The Washington Times Online Edition 

Coptic Christians in Egypt fear Islamists' rise

Attacks increase post-Mubarak

By Sarah Lynch - Special to The Washington Times

 

UNDER SIEGE: Mona Hanna says she fears for the future of her town, Abo Korkas, Egypt. She and nine other families fled their homes last year after armed Muslim men set her house afire. (Sarah Lynch/Special to The Washington Times)

UNDER SIEGE: Mona Hanna says she fears for the future of her town, Abo Korkas, Egypt. She and nine other families fled their homes last year after armed Muslim men set her house afire. (Sarah Lynch/Special to The Washington Times)Ads by Google

Story Topics

ABO KORKAS, Egypt - In a sparse, gray room with little but two pictures of Jesus on the walls, Mona Hanna sits on the floor, remembering a night nine months ago when her house was set on fire by Muslim men brandishing guns and knives.

 

The Arab Spring: An Obituary

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Thirteen months after a Tunisian street-vendor immolated himself and sparked the revolutions in the Middle East dubbed the “Arab Spring,” the bipartisan celebrations that attended those events last year appear premature, if not delusional. Now that Islamist parties are consolidating their power in the wake of the regime changes in those countries, President Obama’s claim that Egyptians merely wanted “a government that is fair and just and responsive,” or Senator John McCain’s assertions that Libyans were aiming for “lasting peace, dignity, and justice,” or Senator Joseph Lieberman’s article in Foreign Affairs that summarized the Arab Spring as a struggle for “democracy, dignity, economic opportunity, and involvement in the modern world” each reflects dangerous wishful thinking rather than sober analysis.

Back during the early days of the Tahrir Square protests I wrote, "59 percent of Egyptian Muslims want democracy and 95 percent want Islam to play a large part in politics. 84 percent believe apostates should face the death penalty. That is what Egyptian democracy will look like. A unanimous majority that wants an Islamic state and a bare majority that wants democracy. Which one do you think will win out? A democratic majority of the country supports murdering people in the name of Islam. Mubarak's government does not execute apostates or adulterers. But a democratic Egypt will. Why? Because it's the will of the people."

Threatening Shadows Over Egypt

Hassan_El-Benna

“Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Koran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”·

Hassan el Banna

It is this radical vision which animates all those in the region who seek a fully Islamic society and way of life.·

International Business Times 

Coptic Christians: Egypt’s Besieged Minority

Analysis

By Palash R. Ghosh: Subscribe to Palash's

January 10, 2012 9:52 AM EST

The emergence of conservative Islamist political groups in the wake of the Egyptian revolt has raised fears about the nation's Coptic Christian minority.

Long persecuted by the Muslim majority, tensions between the two factions have intensified in the past year, featuring riots, assaults, arson and other incidences of sectarian strife.

The Christian presence in Egypt stretches as far back to the earliest days of Christendom -- in fact, it was the nation's dominant faith until the Arab Muslim invasions of the 7th century.

Australian Coptic Movement LogoAustralian Coptic Movement ACM 

In Memory of Alexandria One Year On

 P1190730

A protest held in Sydney on the 19th of January, 2010 which was organized by the Australian Coptic Movement in outrage of the Nag Hammadi shootings.

2011 was the year the world's attention was focused on Egypt and its' great revolution.It was also the year that the Coptic civil rights movement and the plight of Egypt's Christians began to make headlines worldwide.

2011 commenced with the traditional fireworks celebrations in capital cities across the globe as a tragic event unfolded soon after midnight, in the once cosmopolitan city of Alexandria. The Mediterranean city - now a stronghold for Islamists - witnessed fireworks of a far more fatal nature, as CCTV recordings streamed across all major international news outlets, showing the moment of terror when a bomb exploded outside The Two Saints' church in Alexandria; killing dozens and severely injuring over 100 people.

The Economist 

Christians and lions

The world’s most widely followed faith is gathering persecutors. Even non-Christians should worry about that

 

CHRISTIANITY is growing almost as fast as humanity itself, but its 2.2 billion adherents cannot count on safety in numbers. That is partly because the locus of the world’s largest religion is shifting to hotter (in several senses) parts of the world. According to a report published by the Pew Forum in December, the Christian share of the population of sub-Saharan Africa has soared over the past century, from 9% to 63%. Meanwhile, the think-tank says, the Christian proportion of Europeans and people in the Americas has dropped, respectively, from 95% to 76% and from 96% to 86%.

Family Security Matter 

Burning Issues: Islamism, Intolerance, Iconoclasm

Part One (of Two)

 

 

A week before Christmas, an event occurred in Egypt that is only now being acknowledged as a cultural disaster, a tragedy for Egypt and for the world. The Egyptian Institute, or Institut d'Egypte, which lay in the Qasr el-Aini Street beside Tahrir Square in Cairo, became another casualty of Arab Spring politics. On Saturday, December 17th, the building was firebombed.

