Archive for the ‘Coptic Christians’ category

Egypt: Muslim stabs security guard who prevented him from entering a church

July 16, 2017

Egypt: Muslim stabs security guard who prevented him from entering a church, Jihad Watch

(Please see also, Slaughtered Christians “A Viable Target”? — DM)

Imagine the outcry if a Christian had stabbed a guard who prevented him from entering a mosque. But you won’t hear anything about this. If you asked 100 people on the street which was a bigger problem, “Islamophobia” or the Muslim persecution of Christians, most would likely say “Islamophobia.” This testifies to the relentlessness of the “Islamophobia” propaganda campaign in the West.

“Knifeman attacks Egypt church guard, arrested: Police,” AFP, July 16, 2017 (thanks to Maged):

CAIRO (AFP) – An Egyptian Muslim stabbed and wounded a security guard after being prevented from entering a church in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria on Saturday (July 15), a senior police official told AFP.

The man was quickly subdued by the guard and others who rushed to help and is being questioned, the official said.

The incident came days after Egypt’s Christian minority leaders said they were suspending some activities such as conferences and religious trips for security reasons.

Islamic State group jihadists have killed dozens of Coptic Christians in church bombings and shooting attacks in Egypt since December, and have threatened further attacks….

CCTV footage of the incident showed a man wearing earphones and with a bag trying to enter the church when he was called back by a guard who asked to check the bag.

The man took out a knife and slashed the face of the guard, who quickly recovered to subdue his attacker with the help of others….

The Pope’s Pilgrimage to Al-Azhar

April 27, 2017

The Pope’s Pilgrimage to Al-Azhar, Gatestone InstituteLawrence A. Franklin, April 27, 2017

“They cannot take the texts of the seventh century literally as they are in the Quran. He [the Pope] does not dare to say something like that because he doesn’t know the Quran well enough, and so on. So I understand his position, but it would be better to have a clearer and more frank discussion — with openness, but also with some realism.”

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During a meeting between the former Papal Nuncio to Cairo, Archbishop Jean-Paul Gobel, and Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam warned Gobel that “speaking about Islam in a negative manner was a ‘red line’ that must not be crossed.” If there are any condemnations of violence against the Coptic Christians, they are likely to be articulated only by the Grand Imam and the Egyptian President.

If the Pope’s humble bearing is excessive, however, it might be interpreted even by peaceable Muslims as a submission. If Francis is asked by the Grand Imam to pray at al-Azhar’s mosque, that is a piety that el-Tayeb would not likely reciprocate in a Coptic Church in Egypt.

Facilitating the establishment of an Islamic-Christian relationship that excludes Judaism can only serve the Islamist goal of isolating Jews and Israel. Although relations between the Vatican and al-Azhar will improve in the near future, the honeymoon will not. The Grand Imam will doubtless protect his own theological power base and keep his distance from both the Vatican and the Egyptian regime.

The twin Palm Sunday bombings at Coptic Christian Churches by Islamic terrorists in Egypt, which killed 44 worshipers, draws attention to what is probably the principal reason for the upcoming visit of Pope Francis to Cairo on April 28-29. The Pontiff will likely seek the assistance of Egypt’s Muslim hierarchy to help protect Egypt’s Coptic Christians, the indigenous inhabitants of the country who now number about 9 million and constitute at least 10% of the population.

During his stay, Francis will meet with the Grand Imam of Cairo’s al-Azhar Mosque, Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb. Al-Azhar’s theological complex, which houses Islam’s oldest university, is considered the most influential center of Sunni Islam.

The Pope possibly hopes that the meeting with el-Tayeb will fully repair relations between the Vatican and al-Azhar. These were restored as a result of a letter sent by Pope Francis to the Grand Imam last year. The Papal letter was followed up by a visit to the Holy See by el-Tayeb in May 2016. Relations between the Holy See and al-Azhar had been severed in 2011 by el-Tayeb after he took offense at comments made by the previous Pope, Benedict XVI, on the persecution of Christians in Muslim countries.

