12/23/2010, 00.00
ISLAM-EGYPT-SOMALIA

Al Qaeda threatens 100 Egyptian-Canadian Copts over conversions to Christianity

Two episodes of the very "Christianophobia" described by Benedict XVI in his address to the Curia. A website close to Al Qaeda publishes a list of "dogs in diaspora" responsible for conversions. In Somalia, the Islamists destroy and burn down an "underground" Christian library.

Vancouver (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Canadian newspapers report that more than 100 Arab-Canadian Christians have been put on a list published by website close to Al Qaeda, apparently charged with encouraging conversions from Islam. The website Shumukh-al-Islam, often seen as an Al Qaeda propaganda tool, has created a list with photos, addresses and phone numbers of Coptic Christians, most with dual Egyptian and Canadian nationality, who spoke openly against Islam.

Three web pages, in classical Arabic, entitled "Complete information on Copts" are meant to "identify and call by name all the Copts in the world who hope to defame Islam" and refers to them as "dogs in diaspora”.

In the website forum a member, who goes by the name "Son of a sharp sword," writes: "We will return to Islam and all the mujahideen will cut off their heads." One of the people included on the list told reporters: "This is a direct threat to our lives. They are trying to inform one another in the hope that someone can carry out this threat. It could be here, or in Egypt. " Some of the people only found out they were on the list when the Canadian security services contacted them. The existence of such sites is often criticized even by the defenders of freedom of expression, but some security experts say that in reality they are a great resource for those fighting terrorism.

This episode, and what we report now, testify to the very concrete reality Benedict XVI’s warning contained in his speech to the Roman Curia on December 20 on the growing scale of Christianaphobia in the world, and are linked to Al Qaeda threats launched against Christians in Iraq as "legitimate targets". Here is the example of an episode that occurred in Somalia. On December 16 militants of Al-Shabaab, the militant Islamic group, destroyed a Christian library in the district of Luuq. After vandalizing the premises, the militants took all of the shop’s material, books, Bibles, audio and video material,  to the town centre and set flames to it after midday prayer.

The District Commissioner of Al-Shabaab in Luuq, Sheikh Farhaan Abdi Elmoghe, said the discovery of the library was "a blow to misguided Somali Christians”. The library was hidden in an abandoned farm on the River Juba. It seems that it is normal for persecuted Somali Christians to bury books and religious material, because of intense persecution by Muslims. One of the leaders of the "underground Church" said that the library served as an "underground" school and was one of the largest and best supplied the south of the country. Al-Shabaab has openly said it wants to erase Christianity from Somalia, where last year at least six Christians were killed.

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