Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Libyan authorities came across the slain bodies of seven Christian Copts in the region of Garutha, less than 20 miles west of Benghazi, on Monday afternoon.
According to Libyan authorities, “The slain were killed by gunshots all over their bodies.”
Pictures confirm that the men were killed “execution-style,” including one Copt whose head and face were partially shot off.
The ages of the dead range between 17 and 25.
Since the ouster of the decades-long dictator of Libya, Gaddafi, Christians in general, Copts from neighboring Egypt in particular, have been suffering abuses at the hands of the empowered Islamists — from evicted nuns, to Christians arrested, tortured and killed for “proselytizing,” to the bombing of the few churches in Libya.
This latest atrocity is simply following an increasingly familiar pattern.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
A new video of the 12 Christian nuns kidnapped in Syria recently appeared. In it, the nuns are taped sitting in a room and being questioned by an unseen man, presumably a member of the kidnappers. He asks them how they are, if they’ve been mistreated, etc.
They respond that they are being treated fine, that they very much look forward to being returned to their convent, that they heartily thank the world for its concern, and that they continually pray that God grant peace to all nations.
Their words say one thing, their expressions and demeanor another. Put differently, as female captives of Islamic jihadis, what else could they say but what they were told to say? (See, for example, how the nun in glasses had to be forced to face the camera at 1:46.) Even if one of them dared to say the “wrong thing,” it naturally would have been edited out. Who knows how many takes it took to get the video—which includes a bizarre clip of the nuns having a snowball fight with their abductors—just right?
One thing, however, although minor, speaks volumes concerning the nature of their captivity. Although these same nuns, in pictures before they were kidnapped, often appear wearing the large pectoral crosses that nuns often wear, these are all gone in the recent video.
This is to be expected, considering the “pious” nature of their captors. According to strict Islamic teaching, Christians and other non-Muslims are forbidden to show any signs or expressions of their “polytheism” (shirk in Arabic). Indeed, this is spelled out clearly in the Conditions of Omar, which mainstream Muslim teaching attributes to the second caliph of the same name.
After the seventh century armies of Islam conquered a particular Christian region—possibly and ironically in Syria—Omar stipulated several conditions for Christians to accept, including “Not to display a cross on them [churches], nor raise our voices during prayer or readings in our churches anywhere near Muslims; Not to produce a cross or [Christian] book in the markets of the Muslims” (see Crucified Again, pgs. 24-27 for my new translation of the entire text of the Conditions of Omar).
From here we understand the true plight of the captive nuns: to their captors, not only are the Christian women hostages to be used for leverage, but ideologically speaking, they are “infidel” inferiors—near sub-humans who are more akin to animals. Indeed, the same Caliph Omar whom Syria’s jihadis are hearkening to regarding the ban on Christian crosses is also on record saying that the life of a non-Muslim is equal to the life of a dog (Western readers should bear in mind that in Arab/Muslim culture, dogs are among the lowest life forms.)
As such, the plight of the kidnapped nuns remains precarious—all their scripted words aside. (See here for more on the history of Islamic jihad on Christian nuns.)
As for the effects of removing the nuns’ crosses, an Arabic column by one Father George makes an interesting point highlighting the difference between outwardly observant “Salafi” Muslims, presumably like the kidnappers—with their beards and prayer callouses on their foreheads—and inwardly observant Christians like these nuns:
St Paul says “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:14). You removed the cross from the nuns’ breasts. Remove it! We do not rely on the visible. But know that the cross is firmly planted in the hearts of each and every one of those nuns.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
The endemic rise of Christian persecution in the Middle East was noted in November when Pope Francis declared “We will not resign ourselves to imagining a Middle East without Christians” and stressed the importance of “the universal right to lead a dignified life and freely practice one’s own faith” after he met with patriarchs from Syria, Iran, and Iraq, all countries where Christian minorities are under attack.
On the other hand, powers best placed to do something about the plight of Mideast Christians—namely, the U.S. Obama administration—made it clear that they would do nothing, even when well leveraged to do so.
In November, the wife of American pastor Saeed Abedini, who has been imprisoned in Iran for over a year for practicing Christianity, said she and her family were devastated after learning that the Obama administration did not try to secure the release of her husband as part of the newly signed deal on Iran’s nuclear program.
“The talks over Iran’s nuclear program were seen by his [Abedini’s] family and those representing them as one of the most promising avenues yet for securing his release,” said Fox News. “But the White House confirmed over the weekend that Abedini’s status was not on the table during those talks.”
“I don’t think we have any more leverage,” said Abedini’s wife. “We now have to consider other avenues and having other countries speak out because our country when we could have used our leverage chose to stay silent.”
The rest of November’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:
Islamic Attacks on Christian Places of Worship
Lebanon: An unidentified attacker firebombed the reception area of the newly built Christian cathedral of the town’s patron Saint, Mar Zakhya. Despite the loud boom heard in the town’s main square, there was limited damage; some building material used for the building process of the cathedral was destroyed. Although Lebanon was Christian-majority in the mid-20th century, today it is roughly 60% Muslim, 40% Christian.
Sudan: Police and security forces used a truck and two land cruisers to batter down the fence around Khartoum Bahri Evangelical Church, before breaking into the church and beating and arresting the Christians present as Muslim onlookers shouted “Allahu Akbar” (“Allah is greater”). The government, which has been destroying or taking over church buildings in retaliation to the secession of the mainly Christian South Sudan in July 2011, is believed to be behind the move, on the pretext that parts of the church’s property actually belong to a Muslim business investor.
Syria: Nine children were killed and 27 people wounded after Islamic rebels targeted and fired mortar rounds at the St. John of Damascus Christian School and the school bus. Also, the aftermath of the rebel invasion and occupation of the city of Qamishli in the northeast near the Turkish border revealed and included—among other atrocities such as killing and beheading Christians and their clergy—the destruction of all Christian icons in the local church and theft of the church’s most prized possession, a reportedly two-thousand year-old icon of the face of Christ.
