Now that I have finished updating "Age Of Deception, Age Of Delusion", I am taking some time to catch up on the important news events that have occurred over the past five days; at least important from a Christian perspective.
Of course, the government of Egyptian "president" Hosni Mubarak -- he's really a dictator who has been in power for almost thirty years now -- is blaming the attack on al-Qaeda operatives. I have no doubt that whoever is behind the attack -- we may never really know -- chose Alexandria for a very specific reason; and that is to send a very clear message to non-Muslims in Egypt, and throughout the Middle East.
As I explain in the article "A Mystery Solved: Peter's Babylon Revealed", Alexandria holds a lot of historical and religious significance for the Christian Church. Its importance to our faith is probably only superseded by that of Jerusalem and Rome. Two thousand years ago, it was one of the great centers of the Ancient World. Following is an excerpt from the aforementioned article, which is derived from the Wikipedia website:
----- Begin Quote -----
Further it is held that Christianity began to spread in Egypt when St. Mark arrived in Alexandria, becoming the first Patriarch, though the religion remained underground during the rule of the Romans.
Under the Romans, St. Mark and his successors were able to convert a substantial portion of the population, from pagan beliefs to Christianity."
According to ancient tradition, Christianity was introduced to the Egyptians by Saint Mark in Alexandria, shortly after the ascension of Christ and during the reign of the Roman emperor Claudius around 42 AD. The legacy that Saint Mark left in Egypt was a considerable Christian community in Alexandria. From Alexandria, Christianity spread throughout Egypt within half a century of Saint Mark's arrival in Alexandria, as is clear from a fragment of the Gospel of John, written in Coptic, which was found in Upper Egypt and can be dated to the first half of the 2nd century, and the New Testament writings found in Oxyrhynchus, in Middle Egypt, which date around the year 200 AD. In the 2nd century, Christianity began to spread to the rural areas, and scriptures were translated into the local language, today known as the Coptic language (which was called the Egyptian language at the time). By the beginning of the 3rd century AD, Christians constituted the majority of Egypt's population, and the Church of Alexandria was recognized as one of Christendom's four Apostolic Sees, second in honor only to the Church of Rome. The Church of Alexandria is therefore the oldest church in Africa.
Saint Apostle Peter wrote his first epistle from Babylon (north of Old Cairo), when visiting Mark (1 Peter 5:13). When Mark returned to Alexandria, the pagans of the city resented his efforts to turn the Alexandrians away from the worship of their traditional Hellenistic gods. In AD 68 they placed a rope around his neck and dragged him through the streets until he was dead.
----- End Quote -----
So, in essence, whoever was behind the attack in Alexandria specifically chose that city, because it is one of the hearts of our Christian faith. As the previous excerpt explains, it was the birthplace of Coptic Christianity, or Old Christianity, in Egypt, which today is known as the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. It even has its own pope, Pope Shenouda III. About 10% of Egypt's 80 million population are Coptic Christians, and they constitute the largest Christian community in the Middle East. It is undoubtedly also for that reason that they have been discriminated against by the Egyptian government, and targeted by Muslim extremists as well.
Hosni Mubarak has ruled Egypt with an iron fist, as Arab/Islamic leaders tend to do. However, he is now eighty-two years old, and his health is failing. It is a foregone conclusion that his son, Gamal, will carry on once his father passes away. However, the people of Egypt are already very tired of their oppressive government, and they want change. It will be interesting to see how much Gamal is willing to give it to them. It will also be interesting to see if he will treat the Coptic Christians any better than his father has done.