New Egyptian Constitution: A Slap at the Brotherhood

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by :

Egyptians have a new draft constitution to vote upon in a referendum to be held either later this month or in January 2014. It is meant to replace, with amendment language and new provisions, the more Islamist-oriented constitution rammed through by former Muslim Brotherhood-backed President Mohammed Morsi. “It is now the right of every Egyptian to declare that this is their constitution,” said Bishop Bola, the representative of the Coptic Orthodox Church on the panel that was responsible for drafting the new constitution.

The big loser will be the Muslim Brotherhood, eclipsed by representatives from a more conservative Islamist party and from Al-Azhar University, the seat of Sunni learning, who spoke for Islamists on the drafting panel and have backed the new constitution. The drafting panel also consisted of activists from Tamarod, the secular youth movement that rallied millions of Egyptians who demanded that Morsi step aside, leading to his ouster and replacement by an interim government under the rule of the defense minister, General Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi.

The constitution drafters and the interim government leaders hope that there will be a significantly larger turnout of voters to approve this constitution than showed up to approve Morsi’s constitution.  A larger turnout and vote in support of the draft constitution would serve to legitimize the current interim government’s self-proclaimed move towards a more inclusive, democratic regime – at least, that is what the interim government leaders are claiming. Whether presidential or parliamentary elections would be held first following the constitution’s ratification remains an open question, possibly to provide the opportunity for Sisi to run for president and consolidate his influence in advance of more contentious, drawn-out parliamentary elections.

On paper, the new constitution would grant new important rights to Egyptian citizens, including protection against torture, human trafficking and persecution for religious belief. It bans parties founded on religion or sect and mandates equality between men and women, both slaps in the face of the Muslim Brotherhood which tried to remake the country in its own image of an Islamist state. In practice, however, the new constitution is but another in a series of constitutional documents, more honored in their breach than their observance. While the new draft pays lip service to human rights and is more secular in nature than its predecessor, the draft keeps Sharia law as the basis for legislation. Repression of dissent, limitations on freedom to practice one’s own religion, and violence and discrimination against women are likely to remain the grim reality on the streets of Egypt. State institutions such as the military and the police will retain their privileged status.

Not surprisingly, the Muslim Brotherhood has already denounced the new draft constitution. It said that “abusive coupists” were trying to “distort Egypt’s legitimate constitution,” by which they mean the Islamist-oriented constitution foisted on the Egyptian people last year by a far less inclusive drafting process.  Liberals, secularists and the Coptic Church were on the outside looking in, in contrast to their inclusion in the current drafting process.

The Obama administration appears to be taking a wait-and-see attitude towards the new draft constitution. But, in the meantime, the administration continues to punish the interim regime by cutting off vital military aid, including the delivery of F-16s, M1A1 tank kits, Harpoon missiles and Apache helicopters. It does so on the pretext that the regime’s forcible suppression of dissent and lack of inclusiveness forced the administration to the point that “we could not continue business as usual with respect to our assistance.”

Why not begin resuming at least some deliveries now that the interim government has taken at least a preliminary step on its roadmap towards a more inclusive civil democracy? The excuse appears to be a recently passed law placing restrictions on protest demonstrations, which was aimed at curbing the incessant protests by Islamists supporting Morsi before violence could erupt but has also ensnared some disaffected secularist activists. In a press statement issued on November 25, 2013, Jen Psaki, State Department Spokesperson, said that “this law, which imposes restrictions on Egyptians’ ability to assemble peacefully and express their views, does not meet international standards and will not move Egypt’s democratic transition forward.”  Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, piled on with this tweet on November 26th: “New law regulating peaceful protests in #Egypt simply doesn’t meet intl standards. Gov’t must protect freedoms, and this law restricts them.”

Why didn’t the administration apply the same “international standards” when it kept the arms flowing unabated to the repressive, non-inclusive Morsi regime? The truth is that the administration would have preferred the Islamist Morsi regime to remain in power.

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In the words of A. Savyon, director of MEMRI’s Iran Media Project, and Y. Carmon, President of MEMRI, in their analysis of the roots of the U.S.’s policy change in the Middle East that led to the Obama administration’s disastrous interim nuclear agreement with Iran:

“In previous attempts to appeal to the peoples of the region, that is, in Ankara and Cairo in 2009, Obama presented a vision of an America that is no longer an imperialist power that maintains military bases in the region and intervenes militarily to protect the status quo, but a country that identifies with the aspirations and interests of the Arab and Muslim peoples and disregards their regimes. In Obama’s perception, the overall U.S. shift in recent years – the pinnacle of which is his attempts at reconciliation with the Iranian regime – does not stem from weakness but is ideologically directed; it dovetails with and intensifies the revolutionary changes taking place in the Arab world since the Arab Spring, with the aim of integrating the U.S. into the Arab and Muslim world of the future.”

Read more at Front Page

 

Obama-linked Islamists Downplay Coptic Suffering on Social Media

dalia-mogahedIPT, by John Rossomando:

Why the Failure of Egypt’s ‘Secular’ Army to Protect Coptic Churches Matters

pic_giant_082013_SM_Egypts-Anti-Christian-PogromPJ Media, By Andrew G. Bostom:

Expatriate Egyptian Coptic Christian writer Samuel Tadros has just observed how Egypt’s Copts—the country’s indigenous, pre-Arab Islamic jihad inhabitants—have been under siege by a recent spate of Muslim Brotherhood inspired and led church burnings, which punctuates the worst outbreak of anti-Coptic Muslim violence since the era of Muslim Mamluk rule (i.e., the 13th to 16th centuries).

Tadros was alluding to the effects of mainstream Islam upon its Egyptian Muslim votaries, resulting in the inexorable attrition of the Coptic population by the mid 14th century—the indigenous, pre-Islamic majority reduced to a permanent, vulnerable minority by the usual pattern of Islamization, via jihad: massacre, destruction and pillage of religious sites, forced or coerced conversion, and expropriation. This chronic process intensified and reached its apogee in a series of 14th century pogroms and persecutions, described by the great Muslim historian al-Maqrizi:

Many reports came from both Upper and Lower Egypt of Copts being converted to Islam, frequenting mosques, and memorizing the Quran, to the extent that some of them were able to establish their legal competence and sit with the legal witnesses. In all the provinces of Egypt, both north and south, no church remained that had not been razed; on many of those sites mosques were constructed. For when the Christians’ affliction grew great and their incomes small, they decided to embrace Islam.

