Translating Words, Interpreting Events

‘Milking’ Egypt’s Christian Copts Dry

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The Board of Inquiry in Cairo monitoring the “sectarian violence that continues to cross Egypt after the overthrow of President Morsi, has documented in a report released on Tuesday, March 25 the endemic forms of violence and abuse that continue to be perpetrated against Coptic Christians in many parts of the country, particularly in the governorates of Luxor, Sohag and Aswan.”  According to this report, “reference is made to abductions [almost always for ransom], expropriation of houses, shops looted where Egyptian Copts continue to be targeted victims.”

In other words, Egypt’s Christians are increasingly being seen and treated, in the words of some early caliphs, as “milk camels” to be milked dry of their money and possessions. (Crucified Again, p. 200)

Even the most remote, modest, and apolitical Copts are being targeted so.  Late last month, Coptic activists in Egypt called on the Interior Ministry and its organs in the Fayum district to move and rescue the monks, workers, and visitors of the ancient Monastery of Saint Makarius, which is located in the desert between Alexandria and Cairo.

Arab Bedouins have been raiding, plundering, and keeping the monastery in a constant state of duress.  Among other depredations, these raiders have especially taken up the practice of waylaying Christian travelers from and to the monastery, including those in vehicles, and robbing them under threat of gunfire.

In one incident, a monk was stopped, seized, and  had gun shots fired near his ear, before he was robbed of all the money in his possession, which was meant to be used to purchase much needed building materials for the monastery.  In another incident, the monastery’s car was stolen and returned in exchange for a large sum of money.

Considering that the Western media is silent about the most horrific abuses the Copts suffer in Egypt—such as the brutal slaughter of a young woman identified as a Christian by her cross—it is little wonder that the oppression of these remote monks is seen as beyond irrelevant.

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