Egypt’s Christians – Distraught and Displaced

October 5, 2012 2:37 am 0 comments

Reuters reported last week that “Most Christians living near Egypt’s border with Israel [in the town of Rafah in Sinai] are fleeing their homes after Islamist militants made death threats and gunmen attacked a Coptic-owned shop.” Photos of desecrated churches and Christian property show Arabic graffiti saying things like “don’t come back” and “Islam is the truth.”

All media reports describe the same sequence of events: 1) Christians were threatened with leaflets warning them to evacuate or die; 2) an armed attack with automatic rifles was made on a Christian-owned shop; 3) Christians abandoned everything and fled their homes.

Anyone following events in Egypt knows that these three points—threatening leaflets, attacks on Christian property, followed by the displacement of Christians—are happening throughout Egypt, and not just peripheral Sinai, even if the latter is the only area to make it to the Western mainstream media. Consider:

Genocidal Leaflets

On August 14, El Fegr reported that leaflets were distributed in areas with large Christian populations, including Upper Egypt, offering monetary rewards to Muslims who “kill or physically attack the enemies of the religion of Allah—the Christians in all of Egypt’s provinces, the slaves of the Cross, Allah’s curse upon them…”

As a testimony to just how safe the jihadis feel under Egypt’s new Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi—who just freed a militant jihadi responsible for the burning of a church leaving several Christians dead—the leaflets named contact points and even a mosque where Muslims interested in learning more about killing Christians should rally “after Friday prayers where new members to the organization will be welcomed.”

On the same day these leaflets were distributed, a separate report titled “The serial killing of Copts has begun in Asyut” noted that a Christian store-owner was randomly targeted and killed by Salafis.

Muslim Attacks on Christian Properties and Persons

For months, Arabic-Christian media have been reporting ongoing stories of Muslim “gangs” and “thugs” attacking Christian homes, abducting the residents, including women and children, and demanding ransom monies—not unlike what is happening to Christians in Iraq and Syria. In one particular case, the Muslim gang attacked the home of a Coptic man, “releasing several gunshots in the air, and threatening him either to pay or die.” The gang “picked this specific village because Copts form 80% of its inhabitants.” Such reports often conclude with an all too familiar postscript: Christians calling police for help and filing complaints, all in vain.

Coptic Solidarity report from August 20 titled “Copts in Upper Egypt Attacked, Beat, Plundered,” tells of just that—how Christians are being beat, their businesses set on fire, and their properties plundered (see also here and here for similar reports). Likewise, according to Al Moheet, a new human rights report indicates that, in Nag Hammadi alone, there are dozens of cases of Muslim gangs abducting Christian Copts and holding them for ransom. Concerning these, the Coptic Church is daily asking for justice and receiving none.

Christian Displacements

The exodus of Copts from their homes also has become an ongoing crisis, so much so that a recent statement by the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt lamented the “repeated incidents of displacement of Copts from their homes, whether by force or threat.” The statement also made clear that what happened in Sinai is no aberration: “Displacements began in Ameriya, then they stretched to Dahshur, and today terror and threats have reached the hearts and souls of our Coptic children in Rafah [Sinai].”

Indeed, back in February, a mob of over 3,000 Muslims attacked and displaced Christians in the region of Ameriya, due to unsubstantiated rumors that a Christian man was involved with a Muslim woman. Christian homes and shops were looted and then torched; “terrorized” women and children who lost their homes stood in the streets with no place to go. As usual, it took the army an hour to drive 2 kilometers to the village, and none of the perpetrators were arrested. Later, a Muslim Council permanently evicted eight Christian families and confiscated their property, even as “Muslims insisted that the whole Coptic population of 62 families must be deported.”

A few weeks ago in Dahshur, after a Christian laundry worker accidently burned the shirt of a Muslim man, the customer came with a Muslim mob to attack the Copt at home. As the Christian defended his household, a Muslim was killed. Accordingly, thousands of Muslims terrorized the area, causing 120 Christian families to flee. One elderly Coptic woman returned home from the bakery to find the area deserted of Christians. Rioting Muslims looted Christian businesses and homes. Family members of the deceased Muslim insist that the Christians must still pay with their lives.

The same time the media reported about the displacement of Christians from Rafah, a quarrel between two school girls—a Christian and a Muslim—ended when several “heavily-armed” Muslims stormed the home of the Christian girl, causing her family and three other Christian families to flee the village. When the father returned, he found that all his saved money and possessions had been plundered. When he asked police for help, the officer replied, “I can’t do anything for you, reconcile with them and end the problem.”

