Some of us are still dealing with the issue of “terrorism targeting Egypt” as if it were in a battle with the targeting of the Copts. The reality tells that the Copts have been targeted more with extremist incitement speech than others, and they have been subjected more to terrorist attacks than other civilian groups in the society.
The situation of targeting Copts does not change due to the terrorist attack that targeted a mosque in Rawda village (North Sinai) and killed 310 martyrs, the highest number of martyrs in the history of terrorist operations in Egypt. As the Islamic State did not declare responsibility for this incident as it does for attacks against Copts, it is more likely that those who carried out this operation are stray terrorist elements who came from outside the border.
The whole picture says that this is terrorism targeting Muslims, just as there is terrorism targeting Christians, but the details of the picture suggest there is a greater targeting of Christians, which we should not ignore. Ignoring it is as if acknowledging it hurts the rest of the Muslims or jeopardizes the state, when the opposite is true. Delving into the details and knowledge of the complicated causes of violence and terrorism, as well as how Christians see terrorism and its impact on them, is the beginning of success in confronting it.
The right approach to confront terrorism is to know the causes of Copts’ suffering, because they have been targeted for the first time by two groups. The first group targets them politically with religious cover, as done by extremist organizations that promote a false narrative to justify targeting Christians. They say that Copts are one of the political arms of the ruling regime, and so they deal with them as a political aggressor and an economic class, aside from being a religious sect deserving oppression.
The second group targets the societal intolerance that we have left to grow, especially in the villages of Egypt and among the poorest and most ignorant regions, as a result of the absence of the rule of law and the failure of the state to fulfill its cultural and educational duties in the face of social intolerance and sectarianism.
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The danger of what took place in Minya is that it has become an arena for both groups. The first includes terrorist organizations, which targeted innocent monastery visitors more than once and left about 50 martyrs, while the second group assaults through social intolerance, which Minya was a hotbed of due to Muslim fanatic resentment of the presence of Christians praying in their homes.
We have to start by opening the wounds of societal intolerance, because it will not be influenced by the renewal of religious discourse and the dissemination of true Islamic concepts, because these fanatics overwhelmingly are not religiously versed, and many of them have not even memorized two verses of the Holy Quran.
They are the product of ignorance and bullying. Confronting them will be through political will to apply laws to deter the aggressors and stop giving daily doses promoting abuse, bullying and demagoguery.