The “Arab Spring” and the Plight of the Coptic Christian

coptic-church-burningBy Abbott Tryphon

Coptic is the Pharoes’ name for “Egyptian,“ a little appreciated echo of the fact that all of Egypt was once a Coptic, Christian nation. For seven centuries Egypt was a Christian nation, until the Arab Islamic invasion in the seventh century.

When President Obama came to Cairo in 2009 for his first major speech on foreign affairs, he thought his charisma would be enough, as he attempted to appease the Islamists with his talk of America being their friend, all the while ignoring the plight of the Christians of the Middle East, who have been the bridge between the West and Arab cultures since the 17th century.

It was Coptic and Arab Christians who acted as translators of the greatest works of arts, literature, civilization, theater, and cinema, just as did Jews living in the Arab world. They made huge strides in bringing modern ideas, including democratic ideas, to the Islamic dominated world, but just as the Jews before them, Christians are now facing eviction from the Arab world, and this is not only a loss for the West but mostly for Arab Muslims. It is also a crime against humanity.

Scores of Christians are being consumed in the conflagration that is taking place in Egypt and Syria. In Egypt some Coptic Christians have been burned beyond recognition defending sixty some churches that have been burned to the ground, even as Ambassador Patterson continues her attempts at a reconciliation between the the Muslim Brotherhood conducting this devastation and the Egyptians who revolted against the Brotherhood’s rule.

Once again the American administration attempts to ally itself against those fighting for a secular Arab world, with the odd philosophy in place that thinks we can appease the radical Muslims into actually liking us, all the while ignoring the fact that most Muslims living in these countries have had enough of radical Islam, and would prefer a secular state.

Egypt’s fourteen million Christians, the original descendants of the pharaohs, are once again being singled out, while the American administration has aligned itself with their persecutors. Over the past fourteen centuries, Muslims invaders of Egypt have forcibly converted most of the population, except for those stubborn Coptic Christians who stood up to the persecution and threats, only to have America side with the militant Islamic Brotherhood.

This madness that has taken over the mind of the present American administration is beyond comprehension, but is also indicative of the long history of our failure to understand the Arab mind. Meanwhile, our Christian brothers and sisters throughout Egypt and the Middle East, are paying the price of America’s greed for oil, power, and control. This philosophy of conquest has become our dominant foreign policy, while we ignore the long term consequences on the lives of fourteen million Coptic Christians.

Abbot Tryphon leads the All Merciful Savior Monastery in Vashon, Washinton.


  1. Copts under the Gun: Religious Freedom in Egypt

    [Note: the following is an NRO interview that editor Kathryn Lopez conducted with Raymond Ibrahim, a Shillman Fellow at the DHFC, first published July 2, 2013 ]

    In this interview, Raymond Ibrahim, the American son of two Egyptian parents and author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, talks about the situation in Egypt and its implications, in particular for Christians who already find themselves in a precarious position.

    LOPEZ: What do the Copts need?

    IBRAHIM: All that the Copts want is equality — to be seen and treated as full Egyptian citizens, irrespective of their Christian faith. Under the era of Westernization and modernization, they were indeed largely seen as “regular” Egyptians. But, as Muslims went from emulating the West, to having contempt for it — I discuss this phenomenon at length in my book Crucified Again — so too did they begin to reclaim their Islamic heritage, and its teachings, which are fundamentally hostile to non-Muslims, and so Egypt’s most indigenous and native inhabitants — the Christian Copts — come to suffer for it.

    LOPEZ: Who was Cyril Yusuf Sa’ad?

    IBRAHIM: He was a six-year-old Coptic Christian boy who was abducted and held for ransom. Muslim abductions of Christians is an increasingly common practice, not just in Egypt, but in Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, etc. (as I show in Crucified Again). The boy was eventually killed in late May. According to the Arabic language report, the boy’s “family is in tatters after paying 30,000 pounds to the abductor, who still killed the innocent child and threw his body into the toilet of his home, where the body, swollen and moldy, was exhumed.”

    LOPEZ: Who was Agape Essam Girgis?

    IBRAHIM: She is a 14-year-old Coptic girl who, on her way to school accompanied by a Muslim social worker and two teachers — one of whom was a Salafi — never returned. She was drugged and awakened to find herself in a secluded place with an elderly woman and Salafis who tried to convert her to Islam, forced her to wear the full hijab, and beat her. She was eventually released — she’s actually one of the few lucky Coptic girls who made it back home (one recent study states that well over 500 Coptic girls have been abducted, raped, seduced, blackmailed, etc., in the last few years).

