The Christians of Egypt are the Jews of the Early 21st Century

I’m not being hyperbolic. The world needs to protect the Christians of Egypt, and it can do so by opening opportunities for them to immigrate. Christians number about 9 million people in Egypt—about 10% of the population—and they’re “the other” standing in the way of a full-blown Islamic state in Egypt (which is obviously coming).

If the Europeans were smart, they would accept as many Christian immigrants from Egypt as are willing to come. And the United States should extend immigration to Egyptian Christians as well. They would make terrific U.S. citizens and would bear witness to what it’s like to be a minority in a society that takes the Quran seriously. And Egyptian Christians would love American freedom.

I have of late been reading the great logician and scientist, Charles Sanders Peirce, and, in an essay titled “The Fixation of Belief” (1877), he describes authoritarianism in a manner unmistakably apposite to the direction in which Egypt is heading:

Let the will of the state act, then, instead of that of the individual. Let an institution be created which shall have for its object to keep correct doctrines before the attention of the people, to reiterate them perpetually, and to teach them to the young; having at the same time power to prevent contrary doctrines from being taught, advocated, or expressed. Let all possible causes of a change of mind be removed from men’s apprehensions. Let them be kept ignorant, lest they should learn of some reason to think otherwise than they do. Let their passions be enlisted, so that they may regard private and unusual opinions with hatred and horror. Then, let all men who reject the established belief be terrified into silence. Let the people turn out and tar-and-feather such men, or let inquisitions be made into the manner of thinking of suspected persons, and, when they are found guilty of forbidden beliefs, let them be subjected to some signal punishment. When complete agreement could not otherwise be reached, a general massacre of all who have not thought in a certain way has proved a very effective means of settling opinion in a country. If the power to do this be wanting, let a list of opinions be drawn up, to which no man of the least independence of thought can assent, and let the faithful be required to accept all these propositions, in order to segregate them as radically as possible from the influence of the rest of the world.

Jarringly, Peirce then observes that it is in this way that community “sympathy and fellowship” serve to “produce a most ruthless power.” In other words, the very impulse to brotherhood endangers those not designated a part of it.

I submit that this is exactly where Egypt is today: the utopian dream of a perfect Egyptian ummah (community of Muslim believers) has gripped a large segment of the Muslim majority population, and they obviously now mean to attain it.

We are, therefore, on the verge of witnessing a new exodus from Egypt. This is something that Barry Shaw, blogging at the Jerusalem Post, predicted back in May of this year, writing the following:

The subsequent rewriting of the Egyptian constitution will convert the country to Shariah law, will reduce non-Muslims to the status of dhimmi citizens, which means being penalized for simply living there as non-Muslims. If places such as Bethlehem are an example, the Christians will face relentless oppression, persecution, violence, destruction, and death as the Islamic majority force them out.

When Shaw wrote this I was dubious, but listening. Now, I agree. The Christians of Egypt are in the same bad position as the Jews of Germany in the 1930s. They need countries that will take them.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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19 Responses to The Christians of Egypt are the Jews of the Early 21st Century

  1. Paradigm says:

    “If the Europeans were smart, they would accept as many Christian immigrants from Egypt as are willing to come. And the United States should extend immigration to Egyptian Christians as well. They would make terrific U.S. citizens and would bear witness to what it’s like to be a minority in a society that takes the Quran seriously. And Egyptian Christians would love American freedom.”

    Europeans have been “smart” and accepted a lot of Christian Arabs from Iraq. In the Swedish town of Sodertalje, Christian Arabs outnumber the Muslims and as a consequence of this they harass the Muslim minority. They finally get a chance to even the score I guess. There is no reason to believe the Copts would behave differently. Better to keep Christians and Muslims apart.

    • santitafarella says:

      Paradigm,

      Wow. That’s disturbing. It hadn’t occurred to me that contemporary Christians would behave so badly. But, I still think that contemporary Christians from the Islamic world are, in the long term, fully capable of assimilation.

