More details concerning the recent spate of attacks on Christian Copts in Libya””including two church attacks and the mass arrest and torture of Christians, resulting in the death of one””are emerging. Apparently during the assault on the Coptic church in Benghazi from two weeks ago, the terrorists severely beat and shaved the beard and mustache of Father Paul, the priest of the church, as a sign of humiliation. They also beat the deacon and nine attendees.
Earlier, their fellow Libyan terrorists shaved all the heads of the approximately 100 Copts arrested for having Christian “paraphernalia,” that is, Bibles, crosses, and icons. Shaving the hair, especially the beard, of one’s opponent, is an ancient custom meant to emasculate one’s opponent, or, in these cowardly attacks, one’s unarmed victims. A decade ago, one Arab commentator discussing the Iraq war, said, “By shaving his [Saddam’s] beard, a symbol of virility in Iraq and in the Arab world, the Americans committed an act that symbolizes humiliation in our region, where getting shaved by one’s enemy means robbing him of his will.”
So Libya’s jihadis, the fellows empowered by President Obama, are apparently out to rob the will of any Christian who falls in their clutches.
Meanwhile, because Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood-led government has done little regarding the systematic abuse of Egyptian citizens in Libya, including the murder of one under torture””they are, after all, only Christians””Copts demonstrated in front of the Libyan embassy in Cairo, prompting yet another attack on the Benghazi church, which was set on fire two days ago.
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.