Reprinted from Coptic Solidarity.
For another consecutive year in a row, Egypt has proven to be an inhospitable place for Christians, namely its most indigenous inhabitants, the Copts. According to Open Doors, a human rights organization that closely follows the treatment of Christians around the world, Egypt is the 17th worst nation (out of nearly 200) wherein to be Christian; there, Christians experience “very high” level of “persecution.”
“Islamic oppression” is the premiere driving force of this persecution. As the report explains:
Islamic oppression (Very strong): In Egypt, Islamic oppression operates in different ways. Islamic culture sustains a view in Egyptian society whereby Christians are regarded as second-class citizens. This view causes the discrimination of Christians in the political realm and their dealing with the state. It also creates an environment in which the state is reluctant to respect and enforce the fundamental rights of Christians. In the family sphere, converts to Christianity face great pressure to renounce their faith. Christians also face pressure from Islamic oppression in their daily lives in their local neighborhood or at work. There have also been several violent attacks perpetrated by militant Islamic groups targeting Christians. Although the activity of such militant groups used to be largely concentrated in Sinai, during the WWL 2018 reporting period the number of attacks perpetrated by such groups in various parts of the country has increased.
Who, primarily, is behind this “Islamic oppression” of Copts? According to the report, which surveyed a variety of societal classes, rating each from “Not at All” responsible, to responsible on a “Very Strong” level, two groups are “Strong[ly]” responsible: (1) “officials at any level from local to national” and (2) one’s “own (extended) family” (a reference to the persecution of apostates, on which more anon).
Three segments of society are “Very Strong[ly]” responsible for the persecution of Copts: (1) “non-Christian religious leaders”—meaning Muslim clerics, sheikhs, imams, and the rest—“at any level from local to national”; (2) “violent religious groups,” naturally meaning violent Islamic groups, the Islamic State being only the most notorious; and (3) “Normal citizens (people from the general public), including mobs.”
In other words, Muslims from every rung of Egyptian society—from highly educated Muslim clerics, to members of Islamic organizations, to the volatile masses, “whose views are shaped by intolerant and radical imams”—are “Very Strong[ly]” responsible for and “significant drivers of persecution.”
“Government officials 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 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.
Muslim mob riots often flare out on the mere rumor that a Coptic man is involved with a Muslim woman, or that Copts are trying to build or renovate a church—or merely pray in their own homes; Christian homes and churches are often set aflame, and Christians are often left injured, sometimes killed. Local authorities almost always respond with no arrests; and when the occasion of the uprising revolves around a church, authorities cite the incident as a “legitimate” reason not to open or renovate said church. The report offers the following anecdote—one of many such examples over the years follows:
More than 1,600 Coptic Christians live in the village of Kom El-Loufy in Minya. For 5 years they have been unable to reopen their church or build a new one due to fierce hostility from local Muslims and due to the refusal by the authorities to grant the necessary license for the construction of a church in the village. Several houses belonging to Christians had also been burned down due to suspicions that they could serve as places of worship for Christians.
While Christians of any gender, age, or status are susceptible to persecution in Egypt, as in other Muslim-majority nations, two groups are especially vulnerable: First, as weaker, easier, and more appealing targets, Coptic women “are often subjected to harassment, forced marriage or marriage by abduction and sexual assault…. Such persecution causes great physiological trauma and pain to Christian families and communities.”
Second, because apostasy is a capital offense in Islam, Muslim converts to Christianity arguably “bear the brunt of persecution, most often from family members. The latter punish converts for abandoning the Islamic faith, often by means of beatings or house expulsion.”
A new report on anti-Semitism reveals a huge jump in anti-Jewish incidents throughout Britain. The primary reasons for the sharp rise are found to be the Labour Party and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, as well as the influx of refugees from Arab countries into Britain. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA) reported (January 22, 2018) that “The national chair of the Jewish Labour Movement in Britain, Jeremy Newmark, accused the Labour Party leadership of failing to deal with ‘a vast backlog’ of complaints about anti-Semitism in the party’s ranks.” Newmark told the Guardian newspaper that in some cases, the backlog is over a year long. The fact that a Labour Party aficionado and advocate, Jeremy Newmark, complained about his own party leadership is indicative of the dire situation the Jewish community in Britain is going through.
The situation in Britain coincides with a report on anti-Semitism issued by the Israeli government Office of Diaspora Affairs. It shows that in 2017, Britain reached a peak in anti-Semitic incidents, a 78% rise in physical violence against Jews, and a 30% rise in overall anti-Semitic incidents in Britain. The Office of the Diaspora Affairs annually prepares a report on anti-Semitism in advance of the Annual International Holocaust Observance Day, on January 27. (The day was picked because that was when the Red army forces liberated the Auschwitz Death Camp). The BBC reported (July 27, 2017) that “anti-Semitic incidents have hit record levels in the first six months of 2017. The Community Security Trust (CST) said 767 reports were made to them between January and June – a rise of 30% from the same period last year.”
The CST reported a total of 80 incidents in 2017 involving physical violence, up from 45 the previous year. David Delew, CST chief executive said that, “The hatred and anger that lies behind the violence is spreading.” According to CST, members of the public reported 568 incidents of abusive behavior, including people being shouted at in the street for wearing Jewish related clothes. 51 additional incidents recorded damage and desecration of Jewish property, up from 32 in 2016. Another 56 incidents involved direct anti-Semitic threats, 10 of which involved being threatened with knives, bats, sticks or vehicles. There were also 12 cases of mass-mailing of anti-Semitic leaflets or emails.
The CST has been recording anti-Semitic incidents since 1984, and many of those incidents were attributed to what is called “the new anti-Semitism” which is using Israel or anti-Zionism as the new excuse for anti-Jewish attacks. Wars in Gaza or Lebanon involving Israel always carry an increase in anti-Jewish incidents in Britain (and other European states with a large Muslim populations). In the case of Britain however, the “old and classical anti-Semitism,” that scapegoats Jews is occurring, and it is led by politicians and public figures who hold Jews responsible for all the evil in the world. There are many in Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party leadership who uphold such notions as Jews being responsible for economic crises, and who charge that Jews control major banks and media in the world.
The Labour Party has been mired by accusations of entrenched anti-Semitism ever since Jeremy Corbyn took over as party leader. Corbyn has been a radical anti-Zionist long before he was elected to lead the Labour Party in September, 2015. From 2009 to 2012, he was a paid host on the Iranian state-owned Press TV. He has shared platforms with notorious anti-Semites, and has expressed his solidarity with genocidal Islamists, the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah. Corbyn’s landslide victory in the race for the Labour Party leadership has empowered a fringe of anti-Zionists and far-Left activists, who now openly express their hatred for Israel and Jews. To add insult to injury, “red” Laborite Ken Livingstone, the former mayor of London, declared on a live radio program, that Adolf Hitler supported Zionism. Then there is the case of Labour MP Naz Shah’s widespread Facebook post, recommending the Israeli-Jews be relocated to the U.S. Her post suggested that the U.S. has plenty of land to accommodate Israel as the 51st state, allowing Palestinians to “get their life and their land back.” She added in her post that Israeli people would be welcome and safe in the U.S., while the transportation cost would be less than three years’ worth of Washington’s support for Israeli defense spending.
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