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April 23, 2014 / 23 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘copts’

Identity and Loyalty in Islam and the Middle East

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Westerners strive to solve problems. When people appear obstinate, we often indignantly say, “Are you part of the solution, or part of the problem?” This is alien to Middle Eastern and Islamic culture. Middle Easterners cope with problems for which they know there are no solutions-akin to living with a chronic illness.

Islam, for example, does not recognize the equality of all people. Muslims are the rightful rulers of the Muslim world. Non-Muslims who believe in God and who have a revelation from God before Islam do have the right to live in Muslim societies. They are called “dhimmis” which means, “protected people,” who can live in the Muslim world, albeit in positions of political and social inferiority. To be sure, they might become important. There have been Christian Foreign Ministers in Egypt (Butros Ghali) and Jordan (Marwan Mu’ashar), but Christians know they cannot hope to rule their countries. This is most clear in Egypt, where the Copts, native Christians descended from the ancient Egyptians, cannot aspire to become Egypt’s president because that position is reserved for a Muslim.

Lebanon is in constant upheaval in part because its French-inspired Constitution, written when Maronite Christians were the largest confessional group, decrees that the Lebanese President must be a Christian. The anomaly of the Head of State being a non-Muslim is a driving force in Lebanese civil strife. Muslims rationalize it by comparing their prophet Muhammad’s temporary peace agreement with his enemies, until he could regroup and defeat them.

This is also why Israel can never be accepted as a Jewish state. From the Muslim point of view, the land of Israel is Muslim territory because it was conquered by Muslims in 637 C.E., and will remain Muslim forever.

The only way this might change is if Muslim scholars themselves re-examine their sources and try to find ways within their tradition to come to grips with realities on the ground. Jews and Christians were forced to do this long ago as a result of political realities they had to face. But for now, it is hard to imagine that Muslims would do the same.

Religious Identity

In the West, religious and national/ethnic identities are usually separate and do not necessarily overlap. In the Muslim world, however, ethnicity/nationality and religious identity are almost completely intertwined. A Lebanese Maronite, for example, shares more in common with non-Lebanese Maronite, than with a Lebanese Muslim. Their language, food, and culture might be different, but their point of view, their “Maroniteness,” is the core of their identity. The same can be said for Lebanese Druze, Shiites, and Sunnis. Religion and political identity almost always trump everything else-including citizenship.

This puzzles Westerners for whom citizenship generally trumps, but in the Middle East, the boundaries of “countries” do not correspond with the history of the people living there. Many Sunni Jordanian families in Amman, for example, are intermarried with Sunni families from Damascus, which in Western terms is the capital of a different country.

Muslims and Christians fought a bitter civil war in Lebanon in the 1970s. Maronite Christians, who led the fighting on the Christian side, are aligned with the Roman Catholic Church. At that time, there was also a civil war in Northern Ireland between Catholics and Protestants. Most Lebanese Muslims didn’t even know where Northern Ireland was, but they were very pro-Protestant because they believed they shared a common Catholic enemy.

If we in the West are to understand how and why Middle Easterners make political decisions, we must understand how they view themselves. Clearly, Shiite identity unites Shiites throughout the world, irrespective of ethnicity or nationality. Arab and Iranian Shiites might hate each other-they have good historical reason-but they also recognize that they have suffered and continue to suffer the same fate at the hands of the Sunnis.

Children Whose Parents Have Different Identities

In the United States, a child is a citizen if either parent is a citizen. Not so in the Middle East, where identity comes almost exclusively from the father. In Turkey, for example, Turks and Kurds freely intermarry. Intermarriage is so common that, from a Western point of view, one would think that Kurdish-Turkish difficulties should have abated as the groups blended together. But people take the identity of their fathers and if their father was a Kurd, they are Kurds, even if they have never lived in the traditional Kurdish area of southeastern Turkey, and even if they don’t speak Kurdish.

A friend in Turkey had a Kurdish grandfather who married a Turkish woman. Despite the fact that they lived in southeastern Anatolia where Kurds strongly predominate, their child-my friend’s father-was raised in an almost completely Turkish-speaking household. The family moved to Istanbul, a Turkish-speaking city. My friend’s father married a Turkish woman who also spoke no Kurdish; their son-my friend-knows almost none. He has children and grandchildren, absolutely none of whom speak Kurdish. This family has been living in a completely Turkish environment for five generations. From the Western point of view, they are clearly Turks. Despite that, my friend, when asked about his identity, responded without missing a beat, “We are Kurds, of course!”

