Earlier this week a video began circulating on Arabic-language websites purportedly showing a crowd of Muslims in Egypt assaulting and raping two Christian women—on a crowded street and in broad daylight. The video opens with Muslim men repeatedly shouting the word “Nasara”—the Koran’s derogatory appellation for “Christians”—as they identify two Coptic women who proceed to scream and run, only to be knocked to the ground by several Muslim men who savagely attack them, strip their clothing, and try to gang rape them. Throughout, the women scream in terror while the men shout “Allahu Akbar,” that is, “Allah is Great,” as well as chant the shehada, or Islamic profession of faith: la ilaha illa Allah (“There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the prophet of Allah”). None of the many passersby intervene in any way.
Little other information about the video accompanies the Arabic sites posting it. So I did some searching; apparently the events recorded in the video occurred in 2009. As for the context, I found a pro-Muslim article titled (in translation) “The truth about the video of Coptic girls raped in the street.” Here I expected to encounter denial and dissemble, claims that the video was a “hoax,” that these are not even Egyptians, etc., etc. Surprisingly, the article confirmed the authenticity of the video and what it depicts. The main quibble it offered was that the video was in fact made in 2009 and that the Coptic activists who recently uploaded it are troublemakers trying to create “sectarian strife.”
Much more interesting are the arguments the article makes to justify the rape of Christians: it claims that Muslim rage (for this particular incident) was prompted by accusations that a Coptic man had raped a Muslim girl. Accordingly, Muslims were merely retaliating in like manner (along with raping Christian girls, Muslims also rioted, burned, and destroyed Christian shops and homes, as is customary).
Of course, even if all this is true—if Muslims were merely exercising “an eye for an eye” logic—the ultimate significance of the video is this: If a Coptic man raped a Muslim woman, he certainly did not do so in accordance to any Christian teaching. He did it as a base man exercising base instincts—instincts which have nothing to do with race or religion.
On the other hand, what are we to make of Muslims screaming Islam’s two most distinct slogans—“Allahu Akbar” or “God is Great” and Islam’s very profession of faith, “there is no god but Allah”—while raping Christian women? What does that say about Islam, or at least how Muslims—from the videotaped rapists to the Muslim clerics who issue fatwas permitting rape—understand Islam?
The brief video follows. No English subtitles are necessary, for all the sounds made are universally intelligible—cries and screams from Christian women and “Allahu Akbars” from Muslim men—the universal sounds of suffering and supremacism.