Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Egypt's Government and Media Conspire against Christian Copts

The following by Raymond Ibrahim is reposted here with permission:

Egypt's Government and Media
Conspire against Christian Copts

by Raymond Ibrahim
Gatestone Institute
November 2, 2012

From top to bottom, from the Muslim Brotherhood president to the Muslim Brotherhood-monitored media, the lies concerning Egypt's Christian minority—whether presidential lies that claim they are cared for, or whether media lies demonizing them—continue unabated. Some recent examples follow:

After two Christian boys were earlier arrested for allegedly blaspheming a Quran and were subsequently released, the Egyptian media, following the claims of the Muslim Brotherhood, credited President Morsi with their release:Ikhwan Web, the Brotherhood's official English website, and the website of its political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party, both ran with a report titled "Morsi Orders Release of Christian Boys Held for Desecrating Holy Quran in Egypt, the opening sentence of which reads: "Two Egyptian Coptic boys are freed from juvenile detention, at President Morsi's instructions…" This magnanimous narrative was widely disseminated in the media, including in the West.

Yet, according to the lawyer of the two Christian boys, Guirgus Bebaway, "the claim that Morsi interfered to have the two children released is simply false …. President Morsi had nothing to do with the Release of Nabil Nady Rizk, 10 years old, and Mina Nagui Farag, 9 years old," the two boys who "were taken to a different place until the situation calms down in their village," where wild riots and protests had ensued.

Likewise, Morsi's visit to Sinai—where, among other signs of jihadi infiltration, Christians were recently attacked and displaced—was trumpeted by the Western media as proof of his commitment to protect the Copts. For example, in a report titled "Egypt's president visits Sinai to 'reassure' Copts," AFP wrote "Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi visited the Sinai peninsula on Friday to meet with and reassure Coptic families who fled from the town of Rafah after receiving death threats, his Facebook page said" (emphasis added).

Yet, according to the Coptic bishop of Sinai, although he and many Coptic representatives were eager to meet with Morsi, they were never allowed an opportunity, but rather were kept in the lobby with Sinai's Bedouins and others, where they all got to hear the president declare some platitudes concerning the equality of all Egyptians from afar—platitudes that seemed so generic that Bishop Qazmaan remarked "we cannot determine the sincerity of his words."

Finally, because Egypt's Copts were recently denied justice concerning last year's Maspero Massacre—when the Egyptian military slaughtered Christians protesting over the constant attacks on their churches, including by running them over with armored vehicles, only to be exonerated in court—they congregated again around Maspero both to protest and mark the anniversary of the incident. And, just as the Egyptian media had demonized the protesting Christians during the original Maspero Massacre—falsely claiming that Copts were attacking and killing Egypt's soldiers, which even the Western media ran with—the media again turned victim into persecutor in its coverage of the anniversary.

For example, a TV anchorman for El Qahira station, while covering the anniversary march, asked "why rehash all this?' and, in the non-sequitur of the year, claimed that whenever Copts demonstrate and call for their rights, "only one nation, one people" profits: Israel. Thus, once again, Egypt's Christian minority, who seek only equality, were portrayed as "traitors," more interested in empowering foreign powers than in helping build Egypt. He even broadcast non-violent scenes from last year's massacre—not the ones of soldiers shooting at and running over Christians—asking, "What's the big deal"?

The sister of one of the slain Copts from the massacre, Mina Daniel, further confirmed all this, saying that the media "continues to be corrupt"; that she was invited to be interviewed by one station, which proceeded to edit and delete her words; and, in short, "nothing has changed … the same thing that happened last year during the massacre, when the media claimed Copts were attacking the military is happening today… this is a catastrophe, and we continue to suffer from the same story."

Indeed, despite all the media propaganda, whether straight from Egypt's president or from Egypt's mainstream media, it is business as usual for Copts: they are portrayed as disloyal troublemakers, who, nonetheless, are cared for by the government—when the truth is the exact opposite.
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

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