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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Canadian-Arab Christians targeted on website

More than 100 Canadian-Arab Christians are listed on an al-Qaeda affiliated website, apparently targeted because of their alleged role in attempting to convert Muslims.

Some of those named say concerned Canadian intelligence officials have contacted them.
The Shumukh-al-Islam website, often considered to be al-Qaeda's mouthpiece, listed pictures, addresses and cellphone numbers of Coptic Christians, predominantly Egyptian-Canadians, who have been vocal about their opposition to Islam.

In a forum on the website, one member named Son of a Sharp Sword, said, "We are going to return back to Islam and all of the Mujahedeen [holy warriors] will cut off their heads."

Three pages of the fundamentalist, Arabic-language website titled "Complete Information on Coptics" sets to "identify and name all of the Coptics throughout the world who hope to defame Islam." The website calls the Coptic Christians living abroad "dogs in diaspora," a derogatory reference in Arabic.

Among those named on the Shumukh-al-Islam website is Samuel Tawadrous, a Coptic Egyptian living in Quebec.

"This is a direct threat against our lives," Tawadrous said in an interview.

"They are trying to inform each other in hopes that someone can carry out this threat. They could be in Egypt and they could be here. Our names and our pictures are listed."

Tawadrous's picture and cellphone number were listed on the site.

One of the prominent figures listed on the website is Salim Naguib, who helped establish a Coptic organization in Canada. Naguib is described on the website as opposing Islamic Shariah and as converting Muslims to Christianity. His picture, career background and cellphone number are listed on the website.

But he said in an interview he won't be frightened.

"I only fear God," said Naguib when reached by phone. "These websites mean nothing any more."

Coptic Christians are predominantly a part of the Orthodox Church. Coptics are synonymous with Egypt and make up the largest Christian community in the Middle East.

Sherif Mansour said he found out he was named on the website when intelligence officials called him.
"They asked me, 'Are you afraid?' I said 'Should I be?"' said Mansour, who has run a business in Quebec for the past 22 years since emigrating from Egypt.

Mansour laughed at the threat, but said he recognizes the seriousness of the matter.

"These issues can't be taken lightly anymore. … If they [Muslim fanatics] had the guts to fly a couple of planes into buildings and kill thousands of people, what would be the big deal with just one person? Nothing. Am I afraid of it? No, not really," said Mansour, who is an active member of the Coptic church in Canada.

Mansour believes he is being targeted because of comments he made in an interview on CTV where he was discussing the media's coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian war.

Mansour said the fact that his picture, cellphone number and comments are displayed on the Shumukh-al-Islam website is an indication that fanatics are keeping a close eye on what happens in Canada.

Shumukh-al-Islam lists more than 200 Arab Christians in Egypt, Europe and North America. More than 100 of them are listed as being in Canada.

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