Reports of anti-Christian violence have been filtering out of Egypt for weeks now, but a new report by the Human Right’s Commission paints a comprehensive picture of the persecution. At least 37 churches have been burned or damaged, and survivors of some of the attacks have harrowing tales to tell:
Another Dalga resident, Sameer Lamie, 31, told Human Rights Watch that a crowd of men gathered outside his home before 9 a.m. A group of armed men eventually broke down his door and entered his house. He said the men shot his cousin Iskandar Doss twice, while Lamie, his mother, and Doss’s wife and daughter-in-law escaped by climbing to the roof. Lamie said the attackers fired birdshot at him, hitting him in his side with 13 pellets, and they hit his mother with a pellet under her eye. Lamie said he learned later that Doss died of his wounds. He said that no security forces or police arrived during the attack.
The world community is finally waking up to the persecution Christians face in Egypt; we only hope it will also wake up to the full scope of the problem. Egypt is only one part of a much larger ramp-up in religious violence in recent years, and the violence isn’t confined to Islamic countries. Hindus persecute Christians in India; Buddhists massacre Muslims in Burma; anti-Semitism is on the rise in Europe. We are seeing a full-on global flareup of religious, nationalistic, and ethnic tensions (the three cannot be separated in many of these cases). It’s time to take this trend as a whole seriously; American policy will have to respond.[Image of Saint Elias church in Qusayr courtesy Getty Images]