In one of the most brazen attacks on Egypt’s Christians, a Muslim man slaughtered a Christian bishop in broad daylight. Security camera footage (viewable here) captured a man with a large butcher knife chasing and stabbing Bishop Samaan Shehata—including in the head, neck, and torso—in the streets of Cairo on October 12. According to eyewitnesses “the assailant had seen Shehata in his car, forcibly stopped him, ordered him out and then started to stab him in the neck and torso. Shehata fled, and the attacker followed him into the warehouse and finished his attack there with several blows to the head.” Then, while standing over his fallen victim, “the assailant used the bishop’s blood to form a cross on his forehead.” It took 90 minutes for an ambulance to arrive, and “the bishop was alive for half an hour after being struck and could have been saved if the ambulance had arrived timely.”
Some personally acquainted with the murderer said Ahmed Saeed Ibrahim had recently “begun praying in the street, shouting loudly and calling Christians infidels.” As for motive, one report says “he had decided to kill any Coptic priest, purchased a dagger, and lay in wait for one to pass by, in a street leading to the local church.” His father “is more of a terrorist than his son,” added one woman; he “used to stop children on their way back from church and say, ‘You are multiplying, may Allah destroy your houses and burn you all. You have filled our neighborhood with filth.’”
Even so, and as in similar cases, Egyptian authorities labeled Ahmed “crazy,” prompting one Copt to ask: “Why is it that anyone who kills Christians is crazy? The person who killed two Christians in a train was crazy. We got used to this, and are expecting [the murderer] will soon be released too. We don’t want to be unfair to anyone, but Ahmed Saeed is not crazy, he’s a religious extremist.” Soon after knowledge of the incident became widespread, “We saw a sheikh online saying those who kill Christians should be prosecuted and not sentenced to death, even before the priest’s blood had cooled,” said a woman, “because those who kill Christians are better than us. But, if a Christian does something, he is executed, his house burned and his family displaced.”
The rest of October’s roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Muslim Slaughter of Christians
Pakistan: On October 9, seven Muslim police officers stormed a school and beat a 14-year-old Christian boy—who had earlier defied forced conversion—to death. According to the slain’s father, “they all started beating Arsalan with fists, kicks and rifle butts.” After murdering him, “the police team threw Arsalan’s body on the roadside and fled.” Four month earlier, Arsalan had fought a Muslim classmate who was pressuring him to renounce Christianity and accept Islam. “I did not know about the fight until recently,” the father explained. “Arsalan had reportedly beaten up a boy whose uncle, Sardar alias Billu, is a constable in the Sheikhupura District police. Billu nurtured a grudge against Arsalan, and that’s why he brought his police friends with him to teach the poor boy a lesson.” (Another teenage Christian student was beaten to death by Muslim students angered that an “unclean” infidel had drunk from the same water source used by Muslim pupils a few weeks earlier in September.)
Syria: Islamic State militants are believed to have executed two Russian mercenary fighters— Roman Zabolotny, 39, and Grigory Tsurkanu, 38—for refusing to renounce Christianity and embrace Islam. Commenting on their appearance on an ISIS propaganda video, Senior Russian MP Viktor Vodolatsky said: “It is very sad but 99 per cent Roman Zabolotny is not alive, nor is the second prisoner. Before filming that video they were given a statement which they had to read. In this text they would reject their Orthodox religion, reject their motherland, become Muslim and join ISIS. They stayed loyal to the Orthodox faith and their Motherland until the very end, and this is what they were killed by those gangsters for.”
Separately, in what eyewitnesses described as a “shocking massacre,” the Islamic State spent 20 days systematically slaughtering people in the Christian village of al-Qaryatain. According to one report, “The militant group killed at least 116 civilians [later sources say 128 people] in executions committed in the days before the Syrian regime recaptured the town… ISIS regained control of the town three weeks ago, and then the killings began. Syrian regime forces, backed by Russian air power, arrived and liberated the town on October 21 after dozens of ISIS fighters retreated, at which point the remains of the victims of the mass execution were found. After the regime retook it, the town’s residents found the bodies on the streets. They had been shot dead or executed with knives.”