Turkey: Historically the oldest Christian place of worship in Istanbul, the ancient monastery of San Giovanni in Studion founded in 462, currently classified as a museum, is now going to serve as a mosque. This would be the third ancient Christian building and heritage site to be set to be transformed into a mosque. Earlier it was announced that the ancient churches of Hagia Sophia (St. Sophia) in Trabzon and in Iznik would also be turned into mosques.
Islamic Attacks on Christian Freedom: Apostasy, Blasphemy, Proselytism
India: TJ Joseph, a Christian college professor, was finally acquitted of all blasphemy charges, though he is still missing an arm. Back in 2010 he had his right hand and part of his arm cut off by a group of men, following accusations that some of his exams contained offensive questions about Islam’s prophet Muhammad. Although he had apologized, after he was mutilated, he was also fired by his college. According to one source: the most serious aspects of this episode “was the attitude of the police, who registered the complaint against him and also arrested him, and of the institution, which has suspended him from duty. Fortunately, the Mahatma Gandhi University, to which Newman College is affiliated, revoked the decision of the school authorities and has offered him his job back.”
Iran: The fate of Hossein Saketi Aramsari, a Christian known as “Stephen” among his friends, remained unknown. Iran’s secret police arrested him back in July, 2013, on suspicions that he was engaging in “evangelistic activities.” According to sources, apparently to increase pressure on him, authorities transferred him from one jail to another; he has also been in solitary confinement. Then, in October, a judge of the local Revolutionary Court “officially charged him with doing evangelism.” It is believed that he is currently held in the same prison where Benham Irani, another Christian “prisoner of conscience” is being held, abused, and refused medical treatment, also on the charge of proselytizing. Explaining this rise in crackdowns on evangelizing, Mohabat News said, “Conversion of youth and their families has become a major concern for the Iranian security authorities and Islamic leaders.” Separately, a former Muslim and drug addict who twice attempted to commit suicide before he converted to Christianity at a rehabilitation center at the hands of another former Muslim and ex-drug addict woman who had earlier become Christian, was, according to those close to him, falsely convicted of selling drugs in the facility, severely beaten, and sentenced to prison, after authorities learned that he himself had begun to proselytize in the rehabilitation center. Police also temporarily arrested Armin Davoodi’s parents at their home and confiscated his personal belongings, including the Bibles he used to take to the rehabilitation center. Relatives with strong government connections were able to get him released under numerous conditions, including a requirement that he state in writing that Christians had misled him into the faith and that he would never again go to a church or talk to other Muslims about the Gospel, and that if he did, he would be executed by the state. So he agreed to their proposal and has since fled.
Pakistan: Blasphemy cases against Christians have reached an all-time high. Four such cases were reported in November, which, according to activists, is four times higher than the monthly average recorded over the past two years. Activists and clergy further stressed that the overwhelming majority of blasphemy accusations are being used as “instruments of revenge” against Christians, as a sure way to see them get punished for whatever real or imagined grievance accusing Muslims may have. Separately, Younis Masih, a 35-year-old Christian who had been imprisoned and sentenced to death on blasphemy charges since 2005, was finally released after judges decreed he did not blaspheme Islam. He and his family are still in hiding since some Muslims still seek to kill him despite his being cleared of the blasphemy charge. According to Younis: “I have four children and I have no job, no one is helping me. I live with the fear of being killed.” And in the words of his lawyer: “Christians in Pakistan fear threats, attacks, violence, discrimination and hatred. The law of blasphemy is always a sword of Damocles hanging over their heads: Their life is not safe even after their release from prison.”
Somalia: A Muslim convert to Christianity living in Mogadishu was killed by Islamic gunmen accusing him of spreading the faith. Two men armed with pistols shot Abdikhani Hassan, 35, seven times as he approached his home after closing his pharmacy. He is survived by his wife, who is pregnant, and five children ranging in age from 3 to 12. He and his wife converted to Christianity back in 2000. Before killing him, one of the assailants told a neighbor, “We have information that Hassan is spreading wrong religion to our people, and we are looking for him.” According to a source, “The men who murdered Abdikhani [Hassan] are suspected to be Al Shabaab militia,” the Somali wing of al-Qaeda which has vowed to cleanse the country of any Christian presence.
Turkey: A Christian pastor was reportedly arrested on charges of organizing human trafficking and prostitution. The Christian community of Agape (or “Brotherly Love”) Church, where Orhan Picaklar, 42, is pastor, insists that he is innocent, and that “the allegations are entirely instrumental, as the Pastor was under observation for suspected ‘illegal missionary activity.’” Later, the church where the Agape community meets was damaged by vandals, although the congregation has obtained the formal status of “association” in 2005 (as with other Christian communities in Turkey, the government does not grant official recognition of “church” to new communities).
Central African Republic: 450,000 Christians have fled their homes in the 80% Christian-majority nation since the Islamic takeover in March 2013. Then, Seleka—a coalition of local and foreign Arabic-speaking Islamic militias—seized control of the capital, Bangui, in an orgy of violence, bloodshed, and rape, against Christians. As one analyst put it, “But Seleka does not rape, loot and kill indiscriminately. Rather, Seleka attacks Christians and spares Muslims, causing traditional community trust to evaporate, and creating a sectarian tinderbox.” And in fact, Christians, who make the majority of the African nation, are fighting back, leading to an extremely volatile situation. Christian Bishop Albert Vanbuel stated “a rebellion of religious extremism with evil intentions, characterized by profanation and planned destruction of religious buildings, especially Catholic and Protestant churches” is now in power.
Egypt: Three months after the Egyptian military liberated Delga from Muslim Brotherhood supporters and sympathizers—who were forcing Christians to pay jizya, or tribute, for right of life—they continued to terrorize Christians in other towns across Egypt. Especially throughout regions in Upper Egypt like Minya, extortionists using the threat of kidnap, torture and murder seized money, land and other property from Christians. One Copt was tied by his kidnappers as they repeatedly shot an automatic rifle next to his ear. According to Morning Star News, “Besides the emotional damage he suffered, the shockwaves exiting the rifle combined with the muzzle blast shattered the Christian’s eardrums and burned his face. The Copt begged his family to gather the ransom money, and eventually they paid the kidnappers some 50,000 Egyptian pounds (US$7,260). He returned to his family shattered and unable to speak of the ordeal until recently.” According to the founder of the Maspero Union, targeting Christians in the context of seizing their money and property is seen “as a religious duty.” The director of a human rights organization in Upper Egypt said, “This past month alone, we had nine cases of kidnapping in Minya, and they all paid their ransom, which was between 100,000 and 250,000 Egyptian pounds [US$14,500 to $36,300] for each case.” Separately in Minya, after a Coptic boy was accused of being in a relationship with a Muslim girl, “Muslims burnt down the house of the boy’s father and an adjacent house.”
