Friday, October 12, 2012
Egypt's Christians - Distraught and Displaced
Reuters reported last week that "Most Christians living near Egypt's border with Israel [in the town of Rafah in Sinai] are fleeing their homes after Islamist militants made death threats and gunmen attacked a Coptic-owned shop." Photos of desecrated churches and Christian property show Arabic graffiti saying things like "don't come back" and "Islam is the truth."
All media reports describe the same sequence of events: 1) Christians were threatened with leaflets warning them to evacuate or die; 2) an armed attack with automatic rifles was made on a Christian-owned shop; 3) Christians abandoned everything and fled their homes.
Anyone following events in Egypt knows that these three points-threatening leaflets, attacks on Christian property, followed by the displacement of Christians-are happening throughout Egypt, and not just peripheral Sinai, even if the latter is the only area to make it to the Western mainstream media. Consider:
On August 14, El Fegr reported that leaflets were distributed in areas with large Christian populations, including Upper Egypt, offering monetary rewards to Muslims who "kill or physically attack the enemies of the religion of Allah-the Christians in all of Egypt's provinces, the slaves of the Cross, Allah's curse upon them..."
As a testimony to just how safe the jihadis feel under Egypt's new Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi-who just freed a militant jihadi responsible for the burning of a church leaving several Christians dead-the leaflets named contact points and even a mosque where Muslims interested in learning more about killing Christians should rally "after Friday prayers where new members to the organization will be welcomed."
On the same day these leaflets were distributed, a separate report titled "The serial killing of Copts has begun in Asyut" noted that a Christian store-owner was randomly targeted and killed by Salafis.
Muslim Attacks on Christian Properties and Persons
For months, Arabic-Christian media have been reporting ongoing stories of Muslim "gangs" and "thugs" attacking Christian homes, abducting the residents, including women and children, and demanding ransom monies-not unlike what is happening to Christians in Iraq and Syria. In one particular case, the Muslim gang attacked the home of a Coptic man, "releasing several gunshots in the air, and threatening him either to pay or die." The gang "picked this specific village because Copts form 80% of its inhabitants." Such reports often conclude with an all too familiar postscript: Christians calling police for help and filing complaints, all in vain.
A Coptic Solidarity report from August 20 titled "Copts in Upper Egypt Attacked, Beat, Plundered," tells of just that-how Christians are being beat, their businesses set on fire, and their properties plundered (see also here and here for similar reports). Likewise, according to Al Moheet, a new human rights report indicates that, in Nag Hammadi alone, there are dozens of cases of Muslim gangs abducting Christian Copts and holding them for ransom. Concerning these, the Coptic Church is daily asking for justice and receiving none.
The exodus of Copts from their homes also has become an ongoing crisis, so much so that a recent statement by the Holy Synod of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt lamented the "repeated incidents of displacement of Copts from their homes, whether by force or threat." The statement also made clear that what happened in Sinai is no aberration: "Displacements began in Ameriya, then they stretched to Dahshur, and today terror and threats have reached the hearts and souls of our Coptic children in Rafah [Sinai]."
Indeed, back in February, a mob of over 3,000 Muslims attacked and displaced Christians in the region of Ameriya, due to unsubstantiated rumors that a Christian man was involved with a Muslim woman. Christian homes and shops were looted and then torched; "terrorized" women and children who lost their homes stood in the streets with no place to go. As usual, it took the army an hour to drive 2 kilometers to the village, and none of the perpetrators were arrested. Later, a Muslim Council permanently evicted eight Christian families and confiscated their property, even as "Muslims insisted that the whole Coptic population of 62 families must be deported."
A few weeks ago in Dahshur, after a Christian laundry worker accidently burned the shirt of a Muslim man, the customer came with a Muslim mob to attack the Copt at home. As the Christian defended his household, a Muslim was killed. Accordingly, thousands of Muslims terrorized the area, causing 120 Christian families to flee. One elderly Coptic woman returned home from the bakery to find the area deserted of Christians. Rioting Muslims looted Christian businesses and homes. Family members of the deceased Muslim insist that the Christians must still pay with their lives.