Egyptian military strongman, and recent putschist, General al-Sisi issued an ecumenical sounding statement pledging that that army engineers would assist in the reconstruction of the devastated churches, as reported on August 16, 2013:

The Egyptian defense minister ordered the engineering department of the armed forces to swiftly repair all the affected churches, in recognition of the historical and national role played by our Coptic brothers.

But these noble-sounding words have rung hollow given the subsequent, ongoing lack of protection the Egyptian military has afforded its “Coptic brothers.” As reported on August 20th, Bishop General of Minya (in Upper Egypt, four hours from Cairo) Anba Macarius was critical of the army’s continued feeble response, claiming their lack of initiative in protecting churches and other Christian buildings engendered the ideal environment in which “crime and terrorism flourish.” Macarius declared:

First we must protect the Christians and the feelings of those who have suffered loss. Now we are calling on the state to protect the churches and the army to come onto the streets.

The morally reprehensible inaction of Egypt’s allegedly “secular” army—failing to protect its hapless and beleaguered Coptic minority—heightens concerns over the direction of this institution under a demonstrably anti-secular leader, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. In a detailed analysis of al-Sisi’s 2006 US Army War College mini-thesis—which had to be obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request—I demonstrated that he is vociferously opposed to the kind of Western secular consensus model of government Egypt so desperately requires. Moreover, al-Sisi’s mini-thesis also espoused ardent Sharia-supremacist views, highlighted by his lionization of the classical Islamic Caliphate system.

Why does this matter, in the immediate term, both morally and strategically? As my colleague David French wrote in a passionate denunciation of the Egyptian army’s current predilections, and concomitant U.S. moral and strategic blindness:

As churches burn, as nuns are paraded through the streets by the Muslim Brotherhood, and as Christians across Egypt fear for their lives in the face of the jihadist onslaught, American policy can and should get very simple, very fast: Not one scintilla of aid until the Egyptian military demonstrates — by deeds, not just words — that it is committed to stopping this wave of persecution in its tracks, protecting the most basic human rights of its Christian citizens, and utterly defeating the Muslim Brotherhood.

Muslim Brotherhood memo blesses Egyptian church burnings

burning-church-egyptby John Rossomando:

A memo posted on the Facebook page of a local office of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party obtained by the Investigative Project on Terrorism shows a clear call to incitement against Egypt’s Coptic Christian population, giving its blessing to the burning of churches.

Over 40 Coptic churches have been burned by Muslim Brotherhood supporters since the Egyptian police cleared demonstrators protesting the overthrow of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Tuesday. Brotherhood supporters also reportedly blocked the road between Cairo and Aswan in southern Egypt looking for Copts, taking seven Copts hostage Thursday. They were later released after a ransom of 150,000 Egyptian pounds, roughly $21,500, was paid.

Muslim Brotherhood rioters who torched St. George Cathdral in Sohag were heardscreaming “Allahu Akbar!” as they carried out their deed.

Coptic leaders say the Muslim Brotherhood’s violent onslaught against Christians has been unprecedented.

“It never happened before in history that such a big number of churches were attacked on one day,” Bishop Thomas, a Coptic Orthodox bishop in Assiut told Al Jazeera. “We normally used to have attacks once a month or so.”

The memo’s discovery comes a week after leading Freedom and Justice Party politician Abdul Mawgoud Dardery appeared at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. and said that Egypt was a model for Christian-Muslim relations.

“The Pope of the Church (Coptic Pope Tawadros II) took part in the ouster of the first elected Islamist president. The Pope of the Church charges Islamic Sharia with underdevelopment [and] stagnation,” the memo from the Freedom and Justice Party’s branch in Egypt’s Helwan Governorate, near Cairo, said amid other accusations. “After all of this do people wonder why they burn churches? Burning houses of worship is a crime.

“And for the Church to adopt a war against Islam and Muslims is the worst crime. For every action is a reaction.”

The memo also attacked Pope Tawadros II for having supported the June 30 Tamarod demonstrations that led to the military’s toppling of Morsi.

He was not alone among Egypt’s religious leaders in backing the military’s decision to topple Morsi. Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the grand imam of Al-Azhar, the highest clerical authority in Sunni Islam, also supported Morsi’s ouster.

The Brotherhood’s political arm also suggested Pope Tawadros was complicit in the deaths of the over 600 Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators, some of whom were armed with guns, after police cleared them from their encampments.

The phrase “war against Islam” has consistently been used by Islamic extremists to recruit terrorist fighters and to encourage terrorist attacks.

Al-Qaida leader Zayman al-Zawahiri, himself an Egyptian and former Brotherhood member, attacked Pope Tawadros and the Copts last week, blaming them for Morsi’s downfall.

Brotherhood supporters in the city of al-Saff have been drawing check marks on houses owned by Copts to mark them for arson.

Read more at IPT

Muslim Brotherhood ‘Reprisals’ & “Enemies of Islam”

download (32)National Review, By  Andrew C. McCarthy:

More on what Nina Shea and yours truly noted earlier today: The Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamic supremacist allies – portrayed in the mainstream media as “peaceful protesters” subjected to unprovoked violence by Egyptian security forces – continue their jihad against Christians. And that jihad continues to be portrayed in the mainstream media as “reprisal” attacks, as if it were the Copts rather than the armed forces who had ousted the Brotherhood from power.

The Asia News (h/t Robert Spencer) describes a “reprisal [that] occurred immediately after last night’s clashes” in which security forces bulldozed camps that the Brotherhood refused evacuate:

The Muslim Brotherhood’s anger for the forced evacuation of the pro-Mohamed Morsi sit-ins has been unleashed against Christians. In the last few hours, the Islamists have attacked seven Catholic churches and afull fifteen religious structures of the Coptic-Orthodox Church and the Protestant church. The attacks took place in Cairo and in the governorate of Sohag (Upper Egypt). The news was announced by Fr. Rafic Greiche, spokesperson for the Egyptian Catholic Church, who underlined the fact that the Western media has remained silent about the attacks. At the moment it is unclear whether any persons have been injured or killed.