Nigeria: After kidnapping a teenage Christian girl named Hajja, members of the Boko Haram terrorist organization kept her as a slave, eventually putting a knife to her throat and offering her one of two choices: convert to Islam or die. “If I cried, they beat me. If I spoke, they beat me. They told me I must become a Muslim but I refused again and again… They were about to slaughter me and one of them begged me not to resist and just before I had my throat slit I relented. They put a veil on me and made me read from the Koran.” According to Reuters, “She ceremonially converted to Islam, cooked for the men, carried ammunition during an attack on a police outpost and was about to be married to one of the insurgents before she managed to engineer a dramatic escape. She says she was not raped.” Recounting how her captors used her to lure people into traps, the 19-year-old told Reuters, and “They took them back to a cave and tied them up. They cut their throats, one at a time. I thought my heart would burst out of my chest, because I was the bait.” Among those who did the slaughtering was the Muslim wife of a leader, the only other woman in the band of jihadi terrorists. Separately, a Baptist high school principal and some teachers were beaten to a “pulp” and “state of coma” at the hands of “unknown persons,” who used, among other weapons, axes. The reason was that the school had earlier sent home a female student for wearing a veil, or Islamic hijab, while on school premises. Finally, over 70 Christians were killed by what were described as “Islamic extremists”: Boko Haram terrorists killed 34 Christians in Borno state, while “Muslim herdsmen” slaughtered 37 Christians, injured dozens, and looted and destroyed their homes, in coordinated attacks on four Plateau state villages.
Pakistan: An entire Christian community has been forced to flee a Lyarni neighborhood known as the “Slaughter House,” due to the endemic killings, rapes of young girls, thefts, drug dealing, and extortions. Before surrounding Muslims began their incursions, the residential area was 90% Christian, 10% Hindu, with four churches and three temples. “It is almost empty now,” disclosed a Christian elder of a Christian family. “We all are separated now. We won’t be reunited again.” “A lot of the families have left the compound since 2008, after their daughters were kidnapped and raped,” claimed another community elder. “No one knows where they have gone.” He recalled an incident when a teenage girl, who was dancing at her brother’s wedding, was kidnapped. “Her parents, brother and relatives cried and appealed to the kidnappers but they didn’t listen,” he narrated. “She was dishonoured and was left outside the compound the next morning. That family was never seen in the city again.”
About this Series
While not all, or even most Muslims are involved, the persecution of Christians in the Islamic world is on its way to reaching pandemic proportions. Accordingly, “Muslim Persecution of Christians” was developed to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that surface each month. It serves two purposes:
1) To document that which the mainstream media does not: the habitual, if not chronic, persecution of Christians.
2) To show that such persecution is not “random,” but systematic and interrelated—that it is rooted in a worldview inspired by Sharia.
Accordingly, whatever the anecdote of persecution, it typically fits under a specific theme, including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam; apostasy and blasphemy laws that criminalize and punish with death those who “offend” Islam; theft and plunder in lieu of jizya (financial tribute expected from non-Muslims); overall expectations for Christians to behave like cowed dhimmis, or second-class, “tolerated” citizens; and simple violence and murder. Sometimes it is a combination.
Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and locales—from Morocco in the West, to India in the East—it should be clear that one thing alone binds them: Islam—whether the strict application of Islamic Sharia law, or the supremacist culture born of it.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
“Caving to pressure from Muslim groups, the Pentagon has relaxed uniform rules to allow Islamic beards, turbans and hijabs. It’s a major win for political correctness and a big loss for military unit cohesion,” said a recent report.
This new relaxation of rules for Muslims comes at a time when the FBI is tracking more than 100 suspected jihadi-infiltrators of the U.S. military. Just last month, Craig Benedict Baxam, a former Army soldier and convert to Islam, was sentenced to seven years in prison due to his al-Qaeda/jihadi activities. Also last month, Mozaffar Khazaee, an Iranian-American working for the Defense Department, was arrested for sending secret documents to America’s enemy, Iran.
According to a Pentagon spokesperson, the new religious accommodations—to allow Islamic beards, turbans, and hijabs—which took effect very recently, would “reduce both the instances and perception of discrimination among those whose religious expressions are less familiar to the command.”
The report concludes that, “Making special accommodations for Islam will only attract more Muslims into the military at a time when two recent terror cases highlight the ongoing danger of Muslims in uniform.”
But it’s worse than that; for not only will it attract “more Muslims,” it will attract precisely the wrong kinds of Muslims, AKA, “Islamists,” “radicals,” etc.
This is easily demonstrated by connecting the dots and understanding that Muslims who adhere to visible, non-problematic aspects of Islam—growing beards and donning hijabs—often indicate their adherence to non-visible, problematic aspects of Islam.
Consider it this way: Why do some Muslim men wear the prescribed beard and why do some Muslim women wear the prescribed hijab? Most Muslims would say they do so because Islam’s prophet Muhammad commanded them to (whether via the Koran or Hadith).
Regarding the Muslim beard, Muhammad wanted his followers to look different from “infidels,” namely Christians and Jews, so he ordered his followers to “trim closely the moustache and grow the beard.” Accordingly, all Sunni schools of law maintain that it is forbidden—a “major sin”—for men to shave their beards (unless, of course, it is part of a stratagem against the infidel, in which case it is permissible).
The question begs itself: If such Muslims meticulously follow the minor, “outer” things of Islam simply because their prophet made some utterances concerning them in the Hadith, logically speaking, does that not indicate that they also follow, or at the very least accept as legitimate, the major, “inner” themes Muhammad constantly emphasized in both the Koran and Hadith—such as enmity for and deceit of the infidel, and, when capable, perpetual jihad?
