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Christians Under Attack in Egypt


The leader of Egypt’s Coptic Christians, Pope Tawadros II, has decided to cancel his weekly sermons and other public events at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo. In explaining the decision, Pope Tawadros cited the worsening security situation in Egypt. Copts, who make up about ten percent of the country’s population, have been targeted by Islamist groups—including supporters of deposed President Mohamed Morsi—in part because of the widespread perception that they backed the military takeover.

Pope Tawadros’s decision indicates that the threats haven’t subsided since Morsi left office. While the military-backed transitional government appears committed to reestablishing calm on the streets, protecting the Christian minority isn’t its highest priority. The government has pledged to clear two large protest camps of Muslim Brotherhood supporters in Cairo, and, according to the FT, Christians are worried about potential backlash:

Christians now fear they could pay a heavy price for any attempt by the state to disperse two large protest camps in Cairo by supporters of Mr Morsi. The government has signalled its determination to clear the sit-ins, but the use of force is likely to result in many deaths among the Islamist protesters who include large numbers of women and children.

Diplomats and human rights groups have warned that any such bloodshed would increase radicalisation and spur attacks against soft targets such as the Christian community and tourists.

The persecution of Christians in Egypt is another worrying sign that the society may be disintegrating. Unfortunately, Egypt’s Christians aren’t alone; such persecution is rampant throughout the Middle East, not just within Egypt’s borders.

[Pope Tawadros II image courtesy of the Austrian Foreign Ministry]

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  • wigwag

    Maybe we should ask, what would Winston Churchill have done? Actually we don’t have to guess; at the end of World War II, at Churchill’s insistence several million ethnic Germans were expelled from Eastern and Central Europe and repatriated to Germany, a nation that most of them had never actually visited.

    It seemed horrendous at the time, but is there any doubt that Europe is better for Churchill’s decision today? An argument can even be made that but for Churchill’s support of this policy in the late 1940s, the European Union never would have been formed four decades later.

    So how about a forced exchange of populations between the “Palestinians” in Gaza and the Egpytian Copts. The Palestinians would be incentivized, or if necessary forced, to leave Gaza and moved to Egypt and the Copts would be offered Gaza as their home land.

    If Gaza isn’t large enough for 8 million Copts, perhaps they might be offered part of the Sinai as well. If the Israelis can make the Negev bloom the Copts can make the Sinai bloom.

    The Palestinians would benefit by living amongst their Muslim kinsmen where they could live as devoutly as they desired. The Copts would benefit by having their own country where they would be free from Islamic hatred and bigotry. The Israelis would benefit by having a peaceful and modern buffer state on their border.

    Churchill knew what he was doing. Those who would react hysterically to this proposal by calling it ethnic cleansing are the real purveyors of hate and hopelessness.

    To save Egyptian Christians, do what Churchill would do.

    • Andrew Allison

      Brilliant, if somewhat impractical, idea.

    • bpuharic

      The palestinians are hostages held captive by other Arabs who find them useful as a stick to beat Israel with. They’d never go for any agreement that frees their “Muslim brothers”

      • Corlyss

        OMG! You and I in violent agreement! I’m going to have to lie down until the feeling passes. 😉

      • wigwag

        Fair enough, but who said they would have to agree?

        At the end of the British Raj approximately 14 million Hindus and Muslims were forced to leave their homes and emigrate to parts of the subcontinent that most of them had never even visited. Hindus living in what would become Pakistan left for what, after the partition, would become India. Muslims living in what would become India left for the area that would become Pakistan.

        While Gandhi vehemently objected to this, Nehru acquiesced and Muhammad Ali Jinnah insisted on it. The vacating British did nothing.

        The whole thing was brutal, sad and in many ways horrific. Large numbers of people left their ancestral homeland not because they wanted to but because they felt that they had to.

        In today’s parlance we call this ethnic cleansing. It strikes us as repugnant. But can you imagine what the Indian subcontinent would look like today if this mass migration has never occurred? It would be even more violent and dysfuntional than it already is.

        Like it or not, the ethnic cleansing process made India and Pakistan better not worse than they otherwise would be.

        By the way, the same thing happened in Europe. A united, peaceful Europe only became possible after its 200 year history of sorting itself by language, religion and culture has largely been completed.

        Egypt is not going to become welcoming to its Christian minority any time soon. Give Gaza to the Copts and expel Palestinian Muslims in Gaza to Egypt where they can live amongst their kinsmen.

        It won’t be easy or pretty, but in the long run it will make for a better, more peaceful and more prosperous Middle East.

    • Jim__L

      Christians were supposed to get Lebanon.

      How’d that work out, then?

  • Beauceron

    Meh. They’re Christians, so no one in the Western elite is going to care about this at all. It barely even warrants a mention in the press and in fact rarely even gets that mention. It just won’t matter if every last one of them is murdered. Now if it were westerners merely even looking wrong at a muslim, our media would be all over it and we’d have contant lectures about Islamaphobia and how we need to examine our racist souls.

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