Grand Imam el-Tayeb now appears more disposed towards normalizing relations with the Vatican, especially since his amicable visit to the Holy See in May 2016. Al-Azhar’s Grand Imam is likely to be more agreeable toward Francis than he was toward Benedict. This show of flexibility might possibly also be an effort by el-Tayeb to get in line with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi’s own call for reform within Islam. However, Al-Azhar, determined to maintain its authority over theological matters, has initiated no substantive, doctrinal reforms in response to President Sisi’s declaration. In fact, Al-Azhar has pushed back against attempts by some Muslim reformists who have suggested a more liberal policy concerning women’s rights, including the ability to divorce.

El-Tayeb, even if he accepted responsibility for protecting the Copts, may prove unable to prevent Islamic terrorist groups from targeting Egypt’s minority Christian population. The alleged cooperation between the Islamic State and the Muslim Brotherhood makes it especially difficult for Cairo to prevent terrorist acts. Islamic terrorist cells in Alexandria and the Sinai Peninsula, where many of the attacks on Copts have occurred, act independently of Egypt’s political and religious leaders. The targeting of Christians by these groups may also be part of a larger objective to destabilize the regime of al-Sisi, who has promised security to Egyptians, particularly Coptic Christians. Radical Islamists such as the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS view the Copts as their enemies; many members of this Christian sect support the Sisi government.

It was, in any event, al-Sisi who invited Pope Francis to visit Egypt during the Egyptian president’s visit to the Vatican in November 2014. Anti-regime elements might well attempt to stage a spectacular terrorist incident during the Pontiff’s visit, particularly targeting Francis himself.

The Pope’s upcoming visit is being organized by French Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauron, who chairs the Pontifical Council of Inter-Religious Dialogue. Cardinal Tauron is, no doubt, cognizant of the “red line” laid down by the Grand Imam if the Vatican wishes to have amicable relations with the Muslim leadership. During a meeting between the former Papal Nuncio to Cairo, Archbishop Jean-Paul Gobel, and el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam warned him that “speaking about Islam in a negative manner was a ‘red line’ that must not be crossed.” However, given the Pope’s past reluctance to condemn radical Islamic concepts, it is unlikely that, during his visit to Egypt, he will depart from this cautious public posture. Comments, if any, by Pope Francis on Muslim violence against Christians will, no doubt, be diplomatic and muted. If there are any condemnations of violence against the Coptic Christians, they are likely to be articulated only by the Grand Imam and the Egyptian President.

Nevertheless, Pope Francis will, it appears, publicly demonstrate his solidarity with fellow Christians by championing the Coptic Pope Tawadros II during memorial services for the recently martyred Copts. Francis, who is known to be fond of Tawadros, might express his deep personal concern for the welfare of the Coptic Pope — who was celebrating Mass inside St. Mark’s Cathedral when the bomber detonated his explosives just outside.

Francis is apparently most anxious to bring Copts and Catholics closer together, in the hope that the Egyptian Church will ultimately formally reunite with the Holy See. The Coptic Church first split from Rome in 451 A.D. However, the Vatican maintains deep respect for the Egyptian Church, which was established by one of the four authors of the Gospels, St. Mark, in Alexandria as early as 42 A.D.[1]

Catholic Pope Francis greets Egyptian Coptic Pope Tawadros II at the Vatican, on May 10, 2013. (Image source: News.va Official Vatican Network)

If the Pope’s humble bearing is excessive, however, it might be interpreted even by peaceable Muslims as submission. If Francis is asked by the Grand Imam to pray at al-Azhar’s mosque, that is a piety that el-Tayeb would not likely reciprocate in a Coptic Church in Egypt.

