Demonstration against terrorism by both Christian Copts and Muslims denouncing the bombing of the church.
By: Alexandra Kinias
Twenty minutes into the New Year and in one of the worst terrorist attacks on the Coptic Christian minorities in Egypt, a suicide bomber detonated himself in front of the church of al-Qiddissine – Two Saints in Alexandria, as worshipers were exiting after the midnight mass. The bomb that killed 23 and injured 97 also hammered another nail in the coffin of the country’s once tightly woven national fabric and raised more concern over the fragile status of the Copts. Once owners of the land, now, not only do they suffer from discrimination, but also are fearful for their safety and their future.
The incident marked another step in the decline of Egypt’s prosperity, a country once was a mélange of beliefs where Jews, Christians and Muslims lived in harmony before the Jews of Egypt were expelled in the mid of the twentieth century. In the rising milieu of religious intolerance, the fate of the country, with the rise of sectarian tension, is held by thin strings in the hands of manipulative puppeteers with a geopolitical agenda of destroying its soul, and thus its identity, as an initial step to reshape the region.
The puppet makers held responsible for this tragedy are members of Al Qaida’s Iraqi affiliate – The Islamic State in Iraq (ISI). On November 1, 2010, two months to date prior to the attack on the Alexandria Church, armed men, affiliated with this group raided the Church of Our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad while prayer was held and took the worshipers hostages, after killing the priest. The militants made contact with the authorities by mobile phone, demanding the release of Al-Qaeda prisoners and also two Coptic priests’ wives they insisted were being held prisoner by the Coptic Church in their monasteries in Egypt, against their will, after converting to Islam, an allegation denied by the church.
The dramatic Baghdad Church standoff ended with the death of at least 52 hostages during the rescue operation.
The Islamic State in Iraq (ISI) claimed responsibility for the Alexandria attack and warned the Egyptian Copts of more attacks after they renewed their demand of releasing Camellia Shehata and Wafaa Constantine.
So what is so significant about these two women that their abduction tale would result in the slaying of all these people and escalate threats to bomb more churches? The answer is absolutely nothing. However, the puppeteers are well aware of what strings to pull to arouse religious sentiments among the masses to create chaos.
Both Shehata and Constantine’s family disputes had been distorted into news about their conversion to Islam. Stories of Coptic women abandoning their faith are almost always a catalyst that ignites the sentiments of fellow Copts. The procedure is not common, but it often happens. Since divorce is unattainable in Christianity, some women or men convert to Islam to dissolve the matrimony
In 2004, after the disappearance of Constantine, Coptic protestors demonstrated for days when an announcement was made about her conversion. Few days later, the woman resurfaced and was handed back to her church. Not much explanation was given regarding the incident, but a lot of rumors hovered over her head.
A similar incident happened in 2010 when Shehata left her house after a marital dispute. Her husband reported her disappearance as a kidnap with the purpose of forced conversion. Upon the circulation of such news, the Copts organized demonstrations, if were not contained, would have ripped the stability of the country apart. Few days later, Shehata was found by national security forces hiding at one of her friends. The priest’s wife was returned back to her husband, but not before organized counter protests mobilized by zealous fellow Muslims requested the return of their Muslim sister back to them.
A report on Camellia on Al Jezeira English
Later, Shehata, who there was no evidence of her conversion other than rumors printed in yellow newspapers, appeared on a video circulated on youtube and announced that she never abandoned her faith and requested that her private life not to become material for more news articles.
Camellia Shehata appears on TV and denies her conversion
The puppeteers have used the two women as lure for creating chaos among the masses. Without their intervention or consent, the priests’ wives found themselves in the headlines, responsible for the terrorist attacks and deaths of innocent people. Too much time and innocent blood was wasted in their names.
Somehow Shehata and Wafaa’s incidents reminded me of Helen of Troy and her murky role in flaming the Trojan War. Unlike the Greek mythology, however, the priest’s wives are real. Converting a mythology to reality may be quite pricey.
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