Egyptian Christians Forced to Leave the Sinai Peninsula

Egyptian Christians Forced to Leave the Sinai Peninsula

Jacob Thomas

   The largest Christian community in the Arab world lives in Egypt. They are known as Copts, most of them belong to the Coptic Orthodox Church, while a smaller number are members of Anglican, Presbyterian, and Catholic churches.

   Ever since the conquest of Egypt by the Islamic armies in the seventh century, Egypt’s Copts have undergone waves of persecution, some of which were very intense. During the nineteenth century, their condition somewhat improved during the British colonial rule. Some highly-educated Lebanese Christians moved to Cairo, and helped in the Revival of Arab culture, through the publication of Arabic-language journals and newspapers. The well-known daily Al-Ahram, is one of the contributions of Christians made to the land.

   However, ever since the Revolution of 1952 that toppled King Farouk, the plight of Egypt’s Christians worsened during the successive rule of Presidents Nasser, Sadat, and Hosni Mubarak. The “Arab Spring” Revolution, while promising freedom for all citizens of Egypt, ended with the election of Muhammad Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood organization. That was followed by the Army returning to power, with General al-Sisi, assuming the presidency.

   According to Open Doors Organization, “President al-Sisi’s authoritarian style of government has to some extent restored the rule of law in Egypt. In recent years, this has changed, however, causing historical Christian communities to be targeted as well. There is a small but growing community of Christian converts (Muslim Background Believers, MBBs), who bear the brunt of persecution, most often from family members. Believers are often kicked out of their homes when their Muslim families find out about their faith.”

Christian Persecution in Egypt | Open Doors USA

   The worst persecution is going on in the Sinai Peninsula. In this part of Egypt, ISIS (known also by its Arabic acronym, Da’esh) has found a fertile soil for its activities. Lately, it has been waging war against the Egyptian Army; and causing havoc to the tourist industry in the southern of Sinai resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. On 6 November, 2015, they managed to bring down an airline carrying 224 Russian tourists returning to St. Petersburg.

   Having declared the Peninsula had become a Province of the Caliphate (ISIS), the Jihadists announced that all Christians must leave. Early in 2017, they began a campaign of murdering Christians in the northern part of Sinai, at El- ‘Arish.

    In preparing this article, I went online and gathered information from various online sources. The following report was filed from Ismailia, a city close to El- ‘Arish.“Christian families and students fled Egypt’s North Sinai province in droves Friday after Islamic State killed the seventh member of their community in just three weeks.

   ‘A Reuters reporter saw 25 families gathered with their belongings in a church in the Suez Canal city of Ismailia, and church officials said 100 families, out of about 160 in North Sinai, were fleeing. More than 200 students studying in Arish, the province’s capital, have also left.

   “Seven Christians have been killed in Arish between January 30 and Thursday, February, 2. ISIS, which is waging an insurgency there, claimed responsibility for the killings, five of which were shootings. One man was beheaded and another set on fire.

   “I am not going to wait for death,” Rami Mina, who left Arish on Friday morning, said by telephone. ‘I shut down my restaurant and got out of there. These people are ruthless.’ Sectarian attacks occur often in Egypt but are usually confined to home burning, crop razing, attacks on churches and forced displacement.”

   On Monday, 6 February), the Christian Satellite Station, “Al-Hayat,” telecast a heart-rending report about the martyrdom of a Christian worker who was in a mini-bus returning home to El- ‘Arish. The vehicle was stopped by ISIS warriors and asked about the religious faith of the passengers. One was a Copt by the name of Hana, an abbreviation of Youhanna (John). He was forced to get out and was told to confess the Shahadah; he refused and one bullet hit him; still he wouldn’t obey their command. Just before they riddled his body with more volleys, he lifted his right arm and showed the tattooed cross on the back part of his hand, confessing with all his might, his faith in Jesus Christ!  The Shahadah is:  “I confess that there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah.”  By repeating it, a person becomes officially a Muslim.

   “Al-Hayat” TV, added that members of ISIS had obtained a list of the Christians to be evicted/murdered, and their addresses. Unfortunately, it must have been obtained from some Muslim neighbors. This tragic phenomenon replicated what had happened two years ago, when the Christians of Mosul were ordered to leave or accept Islam. Their homes were marked with the Arabic letter “N” (inverted crescent with one dot in its midst.) Muslims designate a Christian with the Qur’anic name of Nasrani, (pl. Nasarah.) It’s a pejorative term, that Arabic-speaking Christians detest, proudly using the word, “Massihi” which is equivalent to “Christian.” It was the Muslim neighbors of Mosul’s Christians who designated the exact addresses of their Christian neighbors!

