A New Year of ‘Dhimmitude’ for Egypt’s Copts

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a Judith Friedman Rosen Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum and a CBN News contributor. He is the author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians (2013) and The Al Qaeda Reader (2007). 


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Originally published by Stonegate Institute.

For Egypt’s Christian Copts, the New Year began with threats that their churches would be attacked during Christmas mass (celebrated on January 7).  Because many were eyeing the situation—several Coptic churches were previously attacked, including last Christmas (eight dead) and New Year’s day (23 dead), not to mention ominous harbingers around the world, such as the Nigerian Christmas day church bombings (40 dead) —the Muslim Brotherhood proclaimed it would “protect” the Copts during their church services.  Happily, Coptic Christmas came and went without incident.

Yet, if the Muslim Brotherhood “protected” Coptic churches when many around the world were watching, as soon as attention dissipated, it was business as usual: a large number of Salafis and Muslim Brotherhood members entered a church, asserting that it had no license and no one should pray in it, with hints that it might be turned into a mosque—an all too typical approach in Muslim countries where building or even renovating churches is next to impossible.

More to the point, 2012 appears to be unfolding as the “year of dhimmitude” for Egypt’s Christians.  Consider the following anecdotes starting from just last January, all of which demonstrate an upsurge in the treatment of Egypt’s Copts as dhimmis (dhimmi being the legal term for Islam’s “protected” non-Muslim minorities—“protected,” that is, as long as they agree to a number of debilitations that renders them second-class citizens):

Insulting Islam

According to the Pact of Omar (which is also one of the earliest sources banning the construction or renovation of churches), dhimmis must “respect Muslims” and never insult them or their religion.  Accordingly, a prominent Christian, Naguib Sawiris, is charged with “contempt of religion” for twittering a cartoon of a bearded Mickey Mouse and veiled Minnie: “The case has added to fears among many that ultraconservative Islamists may use their new found powers to try to stifle freedom of expression.”  Nor are the double standards in Egypt’s “contempt of religion” law missed: Christianity is daily disparaged in Egypt with impunity.

Likewise, a 17-year-old Christian student accused of posting a drawing of Islam’s prophet on Facebook—which he denies, saying it was posted without his permission—triggered days of Muslim violence and havoc, including the burning of three Christian homes to cries of “Allahu Akbar.” The student, who was beaten, is to be “held” for fifteen days, “pending investigation.” Muslim leaders agree “that priests should publicly apologize for the images, and that the student as well as his family should move out of the governorate.”

Conversion Issues

Also according to the Pact of Omar, dhimmis “shall not prevent” any of their family members from converting to Islam.  Accordingly, some 20,000 Muslims just attacked a Coptic church, demanding the death of its pastor, who, along with “nearly 100 terrorized Copts sought refuge inside the church, while Muslim rioters were pelting the church with stones in an effort to break into the church, assault the Copts and torch the building.” They did this because a Christian girl who, according to Islamic law, automatically became a Muslim when her father converted to Islam, fled her father and was rumored to be hiding in the church.  This would not be the first time in recent months that churches are attacked on similar rumors.

Collective Punishment

Traditionally, if one dhimmi transgressed, all surrounding dhimmis were collectively punished. As the jurist al-Murtada writes: “The agreement will be canceled if all or some of them [dhimmis] break it”; another jurist, al-Maghili taught that “the fact that one individual (or one group) among them has broken the statute is enough to invalidate it for all of them.”

Accordingly, a mob of over 3,000 Muslims attacked Christians in an Alexandrian village because a Muslim barber accused a Christian of having “intimate photos” of a Muslim woman on his phone (Sharia bans non-Muslim men from marrying Muslim women).  Terrified, the Christian, who denies having such photos, turned himself in to the police. Regardless, Coptic homes and shops were looted and set ablaze. Three Christians were injured, while “terrorized” women and children, rendered homeless, stood in the streets with no place to go. As usual, it took the army an hour to drive 2 kilometers to the village: “This happens every time. They wait outside the village until the Muslims have had enough violence, then they appear.” None of the perpetrators were arrested.

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  • http://jc.does-it.net Geneww

    Please read the one page proof that God authored the Bible at http://jc.does-it.net. Then read the Koran and apply the same logic for proof of authorship. You will rapidly discern that everything God loves and established (Judeo-Christian, Israel and the "One Nation under God…USA") is hated by its author.
    The world and this countries problem is not politics but a real battle between Righteousness and Evil. Satan is a liar, deceiver, counterfeiter and out to destroy. Name one Muslim led country where Judeo-Christians are not subdued to servitude, or killed. The “One World Leaders” and Arabs countries have funded billions to destroy governments with Judeo-Christian Constitutions and principals since they can not co-exist!
    Wake-up and vote against anyone the existing entrenched politicians (who are not fighting this administration) endorse!