The same time the media reported about the displacement of Christians from Rafah, a quarrel between two school girls-a Christian and a Muslim-ended when several "heavily-armed" Muslims stormed the home of the Christian girl, causing her family and three other Christian families to flee the village. When the father returned, he found that all his saved money and possessions had been plundered. When he asked police for help, the officer replied, "I can't do anything for you, reconcile with them and end the problem."
Indeed, this has been the same attitude of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood led government: in all of the above cases, the government looked the other way, or, when called on it, denied reality. Thus the Coptic Holy Synod made it a point to assert in its statement that "nearly one month ago the media had published the violations against the Copts but the Egyptian authorities have not taken the necessary measures to protect the Egyptian families, who have the right to live safely in their homes." As for the Rafah incident-the only incident to reach the mainstream media-Prime Minister Hisham Qandil denied that Christians were forced to flee, saying "One or two [Christian] families chose to move to another place and they are totally free to do so like all Egyptian citizens."
Such governmental indifference is consistent with the fact that, despite promising greater representation for Egypt's Christians, President Morsi just broke his word by allowing only one Copt-a female-to represent the nation's 10-12 million Christians in the newly formed cabinet.
A cesspit: BBC Chairman's damning verdict on Savile abuse scandal and the cover-up by TV bosses
The Jimmy Savile scandal was branded a ‘cesspit’ yesterday by the BBC’s own chairman. Lord Patten admitted that heads could roll if corporation bosses were found to have acted improperly. He said he feared that the television and radio star may have been helped in his sordid sexual exploitation of teenage girls by other BBC employees.
Lord Patten also suggested the BBC was likely to broadcast a prime-time apology if the inquiries into Savile came back with damning findings.
Yesterday the former Tory MP asked director-general George Entwistle to review the corporation’s guidelines on child protection following what he called the ‘appalling’ allegations of sexual abuse against Savile.
He also said an independent inquiry at the BBC, supervised by an outside figure, should be started as swiftly as possible following a police investigation into Savile’s activities.
Former patients at Stoke Mandeville hospital in Buckinghamshire and another in Leeds yesterday claimed they had been assaulted during visits by Savile in the 1970s and 1980s.
Teenagers in wheelchairs and others recovering from cancer were among those said to have fallen victim to the DJ.
One claimed nurses told young patients to pretend to be asleep whenever the star visited their wards.
And in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, his elaborate tombstone was removed from a cemetery at midnight out of respect for ‘public opinion’.
Police have said they believe Savile was a ‘predatory sex offender’ who could have abused up to 30 victims over a period of more than 40 years beginning in 1959.
Lord Patten and others at the BBC are still struggling to explain who knew what and when about the decision to drop a Newsnight investigation into allegations against Savile.
On Sunday former director-general Mark Thompson, who left his post last month, said he had never heard any rumours or received any complaints or allegations about Savile when he was in charge.
But yesterday Lord Patten – who said he himself first heard about the Savile allegations less than two weeks ago when he read about them in a newspaper – insisted said Mr Thompson had been made aware of the Newsnight investigation last December by director of news Helen Boaden. When asked to confirm that the former director-general knew about the investigation, he said: ‘Yes’.
His comments were later retracted by the BBC Trust, which said he ‘misspoke’ on the matter.
When asked if he was convinced there were not others taking part or helping Savile with these type of activities at the BBC, Lord Patten said: ‘No’.
He also said that bosses could lose their jobs if they were found guilty of impropriety over their handling of the issue.
Addressing a Broadcasting Press Guild lunch yesterday, Lord Patten began with the words: ‘I would like to say one or two things about the appalling allegations and the cesspit of the Jimmy Saville allegations.’
But later there were tough questions for him to answer about how current BBC director-general George Enwistle could oversee the organising the independent inquiry when he was one of the executives facing questions about what he knew.
Mr Entwistle was one of the executives who were told about the Newsnight investigation into Savile last year, although it is denied he knew the exact nature of the allegations.
There had been criticism that the BBC had ditched the investigation on its Newsnight programme late last year because it would have run counter to other celebratory shows about the once popular presenter which were then being prepared for broadcast.
But Lord Patten said yesterday the editor of Newsnight was ‘not leaned on’, and no BBC executives had intervened.
