Persecution Report from Across the Middle East
ICC Note: In a summary of persecution from the month of October, there is a disturbing trend of the abuses specifically targeting women and children. While not all of the events cited here are clearly persecution of Christians for specific acts of faith, they do show a level of hostility of those who are identified as Christians. Many of the attacks have been at the hands of extremist militant groups who are hostile towards all. The more troubling instances, such as in Egypt, are the blatant disregard for the safety of citizens shown by security forces.
By Raymond Ibrahim
12/17/2013 Syria (Gatestone Institute) – Two of the most tragic Islamic attacks on Christians, killing several women and children, took place in the month of October, one in Syria, another in Egypt.
On October 21 in Syria, U.S.-supported Islamist rebels invaded and occupied the ancient Christian settlement of Sadad for over a week, until ousted by the Syrian army. What took place that week was “the largest massacre of Christians in Syria,” in the words of Orthodox Archbishop Alnemeh. Among other things, 45 Christians—including women and children—were killed, several were tortured to death; mass graves were discovered; all of Sadad’s 14 churches, some ancient, were ransacked and destroyed; the bodies of six people from one family, ranging from ages 16 to 90, were found at the bottom of a well (an increasingly common fate for “subhuman” Christians).
The jihadis also made a graphic video (with English subtitles) of those whom they massacred, while shouting Islam’s victory-cry, “Allahu Akbar!” [“Allah is Greater!,” meaning “than anything”]. Another video, made after Sadad was liberated, shows more graphic atrocities.
The day before rebels invaded Sadad, on Sunday, October 20, the Church of the Virgin Mary in Warraq, near Cairo, Egypt, was attacked during a wedding ceremony. The attack left four dead and nearly two dozen wounded. According to a report issued by a forensic team, two of those murdered were young girls, each named Mary: 12-year-old Mary Nabil Fahmy, who was shot five times in the chest, and 8-year-old Mary Ashraf Masih (“Masih” meaning “Christ”), who was shot in the back.
The security forces charged with protecting the church were seen leaving their posts immediately before the massacre began, as happens frequently in Egypt and other Islamic nations. In the words of Asia News, “Eye-witnesses of the al-Warraq attack confirm that despite numerous distress calls, police and ambulances only arrived on the scene two hours after the shooting.”
These massacres in Syria and Egypt received scant attention and even less condemnation from Western media and governments. Instead, people such as Mohamed Elibiary, an Obama administration Homeland Security adviser, condemned Copts who raise awareness of anti-Christian violence in Egypt as promoting “Islamophobic” bigotry.
Although Christians are habitually killed in Muslim countries, as this series attests, the U.S. government rarely condemns the practice or even acknowledges it. When five Muslims were killed in western Burma, however, the U.S. issued a formal condemnation, according to Voice of America, “urging authorities to do more to address the long-standing sectarian tension there.”