Twisted Islam? Sorry, no.

From Get Religion’s article Twisting Ramadan: Some big newsrooms failed to note timing of attack on Copts in Egypt (updated)

Strangely enough, the Times report on this new attack on the Copts failed to mention the fact that this attack took place on the eve of Ramadan.

The Minya attack story – as it should – offers tons of detailed information on the political ramifications of this event, as well as lots of factual material about recent bombings of Coptic worship services (including on Palm Sunday).

However, the word “Ramadan” is nowhere to be found in this story.

Ditto for the report at The Los Angeles Times.

Ditto, believe it or not, in this report at BBC.

The Al Jazeera English report at the top of this post also omitted the Ramadan connection, which is surprising since that network’s religion coverage tends to be solid.

Why should journalists include the “eve of Ramadan” reference? For the simple reason – as the 2016 New York Times story demonstrated – that ISIS leaders are determined to link the holy season to violence on behalf of their cause. Yes, this connection is highly offensive to millions of Muslims. That’s the point.

Let me turn the question around: What is the journalistic logic for omitting the “eve of Ramadan” reference from stories produced by some of the most important newsrooms in the world (by which I mean BBC and the New York Times)?

So to state the question bluntly: In light of ISIS actions in the past, why would Islamic radicals choose this time for another high-profile attack on the largest Christian body left in the Middle East?

Some journalists have answered that question, in their early reports on this bloody attack. Others have not.

UPDATE: The New York Times has posted an op-ed by Coptic scholar Samuel Tadros which includes some information based on his own experiences – but one predictable, but still stunning, detail that (according to a personal email from him) he learned from watching video interviews with survivors of the Minya attack.

Read it all: “Coptic Christians: Islamic State’s ‘Favorite Prey’.”

Here’s the material that hit me hard:

The terrorists chose today’s target well. Saint Samuel the Confessor Monastery, which I visited a decade ago, is very hard to reach. One hundred and ten miles on the Cairo Luxor desert road, you make a right-hand turn and for the next 17 miles drive on an unpaved road. The single lane forces cars to drive slowly, and, as the only route leading to the monastery, the victims were guaranteed to be Copts. Friday is a day off in Egypt, and church groups regularly take trips there. Outside of a few policemen stationed out front, there is little security presence.

The terrorists waited on the road like game hunters. Coming their way were three buses, one with Sunday school children. Only three of them survived. Their victims were asked to recite the Islamic declaration of faith before being shot.

Of course. As always.

Did some of the Copts die – as on the beach in Libya – confessing their faith, rather than denying it? Once again, we could be dealing with Coptic martyrs, including the faces of children in new icons.

I would not care to be a child that disowns Jesus in the face of death. Or mockery and contempt… which is what Western Christians are generally faced with in the West, since Christians pointedly refuse to repent of multiple grievous sins.

But the real point is, there is exactly nothing wrong — from the perspective of Islamic Law — about the Righteous slaughtering the Filthy Kafirs on Ramadan.

From the comments of that same article on Get Religion:

Actually, this is hardly a new interpretation of Ramadan. In the traditions passed down, Muhammed declared it to be a month of truce among Muslims, but a very suitable month for raids against non-Muslims. Those engaged in jihad were permitted to break the fast as much as they wanted, and did not have to make up for it later (as pregnant women must).

Obviously not all Muslims avail themselves of this provision, some interpret jihad in a spiritual way, and some may disbelieve the accuracy of the tradition. But it is pretty well-attested in the tradition collections, and historically one can see tons of Ramadan raids, pogroms, and battles. ISIS pulls some of its interpretations out of thin air (like the anti-pigeon one) but this Ramadan jihad thing is not one of them.


Historically, the pre-Islamic month of Rajab was a month of truce. Some of Muhammad’s guys were trying to go in disguise for spying on Mecca but were recognized. They attacked the caravan they were traveling with, killed people, took prisoners and goods, all during this month. Then they went back to Muhammad, who repudiated their actions and spoils. Then God allegedly told him that breaking the truce was totally fine, because Meccans were non-Muslim and bad. Therefore, the next year Muhammad led a caravan attack called the Battle of Badr.

The eventual conquest of Mecca by Muhammad took place during Ramadan. So did the conquest of Andalusia. So did the 1973 war of Egypt and Syria against Israel, for that matter. So let us not pretend that offensive war or other attacks by Muslims being deliberately scheduled during Ramadan is new and unheard of.

In other words, Islam is Islam… and all the projection, all the wishful thinking, won’t change that.

The end of oil wealth, coupled with the disintegration of the usual tools to centralize authority and control, is a lot more effective. After all, after the local Christians have been disposed of, there remains fratricidal warfare… which will have much the same result as fratricidal European warfare, 1914-1990.

No great armies… just endless bands of murderers, purifying Islam in the manner they have grown accustomed to.

One hundred percent backed by the words and example of Mohammed, as usual.


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