Home
In this issue
April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Christians too afraid to complain as treatment in new 'democracy' worsens

By Nancy A. Youssef


An Egyptian Coptic Christian lights a candle next to a wreath during a candlelight protest after sectarian clashes left some 28 people dead




Nefarious reasons cited for lack of protection


JewishWorldReview.com |

KERDASA, Egypt — (MCT) Nearly three months after nearby residents looted and burned the Archangel Michael Church, Rida Gaballah, 49, one of the six people who tried to stave off thousands of attackers, stood among the ruins.

Utterly dismayed by the missing pews, the charred paintings of Jesus and the cross ripped off from the front door, he simply kept repeating: "This scene is horrible. This scene is horrible."

The Egyptian government vowed to rebuild the church, one of 74 destroyed in the first three months after the military ousted Mohammed Morsi from the presidency July 3. But work has yet to begin here, leaving the church as a monument to the violence brought by Morsi's Islamist supporters — and to the government's failure to protect historic Egyptian institutions.

But Gaballah, like other Christians, is reluctant to criticize. "Of course they are doing enough," Gaballah said when asked about the government's efforts, even as the scene around him proved otherwise, just 16 miles from the capital.

The unprecedented wave of attacks on churches sparked outrage in the weeks immediately after Morsi's ouster. But now, for both Christians and Muslim Egyptians alike, that anger has been replaced by a cacophonous silence, even though attacks continue. The 74 best-documented cases of attacks on churches came between June 30 and Sept. 30; there have been others since, though how many is uncertain.

Christians, who make up an estimated 10 percent of Egypt's 92 million population, have never had an easy time existing in Egypt, caught precariously for 80 years between a generally secular Egyptian state and Islamists who see Christians as heretics who threaten their vision of an Islamic Egypt.

The government historically has done little to protect Christians from the occasional outbreak of Islamist violence. No one has ever been convicted in Egypt for destroying churches, going back to 1972, when the first one was burned. There has been, at best, a single arrest in the most recent orgy of church burnings.

Yet Christians are loath to criticize the militarily imposed government, fearing, analysts say, inflaming hostility with a new regime that at least has not engaged in the anti-Christian rhetoric that characterized the yearlong rule of Morsi, an Islamist who rose to prominence through the secretive Muslim Brotherhood.

Clerics preaching that Christians were the reason for Morsi's demise triggered much of the anti-Christian violence that followed Morsi's ouster, though when Morsi was in power, violence against Christians was rare.

Still, many Christians are drawing from Morsi's rule, and what it portended for religious tolerance, the lesson that an authoritarian government imposed by the military is better than the alternative.

Christians "are looking at their ability to live. They see it as better to live under a strong regime than a democracy that elects Islamists," said Ishak Ibrahim, a Christian who is the freedom of religion and belief officer for the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, an advocacy group here. "The choice before people is freedom or the right to live. The people chose life."

It is the kind of analysis repeated over and over among Egyptians, a fear that pushing back against an increasingly authoritarian government could somehow lead to something they believe is worse: A return of the Islamists.

"There was a national solidarity unifying Christians and Muslims against the horrible damage inflicted by the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi," said Youssef Sidhom, the editor-in-chief of Watani, Egypt's biggest Christian newspaper, which his father founded.

Now, he said, using the shorthand for the Coptic Christians who dominate the religion here, "Copts are terrified to speak."

Amid such fears, there is little pressure on the government to do more for Christians. The police claim they didn't have enough forces to protect the roughly 2,000 churches nationwide, particularly as their police stations were also set ablaze during the outbreak of violence after Morsi's ouster.

Such limitations have continued, law enforcement officials say. A police colonel told McClatchy there are no specific efforts to go after those who destroyed the churches or to question residents in the small villages who surely know someone who is involved.

Protecting churches is not the police's job, he said, there are bigger battles to be fought — like finding out who destroyed the police stations and locking up members of the Muslim Brotherhood.

"Our job is not to protect churches," the colonel said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly about a sensitive subject. "We have arrested people and we try to investigate. Maybe the villagers will tell you what happened to the churches, but they don't tell us. They are afraid. The fact that no one has ever been convicted is not our fault. Ask the judges."