      —Santi

      • Paradigm says:

        Yes, I think so too. A few years ago there was an art exhibition here depicting Jesus as some kind of kinky gay person and the Christian Arab’s reaction was to hold a peaceful demonstration against it. As compared to the Muslim reaction to the artists who made sketches of Muhammed.

        And I realized I was perhaps a little harsh on the Copts. I don’t know that much about them. Their culture may be very different from Iraqi Christians. Hopefully they will not resort to violence and harassment.

  2. concerned christian says:

    Santi, I have been following the tragedy unfolding in Egypt since the removal of Mubarak. The hardcore, radical Muslims were given a green light to say whatever they want to say and do whatever they want to do. Here is what they have done since March 2011:
    They totally demolished a church near Cairo because of an affair between a Christian and a Muslim woman. The military watched the destruction that took more than a day, did not charge or arrest anyone, and what they did to placate the Christians was they rebuilt the Church.
    When Copts in a poor neighborhood of Cairo demonstrated against this attack, they were attacked by the police and thugs, killing few Copts and burning and destroying Copts residences and shops.
    Salafis attacked the Christians in Imbaba, burning a Church and killing 15 Christians, supposedly to rescue a Christian woman who left her husband converted to Islam, married a Muslim, thus having two husbands,
    This resulted in yet another church destruction, a church in Aswan Provence, which was being rebuild with permission by the officials. The Salafis decided to destroy it under the watchful eyes of the police. When they did that, the Governor lied in an interview on TV and claimed that the Christians built this church without permission and that “our youth” (he meant the Muslim youth) took the matter into their own hand to correct this mistake.
    The Coptic youth with many moderate Muslims started demonstrating against these events in Aswan. Last week, a video on Youtube showed the police and military breaking up these protests and beating a Christian viciously till they almost killed him. This unprovoked criminal act by the authority was much more brutal than the Rodney King beating, but the difference is that Egyptian Government ignored that completely.
    This Sunday, there was another demonstration by Copts and many moderate Muslims against these latest events. This time, the military, the police, the Salafis, and the thugs were ready. It was the bloodiest attack since January, but this time, the military who did not attack its people in January went wild. I just read an eyewitness report by Nawara Negm, a Muslim woman and a daughter of a famous Egyptian poet. In her report, she clearly exposes the conspiracy of the Government, the Salafis, and the thugs to inflict great harm on the peaceful demonstration.
    Where do we go from here? In my opinion, the event last Sunday was a smaller scale equivalent of the Jewish Warsaw uprising. Copts who have lived as slaves for the last forty years are finally seeking their rights. Sadly, the price is enormous with at least 25 Copts dead and more than 200 injured. Hopefully, the world will interfere and the Copts will not face the fate of the Warsaw Jews. Or maybe as you suggested the West should welcome the Copts who want to immigrate into their countries and not repeat the mistakes they did by rejecting the Jews who tried to escape pre-WW II Europe.

  3. Paradigm says:

    Concerned: I noticed you say “the West” rather than America or Europe. As I mentioned in my comment we already have problems with Christian Arabs, and even though I think they will assimilate in the long run it seems you think that all Christians are unproblematic.

  4. concerned christian says:

    Paradigm, every ethnic group has its own good things and bad things. I don’t know about what’s going on in your Country, but here in America the Coptic community is not much different from the locals. They cover the whole spectrum of occupations from professional to daily workers, and based on what I hear on the News fewer crimes or disturbances were committed by them compared with the population at large.
    Speaking for myself, I feel more loyalty to America which considers me one of its citizens after living here for few years; than to Egypt where Copts who have been living there for thousands of years are once again treated as second class citizens.

    • Paradigm says:

      If the Copts are doing well in America that’s good news. But I think they will face more problems here in form of muslims, who make up 5 percent of the population, and who are far more hostile than American Muslims. In fact, the Coptic church in Gothenburg was closed last Christmas because of threats that the Security Service deemed serious.