This has caused even senior American diplomats to err. During a visit to Washington by the leaders of Iraqi Kurdistan, the Kurds were astounded to hear senior White House and State Department officials tell them they should not identify as Kurds, but rather as Iraqis. That is the equivalent of telling a man to stop thinking like a man and think like a penguin; the chances of success are infinitesimal.

Another example is the relationship between Iraqis and Kuwaitis. For generations, Iraqis from Basra in southern Iraq have married into Kuwaiti families. During both the U.S.-led coalition war in Kuwait in 1991, and the Iraq war in 2003, many people on both sides of the border were in political limbo, depending on who was winning. Women were particularly affected because they acquired their husbands’ citizenship upon marriage and if the country of their birth lost, they would lose citizenship in their native land.

If an American woman marries an Iranian or a Saudi, she becomes a citizen of her husband’s country. If the married couple wants to visit the husband’s homeland, she could only do so using a passport of her husband’s country. And once in the Middle East, she can only leave if the husband agrees.

Identity is not a matter of choice. A man is what his father is and a woman is what her husband is. It is extremely difficult-and often dangerous-to try to change that identity. Conversion from Islam, for example, is punishable by death.

Tribal Identities

To Western ears, the word “tribe” conjures up American Indians or nomads in tents. In the Middle East, however, the word “tribe” means large-group identity, usually of ancient origin. “Tribal” members can live in cities, be university professors, and even immigrate to the West, but they in some way still retain their tribal identity. Two of the largest tribal identities in the Middle East are Qays and Yemen, groups that trace their origins back to tribes in today’s Saudi Arabia and Yemen in the early days of Islam.

In 2007, when President Bush launched the Surge in Anbar-Western, Sunni-dominated Iraq-to put down the insurrection, there were 21 tribal groups: 18 opposed to the U.S. and 3 neutral. Within one year, we had eighteen on our side, and three waffling. What happened, and what does this tell us about the importance of the tribal structure in that area? President Bush ordered the Marines to restore order. The Marines learned the local social structure in the area, and after putting down the revolt, used that structure as a basis for giving people incentives to stay within the system.

The Surge succeeded because the Marines were the strongest “tribe.” The Marine “tribe” did not come to destroy the local order, but to make sure everyone got along. When local leaders realized it was in their interest to cooperate with the Marines, they quickly jumped in to be on the winning team-the team that would ensure that their local tribal structure remained intact. Goods and services were distributed through that tribal network of notables, which strengthened the social structure that worked within that local culture.

Then America abandoned Anbar, and Al-Qaeda and its affiliates were able to return to wreak havoc. Had the locals known that we would still back them up, even from the air, there would have been a much better chance that the fundamentalists would not have been able to return.

Clan/Family Identities

Extended family identities form an extremely important aspect of life in the Middle East. These relationships are much stronger than the so-called national identities based on borders created at the end of World War I.

One of the most respected Sunni aristocratic families of Damascus Syria-the al-’Azm family-has been prominent there since at least the 16th century. The family married into other prominent Sunni families throughout the Muslim world, including Istanbul. Were these families Turks or Arabs? It hardly mattered because they were all Sunnis. In the post-World War I era, when many states were created out of what had been the Ottoman Empire, Arab and Turkish nationalism became the rage and the borders of these newly created states were super-imposed on local identities. People carried documents declaring them citizens of this country or that, but their personal identities did not change, traditional marriage patterns continued and people on both sides of the new and arbitrary borders continued to marry and interact as they had for hundreds of years.

Another example of family relationship is the one between today’s Jerusalem-based Nashashibi and Husseini families, great rivals in Jerusalem.

Some years ago, I visited Naser al-Din al-Nashashibi in his ornate Jerusalem house in Sheikh Jarrah. Across the street was the mansion of the al-Husseini family. These bitter rivals loathed each other, not because they disagreed politically, but because they both wanted to be THE most notable family in Jerusalem. One Nashashibi ancestor had been the mayor of Jerusalem. One Husseini family member had been the notorious Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem and friend of Hitler. Nashashibi spewed venom and vindictiveness about the Husseinis. On a visit to the Husseinis, I heard the same about the Nashashibis. What was more important here, their national or religious identities-both were Sunni Muslims-or their personal rivalries? They both spent more time maligning each other than they did maligning Israel.

On the other hand, Nashashibi told a story about his uncle by marriage, Ismet Inonu the second President of Turkey. He said that his aunt had married Inonu, who insisted on calling the Nashashibis “Ok Atan” which is the Turkish translation of Nashashibi (meaning spear/arrow-thrower). Nashashibi was very proud of his uncle by marriage and aunt, he told us. I asked, “Is your family Arab, and part of your family Turkish?” He answered that his family was probably of Kurdish or Circassian origin, and had come from Egypt hundreds of years ago. So were they Arabs, Turks, Kurds, or Circassian? They were, he said, Sunni.

