The Persecution of Egypt’s Coptic Christians Continues

The Arab Spring seems to be bearing some unwelcome fruit in terms of the persecution of Christians in Egypt. The National Review reports:

Over the weekend, Muslims apparently incited by Islamist hardliners again terrorized Coptic Christians, in what is now a pattern of attacks against them and their churches. Possibly the Islamists are jockeying for political power in this transitional period, or even trying to immediately effect a religious cleansing similar to the one that has happened in Iraq.

Copts, numbering about 10 million, constitute the largest Christian group and the largest religious minority in the Middle East. Their size will likely prevent an escalating persecution of them from going unnoticed for long in the West.

Coptic Christians in the Imbaba district of Cairo report that on Saturday night they were assaulted by Muslims who looted and burned St. Mina’s Church and the Church of the Virgin Mary and attempted to burn St. Mary and St. Abanob Church. The press has reported that, according to the Copts, twelve people were killed. According to the Egyptian interior ministry, which habitually downplays or ignores attacks against Christians, possibly six victims were Christian and six were Muslim. More than a hundred people were injured, as Copts fought back with sticks and stones.

The Persecution of Egypt’s Coptic Christians Continues – By Nina Shea – The Corner – National Review Online.

New Statesman – Leader: The government needs to know how afraid people are

Ok, so the Archbishop has made a few headlines with his New Statesman editorial. Looking at the response that it is getting in certain circles you would think he had announced that the Church of England was going to vote as a bloc for the opposition come the next election. If you take the time to read the article you discover that as is usually the case with Archbishop Williams it is a carefully nuanced, thoughtful piece (though composed of reather dense prose). It is certainly not partisan – he notes that the Left at present seem lacking in ideas as to the way forward. I’d recommend the whole thing, but this seems to me to represent the heart of the article:

I dont think that the governments commitment to localism and devolved power is simply a cynical walking-away from the problem. But I do think that there is confusion about the means that have to be willed in order to achieve the end. If civil society organisations are going to have to pick up responsibilities shed by government, the crucial questions are these. First, what services must have cast-iron guarantees of nationwide standards, parity and continuity? Look at what is happening to youth services, surely a strategic priority. Second, how, therefore, does national government underwrite these strategic “absolutes” so as to make sure that, even in a straitened financial climate, there is a continuing investment in the long term, a continuing response to what most would see as root issues: child poverty, poor literacy, the deficit in access to educational excellence, sustainable infrastructure in poorer communities rural as well as urban, and so on? What is too important to be left to even the most resourceful localism?

via New Statesman – Leader: The government needs to know how afraid people are.