Who Will Speak for the Copts?
The Copts are the original descendants of the people of the Pharaoh dynasties, dating back to between 3,000 – 4,500 years ago. Christianity was introduced by the Mark the Evangelist and most historians date this to around 65 to 75 CE. The Christian monastic tradition began in Egyptand Islam did not dominate this region until after 651 AD when it was invaded by Arab Muslims.
On November 10, 2010, Dr. Ashraf Ramelah, founder and President of the human rights organization, "Voice of the Copts", delivered a lecture on persecution of Coptic Christians in Egypt; he stated that ‘At the moment of invasion, Egypt was still ruled by Romans. The Egyptian people did not take sides in this battle between the Roman occupiers and the Arab invaders. Arab-Muslims succeeded in defeating the Romans and taking over the country.’
He further stated that, ‘The Arab occupiers of Egypt changed the country’s name to Meser, a name which had no meaning in Egyptian history. This action was part of the initial attempt by the Arabs to erase the identity of Egypt and its inhabitants who were now given the new name of Copts. Copts is a derivative of the original Egyptos. This was the beginning of the era of persecution and oppression inflicted upon Egyptians (Copts) by Arab-Muslims occupiers which continued throughout a 1,400 year history and into present day Egypt’.
The arrival of the Arabs from across the desert is the worst single event in the long history of this nation. In keeping with Islamic doctrine, the Egyptians were offered the standard options that are offered to all that had fallen before them, convert, submit or die.
Qur’an (9:29) – "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued."
In the verse above it is important to note the part of the final sentence, "until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued."
‘Jizya’ is defined as Islamic tax, head or poll tax that early Islamic rulers demanded from their non-Muslim subjects. Submission and feeling subdued is more commonly termed, ‘dhimmi’. This means ‘the non-Muslim subjects of an Islamic state who have been guaranteed protection of their rights- life, property and practice of their religion, etc’.
Though the levels of the rights granted by non Muslims in Muslim majority countries vary widely and have done so throughout history. The protection ‘granted’ was both from invading armies of the past and also guarantees the right to exist, providing that the rules of the masters are followed.
It wasn’t until the 19th and first half of the 20th Century, that the Copts didn’t have to pay the Jizya and they recovered some rights and status, such as being able to enroll in the Army. Boutros Ghali a Christian, rose to the office of Prime Minister in 1908, but was assassinated mid-term in 1910. With the creation of the Republic of Egyptin 1953, the downhill slide began again and hasn’t returned to its former state since.
Today, the Copts in a great part of Egypt sheepishly worship in their churches and have been persecuted as recent as last weekend, when 12 people died at a Cairochurch after a confrontation with Muslims. Early on New Years day this year, a suicide bomber detonated his vest as people were leaving a church, killing over 20 people and injuring dozens. The duality in which the Copts live under today leaves them in a constant state of fear. On one hand, the Government allows them to worship in Churches and on the other, media-termed ‘hardliners’ attack them when they do. Often when they are attacked, the Government looks the other way and the perpetrators are rarely bought to justice.
Almost all Copts live well below the poverty line. In some countries, the dhimmis are referred to as ‘street sweepers’ or similar derogatory names, as they are often only able to get menial labor jobs that no-one else wants. In Egypt, over 20,000 Copts live in a ‘trash-city’ on the outskirts of Cairo. They live with extra large and aggressive rats, amongst the never ending mountains of refuse left behind by their Muslim rulers.
They Copts are barely able to scratch out a living, wading through the endless stench and recycling the paltriest items in order to try and feed their families. The families living in the ‘trash-city’ are often stricken with disease as a result of rats and other vermin biting them in their sleep.
The infant mortality rate in modern western nations is between 3 to 7 children per hundred live births. In Egypt, that figure jumps to 18. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the infant mortality rate amongst the populous in this type of abject poverty is a staggering 50 deaths per 100 live births.
Regardless of the posturing to the media by the current military regime, the Copts are in no better position than they were under Muburak. Pleas have gone out by Coptic groups in Australia, Britain and the USAin an attempt to garner some support or justice for their Egyptian brethren, though these pleas have fallen upon deaf ears.
The numbers of Coptic Christians of Egypt have dwindled significantly over the last thousand years and without any intervention, will continue to do so. On the 8th of May, with the clashes of Muslims and Christians where 12 people died, regional analysts have said that no outside intervention is likely.
"When Joseph arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod the Great, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt I called My Son" (Matthew 2:12–23).
Vin Ienco is a commentator on Islamism, and writes for The Right SideHYPERLINK "http://www.rightsidenews.com/" from where this article was adapted. He can be found at http://vinienco.com/.