Archive for 04/28/2013

Islam’s Collective Punishment Of Christians

04/28/2013 Leave a comment

Egypt: Attacks On Christians Sharpen With Government CollusionBy Raymond Ibrahim, Frontpage Mag – “As many of Israel’s critics portray it as collectively punishing the Palestinians, overlooked and unsaid is the greater frequency with which Muslims collectively punish the religious minorities living under their authority, often in atrocious ways.

Consider Egypt alone. The most recent attacks on Egypt’s Copts, culminating in the unprecedented besiegement of the St. Mark Cathedral, the holiest site of Coptic Orthodoxy, is the latest large-scale ‘collective punishment’ of the nation’s indigenous Christian minority. Indeed, almost all of the major attacks on Copts are carried out in the context of collective punishment, based on the idea that, if just one Christian upsets Muslims, all Christians—and their churches and their women and their children—become fair game.

Collectively punishing ‘upstart’ religious minorities who refuse to know their place in the Islamic order actually has doctrinal backing. According to Mark Durie, author of The Third Choice: ‘Even a breach by a single individual dhimmi [non-Muslim living under Muslim authority] could result in jihad being enacted against the whole community. Muslim jurists have made this principle explicit, for example, the Yemeni jurist al-Murtada wrote that ‘The agreement will be canceled if all or some of them break it…’ and the Moroccan al-Maghili taught ‘The fact that one individual (or one group) among them has broken the statute is enough to invalidate it for all of them.’’

The latest collective punishment visited upon the Copts began in Khosous, near Cairo, on April 5, when a longstanding feud between a Christian family and a Muslim family—based on male Muslims sexually harassing Christian girls—culminated in the violent deaths of six Christians, including one set on fire, and one Muslim. In retribution, Muslims went on yet another ‘Friday-rampage’—Friday being the day Muslims meet and pray and hate and call for jihads on Christians—resulting in the injury of at least 20 other Copts, an attack on a Coptic church, and an Evangelical church set on fire.

Then, two days later, after Copts mourned their dead in their cathedral, Muslim mobs awaiting them outside launched yet another attack, one that was actually aided by state security, firing into the cathedral compound. Eyewitnesses said as many as 40-50 tear gas canisters targeted the mourners, many of whom were women and children. Other officers stood by as the Muslim mob tried to ravage the cathedral. Two more Copts were killed and many dozens wounded. Since then, more reports have emerged of Copts being targeted and some even killed.

The fact is, collectively punishing Christian Copts for the purported crimes of individual Copts is a regular occurrence in Egypt, and perhaps the chief mode of their persecution. Other recent examples include:

• July, 2012: When a Christian launderer Read more…

Marginalized, Isolated: Post-Revolution Egyptian Christians Subjected To More Brutality By Islamists

04/28/2013 Leave a comment

RT – “Egypt’s Christian minority has been marginalized by the ruling Muslim Brotherhood, says Coptic Pope Tawadros II. His statement comes amid increased religious tensions and allegations of brutal repressions by the Islamist party.

‘There is a sense of marginalization and rejection, which we can call social isolation,’ of the 15 percent Christian population in Egypt, the pope told Reuters.

The pontiff’s statement coincided with increased Christian-Muslim tension on Friday in a small Egyptian town in Beni Suef province, where police used tear gas to disperse stone-throwing Muslim crowd after they had encircled a Coptic church to protest inter-faith relationships.

The angry mob accuses the church authorities of helping 21-year-old female Rana el-Shazli, who has allegedly converted to Christianity, elope to Turkey with a Coptic Christian man.

The tension over this modern day Romeo and Juliet romance has lasted for almost two months with Christian places of worship and local Christian shops being attacked.

The Christian man’s family has also been detained, after being accused of collaborating in hiding the woman. El-Shazli’s family issued an ultimatum for the church to return her early this month, but when it didn’t, violence started again.

Also on Friday, a Christian woman vanished in the city of Luxor. A complaint was filed with the police by the victim’s family accusing a Muslim man of abducting their daughter…

Meanwhile, an Egyptian Christian activist revealed that he was tortured in a mosque in suburban Cairo back in March.

Amir Ayad claims that he was en route to join a crowd of protesters near the headquarters of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party in suburban Cairo on March 22 when he was kidnapped.

‘I mistakenly thought they were police,’ Ayad told International Christian Concern (ICC).

‘When they saw my ID card they found out that I am a Christian. At that moment, they hit me on the head from behind and I lost consciousness. I woke up to find myself lying down on the floor of Belal Ibn Rabah mosque in Al-Moqattam.’ Ayad claims that the mosque was used to torture non-conformists with the Muslim Brotherhood politics.” Read more.

