Land Dispute or Jihad?

The Coptic monastery raid revisited

by Raymond Ibrahim

Jihad Watch

Even though Dhimmi Watch admirably noted the recent attack on the Abu Fana Coptic monastery in Egypt, after just watching a graphic video detailing the affair on the Arabic satellite program Hiwar al-Haq — which makes clear that the raid (ghazwa) was far from being motivated by a “land dispute,” as the Egyptian authorities insist — I figured I’d do a little translating and relaying, thereby giving readers more perspective on the matter:

For starters, Father Antonias, who was there, said that many “disparaging” words were hurled against Christianity by the Muslim assailants during their rampage, which, incidentally, included the destruction of altars and torching of Bibles. As the Bedouin terrorists were destroying the monastery, for instance, one monk reached for the cross, to which one of the Arab assailants mocked: “Hah! Let’s see if the cross saves you!” to which the stoic monk replied, “Truly, you do not know the power of the cross.”

The gravity of the situation is well demonstrated by the fact that Coptic Pope Shenouda, who, no doubt due to his delicate and precarious position — being the head of a Christian island in an Islamic ocean — often portrays Coptic-Muslim relations as being more amicable than not, said, “This is the first time they kidnap and torture monks. The issue is becoming critical” (Sawt al-Muhajir, vol. 9, issue 60, p. 2).

By indicating that this is the “first time” for Copts to be kidnapped and tortured, Pope Shenouda clearly means first time since the inception of the modern Egyptian state in 1952. Compared to what Copts, including their monks, who are supposedly “immune” from molestation in Islam, have experienced over the course of fourteen centuries of Islamic domination — such as having their tongues sliced off for talking in Coptic during the Mameluke era — what the Abu Fana monks experienced is, sad to say, child’s play.

But it seems that the good ol’ days of Islam’s domineering face are back again, in full swing. While the Coptic pope was visiting one of the critically wounded monks in the Burg Mina hospital, the latter told him: “Sir, the situation is constantly getting worse.” Indeed, this is the 17th time this particular monastery has been attacked.

All in all, seventy Bedouins, armed with machine guns, assaulted the monastery, destroying and burning. One would normally add “plundering” to the list, but, considering the austere circumstances of any given Egyptian monastery, zeal for material booty — which one can rationalize motivated the Coptic jewelry store attacks which left four Copts dead days earlier — just as with the “land-dispute” pretense, could hardly have been a factor. No, it was simply hate for Christians. Read on.

The video report depicted numerous monks, bruised, burnt, and bloodied, with broken bones and punctured wounds. One monk was severely beaten on the head, another stabbed in the neck. Only parts of the video were shown, since, according to the broadcaster, the rest was “too disturbing” to air.

According to Dr. Nagib Gabriel, who testified at court, the following occurred to the three monks that were kidnapped and tortured over the course of twelve hours:

“One of the monks had his arm and legs broken. The other two were tied together with ropes, suspended from a tree, and severely beaten with hoses and sticks. Afterwards, they were placed — upside down and still tied together — on the back of a donkey and shoved off. The monks were further commanded to spit on the cross and proclaim the shahada [the profession of Muslim faith that “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet,” which, when uttered in front of Muslims, transform the speaker into a Muslim] — beaten every time they refused, and even threatened with death.”

Sound like a “land dispute” to you?

Incidentally, the Egyptian police took their sweet time arriving — a full three hours — even though the police station is a mere two kilometers from the monastery and was contacted immediately once the raid was launched. This, of course, is standard procedure for Egyptian security forces, whenever Copts are assaulted: to delay, thereby giving their coreligionists time to wreak havoc and slip away. Such protocol is not necessarily because the police are in cahoots with the terrorists, but because they don’t want to be placed in the awkward position of arresting and prosecuting fellow Muslims, a charge Egypt’s many Islamists would be quick to pounce on to further demonstrate the current regime’s “apostate” tendencies, in that it dares side with Christians against fellow Muslims, irrespective of whether or not the latter are guilty.

More amazingly, the Arab (read: “Muslim”) media continues to insist that this atrocious attack was for land. Be that as it may, let us hypothesize for a moment: what if the exact opposite had occurred? What if seventy armed Copts had stormed a mosque, ransacking and defiling it, torching Korans, kidnapping a number of imams, torturing them and forcing them to spit on the Koran while saying that Jesus is the Son of God and their personal savior? Would the Arab media ever have portrayed such an imaginary scenario as being prompted over a “land dispute”? Even if it did, what would the average Muslim’s reaction (not to mention response) be?

A final telling anecdote: according to the Hiwar al-Haq episode, ex-Muslims reveal that when Christians living near Muslims die (or are killed), the latter have been heard to gleefully ejaculate: “May Allah keep decreasing them!” After hearing about the atrocities of the Abu Fana attack, far from being shocked, many Muslims were heard to say “May Allah burn them [monks, Christians, non-Muslims] with fire!”

Reminds one of Muslims dancing in the streets after 9/11, no?

In closing, the Abu Fana monastery attack was as much about land as the attacks against Israel are. The only difference, the one that makes Israel and Jews so hated by the Islamic world, is that, while the Copts are under Islamic authority — that is, kept in a state of dhimmitude, suffering any number of injustices whenever the whim takes any given Muslim — the Jews, while also living in the heart of the Islamic world and deemed lowly dhimmis, are autonomous and thus a constant affront to the umma.

Here’s to the day the Copts achieve a similar autonomy in their ancient homeland: Egypt.

Raymond Ibrahim is the editor of the Al-Qaeda Reader, translations of religious texts and propaganda.

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