Muslim Brotherhood Incites More Terror Attacks Targeting Egypt’s Coptic Christians

Women cry during the funeral for those killed in a Palm Sunday church attack in Alexandria Egypt, at the Mar Amina church, Monday, April 10, 2017. Egyptian Christians were burying their dead on Monday, a day after Islamic State suicide bombers killed at least 45 people in coordinated attacks targeting Palm Sunday services in two cities. Women wailed as caskets marked with the word “martyr” were brought into the Mar Amina church in the coastal city of Alexandria, the footage broadcast on several Egyptian channels. (AP Photo/Samer Abdallah)

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, May 29, 2017:

This past Friday I reported here at PJ Media on the attack just hours before the beginning of Ramadan on Coptic Christian pilgrims in Upper Egypt who were on their way to pray at a remote monastery in the desert.

Three vehicles full of gunmen opened fire on a bus with mostly women and children, killing 28. Only three children survived the attack.

This most recent attack, claimed Saturday by the Islamic State, comes amidst a rising tide of anti-Coptic incitement by leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood here and abroad.

Over the weekend Eric Trager of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy published an article at Foreign Policy identifying some of the recent examples of Muslim Brotherhood incitement and encouragement of terrorism targeting Coptic Christians.

Among the examples Trager discovered after Friday’s attack on Coptic pilgrims was a Facebook post by Muslim Brotherhood youth leader Ahmed El-Moghir:

That comment has caught the attention of several Middle East media outlets. Here in the U.S., not so much.

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Ramadan begins with ambush slaughter of Egyptian Christians

NordNordWest | Wikimedia Commons

Conservative Review, by Jordan Schachtel, May 26, 2017:

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan began Friday with the attack of unidentified militants on a bus carrying Egyptian Coptic Christians. At least twenty-six people were killed and many others wounded in the terror attack.

Passengers were en route to St. Samuel the Confessor, a monastery in the city of Minya (located roughly 150 miles south of Cairo), when the gunmen ambushed the bus, according to Egypt’s Al-Masriya. Three SUVs reportedly pulled alongside the bus and sprayed ammunition into the bus. CNN reports that some fifty ambulances are on the scene to deal with the carnage. Egypt’s Al-Ahram reports that there were as many as 40 children on the bus. Church officials fear the death toll is even higher than reported, saying some 35 Copts were killed in the ambush.

Photos of the deadly assault’s aftermath have emerged on social media.

Just three days ago, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo warned about a potential terror threat.

As of now, no group has taken immediate credit for the killings. The murderers reportedly wore masks and were dressed in military uniforms. However, the Islamic State has repeatedly attacked Copts in past months.

In April, ISIS jihadis carried out two major suicide bombings on Coptic churches in Alexandria and Tanta, Egypt, leaving 46 dead.

In December, ISIS terrorists targeted Cairo’s St. Mark’s Cathedral, killing 29 and injuring 49 more.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who has pledged to fiercely combat radical Islam, has called his security cabinet into an emergency meeting, state media reports.

Coptic Christians make up about 10 percent of the Egyptian population. Minya province, where the attack occurred, has the highest concentration of Copts throughout Egypt. Though their religion and their entry into Egypt predate Islam, Copts are brutally persecuted by the nation’s Islamist groups, which include the Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamic State, among others.

Every year, there is a noticeable increase in the number of Islamic terror attacks during the month of Ramadan, when practicing Muslims fast every day from morning to sunset. Ramadan commemorates the revelation of the Quran to Muhammad, according to the religion. Groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda use Ramadan to call for acts of terrorism against Westerners, Jews and Christians, and other non-Islamic groups

Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.

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Also see:

The NYT’s Ignores Jihad AND Protects the Muslim Brotherhood in Coverage of Egypt Palm Sunday Bombings

FILE — In this Monday, April 10, 2017 file photo, women cry during the funeral for those killed in a Palm Sunday church attack, in Alexandria Egypt. (AP Photo/Samer Abdallah, File)

PJ Media, by Benjamin Weingarten, April 13, 2017:

The lengths to which the left is willing to dissemble to protect its narratives in the face of jihadist savagery were on full display in the New York Times’ coverage of the Islamic State’s Palm Sunday church bombings in Egypt.

