Christian persecution is not intrinsic to the Islamic world, but is a product of repressive regimes and other socio-economic factors—as the North Korean example suggests and as many analysts and media maintain?

Here we come to some critically important but blurred distinctions.   While Christians are indeed suffering extreme persecution in North Korea, these fall into the realm of the temporal and aberrant.  Something as simple as overthrowing the North Korean regime would likely end persecution there overnight—just as the fall of Communist Soviet Union saw religious persecution come to a quick close.

In the Islamic world, however, a similar scenario would not alleviate the sufferings of Christians by an iota.  Quite the opposite; where dictators fall (often thanks to U.S. intervention)—Saddam in Iraq, Qaddafi in Libya, and ongoing attempts against Assad in Syria—Christian persecution dramatically rises.  Today Iraq is the third worst nation in the world in which to be Christian, Syria fourth, and Libya 13th.

The reason for this dichotomy is that Christian persecution by non-Muslims (mostly communists) is often rooted in a particular regime.  Conversely, Muslim persecution of Christians is perennial, existential, and far transcends this or that regime or ruler.  It is part and parcel of the history, doctrines, and socio-political makeup of Islam—hence its tenacity; hence its ubiquity.

Moreover, atheistic communism is a relatively new phenomenon—about a century old—and, over the years, its rule (if not variants of its ideology) has greatly waned, so that only a handful of nations today are communist.

On the other hand, Muslim persecution of Christians is as old as Islam. It is a well-documented, even if suppressed, history.

To further understand the differences between temporal and existential persecution, consider Russia. Under communism, its own Christians were grossly persecuted; yet today, after the fall of the USSR, Russia is again reclaiming its Orthodox Christian heritage (and is prominent among Western nations for showing support for persecuted Christians).

North Korea—where Kim Jong-Un is worshipped as a god and the people are shielded from reality—seems to be experiencing what Russia did under the Soviet Union.  But if the once mighty USSR could not persevere, surely it’s a matter of time before tiny North Korea’s walls also come crumbling down, with the resulting religious freedom that former communist nations have experienced. (Tellingly, the only countries that were part of the USSR that still persecute Christians are Muslim, such as Uzbekistan, ranked #15, “severe persecution,” and Turkmenistan, ranked #20, also “severe persecution.”)

Time, however, is not on the side of Christians living amid Muslims; quite the opposite. The histories compiled by objective, medieval Muslims make abundantly clear that century after century of religious persecution and discrimination is responsible for transforming territory that in the seventh century made up half of the Christian world—Egypt, Syria, Turkey, North Africa—into what is today casually called the “Muslim world.”

One example: in Taqi al-Din al-Maqrizi’s (d. 1442) authoritative history of Egypt—which was a major center of Christianity before Islam invaded—anecdote after anecdote is recorded of Muslims burning churches, slaughtering Christians, enslaving their women and children.  The only escape then—and even today, as groups like the Islamic State make clear—was for Christians to convert to Islam.

After recording one particularly egregious bout of persecution, where reportedly some 30,000 churches in Egypt and Syria were destroyed, the pious Muslim historian concludes: “Under these circumstances a great many Christians became Muslims.”

In short, Muslim persecution of Christians exists in 40 nations today as part of a continuum—or “tradition”—that started nearly 14 centuries ago.  As I document in Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (where al-Maqrizi’s anecdotes are referenced, pgs. 39-41), the very same patterns of Christian persecution prevalent throughout the Muslim world today are often identical to those from centuries past.

A final consideration: North Korea, the one non-Muslim nation making the top ten worst persecutors list, is governed by what is widely seen as an unbalanced megalomaniac; conversely, the other nine nations are not dominated by any “cults-of-personalities” and are variously governed, including through parliamentarian democracies (Iraq), republics (Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Syria), Islamic republics (Afghanistan, Iran), one-party states (Eritrea), and monarchies (Saudi Arabia, ranked 12).

The common denominator is that they are all Islamic nations.

Thus, long after North Korea’s psychotic Kim Jong-Un has gone the way of the dodo, tens of millions of Christians and other “infidels”—short of a miracle, either from Western intervention or true Islamic reformation—will continue to suffer extreme persecution, till what started in the seventh century reaches fruition and the entire Islamic world becomes “infidel” free.


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  • marlene

    Obama has just proven that the truth is not in him, with his latest demonically insane tirade of blaming the christians for their own persecution and justifying both islam’s barbarism and black racist hate. Unfortunately, this is one article that he will not read. He’s completely blind and I don’t expect God to bother to enlighten him any more than he did pharoah or

  • Sam Boulis

    I have a hard time believing Islam would persecute Christians and torch their churches after all, they are the religion of peace peace as preached by POTUS!

  • piet-hein

    Raymond, concerning the nine countries in the Top-ten which you call non-personality cult, I want to respectfully diagree, and express that islam is the greatest personality cult ever, and that this has a strong explanatory power for islam’s successes. The present-day young men that join the world’s islamist movements, are loaded with testosterone, and identify with the Prophet, who had all imaginable earthly rewards in his lifetime. These were: first of all, all sorts of sexual pleasure, further military power and an plenty of honour among his contemporaries. And… he needed not sow, or care, or cure, or build, or manufacture anything. The non-fighters did all that for the fighters, so that the latter had eternal vacation, already on earth. All these rewards, islam teaches, are still bestowed upon the Prophet in heaven at present (for… in the eyes of each and every Muslim, He Lives now!!). They are bestowed also upon his followers, especially the martyrs. And, on earth, upon those who follow the Prophet in his doings. Islam has managed to permanently tap energy from young men’s greed for all this. That is a much stronger source of energy than love for Allah, or love for the wisdom and beauty of the Koran could ever be. Young men’s lust for life is the everflowing energy source. The story of Muhammad being rewarded with all that young men lust after, is what awakens their greed for a hadith-like life. And keeps that awake. This greed is honoured throughout the muslim world, including the religious realm. What more do you want to explain? This convinced millions and millions of young men, through the ages, for always flows the testosterone… Muhammad may be dead, and dead people rarely arouse personality cults, but M. succeeded! He’s the all-time world champion. Now here’s the good news. Our age, especially the communication media, will make it harder and harder to grow new personality cults. Had M. been born today, I bet he would never succeed like he did ‘then’. He’d become just one of the vast army of loonies that say they have a direct line with the Creator. Laughs, and nothing more would come of it. Still, islam is essentially a personality cult, and the most successful ever, at that.

    • CrystalDawn0603

      I think the difference between Islam and North Korea is that the Muslim countries all worship the same personality.

  • CrystalDawn0603

    Thank you, thank you, thank you, Raymond, for shining a spotlight on this and not being afraid of the backlash. I’m sure you see your share of apologists claiming you’re painting all Muslims the same, but you stand strong and do not back down from the truth. Again, thank you.

  • Stephen Sponsler

    An interesting video by Physicist Bill Warner regarding the truths regarding the historic development of the Koran (s) and the implications of them when they went from being purely ‘religious’ to becoming a Political Movement under the facade (veneer) of being a religion coming from the words of an angel ‘gabriel’ to Mohammed (who though not stated in the video, and first presumed to be under demonic attack). The first 5 minutes in general are about his books put out on the matter, from there on he gets to the matters at hand.