Coptic Bishop Warns West Against Islam: ‘You Are Up Next… My Story Is Your Story’

By Raymond Ibrahim Published on June 26, 2024

A Coptic Christian bishop from Egypt recently issued a stark warning to the people of Germany –and by extension, the entire Western world.

In a video posted on June 11, Bishop Damian of the Höxter-Brenkhausen diocese stressed two main points that I have belabored for nearly two decades: the importance of 1) learning from the historic interaction between Islam and the West — and the fate of all nations that came under Muslim domination; and 2) understanding how Muslim numbers dictate Muslim behavior.

On the first point, Bishop Damian said,

I can assure you that if you shy away from [the growth of Muslims and Islamic violence in Germany] and do nothing, then what happened to us in Egypt will happen in your homeland too. And if you learn nothing from history, then you are up next. Take it seriously. I am not a hate preacher. I have many friends among the Muslims. I am not trying to spread fear. We should not be afraid, but we must learn from our past. We [Christians] were once the rulers of our fatherland, our country [Egypt]. Today we are struggling just to get by — struggling to survive.

Yes, indeed. While the West sees Egypt as one of the most “organic” Muslim nations today, before Islam conquered it, Egypt was one of the most thoroughly Christian nations in the world — home to the greatest theological giants and church fathers, including Clement of Alexandria (b. 150), Origen the Great (b. 184), Anthony the Great (b. 251), and Athanasius of Alexandria (b. 297), the chief defender of the Nicene Creed, which is still professed by all major Christian denominations. For centuries, the Catechetical School of Alexandria was the most important ecclesiastical and learning center of ancient Christendom.

Ancient Christian Stronghold

Writing around the year 400, John Cassian, a European, observed that

the traveler from Alexandria in the north to Luxor in the south would have in his ears along the whole journey the sounds of prayers and hymns of the monks, scattered in the desert, from the monasteries and from the caves, from monks, hermits, and anchorites.

European scholars such as Stanley Lane-Poole (d. 1931) even claim that Coptic missionaries were the first to bring the Gospel to distant regions of Europe, including Switzerland, Britain, and especially Ireland. Further underscoring the thoroughly Christian nature of pre-Islamic Egypt, both the oldest parchment to contain words from the Gospel (dating to the first century) and the oldest image of Christ were discovered in separate regions of the country.

Then Islam came and the rest is history. From its first entry, around 640 AD, Islam unleashed a centuries-long pogrom of persecution against the Christians of Egypt — one that witnessed countless Copts massacred or enslaved and countless churches destroyed — so that by the twentieth century, Christians, who, before Islam, accounted for nearly 100% of Egypt’s population, had been decimated to approximately 10%, with the rest being Islamic.

Why so many Copts converted to Islam over the ages rather than embrace an inferior status and sporadic bouts of wholesale persecution is clear enough. Indeed, after recording one particularly egregious bout of persecution in the eleventh century — when, along with the general persecution and massacres, some 30,000 churches were destroyed or turned into mosques — the Muslim historian Maqrizi makes a telling observation: “Under these circumstances a great many Christians became Muslims.” (One can almost sense the inaudible but triumphant “Allahu Akbar!”)

Critical Mass

In short, Bishop Damian’s warning is spot on:

[If you] do nothing [about Islam’s growth in Germany], then what happened to us in Egypt will happen in your homeland too. And if you learn nothing from history, then you are up next. … [W]e must learn from our past.

The bishop’s second point is equally important:

Pay attention to their [Muslims’] growth curve. That curve alone is indicating that if we do not act, we will be a minority in our own country. And we know how Islam behaves when it is in power and majority, compared to how it behaves when in the minority.

The obvious point he is making here is that Islam is so burgeoning in Germany (and elsewhere) that the idea it might take over the nation by sheer numbers alone is not implausible. Already, in those many European districts and cities where Muslims are heavily congregated — as well as some American regions — elements of draconian sharia are enforced and Western freedoms curtailed.

Islam’s Rule of Numbers

The less obvious but equally important point Bishop Damian makes is that “we know how Islam behaves when it is in power and majority, compared to how it behaves when in the minority.” Though few in the West understand this, from its very beginnings under Muhammad, Islamic behavior has always been dictated by circumstance: when weak and outnumbered, Muslims are to preach peace and coexistence; when strong and in the majority, the mask comes off and the jihad resumes.

For over a decade I’ve been referring to this dynamic, which has expressed itself with remarkable consistency, as “Islam’s Rule of Numbers.” The more Muslims grow in numbers, the more Islamic phenomena intrinsic to the Muslim world — for example, brazen violence against non-Muslims (“infidels”) — appear.

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Put differently, where Muslims are a minority, they tend to refrain from violence and displays of intolerance while demanding all sorts of “rights” if not concessions; but as their numbers grow, so too does their confidence, followed by unapologetic aggression and violence.

Those Western European nations with large Muslim populations should be aware of how all this works. Decades ago, in the name of tolerance and multiculturalism, they opened their doors to “poor Muslim refugees” who only wanted to live and work in peace. Now that these Muslims have multiplied through high birth rates and ongoing migration, their behavior has adjusted accordingly: whether in the UK, France, Sweden, Germany, or many other European nations, violence and rapes, terrorism and criminality, and daily attacks on churches have skyrocketed. The Muslims who once appeared on Europe’s doorsteps in search of “asylum” now have zero tolerance for European culture.

We close with Bishop Damian’s own closing from his recently recorded sermon to the German people:

I am warning you: take the situation seriously. My story is your story. My Christian past is your roots. Learn from our past, learn from our situation today. Look to the future, a future which begins today. That is why I raise my voice, to say that we should not look the other way. We must act together and secure a safe country for or children. We have to do this for our children so that they won’t be treated as second- or third-class citizens, and regarded as inferior human beings in their own homeland.


Raymond Ibrahim, author of Defenders of the West and Sword and Scimitar, is the Distinguished Senior Shillman Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and the Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

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