In Egypt, Christians endure their ‘Kristallnacht’
Recently Jews in synagogues around the world heard an ancient prophesy about a time of tribulation for the Christians. In the haftarah, the Prophet Obadiah hears G-d warning the Edomites (traditionally a Jewish term for the people who eventually made up the Christian world): “Behold on that day… Your mighty ones to the South will be broken… every man will be cut off by the slaughter…”
How eerily reflective of the moment: Within just the last couple of weeks, the Washington-based Christian Solidarity International (CSI) issued a “Genocide Warning” for Christians and other religious minorities across the Middle East, and launched a petition urging President Barack Obama to speak up.
The “Arab Spring” seems to be rapidly springing shut on Middle East Christians, most clearly in Egypt where Islamists scored a landslide victory in the first of a three-stage parliamentary election there. The Muslim Brotherhood – whose goals include world conquest in the name of Allah, and whose motto is “Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope” – gained 40 percent of the vote, and the Salafists – who are said to be even more radical – garnered 25 percent. And that’s just in the big cities. As Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick surmises, the results will only get worse as results trickle in from the more religious hinterland.
Meanwhile, Egypt’s yuppies – the grand hope of dreamy Westerners – Twittered and Facebooked themselves a pathetic 15 percent of the vote. They will likely fade away, be absorbed or be wiped out.
While Israel fears for its peace treaty with the Arab world’s biggest country, Egypt’s Copts face a more immediate crisis. This Christian minority, which numbers some 11 million, was established in the land of the pharaohs long before the Islamic conquests. For the Copts, the “Arab Spring” is already a deep, deep, cold winter – and Obadiah’s words might seem a contemporary foreboding.
On December 7, Cynthia Farahat, a Coptic writer and human rights activist, testified before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission about the plight of her people. Farahat’s colleague Michael Mosad was one of the Christian men crushed by a military vehicle during the October 9 Maspero massacre, triggered by Copts protesting the burning of their churches by Islamist thugs. Farahat told the commission:
His legs were nearly severed from his body. As [Michael’s fiancée] sat next to him …soldiers gathered … brutally beating and kicking his motionless body. Vivian threw her body over his to protect him … but military officers beat and cursed her; they called her an infidel, ‘Christian sons of dogs,’ and worse–
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