According to several witness accounts, Islamists have committed atrocities in an attempt to force convert members of the Christian community to Islam. Nun Raghad – the former head of the Patriarchate School in Damascus - told Vatican Radio how she personally witnessed Islamists terrorized her community.
Last August, the bloody crackdown on a Muslim Brotherhood protest camp in Cairo by Egyptian security forces drew international condemnation.
But less attention was paid to the scores of Coptic churches set ablaze and destroyed in the days that followed.
The struggle for Egypt is on the verge of a major escalation as the key sponsors of the jihadist cause in Syria are now committed to a similar campaign against Egypt.
The overall strategic objective is to prevent the emergence of an inward-looking regional order based on the Arab heartland, shielded by the Fertile Crescent of Minorities, and thus excluding the external forces. A strong and stable Egypt is considered a cornerstone of such a regional posture.
The agreement for the EU to monitor Egypt’s coming elections will add to their legitimacy, but not everyone agrees the move is wise.
On April 13, the European Union delegation to Egypt and the head of Egypt's electoral commission signed an agreement to expedite setting up a complete Elections Observation Mission. Preceded by a somewhat unexpected trip by the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, the agreement has one predictable aim: to observe the imminent presidential elections, the first round of which is due to take place May 26-27.
Syrian soldiers backed by Hezbollah fighters recaptured the town of Maaloula, north of Damascus, on Monday, military sources and state television said, further squeezing rebels' supply routes through the Qalamoun mountains into Lebanon.
Islamist fighters, some from the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, had taken over part of the ancient Christian town in December and held several nuns captive until releasing them in March in a prisoner exchange deal.
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