It is worth noting, for the bipartisan Beltway clerisy that thinks the solution here is to move immediately to elections (i.e., the “democracy” approach — democratic process without democratic culture — that has gotten us to this point), that the reason for the Brotherhood’s smashing electoral successes after Mubarak’s ouster was its savvy in portraying all contests as “Islam versus the enemies of Islam.” As much as we wish to imagine the Egyptian population as secular and democratic, it is today exactly the same population that only eight months ago voted overwhelmingly for a sharia constitution (after overwhelming voting Islamic supremacists into control of parliament and electing Morsi president). The attacks on the Copts are not just a continuation of jihad as usual. They are a strategic effort to link the Copts in the public mind with the armed forces that carried out the coup (as well as the minority secularists who took to the streets to demand it). The military is a revered institution, but the most significant fact of life in Egypt is Islam. If the generals are seen as partners of the Copts, they end up on the “enemies of Islam” side of the narrative spun by Islamic supremacists. As we’ve seen again and again since 2011, that is the wrong side to be on in Egypt’s “democracy.”

And isn’t it just ducky that the Obama administration, instead of discrediting the toxic “enemies of Islam” narrative, has now adopted it in State Department pronouncements.

Muslim Brotherhood Burns Churches, Scapegoats Christians Following Crackdown

by John Rossomando:

Muslim Persecution of Christians: May, 2013

images (89)By Raymond Ibrahim:

The month of May continued to prove that Nigeria is the most dangerous nation for Christians—where more Christians have been killed last year than all around the Muslim world combined.  In one instance, Boko Haram Muslim militants stormed the home of a Pentecostal pastor and secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria, and opened fire on him, instantly murdering him.

Separately, other Boko Haram gunmen killed 14 Christians, including the cousin and two nephews of the Rev. Moses Thliza, head of a Christian organization dedicated to preventing AIDS and caring for AIDS patients and orphans:  Said Thliza: “My cousin, Bulus [Paul] Buba, was dragged out at gunpoint from his house by the Boko Haram members. They collected his car keys, demanded money and asked him three times to renounce his Christian faith, and three times he declined to do so [prompting them to execute him]. The attackers met three guards on duty, killed two of them by cutting their necks with knives, and then proceeded to take the third guard, Amtagu Samiyu, at gunpoint to lead them to where the keys of the deputy governor’s house is.”

As for some Christians observing a wake two kilometers away, Boko Haram Muslims asked to know what was going on there, and when they learned that people were saying prayers for an elderly Christian woman who had died, they charged in and shot into the crowd. “The attackers went there and shot indiscriminately at the worshippers, killing eight Christians—two women and six elderly men,” said Thliza. “In all, we buried 14 Christians. Some were injured and taken to the hospital.”

Despite all this, when the Nigerian government tried militarily to confront and neutralize Boko Haram, the Obama administration criticized it, warning it not to violate the “human rights” of the Islamic terrorists.

Categorized by theme, the rest of May’s roundup of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed by theme and in country alphabetical order, not necessarily according to severity:

Church Attacks 

Bosnia: The Serbian Orthodox church of Saint Sava in Sarajevo, where Muslims make up approximately half of the population, was “desecrated” and six of its windows panes broken.  The unidentified vandals wrote “Allah” in dark paint twice on the church wall.  A month earlier, unidentified persons tried to set the church on fire.

Central African Republic: According to the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace, since an Islamic rebel leader proclaimed himself president, the situation for Christians, has “deeply worsened.” The organization warns against “the evil intentions for the programmed and planned desecration and destruction of religious Christian buildings, and in particular the Catholic and Protestant churches….  All over the country the Catholic Church has paid a high price.” Several dioceses have been seriously damaged and plundered, and priests and nuns attacked (more information below, under “Dhimmitude.”)

EgyptTwo Coptic Christian churches were attacked, one in Alexandria, the other in Upper Egypt.  St. Mary in Alexandria was attacked by Molotov cocktails and bricks, causing the gate to burn and the stained glass windows to shatter.  One-thousand Christians tried to defend the church against 20,000 Muslims screaming “Allahu Akbar” [“Allah is Greater”]. One Copt was killed and several injured.  In the village of Menbal in Upper Egypt, after “Muslim youths” harassed Christian girls—including hurling bags of urine at them—and Coptic men came to their rescue, another Muslim mob stormed the village church of Prince Tadros el-Mashreki. They hurled stones and broke everything inside the church, including doors and windows. The mob then went along the streets looting and destroying all Coptic-owned businesses and pharmacies and torching cars. Any Copt met by the mob in the street was beaten.

Iran: Because it refused to stop using the national Persian language during its services—which makes the Gospel intelligible to all Iranian Muslims, some of whom converted—the Central Assemblies of God Church in Tehran was raided by security services during a prayer meeting; its pastor taken to an unknown location, and the church was searched and its books, documents and equipment seized.   Security agents posted a sign stating that the church was now closed. One local source said, “They constantly threaten the church leaders and their families with imprisonment, unexplained accidents, kidnapping and even with execution. We cannot go on like this.”  A number of its members have already been killed and its activities greatly restricted over the last few years.

Libya: The Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception in Benghazi was bombed.  In the words of the Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli, “They put a bomb at the entrance of the corridor leading to the courtyard where there is the door of the church. The church, therefore, was not touched directly, but the attack is not a positive sign. The Church in Libya is suffering. In Benghazi the Coptic Church was hit, its chaplain was killed and now the Catholic Church.  As I reported on other occasions, in Cyrenaica different religious women’s institutes have been forced to close their doors, in Tobruk, Derna, Beida, Barce, as well as in Benghazi. The nuns who were forced to leave, served the population with generosity.”

Syria:  A violent explosion destroyed the church and convent of the Capuchin Franciscan Friars in Deir Ezzor. According to Fr. Haddad of the region, “It was the only church in Deir Ezzor [that] so far still remained almost untouched.” It is not clear how it was destroyed, but some say a car bomb was placed next to the church. Fr. Haddad lamented that, as in other regions, “there are no more Christians” left in Ezzor, due to “all this hate and desecration.”

Tanzania:  During a service to mark its official opening, a new church in a predominantly Christian suburb was bombed, killing at least five people and wounding some 60.  According to a local source, This was… a well-planned attack. Even before it, the threat was given and we still have many threats. Pray for us, and that God will overcome all these in Jesus’ name.” He added that, “radical camps in the country were teaching young Muslims that Christians must be killed or live as second-class citizens,” or dhimmis.  Among those arrested, four were Saudi Arabian nationals. The bombing follows the slaying of two church leaders in February, and the shooting in the face of a third on Christmas Day.  In October, several church buildings were torched and vandalized.

