Persecuted for faith: Christians in Egypt

It is a tragedy when human rights are violated. Targeted violence against a group of people is never acceptable. It is a sad reality that at this very moment, targeted violence against Christians is taking place half a world away.

Christian sects in Egypt are suffering a horrendous amount of human rights violations from both the official governments of the region as well as from unauthorized violent hate groups.

In his Letter from the Birmingham Jail, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

If a single person on this planet is made a victim of violence for his or her faith, I proclaim that is one victim too many. The bloodshed of peaceful practitioners of one religion is a threat to the welfare of every practitioner of any religion.

Article V of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 217 (III) declares that “No one shall be subject to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” There has been a mass evacuation of Coptic Christians from Egypt beginning in 2012.

Those observant in world affairs understand that mass persecution is usually followed by mass evacuation. Raymond Ibrahim, author of the “Al Qaeda Reader” and “Crucified Again,” reports that beginning in 2012, tens of thousands of Coptic Christians had fled Egypt to escape rising violence against their denomination of Christianity.

On New Year’s Day in 2011, the Saints Church Bombing in Alexandria was used to commit mass murder against Coptic Christians. 23 were killed and at least 97 were wounded. Samuel Tadros, a reporter for the Washington Post, said that in April 2017, an attack upon Coptic Christians ended in 17 of their number dead with many more wounded.

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Such tragedy, such needless violence, such a loss of innocent life is truly horrific. Unprovoked bloodshed on a group of people for no other reason than how they worship. Such acts are in clear violation of Article V of the UN General Assembly Resolution 217 (III). Attacks on Christians by radical hate groups are unjust, equally unjust is violence against Christians by a legitimate government.

In February 2011, 24 protesters were killed by Egyptian soldiers. The protestors were largely members of the local Christian congregation. The protest was held outside of a state-owned television station and was orchestrated as an outcry against attacks on churches and other places of worship in Egypt.

Talaat Youssef is a Christian trader who was present during the assault on peaceful protesters by the Egyptian military. Youssef, giving an interview for The Guardian, said, “We were marching peacefully… When we got to the state television building, the army started firing live ammunition.” There are always two sides to every story.

The Egyptian government claims that the protesters had grown violent. In the early 1960’s the Birmingham Police Department violently assaulted peaceful civil rights protesters. The Alabama government justified the violence against the protestors on the grounds that the protestors had grown violent and that such a response was necessary for public safety. If such violence could be used to put down peaceful protesters in America, then why could it not happen in Egypt?

Many citizens accuse Egypt’s government of cruelty and police brutality towards Christian and their complaints are worthy of consideration. Human rights abuses must not be allowed. It must not be allowed for a government to violently end the lives of protesters who have done no wrong.

Opinions expressed in The Northern Light do not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper, its staff or faculty adviser(s).