Monday, January 11, 2010
I WILL BE the first to admit that many of the Coptic protests in the West against persecution in Egypt have been gaudy and downright embarrassing. But no one - no one - can deny that there is a serious, serious issue in that country. For the first time, the situation is making me physically sick and psychologically depressed.
The latest episode occurred this past Christmas when six Coptic Christians were murdered by a Muslim gunman as they filed out of a midnight mass in the southern town of Nag Hamadi.
The situation has become so bad that even, in Europe, His Holiness Pope Benedict felt compelled to address the issue.
I genuinely believe that President Hosni Mobarek is personally saddened by these events, especially in view of his long-time friendship with His Holiness Pope Shenouda III. However, it remains to be seen how serious he is about a crackdown on the mess in Upper Egypt. Egyptian police say they have arrested three suspects. It is my view that what is done with these three men and about this attack will speak volumes about how serious Egypt is about being viewed as a just, respectable nation on the world stage. For a country held in high regard - at least relative to other Mideast nations - such a state of affairs is unacceptable.
The Wall Street Journal recently put this event in context of a wider global issue.
In contrast,The New York Times appears to minimize the issue, framing it as a simple case of a shooting that just happened to take place at a church. Really.
See also the report and perspective at Christnology.