Read more about persecution for Apostasy, Blasphemy, Proselytism, and Dhimmitude at Gatestone Institute

Christian Suffering Under Jihadi Extremism Muslim Persecution of Christians: April, 2013

by Raymond Ibrahim:

“The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia has again declared that it is ‘necessary to destroy all the churches in the region.’”

Before Egypt’s President Muhammad Morsi was ousted, April was one of the worst months for Christian Copts there. On April 5 near Cairo, when a longstanding feud between a Christian family and a Muslim family—based on male Muslims sexually harassing Christian girls—culminated in the violent deaths of six Christians, including two of the participants, a Christian and a Muslim, being set on fire, and local Muslims went on another “collective punishment” spree. It resulted in the injury of at least 20 other Copts, an Evangelical church being set on fire, and an attack on a Coptic church, Two days later, after Copts had mourned their dead in the St. Mark Cathedral—Coptic Christianity’s holiest site and home to the Coptic pope—Muslim mobs, who had waited outside, launched yet another attack—aided by state security forces. Eyewitnesses said as many as 40-50 tear gas canisters targeted the mourners, many of whom were women and children hiding in the cathedral. Two more Copts were killed and many dozens wounded as other officers stood by while the Muslim mob tried to destroy the cathedral.

 

Muslim “youth” climb to the roof of a building adjacent to St. Mark Cathedral to attack it. To the left, a man winds to hurl a projectile at it. And in the white circle to the right, high-ranking Egyptian officials and security stand by watching (easily recognizable by their hats and helmets). Source: RaymondIbrahim.com

On one Friday after prayers, the Bilal Ibn Rabah Mosque in Cairo was turned into a “torture chamber” for Egyptians, many of whom were Christians, protesting the Muslim Brotherhood. One of the victims, Amir Ayad, a Christian, said he was severely beaten before being left for dead at the side of the road. He suffered a fractured skull, a broken arm, bleeding in his right eye and pellet wounds. Coptic Christian children, mostly boys, weretargeted for kidnapping and held for ransom; one 6-year-old, after his family had paid the Muslim kidnapper, was killed. And a video appeared on Arabic-language websites showing a crowd of Muslims in Egypt assaulting and raping two Christian women on a crowded street and in broad daylight. Throughout, the women scream in terror as the men shout Islamic slogans such as “Allahu Akbar!” “["Allah is Greater!"] None of the many passersby intervenes in any way.

Also in April, during Easter week in Nigeria, Muslim herdsmen launched a series of raids on Christian villages, killing at least 80 Christians. Most of those slain were either children or the elderly. Over 200 Christian homes were destroyed, eight churches burned, and 4,500 Christians displaced. According to a pastor present at the time, “It was a helpless situation, as no Christians had any weapon to fight back. Women, children, and the elderly who were not able to escape were shot and killed. Luckily, all my children are in school, so this made it easier for our escape from the Muslim attackers. We sneaked away in the midst of the confusion and trekked for more than 20 kilometers [12 miles] to find a place to stay.”

Categorized by theme, the rest of April’s Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed by theme and in country alphabetical order, not necessarily according to severity:

Church Attacks

Central African Republic: A number of church buildings were attacked and the homes of Christians looted in the aftermath of a bloody coup by Sharia-adherent Muslim rebels. During the chaos, as in a standard jihad, Christian property was targeted for plundering, while Muslim property was spared. The leader of the Muslim rebels, Michel Djotodia, “assumed the presidency from the ousted François Bozizé, becoming the predominantly Christian nation’s first Muslim president.” According to one Christian, “We are no longer at home. They pillage our goods which are then sold by the Muslims, who export them.

Indonesia: Local officials, at the behest of Islamist forces, demolished the Batak Protestant Church building in West Java and threatened to close others, causing hundreds of Christians to protest in the streets. Once again, as happens with increasing regularity in Indonesia, congregation members then held services in the street, near the site of the destroyed church. As the Morning Star News added: Indonesian officials routinely delay or deny church building permits… thus providing Islamic extremists a pretext for protests and attacks.” Newspapers covering the event posted photos of “church members in tears—singing hymns, crying and begging local officials not to demolish their facility. Hundreds of police and army officers guarded the area while Muslim militants, shouting Koranic verses, cheered the excavator.”

Saudi Arabia: Apparently once again “The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia—the top Islamic official in the country of Saudi Arabia—has [again] declared that it is ‘necessary to destroy all the churches of the region.” (First reported here over a year ago.)

Sudan: In the latest of a series of moves that have put pressure on Christians, a Muslim government minister announced that no new licenses will be granted for church buildings; he claimed that the existing churches are sufficient for the number of worshippers. Building churches has, in fact, been disallowed since South Sudan seceded in July 2011; the Islamist government of Khartoum responded by making the lives of Christians in Sudan even more difficult than usual. Days before this latest measure, the government deported a senior church leader and two expatriate missionaries who had been working with children in Khartoum. No reason was given. The government has also demolished countless church buildings on the pretext of paperwork irregularities.

Turkey: A 13th century church building, the Hagia Sophia of Trabizon (not to be confused with Constantinople’s famous Hagia Sophia) is set to become a mosque again.

After the Ottoman conquest it had been turned from a church into a mosque, but later, under Turkey’s secularist President, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and apparently due to its “great historical and cultural significance” for Christians, it had been turned into a museum. Local authorities decreed that its Christian frescoes must again be covered in preparation for its reopening as a mosque. [Update: As of July, the Hagia Sophia of Trabizon has become a functioning mosque.]

Continue reading at Gatestone Institute for accounts of Apostasy, Blasphemy, Proselytism and Dhimmitude

Copts Face Violent Onslaught in Wake of Morsi Ouster

downloadIPT, by John Rossomando:

After campaigning for Morsi’s ouster, Egypt’s Christians come under retaliation from Islamists

In this Sunday, July 7, 2013 photo, relatives of Christians killed near Luxor, Egypt, pray during their funeral after two days of violence that followed the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi. Some Christians are paying the price for their activism against Morsi and his Islamist allies in a backlash over his ouster last week. Since then, there has been a string of attacks on Christians in provinces that are strongholds of hard-liners. In the Sinai Peninsula, where militant groups run rampant, militants gunned down a priest in a drive-by shooting as he walked in a public market. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Zayed)

In this Sunday, July 7, 2013 photo, relatives of Christians killed near Luxor, Egypt, pray during their funeral after two days of violence that followed the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi. Some Christians are paying the price for their activism against Morsi and his Islamist allies in a backlash over his ouster last week. Since then, there has been a string of attacks on Christians in provinces that are strongholds of hard-liners. In the Sinai Peninsula, where militant groups run rampant, militants gunned down a priest in a drive-by shooting as he walked in a public market. (AP Photo/Ibrahim Zayed)

By HAMZA HENDAWI:

CAIRO — With a mob of Muslim extremists on his tail, the Christian businessman and his nephew climbed up on the roof and ran for their lives, jumping from building to building in their southern Egyptian village. Finally they ran out of rooftops.

