Hamza Hendawi – Associated Press – September 6, 2013
The Coptic Orthodox priest would only talk to his visitor after hiding from the watchful eyes of the bearded Muslim outside, who sported a pistol bulging from under his robe.
So Father Yoannis moved behind a wall in the charred skeleton of an ancient monastery to describe how it was torched by Islamists and then looted when they took over this southern Egyptian town following the ouster of the country’s president.
“The fire in the monastery burned intermittently for three days. The looting continued for a week. At the end, not a wire or an electric switch is left,” Yoannis told The Associated Press. The monastery’s 1,600-year-old underground chapel was stripped of ancient icons and the ground was dug up on the belief that a treasure was buried there.
“Even the remains of ancient and revered saints were disturbed and thrown around,” he said.
A town of some 120,000 – including 20,000 Christians – Dalga has been outside government control since hard-line supporters of the Islamist Mohammed Morsi drove out police and occupied their station on July 3, the day Egypt’s military chief removed the president in a popularly supported coup. It was part of a wave of attacks in the southern Minya province that targeted Christians, their homes and businesses.
Since then, the radicals have imposed their grip on Dalga, twice driving off attempts by the army to send in armored personnel carriers by showering them with gunfire. Their hold points to the power of hard-line Islamists in southern Egypt even after Morsi’s removal – and their determination to defy the military-backed leadership that has replaced him.
With the army and police already fighting a burgeoning militant insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula, there are growing signs that a second insurgency could erupt in the south – particularly in Minya and Assiut provinces, both Islamist strongholds and both home to Egypt’s two largest Christian communities.
The takeover of Dalga has been disastrous for the Christian community in the town, located 270 kilometers (160 miles) south of Cairo in Minya, on the edge of the Nile Valley near the cliffs that mark the start of the desert. In the initial burst of violence, the town’s only Catholic church was ransacked and set ablaze, like the Monastery of the Virgin Mary and St. Abraam. The Anglican church was looted.
Some 40 Christian families have fled Dalga since, Yoannis said. Nearly 40 Christian-owned homes and stores have been attacked by Islamists, according to local Minya activists. Bandits from the nearby deserts joined the looting and burning, they said. To ensure the spread of fear, the attackers torched houses in all Christian neighborhoods, not just in one or two.
Among the homes torched was that of Father Angelos, an 80-year-old Orthodox priest who lives close to the monastery. Yoannis’ home was spared a similar fate by his Muslim neighbors. A 60-year-old Christian who fired from his roof to ward off a mob was dragged down and killed, the activists said.
“Even if we had firearms, we would be reluctant to use them,” said Yoannis. “We cannot take a life. Firing in the air may be our limit.”
Those who remain pay armed Muslim neighbors to protect them. Yoannis said his brother paid with a cow and a water buffalo. Most Christian businesses have been closed for weeks.
Armed men can be seen in the streets, and nearly every day Islamists hold rallies at a stage outside the police station, demanding Morsi’s reinstatement.
Most Christians remain indoors as much as possible, particularly during the rallies. They say they are routinely insulted on the streets by Muslims, including children. Christian women stay home at all times, fearing harassment by the Islamists, according to multiple Christians who spoke to the AP. Most requested that their names not be published for fear of reprisals. “The Copts in Dalga live in utter humiliation,” said local rights activist Ezzat Ibrahim. “They live in horror and cannot lead normal lives.”
None of the town’s churches held Mass for a month, until Wednesday, when one was held in one of the monastery’s two churches. About 25 attended, down from the usual 500 or more. “They don’t want to see any Christian with any power, no matter how modest,” Yoannis said of the hard-liners now running Dalga. “They only want to see us poor without money, a trade or a business to be proud of.”
Like other Christians in town, he said police and authorities were helpless to intervene. “Everyone keeps telling me that I should alert the police and the army,” he said. “As if I hadn’t done that already.” At intervals, the 33-year-old father of three would stop talking, move carefully to the edge of a wall, stick his head out to check if someone was coming.
His big worry was the bearded Muslim at the gate, Saber Sarhan Askar.
Skinny with hawk-like hazelnut eyes, Askar is said by Dalga’s Christians to have taken part in the torching and looting of the monastery. Outside the monastery that day, Askar was telling priests he was there to protect it. But the orders he yelled to other priests left no doubt who was in charge.
“Bring us tea!” he barked at one priest. “I need something cold to drink!” he screamed at another soon after.
School teacher and part-time entrepreneur Kromer Ishaq fled Dalga a day after the Islamists took over. The Islamists already were accusing his father in a family blood feud – a charge that could prompt the killing of Ishaq. Then on the night of the takeover, Ishaq’s gold shop was broken into and looted.
