Christmas in Pakistan
GOJRA, Pakistan--Christmas in Gojra, where a tent camp houses Christians who lost their homes to a rampaging Muslim mob, will be celebrated not with decorations and cheer but with fear of another attack.
Those living in the canvas shelters after the worst violence against minorities in Pakistan this year left them homeless say they are still regularly harassed: Rocks are thrown at their camp at night, and they've been threatened by cell phone text messages promising a "special Christmas present."
"Last year I celebrated Christmas full of joy," said Irfan Masih, cradling his young son near one of the open ditches of the tent camp that has been his home for nearly five months. But now "the fear that we may again be attacked is in our hearts.
"They are threatening us, (saying) 'We will again attack you and will not let you out of your homes, we will burn you inside this time,'" he said. Read More.
Christmas in Indonesia
Fifteen police officers backed up by soldiers and local residents will guard every church across West Java during Christmas celebrations to prevent possible attacks, police said.
Dozens of churches in the province have closed since 2004 after being stormed or attacked by hard-line Muslim mobs. In 2000, militants bombed churches across the archipelago on Christmas Eve.
This week in Bandung, West Java, many Christians won't be able to celebrate Christmas in a church because they were denied permits to build their places of worship.
West Java Church Federation (BKSG) leader John Simon Timorason said Wednesday the biggest obstacle was applying for a building permit to build a church, so local Christians eventually opted to hold Christmas prayers in shopping malls, hotels, restaurants, shops and homes.
He said more than 60 percent of the 1,920 churches in West Java were built without permits because of difficulties in obtaining permits. Only 15 percent of churches have permanent buildings and have permits.
"We face difficulties obtaining permits. Those equipped with permits, such as the churches in Purwakarta, Bekasi and Depok, had their permits revoked due to pressure from intolerant groups," Simon told The Jakarta Post. Read More.
Christmas in Iraq
Christians in the Iraqi city have opted not to celebrate Christmas this year, since Ashura, a major Shi’ite day of mourning, falls on the same day. So out of “respect” for the local Shi’ites, Chaldean Catholic Bishop Imad Al Banna asked all Christians in Basra not to engage in any public celebration of Christmas, and not even to entertain guests or show any joy in the day.
Would Shi’ites curtail one of their celebrations to show similar “respect” to the Christians? Would they mute their joy on Eid al-Fitr if it began on Good Friday? And what would happen to these Christians if they failed to show this “respect”?
Meanwhile, Christians are still streaming out of Iraq in such large numbers that the ancient Christian community is on the verge of extinction. Islamic jihadists last week attacked churches and Christian schools in Mosul, with forty people killed in bomb attacks and random Christians targeted for violence on the streets. This is after jihadist violence late last year killed forty and drove 12,000 Christians from the area. “It is terrible,” one Mosul Christian told the Times of London: : “Most of the Christians are staying at home, or when they go out they watch their backs.” A member of another religious minority, the Yazidis, who lives in a Christian village remarked: “You cannot live in Mosul. Every day you find Christians being killed. Very few are still going to church. The women have to wear hijabs. They send someone first in a car to check if there is someone outside the church.” Source.
Christmas in Egypt
[I]n Egypt, Christian Solidarity International and the Coptic Foundation for Human Rights released a new report detailing rampant abuse of Christian women by Muslims: “Cases of abduction, forced conversion and marriage are usually accompanied by acts of violence which include rape, beatings, deprivation of food and other forms of physical and mental abuse.” John Eibner of Christian Solidarity International wrote a letter to Barack Obama about the treatment of Christian women, asking him to speak out and noting: “Trafficking of Christian women in Egypt is not a new phenomenon....But this problem has now reached boiling point within Egypt’s Coptic community, which views it as symptomatic of a much broader pattern of religious persecution.” But Obama, busy courting the good will of the Islamic world, is unlikely to say anything. And meanwhile, the State Department’s 2009 report on international religious freedom noted that the Egyptian government often turns a blind eye to crimes committed against Copts -- and government officials have on occasion even participated in those crimes. Source.
Christmas in Turkey
The Christians in Turkey are facing a similarly somber Christmas. “We are treated,” said the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, “as citizens of second class. We don’t feel that we enjoy our full rights as Turkish citizens.” Yet “we prefer to stay here, even crucified sometimes.” Source.
Christmas in the U.S.
Lest we think that we're immune here in the West, today, a Muslim named Umar Farul Abdul Mutallab attempted to blow up a plane to Detroit. The man claimed to be acting on behalf of Al Qaeda.
FoxNews--A male passenger possibly linked to terrorist organization Al Qaeda ignited a powdery substance prior to landing on a Delta Airlines flight to Detroit Friday, Fox News confirmed. The man is believed to be Nigerian.
Several people were hurt and one person, possibly the suspect, was admitted to the University of Michigan Medical Center at Ann Arbor, hospital spokeswoman Tracy Justice said. An emergency was declared aboard the flight, operated as Northwest flight 253, according to a Federal Aviation Administration spokesperson.
The suspect, who ABC reported suffered second-degree burns, told federal investigators he was connected to Al Qaeda, though authorities are questioning the veracity of that statement, Fox News confirmed. A federal situational awareness bulletin noted that the explosive was acquired in Yemen with instructions as to when it should be used, ABC said. Read More.
Of course, moderate and liberal Muslims are too busy complaining about the intolerance of the Swiss minaret ban to do anything about the persecution of non-Muslims in Muslim countries.