      On the other hand maybe it would be good if they did come here so that we got more people on our side. I don’t know…

      • concerned christian says:

        Actually in America, there are more Middle Eastern Christians than Muslims, that 5% Muslim population is a bogus number. Muslims to increase their clout, count every one with an Arabic name as a Muslim, BTW if you judge by my name only “the real name” you will think that I am a Muslim.
        Another reason many believe that there are more Muslims than Christian Arabs, is that Christians are part of the silent majority. They never had the political agenda of Muslims and do not have organizations such as CAIR or the Muslim American Society harassing people to demand special treatments from prayer breaks to Muslim Holidays. Again to see the difference, Copts and some other Orthodox Christians celebrate some religious Holidays such as Christmas on a different day, January 7, we seldom ask for a special treatment on that day.
        Also in terms of religious buildings, we don’t have the unlimited funding from countries such as Saudi Arabia, so while we are struggling to build our Churches, Oil rich countries build multi-million Dollar Mosques, many of them are following the Wahhabis teachings.
        The immigration figures started to change recently because of the lottery system introduced by T Kennedy. Thus more of the recent immigrants are Muslims based on the random draw, and some of them are coming here to turn America into an Islamic state, the same like what they are trying to do in other Western countries.
        One example of their mischief was the threats against Coptic Churches that was posted on the web this year. Following the massacre in the Church in Alexandria last new year’s eve, some terrorist groups posted addresses of various Coptic Churches in Canada and the States saying that they plan to attack them on Christmas eve, January 6. That’s why there was tightened security around these Churches,

  5. concerned christian says:

    Sorry Santi, I will post this youtube video, it is in Arabic but showing Muslim Thugs carrying knifes and walking with the Army and Police to viciously attack the peaceful Christians and the decent Muslims who were in a peaceful demonstration. This looks more and more like Hitler’s Germany.

    • santitafarella says:

      Concerned,

      I appreciate your videos—they are informative. Always feel free to share them. And your summary in this thread of the general situation is excellent.

      —Santi

  6. Paradigm says:

    Concerned: I meant 5 percent here in Sweden, I should have been more clear. I believe the figure for America is about 1.5 percent or something like that.

  7. concerned christian says:

    Santi, thank you for starting this thread and opening it for free exchange of opinions on these tragic events. I hope that other participants, especially Muslims who understand Arabic, watch this video and tell us what they feel about it.
    Paradigm, I was not sure about this 5%, but I guess by now you know where Sweden is facing.

  8. This is a really important issue, and I think it is not receiving enough attention. I personally hope that mass immigration is not the only answer, but certainly Egyptian Christians who wish to leave cannot be blamed, and should be welcomed as legitimate refugees deserving of asylum.

  9. concerned christian says:

    Santi, allow me to post that disturbing video showing the dead Christians commented on by the Coptic Pope. It’s not for the faint of heart. In the next posting I will have the complete video made by an Egyptian youth challenging all the lies in the pres conference of the military about the events in Masspero

    • santitafarella says:

      That is a disturbing clip in the above video. If you locate it as a stand-alone clip, please let me know (as I’d like to give it a stand-alone post).

      Anything else like this that informs, in English, on the situation in Egypt for Christians, let me know.

      —Santi : )

  10. concerned christian says:

    Sorry the previous one was the full report. You could start at minute 46, it is the part I mentioned in the previous post and it has English subtitles.

  11. concerned christian says:

    Thank you Santi, here’s the trimmed video.

  12. concerned christian says:

    Here’s a discussion on Canadian TV that gives some details of the latest events in Egypt and the Middle East.

  13. concerned christian says:


    A memorial march on November 11 commemorating the people who were killed on October 9, when the military attacked a demonstration protesting the destruction of a Church in Upper Egypt.
    Both Muslims and Christians joined in the march and they avoided carrying any religious symbols.

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