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Among other forms of “retaliatory terrorism,” some 80 Christian churches were attacked in Egypt immediately after the June 30 Revolution, which saw the ousting of Muslim Brotherhood president Morsi.
And now that Egypt has sentenced to death hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters for the widespread terror they launched on the nation after the people’s revolution, the Brotherhood and its supporters are, once again, retaliating by attacking Coptic Christian minorities and their churches.
[On]Friday — the day when Muslims meet for prayers, the day when their imams incite attacks on churches and other forms of terrorism — in Ain Shams, a suburb of Cairo, “Muslim protesters attacked a Coptic Orthodox Christian church on March 28. Four people were killed in the attack on the church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Archangel Michael. Among the dead are a 25-year-old journalist and a Coptic Christian worshipper. When Egyptian security forces intervened, violence spread throughout the surrounding neighborhood. Muslim radicals are frequently whipped up into frenzy by their religious leaders on Fridays when they gather for prayer.”
Among other things, the attackers set fire to parked cars and opened fire on the church itself.
According to eyewitnesses, Sameh Merry, a Coptic Christian woman, was “murdered by Muslim protesters when they noticed that she had a small cross dangling from the rear-view mirror of her car. Other witnesses claim that she was killed because she was in possession of a firearm. Coptic Orthodox Bishop Raphael expressed condolences over the deaths.”
It’s certainly plausible to believe this woman was specifically attacked because of her Christian cross. Anecdotes of Christians being targeted and mistreated because of the cross are many and across the entire Islamic world (see pgs. 84-94 of Crucified Again). Recent examples can be read here, here and here.
VOP Note: The ministry of interior issued a statement saying four people were killed in clashes between supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and security forces in Ain Shams in east Cairo on Friday.
Multiple reports can be found that Morsi supporters around the country took part in demonstrations by Islamists opposing the recent decision of former Field Marshal Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to run in the upcoming presidential elections.
The ministry of interior said it arrested more than 100 that day.
Ain Shams, a strong base for the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. In recent months it has witnessed intense confrontations between the supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and security forces.
A journalist from the independent Dostour newspaper, Mayada Ashraf, 22, was among the dead as she was shot covering the demonstrations in Ain Shams.
Also among the dead is a Coptic woman, Mary George, who was reportedly stabbed to death by pro-Morsi supporters in the same area.
It is disappointing that there is little being reported by the Western media, who once again remains silent. It should also be noted that little is said of the Christian factor relating to this story in a majority of reports that have been published.
Coptic Woman ‘Martyred for the Cross’ — ‘Body Torn’
Ibrahim also reports that
On his Twitter account, Coptic Bishop Raphaeil, who also serves as Secretary of the Holy Synod of the Coptic Christian Church, just wrote:
Oh how lucky you are, Mary, you who are beloved of Christ. They tore your body because of the Cross. Yet they offered you the greatest service and gave you a name of honor as one who attained the crown of martyrdom.
The bishop also quoted Christ in the Bible, “Yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service” (John 16:2).
In the above report there are conflicting difference on the reason Mary was murdered.
Ibrahim relays in his report,
It’s clear which version of events the Coptic bishop believes occurred — considering he asserts that she was martyred for the cross.
Incidentally, let us briefly contrast the Christian and Muslim notions of martyrdom. Koran 9:111 declares:
Indeed, Allah has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties [in exchange] for that they will have Paradise. They fight in the cause of Allah , so they kill and are killed. [It is] a true promise [binding] upon Him in the Torah and the Gospel and the Qur’an. And who is truer to his covenant than Allah ? So rejoice in your transaction which you have contracted. And it is that which is the great attainment.
Even the authoritative Hans Wehr Arabic-English Dictionary translates shahid (Arabic for “martyr”) as “one killed in battle with infidels.”
On the other hand, Christian martyrdom has always meant being killed — as opposed to killing — on behalf of the Christian faith.
