"A car bomb outside a church in Alexandria, Egypt killed at least seven people and wounded at least 24 others early Saturday, Egyptian state media reported, citing unnamed security officials.
The car bomb exploded at 12:20 a.m. in front of the Church of Two Saints, where Coptic Christians were attending services, Egypt's Nile TV reported.
A nearby mosque was damaged and eight Muslims were among the injured, according to Egypt's MENA news service.
Egyptian officials are blaming foreign elements for the attack, MENA reported."
An isolated incident carried out by "foreign elements"? Rubbish. In fact, this latest incident is a repeat of a massacre which occurred at the beginning of 2010. As described by Adel Guindy, in an article entitled "Symbolic victims in a socially regressing egypt" (http://www.coptsunited.com/Details.php?I=168&A=1307):
"On January 6, 2010, at 11:30 p.m., gunshots were heard in Nag Hammadi, Egypt (a town situated 80 kilometers, or 50 miles, north of Luxor). The shooting was aimed at a group of Copts leaving church following the midnight Christmas Mass (which the Coptic Church celebrated on January 7, 2010, in accordance with the old Julian and Coptic calendars). Seven people were murdered, including a Muslim who happened to be in the vicinity. In addition, nine Copts were injured, one later succumbing to his wounds at the hospital. The victims were all 17 to 29 years old.
Had it not been for the bishop’s decision to begin mass earlier than usual and to finish well before the traditional hour of midnight, the number of victims could have been substantially higher. The bishop decided to hold mass early due to threats he had received in the days before Christmas regarding 'a special Christmas gift.' Though the State Security had been informed of these threats, no action was taken.
The following morning, Christmas Day, Copts gathered in front of the town’s hospital where the dead and wounded had been taken. Corpses were lying on the ground and the wounded were not being treated. The hospital and security personnel would not release bodies to be buried, and relatives complained of rude and provocative treatment by them. As the crowd soon grew to 2,000 people, the authorities decided to prevent the families from carrying on with the funeral procession at the nearby church and used tear gas, clubs, and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd (wounding seven people), which began shouting anti-government slogans and throwing stones at the security forces and at the hospital facade. Once permitted to resume the funeral procession, Muslim onlookers began throwing stones at them."
Persecution of Egypt's Copts, who comprise some 10 percent of Egypt's total population of 80 million, is systematic and ongoing. According to the the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), there are "an average of four attacks against Copts every month; there have been 144 attacks nationwide over the past three years" (http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?ReportId=87004). The Egyptian government denies Copts the right to build churches or pray at home, and as also observed by EIPR, "the homes of some Copts, particularly in southern Egypt, were demolished or closed because the government suspected them of being clandestine churches". Copts are denied government and public posts and have difficulty obtaining employment in the judiciary, the army, the police, the media, and universities.
From a broader perspective, the persecution of Egypt's Copts is little different from the violence being perpetrated against Christians in Gaza (see: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aC7P93EMyb1Q&refer=home) and Iraq (see: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/31/iraq-baghdad-christian-bomb-attacks).
When Obama visited Cairo at the beginning of his presidency, he never once mentioned the oppression of Egypt's Copts. Given Obama's refusal to honor his campaign pledge to recognize Armenian Genocide, I cannot imagine that Obama will dare broach the issue of oppression of the Middle East's Christian community anytime soon.