Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Coptic Christians go nuts in Egypt?

You'd think that, after reading this article from the AP.  The story left me with more questions than answers.  The whole flavor seemed to suggest that these folks were rioting, destroying property, and threatening officials even though Christians typically live in peace with the Muslim majority.  They complain about discrimination, but without one shred of documentation the AP report insists they usually live in peace apart from "occasional flare-ups of tension and violence."  What's that mean?  How occasional?  And is it the Coptics who do the mischief, or the dominant Muslim majority? 

Later, after mentioning the Church officials were not available to comment, the piece points out that officials are hesitant to approve permits for churches.  Churches get around this by applying for permits for Christian centers.  Apparently, based on anonymous government sources, this is what happened here.  The next paragraph does inform us that human rights groups say violence against the Christians in Egypt is on the rise. A representative from a Geneva rights group insists that discrimination is prevalent in Egypt.  The article then ends with a non-referenced quote that the government insists Christians have the same rights as Muslims.  How does any of this square with the AP statement that they usually live all hunky-dory in Egypt?

WTH?  So the entire first part of the article gives the impression of Coptic Christians going bat nuts and smashing car windows and trying to storm the government, with police trying to keep them at bay.  Then the rest of the article more or less paints an entirely different picture, one that the AP appeared to have missed even though it published the piece. 


  1. Ah the AP - it is another sad commentary on their understanding of events and rush to publish information that needs a little more research.

  2. Your insights on the media have been spot on. If the media can focus on Christians being violent, expect the story to get plenty of coverage. If it turns out that the cause is discrimination by a Muslim majority, then it will be ignored.

  3. As a Copt, I can tell you that in Egypt (especially in the more rural Southern Egypt) discrimination against Copts is a definite problem.

    I think the article alludes to the fact that they live in relative peace is true in the more developed areas in Egypt like Cairo and Alexandria.

    Acts of violence are not common among Muslims and Christians in Egypt, although they do happen. Last January 6 Copts were murdered in a small rural town in Southern Egypt.

    In this case, I believe Copts were frustrated as tensions seem to be rising about the inability to build the church. They can talk all they want about having proper building permits, but that's really just not the way things work in Egypt. I don't doubt however, that driven by their frustrations and anger it was the Copts who incited the violence here. Living and dealing with the Egyptian community, I can tell you Egyptians are an emotional people and I can imagine how the scene went down pretty well. While we do suffer from discrimination and unfair treatment, I think as Christians we can agree resorting to violence is not the answer, and for that as Copts we share in the blame for this awful event.

  4. Wow, thanks for the post! I love hearing from folks who are actually there. It appeared that violence did happen on the part of the Christians, but I was taken by the article's emphasis on the violence almost as if it happened in a vacuum. Thanks for the insights! And welcome.

  5. BTW, certainly I agree. Christians shouldn't resort to violence.


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