Another Church has been attacked and burned down in Egypt by a mob of Muslim extremists on the basis of “a rumour” that the Church was holding captive a Christian woman who, they claim, wanted to convert to Islam.
My guess is that it will pass largely unremarked as Liberal and Left opinion-makers cast an Nelsonian eye in its direction. There is growing evidence that the secular democratic revolution in Egypt will be victim to a Trojan Horse filled with theocrats.
Let’s face it, little fuss was made or concern shown when it happened last time. On News Year’s Day, a bomb killed 22 Coptic Christians attending Midnight Mass. Inevitably – so removed from reality is the political milieu this is happening in – the finger was pointed at Israel by some prominent Egyptian political leaders.
Even today, as the ashes of the church still smoulder, The Guardian has a CiF piece pontificating to Coptic Christians:
The way forward is for Egyptian Copts to participate vigorously in political life. They should do that not as a religious group seeking to solve limited Coptic problems but as Egyptian citizens calling for equality and freedom for all.
What’s more, the author presents more conspiracy theorising:
Evidence now strongly suggests that many of these incidents were the work of Hosni Mubarak’s own security apparatus, to keep the country on the edge of disaster and in a perpetual state of fear and suspicion. The Coptic population were led to believe that without the protection of the regime they were at the mercy of a predatory population bent on destroying them.
Say what you will about Mubarak, but he does seem to have had reasonable fears in this regard.
In March, the Coptic Church of Saints Minas and George in the village of Soul was burned down. The priest and several deacons are missing. It is presumed they died in the fire or were abducted. On this occasion it was because a Christian man had been dating a Muslim woman.
Attacks against Egyptian Christians by Islamic extremists have become so serious that concerned groups of their Muslim neighbours have been acting as voluntary human shields to protect Christian festivities. It’s an awe-inspiring gesture, but it won’t be enough. Equally encouraging is the fact that many Muslim citizens demonstrated along with their Christian friends to urge the government to rebuild the Coptic Church.
Touching as these displays of solidarity are, who really believes is will deter the extremists?
In western liberal/left circles, it is not that no one is watching them, it is that so few care what the outcome is.
Had, let us say, some extremist Jewish sect in Israel burned down a Mosque – especially several in a row and on such flimsy pretexts – we would be hearing about it daily for months. The UN would become involved. Scenes of violent anger would break out on the streets throughout the Islamic world to make the reaction to the Terry Jones affair seem like tot’s temper tantrum.
In Britain we’d have marches, demonstrations and rallies in Trafalgar Square. Placards would decry “genocide”. Speakers from the podium would tremble as they raged about “ethnic cleansing”. A ruddy-faced SWP steward would be bellowing through a megaphone about “apartheid”.
But for Egypt’s Christians, moslt likely, nothing.