Primary among these narratives is the idea that Islam has nothing to do with jihadism, even when carried out by the jihadists of the Islamic State (IS) who explicitly target nonbelievers and indeed base all their actions on Islamic doctrine.

The Times gives the following context for the IS bombings that left almost 50 dead:

Routed from its stronghold on the coast of Libya, besieged in Iraq and wilting under intense pressure in Syria, the militant extremist group urgently needs to find a new battleground where it can start to proclaim victory again. The devastating suicide attacks on Sunday in the heart of the Middle East’s largest Christian community suggested it has found a solution: the cities of mainland  Egypt.

Since December, the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, has signaled its intent to wage a sectarian war in Egypt by slaughtering Christians in their homes, businesses and places of worship. Several factors lie behind the vicious campaign, experts say: a desire to weaken Egypt’s authoritarian leader, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi; a need to gain a foothold in Egypt beyond the remote Sinai deserts where jihadists have been battling the army for years; and a desire to foment a vicious sectarian conflict that would tear at Egypt’s delicate social fabric and destabilize the state.

“The Gray Lady” thus casts the Islamic State’s actions in purely political terms: With IS supposedly on the ropes, it must show it can project power and expand its sphere of influence by taking on Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

This interpretation fails to address the reality that the church bombings were aimed squarely at Egypt’s Coptic Christians, including Pope Tawadros II, who was attending services at one of the churches bombed — a fact not revealed until several paragraphs into the article.

One might think that an Islamic State attack on the leader of the Coptic church on Palm Sunday would draw more emphasis than a narrative about IS’ struggles, or later in the piece General Sisi’s crackdown on civil society in response to the attack.

Why is the ignored religious component so critical?

Islamic supremacists are persecuting Christians in the Middle East and throughout the world.

IS in particular has been engaged in a genocide against Christians and other religious minorities throughout the region, as Congress recognized in a unanimous 393-0 vote in March 2016, and even jihadist coddling then-Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged.

IS bases these attacks on Islamic doctrine, including the imperative to kill nonbelievers who refuse to submit to Islamic rule.

IS provides the rationale for its war on Christians and others in the 15th issue of IS’ official publication, Dabiq, titled “Breaking the Cross.” It reads in part:

We hate you, first and foremost, because you are disbelievers; you reject the oneness of Allah – whether you realize it or not – by making partners for Him in worship, you blaspheme against Him, claiming that He has a son, you fabricate lies against His prophets and messengers, and you indulge in all manner of devilish practices. It is for this reason that we were commanded to openly declare our hatred for you and our enmity towards you. “There has already been for you an excellent example in Abraham and those with him, when they said to their people, ‘Indeed, we are disassociated from you and from whatever you worship other than Allah. We have rejected you, and there has arisen, between us and you, enmity and hatred forever until you believe in Allah alone’” (Al-Mumtahanah 4). Furthermore, just as your disbelief is the primary reason we hate you, your disbelief is the primary reason we fight you, as we have been commanded to fight the disbelievers until they submit to the authority of Islam, either by becoming Muslims, or by paying jizyah – for those afforded this option – and living in humiliation under the rule of the Muslims. Thus, even if you were to stop fighting us, your best-case scenario in a state of war would be that we would suspend our attacks against you – if we deemed it necessary – in order to focus on the closer and more immediate threats, before eventually resuming our campaigns against you. Apart from the option of a temporary truce, this is the only likely scenario that would bring you fleeting respite from our attacks. So in the end, you cannot bring an indefinite halt to our war against you. At most, you could only delay it temporarily. “And fight them until there is no fitnah [paganism] and [until] the religion, all of it, is for Allah” (Al-Baqarah 193). [Emphasis mine]

To neglect this context is to obscure the true nature of the attacks in Egypt.

But the Times’ sins of omission are not to be outdone by its sins of commission.

