August 19, 2013

Egypt's Security Forces Stand Back As Islamic Extremists Attack Coptic Churches In A Province South of Cairo

"The caretaker at the Church of the Archangel Saint Michael in Gizeh shows the extent of the damage, several days after the church was attacked by a crowd of pro-Morsi supporters. Mehdi Chebil/France 24." [Source: "In pictures: The ruins of a burnt-out Coptic church," France 24, August 19, 2013].

Below is an excerpt from the article, "Egypt: Islamists hit Christian churches" published by AP on Sunday, August 18:
After torching a Franciscan school, Islamists paraded three nuns on the streets like "prisoners of war" before a Muslim woman offered them refuge. Two other women working at the school were sexually harassed and abused as they fought their way through a mob.

In the four days since security forces cleared two sit-in camps by supporters of Egypt's ousted president, Islamists have attacked dozens of Coptic churches along with homes and businesses owned by the Christian minority. The campaign of intimidation appears to be a warning to Christians outside Cairo to stand down from political activism.
Another Christian activist, Ezzat Ibrahim of Minya, a province also south of Cairo where Christians make up around 35 percent of the population, said police have melted away from seven of the region's nine districts, leaving the extremists to act with near impunity.
The Angry Arab writes in response to the article above: "So the police and army confront Islamists at all other times and in all parts of the country, but when they attack churches they "melt away?""

I hate it when governments do this, but there is a twisted logic to their calculations. By standing back and letting extremist mobs run wild for a certain period of time the army can build the public consensus to impose martial law and take stronger action against the Muslim Brotherhood.

But, it's still a very horrible practice that has to be condemned on grounds of common decency. You can't let raging mobs take advantage of innocent people in a vacuum of confusion and chaos. The Egyptian police and military lose the moral high ground when they act this way. How can they honestly be respected by all segments of Egyptian society when they engage in behaviour like this? I have no sympathy for either side in this fight.

For once I agree with President Obama. Egypt deserves better, and, by extension, the Muslim world deserves better. All the current rulers there have failed their people catastrophically because they are not governing based on principles of justice.

There is a saying among the ancient Pythagoreans that just as salt preserves food, justice preserves society and the state.