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Ramadan: Islam’s ‘Holy Month’ of Christian Oppression

by Raymond Ibrahim

The month of Ramadan, which ended earlier this week, proved to be a month of renewed Muslim piety on the one hand, and renewed oppression of non-Muslim minorities on the other. In Nigeria, for example, Islamic militants are living up to the assertion that “Ramadan is a month of jihad and death for Allah,” proving that killing Christians is not only reserved for Christian holidays—like Christmas and Easter, when militants bombed churches killing dozens—but is especially applicable during Islam’s Ramadan.

 

Egyptian Christian, Maher Rizkalla: Before and After Ramadan

Usually, however, Ramadan-related oppression has to do with Muslim perceptions that Christians do not “know their place”—either because the latter openly do things forbidden to Muslims during Ramadan, or because they dare object to the things Muslims do during their holy month.

When it comes to these aspects of dhimmitude, Egypt offers countless examples, past and present, simply because it houses the Middle East’s largest Christian minority, the Copts, and thus offers more opportunities for the intolerant face of Ramadan to reveal itself. Two recent examples follow:

First, according to Coptic websites, on July 27, a diabetic man in Egypt was driving his car in Maadi, a suburb of southern Cairo, when he was struck with great thirst, “which he could not bear” (a side-effect of diabetes, further exacerbated by Egypt’s July weather). He pulled over by a public water source and started drinking water. Soon three passer-bys approached him, inquiring why he was drinking water (among the many things forbidden to Muslims during daylight in Ramadan). The diabetic man replied, “Because I am a Christian, and sick,” to which they exclaimed “you’re a Christian, too!” and begun beating him mercilessly. Other passer-bys began to congregate to see what was happening, but no one intervened on behalf of the diabetic non-Muslim, until he managed to make a dash for his parked car and fled the scene.

Though water is not forbidden to him, this infidel Christian openly violated a principle of Islamic Ramadan, which was deemed a great affront and punished accordingly. This idea that non-Muslims must show respect for Islamic observances is commonplace. Around the same time this story took place, a Christian Lebanese singer was taken to police while in Algeria for smoking in public, and “failing to show due respect to Muslims.” She was released after police warned her that “she was not allowed to smoke in public during Ramadan in Muslim Algeria, even though she was a Christian.”

The second story from Egypt concerns a young Christian doctor, Maher Rizkalla Ghali, who was shot by riotous Muslims, including easily-identified Salafis, resulting in the loss of one eye and the likely loss of the other. According to Watan Voice, the perpetrators live downstairs and regularly fired bullets in the air while feasting during sahur (the time before dawn when Muslims are permitted the things they are forbidden in daylight, including food, water, and sex). One night the raucous was so unbearable that the Copt spoke to them from his window, saying that their actions were disturbing to children and the elderly.

Their response was to “insult his religion” and open fire at him, severely disfiguring him….

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