Sunday, January 16, 2011
Ahh Say it is not so.Cop, unprovoked, shoots Christian on train , I think he was overcome with rage and hatred
By Michael Carl
© 2011 WorldNetDaily
An off-duty Egyptian police officer shot and killed one Coptic Christian and wounded five others in an apparently unprovoked attack aboard a train in Egypt's central Minya province, the third high-profile anti-Christian attack in Egypt in less than three months.
A report from Egypt's Interior Ministry said Amer Ashour Abdel-Zaher boarded the train and was on his way to work when he saw the group of Coptic Christians.
GLORIA Center Director Barry Rubin said the circumstances show that the attack was spontaneous.
"The critical factor is that [the shooter] was on his way to work, and so it wasn't a planned thing. If it was a planned thing he would have done it some evening or sometime. I think he was overcome with rage and hatred," Rubin observed.
"Where the rage and hatred comes from is a different question, but I still don't believe it was a planned attack," he said. "There is something significant in the region, which is growing anti-Christian activity. To some extent this is true from East Timor in Indonesia to Nigeria. But in the Middle East we're seeing it intensify."
Middle East Forum Director Daniel Pipes called the shooter a self-appointed jihadist.
"He is a jihadist and one who doesn't want to have any Christian presence in Egypt. He believes that Egypt should be a completely Muslim country," Pipes said..
"He's taking things into his own hands," he added.
Rubin gave four reasons for why the recent attacks are getting attention.
"First of all, they're in Cairo; second they're coming on a wave of attacks on Christians, after the attack on the church in Iraq," he said.
"Thirdly, Egypt is moving into a transition period with a new government and it could be a period of instability. Fourthly, the Islamists are becoming more aggressive and the governments are becoming more repressive," Rubin said..
"All of these things are coming together in what may be a period of instability in Egypt," he said.
Even with the possibility of increased political instability, Pipes said the Egyptian government has a hand in the persecution, even if only because the regime is refusing to stop it.
"Where it gets sticky is the role of the Mubarak regime in this. Time and again one sees a certain kind of complicity of the regime. He doesn't approve of it, but at the same time he doesn't punish it," Pipes asserted.
"It finds excuses as Mubarak did a couple of weeks ago. There are ties between the murderers and the regime as in the case of this off-duty policeman. Even more importantly, a member of parliament's aide was implicated in the attack a year ago," Pipes said.
"Security forces have been seen on video shouting 'Allahu Akhbar' as they attacked Copts at a disputed church construction site," he said.
Pipes used an unresolved attack from 1999 to illustrate his point.
"Back in 1999 when there was a massacre of 20 Copts at El Kosheh, none of the murderers of the Copts was charged, but only one Muslim was sentenced because he accidentally killed a Muslim," Pipes stated.
"The pattern that strikes me is that the regime is not fully doing its best to prevent the violence. It's a pattern that has happened too often for me not to draw this reluctant conclusion," he said.
Rubin said that Western governments need to embarrass the governments of countries in which anti-Christian attacks have increased.
"They have to discuss this. In some cases it will work and it makes their countries look bad and discourages tourism. It hurts the images of their governments if they allow persecution to go on and even participate in it," Rubin said
"The next thing is to help refugees and to help people who are victimized. You just don't see anything going on in a big scale to help the Iraqi Christians and you don't see anything on a big scale to help the Copts," he said.
"It's totally remarkable by its absence. Churches, and I'm talking about the mainline churches, spend far more time criticizing Israel than they do doing anything for Christians," Rubin stated.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper released a statement saying that his government is keeping an eye on persecution of Copts.
"Our government is aware of the challenges Coptic Christians face, and we will remain vigilant to ensure that they continue to feel safe in their communities," he said.
Rubin agreed that the Egyptian government should act to protect its people, Muslim or Christian.
"If the Egyptian government is concerned about any embarrassment, it will put guards in front of the churches. There will still be attacks, but there will also be some security," Rubin asserted.
Pipes said that the U. S. government in the past has had the opposite reaction.
"There was a statement by the U. S. ambassador to Egypt in which she dismissed the violence against Christians and cases of discrimination. She denied that these were connected to the government, so it's hard to see the Obama administration being of any help," Pipes stated.
Rubin gave a list of other countries in which anti-Christian violence is intensifying.
"In Pakistan, things are getting very difficult for Christians. In Iraq, Christians have largely been driven out. In the Gaza Strip, they've been pretty much driven out completely," Rubin detailed.
"It's building and as people read about it, and pick up on it ideologically. It's part of revolutionary Islamism. This is growing and I think it's going to get worse," he said.
"Over the next few years, we're going to see even more attacks on Christians and attempts to force Christians out of entire regions and entire countries," Rubin added. "If you just take Nigeria, and just make a list of attacks on Christians in Nigeria over the last five years, you would be amazed at what you would find on this subject."
Rubin said Palestinian Christians in the West Bank are afraid of the Muslims.
"They are desperate to get out, and they make no secret of the fact that they are scared of the Islamists," Rubin stated.
"If you look at the estimated numbers of Christians in the Middle East countries in 1900, and compare it to today, for specific countries, you would be astonished at the decline," he said. "They're being pushed out and in recent decades it's been made clear they are not welcome."