The demonstrators called for searching monasteries and churches for hidden weapons, and issued direct threats to the Pope including, “Shenouda, just wait, we will dig your grave with our own hands.” They continued with chants such as “Egypt will remain Islamic,” called for boycotts of Christian businesses, and for deposing the Pope.
According to the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA), the Egyptian state security is behind these anti-church demonstrations. In its October 10, 2010 release, AINA asserted that “mounting tensions between Muslims and Christians aim to foment havoc ahead of the crucial political landmark…from the People’s Assembly elections slated for November 29 to the presidential elections next year.”
The Christian-Copts, who account for more than 10% of Egypt’s 83 million inhabitants, have been victimized by the majority Muslims ever since 1952, when the Egyptian revolutionary command led by Abdul Nasser took control of the country. There have been periods of relative peace between the Muslims and the Christian Copts, but the dictatorial regime has allowed the Islamists to attack Christians whenever the government has found itself under pressure. In essence, the Copts have become the regime’s scapegoat.
In January 1977, bread riots broke out in Cairo when Anwar Sadat tried to lift subsidies on essential items. Riots orchestrated by the Muslim Brotherhood compelled Sadat to inject a more Islamic flavor to his government, parenthetically giving the Muslim Brotherhood a green light to assault the Coptic Christians.
The Mubarak regime, according to Raymond Ibrahim, has facilitated what he describes as the “severe persecution” of Egypt’s Christian minority by Muslims. Ibrahim, who lectures at the National Defense Intelligence College, said Egypt has transformed into the spearhead of the Muslim Brotherhood and has developed a structure for intimidating the nation’s estimated eight million Coptic Christians.
Dr. Dawoud has been regularly protesting against the harassment and persecution of Copts at the U.N. He recently organized a protest in front of the White House when President Mubarak visited the U.S. Dr. Dawoud notes that the weak, voiceless, oppressed Copts in Egypt are an example of what could happen in America if Islam is triumphant. Dr. Dawoud, who has had a close relationship with Pope Shenouda III since his childhood, pointedly refers to Proverbs 31:8-9 “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves…”
The ugly fabrications and lies leveled at Pope Shenouda III by a growing jihadist camp in Egypt and the collusion of the Mubarak regime with the Islamists (while they are one of the largest recipients of U.S. Foreign aid) is an unacceptable reality. President Mubarak must demonstrate that he is the president of all Egyptians, not just of Muslims, and put a halt to the use of Coptic-Christians as scapegoats.
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