Forced back onto the street, they were overwhelmed by several dozen men. The attackers hacked them with axes and beat them with clubs and tree limbs, killing Emile Naseem, 41. The nephew survived with wounds to his shoulders and head and recounted the chase to The Associated Press.

The mob’s rampage through the village of Nagaa Hassan, burning dozens of Christian houses and stabbing to death three other Christians as well, came two days after the military ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi from power. It was no coincidence the attackers focused on Naseem and his family: He was the village’s most prominent campaigner calling for Morsi’s removal.

Some Christians are paying the price for their activism against Morsi and his Islamist allies in a backlash over his ouster last week.

Since then, there has been a string of attacks on Christians in provinces that are strongholds of hard-liners. In the Sinai Peninsula, where militant groups run rampant, militants gunned down a priest in a drive-by shooting as he walked in a public market.

Egypt’s Christian minority, about 10 percent of the population, long shunned politics for fear of reprisals, relying on their church to make their case to those in power. That changed in the revolutionary fervor when autocrat Hosni Mubarak was toppled in 2011, as Christians started to demand a say in the country’s direction.

But they took it to a new level during Morsi’s year in office and the empowerment of his Islamist allies. The new Coptic Christian pope, Tawadros II, enthroned in November, openly criticized the president. He told Christians they were free to actively participate in politics and that the church will not discourage them.

“The Christians have emerged from under the robes of the clergy and will never go back,” said Ezzat Ibrahim, an activist from Minya, a southern province with a large Christian community.

It was a risky gamble for a minority that has long felt vulnerable, with its most concentrated communities often living in the same rural areas where the most vehement and vocal Islamists hold sway.

During Morsi’s year in office, some of his hard-line allies increasingly spoke of Christians as enemies of Islam and warned them to remember they are a minority. When the wave of protests against Morsi began on June 30, Brotherhood media depicted it as dominated by Christians — and to hard-liners, it smacked of Christians rising up against a Muslim ruler.

The worst anti-Christian backlash since Morsi’s July 3 ouster was the attack in Nagaa Hassan, a dusty village on the west bank of the Nile River, not far from the most majestic ancient Egyptian archaeological sites in the city of Luxor.

Read more at The Republic

Also see:

 

Obama’s Proxy War on Mideast Christians

Even if Obama really were Muslim, what more could he possibly do to empower Islam?

By Raymond Ibrahim:

With the recent decision to arm the opposition fighting Syrian President Assad, the United States has effectively declared a proxy war on Syria’s indigenous Christians—a proxy war that was earlier waged on Christians in other Mideast nations, resulting in the abuse, death, and/or mass exodus of Christians.

Obama bows before the Saudi king, in whose country Christianity — including churches, Bibles, and crosses — is totally banned.

Ironically (if not absurdly) this proxy war on Christians is being presented to the American people as a war to safeguard the “human rights” and “freedoms” of the Syrian people.  Left unsaid by the Obama administration is the egregiously inhuman behavior these jihadis visit upon moderate Syrians in general Christians in particular, from bombed churches to kidnapped (and often beheaded) Christians.  Days ago they massacred an entire Christian village.

Nor can one argue that the Obama administration is unaware that Christian persecution is an ironclad aspect of empowering jihadis.  Both past precedents and current events repeatedly demonstrate this.

In Libya, the administration armed/supported the “freedom fighters” fighting Gaddafi, even though it was common knowledge that many of them were connected to al-Qaeda.  Again, the rationale was “our responsibilities to our fellow human beings,” as Obama declared in April 2011, and how not assisting them “would have been a betrayal of who we are.”

Soon after their empowerment, some of our U.S.-supported “fellow human beings” decided to rub America’s face in it by attacking the U.S. consulate—on the anniversary of September 11, no less—resulting in the murders and possible rape of American diplomats, even as Obama tried to attribute the attack to American freedom of speech (a la a YouTube flick).

Lesser known, however, is that Libya’s small Christian minority is also being targeted.  Among other things, the very few churches there are under attack and bombed; nuns that have been serving the sick and needy since 1921 have been harassed and forced to flee; foreign Christians possessing Bibles have been arrested and tortured (one recently died from his torture).

In Egypt, Obama and Hillary joined the bandwagon to eject Hosni Mubarak, America’s most stable and secular ally for thirty years. Then the administration cozied up to the Muslim Brotherhood—an Islamist organization that until recently was banned in Egypt and which no U.S. president would have been involved with.   Among other “achievements,” the Brotherhood produced Sayyid Qutb, who is idolized by al-Qaeda as the chief theoretician of modern jihad and issued a 1980 fatwacalling on the destruction of Coptic churches in Egypt.

Read more at PJ Media

Obama to Egyptian Christians: Don’t Protest the Brotherhood

morsi-obama2By :

As Egyptians of all factions prepare to demonstrate in mass against the Muslim Brotherhood and President Morsi’s rule on June 30, the latter has been trying to reduce their numbers, which some predict will be in the millions and eclipse the Tahrir protests that earlier ousted Mubarak.  Among other influential Egyptians, Morsi recently called on Coptic Christian Pope Tawadros II to urge his flock, Egypt’s millions of Christians, not to join the June 30 protests.

While that may be expected, more troubling is that the U.S. ambassador to Egypt is also trying to prevent Egyptians from protesting—including the Copts.  The June 18th edition of Sadi al-Balad reports that lawyer Ramses Naggar, the Coptic Church’s legal counsel, said that during Patterson’s June 17 meeting with Pope Tawadros, she “asked him to urge the Copts not to participate” in the demonstrations against Morsi and the Brotherhood.

The Pope politely informed her that his spiritual authority over the Copts does not extend to political matters.

