Christianity is embattled in the lands of its birth. In a recent study of exquisite quality, Habib Malik, a Lebanese philosopher and historian, sounded an alarm. In his book Islamism and the Future of the Christians of the Middle East, published by the Hoover Institution, Malik conveyed the moral and philosophical passion of a Christian Arab of deep liberalism worried about the fate of the Christians all around him. In times past, Western gunboats and envoys and the educational and religious missions of Western powers had concerned themselves with the fate of the Christians of the East. Consulates in the Levant provided a shield for local Christians. Jerusalem was dubbed a kingdom of the consuls. But the world has been remade, and the Christians of the East have to fend for themselves.
The terror that hit Alexandria did not come out of the blue. Islamists have been sowing the wind, and the Egyptian state, interested only in the prerogatives of the pharaoh and his retainers, has stepped out of the way. There is no end to the charges hurled at the Copts. In the dark fantasies, the Copts, friends of the Zionists and tools of America, are hellbent on a state of their own in rural upper Egypt, where there is a heavy Coptic concentration. It is said that they use churches to store weapons. In truth, the Copts walk on eggshells, eager not to offend. They are denied elementary communal rights: they are forbidden to repair their churches, let alone use them as hiding places for arms.