Sunday, 8 May 2011

Sectarian Strife?

This BBC article today demonstrates a repeated trend that we are seeing with increasing regularity in the mainstream media: Muslim persecution of Christians in Egypt is repeatedly described as "clashes between Muslims and Christians" or "sectarian strife". This implies that both sides are equally to blame for any unrest, and gives fuel to those who spout the old canard that all religions are equally destructive.

What the media rarely report - or at the very least bury many paragraphs down into an article - is that this "strife" goes entirely one way, i.e. Muslims in Egypt repeatedly attack and persecute Christians, but are not persecuted or attacked in return.

This latest bout of violence in Egypt was triggered by rumours that a Christian woman who had converted to Islam was being held captive by the Coptic Church - an allegation Muslims in Egypt have made before, but which has never been backed up by any supporting evidence whatsoever (indeed, even the woman in question has denied publicly that any such thing took place). Nevertheless, this mere rumour was enough to cause hundreds of Muslims (presumably those "pro-democracy" reformers we're always hearing about) to go out into the streets and burn down churches (funnily enough, no mosques have been attacked).

None of this should be surprising: the Copts have been a persecuted minority in Egypt for centuries, and I have documented many of the most recent cases of that persecution on these pages. To add to this, here are some of the latest examples, all coming from the past three weeks or so:

- The Prime Minister suspended a Christian governor in the Qena province because Muslims protested against his appointment
- An Egyptian convert from Islam to Christianity arrived seeking asylum in France after being hounded out of his home country two and a half years ago because of his apostasy
- The homes of Coptic Christians have been attacked and burned down by Muslims

Does this sound like "sectarian strife" to you? Or does it sound like one group of people systematically harassing, assaulting and bullying another?

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