Crucifixions of dissidents in Egypt and Yemen worry Christians

 

Shocking evidence has emerged from the Mideast about an escalation in the persecution of Christians in Muslim countries. According to a report in Lebanon Today, at least one man was crucified and two others were otherwise executed by the jihadist group Ansar al-Shariah that had taken control of a region in Yemen and imposed Islamic religious law, known as shariah. The jihadists accused the trio of being agents or spies for the United States and killed them several months ago during a period when the Yemeni government was challenged by riots and rebellion. The MEMRI website has photographs of the jihadists’ victims .

A caption to a video of a victim of crucifixion explained that he was an accused “spy who was executed by extremists for placing sensors in militant’s cars to direct U.S. attacks on them.”

A report issued to subscribers only by the MEMRI website showed a photograph of the  victim crucified on an electric pylon in south Yemen’s Abyan province. Translated, a sign affixed above the victim’s head displayed the flag of the Al-Qaeda-linked group and a text from verse 5:33 of the Koran: “The recompense of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and do mischief in the land is only that they shall be killed or crucified or their hands and their feet be cut off from opposite sides, or be exiled from the land. That is their disgrace in this world, and a great torment is theirs in the Hereafter.”

Walid Shoebat, a former PLO operative who is now a terrorism analyst, said that the inscription in one of the photos reads, “He was crucified for three days in accordance with shariah.” According to Shoebat,  the group carried out the Shariah-prescribed penalties as retribution for allegedly giving information to U.S. forces which then carried out drone strikes against terrorist in Yemen.

According to a translation by Shoebat,  a report on the crucifixions said, “One they nicknamed ‘Captain’ was executed by crucifixion for three days at the entrance to the city of Jaar in the Abyan province, to be viewed by passersby entering and leaving the city.”  Shoebat provided a translation of other summary executions carried out by the jihadists, “Two Saudis and a Yemeni were also executed by the sword at dawn at the hands of Ansar al-Shariah, and [the terrorists] absolved [a] fourth defendant from execution for his young age…”

The Lebanon Today report translated by Shoebat said, “A leader in Ansar al-Islam claimed that these who were executed belong to the province of Marib, [and were executied] for planting trackers on cars that belong to al-Qaida leaders to be targeted by the drones.”

Shoebat said that crucifixions are “something new.” However, there have been reports recently that Christian children have been crucified by Muslim extremists in Iraq to terrify Christians and force them to leave.

The report noted,  “One researcher, Saeed Obaid Elaf, said that, ‘The incidents of these executions never occurred previously in Yemen but follows the sequence of events which occurred previously in Afghanistan and Iraq [where] … Islam is the religion of the state. In Iraq these [terrorists] see Iraq as the Islamic State of Iraq.

“‘In Afghanistan, the ones who receive this type of executions are those who are considered spies. But in Yemen this is the first time we have seen such phenomenon, which has become a natural thing now because al-Qaida now exercises the powers of the state and it’s natural that it carries out such executions.”

A report on the Arabic Sky News notes that crucifixions are being carried out in Egypt, virtually under the nose of the newly elected President Mohammed Morsi, who has long been a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.  An English translation of the Sky News report stated that members of the Muslim Brotherhood crucified dissidents and “crucified” them “naked on trees in front of the presidential palace.”

A translation of the Arabic Sky News report said, ““Sky News correspondent confirmed that members of the Muslim Brotherhood crucified dissidents to Muhammad Mursi naked on trees in front of the presidential palace. In addition, other demonstrators from the Muslim Brotherhood closed the gates not allowing entry to Media City in the area of Sixth of October as they attacked popular media figures.” Several other newspapers in the region reported on the crucifixions, while at least one website posted the image of a man who narrowly escaped crucifixion but suffered a gaping wound in his side. Al Dostour, an Egyptian newspaper, and TunisSat also reported on the crucifixions.

 Having already targeted for bombings, abductions and forced conversions and marriages, destruction and pillaging of their monasteries, the situation for Egypt’s Coptic Christians appears to be deteriorating further. That dissidents are being crucified is not lost on Christians. Video has emerged of Copts begging for help from the outside world, alleging that Coptic Christian women are being abducted and enslaved. Analyst Shoebat contends that Christian leaders in Egypt are frightened and thus anxious to put up a good front in appearances with President Morsi.

Shoebat said that meetings with Christian leaders affords useful photo opportunities for President Morsi. For example, Anglican Bishop Mouneer Hanna Anis of Egypt emerged from an August meeting with Morsi saying , “We told the president that we are aware that he received a heavy responsibility at a very difficult time in Egypt’s history and we all need to be patient and hard-working in order to see the desired fruits,” Anis said, according to Shoebat’s translation. The bishop emerged from the meeting very encouraged, asking Christians to pray for Morsi, Christian religious leaders, and the nation. 



Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. He is also a freelance translator.

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