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Islamists Beat, Mock Christians in India

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Islamic extremists in India attacked a Christian prayer meeting in West Bengal state, beating a 65-year-old widow and other women less than a month after they helped drive a young woman out of her home and village for her faith.

Islamists in Nutangram, Murshidabad district forced their way into the home of Gaffar Shaike on March 30 at around 2 p.m., as 11 Christians from Believers’ Church were gathered for lunch and worship. In the same area of Nutangram on March 9, Islamic extremists drove 22-year-old Rekha Khatoon out of her village because she dared to give thanks for healing in Christ’s name in the predominantly Muslim village; her parents helped the Islamists to beat her nearly unconscious.

Initially seven extremists led by Mohammed Aanu Shaike stormed into the home of Gaffar Shaike and ordered the Christians to stop the meeting, said Pastor Bashir Pal, founder and pastor of the village Believer’s Church.

Gaffar Shaike said the extremists called them pagans as they kicked, slapped and pushed the Christians, adding that they reprimanded him and his wife for dismissing several warnings from them to stop leading prayer meetings in their house. A year ago, the extremists had burned Shaike’s crops for his faith in Christ, he said.

“I asked the radicals why they barged into my house and why they were not allowing us to pray in my own home,” Shaike said, adding that the extremists were so blinded by fury that they only continued beating them, calling them pagans and threatening to continue doing so until they returned to Islam.

“We want freedom to worship Jesus in our home,” he said.

As the extremists mocked and otherwise verbally abused the Christians, a mob of about 100 Islamists gathered and charged into the house entryway, which is 72 feet long and eight feet wide, shouting anti-Christian slogans and threatening to murder them as they pushed, kicked and slapped them.

When the Christians tried to flee, the extremists blocked their way. The son of Muslim extremist Ahammed Shaike, Mohammed Kuran, beat 65-year-old widow Moyazan Bewa, Christians present said. While Ahammed Shaike’s wife was called in from the front porch to beat a Christian woman at the meeting named Selina Bibi, Mohammed Aanu Shaike beat Gaffar Shaike’ wife, Aimazan Bibi, kicking her head and stomach and leaving a deep cut on her hand, they said.

Other Christians present received minor injuries. Two Christian children present at the meeting were crying in fear, the Christians said.

The Christians somehow made their way out and scattered, but Mohammed Aanu Shaike, brandishing a sickle, chased many of them, “hurling all kinds of insults and attempting to murder them all, but God saved the Christians at that moment,” said Pastor Pal.

By then about 500 Muslims had gathered and were watching in amusement as the extremists chased and harassed the Christians for about 90 minutes, the pastor said.

“The Christians were running in all directions for their lives, including the children who were crying in fear, but the [adult Christians] were stopped at every corner by the radicals who thrashed, bashed and verbally abused them,” Pastor Pal said; no children were attacked.

Aimazan Bibi said spectators took up many positions.

“Some were standing on the house roofs, some stood in front of their houses and on the road,” she said. “There was a huge number of people who were mocking, pushing and shouting at us while some were also just spectators.”

Pastor Pal added that at one point the extremists had trapped many from the Christian group.

“The Christians were cornered at one place, where they all stood petrified in fear, but somehow the almighty God saved them,” he said.

“We pleaded with the radicals to let us go, and eventually they freed us while they were still shouting at us to leave Jesus or face more sufferings,” said one of the trapped Christians, Moyazan Bibi.

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