Even in the Islamic world this connection between visible indicators of Islamic piety and jihadi tendencies are well known. Back in 2011, when Islamists were dominating Egypt’s politics, secularist talk show host Amr Adib of Cairo Today mocked the then calls for a “million man beard” march with his trademark sarcasm: “This is a great endeavor! After all, a man with a beard can never be a thug, can never rape a woman in the street, can never set a church on fire, can never fight and quarrel, can never steal, and can never be dishonest!”
His sarcasm was not missed on his Egyptian viewership which knew quite well that it is precisely those Muslims who most closely follow the minutia of Muhammad—for example, by growing a beard—that are most prone to violence, deceit, and anti-infidel sentiments, all of which were also advocated by Islam’s prophet.
Speaking more seriously, Adib had added that this issue is not about growing a beard, but rather, “once you grow your beard, you give proof of your commitment and fealty to everything in Islam.”
Similarly, after Egypt’s June 30 Revolution ousted the Muslim Brotherhood, “overt signs of piety [beards and hijabs] have become all it takes to attract suspicion from security forces at Cairo checkpoints and vigilantes looking to attack Islamists.” Clubs and restaurants banned entrance to those wearing precisely these two “overt signs of piety.”
While Egyptians instinctively understand how fealty to the Muslim beard evinces fealty, or at least acceptance, to all those other problematic things Muhammad commanded, even in fuzzy Western op-eds, the connection sometimes peeks out. Consider the following excerpt from a New York Times piece titled “Behold the Mighty Beard, a Badge of Piety and Religious Belonging”:
[A]ll over the Muslim world, the full beard has come to connote piety and spiritual fervor…. Of course, the beard is only a sign of righteousness. It is no guarantor, as Mr. Zulfiqar [a Muslim interviewee] reminds us: “I recall one gentleman who came back from a trip to Pakistan and remarked to me, ‘I learned one thing: the longer the beard, the bigger the crook.’ His anticipation was people with big beards would be really honest, but he kept meeting people lying to him.”
The italicized portion speaks for itself. Whereas the Muslim beard ostensibly represents religious piety, some people, mostly Westerners, are shocked to find that those who wear it are often “crooks” and “liars.”
In Islam, however, outer signs of religiosity on the one hand, and corruption and deceit on the other, are quite compatible. After all, the same source—Islam’s prophet Muhammad, as recorded in the Hadith—that tells Muslims to grow a beard also advocates deception, the plundering of infidels, the keeping of sex slaves, adult “breast feeding,” and all sorts of other practices antithetical to Western notions of piety if not decency.
Incidentally, it’s the same with the hijab, or cloak that some Muslim women wear, also on Muhammad’s command. One reformed Islamic jihadi from Egypt accurately observes that “the proliferation of the hijab is strongly correlated with increased terrorism…. Terrorism became much more frequent in such societies as Indonesia, Egypt, Algeria, and the U.K. after the hijab became prevalent among Muslim women living in those communities.”
And so, at a time when the U.S. should at the very least be wary of those who openly wear their Islamic radicalism around their face and head—beards for males, hijabs for females—the U.S. Pentagon (of all places) is embracing them in “celebration of multiculturalism.” Where loyalty to the U.S. is most needed, the Pentagon embraces those who show that their loyalty is elsewhere (among other things, the beard and hijab are meant to separate “pure believers” from “impure infidels”).
Of course, none of this is surprising considering that the Pentagon also considers Evangelical Christians and Catholics as “extremists” on a par with al-Qaeda.
Tuesday, February 04, 2014
As former Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi’s trials continue, it’s enlightening to consider what is likely to be one of the centerpieces of the trial: longstanding accusations that Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood party worked with foreign terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda, against the national security of Egypt.
Based on these accusations of high treason, Morsi and others could face the death penalty.
Ibrahim will be on The 700 Club, Feb. 20, to talk more about how most Christian persecution is occuring in Muslim-dominated areas today. For more on this, check out his blog, The Existential Elephant in the ‘Christian Persecution’ Room.
Concerning some of the more severe allegations, one of Egypt’s most widely distributed and read newspapers, Al Watan, recently published what it said were recorded conversations between Morsi and Muhammad Zawahiri, al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri’s brother.
In these reports, Watan repeatedly asserts that Egyptian security and intelligence agencies confirmed (or perhaps leaked out) the recordings.
Much of the substance of the alleged conversations is further corroborated by events that occurred during Morsi’s one-year-rule, most of which were reported by a variety of Arabic media outlets, though not by Western media.
In what follows, I relay, summarize, and translate some of the more significant portions of the Watan reports (verbatim statements are in quotation marks). In between, I comment on various anecdotes and events—many of which were first broken on my website—that now, in light of these phone conversations, make perfect sense
The first recorded call between Muhammad Morsi and Muhammad Zawahiri lasted for 59 seconds. Morsi congratulated Zawahiri on his release from prison, where he had been incarcerated for jihadi/terrorist activities against Egypt, and assured him that he would not be followed or observed by any Egyptian authorities, and that he, Morsi, was planning on meeting with him soon. Prior to this first call, Refa’ al-Tahtawy, then Chief of Staff, mediated and arranged matters.
The presidential palace continued to communicate regularly with Muhammad Zawahiri, and sources confirm that he was the link between the Egyptian presidency and his brother, Ayman Zawahiri, the Egyptian-born leader of al-Qaeda.
It should be noted that, once released, the previously little-known Muhammad Zawahiri did become very visible and vocal in Egypt, at times spearheading the Islamist movement.
The next recording between Morsi and Zawahiri lasted for 2 minutes and 56 seconds and took place one month after Morsi became president. Morsi informed Zawahiri that the Muslim Brotherhood supports the mujahidin (jihadis) and that the mujahidin should support the Brotherhood in order for them both, and the Islamist agenda, to prevail in Egypt.
This makes sense in the context that, soon after Morsi came to power, the general public did become increasingly critical of him and his policies, including the fact that he was placing only Brotherhood members in Egypt’s most important posts, trying quickly to push through a pro-Islamist constitution, and, as Egyptians called it, trying in general to “Brotherhoodize” Egypt.
