Posted by: L. E. Barnes | May 18, 2011

Violence against Coptic Christians: Where Is the Outrage?

Taken from The Australian:

TWELVE Christian were murdered in Egypt. Two hundred and thirty-two people wounded. The death toll will surely rise as victims succumb to their injuries. And that’s just in the past few days. In the same time period, more Christians were killed in Egypt at the hands of Muslims than people killed in Syria or in Libya as a result of protests, riots and resistance.

Two churches in Cairo were burned in recent days. Over the past few months church property has being gutted, vandalised and violated with graffiti. Churches have been blown up.

An entire community – the Christian community in the new Egypt – is under attack. And the world remains relatively silent. There has been no significant religious outcry, political redress or diplomatic pressure to stop the attacks. There has been almost no media coverage as Egypt’s Muslims systematically, over the past few months, set about massacring Egypt’s Christians.

The world is not only standing idly by, it is enabling the massacre. The US naively expects that a new era, begun in new Egypt, will ripple to the rest of the Islamic world. So in the midst of these monstrous mass murders in Egypt, the US has decided to send an extra $US1 billion to help the Egyptians ease the economic crisis that emerged as a result of the ousting of Hosni Mubarak on February 11. Muslims in Egypt are on the warpath – on the religious warpath – and the US is feeding them money.

This most recent round of Christian murders began with the rumour that Christians had kidnapped a Christian woman who had converted to Islam. According to the rumour, the woman was being held in the cellar of one of the churches and Christians were brainwashing her back to Christianity. Egyptian Muslims set out to find this woman. Along the way they murdered, pillaged and burned.

The rumours were not true. There was no kidnapping. But there are two burned churches and 12 murdered Christians.

Threats against Christians have become a near daily event since Christmas. On New Year’s Day 21 Christians were killed in a church bombing in the ancient port city of Alexandria. Alexandria has a long history of multiculturalism, it should have, and could have, been a model city where Christians, Muslims and even Jews lived together harmoniously. Statistically, there are no longer any Jews in Egypt, but there are still seven million Christians. Instead, Alexandria has become a symbol of attacking Christians. Do not for a moment think that the date January 1 was an accident – the church was bombed in the middle of holiday mass. No one has been prosecuted. .

A year earlier, on January 7, Coptic Christmas, seven people were killed as they left mass. Six were Christian worshippers, the seventh victim was a Muslim guard. In this case someone was actually arrested.

The ugliest of all Muslim attacks against Christians took place on March 9. On that day 1500 Muslims stormed the Christian community in a modern pogrom. Thirteen people died, 45 were seriously injured, 150 moderately injured. The Egyptians put a military blackout over the material, but the Assyrian International News Agency reported the carnage.

Egypt’s Christians are a minority living in a Muslim majority. Coptic Christians are a very successful minority. When Gamal Abdel Nasser took over as ruler, the Copts were 10 per cent of the country and owned 50 per cent of the wealth. In Alexandria, where the Copts still own 50 per cent of the businesses, attacks on Copts are perpetrated by Muslims. Fear of the unknown feeds these murders and fuels the mob that unleashes a fury of hate.

Why has the new Egypt done almost nothing to prevent, protect or prosecute?

Because in their culture, no wrong has been committed. In many of the cases the army was actually present when these attacks took place and the perpetrators took refuge behind army tanks.

In Egypt there exists a cultural norm that sometimes seems to permit killing someone with whom you disagree.. The Western world must insist that if Egypt wishes to get foreign aid, that norm must change.

The history of Christianity in Egypt dates back to the birth of Jesus. Matthew 2:13 describes Joseph and Mary taking Jesus to Egypt to escape the “massacre of the infants”. Egypt has historical and religious significance for Christians. And now Egypt also has blood libels against Christians.


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Responses

  1. Two out of every three Christians in the Middle East are Copts in Egypt. Now is our last and best chance to see a community in the Middle East with enough critical mass to be self-sustaining and vibrant. I’m more convinced than ever about the urgency of supporting the Church in Egypt, especially in light of everything that has happened in Egypt this month.

    I have the blessing of working with Coptic Orphans, an organization that operates primarily through about 350 church-based volunteers who visit the homes of the fatherless and widow in their areas. These volunteers connect them to various resources to break the cycle of poverty. I do it because as a Christian in America, I want to strengthen the Body of Christ in Egypt, so that the local church is best able to be salt and light in Egyptian society.

    I especially have a passion about getting Catholics engaged in the cause of the fatherless in Egypt (Isaiah 1:17) because I believe that demonstrations of love between our Churches is the truest way to unity. Plus, it was in the National Basilica 5 years ago that I first sensed the call to join this cause, and so return the hospitality that the Holy Family received in Egypt!

    Coptic Orphans speaks in churches and to church groups about the issues in Egypt with on-the-ground knowledge, and about the very unique cultural aspects of the cause of the fatherless and widow in Egypt. We also send church groups to Egypt to serve alongside Coptic Churches, who are so hospitable. I personally sponsor a child.

    If anyone is interested, I can help if you give me a call: 703-717-8957 (my cell).

    • Thanks for the information!

  2. The murder of Christians in the Middle East is giving many martyrs to the Church. I can’t imagine living in such conditions. It is disgusting that nobody in politics seems the slightest bit disturbed about this. Personally, I would suspend all foreign aid to Muslim countries until these kinds of things stop. When they no longer get the free handouts from the US taxpayer they can decide how important religious freedom is to them. If it isn’t, then we can take the money and use it to help others.

    • Yes, it’s definitely appalling. We shouldn’t be giving money to countries that allow such things.

    • Forgive me, but as it so happens, I was just at the release of some research last week by the Hudson Institute. They said that 18% of official US aid goes to the Middle East/North Africa. But how about private giving? Only 4%.

      I have family members that have questioned my passion for strengthening the Body of Christ in Egypt because, after all, hasn’t the US government already pouring billions of dollars into the Egyptian government every year for decades?

      I agree with Barb that we can’t rely on government interests here, because their reasons for standing by groups abroad involve complex political calculus, inevitably different than our reasons as Christians. Consequently, the fruits are so different; we already saw what fruits they bear in the Mubarak era.

      The best way to stand by Christians in the Middle East is for us, as Christians, to support them ourselves instead of merely relying on political forces to sanction or contribute on our behalf. as members of the Body of Christ. Directly.

      • Thanks again for the information. You’re probably right in that the best way for us to help our fellow Christians in Egypt is do so directly rather than hoping for the government or international agencies to do something about it.


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