Sunday, February 6, 2011

Coptic Christians: The Other Side of Egypt (Part II)

The majority of Egyptian Muslims (who comprise approximately 90% of the population) are descendants of Coptic Christians and Jews who were converted by the sword or became Muslims to avoid the crushing taxes and legal restrictions imposed on Dhimmis. The status of non-Muslims began to improve under the reign of Muhammad Ali (1805 - 1848) and then significantly improved under direct British Rule and the British dominated Kingdom of Egypt (1882 - 1952). But, after the nationalist-socialist revolution of 1952, the status of minorities began to deteriorate and within a decade, the majority of Jews and Greek Christians had fled, with a more gradual exodus of Copts. And in the last 30 years, the resurgence of Islam has led to a sharp increase in attacks against Coptic Christians. Here is a partial list of attacks; keep in mind that this does not present the daily discrimination and low grade harassment that Non-Muslims experience:

6 November 1972
Muslim mob attack and burn a prayer meeting by Egyptian Christian Copts at the Holy Scripture College, an attack which preceded the infamous Khanka attacks on the Copts.[25]

June 1981
81 Copts were killed by a mob of Muslims. Interior Minister Abu Pasha blamed the deaths on a lack of adequate security measures for which his predecessor Ennabawy Ismael was responsible (according to Abu Pasha).[25]

17 November 1981
Coptic priest the Reverend Maximose Guirguis is kidnapped and threatened with death he does not denounce his Christianity and publicly convert to Islam. He refuses and his throat is cut leaving him bleeding to death.[25]

20 September 1991
Muslim mob attacks Copts in Embaba, an outer suburb of Cairo.[25]

9 March 1992
Manshiet Nasser, Dyroot, Upper Egypt. Copt son of a farmer Badr Abdullah Massoud is gunned down after refusing to pay a tax of about $166 to the local leader of Islamic Group. Massoud's body is then hacked "with knives."[26]

4 May 1992
Villages of Manshia and Weesa in Dyroot, Upper Egypt. After being Manshiet Naser's Christians for weeks, an Islamic extremist methodically shoots 13 of them to death. Victims included ten farmers and a child tending their fields, a doctor leaving his home for work, and an elementary school teacher giving a class.[26]

12 May 1992
A bloodshed in Manfaloot, Upper Egypt, on the Coptic Easter day with 6 Copts murdered and 50 injured, followed by some 200 arrests.[25]

15 & 16 October 1992
Muslim mob attacks with burning and looting of shops and 42 houses owned by Christian Copts, with 3 Copts injured and the destruction of an estimated 5 Million pounds of property, live stock, merchandise and work places Kafr Demian in Sharqueyya in the Nile Delta.[25]

2 December 1992
Muslim mob attacks Copts in the city of Assiut, Upper Egypt.[25]

December 1992
Muslim mob attacks Copts in the Village of Meer, Al Quosseya, Upper Egypt, murdering four Copts and slitting the throat of a Coptic jeweller for refusing to pay protection money.[25]

13 March 1997
Muslim mob attacks a Tourist Train with Spanish Tourists, killing 13 Christians and injuring 6, in the Village of Nakhla near Nagge Hammadi.

The terrorists increased the frequency of their attacks and widened it to include whom the viewed as collaborators with the security force, launching an attack on the eve of the Adha Eid using automatic weapons killing Copts as well as Muslims.[25]

Abu Qurqas. "Three masked terrorist" entered St. George Church in Abu Qurqas and shoot dead eight Copts at a weekly youth group meeting. "As the attackers fled, they gunned down a Christian farmer watering his fields." [27]

January 2000
Al Kosheh, a "predominantly Christian town" in southern Egypt. After a Muslim customer and a Christian shoe-store owner fall into an argument, three days of rioting and street fighting erupt leaving 20 Christians, (including four children) and one Muslim dead." In the aftermath 38 Muslim defendants are charged with murder in connection with the deaths of the 20 Copts. But all are acquitted of murder charges, and only four are convicting of any (lesser) charges, with the longest sentence given being 10 years." After protest by the Coptic Pope Shenouda the government granted a new trial.[28]

19 November 2000
Muslim mob attempt to force a Copt to pronounce the Islamic faith declarations (Shehadas) then beat him to death when he refuses their demand.[25]

19 April 2009
A group of Muslims (Mahmoud Hussein Mohamed (26 years old), Mohamed Abdel Kader (32 years old), Ramadan Fawzy Mohamed (24 years old), Ahmed Mohamed Saeed (16 years old), and Abu Bakr Mohamed Saeed ) opened fire at Christians on Easter's Eve killing two (Hedra Adib (22 years old), and Amir Estafanos (26 years old)) and injuring another (Mina Samir (25 years old)). This event was in Hegaza village, Koos city. On 22 February 2010, they were sentenced to 25 years of jail while crimes of this level in Egypt should face death penalty.[29][30]

6 January 2010
Main article: Nag Hammadi massacre
Machine gun attack by Muslim mob on Coptic Christians celebrating the Egyptian birth of Christ. Seven are killed (including a Muslim officer in his trial to defend them) and scores injured, and lots of lives ruined.

April/May 2010
In Marsa Matrouh, a mob of 3,000 Muslims attacked the city's Coptic Christian population, with 400 Copts having to barricade themselves in their church while the mob destroyed 18 homes, 23 shops and 16 cars.[15]

01 January 2011 (On New Year's eve)
A car bomb exploded in front of an Alexandria Coptic Orthodox Church killing at least 21 and injuring at least 79. The incident happened a few minutes after midnight as Christians were leaving a New Year's eve Church service [31][32][33]

11 January 2011
A policeman opened fire on 6 christians in a train in Samalout station in Minya province resulting in the death of a 71-year old man and injury of 5 others. [34]

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