How can we remain silent while Christians are being persecuted?

A new evil is sweeping the Middle East and the Foreign Office is failing to confront it.

Egyptian Coptic Christians protest against violence: 25 were killed in October - How can we remain silent while Christians are being persecuted?

Egyptian Coptic Christians protest against violence: 25 were killed in October Photo: EPA/KHALED ELFIQI

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Father Immanuel Dabaghian, one of Baghdad’s last surviving priests, is expecting a quiet Christmas. To join him in the Church of the Virgin Mary means two hours of security checks and a body search at the door, and even then there’s no guarantee of survival. Islamist gunmen massacred 58 people in a nearby church last year, and fresh graffiti warns remaining worshippers that they could be next.

The Americans have gone now, and Iraq’s Christian communities – some of the world’s oldest – are undergoing an exodus on a biblical scale.

Minorities and the Arab Spring: The great divide

Democratic principles e.g. equality for all, respect for law are foreign to young Arab revolutionaries.

 

The terrifying truth behind the so-called Arab Spring

By John R Bradley 

Stripped above the waist — save for her bright blue bra — the protester lies in a street just off Cairo’s Tahrir Square, seconds before a soldier stamps on her naked torso.

She has been dragged around by her arms and beaten by frenzied soldiers wielding metal batons, but still they won’t let her escape to safety.

This brutal scene from Egypt has sent new shockwaves around the West in the past three days, as the military regime has become ever more brutal towards pro-democracy protesters. Ten people have been killed and more than 400 wounded.

 

Brutal: The picture of Egyptian army soldiers arresting a female protester that has shocked audiences around the world

Brutal: The picture of Egyptian army soldiers arresting a female protester that has shocked audiences around the world

 

 

إمبابة: قاضى «ناهيا» يطرد مندوبى «النور».. و«الثورة مستمرة» يشكو من «التصويت الجماعى» 

احتجزت الشرطة المكلفة بحراسة لجنة المعهد الفنى الصحى بإمبابة، اثنين من الشباب المؤيدين للمرشح المستقل عمرو عز الرجال، بسبب قيامهم بالوقوف بسيارة أمام باب اللجنة مباشرة وتوزيع الدعاية على الناخبين. وتسبب ذلك فى مشادة بين أحد المؤيدين لعز الرجال وأحد ضباط الشرطة المكلفين بالحراسة على أثر تعدى الأول على الضابط بالسباب.

 

Egypt's Christians Wary as Voting Continues

Some are willing to give Muslim Brotherhood, Salafists a chance to show they are willing to treat Christians equally.

by MICHELE CHABIN 12/15/2011

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images News/Getty Images

A man votes, and another studies his choices at a polling station in the Shubra district on the second day of voting on Nov. 29 in Cairo, Egypt. Eleven months after the fall of Hosni Mubarak 45 million Egyptians are electing members parliament. The complicated process will take four months to conclude. Presidential elections are expected to be held in 2012.

– Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Egypt’s Christian leaders urged their faithful to vote in the second phase of their country’s national elections, held this week, after two Islamic parties won nearly 70% of the contested seats in the first round of voting. 

“Most of the Church authorities have been encouraging the Christians to vote because it is their duty and their privilege,” Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, the apostolic nuncio, said in a phone interview from his office in Cairo. “The results of the first round were not always encouraging; [and] there is the feeling that every vote counts.”

Fighting Radical Islam 

Saudi Arabia – Moderate Voice or Draconian Monarchy?

"Social Study" in Saudi Arabia allowing women to drive would  "provoke a surge in prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and divorce."

by: Clare M. Lopez

 

Saudi Arabia’s hardline ultra-conservative religious council, the Majlis al-Ifta’ al-A’ala working in conjunction with Kamal Subhi, a former professor at the King Fahd University, have just released a ‘scientific study’ that has come to some rather outlandish conclusions.

In response to the growing pressure from women’s groups in Saudi Arabia to lift the ban on women driving, the report has warned that doing so would "provoke a surge in prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and divorce." Within ten years of the ban being lifted, the report’s authors claim, there would be "no more virgins" in the Islamic kingdom. And it pointed out "moral decline" could already be seen in other Muslim countries where women are allowed to drive.

Just a few weeks earlier, the Kingdom’s Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice has proposed a law to stop women from revealing their "tempting" eyes to the public. Should this law be passed, it would in effect, force Saudi women to more or less cover their entire bodies from head to toe – including their eyes.

