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October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘copts’

Egyptian Army Saves Christians from Muslim Terrorists

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

The Egyptian military regime escalated its war on radical Islamists Monday and came to the rescue of Christians whose village has been terrorized.

As The Jewish Press wrote here  last week under the headline “A New ‘Arab Spring’ in Egypt Aimed at Wiping out Radical Islam,” the military is distinguishing itself by trying to protect the country from those trying to overthrow the government, a campaign that Western countries would not dare carry out for fear of offending their growing Muslim majorities.

Egyptian security forces on Monday stormed Delga, an Islamist-controlled village in central Egypt that had been the scene of some of the worst anti-Christian violence in Egypt. Soldiers and police fired tear gas and searched for suspects in the raid at dawn and arrested 56 terrorists by Monday afternoon, AFP reported.

The village, located 190 miles south of Cairo, came under the control of Islamists loyal to ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi following the clearing of pro-Morsi camps in Cairo in mid-August. After taking control, the Islamists unleashed a campaign of terror against the village’s sizable Christian minority, who make up about one-sixth of the village’s 120,000 people.

The Christian Post reported that Coptic Christians in Delga have been forced to pay a “submission” tax to the Islamists unless they converted to Islam. Dozens of Christian families fled the village, and those who remained and did not pay the tax were attacked.

“As soon as the crackdown in Cairo started, all the loudspeakers at the main mosques in Delga issued calls for jihad,” said Samir Lamei Sakr, a prominent Christian lawyer who fled from the town later that day, according to The London Guardian.

Since the Egyptian military cleared Muslim Brotherhood supporters from the streets, the Islamists torched more than 70  Coptic churches and attacked their homes, businesses and an orphanage

Two book stores of the Bible Society, which has operated in Egypt for 129 years has been operating for 129 years, were destroyed by arson, according to AFP.

“All of Egypt was Coptic for almost a thousand years until the Muslims invaded and started imposing heavy taxes on the Christians,” Washington Coptic church leader Dr. Halim Meawad told the French news agency. “Those who couldn’t pay were forced to convert to Islam under pain of death. Today’s Muslims in Egypt are descendants of Copts who couldn’t pay their taxes hundreds of years ago.”

He said that supporters of ousted Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi blamed the Copts for Morsi’s downfall. “The Copts were attacked because as Christians they were a convenient scapegoat for the Brotherhood,” explained Dr. Meawad.

The Muslim Brotherhood regime, which lasted almost exactly one year after being elected, was welcomed by the Obama administration. Dr. Meawad criticized  President Obama and  U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for backing the Muslim Brotherhood at the beginning of the demonstrations this summer, while criticizing the military for violence against demonstrators.

“Neither the Copts nor the military are responsible for Morsi’s ouster,” Dr. Meawad explained. “The Egyptian people simply did not want him. Morsi was elected with only 14 million votes last year, but 33 million Egyptians in the streets on June 30 told him they didn’t want him.”

Christians in other Arab countries, where they are allowed tolerated at all, are not so lucky. Syrian Christians are caught in the middle of the civil war, distrusted by both Assad and the rebels.

In the Palestinian Authority, Hamas has carried out an Islamic campaign to wipe out the “infidel” Christians since the terrorist organization wrested control of Gaza from Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction seven years ago.

Much far better off. Thousands of Christians have fled Bethlehem since the Intifada began in the late 1980s and escalated into the Oslo War in 2000.

JNS contributed to this article.

Imam: Pope Must Say ‘Islam is Peaceful’ to Renew Ties With Islam

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

The leader of Islam’s most important university and also the Egyptian mosque by the same name, Al-Azhar, has offered to renew relations with the Vatican.  The olive branch came with a note: first Pope Francis should publicly declare that “Islam is a peaceful religion.”

The Muslim world severed ties with the Catholic Church in 2006. Pope Benedict XVI, who resigned this spring, discussed an incident in which Islam’s prophet, Mohammed, was described as a warmonger who spread evil teachings.  The Muslim world did not like that. Relations resumed a few years later, but were broken off again in 2011, when Pope Benedict publicly denounced the bombing of a church in Alexandria, Egypt.  More than 20 people were killed in that bombing, and nearly 100 additional church goers were wounded.