For while the Times de-emphasizes the targeting of Coptic Christians based on their religion by IS, it outright lies about the history of persecution to which these very Christians have been subjected by other Islamic supremacists in recent years:

The Christian minority [in Egypt] has long suffered from casual bigotry that, its members say, hinders their access to jobs and universities and has frequently erupted into mob violence in some rural areas. But concerted violence of the kind perpetrated by the Islamic State on Sunday was unknown. [Emphasis mine]

Perhaps the New York Times missed its own reporting.

In an article dated September 4, 2016, titled “Egypt’s Christians Say They Are at a ‘Breaking Point,’” the Times wrote:

Houses have been burned, Copts attacked on the streets and hate graffiti written on the walls of some churches. In all, Coptic officials have counted  37 attacks in the past three years, not including some 300 others right after Mr. Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood were ousted from power in 2013.

… In July in the Minya village of Tahna El-Jabal, a Christian was stabbed to death by a mob, he said. A month earlier, in Sinai, a Christian priest was killed by Islamic State extremists, making him the Islamic State’s ninth victim among Copts in the northern Sinai.

… Three years ago, the situation was much worse, after the military violently put down Muslim Brotherhood protests against its taking power, killing hundreds and possibly thousands of protesters. Islamic extremists responded by burning down an estimated 76 churches around the country, including four in this city.

In fact, a December 2016 piece co-authored by the very reporter who covered the Palm Sunday attacks notes that “…Copts [have been] a target for elements of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Islamists attacked hundreds of Coptic churches and homes in 2013…”

Indeed, as PJ Media national security analyst Patrick Poole has diligently documented, the Coptic Christian community in Egypt – one of the oldest and largest Christian populations in the Middle East representing more than half of all Christians in the region – has been under attack at the hands of Islamic supremacists for years. The most acute attacks have come from the Muslim Brotherhood, in particular under the Obama administration-supported reign of Mohamed Morsi.

Such Muslim Brotherhood targeting actually predates the “Arab Spring.” As the 2003 U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom noted, “Coptic Christians face ongoing violence from vigilante Muslim extremists, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood, many of whom act with impunity.”

What explains the Times’ contradiction of its own reporting?

As I noted in a recent piece, the Times recently opened its pages to defenders of the Muslim Brotherhood during what appears to have been a successful concerted information operation designed to thwart the Trump administration’s plan to designate of the Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization.

Most brazenly, it allowed Gehad El-Haddad, the official propagandist for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, to publish an op-ed defending the group.

Instead of focusing on religious-based violence towards Christians in Egypt perpetrated by the Islamic State and Muslim Brotherhood, the Times pivots to the reaction of President Sisi, who has been waging war on these very jihadist elements.

Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency in reaction to the Palm Sunday attacks, entailing a crackdown on various freedoms.

As the Times notes:

Mr. Sisi already has  vast powers that have led to the imprisonment of his rivals, mass trials and unfettered surveillance of enemies.

This state of emergency, due to be approved by the rubber-stamp Parliament on Tuesday, will probably entrench his autocratic tendencies.

In making Sisi’s response essential to the story, while claiming that “concerted violence of the kind perpetrated by the Islamic State on Sunday was unknown,” the Times in effect provides further cover for the Muslim Brotherhood, casting it in a more favorable light than Sisi by ignoring its actions altogether.

Sisi’s actions certainly merit coverage as news. But real news also ought to provide balance in terms of a discussion of ALL players on the ground, something the Times piece appears to have been written to avoid.

Narrative trumps truth once again.

Also see:

Palm Sunday Bombing Underscores Depth of Egypt’s Anti-Christian Bigotry

by John Rossomando
IPT News
April 12, 2017

Suicide bombings of two Coptic churches in Egypt Sunday by ISIS terrorists should not be viewed in isolation. The bombings killed 44 people and injured 100 more, and mark the deadliest in a series of attacks targeting the country’s Christian minority.

ISIS warned of future attacks in December after another of its suicide bombers killed 25 worshipers in a chapel adjacent to the Coptic Pope’s cathedral in Cairo. In this case, one of the bombers struck just after the Coptic Pope finished celebrating Mass at the Coptic cathedral in Alexandria.

