Translating Words, Interpreting Events

An Islamic Declaration of War on Christianity

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FrontPage Magazine

While it is easy to confuse the recent jihadi attack on Egypt’s St. Mark Cathedral in Cairo as just more of the usual, this attack has great symbolic significance, and in many ways bodes great evil for Egypt’s millions of Christians.

Unprecedented: one of Christendom’s most sacred sites turned into a war zone under the Muslim Brotherhood’s President Morsi.

Consider some facts: St. Mark Cathedral—named after the author of the Gospel of the same name who brought Christianity to Egypt some 600 years before Amr bin al-As brought Islam by the sword—is not simply “just another” Coptic church to be attacked and/or set aflame by a Muslim mob (see my forthcoming book, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians, for a comprehensive idea of past and present Muslim attacks on Coptic churches).  Instead, it is considered the most sacred building for millions of Christians around the world—above and beyond the many millions of Copts in and out of Egypt.  As the only apostolic see in the entire continent of Africa,  its significance and evangelizing mission extends to the whole continent, including nations such as Sudan, Ethiopia, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria, to name just a few.  As an apostolic see—the actual seat of an apostle of Christ—the cathedral further possesses historical significance for Christianity in general.

In short, Muslim mobs—aided and abetted by the state of Egypt under Muslim Brotherhood tutelage—did not merely attack yet one more Coptic church, but rather committed an act of war against all Christianity.  Such an open attack on a Christian center which holds symbolic and historic significance for all Christians—St. Mark, whose relics are in the cathedral and who authored one of the four Gospels of the Bible, belongs to all Christians not just Copts—was an open attack on a universally acknowledged Christian shrine.  It was precisely these sorts of attacks on Eastern and Orthodox churches—including the destruction of the Church of the Resurrection in Jerusalem in 1009—that presaged the way for the crusades (back when Christianity was not utterly fragmented and disunited as it is today).

Put differently, this jihadi attack on St. Mark Cathedral is no different for Copts than a jihadi attack on the Vatican would be for Catholics.  Or, to maintain the analogy, but from the other side, it would be no different than a “crusader” attack on the Grand Mosque of Mecca for Muslims.

While one can only imagine how the world’s Muslims would react to a “Christian/Western” assault on their most sacred of shrines, “post-Christian” Western leaders, as usual, stand idly by (not unlike Egyptian state security, which stood idly by as the Muslim mob opened fire on the cathedral).

As for Egypt’s Copts, they certainly did rally to the defense of Egypt’s, if not the entire continent of Africa’s, most important cathedral—hence the draconian response from Egypt’s interior ministry (one eyewitness said security intentionally fired 40-50 gas bombs into the compound, knocking out many Christians, including several women and children). Just as Egyptian forces were wroth with Copts when they demonstrated against the ongoing attacks on their churches in Maspero in 2011—slaughtering over 20 Christians, including by intentionally running them over with armored-vehicles—it appears that Egyptian forces were quite irked with “dhimmi” Copts boldly defending their holiest site.

On the other hand, that Copts rallied to the defense of their cathedral—or, as Reuters characterized them, “an angry young fringe … of Christianity may also be turning to violence—has further validated the Western mainstream media narrative that Egypt’s Christian minority is somehow equally violent and responsible for the so-called “sectarian strife”—euphemism for Muslim persecution of Christians—plaguing Egypt.

The symbolical significance of this latest Muslim attack on Christianity was confirmed by several activists.  For example, Coptic Solidarity President Adel Guindy said, “Attacking the seat of the Coptic Pope is unprecedented in the last two centuries. It was a deliberate and humiliating act demonstrating the growing Salafist-espoused culture of hate and aggressive behavior towards all non-Muslims. It amounts to a State crime.”

Even the Coptic Pope, who must always be diplomatic lest his comments exacerbate matters for his flock, did not equivocate the severity of this assault on Coptic Christianity’s most sacred spot—not to mention his primary residence. Among other things, Pope Tawadros said that President Muhammad Morsi had “promised to do everything to protect the cathedral but in reality we don’t see this….  We need action not only words… There is no action on the ground.” The Pope further confirmed that “This flagrant assault on a national symbol, the Egyptian church, has never been subjected to this in 2,000 years.”

Egyptian Christians plead with their Lord during the funeral of slain Copts at the St. Mark Cathedral — right before being attacked again, including by the state.

The Pope’s comment “we need action not only words” was in response to President Morsi’s declaration that “I consider any attack on the cathedral an attack against myself”—a declaration he made even as Egyptian state security were firing tear gas canisters into the cathedral compound and standing by watching as Muslims also opened fire on the cathedral and hurled stones and Molotov cocktails, all of which was captured by photos.  (Even so, and as usual, the only people to be arrested in connection with this latest assault on Egypt’s most important cathedral were Copts themselves.)

Instead of words—which, from Islamists, are absolutely worthless—what Morsi needs to address is the fact that the most unprecedented and symbolically lethal attack on a Christian place of worship in post “Arab Spring” Egypt took place right under his and the Muslim Brotherhood’s authority (under Hosni Mubarak, “not so much as a pebble”—as one activist put it—was thrown at the St. Mark Cathedral, a national landmark).

