by Khaled Abu Toameh
If Muslim fanatics cannot tolerate moderate and secular Muslims, why should they be expected to accept those who belong to other faiths?
As all eyes were turned this week toward Sinai, where Muslim fundamentalists killed 16 Egyptian border guards while they were having the Ramadan fast-breaking meal, Christian families were being forced out of their homes in the village of Dahshur, 40 kilometers south of Giza.
Hundreds of Christians fled their homes after being attacked by their Muslim neighbors, who also targeted a church and Christian-owned businesses in the village.
The anti-Christian violence was described as the worst since Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi was elected as president in June.
But Morsi did not find time this week to visit Dahshur to see for himself how hundreds of helpless Christians were being forced out of their homes.
Instead, he and his security and military commanders rushed to Sinai as soon as they heard about the massacre that was perpetrated against the border guards.
The Egyptian authorities did not even hesitate to use heavy weapons against the Muslim terrorists in Sinai. For the first time since the signing of the peace treaty with Israel, Egypt sent military helicopters and armored vehicles to attack the terrorists in Sinai.
But when it comes to dealing with Muslim terrorists who have been targeting Christians in a number of villages and cities throughout Egypt over the past few months, the Egyptian authorities have endorsed a lenient approach. In fact, the authorities, according to human rights activists, have chosen to turn a blind eye to the plight of the 14-million strong Christian community.
Even worse, the Egyptian government seems to be completely out of touch with reality concerning the dangers facing the Christians. Morsi, for example, has denied that the violence was sectarian, claiming it was an "isolated incident that was blown out of proportion."
This, by the way, is the same argument the Egyptian authorities used each time Israel warned that Sinai was falling into the hands of Muslim terror groups.
One week before the border guards were killed, the Egyptian government dismissed Israeli warnings to Israeli tourists against visiting Sinai. The Egyptians claimed that the Israeli warnings were "exaggerated and unjustified" and accused Israel of seeking to damage Egypt's tourism industry.
In the past two years, tens of thousands of Christians have fled Egypt, mainly due to the rise of Muslim fundamentalists to power. Recurring attacks on Christian families and property and failure of the Egyptian authorities to employ a tougher policy against the fundamentalists have led many Christians to reach the conclusion that they have no future not only in Egypt, but in other Arab countries where radical Muslims are rising to power.
Christian fears are not unjustified. Muslim fanatics will continue to target Christians because they consider all non-Muslims "infidels." If the fanatics cannot tolerate moderate and secular Muslims, why should they be expected to accept those who belong to other faiths?
While the number of Christians in the Arab world continues to decline, Israel remains the only country in the Middle East where they feel safe and comfortable. That explains why Christians living in Israel have been appealing to Israel to open its borders to absorb their brothers who are fleeing from the Gaza Strip, Bethlehem, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq, Egypt and Sudan.
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