SIXTH COLUMN

"History is philosophy teaching by example." (Lord Bolingbroke)

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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Three Killed in Church Riot in Egypt

What caused the riot?

Coptic Christians, the ancient Christian sect that predates Islam by over 1,000 years is under pressure to convert.. to convert to Islam. Conversion to Islam is simple: repeat a few simple words and, lo and behold, you are a Muslim. One doesn't need to know a thing about Islam before conversion and many don't. One important fact that all should know before repeating those few simple words is that once the commitment is made, you can't change your mind. Those that do pay the price of their lives.

The demonstration in Egypt was about a play entitled "I Once Was Blind But Now I See," about "a poor young Copt who is drawn to Islamist militants who then try to kill him." What did he do to deserve to be killed? Was he an informer or commit a criminal act? No, he became disillusioned with Islam. Islam didn't live up to his expectations and he decided to leave: he became an agnostic which is a criminal act to Muslims. That's right. Individuals that become Muslims share the same principle as do made members of the Mafia -- they cannot leave on pain of death.

Although the production was shown on a DVD two years ago, militants are thought to have distributed them "to stoke sectarian tensions ahead of (upcoming) legislative elections November 9."


The Interior Ministry described the protesters as "fanatic elements" who "escalated a negative reaction to a play." The ministry said about 5,000 Muslims marched to the church after Friday noon prayers at mosques.
"The police tried to prevent (the demonstrators) from approaching the church and attacking it, but the protesters did not heed the warnings and started to hurl stones at the church, security forces and pedestrians," the ministry said.
The riot was sparked by the distribution of a DVD of a play that was performed at the church two years ago. The play, "I Was Blind But Now I Can See," tells the story of a young Christian who converts to Islam and becomes disillusioned.
The church's director, the Rev. Augustinous, said it was difficult to explain the reaction to a one-time performance that took place two years ago.


The church director, the Rev. Augustinous played down the possibility that the DVD was offensive: the "Christian hero is ultimately saved by a Muslim friend." Copts walk a thin line. Once the majority, today they represent only 10 percent of Egypt's population of 70 million and must appear as inoffensive as possible. The showing of the DVD, even in private, violated the rules -- nothing that shows Islam in bad light is permitted; violators are severely punished.

Books, articles, blogs, and messages that criticize Islam are considered to be an insult. Even authors and bloggers in the West are sometimes verbally threatened, sued, attacked physically, sentenced to death, or even killed. These are examples the most well known in the West. In the Muslim world there are thousands of the witting and non-witting that have threatened or murdered for "insulting Islam."

Muslims claim that there is no compulsion in religion," meaning that each is free to choose and practice. The riot in Egypt shows the lie to this claim: Muslims are willing to commit violence to drive out or silence practitioners of other religions. In this case they killed two birds with one stone, using outrage over an event that occurred two years ago for political reasons and to drive home the dhimmi or zimmi status of the non-Muslim population, reminding them what Islam allows or disallows for their non-Muslim subjects.

Many find dhimmitude too hard to bear. It is easier to "revert" as they call conversion, or go along with the claims and demands of the Muslim overlords. From time to time Egyptian Copts complain to authorities that their members, especially young women, have been kidnapped and forced to convert. Muslim authorities tend to do nothing. The practice is widespread throughout the world where forced conversions and riots are sparked at the slightest pretext of offense. But then, what doesn't offend Muslims?

Europeans and Americans would be wise to think very hard and carefully to invite more Muslims to live among them. After all, Egypt was once a predominately Christian country. Look what happened in the space of a few centuries and regard how Islam treats non-Muslims in Saudi Arabia, and in the areas of Nigeriawhere Islam is spreading through the usual way: violence, intimidation, and deception.

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