The attacks reflect a larger epidemic of anti-Christian bias and hate found among a sizeable portion of Egypt’s majority Muslim community. This bigotry remains entrenched despite President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s symbolic statements about reforming Islam and building a major Coptic church.

Many Islamists remain angry with the Coptic community for supporting al-Sisi after the 2013 ouster of President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party after a year in power.

“The Minority Copt’s (sic) Of Egypt Should Never Have joined Sisi Against The Sunni’s of Egypt Now They Are Paying The price! No End Soon Either,” an ISIS supporter identified as @HaqqRevolution wrote on Twitter.

Last month, ISIS’s Al-Naba newsletter vowed that attacks against the Copts would intensify unless they convert to Islam or pay the Quranic tax known as jizyah. Al-Naba also attacked the Copts for supporting al-Sisi.

Al-Azhar University, Sunni Islam’s most prestigious institution, spews anti-Christian statements and fatwas that label Christians as heretics. Al-Azhar distributed a free book in June 2015 describing Christianity as a “failed religion,” and suggested that the Bible contains “seeds of weakness.”

Building churches is a crime under Al-Azhar’s curriculum which also suggests that churches should be barred in Muslim countries.

“Hence, it is a mistake to say that the attacks currently taking place against Copts in Minya and elsewhere are the acts of individuals [and not part of a larger phenomenon]. [Al-Azhar] students will continue to study until they attain a certificate or a license to preach at a mosque, and then they will spread what they learned among the worshipers,” Egyptian researcher Ahmad Abdu Maher wrote last August.

Much of the anti-Coptic hatred found among Egyptian children stems from school lessons that say “Christians are infidels destined for Hell,” Al-Masry Al-Youm columnist Fathia Al-Dakhakhni wrote Feb. 26.

“Fanaticism in Egypt is a matter of education, so there is need to reform the education received by [the members of our] society, who are raised on the concept of discrimination against the other,” Al-Dakhakhni wrote. “[The change] must start in school – because fanaticism begins with religion classes that separate Muslims from Christians, so that the child discovers in his earliest formative years that there is an ‘other’ who is different and who must be shunned.”

Government forces either are unable or unwilling to protect civilians, especially Christians, from ISIS in Sinai.

A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report issued last month criticized Egyptian security forces’ response to ISIS attacks against the Copts. Over the past two months, 355 families have fled the northern Sinai city of Al-Arish, located near the border with Gaza and Israel. Of those, only 59 Coptic families have received housing.

After ISIS murdered seven Christians in northern Sinai, Coptic families who fled their homes described security forces as “apathetic,” the HRW report said.

Egyptian troops did nothing when ISIS established checkpoints hunting for Christians, according to a Daily Beast report. In one instance, ISIS fighters demanded to see a Christian man’s ID card to check his religion and to see if he had a wrist tattoo common among Coptic Christians.

“Convert, infidel, and we will spare your life,” the ISIS fighters said as they dragged him out of his vehicle. He refused. They shot him 14 times.

Christians in the Minya governorate, about three hours south of Cairo, face intimidation from terrorists, civil society and government alike, according to numerous news reports. Christians account for one-third of the 5 million people living in the Minya governorate. They have faced at least 77 sectarian attacks since the 2011 revolution that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.

Radical Muslims known as Salafists burned several Christian homes in Minya on July 16.

Police arrested several suspects, but the court declined to prosecute them. Instead, they were let go after reconciling with their victims. HRW notes that such enforced reconciliations deprive the Christians of their rights and allow their attackers to evade justice.

While al-Sisi promises to build Egypt’s largest church, he ratified a church construction law in September giving governors latitude to deny building permits without the chance for appeal. HRW slammed the law, partly because it contains security provisions that could subject permitting decisions to the whims of violent mobs.

Muslim mobs destroyed four Coptic homes and six buildings including a nursery in the village of Koum al-Loufi, near Minya, in late June and mid-July, after Muslim neighbors claimed Christians intended to use them as churches, HRW notes.