And this is precisely the definition that for centuries has applied to Egypt’s Copts, till the present moment. You can also read his report here
The Blaze reports following nearly a week of church burnings and Islamist attacks on Christian sites, the targeting of Christians in Egypt continued with reports of nuns being paraded in the streets, two Christians killed, a statue of the Virgin Mary decapitated, and two Christian female siblings being groped by a mob.
The Christian Science Monitor published a disturbing report suggesting at least some of the attacks were premeditated, with Christian homes and shops in one village being marked with red graffiti, “vowing to protect Morsi’s electoral legitimacy with ‘blood’” and mosque minarets blaring accusations that Christians were behind the Cairo killings.
Islamists paraded three nuns on the streets like “prisoners of war” after they burned a Franciscan school, the Associated Press reported on Sunday. A Muslim woman offered them refuge, sparing them a more grisly fate. The AP reports that at the same location, two other female employees of the school, who are siblings, “were sexually harassed and abused as they fought their way through a mob.”
In Minya, one Christian resident told the AP that Islamists had “painted a red X on Muslim stores and a black X on Christian stores.”
“You can be sure that the ones with a red X are intact” whereas Christian businesses were attacked, said 33-year-old businessman Bishoy Alfons Naguib.
In this video, two men are seen gleefully greeting each other with a handshake and kisses as a church in Minya burned. Egyptian blogger The Big Pharaoh writes of the images, “Shaking hands and hugging while burning a church in Menia. Classy.”
Twitter user Jared Kaufman sent out the following photo which he says is of a Christian taxi driver being attacked. “Animals! RT @Jahbalon: #MB Morsi supporters killed a taxi driver who had a Christian cross on his dashboard #Egypt,” Kaufman wrote.
In Minya, Sunday mass at the Virgin Mary Monastery was canceled for the first time in 1,600 years, Al Masry Al-Youm reported.
According to the AP, more than 40 churches have been looted and attacked with Molotov cocktails, while 23 others were damaged using other means since Wednesday when Egyptian security forces broke up pro-Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins, in which hundreds were killed.
However, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz puts the number at 80 churches and monasteries attacked.
Christian businesses and homes have also been target of violent attacks, during the apparent intimidation campaign.
The AP reports that two Christians were killed since Wednesday’s clashes, “including a taxi driver who strayed into a protest by Morsi supporters in Alexandria and another man who was shot to death by Islamists in the southern province of Sohag,” quoting anonymous security officials.
The news service also spoke with Sister Manal, principal of the Franciscan school in Bani Suef, who recounted the six hour ordeal in which she, sisters Abeer and Demiana and other school employees “saw a mob break into the school through the wall and windows, loot its contents, knock off the cross on the street gate and replace it with a black banner resembling the flag of al-Qaida.”
A fire raged through the 115-year-old main building plus two recent additions. Manal said that stolen property included “every computer, projector, desk and chair” along with money for a new addition. The police never showed up, even while she and her colleagues were trapped inside the burning school until Islamists allowed them to leave the building.
While battles between police and protesters raged outside, “she was overwhelmed by the toxic fumes from the fire in the library or the whiffs of tears gas used by the police outside.”
Christian Science Monitor Correspondent Kristen Chick writes from the village of Al Nazla that Islamists were spreading rumors that Christians were behind the mass protests which led to the July 3 ousting of Muslim Brotherhood-aligned President Mohammed Morsi.
On Wednesday, when locals heard about the killing of hundreds of Morsi supporters in Cairo, residents heard the mosque loudspeaker announce that it was Christians who were attacking the Cairo protesters. This led hundreds of village residents to converge on the Saint Virgin Mary Church in Al Nazla, breaking down the gate, shouting “Allahu akbar” and “Islam is the solution,” the Monitor quoted Christian residents as recounting.
“First they stole the valuable things, and then they torched the place,” says church congregant Sami Awad. “Whatever they couldn’t carry, they burned.”
The Monitor describes the devastation of the church whose construction was completed only in April:
Now, its elaborate dome stands above a ruined, charred interior. The walls are blackened and rubble litters the floor. A picture of Jesus is half burned, the charred edges curling where they were licked by flames.