As for the Husseinis, they believed their origins to be from today’s Saudi Arabia. Neither, therefore, is originally what is today understood as Palestinian.

Sunni vs. Shiite

This brings us to what is probably the most important over-arching identity throughout the Muslim world-Sunnis vs. Shiites. As noted above, Middle Easterners accept that most problems cannot be solved, and that these problems come to the surface from time to time.

The Sunni-Shiite split occurred when their prophet Muhammad died in 632 C.E. Upon his death, Muslims had to decide who should rule in his place. The group that eventually became known as the Sunnis prevailed; they had been the aristocracy of Mecca. The losers-eventually known as Shiites-were those who supported Muhammad’s family, and thought they should be the rightful rulers of Islam.

Sunnis and Shiites are still fighting the battle that started almost 1400 years ago. Compare that to the American phrase, “That’s history,” meaning something that might have taken place last week. We look for ways to “let bygones be bygones,” shake hands, and move on. Middle Eastern culture has never developed ways to leave the past behind.

Sunnis-about 85% of the Muslim world-see Shiites at best as misguided and have often discriminated against and murdered them. Shiites quake in fear of the next onslaught. No wonder that when Israel marched in southern Lebanon in 1982, the Shiites greeted the IDF with flowers and rice, seeing the Israelis as liberators from the yoke of Sunni Palestinian and Lebanese oppression. As a battered minority, Shiites look for outside strong protectors.

Privately, many Shiites have learned to distrust the U.S., because in their experience the U.S. comes in, uses force, and then leaves. Why, the Shiites argue, should they throw their lot in with the Americans who do not stand up for them against their enemies? Are the Shiites happy now about President Obama’s attempt to negotiate with (Shiite) Iran, and abandoning America’s traditional allies-the Arab Sunni rulers of the Gulf and Egypt?

Not exactly. Shiites cannot understand American behavior, because America has proven to be unreliable (regarding the Gulf States and Egypt), and a harmless enemy (kowtowing to Iran, doing nothing to stop Putin, and abandoning its Polish and Czech allies by withdrawing ballistic missile defense radars). Adding to the confusion, Arab Shiites also see Iran as their oppressor, trying to make Arab Shiites into Persians. Thus they feel doubly abandoned. They cannot trust Iran, and now America is consorting with its enemy since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, whom the Arab Shiites know hates America.

According to the great scholar Fouad Ajami, Arab Shiites are the stepchild of the Muslim world: hated by the Sunnis because they are Shiite, and despised by the Iranians because they are Arab.

After Regime Change

Clearly, these Arab Shiites need reliable external allies with similar existential problems. Could these allies include the ‘Alawites in Syria, the myriad Christian groups still resident in the Middle East, the Druze, or even Israel? ‘Alawites and Jews are there to stay, and the Arab Shiites know that. All these groups together suffered from the vicissitudes of the extreme Islamic Sunni fundamentalist wave shaking up the region. And what about the Kurds, who are also overwhelmingly Sunni, but are oppressed both in Turkey and in the Arab world? Could they too join such an informal alliance? Moreover, could all of these groups also find common cause-at least temporarily-with traditional Arab Sunni notables and chieftains who themselves are almost under attack by the Sunni Salafi extremists?

Could alliances-formal or otherwise-develop to defeat the scourge of Sunni Arab fundamentalism? In the long run this is a much more dangerous force than Iran, once regime change occurs there. Most likely, a new Iranian regime would no longer have such a cantankerous relationship with the outside world, and might revert to its traditional position of seeing the U.S. and others as allies. The vast majority of Iranians want nothing more than to stop being pariahs; they deeply want to be part of the modern world and overwhelmingly hate the regime.

After regime change, Iran would almost assuredly join the above-mentioned alliance against Sunni fundamentalism, and would no longer be a threat to its neighbors. The Arab regimes across the Gulf could breathe a sigh of relief.

Fantasy? Possibly. But understanding the Middle East and Islam as Middle Easterners and other Muslims do provides ways of addressing problems, even if they cannot be solved.

It is time to rethink how we understand the Middle East and Islam, and when we learn how to view the world as they do, consider ways to manage these problems in ways that make sense to the Middle Eastern mind. The Middle East has survived for millennia, and has learned how to cope with problems-but not solve them. This is alien to us, but it may be the only way to stop the murder and mayhem they are inflicting on each other now.

This article was originally published in inFocus Quarterly, Spring 2014, Volume VIII: Number 2. It is reprinted here with permission from the American Center for Democracy.

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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