Egypt : no end to Copt persecution
Written by ACM   
Wednesday, 23 March 2011
The persecution of Egypt’s ancient Christian community, the Copts, soon  resumed with the installation of a republic after the coup d'état in 1952 against King Farouk by General Naquib and Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser.

The Copts continued to be persecuted under Hosni Mubarak’s long dictatorship.

The golden age for the Copts was under the British occupation and the constitutional monarchy which followed.

..Cairo church set on fire...

 Thirteen Egyptians were shot dead and around 140 injured on Tuesday 8 March 2011 when Muslims clashed with Christians after a church was set on fire in central Cairo.

The violence erupted as the new government met to discuss how to restore law and order.

This video is from the leading Paris based broadcaster, FRANCE 24  whose web report comes from  various News Wires.

...the Copts.....


The original inhabitants of Egypt, the Copts, had lived with discrimination and persecution from the time of the Arab – Muslim invasion of the seventh century. (this column  “The Copts and the Constitutional Monarchy” 17/1)

This was alleviated with the rise of the Muhammad Ali Dynasty, and firmed under the nineteenth century British occupation which was  formalised in the First World War.

After the war the British declared Egyptian independence, while  retaining the Canal Zone.

 Egypt retained a constitution based on Britain’s, but in which The King took a more active role.
But since  the declaration of a republic after the coup d'état in 1952 against King Farouk by General Naquib and Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser, The Copts have been subjected to appalling discrimination and persecution.

In any event, the Egyptians can thank the Americans, the Russians and the Muslim Brotherhood for supporting the army’s ending of Egypt as a liberal tolerant and cosmopolitan society.( This column, “Egyptian Copts abandoned by Canberra” 7/2)

...mobs attack Christians...


According to AP, clashes that broke out when a Muslim mob attacked thousands of Christians protesting against the burning of a Cairo church killed at least 13 people and wounded about 140. The news wire quoted security and hospital officials interviewed on  Wednesday 9 March .

The Muslims torched the church amid an escalation of tensions between the two religious groups over a love affair between a Muslim and a Christian that set off a violent feud between the couple’s families. Thirteen died from  gunshot wounds. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

...ongoing chaos...

 The late Tuesday night clashes added to a sense of ongoing chaos in Egypt after the momentous 18-day democracy uprising that toppled longtime leader Hosni Mubarak on 11 February.

The uprising left a security vacuum when police have pulled out from Cairo and several other cities three days into the uprising.

The police have yet to fully take back the streets, something that has left space for a wave of violent crime and lawlessness in some parts of the nation. 

In a separate incident, at least two people were wounded when rival crowds pelted each other with rocks at Cairo’s central Tahrir Square, the uprising’s epicenter, according to an Associated Press Television News cameraman at the scene.

He said the violence pitted youths camping out at the square to press their demand for a complete break with the ousted regime and another group that is opposed to their continued presence at the square.

The Christian protesters on Tuesday blocked a vital highway, burning tires and pelting cars with rocks. An angry crowd of Muslims set upon the Christians and the two sides fought pitched battles for about four hours.

...military government...

Mubarak handed power to the military when he stepped down, but the military does not have enough troops to police every street in Cairo, a sprawling city of some 18 million people that, at the best of times, is chaotic.

 Even before the uprising unleashed a torrent of discontent, tensions had been growing between Christians and Muslims in this country of 80 million. 

On New Year’s Day this year, a suicide bombing outside a Coptic church in the port city of Alexandria killed 21 people, setting off days of protests.

Barely a week later, an off-duty policeman boarded a train and shot dead a 71-year-old Christian man and wounding his wife and four others.

 Egypt’s ruling generals have pledged last week to rebuild the torched church and the country’s new prime minister, Essam Sharaf, has met the protesters outside the TV building in downtown Cairo to reassure them that his interim government would not discriminate against them. 

But the Christians were not appeased. At least 2,000 of them protested on the highway on Tuesday night and a separate crowd of several hundred has been camping out outside the TV building for days to voice their anger at what they perceive to be official discrimination against them.