Monday, October 10, 2011

25 Coptic Christians Killed In Egypt After Protests Over Church Burnings

At least 25 Coptic Christians were killed and hundreds wounded after the Egyptian Army brutally suppressed a protest in Cairo over ongoing church burnings and violence directed toward Egypt's Coptic minority.

The Army drove armored vehicles at high speed directly into to crowd, and most of the dead were crushed under the wheels.

"Why didn't they do this with the Salafists or the Muslim Brotherhood when they organize protests? This is not my country any more," said Alfred Younan, a Copt speaking near Cairo's Coptic Christian hospital where many of the dead were taken.{...}

Christians complain of discrimination, citing rules that they say make it easier to build a mosque than a church. Tensions have often in the past flared over inter-faith romantic relationships, church building and other issues.

But since Mubarak's overthrow on February 11, incidents have got violent more swiftly. Christians say no one has been tried yet for the burning of a church in Helwan, south of Cairo, in March, after which 13 people were killed, or for violence in the Cairo suburb of Imbaba on May 7 that cost 15 lives.

Protests erupted elsewhere in Egypt including its second biggest city, Alexandria. Copts say promises by the new rulers to address their concerns and protect them have been ignored.

"The new emerging faction of Islamists and Salafists has created havoc since the January revolution ... The problem is the severe reluctance of the cabinet and the authorities to enforce the rule of law and protect the Copts," Youssef Sidhom, editor in chief of a Orthodox Coptic newspaper, al-Watani.

Those 'interfaith romantic relationships' al-Reuters blithely mentions almost always consist of Egyptian Muslims kidnapping Christian girls, torturing them, forcibly converting them to Islam and then marrying them off to one of the perpetrators. These girls are normally not permitted to ever see their families again. Such cases are widespread and are almost never prosecuted or overturned under what passes in Egypt for law.

The Copts are about ten percent of Egypt's 80 million population, and they have always been discriminated against as powerless dhimmis. But while Mubarak was in power, at least some of the worst excesses were controlled. Now, it's open season.

The Muslim Brotherhood and their political allies are using the army's brutality to their advantage, claiming that this just proves that the country needs to go to elections and have the army turn over power to a civilian government as soon as possible.

Once that happens, it will really be open season on the Copts.

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