    LOPEZ: Is it an exaggeration to argue that there is a jihad on children in Egypt? And is there a danger in relying on some of the news accounts?

    IBRAHIM: Well, what more must happen before highlighting the plight of Christian youth under Islam is justified? Christian boys and girls in Egypt are frequently targeted, often for “ransom” money — as they are in Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, and all throughout sub-Saharan Africa. Those targeting them are Muslims who, for a variety of reasons, have concluded that their actions — targeting Christians for extortion, and often yanking them from the doorsteps of their “infidel” churches — are legitimate in the context of Islam and jihad. I explain this phenomenon — doctrinally and historically – in Crucified Again. Indeed, only the other day, I wrote about new threats directed against Egypt’s Christians, telling them not to join protests against Morsi, otherwise their “businesses, cars, homes, schools, and churches” might “catch fire.” The message concluded by saying: “If you are not worried about any of these, then worry about your children and your homes. This message is being delivered with tact. But when the moment of truth comes, there will be no tact.” Around the same time, Sheikh Essam Abdulamek, a member of parliament’s Shura Council, warned Egypt’s Christians on live TV against participating in the June 30 protests, saying, “Do not sacrifice your children.”

    LOPEZ: Is it really fair to say that the Obama administration is enabling Christian persecution, as you do?

    IBRAHIM: It’s not just fair — it’s indubitably true. In every single country where Christian minorities live among Muslim majorities, Obama’s policies have empowered the Islamist parties, with the obvious consequence that the Christians are first to suffer. In Egypt, as expected, since the Obama-backed Brotherhood came to power, the persecution of Copts has practically been legalized, as unprecedented numbers of Christians — men, women, and children — have been arrested, often receiving more than double the maximum prison sentence, under the accusation that they “blasphemed” Islam or its prophet. It was also under Brotherhood rule that another unprecedented scandal occurred: St. Mark Cathedral — the holiest site of Coptic Christianity and home of the pope himself — was besieged in broad daylight by Islamic rioters. When security came, they too joined in the attack on the cathedral.

    In Libya, after Obama supported the al-Qaeda “freedom fighters,” Libya’s small Christian minority has been targeted in unprecedented ways. Among other things, the very few churches there are under attack and bombed; nuns that have been serving the sick and needy since 1921 have been harassed and forced to flee; foreign Christians possessing Bibles have been arrested and tortured (one recently died from his torture). And in Syria — where does one begin? Churches are being bombed and Christians are routinely being beheaded — most recently a Catholic priest, one of many. I discuss all this in my recent article, “Obama’s Proxy War on Mideast Christians.” If the reader finds this title outrageous, I might point out that, the same day my article was published, it was revealed that Syrian Christians were asking, “Why is America at war with us?”

    LOPEZ: Should the persecution of Christians in the Middle East serve as a reminder to us of how precious a liberty religious freedom is?

    IBRAHIM: Yes. Yes. And yes.

    LOPEZ: How do you avoid being anti-Muslim while documenting “the continuity and interconnectivity of Christian persecution under Islam”?

    IBRAHIM: It is one thing to talk about Islam and its teachings — which often are black and white (depending on whether one is a Sunni, Shia, etc.) — and another thing to talk about the Muslim guy down the street. I know the former inside out; I do not know the latter. So I talk about Islamic history, doctrine, continuity, etc. — but I leave room for the fact that, of course, just because someone is named “Muhammad” certainly does not mean he’s a jihadi, anymore than someone named “Christian” is always “turning the other cheek.” That said, I think it is folly to suppress talk about Islam simply because it might make a nominal American Muslim feel “uncomfortable.” It’s a question of priorities: What’s more important — to have the plight of millions of Christians suffering under Islam reach the light of day, even though some Muslims in America might feel uncomfortable at how such news makes Islam look, or to cover up the plight of these millions of victims, simply so Islam doesn’t look so bad in the West? The mainstream media has tended for this latter option. This is why I wrote Crucified Again, to fill the vacuum created by the MSM’s negligence in reporting on the reality of Muslim persecution of Christians.

    LOPEZ: “Now that the ‘Arab Spring’ has reached Syria – another stronghold of early Christianity that today is almost entirely Islamic — the attacks on monasteries there demonstrate the continuity between the original jihad and the jihad we know in the twenty-first century.” Is that the backstory to the murder of Fr. Murad?

    IBRAHIM: Absolutely. That’s just it: All that we’re seeing today has a long continuity. As I tried to show in Crucified Again, every pattern of persecution we see today — whether church bombings or bannings, blasphemy codes to silence Christians, execution of Muslim apostates to Christianity, destruction of Bibles and crosses, extortion, and even the targeting of Christian women and children — goes back 1,400 years to the very beginnings of Islam, with identical patterns of behavior by Muslims vis-a-vis Christians. This is demonstrably true and documented in the book.

