The recent clashes in Cairo between peaceful Coptic protestors and Egyptian
security forces are only the latest sad example of an old and recurring
phenomenon: persecution of native non-Muslim minority communities in
the world of Islam.
The sequence leading up to this
bloody event is a familiar one: a Coptic church in Upper Egypt was
burned by Islamist extremists, and there was no reaction from the
authorities. Frustrated Copts gathered in Cairo’s Maspero neighborhood
to protest the absence of security around their places of worship; the
scene turned ugly when Army units fired upon demonstrators, with a
resulting death toll of 25, most of them Copts, and scores injured.
Appalling was the manner of the violence—video shows an armored
personnel carrier running people down. There could not have been a more
callous expression of the disregard by the Egyptian armed forces for the
lives of Egyptian Christians.