This second phone call being longer than the first, Zawahiri took it as an opportunity to congratulate Morsi on his recent presidential victory—which, incidentally, from the start, was portrayed by some as fraudulent—and expressed his joy that Morsi’s presidency could only mean that “all secular infidels would be removed from Egypt.”
Then Zawahiri told Morsi: “Rule according to the Sharia of Allah [or “Islamic law”], and we will stand next to you. Know that, from the start, there is no so-called democracy, so get rid of your opposition.”
This assertion comports extremely well with his brother Ayman Zawahiri’s views. A former Muslim Brotherhood member himself, some thirty years ago, the al-Qaeda leader wrote Al Hissad Al Murr (“The Bitter Harvest”), a scathing book condemning the Brotherhood for “taking advantage of the Muslim youths’ fervor by … steer[ing] their onetime passionate, Islamic zeal for jihad to conferences and elections.” An entire section dedicated to showing that Islamic Sharia cannot coexist with democracy even appears in Ayman Zawahiri’s book (see “Sharia and Democracy,” The Al Qaeda Reader, pgs. 116-136).
The call ended in agreement that al-Qaeda would support the Brotherhood, including its international branches, under the understanding that Morsi would soon implement full Sharia in Egypt. After this, Muhammad Zawahiri and Khairat al-Shater, the number-two man of the Muslim Brotherhood organization, reportedly met regularly.
It is interesting to note here that, prior to these revelations, U.S. ambassador Anne Patterson was seen visiting with Khairat al-Shater—even though he held no position in the Morsi government—and after the ousting and imprisonment of Morsi and leading Brotherhood members, Sens. John McCain and Lindsay Graham made it a point to visit the civilian Shater in his prison cell and urged the Egyptian government to release him.
The next call, recorded roughly six weeks after this last one, again revolved around the theme of solidifying common cooperation between the Egyptian presidency and the Muslim Brotherhood on the one hand, and al-Qaeda and its jihadi offshoots on the other, specifically in the context of creating jihadi cells inside Egypt devoted to protecting the increasingly unpopular Brotherhood-dominated government.
As I reported back in December 2012, Egyptian media were saying that foreign jihadi fighters were appearing in large numbers—one said 3,000 fighters—especially in Sinai. And, since the overthrow of the Brotherhood and the military crackdown on its supporters, many of those detained have been exposed speaking non-Egyptian dialects of Arabic.
During this same call, Zawahiri was also critical of the Morsi government for still not applying Islamic Sharia throughout Egypt, which, as mentioned, was one of the prerequisites for al-Qaeda support.
Morsi responded by saying “We are currently in the stage of consolidating power and need the help of all parties—and we cannot at this time apply the Iranian model or Taliban rule in Egypt; it is impossible to do so now.”
In fact, while the Brotherhood has repeatedly declared its aspirations for world domination , from its origins, it has always relied on a “gradual” approach, moving only in stages, with the idea of culminating its full vision only when enough power has been consolidated.
In response, Zawahiri told Morsi that, as a show of good will, he must “at least release the mujahidin who were imprisoned during the Mubarak era as well as all Islamists, as an assurance and pact of cooperation and proof that the old page has turned to a new one.”
After that call, and as confirmed by a governmental source, Morsi received a list from Zawahiri containing the names of the most dangerous terrorists in Egyptian jails, some of whom were on death row due to the enormity of their crimes.
In fact, as I reported in August 2012, many imprisoned terrorists, including from Egypt’s notorious Islamic Jihad organization—which was once led by Ayman Zawahiri—were released under Morsi.
One year later, in August 2013, soon after the removal of Morsi, Egypt’s Interior Ministry announced that Egypt was “preparing to cancel any presidential pardons issued during Morsi’s era to terrorists or criminals.”
During this same call, and in the context of pardons, Morsi said he would do his best to facilitate the return of Muhammad’s infamous brother and al-Qaeda leader, Ayman Zawahiri, back to Egypt—“with his head held high,” in accordance with Islamist wishes—as well as urge the U.S. to release the “Blind Sheikh” and terrorist mastermind, Omar Abdul Rahman.
In March 2013, I wrote about how Morsi, during his Pakistan visit, had reportedly met with Ayman Zawahiri and made arrangements to smuggle him back to Sinai. According to a Pakistan source, the meeting was “facilitated by elements of Pakistani intelligence [ISI] and influential members of the International Organization, the Muslim Brotherhood.”
The gist of the next two calls between Morsi and Muhammad Zawahiri was that, so long as the former is president, he would see to it that all released jihadis and al-Qaeda operatives are allowed to move freely throughout Egypt and the Sinai, and that the presidential palace would remain in constant contact with Zawahiri, to make sure everything is moving to the satisfaction of both parties.
Zawahiri further requested that Morsi allow them to develop training camps in Sinai in order to support the Brotherhood through trained militants. Along with saying that the Brotherhood intended to form a “revolutionary guard” to protect him against any coup, Morsi added that, in return for al-Qaeda’s and its affiliates’ support, not only would he allow them to have such training camps, but he would facilitate their development in Sinai and give them four facilities to use along the Egyptian-Libyan border.
That Libya is mentioned is interesting. According to a Libyan Arabic report I translated in June 2013, those who attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, killing Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were from jihadi cells that had been formed in Libya through Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood support. Those interrogated named Morsi and other top Brotherhood leadership as accomplices.
More evidence—including some that implicates the U.S. administration—has mounted since then.
Next, Watan makes several more assertions, all of which are preceded by “according to security/intelligence agencies.” They are:
- That Morsi did indeed as he promised, and that he facilitated the establishment of four jihadi training camps. Morsi was then Chief in Command of Egypt’s Armed Forces, and through his power of authority, stopped the military from launching any operations including in the by now al-Qaeda overrun Sinai.
- That, after Morsi reached Pakistan, he had a one-and-a-half hour meeting with an associate of Ayman Zawahiri in a hotel and possibly spoke with him.
- That, after Morsi returned to Egypt from his trip to Pakistan, he issued another list containing the names of 20 more convicted terrorists considered dangerous to the national security of Egypt, giving them all presidential pardons—despite the fact that national security and intelligence strongly recommended that they not be released on grounds of the threat they posed.