The public stance of the Vatican concerning Islam has been routinely cautious. The most recent example of the Pontiff’s less-than-direct criticism of Islamist violence is his April 22 statement at a prayer service paying tribute to 21st Century Christian Martyrs in Rome:

Francis said the legacy of modern-day martyrs “teaches us that with the strength of love, meekness, one can combat arrogance, violence, war, and with patience, achieve peace.”

A professor of Islamic Studies at the Pontifical Institute in Rome, Father Samir Khalil Samir, also an Egyptian, characterizes the Pope’s diplomatic approach to Muslims, “who are the second-most important group in the world, to have a dialogue and understanding.” Khalil adds:

“I think it’s important to say things with charity, with friendship, but to say things as they are: that it cannot continue like this; we have to rethink Islam. This is my vision. They cannot take the texts of the seventh century literally as they are in the Quran. He [the Pope] does not dare to say something like that because he doesn’t know the Quran well enough, and so on. So I understand his position, but it would be better to have a clearer and more frank discussion — with openness, but also with some realism.”

This clearly modulated posture was apparent during a session of the Geneva Center of Human Rights Advancement and Dialogue. The theme of the Geneva sessions was “Islam and Christianity: The Great Convergence.” The March 15 Conference, attended by Muslim and Christian delegates, studiously avoided key issues of doctrinal divergence, and stressed instead alleged areas of common interest. The key sponsors of the conference were Algeria, Pakistan, and Lebanon, all of which are Muslim majority countries. The only non-Muslim state sponsor of the Conference was Malta. One of the oft-repeated themes of the sessions in Geneva was the ‘feel-good’ concept of the ‘common Abrahamic root’ of Islam, Christianity and Judaism — although no representatives of the Jewish faith were invited to the conference. Statements by representatives of Christian churches seemed overly optimistic about the prospects of developing positive relationships with Islamic societies.

The failure to invite Jewish or Israeli representation by conference organizers was presumably not an oversight. This omission would be consistent with the UN Arab bloc’s objective of isolating Israel in an apparent effort to destroy and replace it. That campaign includes efforts by Arab states to marshal support at the United Nations for suffocating Israel through diplomatic subversion as well as through economic strangulation. Facilitating the establishment of an Islamic-Christian relationship that excludes Judaism can only serve the Islamist goal of isolating Jews and Israel.

After the visit of Pope Francis to Egypt, mass murders of Egyptian Copts are likely to continue. Although relations between the Vatican and al-Azhar will improve in the near future, the honeymoon will not. The Grand Imam will doubtless protect his own theological power base and keep his distance from both the Vatican and the Egyptian regime.

Dr. Lawrence A. Franklin was the Iran Desk Officer for Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. He also served on active duty with the U.S. Army and as a Colonel in the Air Force Reserve, where he was a Military Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Israel.


[1] Tradition has it that Mark founded the Church in Alexandria as early as 42 A.D. but some Coptic documents assert that Mark came to Alexandria for the first time in 61 A.D. after several missionary trips with St. Paul and St. Barnabas.

Dr. Jasser discusses the Pope’s visit to Egypt in the wake of Palm Sunday attack

April 12, 2017

Dr. Jasser discusses the Pope’s visit to Egypt in the wake of Palm Sunday attack, AIFD via Fox via YouTube, April 11, 2017

According to the blurb beneath the video,

Dr. Jasser joins Fox Business’ Risk and Reward discussing the Pope’s visit to Egypt in the wake of the Palm Sunday attack and that the west is ignoring the Christian genocide that is occurring in the Middle East.

Also discussed are X-Men comic books in which the Muslim artist has insert subliminal opinions.

Rephidim, Amalek then: Bir Gafgafa, ISIS now

April 10, 2017

Rephidim, Amalek then: Bir Gafgafa, ISIS now, DEBKAfile, April 10, 2017

Bir Gafgafa’s mission is to provide the Egyptian forces fighting in Sinai with a shield, as well as securing the Suez, one of the world’s most important waterways, against ISIS attack.

