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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

8/19/2013 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Attacks are being coordinated, Al Qaeda black flags spotted.

The shocking violence against Christians in Egypt continues as hardline Islamists staged coordinated attacks on Christian churches, schools, and businesses, and police stations. There are signs that the Muslim Brotherhood is being aided by Al Qaeda.

Militant Muslims have a vision of a future that includes neither freedom, nor you.

Militant Muslims have a vision of a future that includes neither freedom, nor you.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

8/19/2013 (1 year ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Al Qaeda, Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood, Christians, attacks, churches, burned, violence, sectarian


CAIRO, EGYPT    (Catholic Online) - Four-and-a-half days ago, Egyptian security forces cleared several urban camps belonging to supporters of Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. As security forces moved in, they discovered caches of weapons and ammunition within the camps. Police and army officials say they were fired on as they moved in, prompting them to return fire. This supports the notion that the supporters of the Muslim brotherhood are anything but peaceful Islamists.

In the days since, they have attacked Christians across Egypt. At least 40 Christian churches have been attacked, looted, and burned to the ground in recent days. Christian businesses have been marked with red X's, telling Islamists where to attack next. Christians reported fleeing for their lives across the country.

At least two Christians have been killed.

One particularly horrifying incident, Islamists descended upon a 115-year-old Franciscan school, looting and destroying everything in sight. Sister Manal, the school's principal, told the media that the Islamists broke into the school even coming through windows to enter the buildings. They stole everything they could, including computers, tables, chairs, desks, and even the money that was being saved to build a new school. What they could not carry away, they destroyed, and finally they torched the entire facility burning all the buildings to the ground.

Following the destruction of the school, Sister Manal and two of her colleagues were paraded through the streets like "prisoners of war," in her words. They were eventually rescued by a Muslim woman who offered them refuge in her home.

On the gates Suster Manal's school, someone tied the black flag of Al Qaeda.

Christians martyred in their church in Egypt during recent violence.

Christians martyred in their church in Egypt during recent violence.


Similar scenes have played out across Egypt. Churches have been looted in entirely, and what looters can not carry away, they destroy. The chief victims of the violence are Coptic Christians, a large and ancient Christian minority that makes up about 10 percent of the country's population. However, Christians of other smaller denominations have also been attacked.

At the same time, attacks against Christian churches and schools are ongoing, Islamists staged coordinated attacks on police stations, effectively preventing police from responding to Christian pleas for help.

The attacks are being coordinated and carried out with a reasonable degree of precision and coordination with others. The Muslim Brotherhood was once widely regarded as a terrorist organization itself, and has likely affiliated itself with Al Qaeda, in case it becomes necessary to use extraordinary means to terrorize the people and government of Egypt.

Not all Muslims are participating in the Muslim Brotherhood's orgy of violence. Many moderate Muslims are siding with Christians and the military and have vowed to protect Christians wherever they can. In some cases, Christian churches have been protected by throngs of moderate Muslims who occasionally beat the attackers to the scene. By surrounding the churches with throngs of people, the hardliners usually turn away.

Egyptian society is very diverse. It has a wide range of people from hardline Muslims, to moderates, to secularists and Christians. While conservative Muslims still make up the majority of the society, other groups are significantly represented. As a result, Egyptian society is highly stratified, and susceptible to sectarian violence. Following the ouster of strongman, Hosni Mubarak, hints of this liability began to show as the new government was formed. Quickly dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, that body of elected officials so affiliated, worked to disenfranchise Christians and moderates from the constitutional process. They passed laws which made it very difficult to build Christian churches, and managed to run off from the negotiating table those groups that did not agree with their policies.

For now, the Egyptian military holds ultimate power in government, and has committed itself to establishing a moderate democracy in the country. However, the large number of hardliners do not appear ready to quit, on the contrary they appear to be reinforced by extreme terrorist elements, such as Al Qaeda.

All signs suggest that the situation could continue to spiral out of control, and turn into a bloody and protracted civil war, much to the detriment of area Christians and moderates.

---


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