  • Whit

    If you believe in Sharia law you are my enemy.

  • Fred R.

    Whit, you are absolutely correct. Sharia law is the enemy of all FREE people.

  • jacob

    However, the way matters look and the indoctrination Muslims are bent on, I
    wouldn't be surprised for Shaaria law to start becoming the law of our land…
    We have already that jackass of a New Jersey judge abiding by Shaaria's
    dictum, ruling in favor of a husband who raped his wife that we know of and
    GOD only knows how many more we don't…
    England is already abiding by Shaaria courts and in Europe, Muslims block
    steets at their prayers time and authorities and people are just watching and
    affraid of reacting…
    And since we commited horrible offenses against the Muslim world for which
    our innefable President apologized profusely, genuflexing afterwards to the
    Keeper of the Faith, the king of Saudi Arabia and of top of that, he found we
    are indebted to the Muslims for our independence, what then might be the
    next step our rulers accursed "POLITICAL CORRECTNESS" will stick us
    with ?????

  • Omar

    This is such an invaluable series, Mr. Ibrahim. Please keep it up!

  • Arius

    Most of my family and my people were slaughtered by the Turks in the Armenian Genocide in 1915 after several other waves of mass murders in the late 1800's and before WW1. My heart goes out to the Copts that are tortured to the pleasure of Muslims in Egypt. Muslim mass murder and genocide of Armenians, Copts, Assyrians, and other Christians is part of the Islamic jihad against the Other, everywhere.

    What should the Copts do? There are models to consider: the Jewish, the Armenian, and the Kurds.

    The Jewish movement in Palestine was shocked by the Armenian Genocide and feared that the Turks would turn on them so they avoided making any threat to Turkish rule. There is documented evidence that the Turks planned to exterminate the Jews from Palestine after dealing with the Armenians, Greeks, and then Arabs. The Jews in Palestine were saved by the end of WW1 when the British displaced the Turks.

    The Armenians supported Russian liberation early in WW1. With the retreat of the Russian army due to the Russian revolution the Turks reoccupied eastern Anatolia. The Germans then encouraged a final solution to the Armenian problem and the last Caliph issued his proclamation for jihad on the Armenians and all other infidels. Many Armenians and Greeks were ritualistically killed while an Imam was reading from the Koran. The Western allies used the Armenians during WW1 then abandoned us to the Turks.

    The Copts do not have the option of keeping their heads down until liberated by an invading army. Anyway, the West used then threw us away. The West doesn’t care about the plight of the Copts or any of us and cannot be trusted. However, because there is not the overriding threat of invasion it is unlikely that an Islamic Egypt could organize mass murder on the Turkish scale in WW1 so the Copts could organize like the Armenians and wage a guerilla war against Muslim oppression without the likelihood of a ‘final solution’.

    My recommendation is for the Copts to use a third model, the Kurdish in Turkey. Wage war against Muslim oppression. Like the Kurds they must use all means. Political, assassination, military, alliances (domestic and foreign). Yes, the backlash against the Copts will be terrible, but not a ‘final solution’. There are many of us that will support the Copts by all means possible. But it is up to them, either remain dhimmis, submit, and suffer a slow death, or fight.

    The Copts should look to the Kurds. Copts should form an alliance with the Kurds fighting the Turks and train with them to build up the organization and infrastructure for military resistance. There are also the Christians and Animists in Africa for potential military alliances. The Copts could become the lynchpin of a grand alliance against Muslim rule in the Middle East.

    DO NOT DEPEND ON THE WEST. It’s up to the Copts to making a beginning. There are more of us than they know that will support them.

  • mahdi

    Islam is at it's end. Violence has no future. It's matter of time when it will eat itself from within

    • Arius

      Violence has no future? Islam will eat itself from within? You try to find solace in the face of triumphant Islam that has breached the defenses of the West by retreating to an imaginary world. The Copts don't live in your imaginary world. They live under an oppressive Islam that is very real. They suffer. You tell them to keep their heads down? This is why I no longer put any faith in the West that lives in the ivory tower of its imagination disconnected from reality.

  • hajid

    Copts are more educated and wealthier than muslim Egyptians. Therefore Muslims there have every reason to persecute the Copts, mainly for economy reasons. To hide their greediness and treachery, they use Allah for their cause.

    Sounds like the OWS, who want to take money from the 1% here.

    The US should welcome the Copts for humanitarian and economical reasons.

    • Arius

      The West should support the Copts, but instead as usual the West supports Islam.

  • dwad

    muslims being muslims

  • santa

    In modern usage, dhimmitude refers to discrimination against or treating as second class citizens non Muslims, including Jews, where a majority of the residents are Muslim. Thanks.
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