Ahmed al-Tayeb is the grand Imam of al-Azhar and also the president of al-Azhar University.  Through his diplomatic envoy, Mahmour Abdel Gawad, al-Tayeb made an overture to Pope Francis.  He explained that Islam does not have a problem with the papacy, the problem was with the prior pope.  Gawad made it clear, however, that the first step to re-establishing the relationship had to be taken by the Vatican. He said,

Francis is a new pope. We are expecting a step forward from him. If in one of his addresses he were to declare that Islam is a peaceful religion, that Muslims are not looking for war or violence, that would be progress in itself.

But given that the break with the Catholic Church was over Islam’s violent persecution of Copts in Egypt, the Copts understandably suggest that it is wholly within al-Tayeb and his followers’ ability to mend the breach. The Copts are a persecuted minority in Egypt, thousands of whom are fleeing their Egyptian homeland because of that persecution.

The Voice of the Copts is an American and Italian-based organization of Copts which opposes the spread of global Islam. The Copts are the largest Christian sect in Egypt, and they constitute approximately 15 percent of the Egyptian population, and they date back to the era immediately following the death of Jesus.

The Copts do not see themselves as Arab, but instead as non-Arab descendents of the ancient civilization of Egypt, who are Christian.

Within days of al-Tayeb’s offer to restart relations with the Catholic Church by imposing a precondition on Rome, an organization called Voice of the Copts offered an alternative: al-Tayeb should instead

issue a formal, public statement directed to his followers in the Arabic language conveying an unequivocal message that Muslims attacking Christians in Egypt do not conform to a tenet of Islam and will no longer be tolerated. A clear denunciation of Muslim sectarian violence against Christians in Egypt by Sunni religious leaders would be welcomed as Al-Azhar seeks the Pope’s endorsement of Muslim non-violence.

Dr. Ashraf Ramelah, founder and president of Voice of the Copts, an organization made up of many thousands, said that it is up to Islam’s leaders to ensure that the religion’s followers are peaceful, because at the moment Islam is “a religion that many around the world see as warmongering and violent.”

Al-Tayeb had suggested that if Pope Francis intended to visit Egypt to meet with Pope Tawadros II, the pontiff should also come visit with him at al-Azhar.

Pope Tawadros traveled to Rome and met with Pope Francis last month.  It was the first meeting between leaders of the two churches in 40 years.

While the head of al-Azhar said he would look forward to meeting with the head of Church of Rome, he said that he was not interested in a sit-down with all three heads of the world’s main monotheistic religions, an idea that had been floated by the Vatican.  He said Al-Azhar “will not take part in any meeting with Israelis.”

Sadly enough, the current Coptic Orthodox Pope, like the last, is at one with al-Tayeb on this point.  He continues the position his predecessor had of opposing normalization with Israel. He said in November, 2012, shortly after his election, that “We won’t encourage Copts to visit Jerusalem, as we can’t accept the idea of Copts selling out the Arab cause.”

When The Jewish Press asked Dr. Rameleh about this point, he responded in an email, saying, “I can’t say enough about how disappointed we are that Pope Tawadros II followed in the footsteps of Pope Shenouda II before him on the issue of Israel.  There is no excuse for this at all. Voice of the Copts is clear on standing against this ‘Arab cause’ position and the boycott of travel to Israel.

Invest or Gamble? Egypt Sells Islamic Bonds

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

The Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt, headed by President Mohammed Morsi, is set to issue “Islamic bonds,” not to be confused with the highly successful Israeli bonds that helped the Jewish state get off it feet after its re-establishment in 1948.

Unlike Israel, modern Egypt has been around for a long time, but the Arab Spring rebellion that ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has driven the country into bear-bankruptcy, despair and social rivalries that have pitted Muslim sects against each other as well as Christian Copts.

