Because nothing — nothing! — says “Religion of Peace and Tolerance” quite like beating up on a bunch of monks!
At issue here once again is the provision in Islamic law that forbids dhimmis, or non-Muslims subjugated under Islamic law’s holy protection racket, from repairing their houses of worship or building new ones, as notably described in the Pact of Umar.
Again, apologists have insisted to us and to others that the Pact of Umar is a dead document. Say what they will, pooh-poohing the Pact for Western consumption does nothing to improve the treatment of religious minorities in Muslim lands, where the practices it outlines have a curious habit of persisting.
And we sure didn’t make them up. “Egyptian security forces storm the Monastery of St Macarius, three monks badly injured,” from Asia News, September 15:
Cairo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Hundreds of Egyptian security forces, backed by a large number of cars and armoured vehicles, attacked the monastery of St Macarius of Alexandria in Wadi Rayan, Fayoum Province, 150 kilometres south of Cairo. The action began at 8 pm on 7 September, but news about it only filtered recently. About 300 agents took part in the assault, using tear gas, batons and stones against monks, three of whom were seriously wounded.
According to the AINA news agency, security forces prevented the delivery of limestone bricks for the construction of cells for the monks inside the ancient Monastery. They also tried to seize the bricks already delivered but the monks sat on them, refusing to move.
The issue concerns the ownership of the area and its use, with monks and the government holding different positions.
The authorities claim that Wadi Rayan is a conservation area that cannot be touched. The monks say they must build cells inside the monastery, which goes back long before it was ever designated as a conservation area.
Excessive force, to say the least, for a putative land use/code compliance issue.
Security forced surrounded the Monastery until 12 AM the following day, but withdrew “after seeing the insistence of monks to assert their rights,” said Fr Boulos el-Makkary, one of the 85 monks living in the monastery. “They left with the commander promising to be back soon.”
“The monks believe that the government wants to prevent any construction on the premises to prevent any increase in the number of monks living there, even though cells for the monks are badly needed,” Father Boulos added.
At present, cells are shared by five to eight monks even though each should have his own.
The Monastery of St Macarius, also known as the “Buried Monastery” since most of its cells are caves in the mountain, has been uninhabited for a long time because of the lack of electricity and water. However, in 1996 monks began living there permanently and obtained permission from the Minister of Environment.