- That the Muslim Brotherhood’s international wing, including through the agency of Khairat al-Shater, had provided $50 million to al-Qaeda in part to support the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
One of the longer conversations between Morsi and Zawahiri reported by Watan is especially telling of al-Qaeda’s enmity for secularist Muslims and Coptic Christians—whose churches, some 80, were attacked, burned, and destroyed, some with the al-Qaeda flag furled above them, soon after the ousting of Morsi. I translate portions below:
Zawahiri: “The teachings of Allah need to be applied and enforced; the secularists have stopped the Islamic Sharia, and the response must be a stop to the building of churches.” (An odd assertion considering how difficult it already is for Copts to acquire a repair permit for their churches in Egypt.)
Zawahiri also added that “All those who reject the Sharia must be executed, and all those belonging to the secular media which work to disseminate debauchery and help deviants and Christians to violate the Sharia, must be executed.”
Morsi reportedly replied: “We have taken deterrent measures to combat those few, and new legislative measures to limit their media, and in the near future, we will shut down these media stations and launch large Islamic media outlets. We are even planning a big budget from the [Brotherhood] International Group to launch Islamic and jihadi satellite stations to urge on the jihad. There will be a channel for you and the men of al-Qaeda, and it can be broadcast from Afghanistan.”
Undeterred, Zawahiri responded by saying, “This [is a] Christian media—and some of the media personnel are paid by the [Coptic] Church and they work with those who oppose the Sharia… secularist forces are allied with Christian forces, among them Naguib Sawiris, the Christian-Jew."
Morsi: “Soon we will uphold our promises to you.”
In fact, there was a period of time when the secular media in Egypt—which was constantly exposing Brotherhood machinations—were under severe attack by the Brotherhood and Islamists of all stripes (comedian Bassem Youssef was the tip of the iceberg). In one instance, which I noted back in August 2012, six major media stations were attacked by Brotherhood supporters, their employees severely beat.
The last call recorded between Muhammad Morsi and Muhammad Zawahiri took place on the dawn of June 30, 2013 (the date of the June 30 Revolution that ousted Morsi and the Brotherhood). Morsi made the call to Zawahiri in the presence of Asad al-Sheikha, Deputy Chief of Presidential Staff, Refa’ al-Tahtawy, Chief of Presidential Staff, and his personal security.
During this last call, Morsi incited Zawahiri to rise against the Egyptian military in Sinai and asked Zawahiri to compel all jihadi and loyalist elements everywhere to come to the aid of the Muslim Brotherhood and neutralize its opponents.
Zawahiri reportedly responded by saying “We will fight the military and the police, and we will set the Sinai aflame.”
True enough, as I reported on July 4, quoting from an Arabic report: “Al-Qaeda, under the leadership of Muhammad Zawahiri, is currently planning reprisal operations by which to attack the army and the Morsi-opposition all around the Republic [of Egypt].” The report added that, right before the deposing of Morsi, Zawahiri had been arrested and was being interrogated—only to be ordered released by yet another presidential order, and that he had since fled to the Sinai.
Also on that same first day of the revolution, Khairat al-Shater, Deputy Leader of the Brotherhood, had a meeting with a delegate of jihadi fighters and reiterated Morsi’s request that all jihadis come to the aid of the presidency and the Brotherhood.
As Morsi’s trial continues, it’s only a matter of time before the truth of these allegations—and their implications for the U.S.—is known. But one thing is certain: most of them comport incredibly well with incidents and events that took place under Morsi’s government.
Raymond Ibrahim, a CBN News analyst, is author of The Al Qaeda Reader and Crucified Again. He is a Shillman fellow, David Horowitz Freedom Center; associate fellow, Middle East Forum; and 2013 media fellow, Hoover Institution
Friday, January 24, 2014
U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, was recently interviewed about Syria. While many of his assertions can be debated, one especially requires a response.
Throughout the interview, he repeatedly insisted that, if Bashar Assad would only leave power, everything would go well — especially for all of Syria’s minorities.
In his words: “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.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Kerry declared that “The world would protect the Alawites, Druze, Christians, and all minorities in Syria after the ousting of Assad.”
The problem here is that we have precedent — exact precedent. We’ve seen this paradigm before and know precisely what happens once strongman dictators like Assad are gone.
As demonstrated in this article, in all Muslim nations where the U.S. has intervened to help topple dictators and bring democracy, it is precisely the minorities who suffer first. And neither the U.S. nor “the world” do much about it.
After the U.S. toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, Christian minorities were savagely attacked and slaughtered, and dozens of their churches were bombed (see here for graphic images). Indeed, Christians have been terrorized into near-extinction, so that today, a decade after the ousting of Saddam, more than half of them have fled Iraq.
The “world” did nothing.
Ever since U.S.-backed, al-Qaeda-linked terrorists overthrew Libya’s Qaddafi, Christians—including Americans—have been tortured and killed (including for refusing to convert), their churches bombed, and their nuns threatened.
Not much “pluralism” there.
Once the Muslim Brotherhood replaced Mubarak in Egypt — and all with U.S. support — the persecution of Copts practically became legalized, as unprecedented numbers of Christians—men, women, and children—were arrested, often receiving more than double the maximum prison sentence, under the accusation that they had “blasphemed” Islam and/or its prophet.
Not only did the U.S. do nothing — it asked the Coptic Church not to join the June Revolution that led to the ousting of the Brotherhood and Muhammad Morsi.
In short, where the U.S. works to overthrow secular autocrats, the quality of life for Christians and other minorities takes a major nosedive. In Saddam’s Iraq, Qaddafi’s Libya, and Assad’s Syria (before the U.S.-sponsored war), Christians and their churches were largely protected.
Today, Syria is the third worst nation in the world in which to be Christian, Iraq is fourth, Libya 13th, and Egypt 22nd. Such are the fruits of U.S. intervention in the name of “democracy.”
So how can anyone, especially Christians and other minorities, have any confidence in Kerry’s repeated assurances that religious minorities will be safeguarded once secular strongman Assad is gone — and by the “world” no less — leading to a “pluralistic” Syria?
