The Fides agency has reported that Islamist supporters of Mohamed Morsi have burned down a Coptic Catholic parish as revenge for the ouster of the former Egyptian president.
According to the report, groups of Islamists first looted the home of the priest at the parish of St. George in Delgia, which is in Minya in north-central Egypt, then set fire to some of the parish buildings.
“Thank God there were no victims and injuries, but the alarm continues,” Bishop Kamal Fahim Awad (Boutros) Hanna of Minya told the Fides news agency. “The fundamentalists have closed the roads at the entrance to the village. They shout slogans against Christians, they say they want to destroy everything, and now they are trying again to storm the church.”
“The local police are helpless,” he explained. “I called Cairo to ask for the intervention of the army.”
The attack on the parish of St. George is, thus far, the most serious incident of violence against Christians recorded during the military coup.
Raymond Ibrahim at the Gatestone Institute reports that hours before the June 30 protests began against Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood party, Egypt’s Christians “were once again singled out for behaving like citizens who have the right to participate in the protests.”
Letters, reportedly addressed to the Copts, threatened that if they joined the protests, their “businesses, cars, homes, schools, and churches” might “catch fire.” The letters ended with the message, “If you are not worried about any of these, then worry about your children and your homes. This message is being delivered with tact. But when the moment of truth comes, there will be no tact.”
Ibrahim reports that the letters were signed, “People zealous for the nation.”
In addition, the Gatestone report states that, during a recent television interview, Sheikh Essam Abdulamek, a member of the parliament’s Shura Council, warned Egypt’s Christians against participating in the protests against Morsi.
“Do not sacrifice your children,” Abdulamek reportedly said, as “general Muslim opinion will not be silent about the ousting of the president.”
Ibrahim observes that all of the threats against the Christians mention children as specific targets, “the easiest and most effective way at punishing ‘uppity’ Copts who think they, too, along with the millions of other Egyptians, have the right to protest the Brotherhood and Morsi.”
According to the Gatestone report, Coptic Christian children have been increasingly the targets of the Brotherhood:
Some, especially young girls, are regularly abducted, raped, shamed into converting to Islam and then “marrying” their rapists. Coptic boys have increasingly been abducted from the doorsteps of their churches and held for ransom. Most recently, a 6-year-old Christian boy was murdered by his kidnapper– after the boy’s family paid the ransom.
The report goes on to say that notable Islamic personages are on record for threats against Egypt’s Christians. In 2012, Safwat Hegazy, a prominent Brotherhood figure and preacher, is reported to have threatened every Christian who dared vote against Morsi’s Sharia-heavy constitution. In a video of a speech to a multitude of Muslims, Hegazy stated:
A message to the church of Egypt, from an Egyptian Muslim: I tell the church–by Allah, and again, by Allah–if you conspire and unite with the remnants [opposition] to bring Morsi down, that will be another matter [screams of “Allah-hu Akbar!” (“Allah is Greater!”) followed by chants of “With our soul, with our blood, we give to you, O Islam!”]… [T]here are red lines–and our red line is the legitimacy of Dr. Muhammad Morsi. Whoever splashes water on it, we will splash blood on him” [followed by more wild shouts of “Allah-hu Akbar!”]
Another prominent Brotherhood figure, Dr. Wagdi Ghoneim, reportedly gave an additional video message, entitled, “A Notice and Warning to the Crusaders in Egypt.” According to Ibrahim, Ghoneim’s message was as follows:
The day Egyptians — and I don’t even mean the Muslim Brotherhood or Salafis, regular Egyptians — feel that you are against them, you will be wiped off the face of the earth. I’m warning you now: do not play with fire!”… “What do you think — that America will protect you? Let’s be very clear, America will not protect you. If so, it would have protected the Christians of Iraq when they were being butchered!
Ibrahim reports that, a few months ago, Sheikh Abdullah Badr made the following televised statement:
I swear to Allah, the day those who went out [to protest], and at their head, the [Coptic] Christians — I say this at the top of my voice — the day they think to come near Dr. Morsi, I — we — will pop their eyes out, and the eyes of all those who support them, even America; and America will burn, and all its inhabitants. Be assured, the day Dr. Morsi is touched by any hand whatever, and connected to whomever, by Allah it will be the last day for us. We will neither leave them, nor show them any mercy.
Ibrahim describes the Christian Copts as the group that was “the most denied equal rights; a revealing reminder of how Islam entered Egypt, with the sword and violence, and why most Christians, over the centuries, converted: to remain Christian was to remain a third-class, barely tolerated “citizen,” who paid extra taxes…and was denied any equality with Muslims.”
Ibrahim then sums up his report:
Sadly, not only do some Islamic leaders insist that Egypt’s Christians have no right to protest, but also, apparently, so does the current U.S. administration. Days before the June 30 protests, U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson asked the Coptic pope to urge the Copts not to join the protests — thus validating Sharia law’s position concerning subjugated Christians: they must never complain against their Islamic overlords, in this instance, Morsi and the Brotherhood.