Regardless, many Egyptian activists are condemning Patterson for flagrantly behaving like the Muslim Brotherhood’s stooge.  Leading opposition activist Shady el-Ghazali Harb said Patterson showed “blatant bias” in favor of Morsi and the Brotherhood, adding that her remarks had earned the U.S. administration “the enmity of the Egyptian people.” Coptic activists like George Ishaq openly told Patterson to “shut up and mind your own business.” And Christian business tycoon Naguib Sawiris—no stranger to Islamist hostility—posted a message on his Twitter account addressed to the ambassador saying “Bless us with your silence.”

Indeed, the U.S. ambassador’s position as the Brotherhood’s lackey is disturbing—and revealing—on several levels.  First, all throughout the Middle East, the U.S. has been supporting anyone and everyone opposing their leaders—in Libya against Gaddafi, in Egypt itself against 30-year U.S. ally Mubarak, and now in Syria against Assad.   In all these cases, the U.S. has presented its support in the name of the human rights and freedoms of the people against dictatorial leaders.

So why is the Obama administration now asking Christians not to oppose their rulers—in this case, Islamists—who have daily proven themselves corrupt and worse, to the point that millions of Egyptians, most of them Muslims, are trying to oust them?

Read more at Front Page

The Mass Exodus of Christians from the Muslim World

images (34)By Raymond Ibrahim:

A mass exodus of Christians is currently underway.  Millions of Christians are being displaced from one end of the Islamic world to the other.

We are reliving the true history of how the Islamic world—much of which prior to the Islamic conquests was almost entirely Christian—came into being.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recently said: “The flight of Christians out of the region is unprecedented and it’s increasing year by year.”  In our lifetime alone “Christians might disappear altogether from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt.”

Ongoing reports from the Islamic world certainly support this conclusion.  Iraq was the earliest indicator of the fate awaiting Christians once Islamic forces are liberated from the grip of dictators.

In 2003, Iraq’s Christian population was at least one million.  Today fewer than 400,000 remain—the result of an anti-Christian campaign that began with the U.S. occupation of Iraq, when countless Christian churches were bombed and countless Christians killed, including by crucifixion and beheading.

The 2010 Baghdad church attack, which saw nearly 60 Christian worshippers slaughtered, is the tip of a decade-long iceberg.

Now as the U.S. supports the jihad on secular president Assad, the same pattern has come to Syria: entire regions and towns where Christians lived centuries before Islam came into being have now been emptied, as the opposition targets Christians for kidnapping, plundering, and beheadings, all in compliance with mosque calls that it’s a “sacred duty” to drive Christians away.

In October 2012 the last Christian in the city of Homs—which had a Christian population of some 80,000 before jihadis came—was murdered.  One teenage Syrian girl said: “We left because they were trying to kill us… because we were Christians….  Those who were our neighbors turned against us. At the end, when we ran away, we went through balconies. We did not even dare go out on the street in front of our house.”

In Egypt, some 100,000 Christian Copts have fled their homeland soon after the “Arab Spring.”  In September 2012, the Sinai’s small Christian community was attacked and evicted by al-Qaeda linked Muslims, Reuters reported.

But even before that, the Coptic Orthodox Church lamented the “repeated incidents of displacement of Copts from their homes, whether by force or threat. Displacements began in Ameriya [62 Christian families evicted], then they stretched to Dahshur [120 Christian families evicted], and today terror and threats have reached the hearts and souls of our Coptic children in Sinai.”

Iraq, Syria, and Egypt are the Arab world.  But even in “black” African and “white” European nations with Muslim majorities, Christians are fleeing.

In Mali, after a 2012 Islamic coup, as many as 200,000 Christians fled.  According to reports, “the church in Mali faces being eradicated,” especially in the north “where rebels want to establish an independent Islamist state and drive Christians out… there have been house to house searches for Christians who might be in hiding, church and Christian property has been looted or destroyed, and people tortured into revealing any Christian relatives.” At least one pastor was beheaded.

Even in European Bosnia, Christians are leaving en mass “amid mounting discrimination and Islamization.”  Only 440,000 Catholics remain in the Balkan nation, half the prewar figure.  Problems cited are typical:  “while dozens of mosques were built in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, no building permissions were given for Christian churches.”

“Time is running out as there is a worrisome rise in radicalism,” said one authority, who further added that the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina were “persecuted for centuries” after European powers “failed to support them in their struggle against the Ottoman Empire.”

And so history repeats itself.

One can go on and on:

  • In Ethiopia, after a Christian was accused of desecrating a Koran, thousands of Christians were forced to flee their homes when “Muslim extremists set fire to roughly 50 churches and dozens of Christian homes.”
  • In the Ivory Coast—where Christians have been crucified—Islamic rebels “massacred hundreds and displaced tens of thousands” of Christians.
  • In Libya, Islamic rebels forced several Christian nun orders serving the sick and needy since 1921 to flee.
  • In Muslim-majority northern Nigeria, where nary a Sunday passes without a church bombing, Christians are fleeing by the thousands; one region has been emptied of 95% of its Christian population.
  • In Pakistan, after a Christian child was falsely accused of desecrating a Koran and Muslims went on an anti-Christian rampage, an entire Christian village—men, women, and children—was forced to flee into the nearby woods, where they built a church, permanently resided there.
  • In Somali, where Christianity is completely outlawed, Muslim converts to Christianity are fleeing to neighboring nations, including Kenya and Ethiopia, sometimes to be tracked down and executed.
  • In Sudan, over half a million people, mostly Christian, have been stripped of citizenship in response to the South’s secession, and forced to relocate.

To anyone following the plight of Christians under Islam, none of this is surprising.  As I document in my new book, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, all around the Islamic world—in nations that do not share the same race, language, culture, or economics, in nations that share only Islam—Christians are being persecuted into extinction.   Such is the true face of the global Islamic resurgence.

Often forgotten is that, in the 7th century, half of the world’s entire Christian population was spread across what is now nonchalantly called the “Muslim world.”  Then, Islam, born in the deserts of Arabia, burst out in a series of world-altering jihads, conquering and slowly transforming these once Christian nations into Islamic nations.

In order to evade sporadic persecution and constant discrimination, over the centuries most Christians converted, while others fled.  A few opted to remain Christian and live as barely tolerated third-class subjects, or dhimmis, according to Sharia law.

They eventually experienced something of a renaissance during the colonial and post-colonial era, when many Muslims were Westward-looking.

But today, with the international resurgence of Muhammad’s religion, these remaining Christians are reaching extinction, as Islam’s 1400 year mission of supremacy and global hegemony continues unabated—even as the West looks the other way, that is, when it’s not actually supporting it in the context of the so-called “Arab Spring.”

