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The PJ Tatler

by
Raymond Ibrahim

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May 16, 2013 - 2:02 pm

The lost history of Christians forced to convert to Islam—or die—is reemerging, figuratively and literally. According to the BBC: “Pope Francis has proclaimed the first saints of his pontificate in a ceremony [last Sunday] at the Vatican—a list which includes 800 victims of an atrocity carried out by Ottoman soldiers in 1480.They were beheaded in the southern Italian town of Otranto after refusing to convert to Islam.”

Palestinian Christian protesters lament the forced conversions of loved ones

The BBC adds in a sidebar: “The ‘Martyrs of Otranto’ were 813 Italians beheaded for defying demands by Turkish invaders to renounce Christianity.  The Turks had been sent by Mohammed II, who had already captured the ‘second Rome’ of Constantinople.”

Historical texts throughout the centuries are filled with similar anecdotes, including the “60 Martyrs of Gaza,” Christian soldiers who were executed for refusing Islam during the 7th century Islamic invasion of Jerusalem. Seven centuries later, during the Islamic invasion of Georgia, Christians refusing to convert were forced into their church and set on fire. Witnesses for Christ lists 200 anecdotes of Christians killed—including some burned at the stake, thrown on iron spikes, dismembered, stoned, stabbed, shot at, drowned, pummeled to death, impaled and crucified—for refusing to embrace Islam.

If history is shocking, the fact is, today, Christians—men, women, and children—are still being forced to convert to Islam.  Pope Francis alluded to their sufferings during the same ceremony: “As we venerate the martyrs of Otranto, let us ask God to sustain those many Christians who, in these times and in many parts of the world, right now, still suffer violence, and give them the courage and fidelity to respond to evil with good.”

Consider some recent anecdotes:

In Pakistan, a “devoted Christian” was butchered by Muslim men “with multiple axe blows [24 per autopsy] for refusing to convert to Islam.” Another two Christian men returning from church were accosted by six Muslims who tried to force them to convert to Islam, but “the two refused to renounce Christianity.”  Accordingly, the Muslims severely beat them, yelling they must either convert “or be prepared to die. . . . the two Christians fell unconscious, and the young Muslim men left assuming they had killed them.”

In Bangladesh some 300 Christian children were abducted in 2012 and sold to Islamic schools, where “imams force them to abjure Christianity.”  The children are then instructed in Islam and beaten. After full indoctrination they are asked if they are “ready to give their lives for Islam,” presumably by becoming jihadi suicide-bombers.  (Even here the historic patterns are undeniable: for centuries, Christian children were forcibly taken, converted to and indoctrinated in Islam, trained to be jihadis extraordinaire, and then unleashed on their former Christian families.  Such were the Janissaries and Mamelukes.)

In Palestine in 2012, Christians in Gaza protested over the “kidnappings and forced conversions of some former believers to Islam.” The ever-dwindling Christian community banged on a church bell while chanting, “With our spirit, with our blood we will sacrifice ourselves for you, Jesus.”… Continue reading

Raymond Ibrahim, a Middle East and Islam specialist, is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). His writings have appeared in a variety of media, including the Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst, Middle East Quarterly, World Almanac of Islamism, and Chronicle of Higher Education; he has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS, Reuters, Al-Jazeera, NPR, Blaze TV, and CBN. Ibrahim regularly speaks publicly, briefs governmental agencies, provides expert testimony for Islam-related lawsuits, and testifies before Congress. He is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center; Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow, Middle East Forum; and a Media Fellow at the Hoover Institution, 2013. Ibrahim’s dual-background -- born and raised in the U.S. by Coptic Egyptian parents born and raised in the Middle East -- has provided him with unique advantages, from equal fluency in English and Arabic, to an equal understanding of the Western and Middle Eastern mindsets, positioning him to explain the latter to the former.

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Top Rated Comments   
Me again, resident atheist.

There's a great episode of South Park that pokes fun at the Mormons. It runs down all the beliefs they hold that sound nutty to a guy like me, in the usual South Park manner. But the punchline of the episode is that the Mormon kid is and his family are truly good people, and Stan comes to realize that in rejecting them along with their religion he deprived himself of what could have been a wonderful friendship. The moral of the story is that how a person acts is a lot more important than why they act that way.

Where am I going with this?