Egyptian Police Refuse To Protect Coptic Christians During Gun And Machete Attack On Mourners At Cathedral – “A shocking video has emerged that appears to show Egyptian police standing idly by as an anti-Christian mob launch a frenzied attack on a cathedral filled with mourners. Two worshippers were left dead and 84 injured, including 11 police officers, as men shooting guns, wielding machetes and hurling stones laid siege to the walled Coptic cathedral compound in Cairo earlier this month.” Read more.

‘They Want Christians Out’: In Effort To Make Iraq A ‘Muslim Only’ Country, Islamists Make Christians Continuous Targets Of Violent Attacks

04/28/2013 Leave a comment

Christian Today – “Islamist extremists want Iraq to be a ‘Muslim only’ country. As a result, Christians in Iraq remain continuous targets of violent attacks.

Each month Open Doors field workers receive sad phone calls and emails of Christian acquaintances who report attacks against the Christians near them. While most of them are part of the general violence, such as bomb attacks and mortar fire which intensified during provincial elections last Saturday, a part of the violence can be labelled as specifically targeted against Christians.

‘If these attacks take place in a Christian neighbourhood or a Christian village, you can assume they are targeted, especially against the Christian population of the neighbourhoods and villages,’ said an Open Doors field worker.

‘Since the fall of Saddam Hussein 10 years ago, an estimated 1,000 Christians have been killed, a relatively high number compared with percentages killed from other groups in Iraqi society.’

A Christian in Mosul was the target of two attacks in one week last March. After the first bomb exploded in his house on a Wednesday, a second one was thrown over his fence on Sunday. The Christian saw two young men running away. The second bomb, wrapped in a black bag and a women’s t-shirt, was deactivated by a military engineering team.

In early April, Adbuljabar Khidher Toza, another Christian from Mosul, wasn’t so fortunate. Armed men shot him to death in front of his house.

All these targeted attacks serve only one purpose, shares the field worker:

‘We received documents and threats stating that the aim of the Islamist Insurgents is to make Iraq a ‘Muslim only’ country; they want the Christians out.’

Louis Raphael Sako, the newly-elected Chaldean Catholic patriarch of Iraq and Syria, says he is afraid of what Islamist rule would mean for Christians. ‘People are afraid of a kind of Islamic state as it was in the seventh century where Christians would be Read more…

To Die Or Leave: Syria’s Beleaguered Christians

04/28/2013 1 comment

BBC – “Syria’s Christian community is one of the oldest in the world, going back two millennia.

The apostle Paul is said to have been converted on the road to Damascus, while some Christians from the town of Maaloula can still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus.

Near the northern city of Aleppo is the Church of St Simeon Stylites, who spent decades on top of a stone pillar to demonstrate his faith, while in the mountains west of Homs is the castle of Krak des Chevaliers, which was a fortress for the Knights Hospitaller during the Crusades.

Christians are believed to have constituted about 30% of the Syrian population as recently as the 1920s. Today, they make up about 10% of Syria’s 22 million people.

Sunni Muslims meanwhile make up some 70% of the population and about 12% are Alawites, members of a heterodox Shia sect to which President Bashar al-Assad belongs. There are smaller numbers of Druze and other sects.

The vast majority of Syrian Christians belong to Eastern denominations. The largest and oldest is the Greek Orthodox Church, which has about 503,000 members. The Armenian Apostolic Church has between 112,000 and 160,000, and the Syrian Orthodox Church about 89,000.

Among the Uniate Churches, which are in communion with Rome, the largest is the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, with between 118,000 and 240,000 members. It is followed by the Syriac Maronite Church of Antioch, which has between 28,000 and 60,000, the Armenian Catholic Church, the Syrian Catholic Church and the Chaldean Catholic Church.

The Assyrian Church of the East has about 46,000 followers…

Hundreds of thousands of Christians have been displaced by the fighting or left the country in the past two years. Melkite Greek Catholic Patriarch Gregorios III Laham recently said more than 1,000 Christians had been killed, ‘entire villages… cleared of their Christian inhabitants’, and more than 40 churches and Christian centres damaged or destroyed.

… on 15 April, Patriarch Gregorios had warned in a statement sent to a Catholic charity: ‘There is no safe place left in Syria.’

‘The whole of Syria has become a battlefield… Every aspect of democracy, human rights, freedom, secularism and citizenship is lost from view and no-one cares.

‘The future of Christians in Syria is threatened not by Muslims but by… chaos… and the infiltration of uncontrollable fanatical, fundamentalist groups,’ he added.

Patriarch Gregorios said the threat to Christianity in Syria had wider implications for the religion’s future in the Middle East because the country had for decades provided a refuge for Christians from neighbouring Lebanon, Iraq and elsewhere.

His comments echoed those by another Damascus-based prelate, Maronite Archbishop Samir Nassar, who said Christians in Syria had to ‘choose between two bitter chalices: to die or leave’.” Read more.

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