BLOG 561

April 11, 2022


Having traveled and worked in the Middle East since l968, Robert L. Wise has journeyed through the region, giving him insights from behind the scenes. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon. Each week he attempts to present an objective view of current events.


Death is no stranger in the Middle Eastern world. This past week’s attacks in Tel Aviv by a terrorist underlines the fact. However, we have not heard much recently from Egypt where riots and fighting grabbed the headlines not so long ago. Sadly, another killing just occurred.

Sectarian violence is not uncommon in Egypt, where an Orthodox Christian minority, the Copts, is believed to be among the world’s oldest Christian communities. According to Christian tradition, the Apostle Mark founded the first church sometime around 42 BCE.  Coptic Christianity is one of the five oldest Christian churches in the world including the Roman Catholic Church, Church of Athens (Eastern Orthodox Church), Church of Jerusalem, and Church of Antioch. … Copts count their leader as the first of their chain of 118 leaders called popes.

A knife-wielding man mortally wounded a Coptic priest in an attack at a popular seaside promenade in the northern city of Alexandria on Thursday evening, Egypt’s interior ministry said. The ministry reported the priest died while being treated for his wounds. It said the suspected attacker had been arrested.

The priest was identified by the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria as Arsanious Wadid, 56. It said he had served at a local parish.

Christians make up more than 10% of Egypt’s mostly Muslim population. Violence between communities occasionally erupts, mainly in rural communities in the south. Islamic extremists have also targeted Christians in the past. Sheikh Ahmad al-Tayyeb, who heads Egypt’s Al-Azhar,  the highest institution of Sunni Islam in the Muslim world, condemned the attack, warning that such acts “might instigate religious wars.”

Through out the centuries but particularly in recent decades, the Copts have paid a high price for their faith. Radical Muslims attacked churches and killed many people. A sad, sad commentary on the status of religion in the Middle East.

Further to the East in another hot spot. Tension between the West and Iran continues.  The IRGC  (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp) has become the center of an ongoing debate between Iran and the US as part of the negotiations for restoring the 2015 nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Tehran has demanded that the IRGC be removed from the US Foreign Terrorist Organizations list as a condition for restoring the 2015 agreement, going as far as threatening to risk negotiations as a whole.

The US has indicated that it will not be persuaded by the Iranian demand, with The Washington Post on Saturday citing a US official who said that the Biden administration will not remove the IRGC from its terror list even if it proves to be a dealbreaker for the revival of the nuclear agreement.

That’s the latest from a war-torn region. Throw in the attack on the Ukraine by a brutal Russian army and you have enough to make you ill for a long time!

Readers of my Wise on the Middle East blog will be fascinated by my latest book MIRACLES NEVER CEASE!


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Filed under Christians, Muslims, The Middle East

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