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by
Raymond Ibrahim

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October 7, 2012 - 11:31 am

If the MSM accurately reported that Christian Copts were being driven out of their homes in Sinai, it failed to mention that they are being driven out of their homes all over Egypt proper, and not just al-Qaeda occupied, peripheral Sinai.

In fact, a recent statement by the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt laments the “repeated incidents of displacement of Copts from their homes, whether by force or threat.”  The statement also made clear that what happened in Sinai is no aberration:  “Displacements began in Ameriya, then they stretched to Dahshur, and today terror and threats have reached the hearts and souls of our Coptic children in Rafah [Sinai].”

Quite so.  Back in February, a mob of over 3000 Muslims attacked and displaced Christians in the region of Ameriya, due to unsubstantiated rumors that a Christian man was involved with a Muslim woman. Christian homes and shops were looted and then torched; “terrorized” women and children who lost their homes stood in the streets with no place to go. As usual, it took the army an hour to drive 2 kilometers to the village, and none of the perpetrators were arrested. Later, a Muslim Council permanently evicted eight Christian families and confiscated their property, even as “Muslims insisted that the whole Coptic population of 62 families must be deported.”

A few weeks ago in Dahshur, after a Christian laundry worker accidently burned the shirt of a Muslim man, the latter came with a Muslim mob to attack the Copt at his home. As the Christian defended his household, a Muslim was killed. Accordingly, thousands of Muslims terrorized the area, causing 120 Christian families to flee. One elderly Coptic woman returned home from the bakery to find the area deserted of Christians. Rioting Muslims looted Christian businesses and homes.  Family members of the deceased Muslim insist that the Christians must still pay with their lives.

Most recently, at the same time the media was reporting about the displacement of Christians in Sinai, over in Asyut, after a quarrel between two school girls—a Christian and a Muslim—several “heavily-armed” Muslims stormed the home of the Christian girl, causing her family and three other Coptic families to flee the village. When the father returned, he found that all his saved money and possessions had been robbed and plundered; and when he asked police for help, the officer replied, “I can’t do anything for you, reconcile with them and end the problem.”

Indeed, this has been the same attitude of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood led government: in all of the above cases, the government looked the other way, or, when called on it, denied reality. Thus the Coptic Holy Synod made it a point to assert in its statement that “nearly one month ago the media had published the violations against the Copts but the Egyptian authorities have not taken the necessary measures to protect the Egyptian families, who have the right to live safely in their homes.”

As for the Sinai incident—the only incident to reach the mainstream media—Prime Minister Hisham Qandil denied that Christians were forced to flee, saying “One or two [Christian] families chose to move to another place and they are totally free to do so like all Egyptian citizens.”  And a day after President Morsi made his perfunctory visit to the Sinai, pledging the safety of the Copts there, the latter were shot at yet again.

At any rate, why did the MSM report the Sinai displacements, but not these other, more dramatic displacements, especially Ameriya and Dahshur, which saw hundreds flee their homes?  Could it be because al-Qaeda — an established “bad guy” — can take the blame for Sinai, whereas there is no such convenient blame-all for these other displacements of Christians taking place all over Egypt?

Raymond Ibrahim, a Middle East and Islam specialist, is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). His writings have appeared in a variety of media, including the Los Angeles Times, Washington Times, Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst, Middle East Quarterly, World Almanac of Islamism, and Chronicle of Higher Education; he has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS, Reuters, Al-Jazeera, NPR, Blaze TV, and CBN. Ibrahim regularly speaks publicly, briefs governmental agencies, provides expert testimony for Islam-related lawsuits, and testifies before Congress. He is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and a Media Fellow at the Hoover Institution, 2013. Ibrahim’s dual-background -- born and raised in the U.S. by Coptic Egyptian parents born and raised in the Middle East -- has provided him with unique advantages, from equal fluency in English and Arabic, to an equal understanding of the Western and Middle Eastern mindsets, positioning him to explain the latter to the former.
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