Barnabas Fund – 23/09/2016
The Muslim captain of a migrant smuggling boat has gone on trial in Spain for the religiously motivated murder of six Christians. At least 50 migrants were crammed into a ten-metre-long inflatable, which left the Moroccan coast for Spain in December 2014. When the craft encountered rough seas, witnesses said that the captain accused a Nigerian church pastor, who was leading Christians on the boat in prayer, of causing the bad weather by praying. The captain and his second-in-command, both from Cameroon, beat the pastor with planks of wood before throwing him overboard. They then searched the other migrants to see if any were wearing Christian symbols and attacked another five and also threw them into the sea. All six Christians are believed to have drowned.
Christian migrants and refugees attempting to reach Europe from north Africa have been subject to serious abuses and are often singled out for their faith, as Amnesty International has highlighted. They not only face the perils of the journey at the mercy of people traffickers, but can also face persecution at the hands of their fellow refugees. Twelve Christians drowned in the sea near Libya in April 2015 when a group of Muslims forced them over the side of the boat they were travelling in. Similar to the incident off the coast of Morocco, it was when the believers openly prayed on the boat that they were attacked.