Monday, June 2, 2008

Hiding persecution of Christians in Arab countries

Actually, they were protesting "what they said" was government inaction in the face of repeated attacks by Muslims against their community." As the article explains:

Angry Egyptian Christians demonstrated in the southern town of Mallawi yesterday against what they said was government inaction in the face of repeated attacks by Muslims against their community.

At least 300 Coptic Christians gathered outside the main church in Mallawi a day after gunmen stormed a historic monastery and kidnapped three monks sparking clashes that left one person dead and four wounded.

We have been quiet for too long. We regularly have problems and always forgive but we've had enough," one of the demonstrators, Hanna Ibrahim, told AFP.

If there is no action by the state, or the people responsible (for the monastery attack) are not brought to justice, we will not remain quiet much longer," he shouted.

Surrounded by hundreds of black-clad security forces, protestors chanted: "With our blood and soul, we will defend the cross," and appealed to President Hosni Mubarak to intervene because "Coptic hearts are on fire.

The clashes between Muslims and Christians broke out on Saturday when the monks at the ancient Abu Fana monastery began building a wall around neighbouring property after receiving final approval earlier this year.

Muslim residents of the area claim the agricultural land on which the wall is being built as theirs, and say it is damaging their crops.

A security official confirmed to AFP that three monks had been kidnapped by Muslims during the clashes and were released on Sunday morning and taken to hospital for treatment.

Father Bulous, a priest at the Mallawi church, managed to visit the three monks in hospital. "They said they were tortured, tied up and beaten and humiliated," he told AFP.

One monk was hit with the back of a rifle and had his leg broken," he said.
Father Dumadius, who was at the Abu Fana monastery on Saturday when the attack took place, said that at least 60 men carrying weapons stormed the monastery.

They split into several groups. One group proceeded to destroy the wall. Others entered a chapel used by the monks and destroyed and burned property," he told AFP.

Dumadius said Saturday's was the the 18th attack on the monastery, the most recent one being in January this year.

No one was arrested. It's not the first time. Every time we lodge a complaint with the police, it is ignored," he said....

Someone should do something about persecution of Christians in Muslim countries, especially in Egypt, which receives nearly $2 Billion a year in US aid. But that is not my point here. Persecution of Copts in Egypt is old news for those who follow Middle East news. See for example: If I were a Copt.

What is most interesting is how AFP handled the headline. Suppose that in Israel, Jews were beating up Christians and desecrating church property and the government and police did nothing? What would the AFP headline be? What would the UN special rapporteur say?

Ami Isseroff

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