Coptic cleansing – pig slaughter in Egypt
Slaughtering pigs to halt swine flu is like destroying ferries to stop them sinking. At least in Egypt we know that ferries pose a threat in which thousands may die. Yet the Egyptian authorities are presently slaughtering 300,000 pigs (the entire pig population of the country) while the farmers protest for their livelihoods. The cull was originally publicised as ‘a precaution against swine flu’.
But there is no scientific evidence that pigs are transmitting the virus to humans. And neither can the flu be caught from eating pork.
So the Egyptian officials talked of a more general ‘health measure’ aimed at ‘restoring order’ to Egypt’s pig-rearing industry.
But there is no disorder in the industry, and no evidence that a mass slaughter will resolve anything. Al-Jazeera reports that the chief veterinary officer of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation is of the opinion that the cull is ‘a real mistake’. He said: “There is no reason to do that. It's not a swine influenza, it's a human influenza."
But then it dawns upon us.
Pig-farming in Egypt and the consumption of pork are limited to Egypt's Christian minority – the Copts – estimated at 10 per cent of the population. Why let inconvenient science get in the way of an opportunity for a little Christian persecution? Egypt is taking advantage of the swine flu outbreak to persecute this minority, despite the absence so far of any cases of pig flu being reported in Egypt.
The Muslim world by and large considers pigs to be ‘unclean’, and they do not eat pork because of religious restrictions. One Islamic militant website has carried comments saying swine flu was God's revenge against ‘infidels’. Pigs are banned entirely in some Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Libya. However in other parts of the Muslim world, pigs are often raised by religious minorities who are permitted to eat pork.
Cairo governor Abdel Halim Wazir said it was imperative that the 60,000 pigs raised by the city’s ‘rubbish collectors’ would be eradicated. Slaughterhouses are multiplying and armed police are being used to ensure the Christians comply.
And so another ancient Christian community in the Middle East is ‘cleansed’, and militant Islam strengthens its hold in the region while the West slumbers.