In March 2016, an Egyptian court convicted four Christian teenagers and their teacher of contempt for making a video mocking ISIS that also appeared to mimic Muslim prayers. Three were sentenced to prison terms ranging from three to five years, while the fourth was sent to a juvenile detention facility.

In January, an Egyptian court dropped charges against Muslim men accused of beating 70-year-old Christian grandmother Soad Thabet and ripping her clothes off during a sectarian riot. Instead, the court prosecuted her son, Ashraf Abdo Attia, for adultery for an alleged affair with a Muslim neighbor’s wife. Mob anger over the alleged affair led to the assault against Thabet last May.

A Muslim mob burned and looted at least 80 Christian-owned buildings in Al-Beida, south of Cairo, last June. A rumor that a building under construction could be a church sparked the rampage. Al-Beida police were unwilling or unable to stop the violence.

Following Mohamed Morsi’s forced removal as Egypt’s president in 2013, Muslim Brotherhood supporters conducted a reign of terror against the Coptic community, burning at least 58 churches.

A mob of 1,000 Muslim Brotherhood supporters set fire to two churches in Minya after Egyptian security forces cleared Cairo’s Rabia Square in August 2013.

Muslim Brotherhood members torched the main Coptic church in the southern Egyptian city of Sohag. “And for the Church to adopt a war against Islam and Muslims is the worst crime. For every action is a reaction,” a memo posted on Facebook by a local branch of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) in Egypt’s Helwan governorate said.

Islamists previously raised an al-Qaida flag over the church.

Sunday’s attacks mark the continuation of a violence spree targeting Egypt’s minority Copts. Al-Sisi needs to bring the full power of the Egyptian state to bear in the cause of reforming society to end it and end the Copts’ second-class status.

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Also see:

Forty-Four Dead Christians: Islam’s Latest Victims

The real driving force behind Sunday’s church bombings in Egypt.

Front Page Magazine, by Raymond Ibrahim, April 10, 2017:

Egypt’s Christians started Holy Week celebrations by being blown up yesterday.  Two Coptic Christian Orthodox churches packed with worshippers for Palm Sunday mass were attacked by Islamic suicide bombers; a total of 44 were killed and 126 wounded and mutilated.

Horrific scenes of carnage—limbs and blood splattered on altars and pews—are being reported from both churches.   Twenty-seven people—initial reports indicate mostly children—were killed in St. George’s in Tanta, north Egypt.  “Where is the government?” yelled an angry Christian there to AP reporters. “There is no government! There was a clear lapse in security, which must be tightened from now on to save lives.”

Less than two hours later, 17 people were killed in St. Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria, which—since the original church building founded by the Evangelist Mark in the first century was burned to the ground during the 7th  century Muslim invasions of Egypt—has been the historic seat of Coptic Christendom.  Pope Tawadros, who was present—and apparently targeted—evaded the carnage.

In death toll and severity, Sunday’s bombings surpass what was formerly considered the deadliest church attack in Egypt: less than four months ago, on Sunday, December 11, 2016, an Islamic suicide bomber entered the St. Peter Cathedral in Cairo during mass, detonated himself and killed at least 27 worshippers—mostly women and children—and wounded nearly 70.  Descriptions of scenes from that bombing are virtually identical to those coming from Egypt now: “I found bodies, many of them women, lying on the pews. It was a horrible scene.  I saw a headless woman being carried away.  Everyone was in a state of shock. We were scooping up people’s flesh off the floor.  There were children. What have they done to deserve this? I wish I had died with them instead of seeing these scenes.”

Before the December 11 attack, the deadliest church bombing occurred on January 1, 2011.  Then, while ushering in the New Year, 23 Christians were blown to bits.

The Islamic state claims both December 11’s and yesterday’s bombings. (Because there was no “Islamic State” around in 2011, only generic “Islamics” can claim that one.)  This uptick in Christian persecution is believed to be in response to a video recently released by the Islamic State in Sinai.  In it, masked militants promised more attacks on the “worshipers of the cross,” a reference to the Copts of Egypt, whom they also referred to as their “favorite prey” and—in a bit of classic Muslim projection—as the “infidels who are empowering the West against Muslim nations.”

