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April 15, 2006

Good Friday Was A Bad Friday In Egypt

Topics: Middle East News and Perspectives

Only a week before Egyptian good friday, but on the rest of the Christian world's good friday, attacks on 3 egyptian churches were made by 3 knife and sword wielding muslim men. Aljazeera reports the the official story from the police that the attack was conducted by a "mentally-ill man", however a blogger in Egypt - Egyptian Sandmonkey, offers quite a different scenario:

Ok, there is something extremely fishy here. The Official story from the police says that the guy who attacked the two churches is mentaly unstable- like they always say when such an attack happens- but that was until the second and third guy were arrested and the thrid and fourth attacks were carried through. The fishy part is in regard to the church security. Churches in Egypt are always protected by the police. There is always a police car and at least 4-5 policemen protecting it. Are you trying to tell me that this mentally unstable guy managed to go in the first church and attacked 11 people by his lonesome, and then managed to get out without being attacked by the security outside, and then managed to go inside a second church and attack 3 more people? All of those people and 2 infiltration, done by one guy holding a knife? Are you kidding me? I am supposed to believe this?
Christians are apparently "at their wits end":
In front of the Mar Girgis church, a distressed woman called for the attacks to be avenged.

"They will see. Do they think we're cowards? They will see that we have the means to defend ourselves," she shouted, as several other worshippers were in a state of hysteria.

"We cannot enter their mosques and kill them, yet they can come to our churches and kill us without any problem. Where are the police and the government? Do they think our blood is cheaper than theirs?," cried another woman, Nadia Lofti.

"The people who do this want us all to convert to Islam. We are a minority and the government should give us more protection," she added.

But the government doesn't seem to be interested in protecting the Christians from attacks by Muslims - most of whom may be Islamists, and as a result of the continued Muslim on Christian violence and the government's indifference, more violence is breaking out following the most recent attacks.

So are we seeing the beginings of "civil war" in Egypt? In the attack on Friday, an Interior Ministry source said the 25-year-old man who carried out the attack said he was taking revenge for insults to the Prophet Mohammed - a reference to cartoons published mainly in European newspapers lampooning the Prophet. However Sandmonkey points out that there must've been a bigger attack, more people must've beeninvolved, and the police are just trying to save face. He says that this is not the first time this has happend, especially in Alexandria.

Remember the last October attacks, where a nun and a man got stabbed infront of that same Mar Gerges church ? Remember the 5000 muslims attacking that same church a week later? Remember the other attacks that followed them ? This is NOT an isolated incident, nor is it that surprising.
One of the Sandmonkey's commentors offered an interesting point. "'Jonas' said that It's hard being a Christian in the ME nowadays, especially Egypt. They're caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, the bible taught them to not retaliate. If they retaliate by killing muslims, could they still call themselves followers of christ? On the other hand, if they don't retaliate, they put their lives in danger. Their faith or their life? I wouldn't want to make that decision."

And that's the crux of the problem for Christians; practice their faith by turning the other cheek, and they die. There's much to be said for maintaining a balance between absoluteness in faith and common sensically dealing with threats to survival. Difficult decisions, but militant Islam offers few choices for both non-Muslims and truly moderate Muslims alike.

More at Egyptian Sandmonkey...

Posted by Richard at April 15, 2006 12:39 PM



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