    LOPEZ: What goes through your head as you cover these stories of persecution and violence as a son of Egyptian parents?

    IBRAHIM: Lots of things: empathy for mideast Christians — as I know that could be me, and actually is some of my extended family — and hence commitment to try to be their voice — the voice of the voiceless; gratefulness that my parents emigrated from Egypt to the U.S. when they did; and despair, for I know that that which is on full display in the Islamic world, is destined to come here — unless the West finally opens its eyes.

  2. Copts “thanking” Obama for the events in Egypt

    “At least 60 Churches have been destroyed in Egypt! Thank you, mister Obama! Your allies are destroying churches and killing Copts. Stop supporting terrorism immediately!” A banner with these words has appeared in Coptic social networks on the Internet. “Hey! And what about Syria?” is written in the comments.

    It is thought that Copts have supported the opponents of the deposed president Morsi that’s why they became subject of an unprecedented attack from the Muslim Brotherhood that has already been characterized as “evil day in the history of the Coptic Church”, when several dozen churches, monasteries, schools, houses, and shops belonging to Christians were destroyed, set on fire and attacked in a single day.

    According to AFP, “the Coptic Church together with Patriarch Tawadros II, who appears with the Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (minister of defense in the government of Morsi), has supported deposition of Morsi, because it was Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi who announced the military takeover,” reports an observer of National Review Onlinе. “However, the (the Coptic Patriarch) was not alone; General Sisi gathered a considerable number of Muslim leaders around him, including (the president of Al-Azhar university in Egypt) Sheikh Ahmad Muhammad Al Tayeb and leaders of the Al-Noub Salafi party.

    Morsi was deposed by the military, and not by Copts.

    “The Muslim Brotherhood is not ‘retaliating’ against Christians”, reports National Review Onlinе, “they are persecuting them, as is happening today in other countries with a radical Muslim majority”.

    Meanwhile, many are speaking today about the USA’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood.

    It is known that in July, the USA “demanded that the Egyptian administration cease ‘groundless’ arrests of members of the Muslim Brotherhood movement immediately, stating the inadmissibility of persecution of any political organizations. “The president of the USA, Barack Obama, was concerned about the decision of Egypt to issue an arrest warrant for Muhammad Badi, the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood islamist movement to which the deposed president Morsi belongs, as well as nine other high-ranking functionaries of the party. They were arraigned in charges of fomenting violence in the country,” reported BBC.

    Now deputy spokesperson of the State Department Marie Harf has stated that the Egyptian authorities must stop dispersing demonstrations by the Muslim Brotherhood immediately, because freedom of demonstration is “an essential part of the democratic process in the country”.

  3. White House Jokes About Christians Being Murdered in Egypt

    Every day is a new low for DC. Obama in particular continues to meddle in the affairs of other countries — with an almost 0% success rate. He continues to “accidentally” arm radicals, support the Muslim Brotherhood, and make excuses for Islamic attacks on people throughout the world.

    His main response to Islamic terror seems to be drone strikes — a tactic notorious for creating massive collateral damage of innocent civilians, generally creating more backlash against the United States. In other words, Obama is always either directly supporting Islamic groups or “accidentally” increasing their numbers.

    Today, the White House hit a new low. A White House spokesman told flat joke when asked about the murder of and violence against Christians in Egypt. Of all the times to joke, the murder of hundreds of people being ignored by the Obama regime isn’t one of them.

    The Daily Caller reports:

    The White House’s deputy press secretary today downplayed Muslim attacks on Christians in Egypt, joking about the savagery that has left at least six Christians dead.

    Press secretary Josh Earnest was asked by Fox News’ correspondent, Ed Henry, if President Barack Obama has a “red line” beyond which he would act against Muslim attacks on Egyptian Christians.

    “Well, I didn’t bring my red pen out with me today,” Earnest joked.

    After making his joke, Earnest said the administration is “outraged… and concerned” about the Muslim attacks on almost 100 churches, monasteries, orphanages and other marked Christian sites. Many Christians’ shops and homes have also been looted and burned by mobs.

    But Earnest didn’t name or criticize the attackers, even though he did charge the military with perpetrating “violence… against peaceful protesters.”

    They refuse to mention the Muslim Brotherhood by name… but they continue to attack the Egyptian military. Playing favorites is a basic Obama strategy… and thousands of innocent people continue to suffer the consequences.

    Please spread this article and demand that the White House apologize.

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