RAYMOND IBRAHIM, a Middle East and Islam specialist, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum. A widely published author, best known for The Al Qaeda Reader (Doubleday, 2007), he guest lectures at universities, including the National Defense Intelligence College, briefs governmental agencies, such as U.S. Strategic Command and the Defense Intelligence Agency, provides expert testimony for Islam-related lawsuits, and has testified before Congress regarding the conceptual failures that dominate American discourse concerning Islam and the worsening plight of Egypt’s Christian Copts. Among other media, he has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS, Reuters, Al-Jazeera, CBN, and NPR.

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Muslim Persecution of Christians: February, 2013

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Half of the Victims Were under the Age of Six

by Raymond Ibrahim:

“We thank our young men, trained in Somalia, for killing an infidel. Many more will die.” — Message signed by Muslim Renewal

Reports of Christian persecution by Muslims around the world during the month of February include (but are not limited to) the following accounts. They are listed by form of persecution, and in country alphabetical order, not necessarily according to severity:

Church Attacks

Egypt: Once again, soon after Friday prayers, a throng of Muslims in Fayoum province destroyed a Coptic church. The reason cited this time was that the church is “an unlawful neighbor to the Muslims who live adjacent to it and must therefore be moved.” According to AINA, “The mob climbed to the church dome and started demolishing it and setting it on fire. The dome collapsed into the burning church and caused great damage. Muslims used bricks from the dome and the holy cross and hurled it at the altar inside the church, causing part of it to be demolished; all the icons of saints were destroyed. Muslims tried to assault Father Domadios and threw stones at him, but he was saved by a Muslim family who brought him away from the village in their car.” Local Christian families were reported as staying indoors for fear of being assaulted by the Muslims. And, once again, although state security was present throughout this entire proceeding, it did nothing to prevent it. None of the perpetrators was arrested. Two days later, hundreds of Copts demonstrated, demanding a halt to the ongoing attacks on their churches. In response, the church was attacked again, by Muslims hurling more Molotov cocktails and stones while shouting “We do not want the church.” Some Muslims climbed atop the church again to destroy completely the remains of the wooden dome.

Indonesia: Four churches were firebombed with Molotov cocktails in the world’s most populous Muslim nation. Two were attacked on a Sunday morning in South Sulawesi. Another two churches were attacked a few days later. All the churches suffered various degrees of fire damage. According to Barnabas Fund, the same region was earlier “ravaged in a bloody anti-Christian campaign by Islamic extremists between 1997 and 2001. Hundreds of churches and thousands of homes were destroyed; according to some estimates 30,000 Christians were killed and about half a million driven out in what amounted to ethnic cleansing…. The beheading of three girls as they made their way [to] their Christian school in Central Sulawesi in 2005 was among the most egregious.” Elsewhere, in the village of Mekargalih, some 50 members of the Islamic Defenders Front descended upon a Pentecostal church, scaling its gates, vandalizing the building, and assaulting the church’s minister, including strangling him with his own necktie. The reason cited for this assault was that the church was operating without a permit. Two days later, the only person arrested and currently serving a three month prison sentence, was the minister, for continuing to hold services without a valid permit. The church, which has been running for 26 years, has made repeated attempts, at significant financial cost, to obtain the required permit but has been obstructed by local authorities. This was the third violent attack against the church by the Islamic party in the last two years. According to the minister’s wife, who has also been threatened and harassed, this latest attack has “traumatized” the 400-strong congregation; many Christians are now too afraid to attend services.

Libya: A Coptic Christian church located in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked by armed Muslim militants. Initial reports indicate that at least one priest, Fr. Paul Isaac, was injured, as well as his assistant. This was the second church to be attacked in two months. Earlier, on Sunday, December 30, an explosion had rocked a Coptic Christian church near the western city of Misrata, where a group of U.S. backed rebels hold a major checkpoint. The explosion killed two people and wounded two others, all Egyptians.

ZanzibarArsonists set the Evangelical Church of Siloam aflame on the island, populated 99% by Muslims. The church was under construction following a previous attack in January 2012. The current attack follows a string of other attacks on church leaders and Christian property across the country. Two days earlier, a Catholic priest was shot dead on his way to church for Sunday worship. Two Muslim youths at the church entrance shot him in the head. A message signed by “Muslim Renewal” later appeared saying, “We thank our young men, trained in Somalia, for killing an infidel. Many more will die. We will burn homes and churches. We have not finished: at Easter, be prepared for disaster.” A few days before the slaying of the Catholic priest, an Assemblies of God pastor was beheaded by Muslims on the Tanzanian mainland. And on Christmas Day, gunmen shot and seriously wounded another Catholic priest as he was returning home from church.

Apostates, Evangelists, Murder and Slaughter

Cameroon: Two Muslim converts to Christianity were shot dead and two others wounded, in the Christian-majority African nation where Muslims make up approximately 20% of the population. One of the converts was previously threatened by the Nigerian Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram ["Western Education is a Sin"] to return to Islam or “face Allah’s wrath.” The attack occurred when these two Muslim converts to Christianity and two others were travelling together around Lake Chad. Their vehicle was stopped by armed men who forced the four Christians out of the vehicle and opened fire on them. The slain Christians leave behind wives and several children.

IranFox News reported that American pastor Saeed Abedini, who is jailed for his Christian faith in the notorious Evin prison, was “facing physical and psychological torture at the hands of captors, who demanded that he renounce his beliefs.” The 32-year-old married father of two, who left his home in Boise, Idaho, to help start an orphanage in Iran, detailed, in a letter to family members, “horrific pressures” and “death threats”: “My eyes get blurry, my body does not have the strength to walk, and my steps become very weak and shaky… They are only waiting for one thing…for me to deny Christ. But they will never get this from me.” Similarly, according toMohabet News, since four Muslim converts to Christianity were arrested soon after Christmas, “they have been taken to the Revolutionary Court of Shiraz several times in a pitiful condition with their hands and feet chained, where their charges were officially announced as participating in house-church services, evangelizing and promoting Christianity, having contact with foreign Christian ministries, distributing propaganda against the regime and disturbing national security. These four Christian converts were arrested as they gathered for worship in a house church on February 8, 2012.” The report goes on to explain the “obvious mental and physical torture” in prison to which Iran’s converts to Christianity are routinely subjected.

