“The scenes from [October 9] in Cairo confirmed the worst fears of Christians in Egypt: An armoured personnel carrier, careening through a crowd of protesters, apparently firing in all directions. Some 25 were killed, 17 of them Coptic Christians participating in a protest against, amongst other things, government inaction in the race of anti-Christian violence,” The National Post reports.
By Father Raymond J. de Souza
10/13/2011 Egypt (National Post) – Now we know. Back in January, I wrote that the Egyptian revolution then underway was an “unknown unknown,” to use the taxonomy of Donald Rumsfeld. We did not know that we did not know that the Egyptian regime was about to be overthrown. No shame in that — neither did Hosni Mubarak.
To employ Rumsfeld again, there was also a “known unknown.” We knew that we did not know what Egypt’s revolution and the wider Arab Spring would bring. Would there be a shift toward fundamental liberties and greater pluralism? Or would violent jihadism expand with the support of the state?
Now we know. There have been worrying signs all spring and summer that Islamist elements were growing stronger in the post-Mubarak Egypt. Christians in Egypt, for whom 2011 began with a massacre of parishioners leaving a church service, have watched in fear as attacks have increased. Four churches have been subject to arson in recent months. But Sunday’s massacre took place not in the face of state neglect, but with the apparent support of the military.
The scenes from Sunday night in Cairo confirmed the worst fears of Christians in Egypt: An armoured personnel carrier, careening through a crowd of protesters, apparently firing in all directions. Some 25 were killed, 17 of them Coptic Christians participating in a protest against, amongst other things, government inaction in the race of anti-Christian violence.
Government action may indeed be even worse.
It’s not just a Christian concern. All those concerned about religious liberty are alarmed. The Canadian federal government, which has made religious liberty a higher priority in its foreign policy, will establish an office of religious freedom to advance that end. The new office will be all the busier given what regime change is bringing to the broader Middle East.
The massacre in Cairo fills the Christians of that land with deep foreboding. Christians have been in Egypt since the first Christian centuries. Let that be repeated: Christians have been in Egypt since before Islam even existed. The agitations of the violent jihadists to the effect that Christians are an alien element are historically false. Egypt’s Christian minority is fully Egyptian. If they are not secure in Egypt, then Egypt itself is not secure. What is threatened today in Egypt is its very history and culture.
An Egypt without Christians would be the product of a cultural vandalism equivalent to an Egypt without the pyramids. The pyramids are the tombs of the past. The Christians of Egypt fear that their fellow citizens are preparing for them the tombs of the present.