And from an American point of view, what are we to make of Kerry? Is the U.S. Secretary of State that deluded and detached from reality, or, as Russian President Vladimir Putin once accused Kerry, also in the context of Syria: “he is lying and knows he is lying. It’s sad.”
Friday, January 17, 2014
Open Doors USA recently released its widely cited 2014 World Watch List—a report that highlights and ranks the 50 worst nations around the globe persecuting Christians.
The one glaring fact that emerges from this report is that the overwhelming majority of Christian persecution around the globe today is being committed at the hands of Muslims of all races, languages, cultures, and socio-political circumstances: Muslims from among America’s allies (Saudi Arabia) and its enemies (Iran); Muslims from economically rich nations (Qatar) and from poor nations (Somalia and Yemen); Muslims from “Islamic republic” nations (Pakistan) and from “moderate” nations (Malaysia and Indonesia); Muslims from nations rescued by America (Kuwait) and Muslims claiming “grievances” against America (fill in the space __).
A common denominator, a pattern, exists, one that is even more extensive than Open Doors implies. According to that organization’s communications director, Emily Fuentes, “of the 50 worst nations for persecution, 37 of them are Muslim,” or 74 percent.
In fact, while this number suggests that the other 13 countries making the top 50 are not Muslim—for example Kenya and Ethiopia—those doing the persecution there are.
In other words, those persecuting Christians in 41 of 50 nations are Muslims; that is, a whopping 82 percent of all persecution around the globe is being committed by adherents of Islam—sometimes in Christian majority nations, for example, the Central African Republic which, after the 2013 Islamic takeover, now ranks No. 16, “severe persecution” (the Christian-majority nation did not even appear in the previous year’s top 50).
As for the top ten absolute worst nations, where, according to the 2014 World Watch List, Christians suffer “extreme persecution,” nine—that is, 90 percent—are Muslim.(Indeed, Open Doors’ global map of Christian persecution can easily be confused with a global map of the Islamic world, with the exception of China (ranked 37, “moderate persecution”) and some sporadic countries dominated by crime and godless tyranny, Colombia, North Korea, etc.)
Similarly, a recent Morning Star News report listing 2013’s ten most horrific anecdotes of Christian persecution around the world finds that nine out of ten—again, 90 percent—were committed at the hands of those professing Islam.
Still, considering that the 2014 World Watch List ranks North Korea—non-Islamic, communist—as the number one worst persecutor of Christians, why belabor the religious identity of Muslims?
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, the aberrant, even. Something as simple as overthrowing the North Korean regime would likely end persecution there almost 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—Mubarak in Egypt, Qaddafi in Libya, and ongoing attempts to oust Assad in Syria—Christian persecution rises.
The reason for this dichotomy is that Christian persecution by non-Muslims (mostly communists) is often rooted to a temporal regime or ideology. 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.
Still, the significance of all this is often overlooked. Thus, “Dr. David Curry, CEO and president of Open Doors USA, told The Blaze ‘Not every circumstance is the same. For example, in North Korea, you have a quasi-Stalinist government that is the most difficult place to call yourself a Christian on the planet — and has been for the last 12 years,’ he noted. But while North Korea’s government is the real culprit, in places like Iraq, ‘roving extremist groups’ are waging attacks against Christians, while government officials are seemingly powerless to stop the carnage, he explained.”
True; but atheistic Stalinism/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, “roving extremist groups” (also known in other contexts and countries as “Islamists,” “terrorists,” “mujahidin,” “mobs,” “radicals,” “people-with-grievances,” etc.) attacking and killing “infidel” Christians have been around since the dawn of Islam. It is a well-documented, even if suppressed, history
To further understand the differences between temporal and existential persecution, consider: Russia, once a staunch Orthodox Christian nation, led the communist movement and persecuted its own Christians; yet today, a century later, it is becoming more orthodox again, prominent among Western nations for showing support for persecuted Christians
North Korea—where its leader, Kim Jong-Un, is worshipped as a god and the people are shielded from reality, including outside their borders—seems to be experiencing what Russia did under the Soviet Union and thus living in a delusional state.
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 No. 15, “severe persecution”) and Turkmenistan (ranked NO. 20, also “severe persecution”).
Time, however, is not on the side of Christians living amid Muslims; quite the opposite. Since the 7th century, when Islam came into being, Muslims have been invading and conquering Christian lands so that more than half of the territory that was once Christian in the 7th century—including all of North Africa and the Levant—are today the heart of the “Muslim world.”
Muslim persecution of Christians exists in 41 nations today as part of a continuum that started nearly 14 centuries ago. As I document in Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, the very same patterns of Christian persecution prevalent throughout the Muslim world today are often identical to those from centuries past. The facts speak for themselves.
Put differently, long after North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un has gone the way of the dodo, Islam will still be here and—short of a miraculous “reformation”—still treating Christians and other “infidels” like it did for centuries.
Confronting this understandably discomforting and better-left-unsaid fact is the first real step to alleviating the sufferings of the overwhelming majority of Christians around the world.
Unfortunately, however, while some are willing to point out that Christians are being persecuted around the Muslim world—why that is the case, why 82 percent of the world’s persecution is committed by Muslims from a variety of backgrounds and circumstances—is the great elephant in the room that few wish to address. For doing so would cause some long held and cherished premises of the modern West to come crashing down.
CBN News contributor Raymond Ibrahim is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians. He is a Shillman Fellow, David Horowitz Freedom Center; Associate Fellow, Middle East Forum; and 2013 Media Fellow, Hoover Institution.
Thursday, January 16, 2014
According to Egyptian media, during his recent speech at the Dept. of Moral Affairs for the Armed Forces, Gen. Abdul Fateh al-Sisi—the man who ousted former President Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood in response to the June Revolution and who is seen as the nation’s de facto ruler—declared that “Religious discourse is the greatest battle and challenge facing the Egyptian people, and pointed to the need for a new vision and a modern, comprehensive understanding of the religion of Islam—rather than relying on a discourse that has not changed for 800 years.”
Sisi further “called on all who follow the true Islam to improve the image of this religion in front of the world, after Islam has been for decades convicted of violence and destruction around the world, due to the crimes falsely committed in the name of Islam.”
