The gifts of the “Arab spring.”
Historically, non-Muslims whose lands were seized by the jihad had three choices: conversion, dhimmitude, or death. Today, however, they have a fourth option largely unavailable to their forbears: quit their lands of origin—emigrate—the latest testimony to the nature of Islam.
A recent report indicates that unprecedented numbers of Copts, Egypt’s indigenous Christian population, are emigrating from their homeland in response to the so-called “Arab spring”:
The Egyptian Union of Human Rights Organizations (EUHRO) published a report today on emigration of Christians from Egypt, saying that nearly 100,000 Christians have emigrated since March 2011. The report, which was sent to the Egyptian cabinet and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), warned that this emigration has been prompted by the escalating intimidation and attacks on Christians by Islamists. “Copts are not emigrating abroad voluntarily,” said Naguib Gabriell, the director EUHRO, “they are coerced into that by threats and intimidation by hard line Salafists, and the lack of protection they are getting from the Egyptian regime.”
The report goes on to list a number of attacks on Copts and churches—including the killing of Coptic youth in Moqattam, the Imbaba and other church attacks—adding “Salafist clerics, who gained political influence after the January 25 Revolution, have become emboldened, calling Copts Dhimmis who have to pay the jizya (tax paid by non-Muslims to the state) because they are not first class citizens and can never enjoy full citizenship rights, or obtain sensitive posts.”
Indeed, this boldness is a harbinger of things to come—and Copts know it, hence the emigration. Wagdi Ghoneim, a popular cleric and former imam in California, recently called Copts “Crusaders” on Al Jazeera—about the worst thing to call someone in the Muslim world—insisting that they do not deserve equal rights with Muslims in Egypt, because they are infidel dhimmis. Likewise, Abu Shadi, a top representative of the Salafis, told Tahrir News that the Copts must either convert to Islam, pay jizya and assume inferior status, or die. These are just a couple of examples of the countless Muslim leaders openly hostile to Egypt’s native population.
Nor is this phenomenon limited to the Copts of Egypt:
Gabriel sees a parallel with the Christian emigration from Iraq, Palestine and Lebanon. “After the massacre of the congregation of Our Lady of Deliverance Church on October 31, 2010, and other attacks in Iraq, the ratio of Iraqi Christians went down from 8% to 2%; in Palestine to just .5%, and in Lebanon from 75% to 32%. If emigration of Christians, who constitute nearly 16% of the Egyptian population, continues at the present rate, it may reach 250,000 by the end of 2011, and within ten years a third of the Coptic population of Egypt would be gone.”
Bear in mind these large numbers are not simply indicative of those who want to emigrate, but those who simply can: not only does it take years to work out the legalities of emigrating, but many simply cannot afford it. In other words, if emigration was a simple thing, the number of Christian emigrants from the Muslim world would be even higher.
As professor Habib Malik confirms, “It is principally the violence visited sporadically upon these Christian communities in their native towns and villages across the Middle East, and the absence of any reliable means of protection in a region seething with religious fanaticism and despotic forms of rule, which impels Christians to flee and not return” (Islamism and the Future of the Christians of the Middle East, pgs. 36-37).
But it’s more than this; in fact, we are witnessing another manifestation of history—witnessing firsthand how formerly non-Muslim lands become Muslim. For just as conversion to Islam (out of force, out of necessity, out of cynicism) and the outright killing of non-Muslims saw the ranks of Islam grow, so too does emigration fit in this same paradigm of Islamization.
Beyond the authoritative primary sources which unequivocally demonstrate the violent nature of Islam—including history and theology texts—which many prefer to dismiss as “dead books,” here, then, is yet another live example. And yet the West’s leaders, from academics to politicians, will continue insisting that Islam is the “religion of peace”—testimony to the endemic blindness inflicting this age.
Raymond Ibrahim, an Islam-specialist, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum. He contributes regularly to Jihad Watch.