Largely ignored by the media, Coptic Christians, who have been targeted by the former Egyptian President Morsi’s Moslem Brotherhood, marched on the White House this morning to protest what they describe as President Obama’s support of that terrorist group.
According to the Coptic Solidarity organization,
“Houses of worship and Coptic-owned property have been systematically targeted and the geographic scope of the attacks has spread to several villages and districts within single governorates; the resulting damage is unprecedented.
“At least 45 churches came under simultaneous attack in various governorates as soon as procedures to clear the two sit-ins began, resulting in the death of 7 citizens, the torching of 25 churches, the looting and destruction of 7 churches and the partial destruction of 5 more churches. This is in addition to assaults on numerous schools, civic associations and church-affiliated social services buildings.” Other reports note that Christian nuns have been paraded through the streets of Cairo as “prisoners of war.”
This was not a reaction to any western influence. Coptic Christians are native to Egypt, and actually constituted the majority religion of the nation as far back as 400 A.D. Even after the Moslem conquests, Coptics remained the majority for hundreds of years. After centuries of Moslem rule, they still represent a significant minority of the population. Both Catholic and Protestant sects of the religion exist.
The White House supported the ousting of former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, who did not oppress Christian groups, was friendly towards the United States, and supported peace in the region. His replacement by Mohammed Morsi, a Moslem Brotherhood leader, was seen as a blow to both Coptic Christians, those supporting middle eastern peace, and improved relations with the West. Despite Morsi’s anti-Coptic, anti-peace, and anti-Western policies, the White House continued aid to Egypt.
Morsi’s rule was marked by administrative chaos and attempts to impose strict Sharia, the harsh Moslem religious-based law. Widespread dissatisfaction with both governmental miscues as well as the attempts to impose Islamic law led to his downfall.
Following Mr. Morsi’s subsequent overthrow by the Egyptian military, the U.S. continued aid, despite federal legal prohibitions against assisting governments formed under those circumstances. In the aftermath of Morsi’s overthrow, however, his Moslem Brotherhood supporters, many of whom were well armed, initiated violent actions against the new government of interim president Adly Mansour. At the same time, the Brotherhood increased its campaign of violence against Coptic Christians.
The Mansour government reacted to the violence by deploying the Egyptian army to contain it. In the ensuing fighting, a number of Moslem Brotherhood fighters were killed. This apparently prompted the White House to cutoff assistance to Egypt. Coptic Christians believe that President Obama’s action encouraged the Moslem Brotherhood.