Egyptian Copts Running for Their Lives


by Raymond Ibrahim, Jihad Watch

Historically, non-Muslims whose lands were seized by the jihad had three choices: conversion, dhimmitude, or death. Today, however, they have a fourth option largely unavailable to their forbears: quit their lands of origin—emigrate—the latest testimony to the nature of Islam.

A recent report indicates that unprecedented numbers of Copts, Egypt’s indigenous Christian population, are emigrating from their homeland in response to the so-called “Arab spring”:

    The Egyptian Union of Human Rights Organizations (EUHRO) published a report today on emigration of Christians from Egypt, saying that nearly 100,000 Christians have emigrated since March 2011. The report, which was sent to the Egyptian cabinet and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), warned that this emigration has been prompted by the escalating intimidation and attacks on Christians by Islamists. “Copts are not emigrating abroad voluntarily,” said Naguib Gabriell, the director EUHRO, “they are coerced into that by threats and intimidation by hard line Salafists, and the lack of protection they are getting from the Egyptian regime.”

The report goes on to list a number of attacks on Copts and churches—including the killing of Coptic youth in Moqattam, the Imbaba and other church attacks—adding “Salafist clerics, who gained political influence after the January 25 Revolution, have become emboldened, calling Copts Dhimmis who have to pay the jizya (tax paid by non-Muslims to the state) because they are not first class citizens and can never enjoy full citizenship rights, or obtain sensitive posts.”

Indeed, this boldness is a harbinger of things to come—and Copts know it, hence the emigration. Wagdi Ghoneim, a popular cleric and former imam in California, recently called Copts “Crusaders” on Al Jazeera—about the worst thing to call someone in the Muslim world—insisting that they do not deserve equal rights with Muslims in Egypt, because they are infidel dhimmis. Likewise, Abu Shadi, a top representative of the Salafis, told Tahrir News that the Copts must either convert to Islam, pay jizya and assume inferior status, or die. These are just a couple of examples of the countless Muslim leaders openly hostile to Egypt’s native population.

Nor is this phenomenon limited to the Copts of Egypt:

    Gabriel sees a parallel with the Christian emigration from Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon. “After the massacre of the congregation of Our Lady of Deliverance Church on October 31, 2010, and other attacks in Iraq, the ratio of Iraqi Christians went down from 8% to 2%; in Palestine to just .5%, and in Lebanon from 75% to 32%. If emigration of Christians, who constitute nearly 16% of the Egyptian population, continues at the present rate, it may reach 250,000 by the end of 2011, and within ten years a third of the Coptic population of Egypt would be gone.”

Bear in mind these large numbers are not simply indicative of those who want to emigrate, but those who simply can: not only does it take years to work out the legalities of emigrating, but many simply cannot afford it. In other words, if emigration was a simple thing, the number of Christian emigrants from the Muslim world would be even higher.

As professor Habib Malik confirms, “It is principally the violence visited sporadically upon these Christian communities in their native towns and villages across the Middle East, and the absence of any reliable means of protection in a region seething with religious fanaticism and despotic forms of rule, which impels Christians to flee and not return” (Islamism and the Future of the Christians of the Middle East, pgs. 36-37).

But it’s more than this; in fact, we are witnessing another manifestation of history—witnessing firsthand how formerly non-Muslim lands become Muslim. For just as conversion to Islam (out of force, out of necessity, out of cynicism) and the outright killing of non-Muslims saw the ranks of Islam grow, so too does emigration fit in this same paradigm of Islamization.

Beyond the authoritative primary sources which unequivocally demonstrate the violent nature of Islam—including history and theology texts—which many prefer to dismiss as “dead books,” here, then, is yet another live example. And yet the West’s leaders, from academics to politicians, will continue insisting that Islam is the “religion of peace”—testimony to the endemic blindness inflicting this age.

Raymond Ibrahim, an Islam-specialist, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.


Muslim Mob Torches Coptic Church in Egypt
GMT 10-1-2011 1:44:22
Assyrian International News Agency

