The pot finally came to a boil when on New Year’s Eve a suicide bomber ripped through parishioners at an Alexandria church, killing dozens of Coptic Christians. That same church was the site of another attack several years prior, when a jihadist entered and began stabbing church-goers while yelling “Allahu Akbar.” This is the fear that Christians in Egypt feel day to day. I personally visited this church prior to the attack, and met with many who told me the stories of how persecuted the Egyptian Coptics feel in their native land. Their IDs have a number two in the corner, while Muslims carry an ID with the number one. It is nearly impossible to get a permit to build a new church, while mosques are constantly being constructed. Human rights violations and police brutality are rampant, and a climate of corruption has reached every level of government.
The corruption in Egypt has grown for many years, and for many reasons. For example, the average monthly pay of a police officer is less than the average cost to rent a two-bedroom apartment in Cairo. Considering the fertility rate of the average Egyptian woman is greater than three, most officers have a family to take care of as well. This leads to a climate where bribes become a normal part of life. While there, I got used to police officers coming up to me and telling me I did something wrong, such as take a picture of something I wasn’t supposed to, and asking me to pay a nominal fine of about $10 — directly to them of course.
Indeed, there has been a great need for the Egyptian government to address the issue of human rights, the protection of the Christian minority, and the culture of corruption. The problem is, however, that the upheaval we are seeing in Egypt today is not about an outrage over the unfairness with which Christians and non-Muslims are treated. And while current protests may be about corruption and human rights, the tragedy is that the likely alternatives to the current regime are far worse than what has been in power.
There is a sinister undertone throughout Egypt. It is spreading throughout the country “like a cancer,” as it was described to me by Egyptian human rights activist Dr. Naguib Gabriel during my recent visit with him in Cairo. It is the cancer known as the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization which uses terror and intimidation in its ongoing jihad to take over the government of Egypt. This effort to conquer Egypt is just one piece of the pie in the global jihad by our enemies to establish an Islamic caliphate over the entire world, from Egypt to France, London to Dearborn Michigan, to small-town rural America. This fear has only intensified in recent days as the Muslim Brotherhood has developed a much more visible presence in the ongoing protests and has thrown its support behind informal opposition leader, Mohamed ElBaradei.
When Islamic terrorists attacked the church in Alexandria, the Christians, who make up 10% of the country, began protesting. They demanded more protection from Mubarak’s regime. Anti-Mubarak factions seized the opportunity, and the Brotherhood salivated at the prospect of filling in the void if Mubarak should fall. The Brotherhood openly calls for an Islamic theocracy in Egypt, led by Sharia (Islamic) law. If they seize power, the country would become the Sunni version of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Egypt under the Brotherhood would be a Taliban-style government on the border of Israel, and with control over the Suez Canal.
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