However, Arabic news sources like El-Bashayer reveal a different, more practical, motivation: the desire to extort money from the Christians—echoed in an earlier report as a desire for a “donation” from the church:
Security forces succeeded in rescuing the life of the priest of St. George Church in Beni Ahmad, west of al-Minya, from being killed at the hands of the Salafists because of his refusal to pay them jizya money, according to sources…. [T]he church’s priest had declared that the Copts would not pay jizya, in any way, shape, or form. This is what caused the Salafists to want to banish him from the region, so they could collect jizya from the Copts.
This is not surprising; anyone following the growing Islamization of Egypt knows that increasing numbers of Muslims—called “Salafists,” that is, those who seek only to emulate Muhammad and the early generations of Islam—have been eying their Christian neighbors as easy sources for quick cash.
For instance, who could forget Egyptian preacher Abu Ishaq al-Huwaini’s recent lament that Muslims would alleviate their economic woes if only they would return to the good old days of Islam, when abducting and selling or ransoming infidels was a great way of making a living. (Accordingly, weeks later, two teenage Christian girls in Egypt were reported as kidnapped, held ransom, and then “sold” to another group.)
Nor is this outlook limited to self-professed “Salafists”: Earlier, Dr. Amani Tawfiq, a female professor at Egypt’s Mansoura University, said, “If Egypt wants to slowly but surely get out of its economic situation and address poverty in the country, the jizya has to be imposed on the Copts.” And days ago, Hazim Abu Isma’il, who is running for Egypt’s presidency, vowed he would impose the jizya on Egypt’s Christians.
Indeed, Al Azhar—Egypt’s, if not the Islamic world’s, top authority, often accused of being too “moderate” by Salafists—recently made Islam’s official position clear when its grand leader, Imam Ahmad Tayeb, defying history and reality, proclaimed that “the Copts have been living in Egypt for over 14 centuries in safety, and there is no need for all this artificial concern over them,” adding that “true terrorism was created by the West.”