Kenya: One church leader was killed another wounded during an ambush by the Somali-based Islamic terrorist group, Al Shabaab ["The Youth"]. Abdi Welli, a Muslim who converted to Christianity in 1990, and became a minister, died at the scene. His colleague and former mentor, Pastor Ibrahim Makunyi , another convert to Christianity, survived after sustaining gunshot wounds. Abdi’s last words were, “It’s good to be in the hands of Al Shaddai,” an ancient name for the Judeo-Christian God. He leaves behind a wife and three children. In response to these latest Muslim murders of Christians, Somali’s much oppressed underground church declared “The Somali Church is the Lord’s and he will protect it from the evil one. No degree of Muslim persecution will destroy the Somali Church.”

Libya: Christians from all walks of life were arrested, and some tortured, on the accusation that they were trying to evangelize Muslims. On February 10, in Benghazi, four foreign Christians were arrested, including one with American citizenship, on the claim that they were “missionaries.” Three days later, two more Christians from Egypt were arrested. Three days after that, a seventh Christian, also from Egypt, was arrested. Then, on February 27, Benghazi forces raided another Coptic church—rounding up some 100 Coptic Christians and accusing them of being missionaries—simply because they had Bibles and other Christian “paraphernalia,” such as icons of Jesus. Many of these Christians were detained and tortured, including by having their heads shaved and cross tattoos removed with acid. Under such torture, one Copt died.

Nigeria: In yet another attack in the Plateau State, Muslim herdsmen used machetes and guns to murder 10 members of the same Christian family; half of the victims were under the age of six, as confirmed by the military and government. According to one official, “Five little children including a two-month-old child were slaughtered.” As happens all throughout the Islamic world, the area’s Christians accused the military of involvement in violence on behalf of the Muslim tribesmen—some of the attackers were apparently dressed in military uniform—although a military spokesman denied it: “Somehow, some hoodlums and criminals gained access to our old uniforms,” he said.

Pakistan: Younas Masih, a 55-year-old Christian, died shortly after being shot five times in an attack that involved his resistance to convert to Islam. According to sources, “Younas’ Muslim colleagues had been pressuring him to convert to Islam. Repeated threats and blackmail attempts had been made against him but he had remained firm in his faith. On the day of the shooting, Younas’ co-workers made another attempt to persuade him to convert. A heated discussion ensued, with insults and threats issued.” This is not the first time a Christian is slaughtered in Pakistan for refusing to convert to Islam. Younas’s son tried to register the attack on his father with the police, but, as usual, they refused to launch a criminal investigation. Also, after local Muslims accused a 19-year-old Christian of being in relationship with a Muslim girl (Islamic Sharia law bans Christian men from marrying Muslim women), he was “barbarically assassinated”: three Muslim men broke into his home in the early hours while the family was asleep, and smote the teenager on the head with an axe while stabbing him with a dagger. When his father awoke from the screaming, the Muslim assassins fled the scene. Further, in Lahore, Roshan Masih, a 45-year-old Christian, was shot dead after an argument over religion. According toAgenzia Fides, “it was an act of murder in cold blood: Roshan’s defence of his Christian beliefs compared to Muslim beliefs, may have been considered ‘blasphemous’… Days before the murder he had a heated argument over religion with a local Muslim, Sohail Akhtar. The latter waited for his opportunity, and, on 16 February, seeing Roshan sitting outside a shop run by Sadiq Masih, another Christian, Sohail Akhtar, armed with a rifle, shot him dead there and then.”

United States: A Muslim man slaughtered two Coptic Christians in New Jersey. Although authorities believethat “the defendant was ruthless and calculating in the manner in which he carried out the killings and attempted to prevent identification of the victims by cutting off their heads and hands before burying their bodies,” it is relevant to note that Koran 8:12 records Allah saying, “I will cast terror into the hearts of infidels, so strike [them] upon the necks [behead them] and strike from them every fingertip.” Moreover, as one report puts it, “Privately some wonder if it had something to do with the victims’ [Christian] religion.”

Read the rest at Gatestone Institute

An Islamic Declaration of War on Christianity

Unprecedented: one of Christendom’s most sacred sites turned into a war zone under the Muslim Brotherhood’s President Morsi.

Unprecedented: one of Christendom’s most sacred sites turned into a war zone under the Muslim Brotherhood’s President Morsi.

by Raymond Ibrahim:

While it is easy to confuse the recent jihadi attack on Egypt’s St. Mark Cathedral in Cairo as just more of the usual, this attack has great symbolic significance, and in many ways bodes great evil for Egypt’s millions of Christians.

Consider some facts: St. Mark Cathedral—named after the author of the Gospel of the same name who brought Christianity to Egypt some 600 years before Amr bin al-As brought Islam with the sword—is not simply “just another” Coptic church to be attacked and/or set aflame by a Muslim mob (see my forthcoming book, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, for a comprehensive idea of past and present Muslim attacks on Coptic churches).  Instead, it is considered the most sacred building for millions of Christians around the world—above and beyond the many millions of Copts in and out of Egypt.  As the only apostolic see in the entire continent of Africa, its significance and evangelizing mission extends to the entire continent, including nations such as Sudan, Ethiopia, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria, to name just a few.  As an apostolic see—the actual seat of an apostle of Christ—the cathedral further possesses historical significance for Christianity in general.

In short, Muslim mobs—aided and abetted by the state of Egypt under Muslim Brotherhood tutelage—did not merely attack yet one more Coptic church, but rather committed an act of war against all Christianity.  Such an open attack on a Christian center which holds symbolic and historic significance for all Christians—St. Mark, whose relics are in the cathedral and who authored one of the four Gospels of the Bible, belongs to all Christians not just Copts—was an open attack on a universally acknowledged Christian shrine.  It was precisely these sorts of attacks on eastern and orthodox churches—including the destruction of the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem in 1009—that presaged the way for the crusades (back when Christianity was not utterly fragmented and disunited as it is today).

Put differently, this jihadi attack on St. Mark Cathedral is no different for Copts than a jihadi attack on the Vatican would be for Catholics.  Or, to maintain the analogy, but from the other side, it would be no different than a “crusader” attack on the Grand Mosque of Mecca for Muslims.

While one can only imagine how the world’s Muslims would react to a “Christian/Western” assault on their most sacred of shrines, “post-Christian” Western leaders, as usual, stand by idly (not unlike Egyptian state security, which stood by idly as the Muslim mob opened fire on the cathedral).

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