It should be remembered that for every successful church bomb attack in Egypt, there are numerous failed or “too-insignificant-to-report” ones.   Thus, in the week before yesterday’s bombings, an explosive device was found by St. George’s in Tanta and dismantled in time.  Before that, another bomb was found planted at the Collège Saint Marc, an all-boys school in downtown Alexandria.  Similarly, a couple of weeks before December 11’s church bombing, a man hurled an improvised explosive at another church in Samalout.  Had that bomb detonated—it too was dismantled in time—casualties would likely have been very high, as the church was packed with thousands of worshippers congregating for a special holiday service.  In a separate December incident, Islamic slogans and messages of hate—including “you will die Christians”—were painted on the floor of yet another church, that of the Virgin Mary in Damietta.

Yesterday’s church bombings also follow a spate of murderous hate crimes against Christians throughout Egypt in recent weeks and month—crimes that saw Copts burned alive and slaughtered on busy streets and in broad daylight and displaced from the Sinai.  In a video of these destitute Copts, one man can be heard saying “They are burning us alive! They seek to exterminate Christians altogether!  Where’s the [Egyptian] military?”  Another woman yells at the camera, “Tell the whole world, look—we’ve left our homes, and why? Because they kill our children, they kill our women, they kill our innocent people!  Why? Our children are terrified to go to schools.  Why? Why all this injustice?!  Why doesn’t the president move and do something for us?  We can’t even answer our doors without being terrified!” (Note: Donations that go directly to Egypt’s persecuted and displaced Copts can be made here).

In response to yesterday’s church bombings, President Sisi declared a three-month state of emergency, adding in a statement that such attacks will only strengthen the resolve of Egyptians against “evil forces.” For his part, President Trump tweeted that he is “so sad to hear of the terrorist attack” but that he has “great confidence” that Sisi “will handle the situation properly.”

Sisi further said in his statement that “Egyptians have foiled plots and efforts by countries and fascist, terrorist organizations that tried to control Egypt.”

But what of what happens right inside of Egypt?  Is Sisi “handl[ing] the situation properly” there?  Whether those terrorizing Coptic Christians are truly card-holding members of ISIS or are mere sympathizers, the fact is they are all homegrown in Egypt—all taught to hate “infidels” in the mosques and schools of Egypt.

Sisi himself openly acknowledged this in 2015 when he stood before Egypt’s Islamic clerics of Al Azhar and implored them to do something about how Islam is taught to Muslims.  Among other things, Sisi said that the “corpus of [Islamic] texts and ideas that we have sacralized over the centuries” are  “antagonizing the entire world” and that Egypt (or the Islamic world in its entirety) “is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.”

Just how seriously his words were taken was revealed last November when Egypt’s highest Islamic authority, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb—who appeared sitting in the front row during Sisi’s 2015 speech—defended Al Azhar’s reliance on that very same “corpus of [Islamic] texts and ideas … sacralized over the centuries” which many reformers are eager to see eliminated from Egypt’s curriculum because they support the most “radical” expressions of Islam—including killing apostates, burning infidels, persecuting Christians and destroying churches.

Egypt’s Grand Imam went so far as to flippantly dismiss the call to reform as quixotic at best:

When they [Sisi and reformers] say that Al Azhar must change the religious discourse, change the religious discourse, this too is, I mean, I don’t know—a new windmill that just appeared, this “change religious discourse”—what change religious discourse?  Al Azhar doesn’t change religious discourse—Al Azhar proclaims the true religious discourse, which we learned from our elders.

And the law that the elders of Islam, the ulema, bequeathed to Muslims preaches hate for “infidels”—which, in Egypt, means Christians.  This is Egypt’s ultimate problem, not, to quote Sisi, foreign “countries and fascist, terrorist organizations,” which are symptoms of the problem.

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and a CBN News contributor. He is the author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). 

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Also  see:

New Islamic State Video Threatens Egyptian Christians, Shows December Church Suicide Bomber

vlcsnap-2017-02-19-17h40m02s698-sized-770x415xtPJ MEDIA, BY PATRICK POOLE, FEBRUARY 19, 2017:

A new video released today by the Islamic State in Egypt (titled “And fight against the disbelievers”) targets the Coptic Christian community, which is still reeling from the suicide bombing of a church service inside the main Coptic Christian Cathedral compound in December that killed 29 worshipers and injured dozens more.