The Saudi Kingdom clearly is passing through a stressful period: not because the Crown Prince died earlier this year and his likely successors are all tottering through their twilight years; not because the Kingdom’s arch rival, Iran, is driving for a deployable nuclear weapon; nor even because revolutionary forces are sweeping the region. No, to all indications in the international media, the real problem is all the Mutawain (Saudi morals police) jockeying for extra duty to select exactly which female eyes henceforth will have to be covered in public.

This is the absurdity of Saudi Arabia today. Even as its aging royal rulers (King Abdullah is 88 years old) observe fellow Arab regimes going down around them like ten pins, the Kingdom’s leadership knows it lacks the most basic resources of a modern state to meet the inevitable demands of its youthful population. It’s not that this brutal police state lacks the repressive security forces or material resources to deal with a popular protest movement. It’s that neither these, nor all the vast oil wealth in the Peninsula, can stop the sands of time which are rapidly counting down the hours on a regime decked in the gaudy glitz of modern excess but trapped in a savage mindset from the 7th century.

A new book “Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamic Terrorist Network: America and the West’s Fatal Embrace,” presents a disturbing look at the realities of the Saudi Kingdom, whose rigid Wahhabist Islamic code locks it into a bigoted, jihadist, misogynist world view grounded in anti-Western animus and Jew-hatred. Without the Saudis’ key role in the global oil-based economy and calculated largesse to policymakers, think tanks, and universities to help smooth the way, it surely would be an uphill slog otherwise for their armies of well-heeled lobbyists. As it is, for decades the Saudis have counted on petro-dollars and Western cupidity to ensure official submissiveness in the face of blatant financial support to Muslim terrorist groups, mega-mosques and Islamic Centers, and the shariah-promoting literature and textbooks that stoke jihad in all of them.

Before the well-organized onslaught of the so-called “Arab Spring” in 2011, the Saudi Kingdom may well have believed its most critical challenges came from its Shi’ite Persian nemesis across the Gulf and Iran’s Sunni al-Qa’eda allies on the Peninsula (AQAP). In the space of months, however, it was no longer a question of escaping the turmoil but of damage control. Having dispatched three more-or-less secular dictatorships in 2011, the al-Qa’eda and Muslim Brotherhood forces on the march across North Africa have made no secret of their intent to take aim at “corrupt” monarchs next year. A young, restless population with inadequate opportunities for meaningful work, next to zero approved social outlets, and plenty of access to the latest technology toys with which to view how the rest of the 21st century world lives, leaves an unprepared Saudi leadership facing the inevitable clamor for expanded political and social rights.

Only the lack of an organized opposition characterized by the total absence of political parties or trade unions and real fear among the Saudi urban middle class that revolt against the House of Saud could set loose chaos that would split apart the country’s regional, religious, and sectarian fault lines have kept the place together this long. But it is Western, especially American, willingness to turn a blind eye to Saudi terror funding, support for the Da’wa stealth jihad campaign led by the Muslim Brotherhood, and backing for the spread of Shariah Compliant Finance that enables the charade of Saudi “partnership” to stand.

A few crumbs like King Abdullah’s September 2011 decree that Saudi women will be allowed to serve in parliament in 2012 and vote and stand as candidates in 2015 municipal elections are hardly enough to satisfy the pent-up energy of the 50% of the Saudi population whose every move in life remains chained to primitive, misogynistic and often violent notions of gender roles. Even as Saudi society deprives itself of intellectual and professional contributions from half its population, its aging, hypocritical rulers indulge in polygamous and hedonistic lifestyles According to a WikiLeaks cable from 2008, the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh reported that King Abdullah "remains a heavy smoker, regularly receives hormone injections and 'uses Viagra excessively.'"

Change is coming to the Saudi desert kingdom whether the Saudis are ready or not. All things considered, trends already in motion do not look good over the long-term for the House of Saud, no matter how many hundreds of billions the King hands out. Foreign policy outreach to establish a network of economic and political ties with potential global partners such as China, Japan, and Russia is not a bad idea either, just inadequate to deal with what is essentially an internal problem: how to unleash the potential of all Saudis to compete in the modern world and loose the shackles that have hobbled them since the dawn of Islam.

Saudi youth, both male and female, have some choices to make, choices their diminishingly lucid elders probably cannot make, about what kind of society they want to live in. U.S. and Western leaderships have some shackles of their own to cast off, beginning with energy dependence and willful blindness about the Saudi commitment to shariah Islam, jihad, and the subjugation of Dar al-Harb (the non-Muslim world) to Dar al-Islam (the Muslim world) Absent is the realization that equality, individual liberty, minority protection, pluralism, rule of man-made law, and tolerance are the building blocks of civil society that undergird a true democracy, and that these things are not necessarily genetically coded in human beings but must be defended and nourished, neither the House of Saud nor American exceptionalism can expect to weather intact the storms ahead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saudi Arabia’s hardline ultra-conservative religious council, the Majlis al-Ifta’ al-A’ala working in conjunction with Kamal Subhi, a former professor at the King Fahd University, have just released a ‘scientific study’ that has come to some rather outlandish conclusions.

