Memo to Senator Lindsey Graham: You might want to read this and other stories on how the government in Egypt is trying to protect the Christian minority even as you try and weaken the government. From the Wall Street Journal:
MINYA, Egypt—Osama Makram Amin woke to the sound of gunfire, looked out his window and saw what he says were young men throwing gasoline bombs at the nearby Coptic Christian church.
Earlier that morning, security forces in Cairo had attacked two predominantly Islamist sit-ins, leaving hundreds dead. Now, hours later on Aug. 14, attackers in this Upper Egyptian city were embarking on a day of burning and looting that would target 14 Christian churches, homes and businesses. It was the work of Islamists enraged by the Cairo crackdown, said police and many Christian residents.
For Egypt’s interim government, the attacks on churches in Minya and elsewhere are proof of the dangers posed by the Muslim Brotherhood, whose protests against President Mohammad Morsi’s ouster last month have been met with deadly police force. The government has become a full-throated defender of Christians, calling them victims of Brotherhood “terrorism” and frequently citing damage against churches as it continues its drive
Some of the beleaguered Christians blast the government for failing to stop the attacks and charge that they are being used to generate sympathy for the government, but the reality of the danger they face is not disputed:
Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority makes up about 10% to 15% of the country’s 93 million-person population. For the most part, Christians are distributed evenly throughout Egypt, and integrated into every community and societal layer. A large number of wealthy Christians were thought to have fled Egypt under Mr. Morsi’s yearlong rule.
The highest concentration of Christians are in the cities and villages of Upper Egypt. In Minya’s governate, Bishop Makarias said, Christians make up about 35% of the population, the highest in Egypt.
Coptic Christians here live alongside a large population of hard-line Islamists: Minya is also a heartland of Salafi Muslims, in addition to members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Signs of trouble in Minya emerged shortly after Mr. Morsi’s July 3 overthrow, residents said during an independently arranged visit. Violence between a Christian and Muslim youth mushroomed into rioting and vandalism of Christian homes and businesses, Bishop Makarias said. Imams in two hard-line mosques near the church’s headquarters made anti-Christian statements during Friday prayers, the bishop said.
Owners of businesses throughout downtown Minya also found their properties marked with large X’s—red for Christian-owned stores, black for those owned by Muslims. Christian business owners say they were terrified.
So when the president and Senator Graham threaten the Egyptian government with a cut-off in aid, they are in fact threatening these 9 million Christians with reductions in their already thin line of security.
Thus far none of Senator Graham’s primary challengers have made the plight of Egypt’s imperiled Christians part of their campaign, but follow the websites of Lee Bright and Nancy Mace –both challenging Lindsey Graham, to see if they figure out that the senator is asking his conservative Christian base in the Palmetto State to revolt as he leads the revolt against the General al-Sisi.
Find time to read Ambassador Bolton’s piece in the Journal as well. And if you haven’t got the time to read The Looming Tower, at least read Powerline’s Scott Johnson’s short course on the Muslim Brotherhood.