Morsi wants to sell bonds to ease the ballooning deficit. The bonds also represent another move to make Egypt an Islamic country.

Liberal Egyptians and the radical Muslim Salafist opposition party are against the sale of Islamic bonds. The liberals are against an Islamic state, while the Salafists are concerned that foreign investors will take over Egypt’s private assets. The law allowing the sale of Islamic bonds prohibits their sale for state-owned assets.

In Egypt, Pogroms against Christians Have Become Routine

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

On April 7, Islamists threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at mourners attending a funeral at the Cairo cathedral. The funeral was for four young Copts killed in fighting the previous day and to remember victims of a church bombing in 2011. Young Christians ran outside with firecrackers, sticks, and rocks to defend their church. Soon, gunshots erupted outside. The Christians had no guns.

The police stood aside. One man ran into the cathedral and yelled, “The police are firing [teargas] at us….They’re taking the [assailants’] side.” This accusation is confirmed by the article published in al-Ahram, historic flagship newspaper of the old regime but now free (at least temporarily) of government control.

Notice a detail. The newspaper inserted the word “assailants” into the quote. Unless the young man was speaking an expletive, he was probably saying “Muslims.” The Muslim reporter or editor did not change the word to hide the truth—everyone in Egypt knows what was happening—but to avoid inflaming things further and to assert the point that not all Muslims hate and attack Christians.

As noted above, the police didn’t help the Christians. Four Christians were arrested.

As for the government, the Interior Ministry blamed them for the clash, saying that mourners had smashed cars parked by the cathedral leading to fistfights with local residents. But why would mourners randomly vandalize automobiles merely because they were parked in the neighborhood? It isn’t a credible assertion.

As the police stood aside, 29 worshipers were injured. There is not the slightest doubt that the Egyptian government, now as under the previous regime, will never, ever intervene to protect Christians, who constitute about 10 percent of the population. If the police arrest anyone, it will only be Christians; Muslims will not be charged. The courts will never or almost never rule in the favor of any Christians. Indeed, a high-ranking government official accused the Christians themselves of attacking the cathedral!

No Western protests will change this situation; statements of dismay which may appear from time to time are mere window-dressing. The Islamist regime will get big loans and continued U.S. military aid as long as it does not engage in outright massacres.

Some of the worshipers in the cathedral chanted, Down with the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood regime! The bishop urged calm, stressing three principles: justice would come from heaven; Christians would not flee the country; and bloodshed would only strengthen their religious commitment.

But what can the Copts do except resign themselves to continued persecution; Western apologies and help for their persecutors; and a choice between restraint or worse violence?

One idea of some of those in the cathedral was to march to the defense ministry after the funerals in order to demand military protection for the churches. But others pointed out that they could not depend on the army either since it had been involved in past persecutions and deaths.

This is not to say that the Coptic side was necessarily completely innocent in every case. For example, one Muslim was also killed in the clashes that led to the four Christian deaths. Some Muslim, as well as Christian, property was set on fire during the violence around the cathedral.

Yet it is unlikely that Copts, with a long tradition of survival through passivity and submission (forced by the “dhimmi” status imposed on them), badly outnumbered, and facing powerful forces backed by the authorities are the aggressor or that both sides are equally at fault.

The Brotherhood is running the government; the Salafists are running in the streets. Moderate Muslim Egyptians, like those who run al-Ahram for the time being (as a state newspaper it will soon come under Brotherhood control) are unhappy with the persecution but can do nothing.

Things can only get worse. The world is indifferent; the Western mass media is usually determined to be “even-handed” or to ignore the extent of the situation, preferring to seek alleged oppressors in other, near-by countries.

Meanwhile, a change of regime is approaching in Syria, where the Christian population is proportionately larger than in Egypt. In Egypt, Christians were very active in opposing the old regime; but in Syria they have looked to that same doomed regime for protection. In Iraq, most of the Christians have been driven out; in the Gaza Strip reportedly they have all had to leave.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/in-egypt-pogroms-against-christians-have-become-routine/2013/04/14/

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