Jihad Watch : It is one thing for Egyptian President Sisi not to be able to prevent
surprise Islamic terror attacks against Egypt’s Christians, the Copts.
But what does one make of the fact that his own government also
discriminates against and persecutes the Copts?
Most recently, a court sentenced 19
Muslim defendants to a one-year suspended sentence for attacking an
unregistered church near Giza last December 22. Dozens of Muslim rioters
had gathered outside the building; they eventually stormed it and
“destroyed the church’s contents and assaulted Christians inside.”
Based on this sentencing (from a misdemeanor court no less), the
defendants are not required to serve prison time unless they get into
trouble again. On the other hand, a Coptic Christian defendant was fined
360,000 Egyptian pounds (equivalent to $20,383) for setting up the
unlicensed church. The court’s logic is that, by using an unregistered building as a
church, the entire incident is the Copt’s fault — for aggrieving local
Meanwhile, the well-known fact is that getting a church permit
in Egypt is as difficult as getting a mosque permit is easy — and
explains why havoc ensues when Copts merely try to renovate a church,
while ten mosques are opened every week.
In other words, if the government did not make it so difficult for
Copts to congregate and worship, they would not need to resort to using
private homes and unregistered buildings.
After waiting 44 years, the Christians of Nag Shenouda were issued
the necessary permits to build a church in 2015. According to a report,
local Muslims rioted and burned down the temporary worship tent. When a
Christian tried to hold a religious service in his home, another Muslim
mob attacked it. Denied a place to worship, the Christians of Nag Shenouda celebrated Easter in the street. Much of this is consistent with the World Watch List 2018, which ranked Egypt the 17th worst
nation in the world wherein to be Christian. It found that “officials
at any level from local to national” are “strongly responsible” for the
“oppression” of Egypt’s Christians.
“Government officials,” the report
adds, “also act as drivers of persecution through their failure to
vindicate the rights of Christians and also through their discriminatory
acts which violate the fundamental rights of Christians.” While
authorities themselves are sometimes the persecutors — as when Muslim soldiers beat several Christian soldiers to death on account of their faith, most recently in July 2017 — they more often function as enablers, allowing a culture of impunity to thrive.
All this again begs the question: whereas it may be understandable
that Sisi cannot eliminate terrorism — after all, terrorists operate
surreptitiously and work “in the shadows” — what about the fact that his
very own government (from local police and authorities to top
department heads and courtroom judges) is openly biased against the
Copts, and right under his nose?