This of course is consistent with the fact that, unlike all former Egyptian presidents, who were all Muslim, Islamist President Morsi is the first president to refuse to enter a church—whether during the ceremonious installation of the nation’s new pope or whether during Coptic Christmas ceremonies. Could this be because the pious Morsi believes that a Christian church is like “a nightclub, [or] a gambling casino” as a prominent Egyptian fatwa council declared?  Could it be that he, like other popular Muslim leaders, simply hates and is disgusted by Christians?

At any rate, here is the Muslim world’s latest, most flagrant, assault on Christianity, even as Western leadership yawns—that is, when it’s not actively enabling such anti-Christian animus through its wholesale support for the “Arab Spring.”

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  • Peter W

    Of course it’s a holy site – for Christians. Most Americans, regardless of what they profess, are NOT Christians, and don’t know the first thing about it. Instead they follow some highly watered down mockery of Christ’s religion, focusing only on things like “tolerance” simply because that is the one aspect that agrees with their silly liberal worldview. If America was a Christian nation, the things we are seeing happening in Egypt to Copts and elsewhere would never be happening – because Christians WOULD CARE.

    • beezwaxing

      Actually, there are Christians here who care and who also pay attention to these matters. Unfortunately we find ourselves absolutely powerless to do anything about it of much consequence. Our government is presently headed by a petulant, spoiled child who deceived a great number of people here with his assurances that he was not “some kind of Bolshevik!” While he entertained and delighted millions with those kinds of glib, straw-man arguments, the fact remains that he IS, unfortunately, a Marxist. He also lied about his religion. Not that I’m suggesting that Obama is a Muslim; it’s just that he’s not a Christian either, as he told us all back in 2008. He couldn’t possibly be a Christian and maintain the worldview of his erstwhile pastor, Jeremiah Wright. Wright is an apostate if ever on this earth there was one, and Obama is his disciple for life. Obama can deny it, but Wright knows things about him so awful, they would destroy Obama in a heartbeat. On the other hand, Obama has the same power over Wright. In any case, God help us, because there is no bottom to the well of hate these two men drink from.

  • J.Thomas Pkhillips

    It would be worthwhile to send this article to the Catholic/Orthodox Diocesan News Papers of say New York, Washington, Philadelphia and Boston, St. Louis, Chicago, St. Paul/Mpls, Kansas, San Francisco, Seattle to get the word and message out that IT IS CHRISTIANITY ITSELF THAT IS CURRENTLY UNDER SIEGE & These attacks may well come here sooner than later. I am not especially savvy with computers otherwise I realize this suggestion myself. Those who are may take up this message. I’ll do what I can. Best. JTP

  • logdon

    Nothing could be more Christian than the stoutly God fearing British administrators or military within the Raj at the turn of century.

    Yet consider that in Churchill’s The Malakand Field Force when Afghans transgressed the rules of stealing severe punishment ensued.

    Fifty Martini-Henry breech loading rifles had been stolen and we demanded them back.

    One trickled into the camp and rather than todays exhultation, this was regarded as an extreme intentional insult. So what did the troops do? They burned down a village.

    Next a few more appeared and so more burned to the ground.

    Pretty shortly all fifty were recovered.

    The Afghans had been warned and through their own choice had decided to chance it.

    Their decision cost them those villages.

    So by those standards of Christian justice are we entitled to burn down a mosque?

    We all know the answer and yet again Islam triumphs.

  • morbidnews

    as long as Americans continue to believe there is a difference between Republicans and Democrats nothing will change. In the words of George W. Bush, “Islam is a religion of peace.” Look what happened and is still happening to Iraqi Christians as a result of Bush’s invasion of that country. There’s no difference between that and Obama’s support for the Arab Spring.

  • Diane V. McLoughlin

    It would appear from other reports that this was not an attack against the church, but rather an attack against a funeral service for four Christians killed in a gunfight in a nearby town whereby a Muslim was also killed. That is as far as I have delved into the background thus far. But, clearly, there is more to the story.

    • Peter W

      And that justifies it? If anything, what you say, which is true, makes the attack even worse. So now when Christians try to bury their dead who were killed by Moslems, after holding a funeral for them in their greatest cathedral, Moslems attack them? And what’s your point about a dead Moslem? That it justifies the attack? We have dead Americans. Guess we’re justified to go and attack Mecca’s grand mosque??

      • Diane V. McLoughlin

        The writer chooses to mislead the reader by very carefully selecting only those facts that fit his case, a case that now appears to be full of holes in order to smear an entire religion. The church itself was not attacked. That’s lie number one. We are not told the facts surrounding the original conflict that resulted in both dead Christians as well as a dead Muslim. The omissions are far more telling with regard to the writer than it is about the recent incidents themselves. Question everything. Trust – but verify.

        • Peter W

          Oh, I see, the writer is “misleading.” And according to you, “the church [you mean cathedral] itself was not attacked.” Really??? I guess even the ultra-liberal NYT is also trying to mislead people, since they make very clear the cathedral WAS attacked — in the very first sentence of their article here, which says

          “Police officers firing tear gas joined with a rock-throwing crowd fighting a group of Christian mourners Sunday in a battle that escalated into an attack on Egypt’s main Coptic Christian Cathedral that lasted for hours….. In what seemed like a siege of the cathedral, tear-gas canisters fell inside the walls of its compound, sending gas into the sanctuary and two nuns running for shelter in a nearby loading dock.”

          Lady, you’re lame…