(AINA) — After Friday prayers today, a mob of several thousand Muslims from the village of Elmarinab in Edfu, Aswan province, demolished and torched St. George’s church, which was being renovated. The mob demolished the dome, walls and columns, then went to the church depot where the lumber to be used for construction was stored and torched it. The fire lasted 2 hours but the attack continued until 7 PM.
In an interview on Coptic TV channel, Father Salib of St. George’s Church said “the Imam of one of the village mosques called on the people to take matter in their own hands, he added. Other witnesses named the Imam as Sheikh Sabry.
According to eyewitnesses the Muslims also torched a large depot of electrical goods owned by a Copt, a supermarket and four Coptic homes. Muslims prevented the fire brigade from entering the village. Security forces, which were present, “stood there watching,” said Mr.Michael Ramzy, a social worker at the church.
Dr. Naguib Gabriel, head of the Egyptian Union of Human rights Organizations send an urgent message to field Marchall Tantawi to save the Copts in Egypt. “The Copts, their lives and their churches are in danger,” he said.
Attorney Mamdouh Nakhla, head of Al-Kalema human rights organization condemned Muslims taking the law in their own hands. He said “if the Egyptian Government is unable to protect its citizens, then the civilized international society should step in immediately to stop this human tragedy.”
The Media denied the incident. Mostafa el Sayed, Governor of Aswan, appeared on State TV tonight and denied any church being torched. He said it was a “guest home” and not a church. El Sayed said he gave his permission for the building to be 9 meters high, but the church contractor made it 13 meters high. “The contractor was slow in removing the 4 meters, so the Muslim youths took the matter into their hand.” He said the fire was in a depot of the church which had the construction lumber.
He said that both parties are at fault, the Christians for exceeding the height and the Muslims for taking matters into their own hands. He added that he arranged for a “reconciliation” meeting to be held in the next two hours.
Father Salib refuted the governor of Aswan allegations that the torched construction was a guest home. He said St. George’s church was been built 100 years ago and as it was dilapidated, the diocese was given permission to renovate it completely. He said that the Governor of Aswan himself signed the license for the renovation in 2010.
The renovation, although having all the necessary licenses from the government, prompted a crisis in Elmarinab village in the beginning of September. Islamists objected to the presence of a cross, bell and dome and prevented Copts from leaving their homes (AINA 9-9-2011).
Outspoken Coptic activist Wagih Jacob said what happened in Elmarinab is a scandal. The mob went out today, knowing that they have the support of Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF). “I accuse SCAF to be in collusion with these people as well as the Governor of Aswan and the head of prosecution.”
Yacoub said that Coptic activists including himself are going to Aswan on Saturday to see what is happening there, even if they are killed. “I call on all Coptic men and Muslim liberals to join us to go to Aswan,” He accused the Governor of Aswan of not telling the truth “because he knows very well that no media will go to the village to take photos there.”
Georges Bouchra of Copts United NGO reported the Copts are staying indoors as it was rumored that Muslims have threatened to torch their homes tonight.
The Maspero Coptic Youth organization held a rally in the densely Coptic-populated district of Shubra in Cairo to protest the attack of Elmarinab church. It was attended by thousands (video).
On October 1 several Coptic organizations, together with other liberal movements, will hold a rally under the motto “No to attacks on Coptic Churches” to start at 5 pm from Shubra and end in Tahrir Square.
By Mary Abdelmassih

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October 3, 2011 | 21 Comments »

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  1. “Israel stabbed its Lebanese Christian allies in the back, abandoning them and leaving them in the lurch.”

    “Abandoning them” and “leaving them in the lurch” — yes, that’s what it amounted to.

    “Stabbed-[them]-in-the-back” is a little harsh, esp. in view of the Sabra & Chatilla massacres & aftermath — for which Israel ended up (unjustly) taking the fall.

    In any event, as I recall, G.O.I. did take in — offer refuge (maybe citizenship also, I forget) to — many of the South Lebanese Army & their families; should’ve taken in ALL, however.

  2. I’m a copt. We are generally a peaceful race and have always been. copts are not arabs and will never be arabs. We are the original egyptians, a completely seperate race. So your comment greatly offends. Do you really think that claiming to be a conscientious objector in Egypt is an option? Do you really believe that going to a war for your oppressors/invaders is something that we strive for?

    this is what we look forward to as copts in the army

  3. “Christian Arabs are more anti-Israel and antisemitic than Muslim Arabs, if that’s possible…”

    In the early days of the Mandate period, it was the Christian Arabs (not the Muslims) who spearheaded the nascent “nationalist” movement. In a manner of speaking, this was their way, I suspect, of establishing their bona fides with the broader Muslim population.

  4. Christian Arabs are more anti-Israel and antisemitic than Muslim Arabs, if that’s possible and it is. I worked with them for almost 2 years near Bethlehem. The Tantur Institute for Ecumenical Studies is situated on the main road between Jerusalem and Bethlehem My company provided all the furnishings for this institute owned and run by the Vatican. The building was built on the ruins of an old Byzantine Abby. The Architect was a guy named Montana from the University of Notre Dame. They refused to buy anything made in Israel and everything that went into this college was imported. My company imported furniture from Scandinavia.

    They were forced to work with Israeli importers but they hated us no less. Just our contract was worth more than 2 million dollars, so they had quite an investment there.