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
The relentlessness of Islamic jihadi enmity for non-Muslims appears to know no bounds—sometimes even pursuing “infidels” beyond the grave. While the West may hear of the more spectacular attacks on non-Muslims—bombed and burned churches and other places of worship, beheaded and slaughtered “infidels,” and wholesale massacres—lesser known is the fact that, far from receiving succor, the survivors often continue to be targeted.
Thus, just last New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2013, as several “Christians were praising God in a field near their church building” in central Nigeria’s Plateau, Muslim ethnic Fulani gunmen arrived and opened fire on the worshippers, killing a 41-year-old mother of six children and a 14-year-old girl.
Kore Usman, a 34-year-old man, was also killed. His 34-year-old wife, Faith Kore Usman, explains how he was her second husband to be killed by Muslims, widowing her twice over:
My first husband, Davou Philip, was killed by Muslim Fulani herdsmen in Jol Village in Riyom Local Government Area in 2002,” she said. “I had only a son with him. However, God brought me and Kore Usman together [nine years ago], and we got married. God has blessed us with four children. I thought my burden has been lifted as a widow, and now, again my second husband has been killed by Muslim gunmen” [emphasis added].
Such stories of the same Christian minority groups being attacked once, twice, three or even more times are not uncommon in the Muslim world. Aside from the unrelenting woes of the Nigerian widow, consider some recent events in Pakistan.
After last September’s bombing of the Church of All Saints in Peshawar, where as many as 171 died—including many women and children—and 150 were injured, Agenzia Fides reported that,
[T]he situation remains tense in the Pakistani society: not only tragedy but also horror. The Christians said they were ‘horrified’ by the rumors that link the bombs in Peshawar to the vast problem of organ trafficking: this is what some members of NGOs in civil society in Pakistan told Fides. Some of the ‘jackals,’ presumably local paramedics, seem to have taken advantage of the high number of deaths and injuries in order to steal the bodies of victims and exploit them for the illegal organ trade. ‘If this were true, it would mean that there are criminals who are taking advantage of the suffering of Christian victims in a truly blasphemous and sacrilegious manner,’ notes Fr. Mario Rodrigues, a priest of Karachi [emphasis added].
In other words, and in keeping with the Islamic supremacist notion that non-Muslims are subhuman “infidels” to be exploited with impunity for the benefit of “superior” Muslims, even after being slaughtered by self-styled “jihadis,” the remains of slain Christians are used to make a profit and prevented a decent burial.
As for some of those who survived the church bombing in Pakistan, they were attacked, beat, and threatened with death for mourning the deaths of their loved ones too openly: “A Pakistani Christian family was hiding Sunday, October 13, after allegedly receiving death threats for protesting against twin suicide attacks at a historic church in the violence-plagued city of Peshawar, in which their friends were killed. According to one of these Christians, Muslim “militants” “were angry that he was openly expressing grief at an anti-violence demonstration about the loss of his friends and those who were injured in the suicide attacks” (emphasis added).
Thus, on the westernmost fringes of the Islamic world, in Nigeria, a Christian woman loses her husband to Muslim gunmen; and when she picks up the pieces of her life, remarries, and has several children, the same Islamic tribesmen gun down her second husband, even as he worships; to the eastern fringes of the Islamic world, in Pakistan, after a church is bombed, some of those killed are ghoulishly harvested for their organs while those who survived are attacked and threatened for daring to mourn too openly.
Such is the hound of jihad and its relentless enmity for “infidels.”
Thursday, January 09, 2014
Arabic language websites reported earlier this week that the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant—which, throughout the course of the war against the Assad government has committed any number of atrocities, from decapitating “infidels” to burning churches—has successfully “forced” two Armenian Christian families to convert to Islam.
A video accompanies some of these reports. In it, what appears to be an elderly Armenian man stands alongside an Islamic cleric who announces the Christian man’s conversion to Islam—to thunderous cries of “Allahu Akbar!” In his exultation, the cleric makes exuberant statements like “You see, we have no honor without Islam—without proclaiming aloud that “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet!” (Without the religious jargon, this is simply another way of saying, “Only by joining our team can you ever escape dishonor,” the lot of all non-Muslim, subhuman “infidels.”)
The cleric also adds that, because the man is the head of his household, his Christian wife and children are all now Muslim as well—“all praise to Allah!” Naturally, if they reject their new Islamic identity, they become “apostates,” a crime punishable by death.
The rather flippant and sarcastic text that accompanies this video points out the obvious:
After decades of peaceful coexistence between the various religions of Syria, and after decades of living under the moderate form of Levantine Islam … these two Armenian families were none too keen on entering Islam or learning of its eminence—except at the hands of DAASH [al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant], which has been presenting a “rosy” picture of Islam and Muslims, by way of chopping heads, whipping people, and general repression. Thus did these two Christian Armenian families finally enter Islam, “willingly”—but only at the hands of DAASH.
In other words, it’s “curious,” to say the least, that Christians who for generations lived amid moderate Muslim majorities in Syria but opted to remain Christian, are now “suddenly” attracted to Islam—and at the hands of a jihadi organization that has been bombing churches, kidnapping and beheading Christians, and even teaching children to slaughter Christians wherever they may be found.
Sound like genuine conviction to you? Maybe things like the 2012 news that “a family of Armenian Christians was found murdered, and all members of the family horribly decapitated” in Syria is compelling these Armenian families into seeing the “wisdom” of embracing Islam?
Here we reach an important but overlooked historical point. While many Christians, past and present, have indeed willingly embraced martyrdom—the sword, death—rather than recant Christ for Muhammad, the majority of born Christians, when faced with converting to Islam or dying, have opted for the former. Indeed, call it a lack of idealism or a lack of faithfulness, when faced with converting to the “winning team” of Islam or simply being third-class subjects (dhimmis), countless nominal Christians throughout the centuries have opted for the former.
That is precisely how and why the so-called “Islamic world”—the majority of which was almost entirely Christian before the Islamic conquests—came into being: a fact Western people were once well acquainted with, before the current age of political correctness and alternate realities fell upon us.