The Guardian reports from an Egyptian town liberated from Islamists, who committed a pogrom against Egyptian Christians. Excerpt:
The move on Delga may have come too late for much of the town’s Christian community. Up to 100 Christian families have fled since July, with dozens of Coptic properties – including three of Delga’s five churches – torched and looted. Some Muslims stood by their Christian neighbours, but many Coptics were forced to pay protection money, and were unwilling to roam the streets freely in case they were attacked.
“Nothing can stop anyone in Delga. It’s a free-for-all,” one local Christian activist, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, said before police re-entered the town. “Copts tend to stay in their homes without work and our lives are unbearable.”
“As soon as the crackdown in Cairo started, all the loudspeakers at the main mosques in Delga issued calls for jihad,” said Samir Lamei Sakr, a prominent Christian lawyer who fled from the town later that day. “One of them was as follows: ‘Your brethren are being killed at Nahda and Rabaa [the two Cairo camps]. Everyone with a weapon, come out to save them from their killers – the Christian infidels, the police, and the army.’ It was a call made across the village.”
According to Christians in Delga, huge mobs carrying machetes and firearms then attacked dozens of Coptic properties, including the 1,600-year-old monastery of the Virgin Mary and St Abraam.
“Everything was looted,” said a Delgan church worker who asked not to be named. “Even the electric wiring was ripped out. The pews were taken and the place was burned afterwards. Twenty icons were burned or stolen … The gates were also stolen so the place was open for 10 days and people could just barge in when they felt like it. So some idiots showed up and started to dig in the garden hoping to find treasure.”
As in Egypt, so shall it be in Syria if the Islamists win. Writes Andrew Doran:
While these Islamist militants from other parts of the Middle East have been making their way into Syria, many Sunni moderates and secularists have been leaving Syria for more stable countries in the region. According to these Syrians, not all were fleeing Assad; many Sunnis in fact prefer Assad to the Islamist radicals who are sure to govern Syria if Assad’s secular Alawi regime falls. These Sunni jihadists terrorize Syrian Sunnis and religious minorities alike. “In Aleppo, all the rich business people are Sunni,” one says. “The rebels have kidnapped many of them, destroyed their factories.” These Sunni businessmen, among others, “are with the regime.”
Recent claims by Senator John McCain and Secretary of State John Kerry that the rebels are “moderate” — claims that were proffered dubiously, cited ubiquitously, and refuted persuasively — were intended to provide a partial justification for any proposed military intervention. This justification now seems rather tenuous. To our visitors from Syria, the claim that the rebels are moderate is stunning. “They are terrorists,” they say.