Iraq: The Muslim family of a Baghdad man who turned Christian slaughtered him. According to the report, “after Muhammed shared the gospel with his mother, she talked with his father and his father became angry. He gave his son two days to repent or be killed.” When Muhammad refused, “his cousins just killed him.”
Separately, and as another example of the ravishes of the Islamic State, a report explained how “Three years ago, there were 73 nuns with the Dominican Sisters of Saint Catherine,” but “[s]ince the Islamic State captured the Plain of Nineveh in 2014, one-third of them have died,” or about 24. One of the survivors, Sister Silvia, said, “We pray for them [Islamic terrorists] every day as sisters. We pray for them, for those bringing peace, for our soldiers, for those who help people have a better life. This prayer helps us forgive—not to forget, because you can’t forget, but to not hate the other person. If we hate others, that means that we’re doing what the devil wants, not what Jesus wants.” The report adds that “The sisters—whose community has lived in the Nineveh Plains and Kurdistan regions of Iraq for 120 years—were forced to flee in August 2015. During ISIS’ occupation of the Nineveh Plain, some 100 places of worship were destroyed, mostly Christian churches.”
Nigeria: A report shed light on the nature and frequency of Muslim Fulani raids on Christian villages. In 13 separate invasions, the Islamic herdsmen slaughtered 48 people—including women and children—and destroyed 249 homes. “All Christians in villages around here have been displaced, and worship buildings have been abandoned. Some of the church buildings were destroyed by the attackers, said the resident of one of these villages. “These attacks are being carried out daily,” said the resident of another village. “Every blessed day we witness the invasion, killing of our people, and the destruction of their houses.”
In a separate attack, “A Christian woman and her two children were killed … three days after a kidnapped priest was slain by his abductors in the southwestern part of the country.” “We have been under attack constantly from these Fulani herdsmen because we are Christians,” Gyang Dahoro, a Christian elder said. “Our villages have been ravaged, and our houses and churches destroyed, and in most cases these herdsmen have taken over the villages where Christians have been displaced.”
Separately, a masked gunman stormed the mission house of the Christ Apostolic Church in search of Rev. Oluwarotimi Akinroyeje. On finding him the assassin opened fire, and, according to a witness, did not flee until ensuring the pastor had died. The killer did not steal anything and it appears he was only targeting Akinroyeje. Although the culprit’s motivation is unknown, several Christian leaders have been similarly targeted in Nigeria and elsewhere on the charge that they are successfully converting Muslims to Christianity.
A separate October report quotes a Nigerian Christian wondering “Why do they [Western people] think Islam is a religion of peace? These people have been killing us for decades and your media just ignores it. Now they are killing you and still your President Obama [had] called it a peaceful religion. We see Western leaders saying that over and over again. Why?”
Trump hails ‘big week’ for historic move; ‘Congratulations to all,’ he tweets ahead of May 14 opening
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman gives a first glimpse of the new US embassy in Jerusalem on May 11, 2018, ahead of its opening on May 14 (Screenshot)
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Friday gave a first glimpse of the new US embassy in Jerusalem, showing off workers erecting the official seal on the building and preparing for the opening ceremony.
“We are so excited,” Friedman said in a video posted on the embassy’s Facebook page. “We have the official seal of the United States embassy. We have the dedication plaque. They are covered right now, but on Monday they are going to be unveiled.”
‘Next time in Jerusalem,’ jubilant Barzilai yells after victory; ‘Toy’ marks Israel’s 4th win; hundreds jump in Rabin Square fountain to celebrate; PM calls her ‘best ambassador’
Netta Barzilai after winning the final of the 63rd edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2018 at the Altice Arena in Lisbon, on May 12, 2018. (AFP/ Francisco LEONG)
Israel won the Eurovision song contest for the first time in two decades Saturday as singer Netta Barzilai clucked and bucked her way to the top of the international song contest with women’s empowerment anthem “Toy.”