   How can any normal human being murder in cold blood, a person whose faith differs from his own? Unfortunately, the sacred and authoritative Islamic texts, do sanction such horrific acts! Jews and Christians who did not embrace Islam, and refused to pay the humiliating Jizya tax, were subject to death!

   “Fight those who believe not in God and the Last Day and do not forbid what God and His Messenger have forbidden — such men as practise not the religion of truth, being of those who have been given the Book — until they pay the tribute out of hand and have been humbled.” Qur’an, Surah 9, Ayah 29 (Translation by A. J. Arberry)

   “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” (Yusuf Ali)

Note:The People of the Book” designates Jews and Christians who had received God’s revelations, but altered them to erase a supposedly prophecy that referred to the coming of an Arab Prophet, whose name would be, Muhammad.


Jacob Thomas

Consultant on Middle Eastern affair/ Columnist

3 Responses

  1. Lizzie says:

    Who can live in comfort and tolerance with Islam? They even murder each other let alone those who follow different religions.
    I feel so sorry for the Copts and any Christians living in Islamic countries. They suffer persecution,torture and murder and most muslims think this is OK. The hadiths in the Koran tell them to subdue non-believers and they consider it their duty to kill and persecute. Allah it seems is not a God of love like the Christian deity but a bloodthirsty brute who allows Christian babies to be born so that his exclusive muslim followers can kill them to feel good about themselves.
    It is beyond understanding of those that love others as Christ tells them to do and until this message enters the hearts of muslims there will never be peace on earth.

  2. Face_The_Truth says:

    [] [] [] JACOB THOMAS: “Egyptian Christians Forced to Leave the Sinai Peninsula: It was the Muslim neighbors of Mosul’s Christians who designated the exact addresses of their Christian neighbors!” [] [] []

    The same fate was (is) experienced by Bangladeshi “Hindus” living in newly created East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in 1947 A.D. after the division of Indian subcontinent by British Christian imperialists.

    In the West Pakistan, “Hindus” were immediately targeted by Muslims and either massacred or driven out of their “Hindu” forefathers’ lands and “Hindu” forefathers’ properties right after the division of Indian subcontinent in 1947 A.D.

    But, in the East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) “Hindus” have experienced continual and systematic Islamic ethnic cleansing to this day along with governmental employment discrimination.

    There were many parts of Bangladesh (i.e., East Pakistan) where there were large percentages of “Hindus” living and surviving even 25 years ago and now “Hindus” are almost non-existent in those areas.

    “Hindus” had (have) two options: Either convert to Islam or flee to other countries!

    Muslims capture “Hindu” girls for forced Islamic marriages; because, Muslims know the outcomes of forced Islamic marriages are many more new-born Muslims.

    Similar demographic strategies are now being initiated in Western Christian Europe where foreign-born Muslims are targeting Christian girls for Islamic marriages as the following LINK shows.

    ‘Hundreds of posters displayed in a migrant-dominated part of Barcelona, Spain, are urging foreign-born Muslim men to marry Spanish non-Muslim women in a bid to spread Islam, and inviting members of the community to an “information meeting”.

    “Islamic law dictates that the fruits of this alliance will follow Islam, which will further strengthen our Islamic community,” the main body of text reads.’

  3. Walter Sieruk says:

    There are many Muslims who strongly dislike Christians. Some Muslims even hate Christians so much that they even become violence against them and burn their Bibles. One reason for this is that in the mosques and madrasas the Muslim clerics, as the imams who speak many awful and unproven terrible things against Christians and Christian doctrine. So much so the many Muslims get all worked up against Christians and Christian teachings and some those Muslims commit violent actions against Christians. Such false religious teachers, as those Muslim clerics, who speak to people unfounded and invalid evil things about Christians and Christian doctrines have been described in the Bible. For the Bible informs the reader in Second Peter 2:12. “They speak evil of things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption.” [N.K.J.V.]
    It also should be make clear that in this specific above Bible verse, as well as in John 3:16. The word “Perish” does not mean loss of being but loss of well-being. As in going to ruin by ending up in languishing in torment in a terrible place of suffering that the Bible calls hell. Luke 16:19-31.

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