Earlier this week Mr Entwistle made an apology to Savile’s victims during an interview on Radio 4’s Today programme and said there would be an inquiry to follow the police investigation.
Lord Patten said yesterday: ‘The BBC has in place child protection policies, processes, guidance for us by all staff on and off the premises and independents making programmes for the BBC.
‘We’ve asked the director-general to assure us that those policies are up to date and fit for purpose that they’re effective in protecting minors and under-age children.
‘We’ve also said that we want to be satisfied on the arrangements in place for dealing with sexual harassment, bullying and whistleblowing and we want to be sure that those guidelines that do exist are gold standard and up to date and comply with current best practice.’
Lord Patten suggested that the internal inquiry will not look at the editorial decision by Newsnight, saying he did not want to question the ‘journalistic integrity’ of people.
But insiders admitted yesterday that it is likely to look at what bosses did with the information contained within it when they were made aware of the allegations.
Asked what would happen if any current BBC employees such as the director general and other executives were found to have acted improperly, Lord Patten said: ‘You would not expect any employee of a newspaper or the BBC to survive if her or she was found to have behaved improperly.’
He said he was sure the BBC inquiry will look into allegations made by other presenters such as Liz Kershaw, who revealed she was groped by a colleague while she was on air.
Scotland Yard has formally recorded eight criminal allegations – two rapes and six indecent assaults – against the former Top Of The Pops presenter so far in its Operation Yewtree investigation.
And Greater Manchester and Tayside Police became the latest forces to receive complaints of abuse by Savile, who died in October last year. Greater Manchester Police said allegations about his activities have followed day after day following an ITV documentary which aired last week.
Jimmy Savile is today lying in an unmarked grave after a dead-of-night operation to remove his £4,000 headstone at the request of his family.
Undertakers worked in the dark to rip out the giant memorial and have said it will 'be broken up, placed in a skip and used as landfill'.
Signs of the times: British deaf people drop hand signals that use slanted eyes to describe the Chinese and a limp wrist for gays
Pressure to avoid offending minorities has caught up with Britain’s 150,000 users of sign language for the deaf, according to a Government-funded report.
It found that younger deaf people have changed the way they give the sign to say someone is gay, or to describe Chinese, French and Jewish people.
The old gesture that meant gay – a flicked limp wrist – is now considered offensive among some users of British Sign Language, researchers at University College London said.
Similarly it is no longer acceptable among politically correct deaf people to give a slanted eye sign to indicate something Chinese, nor to mime a hooked nose to mean a Jewish person.
Over three years, scientists at the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre at UCL filmed the signs for more than 100 words used by 250 people in eight cities.
Centre director Professor Bencie Woll said: ‘The younger deaf community doesn’t use these old signs because of a clear process of political correctness, in the same way that the hearing community no longer calls gay people “pansies” or “queer”.’
Young deaf people have also dropped the sign of twirling an imaginary moustache for France, said the researchers.
They sign a gay person with an upright thumb on one hand in the palm of the other, wobbling from side to side, and India is signed using the triangular shape of the subcontinent.
Professor Bencie Woll, director of DCal, said that the changes to sign language were much like the changes to spoken English
She said the change in sign language has been faster because when signers began to communicate over the internet they could see for the first time how 'foreign signers referred to themselves'.
She told the Guardian: 'The younger deaf community doesn't use these old signs because of a clear process of political correctness, in the same way that the hearing community no longer calls gay people 'pansies' or 'queer',' she said.
'But what the hearing community doesn't understand about sign language is that even though the traditional signs are now considered offensive, they are not producing a real-life insult when they are used because they are not just visual representations of a concept.'
The revelation follows a study by the British Sign Language Corpus Project which has been studying how deaf people use sign language.
They have filmed and interviewed 249 deaf people from eight cities across the UK.
Dr Kearsy Cormier, who was in charge of the three and a half year project, hopes that deaf children will benefit from the findings.
She said it would give deaf people a better understanding of regional variations in sign language. An online dictionary is expected to be created following the research.
However, there are concerns among the deaf community about these changing signs and new political correctness.
Gwilym Morris, from the deafness cognition and language research centre (DCal) at University College London, told the newspaper: 'We are nervous about this being seen as another example of political correctness because the changes are more about evolution rather than dictat of some body that approves language.'
