Bishop Anba Angaelos is episcopal head of the Coptic Church for the United Kingdom. In a scathing analysis of the situation in Egypt, he said that Christianity was being wiped out and that Christians have done all they can do to forgive their persecutors, but unless something is done they will be massacred at the hands of the Muslims:
At least 40 Coptic Christians have been killed in “targeted attacks” in Egypt over the last three months and many are being warned they must “leave or die,” a prominent Coptic bishop has said.
Coptic Bishop Anba Angaelos, the general bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, issued a statement Tuesday decrying the escalating violence the Christian community in Egypt has faced over the last several weeks.
As The Christian Post has reported, there has been an ongoing series of murders of Christians and deliberate attacks on the Coptic community in recent weeks, some of which Islamic State militants in the Sinai Peninsula are believed to be responsible for.
Angaelos has said the number of Christians who’ve been murdered in recent attacks on the Coptic community is now up to 40 in just the last three months.
“I have now drafted and redrafted this statement numerous times over the past weeks, wanting to say something about the deadly attacks experienced by Coptic Christians in Egypt on a daily basis. Yet every time I do, there seems to be a new and often more horrifying attack that needs to be addressed,” Angaelos wrote in a statement shared with CP. “In the past three months alone 40 Coptic Christians have been murdered in targeted attacks in Egypt.”
“From the [Dec. 11] terrorist bombing on St. Peter’s Coptic Church in Cairo that claimed the lives of 29 mainly women and children, to the murders of individuals across the country since, the one common denominator is that these innocent children, women and men have had their lives brutally and tragically ended for no other reason except that they are Christians,” Angaelos said.
“Incitement by terrorist groups that call for the killing of Christians in Egypt has spiralled over the past weeks to the extent that lists of churches and individuals have now been released as desirable targets,” Angaelos explained. “While persecution is nothing new for the Coptic community, this escalation of attacks over the past months, culminating in the most recent murders of seven Christians in Al-Arish, has resulted in the displacement of hundreds forced to leave their generations-old homes in North Sinai.”
“These horrific attacks have gone largely unnoticed by the international community, but Copts continue to suffer tragic violations daily,” Angaelos added.
Angaelos asserted that crimes against Christians are “religiously motivated.” He points out that in many cases, extremists have circulated flyers in villages that tell Christians to “leave or die.”
“Similar events have tragically occurred far too often over the past years, and there is unfortunately little deterrent to prevent them from reoccurring,” Angaelos added.
“In our fast moving world that is filled with so much news of tragedy, war and death, it is all too easy for atrocities to become ‘incidents,’ and for individuals suffering them to become mere statistics, very quickly pushed aside by the next item of news,” he continued. “In the eyes of the perpetrators they are a viable target, and in the eyes of the world they become a regrettable phenomenon; yet what is actually left behind is traumatized individuals, families and communities that have lost loved ones, living the reality of themselves being targeted.”
Angaelos further emphasized that even though Copts in Egypt have faced persecution and atrocities, they have done their part to remain peaceful and forgive their persecutors.
“After the destruction of over 100 places of Christian ministry and worship in August of 2013, the bombing of various churches across the country in the last decade, and the targeted killing of clergy, families, women and children, purely for their faith, the community and individuals within it remain non-violent and resilient,” he stressed. “Despite there being condemnation of these attacks by national government and authorities, there is yet to be a consistent robust and fair implementation of these same sentiments more regionally and locally.”(source)
The Bishop’s insightful comments align with our experience here at Shoebat.com through the Rescue Christians project. While it is good and ideal to try to keep Christians in their native lands, the reality is that these people do not have anything left for them in their native areas. Their homes have been destroyed and along with that the communities, economies, and social networks that make up any human society. Left without any means of sustenance and only able to rebuild based on what foreign money comes to them through donations in combination with the facts that they are isolated as minorities in a hostile Muslim-majority area and the peoples have been thoroughly demoralized and crippled by fear from the attacks, they are completely vulnerable and will be massacred as soon as a Muslim individual, group, or government decides to kill them for any reason.
As the Bishop has said, the Christians of Egypt and really, much of the Muslim world have faithfully done their part and more for keeping peace and trying to build a healthy relationship with their Muslim neighbors in spite of differences and have continued to do it even while they are being abused, cheated, tortured, and murdered. However, like the saying goes, “it takes two to tango”- the Christians can do anything and have all the hope in the world, but unless the Muslims are willing to do their part and reciprocate then nothing further can be done.
The decision that has been made by these Muslims and their governments is clear. Either they are unable to or they are unwilling to put forth a good faith effort to help the Christian peoples of their lands. Whatever the reason, the inaction of the Muslims to uphold their social responsibilities as human beings towards their fellow man is not an excuse for inaction and as we at Shoebat.com noted from our experiences, it is not the time to give the impression of offering help as a political cover for doing nothing. These people are the actual refugees who need to be relocated to the West and other areas because if they are not helped, they will die.
Christianity has survived for 14 centuries in Egypt, and while I do not want to simply “give up,” the fact is also that the welfare of these people come first. Buildings can be rebuilt, economies can be recreated, civilizations can be restored, even if it is a long and difficult process. However, lives cannot be restored once lost.
At the same time, this incident, while sad, is another reminder to Christians that in the struggle with Islam, Christians cannot simply “submit” to Islam because that is simply buying time before your inevitable death and destruction. Christianity has always been at war- a war against all evil for the salvation of the souls of men. In a war, there is no “middle ground”- there is a winner and a loser.
Christ has won the final battle through the cross, but the war for the souls of men will rage until the second coming. That said, it is why Christians must not only be prepared to suffer persecution and help the persecuted, but also to wage active war- spiritual and physical- against the wicked to seek to pervert and destroy God’s people. Just as the Christians of Egypt noted that they can do all they are able to but unless the Muslims are willing to reciprocate, nothing can happen, likewise the Christians can do all they can to be peaceful and avoid physical war with Islam and Muslims, but the fact is that such is as only as good as Muslims are willing to honor it, which they will only do so in as much as it is to their advantage before turning to physical war.
Prepare yourself accordingly, soul, mind and body, for as Islam rises in the West and Christianity becomes a hated religion more than it is already, the horrors of the old world will come full circle. Christians will have much to suffer for the sake of Christ, but they will also have to rise up and meet and defeat the Muslims in physical combat just as the Christians of old did for centuries.