“The religion of God is Islam,” reads graffiti sprayed in yellow on a wall of the church. Three burned out cars, one of them upside down, rest in the courtyard. Next to the gate, sprayed in black, is another phrase: “Victory or martyrdom.”
Coptic Christian attorney and human rights activist Joseph Malak told Haaretz that the he believes the nationwide arsons were orchestrated.
“The object of the Muslim Brotherhood, as we see it, is to cause terror and fear and push the country into a violent, ethnic struggle. They expect the Copts to react, thus leading the country into a dark tunnel, with no apparent solution,” Malak said.
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Christians comprise roughly 10 percent of Egypt’s population of 84 million.
Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak – under whose rule Christians felt a greater sense of security – could be released from custody later this week, judicial officials told the AP on Monday.
He is presently on retrial for the killings of hundreds of protesters during the 2011 “Arab Spring” uprising that led to his stepping down from power.
“The officials said there were no longer any grounds to hold the 85-year-old former autocrat because of the expiration of a two-year legal limit for holding an individual in custody pending a final verdict,” AP reported.
He has been in detention since April 2011 and was sentenced to life in prison last year for failing to stop the killing of some 900 protesters. His sentence was later overturned and is now being retried, according to AP.
Egypt is bracing for yet another day of violence as Muslim Brotherhood supporters have called for a “Day of Rage” across the country Friday, in response to the security forces’ dawn crackdown Wednesday on two sit-ins supportive of ousted president Mohammed Morsi. The deadly raids have left at least 638 people dead, according to the latest figures, and the arrest the Muslim Brotherhood leaders.
“AntiCoup rallies tomorrow will depart from all mosques of Cairo & head towards Ramisis [sic] square after Jumaa prayer in “Friday of Anger,” tweeted Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad el-Haddad late Thursday.
Meanwhile, the anti-Morsi group Tamarod, which was responsible for the mass rallies that led to his ouster on July 3, called on the people of Egypt to rally against “terrorism.”
“During these difficult times, we must all stand together … to defend the future of our children from terrorism and the dark forces which want to drag us back centuries,” the group said in a statement.
Tamarod called on “the great people of Egypt to form popular committees on all streets, outside homes and churches around the country, carrying Egyptian flags to reject domestic terrorism and foreign interference.”
Violence spread across the country Thursday, with government buildings set afire near the pyramids, policemen gunned down and scores of Christian churches attacked. As turmoil engulfed the country, the Interior Ministry authorized the use of deadly force against protesters targeting police and state institutions.
Fearful of more violence Friday in response to calls for more protests by both the Brotherhood and the anti-Morsi camps, some main streets in Cairo were closed and people in many neighborhoods set up cement blocks and metal barricades. Residents checked IDs in scenes reminiscent of the 2011 revolution when vigilante-style groups set up neighborhood watches to prevent looting and other attacks.
Earlier Thursday, the Egyptian Presidency’s office issued a statement criticizing the American and world reactions to the violence, particularly comments made by US President Barack Obama that ”traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual.” The presidential statement said the remarks were not based “on the truth of matters” and could be seen as “strengthening the armed violent groups and encouraging them in their path.”
The United States also urged its citizens to leave Egypt. Scandinavian travel firms aimed to evacuate all of their travelers by Monday after the governments of Denmark, Sweden and Norway warned against unnecessary travel.
Meanwhile, the UN Security Council convened Thursday to discuss the crisis, calling on Egypt to “stop violence and advance national reconciliation.”
The turmoil is the latest chapter in a bitter standoff between Morsi’s supporters and the interim leadership that took over the Arab world’s most populous country following a July 3 coup. The military ouster came after millions of Egyptians took to the streets to demand Morsi step down, accusing him of giving the Brotherhood undue influence and failing to implement vital reforms or bolster the ailing economy.
Morsi has been held at an undisclosed location ever since. Other Brotherhood leaders, including several arrested Wednesday, have been charged with inciting violence or conspiring in the killing of protesters.