Those who took part in the survey, which was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, were filmed in pairs and had to recount a personal experience, engage in a 30 minute conversation and participate in an interview on language awareness and attitudes.
They also had to elicit 102 signs known to vary across the UK.
Left Wants Multiculturalism to Trump Free Speech
Victor Davis Hanson
The American Left used to champion free expression. We were lectured -- correctly -- that the price of being repulsed by occasional crude talk and art was worth paying. Only that way could Americans ensure our daily right to criticize those with greater power and influence whom we found wrong and objectionable.
When 1950s comedian Lenny Bruce titillated his audiences with the F-word and crude sex talk, liberals came to his defense. They reminded us that vulgar speech is not a crime: The First Amendment was not just designed to protect uplifting expression, but also rarer blasphemous and indecent speech.
For liberals, the burning of a flag on campus and the full frontal nudity of Penthouse magazine were also First Amendment issues.
When artist Andres Serrano photographed a crucifix in a jar with his own urine ("Piss Christ"), the avant-garde Left not only protected Serrano's constitutional right to offend millions, but also saw no problem in the U.S. government subsidizing the talentless Serrano's sophomoric obnoxiousness.
But the worldview of the Left is self-contradictory. One of its pet doctrines is multiculturalism -- or the idea that non-Western cultures cannot be judged critically by our own inherently biased Western standards.
Female circumcision or honor killings in the Muslim world don't merit our attention in the way that a woman's right to free abortion pills from her Catholic employer does in the West. When it comes to the Middle East, we neither criticize strongly enough the region's sexism, homophobia or racism, nor do we defend without qualification our own notions of free expression as inherently superior to the habitual censorship abroad.
Fear plays a role, too. Championing the right of Andres Serrano to show his degrading pictures of Christ wins liberal laurels. Protecting novelist Salman Rushdie's caricatures of Islam might earn death.
The Obama administration went to great lengths to blast -- and even arrest -- an Egyptian-American Coptic Christian for posting on the Internet a juvenile movie trailer ridiculing Islam and offending Muslims. After riots across the Middle East and the murder of the U.S. ambassador in Libya, American officials did not wish to concede that radical Islam hates the United States -- even when Barack Obama is president. And they did not want to admit that their own lax security standards, not a film trailer, led to the horrific murders in Libya, or that in an election year their Middle East reset policy is in shambles.
No obnoxious American in the last half-century -- not Larry Flynt, not Daniel Ellsberg, not even Julian Assange -- has warranted so much condemnation for his antics from the president of the United States, the secretary of state and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as have one crackpot preacher in Florida and an inept Coptic film producer.
Outraged Arab-Americans in Dearborn, Mich., demonstrated in favor of anti-blasphemy laws last week. They demanded an end to any expression that they find religiously offensive -- and thereby prove to be embarrassingly clueless as to why many in their communities left their own homelands to come to America in the first place.
The new Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, recently lectured the U.S. on its decadence and wants a global ban on the caricaturing of Islam. He, too, forgot why he once fled to the United States to be educated, employed and to freely say things that would have gotten him killed in his native Egypt.
Another Egyptian immigrant, frequent CNN and MSNBC guest pundit Mona Eltahawy, recently spray-painted over a public anti-jihadist poster that she disliked. In her world, defacing public property is OK if by her own standards she judges it offensive. Eltahawy, like the Dearborn protestors, is oblivious to the fact that her self-appointed censorship would soon turn her adopted country into just the sort of intolerant society from which she, too, fled.
It is past time for U.S. officials to insist that our traditions and laws apply equally across the board, regardless of where we come from, or what we look like, or the anger and danger we incur from abroad.
Schools could do better by cutting back on their multicultural classes and reintroducing study of the U.S. Constitution. All immigrants need to pass a basic test on the Bill of Rights as part of winning citizenship.
"Speaking truth to power" is not Sandra Fluke grandstanding to ovations at the Democratic convention on behalf of government-supplied free contraception. It is instead our elected officials reminding rampaging Middle Eastern terrorists and bigots that they will not alter our Constitution -- and better not try.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.