29 December 2005

In response to an inflammatory report published Monday by The New York Post, which alleged that the U.S. embassy in Cairo was under investigation by the State Department for discriminating against thousands of Coptic Christian Egyptians who applied for visas, the consulate invited reporters to visit the embassy and see for themselves that their walls were not covered with Hamas posters, and their employees were not militant Islamists, as the Post had claimed. Although various exile Coptic groups have charged their homeland with persecuting the minority Christians, and the Post story was based on the claims of two Copts who said they were denied visas by the “Islamist” staff of the American embassy, the editor of Egypt’s largest Coptic newspaper said he’d never heard of American discrimination against the Christian visa applicants, and that rather, it is Muslims who have a harder time obtaining visas, post 9/11. The Post, which knows something about trumping up allegations concerning Christian persecution, responded that the embassy was “whitewashing” the charges of religious discrimination, basing their argument on the claims of Rev. Keith Roderick, head of the ambiguously-named “Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights,” a Christian self-described advocacy group for “the victims of Jihad and Islamization.”