For the first time in 1,600 years, they didn’t pray this past Sunday at the Virgin Mary and Anba Abraam monastery in a village in Southern Egypt.
Islamists firebombed and looted the monastery that dates back to the fifth century. For good measure, they destroyed a church inside. They then announced that they would be converting the monastery into a mosque.
Egypt is in the midst of an anti-Christian pogrom. Supporters of ousted Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi are lashing out at the country’s Copts for the offense of being Christian in Egypt. The militants have the same nihilistic spirit as the Taliban destroyers of the ancient Buddha statues in Afghanistan in 2001, the same poisonous arguments as anti-Semitic propagandists in every time and every place, and the same sectarian intent as Slobodan Milosevic on the cusp of his ethnic-cleansing campaigns of the 1990s.
If there were any doubt that the Muslim Brotherhood couldn’t be trusted with power, the wanton hate of its rampaging backers in the wake of its ouster should remove it.
Coptic Christians supported the massive protests that prompted the military to move against Morsi, and Coptic Pope Tawadros II was one of more than a dozen national figures who appeared with Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi when he announced Morsi’s removal. But the Christians were hardly the decisive force in the anti-Morsi uprising that reached across the spectrum from youthful Democrats to communists to supporters of the old Hosni Mubarak regime.
Islamists have nonetheless portrayed Coptic Christians as the moving force behind events. When the military attacked Muslim Brotherhood encampments in Cairo with deadly force Aug. 14, a local mosque in Al Nazla broadcast the news that Christians were the ones killing the protesters, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Shouting “Allahu akbar,” the villagers looted and burned a church that had only just opened after being under construction for 13 years.