—–

Indeed, this has been the same attitude of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood led government: in all of the above cases, the government looked the other way, or, when called on it, denied reality. Thus the Coptic Holy Synod made it a point to assert in its statement that “nearly one month ago the media had published the violations against the Copts but the Egyptian authorities have not taken the necessary measures to protect the Egyptian families, who have the right to live safely in their homes.” As for the Rafah incident—the only incident to reach the mainstream media—Prime Minister Hisham Qandil denied that Christians were forced to flee, saying “One or two [Christian] families chose to move to another place and they are totally free to do so like all Egyptian citizens.”

Such governmental indifference is consistent with the fact that, despite promising greater representation for Egypt’s Christians, President Morsi just broke his word by allowing only one Copt—a female—to represent the nation’s 10-12 million Christians in the newly formed cabinet.

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Blogs Book Reviews The Origins of Palestinian Refugee Relief Efforts (REVIEW)

    The Origins of Palestinian Refugee Relief Efforts (REVIEW)

    Romirowsky and Joffe’s book Religion, Politics and the Origins of Palestine Refugee Relief is an important volume for those interested in truly understanding the origins of the Palestinian refugee issue. Utilizing a treasure trove of newly released documents, the authors link UNRWA’s (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine) origins to the Quakers/American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). For those readers who thought they knew most of the Middle East story, Romirowsky and Joffe’s version provides another twist. The authors meticulously [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports Israeli Soccer Team Faces Prospect of International Ban

    Israeli Soccer Team Faces Prospect of International Ban

    The Israel National soccer team could be facing a World Cup ban, and other soccer sanctions, unless it alleviates travel restrictions and increases field access for Palestinian players and coaches. The head of the Palestinian Football Association is pushing for international soccer’s governing body, the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), to issue a ban on Israel competing internationally, claiming Israel’s restrictive travel for Palestinians is equivalent to a form of oppression. “It’s not only the athletes,” Jibril Rajoub explains. [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews Jewish Author of ‘Eat to Live’ Dishes on Health Care, Nutrition, Disease Prevention

    Jewish Author of ‘Eat to Live’ Dishes on Health Care, Nutrition, Disease Prevention

    JNS.org – While the national debate on “Obamacare” rages on past the recent March 31 sign-up deadline, bestselling Jewish author Dr. Joel Fuhrman says the “current disease care model of what we call ‘health care’ cannot possibly be sustained.” “There is simply not enough money available to support a system in which the lion’s share of expenditures is devoted to acute care, with virtually nothing being spent on preventive medicine, i.e. health care,” Fuhrman says in an interview. “To make [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    JNS.org – “This is how I want to be—without fear. Independent. I want to be like a bird. I want to spread my wings.” So reads part of the description beneath one of the 30 paintings on display until the end of May at the ZOA House in Tel Aviv. The collection represents the first-ever art exhibit of its kind: an exhibit created entirely by Israelis in treatment for eating disorders. Dubbed “Tears of Color,” based on one of the [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    JNS.org – Rachel Ament noticed that she and her friends often shared humorous anecdotes that were typically variations on a theme: overprotective, worrying Jewish moms who smothered them with love. That included Ament’s own mother. “My mom is probably every Jewish stereotype scrunched into one,” the Washington, DC, resident tells JNS.org. “At the root of all these stereotypical, worrying, overprotective moms, is love.” A social media writer for Capital One, as well as a freelance writer, Ament decided about three years [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    Kosher Lust, by Shmuley Boteach (Gefen Publishing House, 2014). You really do want to find something positive to say about Shmuley Boteach. He is a phenomenon; very bright, an articulate bundle of energy and self-promotion. Anyone who has the chutzpah to describe himself as “America’s Rabbi” deserves ten out of ten for effort. I believe that along with most Chabad alumni, official and unofficial, he does a lot of good and is a sort of national treasure. In this world [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    JNS.org – In a throwback to the golden age of cinema, Hollywood has declared 2014 the “Year of the Bible.” From Ridley Scott’s Exodus starring Christian Bale as Moses, to Russell Crowe playing Noah, Hollywood is gambling on new innovations in technology and star power to revisit some of the most popular stories ever told. “It’s definitely a throwback to the 1950s and early ’60s,” Dr. Stephen J. Whitfield, an American Studies professor at Brandeis University, told JNS.org. Starting with The [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    Eddie Carmel, dubbed “The Jewish Giant” by American photographer Diane Arbus, is the centerpiece of a new exhibit opening April 11 at The Jewish Museum in New York. Arbus met Carmel, who was billed “The World’s Tallest Man,” at Hubert’s Dime Museum and Flea Circus in 1959 but waited until 1970 to photograph him at his parents’ home in the Bronx, according to the museum. The son of immigrants from Tel Aviv, Carmel posed for Arbus with his head bowed to [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.