It will also serve as a hub for coordinating air operations over Sinai and the Libyan border. It is vitally important to prevent the jihadist networks based in ungoverned Libya and the lawless heartland of the Sinai Peninsula from reaching Egypt’s main cities.

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They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. The people quarreled with Moses, and said, “Give us water to drink.” Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the Lord?” The Lord said to Moses, take in your hand the staff with which you struck the Nile, and go. Strike the rock, and water will come out of it.” Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel. He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord. Then Amalek came and fought with Israel at Rephidim.  Whenever Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed; and whenever he lowered his hand, Amalek prevailed. And Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the sword. (Exodus 17)

About 3,200 years later, Moses would not have recognized Rephidim. In 1967 it was called Bir Gafgafa and was the site of the Egyptian Air Force’s biggest air facility in Sinai, known as “Egyptian Air Force Base 244.”

From there, Egyptian ruler Gemal Abdul Nasser declared that year: “If Rabin wants war, let’s go!”

And so when the Israeli Air Force preemptively wiped out Nasser’s air force on the ground at the outset of the Six-Day war, Bir Gafgafa was hit first. Rephidim was next transformed into Baha 3, the main Israeli Air Force operations base in Sinai during the War of Attribution and the Yom Kippur war. It was supported 8 kilometers away by a radar and electronic warfare station.

But then, Rephidim aka Bir Gafgafa stepped back into history in its next reincarnation as the very first base from which Israeli withdrew in late 1979 after Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signed the Camp David peace accords, Israel’s first peace pact with an Arab nation.

Another 37 years went by and in 2017 Rephidim now serves another Egyptian President, Abdul-Fatteh El-Sisi, for his life-and-death struggle with the Islamic State’s Sinai affiliate.

The Egyptian Air Force is in the course of transforming the small air field there into the largest air base in Egypt, this time with Israel’s concurrence. The base is being tailored to serve a wide variety of warplanes, attack helicopters and UAVs, with long runways, hangars and storage depots for bombs, missiles and fuel.

The Egyptian have built an enormous hangar 70×57 meters for housing long-range Wing Loong UAVs purchased from China, which are 9 meters long with a 14-meter wing spread. The Wing Loongs are also being deployed at the Uthman Air base in the Western Desert just 68km from the Libyan border.

The huge base will also have a large civilian passenger terminal at its northeastern end to serve the large army contingents deployed in Sinai. Today the 2nd and 3rdArmies are waging war against terror in Sinai supported by Border Guard units which are undertaking special training in anti-terror warfare.

Rephidim is today hemmed in by packs of the new Amalek, the Ansar Beit al-Maqdis which has pledged loyalty to the Islamic State and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi El-Sisi and is battling Egypt under his direction. The base is accessible only by air or convoys escorted by armored vehicles.

But El-Sisi has big plans for defeating them, DEBKAfile’s military sources report. Bir Gafgafa’s mission is to provide the Egyptian forces fighting in Sinai with a shield, as well as securing the Suez, one of the world’s most important waterways, against ISIS attack.

It will also serve as a hub for coordinating air operations over Sinai and the Libyan border. It is vitally important to prevent the jihadist networks based in ungoverned Libya and the lawless heartland of the Sinai Peninsula from reaching Egypt’s main cities.

The importance of this mission was demonstrated this week. On April 9, President El-Sisi reported that three gangs of terrorists had infiltrated the country from Libya and sent two suicide bombers to blow up two Coptic churches celebrating Palm Sunday, taking the lives of 45 people and injuring 150.

The jihadist menace points more than one way. The next day, Israel closed the Taba crossing into Egyptian Sinai to Israeli holidaymakers bound for the beach resorts, after its security services had received intelligence of an imminent ISIS death-cum-abduction attack afoot for the 10,000 Israeli trippers.

Double Bombing Hits Egypt on Palm Sunday

April 9, 2017

Double Bombing Hits Egypt on Palm Sunday, Clarion ProjectElliot Friedland, April 9, 2017

At least 37 people were killed and more than 100 injured in two separate bombing attacks that struck churches in Egypt. The blasts ripped through services for Palm Sunday on April 9.

