Christian dignitaries in the Egyptian city of Ismailia have been absorbing a wave of refugees from across the Sinai Peninsula after at least seven Coptic Christians were murdered by militants affiliated with the Islamic State.
Internal refugees are a new phenomenon in Egypt, and Arab social media users have accused the military and President Abdel Fatah Sisi of failing to protect the Christian community. Some critics promoted a conspiracy theory that the clashes were a result of an Egyptian-Israeli scheme to establish a Palestinian state in Sinai, an unfounded rumor that was vehemently denied by Cairo spokesmen.
Eid Almarezogy tweeted a claim that the Egyptian defense establishment was behind the Christian migration in Sinai.
“The military utilizes the Christians, and does it well,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, truth hurts. Everybody knows who okayed the Christian migration.”
المخابرات تستخدم ورقة الأقباط استخدام جيد للغاية وللأسف الحقائق مؤلمه من أمر بتهجيرهم معروف لذوي الأبصار #التهجير_هيطول-الكل
— عيد المرزوقي (@marezogy) February 25, 2017
User Strategic Issues linked the Christian migration to conspiracy theories about a future Palestinian state in Sinai: “The migration of Copts from Sinai explains [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s recent pressure on Sisi. It complements the plan that started with the destruction of the [Egyptian part of] Rafah and the emigration of its residents.”
“I refuse to believe what a priest told the Coptic refugees: Thank God for being lucky and receiving hefty compensations, because the Muslims will be exterminated there like in Hiroshima,” Dr Muhamad Algawady, a political activist, wrote.
لا استطيع ان اصدق ما قاله قس مطلع لاقباط العريش:
اشكرواالرب فانتم محظوظون تهجرون احياء وتأخذون تعويضات مجزية
لكن المسلمين سيبادون كهيروشيما
— د . محمد الجوادي (@GwadyM) February 25, 2017
Free Sinai tweeted: “The reality in Sinai is a division of powers between the army and Waliyat Sinai [IS] so that the residents emigrate. There’s plenty of evidence that the military runs Waliyat Sinai.”
الواقع بسيناء هو تبادل الادوار بين الجيش و ولاية سيناء لتهجير الأهالي و الأدلة كثيرة على ان ولاية سيناء تسيرها اجهزة مخابرات
— Free Sinai (@FreeSinai) February 25, 2017
“Sisi is losing Sinai, the Christians are attacked by Waliyat Sinai, about which we hear only when it serves Sisi, it’s a show to give Sinai to Israel,” Abdel Khalik Aliwa wrote.
Ahmad Radwan wrote: “When the Christians are attacked in Sinai by the [Islamic] State organization, where is the man, the general, and his army? Treacherous generals.”
“Sisi lost eastern and western Egypt, killed the youths, arrested the clerics, arrested the freedom fighters and turned children into orphans, turned Muslims into refugees and made Christians miserable,” Samara Roshdy wrote.
السيسي ضيع مصر من الشرق للغرب
قتل الشباب، اعتقل العلماء، حبس الحرائر ويتم الأطفال
شرد المسلم وجار ع المسيحي
— Samraã Roshdi (@samraaroshdy) February 26, 2017
Dr Sara Hamadi took the conspiracy theory one step further: “Sisi is losing Egypt at the order of Mossad’s yes man Mohamed Dahlan who lives in the UAE in order to facilitate a Zionist takeover of Sinai, its airspace and its youth.”
— د. سارة الحمادي (@hmadi_sara) February 26, 2017
“Egypt condones Christian emigration from Sinai because of IS terror,” Khaled Deafallah tweeted. “But what if IS terror hits Christians in the heart of Cairo or the Delta region, where will the government lead them then?”
مصر تقوم بتهجير المسيحيين من سيناء بسبب ارهاب داعش
ولكن ماذا لو استهدفهم داعش في قلب القاهرة او الصعيد
اين ستذهب بهم الحكومة؟!
— خـ ضيف ـالـ الله ـد (@khaliddeafallah) February 26, 2017