I think all religions have the exact same basis in fact, which is to say none. But to deny that some religions worldwide act differently from others is to be so astoundingly ignorant or willfully blind as to defy belief. I never hear stories about Hindus chopping burning down their neighbors' homes over religious differences. I can't remember the last time a Shinto practitioner chopped someone's head off on youtube. And those lunatics certainly were not shouting "Jesus is great" as they flew planes into my office building.

Islam is uniquely dangerous, and it has been from the moment it was founded. That should be equally recognizable to the most secular atheist, the most devout Christian and everyone in between. George W. Bush famously said "we are not at war with Islam". Well, maybe we ought to be.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (7)
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Religion/Culture/Government, that's how it works. You know a tree by its fruit. Look at the cultures and governments of the world. They are the way they are because of their belief system, which generates the culture, which generates the government. The Middle East is the way it is because of a false prophet and his idol.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Me again, resident atheist.

There's a great episode of South Park that pokes fun at the Mormons. It runs down all the beliefs they hold that sound nutty to a guy like me, in the usual South Park manner. But the punchline of the episode is that the Mormon kid is and his family are truly good people, and Stan comes to realize that in rejecting them along with their religion he deprived himself of what could have been a wonderful friendship. The moral of the story is that how a person acts is a lot more important than why they act that way.

Where am I going with this?

I think all religions have the exact same basis in fact, which is to say none. But to deny that some religions worldwide act differently from others is to be so astoundingly ignorant or willfully blind as to defy belief. I never hear stories about Hindus chopping burning down their neighbors' homes over religious differences. I can't remember the last time a Shinto practitioner chopped someone's head off on youtube. And those lunatics certainly were not shouting "Jesus is great" as they flew planes into my office building.

Islam is uniquely dangerous, and it has been from the moment it was founded. That should be equally recognizable to the most secular atheist, the most devout Christian and everyone in between. George W. Bush famously said "we are not at war with Islam". Well, maybe we ought to be.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"I think all religions have the exact same basis in fact, which is to say none"

None. That's a fantastical belief. Or perhaps it's just laziness.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Or perhaps you just don't understand what the word "fact" means.

Put down the Bible and pick up a dictionary sometime, you might learn something.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"I never hear stories about Hindus chopping burning down their neighbors' homes over religious differences."

I'm an atheist too but while I agree that Islam has an especially appalling record, it simply isn't factually correct to say that they have a monopoly on bad behaviour.

Find a book on the frenzy that overtook India when it got its independence and was partitiioned into India and Pakistan. According to the book I read, anywhere from 200,000 to 2 million people died as a result of the violence that overtook the Indian subcontinent in 1947. Hindus murdered Sikhs, Sikhs murdered Muslims, and Muslims murdered Hindus. Basically, segments of each of the major communities attacked all the others. It was a horrible bloody mess and the Muslims were far from being alone as perpetrators.

Or look back a few years to Rwanda. Hutus massacred 800,000 Tutus. As far as I know, neither group was Muslim.

Or consider Bosnia. Muslims from Bosnia were slaughtered by Christian Serbs in substantial numbers.

And, at the risk of being Godwinned, Hitler initiated mass slaughter against Jews and atheists without being a Muslim. Stalin and Mao killed tens of millions of people yet both were atheists.

Very few peoples in this world can claim to have no blood on their hands. The Muslims are perhaps just the most vicious and relentless killers today.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You're kind of illustrating my point.

I know that no group in history has completely blood-free hands. I know that every race and creed has done some horrible stuff to other races and creeds. But although that's academically interesting it's not really relevant. And if you look at all the examples you list they have something in common: they're basically local grievances. Hutus didn't chase Tutsis worldwide and blow up American buildings to get at them. Stalin and Mao murdered their own countrymen to gain political power, they didn't send agents to America to bomb the Boston Marathon.

The fact is that TODAY, right now, if 10,000 Christians, Jews, Hindus, atheists, or Sikhs moved into my town it wouldn't worry me. If 10,000 Muslims moved in it would. Because much more than any other faithful today Muslims are intolerant of dissent, unwilling to respect differences and perfectly comfortable using horrific violence in service of their medieval god and his pederastic prophet. And their depravity knows no national borders. They've been very forthcoming about the fact that they'll only be happy when everyone on Earth is kneeling towards Mecca.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The operative word being "Today".
There is a world of difference between the factual observation that given the proper circumstance and provocation, any dog can bite, and the equally factual but much more immediately important observation that there is a rabid Rottweiller chewing on your leg.
1 year ago
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