This week, as Jews celebrate the Passover holiday, they are commemorating the Bible's Exodus story describing a series of plagues inflicted on ancient Egypt that freed the Israelites, allowing them to make their way to the Holy Land. But over the past century, another exodus, driven by a plague of persecution, has swept across the Middle East and is emptying the region of its Christian population. The persecution is especially virulent today.
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.
Egypt’s Defence Minister Sedki Sobhi (R) met on Tuesday with a delegation of American military veterans and strategic analysts (Photo from ourtesy of the military spokesman)
Two different American delegations have arrived in Egypt according to Mofid Deak, the US embassy press attaché and official spokesman, to discuss security and transitional issues and meet with presidential hopeful Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.
Who is ultimately responsible for the ongoing attacks on Christians and their churches throughout the Islamic world?
Focusing on one of the most obvious nations where Christians are regularly targeted--Egypt's Coptic Christians--one finds that the "mob" is the most visible and obvious culprit. One Copt accused of some transgression against Muslim sensibilities--from having relations with a Muslim woman, to ruining a Muslim man's shirt--is often enough to prompt Muslim mobs to destroy entire Christian villages and their churches.
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.
Egyptian Military Attacks and Kills Peaceful Coptic Demonstrators
Coptic Solidarity strongly and unequivocally condemns the Egyptian army’s unprovoked attack and massacre of unarmed Copts that occurred on Sunday, October 09, 2011—an attack which reflects the deeply disturbing actions by Egypt’s military rulers to prevent the establishment of a free and democratic Egypt, and to avoid its duty to protect Egyptians, including the Coptic Christians.
The demonstration itself, in which Copts and other Egyptians participated, was a direct result of repeated attacks over the past months, especially the recent destruction of yet another church in Edfu, in which Copts were repeatedly attacked by Islamists without any perpetrator being brought to justice, a pattern that suggests complicity by the ruling Junta.
The unwarranted use of force by the military included opening live fire on demonstrators and even chasing after and intentionally running over Copts with armored vehicles and tanks (military equipment that was most likely provided by the U.S. military aid). Authorities put the death toll of protesters at 25, though other sources offer significantly higher numbers. The wounded are reportedly in the hundreds. Scores of Copts have been randomly arrested.
Dr Emad Gad, a senior political analyst at the Al-Ahram Center for Strategic Studies, and an eyewitness of the events, said on El-Nile government TV station that the peaceful demonstrators were attacked by unprovoked military in such a way that amounts to “war crime” and “crime against humanity” putting the responsibility squarely on Tantawi’s shoulders. He was quickly shut up by the anchor.
Dr Mohamed Mounir Megahed, a well respected activist and participant in the demonstration, attested that it was, similar to previous demonstrations, very peaceful with no sign that demonstrators had the means or intention to use violence.
Nawara Nigm, a Muslim activist and a first hand witness, confirmed that the demonstration which included many women was peaceful, and that security forces shot live ammunition on unarmed people. She saw a soldier beating a young man after seeing that his arm was tattooed with a cross.
The Alliance of Revolutionary Youth accused the SCAF and the government of utter failure in handling the situation and the state-run TV of inciting sedition between the country’s communities.
During the events, military officials shut down two independent media, including US-funded Alhurra TV, apparently to prevent them from providing live coverage of the protests.
Such brutality comes days after nearly 20 members of the army’s military police were clandestinely videotaped beating, dragging, and kicking a Coptic protester—all while shouting anti-Christian slogans, such as “You infidel son of a bitch.”
Coptic Solidarity demands that, in the same way Mubarak is being tried for his responsibility in ordering attacks against civilians before his ouster, Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, chief of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, and Lt. General Hamdy Badeen, commander of the Military Police, be investigated to determine their responsibility for committing crimes against humanity and against the Egyptian people.
Coptic Solidarity strongly urges that the international community, through the United Nations, lead an independent international investigation in the attack similar to what the UN ordered after an Israeli attack on Gaza.
Coptic Solidarity (www.copticsolidarity.org)
P.O. Box 1450 Centreville, VA 20122, USA
21 bis rue du Simplon 75018 Paris, France
For further information:
USA: Halim Meawad (1-240-644-5153), Caroline Doss (201-418-9090)
Magdi Khalil (1-202-725-3091)
Canada: Maher Rizkalla (1-905-399-4147)
Europe Adel Guindy (+33-1-4701-2600), Helmy Guirguis (+44-7775-800-929),
Sobhy Gress (+33-6-3129-4779)
Australia Ayad Grace (+61-2-9899-5740)
Coptic Solidarity is a U.S. public charity organization under section 501 (C) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions are deductible under Section 170 of the Code.