Contributing AuthorA contributing author.
A Coptic priest, Marcus 'Aziz Khalil, wrote, in the Egyptian al-Maydan, ?We say to Mr. Bush: During your term, Jesus' name is disgraced by the attacks on the holy places. Are you a Christian, Mr. Bush? I doubt it. Perhaps you are a Crusader. God alone knows.? The epithet ?Crusader? is thrown at President Bush in the context of Middle Eastern history, as described by the author: ?We Christians of the East, who in the past refused to stand by the Crusaders and stood by our Muslim brethren, are also opposed to the negative deeds of the Western governments biased in favor of Israel despite its arrogance and even though it damages the holy sites.?
In fact, though, the Coptic priest sees the Jewish state as responsible for ?deceiving? Western Christians and other leaders into believing that ?they have common interests with it.? Israel, the priest charges, ?managed to drug the leaders of those Christian countries - especially those who belong to no religion and do not know the road to Heaven, or who take religion's name and image but are totally distanced from its essence. They are manipulated by Israel, like marionettes, to destroy their religion. [Israel] has also managed to brainwash some whom it discovered to be highly susceptible because of their surly nature. Israel planted among them the spirit of hatred and rage towards the Arabs and Muslims - as it did to George Bush Sr., who attacked Iraq, and behold, it continues on its path with George Bush Jr., who attacked Afghanistan?? The Jews, in short, are ?enemies of peace? they swathe themselves in sheep's clothing, they are wolves seeking to kill the flock?? writes the Egyptian Coptic clergyman.
Therefore, the al-Maydan article declares, ?the existence of the State of Israel is an historic sin.? Khalil seems to justify attacks against Israelis, whoever and wherever they are, when he writes, ?It is not sufficient to deem this sin the crime of the generation; it is one of the unforgivable sins, and no means of purification will help them. The belief on which the Jews have based their state is null and void, but they have taught their sons from infancy that it is the proper belief?.?
Another Coptic clergyman, John Jirjis, wrote a letter to the Egyptian Coptic weekly Watani in which he states, ?I do not wonder at the deeds of the leaders of the Israeli people, as they are the followers of Herod the tyrant who ordered all the two-year-old boys of Bethlehem murdered so as to kill Jesus, but failed! They are the followers of the chief priests, who saw Jesus and his miracles and heard his precepts, yet accused him of heresy and called for his crucifixion! They are those who forced Pilate to crucify Jesus, although Pilate conceded that Jesus did not deserve crucifixion.? His reference to the historical blood libel against the Jews is only in order to do what Christian anti-Semites have always done, link the execution of Jesus to modern Jews, thus cheapening their lives. The priest writes, ?They still live with their dark and cruel hearts, rejecting all the prophecies of their prophets. The sight of their bloodstained hands is not unfamiliar to the human race!?
However, it is not just the Copts who seem to have wholly adopted the PLO position on Israel, the head of the Latin Church in Gaza was reported to have said, ?If I were the head of the church where the American president Bush worships, and he came to pray, I would bar him from entering, because he has renounced the church's moral standards.? The head of the Roman Orthodox Bishopric of Gaza likewise stated, ?Real Christianity means love and harmony, and it exists only in Palestine and the Holy Land. In contrast, Western Christianity is false.? The statements were made at a meeting between Moslem representatives of the Palestinian Authority and Christian leaders in Gaza. The statements were reported in the PA newspaper al-Quds.
[With special thanks to The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)]