The son of a wealthy family, Ishaq fled with his extended family all the way to the Nile Delta north of Cairo, where he is now looking for work. “I used to employ people and now I’m looking for work. I once lived in a house I own and now I live in a rented apartment. You ask me what life is like? It’s like black tar,” Ishaq said by telephone. Dalga is the most extreme example of Islamist power in Minya – no other towns are known to be under such extreme lockdown. But the province in general has seen a surge in Islamist violence since the coup against Morsi.
In the province, 35 churches have been attacked, including 19 completely gutted by fire. At least six Christian schools and five orphanages have been destroyed, along with five courthouses, seven police stations and six city council buildings. A museum in the city of Malawi was looted and ransacked.
On Aug. 11, policemen suspected of loyalty to Morsi stormed the provincial police headquarters in Minya city. They dragged out the province’s security chief and his top aide from their offices and ordered them both to leave the province. They did.
Minya was the epicenter of an Islamic militant insurgency against the rule of autocrat Hosni Mubarak in the 1980s and 1990s. It remains a stronghold of Islamists, including the extremist Gamaa Islamiya group. It also has the largest Christian community of any of Egypt’s 29 provinces – at 35 percent of Minya’s 4 million people, compared to around 10 percent nationwide.
Over Egypt’s past 2 1/2 years of turmoil, Islamist strength has grown. Hundreds of jailed radicals who purportedly forswore violence – though not their hard-line ideology – were freed after Mubarak’s 2011 fall and given the freedom to recruit. (mediachecker-the same was done in Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Bahrain etc – they were freed to assist in the downfall of Mubarak and called revolutionaries by the flat earth media) The south has seen a flood of heavy weapons smuggled across the desert from neighboring Libya.
A top Interior Ministry official in Cairo said the Minya police force suffered large-scale infiltration by pro-Morsi Islamists. The local force is now under investigation by the ministry. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the probe was still undergoing. The Minya security chief who fled the province, as well as two top aides, were replaced on Wednesday for what the Interior Ministry called the failure to maintain law and order. In the security vacuum, it has been Christians largely paying the price.
Christian businessman Talaat Bassili recounted how on Aug. 15, dozens of men, some armed, stormed his home in the city of Malawi, not far from Dalga. For three hours, with no police or army in sight, the attackers made off with TV sets, washing machines, mobile phones, jewelry and cash.
The attackers descended on the house from the scaffoldings of a mosque next door. In footage from Bassili’s security camera, shown to AP, men in robes and boys in sandals try to force their way into the house, then finally blast away the lock with Kalashnikov assault rifles. Some loaded their loot into a donkey cart. Later, the footage shows Bassili, his wife Nahed Samaan – in a nightgown and a house robe – and son Fady leaving to take refuge with a neighbor.
A week later, Bassili said a man called him on his mobile phone to ask whether he wanted to buy some of his stuff back. I said no.”
SOURCE: The Associated Press
Ethnic Cleansing of Syrian Christians – GENOCIDE
Syrian President Basher Assad isn’t the only target of Syrian rebels as Syria’s Orthodox Christian Church reports “ongoing ethnic cleansing of Christians” by al-Qaeda-linked Islamist militant groups in the embattled Syrian city of Homs.
The report from the Vatican news agency Fides says Brigade Faruq, which has links with elements of al-Qaeda in Iraq and Islamist mercenaries from Libya, has expelled 90 percent of Christians living in Homs, nearly 50,000 people.
Reportedly, the armed Islamists went door to door in the Christian neighborhoods of Hamidiya and Bustan al-Diwan informing the homeowners that if they did not leave immediately they would be shot. Then pictures of their corpses would be taken and sent to al-Jazeera, along with the message that the Syrian government had killed them.
As such, the men, women and children — denied by the Islamists from taking any of their belongings — were forced to flee to mountain villages 30 miles outside of Homs, their homes occupied by the militants who claimed the owners’ possessions as “war-booty from the Christians.”
According to reports by Barnabas Aid, a relief agency assisting Syrian Christians, the forced Christian exodus from Homs has been ongoing since the beginning of February when armed Islamists murdered more than 200 Christians, “including entire families with young children.”
At that time a representative of Barnabas Aid pleaded, “Christians are being forced to flee the city to the safety of government-controlled areas. Muslim rebel fighters and their families are taking over their homes.”
Unfortunately, Islamist attacks against Syria’s Christian community, including kidnappings and murder, have occurred almost from the onset of the popular uprising against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad which began in March 2011…
…Unhappily, these sectarian attacks on Christians have sparked fears that Syria could become like Iraq, where church attacks, kidnappings and forced expulsions by armed Islamist militant groups after the US invasion in 2003 drove Iraq’s Christian population from 1.4 million to less than 300,000 today….