In response to the growing pressure from women’s groups in Saudi Arabia to lift the ban on women driving, the report has warned that doing so would "provoke a surge in prostitution, pornography, homosexuality and divorce." Within ten years of the ban being lifted, the report’s authors claim, there would be "no more virgins" in the Islamic kingdom. And it pointed out "moral decline" could already be seen in other Muslim countries where women are allowed to drive.

The Guardian home

Tahrir Square aflame: the visual basis of an imaginary revolution

Ten months ago, images from Egypt's streets such as these led many to succumb to a secular liberal fantasy

Egyptian anti-government protesters celebrate  

Egyptian anti-government protesters celebrate minutes after the announcement of the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak in February. Photograph: Khaled Elfiqi/EPA

This photograph is a human volcano. A heart of fire unites a crowd that seems to dance in the fire and flame of victory. At the vortex of the tumult, a bright flare of joy explodes. It looks as if the passions of the people were spontaneously producing this eruption of light and heat.

Egypt’s military said to be subsidizing Muslim Brotherhood’s party

Special to WorldTribune.com

A woman walks under an electoral banner for the Al-Nour (Egypt's largest Salafi political party) in Cairo on Nov. 27. /Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

WASHINGTON — Egypt’s new military regime is said to have been
financing the Islamic opposition.

A former U.S. diplomat has asserted that Egypt’s military was financing
the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamic opposition allies in an effort to
maintain quiet in the country. Former U.S. ambassador to Morocco, Marc
Ginsberg, said the military’s Supreme Council of Armed Forces was secretly
funding security and logistics support for the Brotherhood and the
Salafists.

House of Lords

Friday, 9 December 2011.

10 am

Prayers—read by the Lord Bishop of Newcastle.

 

Christians in the Middle East

Motion to Take Note

10.06 am

Moved By The Archbishop of Canterbury

That this House takes note of the situation of Christians in the Middle East.

The Archbishop of Canterbury: My Lords, many people these days have a short and skewed historical memory. It is all too easy to go along with the assumption that Christianity is an import to the Middle East rather than an export from it. Because the truth is that for two millennia the Christian presence in the Middle East has been an integral part of successive civilisations—a dominant presence in the Byzantine era, a culturally very active partner in the early Muslim centuries, a patient and long-suffering element,

Barnabas Fund: hope and aid for the persecuted church 

Egyptian elections: Islamist parties on track to win majority

Early results of the first stage of the Egyptian parliamentary elections indicate a decisive victory for Islamist parties, leaving the country’s Christians fearful of what the future holds for them.

Egypt-elections-4X3.jpg

Egypt's voters are
favouring Islamist parties
CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 / Ahmed Abd El-Fatah

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) appeared to emerge with the largest share of the vote – around 40 per cent with its coalition partners – while another bloc headed by the more hard line Salafist party al-Nur looked set to take as much as 25 per cent. The newly-formed, secular liberal parties were unable to compete with the Islamists, who were already well established and organised.

 

Egypt’s Christians deserve a democratic future too

A new Egyptian government must work for the good of all its citizens, regardless of their religion,

write George Grant and Fleur Brading.

Egypt’s Christians deserve a democratic future too; Egyptian Coptic Christians take to the streets in protest May, 2011; EPA

Egyptian Coptic Christians take to the streets in protest in May, 2011 Photo: EPA

Over the weekend, the Muslim Brotherhood’s new party, Freedom and Justice, took 36.6 per cent of the vote in Egypt’s first round of parliamentary elections. Al-Nour, a more radical Islamist party came second with 24 per cent. The outcome of the elections thus looks set: Islamists will hold the controlling power in any new and democratic Egypt.

Arabs need a revolution in thought, not politics

The Arab mentality prevents real progress from taking place in a region starving for reform

Egyptians vote in elections
Photo by: Reuters

Since September 11, 2001, most western intellectuals and political leaders have advocated that democracy represents the best solution for the problems brought upon by the Arab world, particularly radical Islam.

Unfortunately, democracy in Iraq has not proved to be an astonishing success, and has resulted in discrimination against the Christian minority within the country. In the same vein, democracy in Gaza resulted in Hamas being elected to power. The Arab Spring is likely to continue empowering Islamist movements that will end any hope for modernity within the Arab world.


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