Observers cite more nefarious reasons for the lack of protection. Every attack gives the state more leverage to go after political Islamists, all with the public's approval.

"The state can say, 'Look at what the Brotherhood is doing,' " said Ahmed Ragab, a legal researcher for The Egyptian Center for Public Policy Studies, who conducted a study of the destruction of churches and visited five cities where such attacks happened. "The state does not see it as a sectarian problem. It is a security problem."

In a statement two days after Archangel Michael Church was destroyed, the leader of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox church, Pope Tawadros II, called for national unity and for Christians to stand with the armed forces. While buildings were destroyed, Christians could pray anywhere, he said.

"If the hands of evil kill, destroy and torch, then God's hands are greater and they build," Tawadros said. "Christ's commandments to us are love your enemy, bless those who curse you, and do good to those who abuse you."


FREE SUBSCRIPTION TO JEWISH NEWSLETTER THAT CARES ABOUT CHRISTIAN ISSUES

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". HUNDREDS of columnists and cartoonists regularly appear. Sign up for the daily update. It's free. Just click here.


Christians have never found Egyptian governments to be friendly. In 1934, Deputy Interior Minister Ezabi Pasha imposed 10 conditions on Christians who wanted to build a church. They included that Muslims had to approve construction of a church, churches could not face the Nile River or public facilities, and they could not be built within 340 feet of a mosque.

"A message of inequality and possibly hatred was bred," said Sidhom, the newspaper editor.

Four decades later, President Anwar Sadat began reaching out to Islamists, who were quickly emboldened in their quest to create an Islamic Egypt. Attacks began against churches, which outraged the public but led to no convictions of those involved, Sidhom said.

By the time of President Hosni Mubarak, mistreatment of Christians had become a bargaining chip, he said.

"Mubarak dealt with political Islam with a dual policy. His security left Christians to deal with blows from political Islam. Behind the scenes, there were deals — 'We leave you the mosques, the education system and you don't interfere with politics,'" Sidhom said.

After Morsi's ouster, Islamists angry by his demise and the killing of as many as 1,100 protesters Aug. 14 by the military blamed Christians for supporting Morsi's removal.

"Islamists have a belief that I am fighting for the sake of God, so if I die I am going to heaven. Threats don't work," said Ahmed Abdel Wahab, another researcher for The Egyptian Center for Public Policy Studies who helped Ragab study the church burnings. "They also would attack the Christians because they are weaker than the police. They can use the violence to start negotiating with the state without being prosecuted. In return, they say they will stop the attacks."

They appear to be looking now to activists such as Abd El Fattah and Mr. Saber.

Under such a backdrop, residents in places like Sol, a tiny, impoverished village 130 miles south of Cairo, asked the government for a permit to build a home that they later converted into a church, in 2000. The proponent of the Church of the Two Martyrs was killed. No one knows by whom and no one was ever arrested.

In March 2011, residents of Sol set the church ablaze amid rumors that a Muslim woman was in love with a Christian man. Two months after the January 2011 uprising that led to Mubarak's fall, the state was eager to show it was in control and quickly rebuilt the church. It is the one new building in an otherwise neglected village.

These days, church officials won't entertain any criticism of the government. They threw out two reporters for asking if the government could have done more to protect them.

"You are with the Brotherhood," the priest exclaimed. "You must leave."

The government rejects claims it has not done enough, noting that it has rounded up thousands since Morsi's overthrow. According to published reports, one person has been charged with attacking a church.

Here in Kerdasa, the charred church sits just blocks from the remains of the police station, which was attacked just hours before the church.

No security officers stand outside the church, where parishioners still pray amid the ruins. Not so outside the destroyed police station, where a security official quickly confronted two McClatchy reporters as they approached.

"We are doing our job," the officer explained.

Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Interested in a private Judaic studies instructor — for free? Let us know by clicking here.

Comment by clicking here.





© 2013, McClatchy Washington Bureau Distributed by MCT Information Services