Saturday, October 15, 2011

Egypt's Christians Under Siege

The Arab Spring has begun to bear its first fruits.

Egypt's Coptic Christians, a group that could not consider itself safe in the days of Egyptian autocracy, has experienced unrelenting attacks since the overturning of Mubarak's rule. These people, who have been a part of Egypt since the earliest days of Christianity, were of course subjected to the "Dhimmi" state once Egypt fell to the Islamic invasions by 641. Dhimmi is a term from the Koran. It specifically is interpreted to mean "protected", but the connotations of the word imply that of living in subjection as non-citizens, payment of taxes due to their Moslem rulers, and a status that is supposed to instill a sense of humiliation.

Unlike Christian communities in other Islamic countries, the Copts have somehow maintained a population of close to 10% of the Egyptian population. Christian groups in such countries typically experience reductions of adherents year by year until few or none are left. Through the centuries, many can no longer afford to be subject to the "jizya" (the tax); their people may convert to but are not allowed to leave Islam under pain of death, and legal/ business practices are almost always made in the favor of Muslims vs. Christians.

The Copts would suffer periodic bursts of persecution by Muslim mobs or small groups during the days of Mubarak and his predecessors. This would include attacks/burnings of churches, kidnaps and repeated rapes of Coptic girls/young women (also being forced to utter Muslim prayers and the Islamic profession of faith, making them Moslems to their captors), and numerous other examples of persecution. The Arab Spring, however, has released a  Pandora’s box of attacks on the Copts without even the heavy hand of the autocracy to put a stop to the 'locker room beatings' once the bullied High School student has again learned his place for the moment.

Muslims in Egypt have stepped up their attacks on Copts with essentially no fear of punishment from the military government. All that is needed is a rumor or a proclamation that a rumor exists for the mob to assemble and lash out. A recent example is an accusation that a Copt has kidnapped one of their own who has converted to Islam. This of course is standard practice with Muslims with Family members who become Christian and looks very much like the psychological meaning of the word 'projection'. There of course was no evidence that any of these women had opted at any time for the incredibly liberating status of being a Muslim woman.

Churches and individual Copts are attacked, with ancient Churches destroyed and Copts injured and killed. Rapes of Coptic women have increased in frequency and barbarity (if that is possible).

Recent protests of Copts demanding protection from their government have been met with attacks on the supplicants by the Egyptians military itself. The results were scores of dead and injured and hundreds of arrests of Copts. This has been portrayed by the Western Media, especially MSNBC, as events where the Copts rose up to attack the military and Muslims. When the media is in a generous mood they ascribe it to clashes between Christians and Muslims.

The facts of these events were bravely stated by Ezra Levant of the Sun News Network. Videos of the military attacking the Copts can be found there as well as on the blog site "Gates of Vienna", a site to which I am much in debt. On the site today can be found video coverage along with an interview with a Copt intimately familiar with the situation of his co-religionists in Egypt. The videos and photos are terribly shocking.

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