To what extent was Egypt’s Maspero massacre, wherein the military literally mowed down Christian Copts protesting the ongoing destruction of their churches, a product of anti-Christian sentiment?

A video of Egypt’s grand mufti, Sheikh Ali Gomaa (or Gom’a), which began circulating weeks before the massacre, helps elucidate. While holding that Muslims may coexist with Christians (who, as dhimmis, have rights), Gomaa categorized Christians as kuffar — “infidels” — a word that connotes “enemies,” “evil-doers,” and every bad thing to Muslim ears.

After quoting Quran 5:17, “Infidels are those who declare God is the Christ, [Jesus] son of Mary,” he expounded by saying any association between a human and God (in Arabic, shirk) is the greatest sin: “Whoever thinks the Christ is God, or the Son of God, not symbolically — for we are all sons of God — but attributively, has rejected the faith which God requires for salvation,” thereby becoming an infidel.

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