The Brotherhood has spent most of its 85 years as an outlawed group or enduring crackdowns by successive governments. The latest developments could provide authorities with the grounds to once again declare it an illegal group and consign it to the political wilderness.
On Monday, senior EU diplomats will meet in Brussels to discuss the situation in Egypt and possible EU action, said Eamonn Prendergast, a spokesman for the bloc’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton. He said the diplomats will decide whether to convene an emergency meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers on Egypt. The EU is a major source of aid, loans and business for Egypt, including European sun-seekers vacationing in the Red Sea resorts.
Please keep Egyptian Christians and the nation of Egypt in your prayers!
In the familiar pattern, the Western media are focused on the military raids against Islamic supremacists in Egypt but ignoring the latter’s use of violence and of women and children as human shields. After all, the “protesters” say they are “peaceful.”
When not similarly ignored, Islamic supremacist aggression against Egypt’s Christians — which was a prominent feature of Muslim Brotherhood governance — is disingenuously reported. Take this AFP report of the fact that the Brotherhood and its allies are torching Coptic churches. The AFP endeavors to exculpate the Islamic supremacists by editorializing, in the report, that these were “reprisal” attacks. But the Brotherhood was not ousted by the minority Copts. To be sure, the Copts far prefer to take their chances with a largely secular, technocratic government backed by the armed forces than the rampant persecution they endured while the Brotherhood was running the show. But it is the army, not the Copts, who ejected Morsi.
AFP tries to obscure this by recounting that “the Coptic church backed Morsi’s removal, with Patriarch [i.e., Pope] Tawadros II appearing alongside army chief General Fattah al-Sisi as he announced the military coup.” As I observed in writing about the coup in the August 5 edition of National Review, however, Pope Tawadros was hardly alone — General Sisi also gathered by his side significant Islamic supremacist leaders: Grand Mufti Ahmed al-Tayeb of al-Azhar University and leaders of the Salafist al-Nour party (in addition to prominent secularists).
The Brotherhood is not “retaliating” against Christians. Islamic supremacists are persecuting Christians . . . which is what they do in Muslim-majority countries.
By Andrew C. McCarthy for National Review Online
- Morsi supporters ‘torch three churches’ in Egypt (foxnews.com)
Supporters of Egypt’s former President Mohamed Morsi have attacked several houses owned by Copts in Minya’s village of Badraman, Upper Egypt, during their demonstrations recently. The protests were held to express their support for the former president.
The demonstrators called for the return of the former president to power while protesting against the army and Coptic Christians, during which they assaulted Copts and vandalized several homes.
Emeel Asaad, one of the village’s residents, said: “The demonstrators called for the return of Morsi to power during their protest after Friday prayers, chanting ‘It is shameful that Christians became revolutionaries’ and ‘Down with the rule of the pope’.”
He added that the demonstrators threw stones at the Coptic-owned homes, but were stopped after security forces intervened.
The nearby village of Delga witnessed hostile chants against Copts the day before. Father Ayoub Youssef, priest of St. George Catholic Church, revealed that “demonstrators organized marches on Thursday in the village chanting against Copts. Extremists attempted to assault the houses, but wise people prevented them.”
Minya and a number of Egyptian governorates have reported witnessing consecutive brutal attacks against Copts from Morsi’s supporters since Egypt’s former President Mohamed Morsi was removed from power on July 3.
Islamist supporters of Mohamed Morsi have burned down a Coptic Catholic parish in retaliation for the former Egyptian president’s ouster.
After looting the parish priest’s home in Delgia, a village in Minya Governorate in north-central Egypt, the Morsi supporters set fire to some of the parish’s buildings.
“Thank God there were no victims and injuries, but the alarm continues,” Bishop Kamal Fahim Awad (Boutros) Hanna of Minya told the Fides news agency. “The fundamentalists have closed the roads at the entrance to the village. They shout slogans against Christians, they say they want to destroy everything, and now they are trying again to storm the church. The local police are helpless. I called Cairo to ask for the intervention of the army.”