Muslim Brotherhood Must Be Held Accountable for Attacks Against Copts

Ishak Ibrahim, a researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, has insisted that the Muslim Brotherhood cannot be exonerated from the responsibility for the attacks on Copts because they are the agitators and participated in the attacks.

In his article titled "Who is responsible for what happened to Copts," Ibrahim wrote that the responsibility for the acts of violence that have taken place against Copts after the breakup of the Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins in Rabaa and Nahda squares cannot be identified without taking into account the state of polarization that produced hate speech and mobilized the hearts of those who directly carried out the attacks.

The researcher underscored the instigative speech of the Brotherhood's leaders.

"The speech released by the leaders has remained exclusionary and called for discrimination against those who have different views," said Ibrahim, who pointed out that "the sectarian violence has increased under both the military junta and dismissed President Mohamed Morsi."

According to Ibrahim, this clearly indicates a considerable role played by Islamist movements in creating sectarian crises, and their desire to control society from a sectarian perspective. This includes the marginalization of the role of law in favor of customary interventions that give them more space to dominate. This coincides with the temporary solutions for problems without dealing with the roots through procedures that do not guarantee reparation and clearly allow impunity for perpetrators.

"With the pursuit by the ousted president to give his supporters critical positions in the state, and his disavowal of fulfilling his promise to be a president of all Egyptians, not of his group only, the developments in the political situation have widened the gap of trust between Copts on the one hand and the state and leaders of political Islam on the other," Ibrahim added.

"Following the movement of mass protests that toppled Morsi after the intervention of the army, the incitement against Copts from the Muslim Brotherhood's leaders to their supporters has reached the peak, and the threatening of Copts over loudspeakers from over the platforms in Rabaa Adaweya and Nahda has become public," Ibrahim added.

He pointed out that the group resorted to this tactic instead of doing responsible self-criticism and speaking out frankly to Egyptians about the difficulty it faced in the administration of the state.

He also noted that it cannot be said that all those involved in the attacks on churches and Christians are associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. In Upper Egypt, no one can differentiate between those who belong to the Muslim Brotherhood or others who belong to the Salafist movement or the Gamaa Islamiya. The most common description there is that they're Sunni groups or followers of a religious movement. There are those who participated in the attacks for other purposes, such as theft, and others who participated to humiliate Christians, especially in the villages with Christian economic clout.

It is worth mentioning that according to the latest statistics, 82 churches were burned, of which 32 churches were completely destroyed in Egypt after security forces broke up the Muslim Brotherhood's sit-ins in Rabaa Adaweya square in Cairo and Nahda square in Giza on August 14. Moreover, a large number of Coptic homes and shops were looted and torched and Christians were threatened in many areas.

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