Backed up by three dancers, her trademark side buns featuring stripes of pink dyed hair to match her pink-and-black outfit, Barzilai busted her way through “Toy” on stage in Lisbon, Portugal, punctuating her singing with her trademark eye rolls and chicken dance moves
Quoted by US president one day, hosted by Russia’s president the next, PM is on a high, including in the polls. But will this encourage his more divisive tendencies?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier after the Victory Parade marking the 73th anniversary of the defeat of the Nazis in World War II, in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
JTA — On Sunday, Benjamin Netanyahu began his week by meeting his Cypriot and Greek counterparts to finalize the commercial export to Europe of Israeli gas that he has pushed to exploit for about a decade.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from nuclear deal with Iran was widely seen as a coup for Israel’s prime minister, a fierce opponent of the deal.
The same day Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed that Israel seized Iran’s archive of its military nuclear program in Tehran and spirited it to Israel, a video was posted of IDF soldiers singing Soltane Ghalbha, a traditional Persian love song – in Persian.
Taken together, the two events demonstrate the purpose of Netanyahu’s presentation.
Netanyahu’s detractors in the US and Israel called his presentation as a dog and pony show. “He didn’t tell us anything we haven’t known for years,” they sniffed.
Moreover, they insisted, Netanyahu’s presentation was actually counterproductive because he couldn’t show evidence that Iran is in breach of the nuclear deal it concluded in 2015 and so did nothing to persuade the Europeans to abandon the deal.
While US policy-makers are trying desperately to stabilize Afghanistan, a shift is being orchestrated by China.
The Chinese evidently see their role in Afghanistan as the “good cop” versus the U.S. role as “bad cop.” Like Pakistan, China seems to view the Taliban as the political opposition, not as a terrorist organization, and has offered itself as an intermediary to negotiate the departure of the U.S. and, thereby, be in a position to reap the economic and geopolitical benefits of Afghanistan as a client state of the China-Pakistan alliance.
Reuters/Ipsos set a new standard this week when it condemned its own polling as unreliably favorable to the president.
“This week’s Reuters/Ipsos Core Political release presents something of an outlier of our trend,” stated a paragraph that appeared before the press release on its latest polling even began.
“Every series of polls has the occasional outlier, and in our opinion, this is one. So, while we are reporting the findings in the interest of transparency, we will not be announcing the start of a new trend until we have more data to validate this pattern.”
For the sixth Friday in a row, protestors from Gaza came to Israel’s border with intentions to penetrate it. They come with scissors to cut through the fence, with burning tires, Molotov cocktails, slingshots with rocks, and kites with firebombs attached to them to destroy Israeli farmlands and villages.
This is not some peaceful demonstration akin to Selma in the 1960s when blacks were simply trying to sit together with whites at a lunch counter. The usage of the word “demonstrators” is a misnomer; these are “rioters.”
What would happen if the world took Pope Francis’ advice (via a tweet)? “Do we really want peace? Then let’s ban all weapons so we don’t have to live in fear of war,” said the pontiff.
While on the surface, the disappearance of all weapons might suggest the inability to do violence, in reality, it would mean the certain annihilation of the West as a civilization.
When a Philadelphia Starbucks manager called the police after two black men refused to leave, the chain of events ended with the burnt taste of the overpriced coffee chain colluding with anti-Semitism.
Starbucks reacted to the brief arrest by blaming the police, but Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross, who is African-American, initially said that his officers, “did absolutely nothing wrong”. But then he was forced to offer a bewildering apology to the arrested men, the officers and the entire city.
“It is me who in large part made most of the situation worse than it was,” he announced.
“Your threshing season will last until your grape harvest, and your grape harvest will last until the time you plant. You will have your fill of food, and you will dwell securely in your land” (Vayikra 26:5).
This blessing is promised to the People of Israel on condition that, as a unified nation, they observe the laws of the Torah and live by its spirit. Its promise is quite surprising. Not only will the Israelites have plenty to eat but, as the verse clearly indicates, the Jews will experience an overflow of food. The first season, when produce is brought to the threshing floor, will last until the days of the grape harvest, which in turn will continue into the planting season.