The suicide bomber is featured in the new Islamic State video.

Just a week ago, I reported at PJ Media on the continued terror campaign directed at the Christian community in Egypt — the largest Christian population in the entire Middle East — noting the climbing death toll from the Dec. 11th bombing of the Two Saints church directly adjacent to the cathedral in Cairo.

In addition to the 29 victims of the church bombing, another seven Coptic Christians have been murdered since that time, including two just this past week.

Now comes the Islamic State video, which undoubtedly marks an increased targeting of the Coptic Church.

Reuters reports:

Islamic State published a video on Sunday threatening Egyptian Christians and showing the last statement of a man it said was responsible for the deadly bombing in December of a Coptic cathedral in Cairo.

The masked man in battle-dress, whom the group identified as Abu Abdallah al-Masri, is seen encouraging militants all over the world not to give up and promising Islamists jailed in Egypt they will be freed soon, when the group “liberates” Cairo.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had already identified the bomber as a 22-year-old student called Mahmoud Shafik, and it is believed Abu Abdallah al-Masri was his assumed name. He had been detained for two months in 2014 before joining an Islamic State cell in Sinai, the government said.

“Finally, to my brothers in captivity: rejoice, you believers, do not falter or grieve. I swear to God we will very soon liberate Cairo and free you from captivity. We will come bearing explosives, I swear we will, so rejoice you believers,” he said in the video.

Probably poor timing on the part of Pope Francis, whose visit with Coptic Pope Tawadros II is included in the Islamic State video:

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Revisiting the Muslim Brotherhood’s August 2013 ‘Reign of Terror’ Targeting Egypt’s Christians

St Mousa the Black Coptic Church, Minya, Upper Egypt (Photo credit: Patrick Poole)

St Mousa the Black Coptic Church, Minya, Upper Egypt (Photo credit: Patrick Poole)

PJ MEDIA, BY PATRICK POOLE, AUGUST 14, 2016:

Three years ago today a systematic campaign targeting Egypt’s Christian community by Muslim Brotherhood supporters began, causing the destruction of dozens of churches, monasteries, Christian businesses and homes across Egypt – attacks unprecedented for several centuries.

Even today many of these churches and monasteries that were looted and torched during August 2013 remain in disrepair as attacks on Christians continue in certain areas of Egypt.

Several months after the Muslim Brotherhood carved this path of destruction through the Egyptian Christian community, I had the opportunity to visit some of these sites and meet with Coptic church leaders to discuss the Muslim Brotherhood’s role in these attacks.

The Coptic Christian community in Egypt is significant not only because it is one of the oldest and largest Christian communities in the Middle East, but the Coptic Christians make up more than half of the Christians still remaining in the Middle East.

Escorted by Father Anthony Hanna of St. Mary and St. Mina’s Coptic Church in Concord, California, in April 2014 we traveled deep into Upper Egypt, where many of the attacks by the Muslim Brotherhood occurred.

Muslim-Brotherhood-church-attacks-August-2013

One of the first indications of how tense the situation remained even months after the attacks were the levels of security we had to pass through to attend the Easter service at St. Mark’s Coptic Cathedral.

Our driver was not even allowed close to the cathedral entrance, so we were dropped off about a quarter mile away. As we passed through the gates, we were checked for our passports and the passes to attend the service. This would be the first of seven ID checks we had to go through to enter the cathedral on the holiest holiday for Christians around the world.

There was good reason for concern for security. A year earlier, the cathedral hadbeen attacked during a funeral by Muslim mobs without any intervention by police under the government of then-President Mohamed Morsi, a top Muslim Brotherhood leader.

Several days later we had lunch with Father Hanna, where he introduced us to a young Coptic man, “George,” who had been been kidnapped for eight days in January 2013. The son of a prominent Coptic businessman, he was held until his family paid a $100,000 ransom.

