After protesting the burning of a Christian church in Afwan, Egypt on September 30th, the Egyptian Army brutally dispersed a protesting crowd of Coptic Christians in Cairo, harming 48 and killing anywhere from 25 to 35 Christians according to one report.
In some instances, the Egyptian Army was “assisted” by local thugs… and we can only guess what their religious persuasion might have been.
Arab Spring, anyone?
There are 8 million Coptic Christians living in Egypt -- roughly 10% of the population and a historical lifeline that goes all the way back to the first Muslim conquest of then Byzantine Egypt back in the 7th century. Since that time, Egypt’s Christians have suffered under various dominions, whether they were Fatamids, Mamlukes, Ottomans, or Ba’athists.
Kurt Wurhtmuller writing for National Review Online puts the situation in its plainest light:
This stance has allowed the increasingly toxic sectarian atmosphere in Egypt to fester and intensify, and at this crucial and tense moment, the Prime Minister’s indifference may indeed turn into incitement. It is almost certain that rumor-driven anti-Christian mobs, such as the one that led the church burning in Aswan on Sept. 30, will take his ominous words of “invisible hands” as license to terrorize the Copts. The Copts, who comprise ten percent of Egypt’s population of 80 million, now find themselves crushed between Salafi and other ultra-conservative forces seeking to “put them in their place” from below, and a ruling military demonstrating from above that its patience for public demonstrations does not extend to non-Muslims demanding equal treatment in their own nation.
This is the condition of many Christian minorities living under the iron boot of Islamic regimes, whether it is the repressive regimes of Iran and Pakistan to the newly “liberated” areas of Tunisia or Egypt.
While it is far too early to begin calling for a Christian southern partition of Egypt on the basis of the Sudanese experience, the facts on the ground remain clear for the millions of Christians living on the ground and experiencing the nature of so-called Islamic democracy today.
Whether the government is a caliphate, a dictatorship, a military junta or a democracy in transition, for Christians living under these regimes the experience is the same as long as the government is prefixed with the word “Islamic” -- violence, burned churches, broken bones, and second-class citizenship… and at times, death.
Watch carefully as the Obama Administration spins this repression of Egypt’s Coptic Christians as just one more cracked egg in the attempt to create an omelet. For those Christians suffering under Obama’s grand social experiment in the Middle East, the measurement is not in hope or in change, but in consequences and blood.