Read more: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/frank-crimi/ethnic-cleansing-of-syrian-christians/
History of Jihad against the Mongols (1050-1258)
Reasons for the Mongol attack on Islamdom: Many Muslim historians look upon the Mongols as looters and plunderers. They tell us that the Mongols were like the Goths and Vandals, destroying everything in their way with the only aim to loot established rich civilizations. These historians allege that the civilization of the Muslims at Baghdad was the richest in the 13th century. This is wrong, while Baghdad was a rich and well endowed city, the Caliphate owed its riches to the constant looting of Persia, Central Asia, North Africa, Spain which the Muslim armies had been indulging from the beginning of Islam in 630 C.E., till they were checked by Charles Martel in France in 732 C.E. and till their brutal march across Central Asia towards China was reversed with equal brutality by the Mongols from 1200 C.E.
Sadly, nothing much has changed…
PS: Read the definition of Genocide!!!! I’m tired of calling it ethnic cleansing.
Syrian village is ‘liberated’ by rebels… who then forced Christians to convert to Islam
- Syrian rebels including al-Qaeda-linked fighters have gained control of a Christian village north-east of the capital Damascus
- Government media has provided a different account suggesting regime forces are winning
- The battle is taking place in Maaloula, a scenic mountain village where people still speak the ancient Middle Eastern language of Aramaic
By Mail Foreign Service
PUBLISHED:14:27 EST, 8 September 2013| UPDATED:01:08 EST, 9 September 2013
Terrified Christians claim Syrian rebels ordered them to convert to Islam on pain of death when they ‘liberated’ their ancient village.
Opposition forces, including fighters linked to Al Qaeda, gained temporary control of the Christian village of Maaloula after fighting with regime forces.
The reports have reignited fears about western support for the rebel groups, which are increasingly being infiltrated by Islamic extremists.
A Syrian military solider fires a heavy machine gun during clashes with rebels in Maaloula
Government media has provided a different account of the battle suggesting regime forces are winning
A general view of Maaloula, northeast of the capital Damascus. Rebels including al-Qaida-linked fighters are believed to have gained control of the village
Syrian government forces stand guard in Maaloula village, a scenic mountain village where people still speak the ancient Middle Eastern language of Aramaic
One Maaloula resident said the rebels, many of whom had beards and shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is great), attacked Christian homes and churches shortly after moving into the village.
‘They shot and killed people. I heard gunshots and then I saw three bodies lying in the middle of a street in the old quarters of the village. Where is President Obama to see what has befallen us?’
Another Christian resident said: ‘I saw the militants grabbing five villagers and threatening them and saying, “Either you convert to Islam, or you will be beheaded”.’
Another said one church had been torched, and gunmen stormed into two other churches and robbed them.
The beautiful mountain village, 25 miles from Damascus, is one of the few places in the world where residents still use the ancient language of Aramaic, which was spoken by Jesus and his disciples.
Historic: A church in Maaloula which is on a UNESCO list of tentative world heritage sites
State-run TV reported that all churches in Maaloula were now safe and the army was chasing gunmen in the western hills
It has become a key strategic battleground in the Syrian civil war because of its proximity to the capital. It was held by President Assad’s regime, but taken at the weekend in a rebel advance spearheaded by the hardline Islamist al Nusra Front.
Villagers said they heard several foreign accents among the rebels, with many feared to be Al Qaeda fighters imported into the conflict. A villager said he heard mainly Tunisian, Libyan, Moroccan and Chechen dialects.
In a video posted online, a rebel commander shouted at the camera: ‘We cleansed Maaloula from all the Assad dogs and all his thugs.’ But Syria’s state news agency claimed the rebels had withdrawn and the regime had regained the village, saying: ‘The army inflicted heavy losses in the ranks of the terrorists.’
A Christian woman who spoke to the Associated Press on Thursday also said there were reports that militants threatened villagers with death if they did not convert to Christianity
A church in Maaloula where fighting has been taking place overnight. A poster with the portrait of Syrian President Bashar Assad is seen bottom right
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2415586/Syrian-rebels-attack-historic-Christian-village-residents-speak-language-Jesus.html#ixzz2eOSDxbYT Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
Rebels = Al-Qaeda!!!!
There’s a video going around of a young girl being dismembered while still alive. I can’t watch it nor will post it but that’s the kind of barbarism the Syrian people are undergoing at the hands of these al-Qaeda psychopathic killers that Obama has armed.
Syrian minorities make up to 33% of the population in Syria. They back Assad because when he goes, they’re all wiped out. It’s that simple!