  5. The reason Lebanese Christians allied with Israel is because they know, first hand, what it is like trying to live side by side with Arabs/Muslims, just as the Copts know. This is the very reason that there is no peace between Israel and the Pals – look what they did when they were given Gaza. Interesting that most of the rest of the world doesn’t get it. The European nations will learn as they become more Islamiscized but now their anti-Israel fervor is far greater than their support for their fellow Christians. Just as they were oblivious or worse to the plight of the Jews during the Holocaust, this is but another example of how bereft Christianity and especially Catholicism is of any moral fiber or of the love for their fellow human beings that their “savior” preached.

  6. Eagle, for me to be slandered by the same one who slanders Yamit, Shy Guy and Yonatan, now, that’s a real honor! Thank you!

    While I’m here, perhaps you could enlighten me about the upwelling of support for Israel among Arab Christians. I haven’t heard of any to date, save a few very brave souls. The Orthodox Pals in Israel, who have suffered so much humiliation and degradation at the hands of their Moslem brothers, consistently deride Israel.

  7. Israel stabbed its Lebanese Christian allies in the back, abandoning them and leaving them in the lurch.

  8. Laura u know very well that dr Paul, democrats and liberals including 80% of MOT r ignorant, blind and mentally disturbed. Coptics exist and for haters that’s all that is needed as we discussed this past shabbos.

  9. Laura writes:
    Will crazy Ron Paul and the liberals explain to us what the Coptic Christians have done to anger the muslims into attacking them? This is the justification they use for islamic terrorism against America and Israel.

    What the Coptic Christians did wrong was to stay Coptic Christians.

    However, not all Jews are concerned. Yamit and his friends, Shy Guy and Yonatan, are probably rejoicing.

    Blandoatmeal writes:
    What bothers me, is that Arab Christians have tended to side with their Moslem tormentors against Israel. Who in his right mind would want more of them in his country? Where are they emigrating to?

    Here you go. Blandoatmeal doesn’t hesitate to libel the Copts.

  10. Egyptian Copts’ most holy site is:'s_Monastery,_Mount_Sinai

    I first became aware of the treasures of this UNESCO World Heritage Site at a major exhibit of Byzantine art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art – I recall being emotionally moved by the many pieces on loan from St. Catherine’s monastery.

    As to a population exchange of muslims for christians in Judea and Samaria – I think the almost 800,000 Iraqi Christian refugees stuck in Jordan and Syria would be very happy to re-settle permanently there, and bring along the descendants of Syriac Christians expelled by Ataturk.

  11. I like Zechariah823’s suggestion about Israel helping many nations experience their own “Arab Spring!” Good one, Zechariah.

    On another topic, I wonder if the Arab Christians wouldn’t be more supportive of Israel if they weren’t surrounded by Muslims with literal knives to their throats?

  12. It is a pity that Israel didn’t expand the Christian enclave that was in south Lebanon and have it unilaterally declare itself an independent state when it had the chance. Israel should become more politically active in the world and support the ‘democratic spring’ of light. Hmmm, a ‘Democratic Light Unto the Nations’; has a familiar ring to it, doesn’t it???

  13. I was thinking along the same lines. And the Copts should go to the United Nations and unilaterally declare themselves a state. Israel would, of course, recognize a friendly nation and ally along its Sinai border. The Egyptians are afraid that Israel would again take over the Sinai anyway. So, aiding and abetting the Copts to declare their own Land of the Copts in Sinai would be admirable as well as strategic now that Egypt is in ‘Arab spring’ chaos anyway. And while Israel is at it, aid and abet the Kurds in unilaterally declaring their own nation cut out of Iraq and Iran. Yes indeed, keep the UN busy discussing more bids for independent states. Let us really have a ‘spring of many nations’ cut loose from the ‘Arab spring’.

  14. I still think all eight million Egyptian Copts should rise up as one nation, and take over the entire Sinai (nice if they could invade Gaza and scare all the Sinai bedouin into Saudi Arabia).
    Create an immediate humanitarian crisis that the world can not ignore.

  15. What bothers me, is that Arab Christians have tended to side with their Moslem tormentors against Israel. Who in his right mind would want more of them in his country? Where are they emigrating to?

  16. Israel needs to eject the pals from Bethlehem and Nazareth and let them stay there instead..At least they wouldn’t destroy everything.. In fact give them area A and annex B and C for good.The Pals can all go to Jordan

  17. Will crazy Ron Paul and the liberals explain to us what the Coptic Christians have done to anger the muslims into attacking them? This is the justification they use for islamic terrorism against America and Israel.