The Islamic State terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attacks.

A bomb placed under a seat in the main prayer hall of St. George’s Coptic Church in Tanta, northern Egypt, ripped the hall apart, killing at least 26 and wounded 60 others.

“Everything is destroyed inside the church,” eyewitness Peter Kamel told media outlets after the attack.

A suicide bombing hit Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria a few hours later. According to state TV reports, police officers prevented the suicide bomber from entering the Church, and he detonated his device outside.

At least 11 people were killed and 35 others wounded in that attack. Pope Tawadros II, the head of the Coptic Church in Egypt, had just lead mass for Palm Sunday but is unharmed as he reportedly had just left the building.

Grand Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, The head of Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, the most prestigious institution of learning in Sunni Islam, condemned the attack, calling it a “despicable terrorist bombing that targeted the lives of innocents.”

The Coptic community in Egypt has long faced discrimination, but that has worsened since the 2011 revolution that overthrew longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak and replaced him first with the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood’s president Mohammed Morsi and then with former general, President Abdefattah el-Sisi.

Breakaway Muslim Brotherhood factions and ISIS affiliates have been targeting Coptic Christians in an effort to destabilize the state and cleanse Egypt of non-Muslims.

In February, ISIS released a propaganda video featuring a terrorist who carried out a previous attack on St Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria, threatening to eliminate Egypt’s Christians and “liberate Cairo.”

Egypt: Muslims bomb St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo, murdering dozens

December 11, 2016

Egypt: Muslims bomb St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo, murdering dozens, Jihad Watch

St Mark’s Cathedral is the “seat of Egypt’s Orthodox Christian church and home to the office of its spiritual leader, Pope Tawadros II.”

Muslim Brotherhood operatives have long hated Pope Tawadros and the Coptic Christians, blaming them for the toppling of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in 2013, and considering them kuffar harbi, infidels at war with Islam whose lives can, because of that war, be lawfully taken.

“The blast took place as a Sunday mass being held in the chapel was about to end and coincided with a national holiday in Egypt marking the birth of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.”

The bomb seems to have been timed to maximize the carnage.

st-marks-cathedral-cairo

“St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo bombed, killing dozens,” Associated Press, December 11, 2016:

CAIRO – A bombing at Egypt’s main Coptic Christian cathedral killed 25 people and wounded another 35 on Sunday, in one of the deadliest attacks carried out against the religious minority in recent memory.

The attack came two days after a bomb elsewhere in Cairo killed six policemen, an assault claimed by a shadowy group that authorities say is linked to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Islamic militants have targeted Christians in the past, including a New Year’s Day bombing at a church in Alexandria in 2011 that killed at least 21 people.

Egypt’s official MENA news agency said an assailant lobbed a bomb into a chapel close to the outer wall of St Mark’s Cathedral, seat of Egypt’s Orthodox Christian church and home to the office of its spiritual leader, Pope Tawadros II. Egyptian state TV gave the casualty toll.

Witnesses said the explosion may have been caused by an explosive device planted inside the chapel. Conflicting accounts are common in the immediate aftermath of attacks.

The blast took place as a Sunday mass being held in the chapel was about to end and coincided with a national holiday in Egypt marking the birth of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. Most of the victims are thought to be women and children.

An Associated Press reporter who arrived at the scene shortly after the blast saw blood-stained pews and shards of glass scattered across the chapel’s floor. Men and women wailed and cried outside….

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday’s attack.

Egypt has seen a wave of attacks by Islamic militants since the military overthrew President Mohammed Morsi, a freely elected leader who hailed from the Brotherhood, in 2013. Many of Morsi’s supporters blamed Christians for supporting the overthrow, and scores of churches and other Christian-owned properties in southern Egypt were ransacked that year….