“George” described his captivity at the hands of his Islamist captors. Initially he was beaten, and subjected to anti-Christian taunts throughout his captivity. When his captors had obtained the ransom, but before he was released, “George” was blindfolded and a gun held to his head, where he was told that if he didn’t renounce his Christian faith and accept Islam, he would be killed. Unable to get him to renounce his faith and with their ransom secured, “George” was released.

Sadly, the kidnapping of Christians in Egypt is still a regular occurrence.

Later that evening, Father Hanna, My Unconstrained Analytics colleague Stephen Coughlin, and myself received a personal audience with Pope Tawadros II at his office and residence in the St. Mark’s Cathedral compound. Again, we had to pass through layers of security, including armored vehicles stationed at the cathedral gates.

Steve Coughlin, Fr. Anthony Hanna meeting with Pope Tawadros II (Photo credit: Patrick Poole)

Steve Coughlin, Fr. Anthony Hanna meeting with Pope Tawadros II (Photo credit: Patrick Poole)

Armored vehicle protecting St. Mark's Coptic Cathedral in Abbassia, Cairo, Egypt (Photo credit: Patrick Poole)

Armored vehicle protecting St. Mark’s Coptic Cathedral in Abbassia, Cairo, Egypt (Photo credit: Patrick Poole)

During our audience, Pope Tawadros detailed the ongoing fallout of the Muslim Brotherhood attacks in August 2013 and his reasons for backing Morsi’s ouster following the massive June 30 protests.

Two of the things he specifically cited were the April 2013 attacks on the cathedral, which he noted was without precedent in Coptic history and which a Morsi aide had blamed Christians for, and the torture of Christian protesters in March 2013 by Muslim Brotherhood cadres at a mosque following protests against the Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohamed Morsi.

Pope Tawadros had been praised for speaking out during the Muslim Brotherhood’s August 2013 ‘Reign of Terror’ for discouraging attempts to save the churches and the monasteries. “We could replace the buildings, we couldn’t replace the people,” he told us.

Several days later Father Hanna and I set out for Upper Egypt with arrangements made by Pope Tawadros’ staff. Here is a video of Father Hanna discussing our trip into Upper Egypt with CBN News.

Murder in Minya

Our first stop in Upper Egypt was in Minya, one of the largest cities in Upper Egypt about 140 miles south of Cairo. A majority of Egypt’s Christian community lives in Upper Egypt, and considerable destruction occurred in the Minya region.

We initially met with Bishop Makarios, who had survived an assassination attemptjust months before. Bishop Makarios noted was that Christian homes and businesses in Minya had been marked with an “X” by Muslim Brotherhood supporters in the days prior to the attacks, much as ISIS did with Christian homes in Mosul, Iraq two years later.

During their ‘Reign of Terror’ the Muslim Brotherhood had openly encouraged the attacks, such as this justification for retaliation posted on the Facebook page of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party in Helwan…

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…In July 2014, Father Hanna and I met with a number of congressional leaders in Washington D.C. describing what we found on our trip and the necessity to changing the U.S. government’s current openness to the Muslim Brotherhood that had waged the August 2013 terror campaign.

Steve Coughlin and I met again with Pope Tawadros last September when we escorted a congressional delegation to Egypt. He told us of the efforts by the Egyptian government to help rebuild the churches – a promise by President Sisi that is being fulfilled.

But issues clearly remain. As previously noted, attacks on the Christian community in Egypt are increasing as the government continues to deal with a widespread terror campaign, while the Parliament takes up several draft laws to end discrimination against Christians in building churches and removing religion from national identification cards.

And as I’ve reported here at PJ Media the Muslim Brotherhood has escalated their terror tactics in Egypt, most recently with a Muslim Brotherhood IED terror cell in Alexandria that had targeted military and police officials.

Three years on from the Muslim Brotherhood’s ‘Reign of Terror’ it seems time for Egypt to ensure that all Egyptians enjoy equal protection under the law free from discrimination. And it is overdue for the U.S. government to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as the terrorist group it is and always has been, as witnessed by the events of August 2013.

Read it all (many photos and video)

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