Over at Gatestone Institute (via RaymondIbrahim.com) I discuss the increasingly precarious plight of Egypt’s Christian Copts:
While the conflict in Egypt has largely been portrayed as a conflict between secular Egyptians, or “moderate Muslims,” who oppose full-blown Sharia, and the “Islamists,” led by the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis, who want Taliban-style Sharia to govern the nation, largely missed have been the Christian Copts in the middle, who find themselves in an especially awkward position.
Moderate Muslims are still capable of offering the requisite lip service to Islam””saying “prayers and peace upon Muhammad” and all the other Muslim mantras””even as they reject the full application of Sharia. This makes it more difficult for their radical brethren to portray them as infidel enemies. Moderate Muslims can resist Sharia, but in subtle ways, arguing over Islamic exegesis, calling for ijtihad [modern interpretations, questioning], and so forth.
But when Egypt’s Christian Copts resist Sharia””as religious minorities, or dhimmis, they stand to suffer the most under it””pro-Sharia Muslims retaliate with extreme vengeance, portraying them as infidels who reject the law of Allah.
This has been truer than ever in recent days, as President Morsi and his Islamist and jihadi allies push for a Sharia-based constitution and Egypt’s secularists resist. Trapped in the middle, the Copts” suffering is only about to begin.
A video that recently surfaced in Egypt shows Salafi Muslims holding an Egyptian man whose hands are tied behind his back under arrest in an alley. They grab him by the collar, interrogating and threatening him, humiliating him by poking and slapping him in the face and calling him “boy–”all as they try to determine if he is a Christian and as he insists “No, I”m a Muslim!” One of his captors can be heard saying “Can you imagine if he turns out to be a Christian?” implying that would be the end of him.
The video ends with him sobbing and saying, “Have mercy,” followed by, “There is no god but Allah,” the first half of the Islamic shehada, or profession of faith, which, unlike the second half”””and Muhammad is his prophet–”Christians in Egypt are only too happy to declare.
The poking, throttling and slapping are all reminders of the Islamic textbook way of treating dhimmis. Such degradation appears regularly in the commentaries of Islam’s doctrines, so that in the Medieval Islamic Civilization Encyclopedia one can read that Muslim “jurists came to view certain repressive and humiliating aspects of dhimma as de rigueur. Dhimmis were required to pay the jizya [tribute] publicly, in broad daylight, with hands turned palm upward, and to receive a smart smack on the forehead or the nape of the neck from the collection officer.” Islam’s jurists mandated a number of humiliating rituals at the time of jizya payment, including slapping, choking, and pulling the beard of the paying dhimmi…