Ἀναφερόμενη μιὰ σύγχρονη ἐρευνήτρια, ἡ Petra Sijpesteijn, στὴν κατάκτηση τῆς Αἰγύπτου ἀπὸ τὸ Ἰσλὰμ μεταξὺ 639-646/652 (The Arab conquest of Egypt and the beginning of Muslim rule), διαπιστώνει ὅτι ἡ κατάκτηση δὲν ἦταν βίαιη, κι ὅτι οἱ χριστιανικὲς ἀφηγήσεις περὶ σφαγῶν εἶναι ἀνακριβεῖς. Συγκεκριμένα:
«…Archaeological evidence does not support a violent conquest….Stories in Christian sources about the slaughtering of natives stand in contrast to their generally more favourable Reports of the Muslim commander, ‘Amr b. al-‘As, who «took none of the property of the churches, commited no act of spoliation or plunder, and preserved them throughout all his days»…In fact…it is more likely that Egypt was won through a protracted series of treaties with local individual commanders and communities, sometimes preceded by battles. Some Egyptians supported the Muslim armies…According to Samuel of Qualamun (d. c. 640)…God in reply to requests from persecuted Egyptians [ἀπὸ τοὺς Βυζαντινούς] had sent «this nation (umma) that demands gold, not religious orthodoxy««.
Ὡστόσο, οἱ κοπτικὲς πηγὲς κάνουν λόγο γιὰ φορολογικὴ καταπίεση καὶ γιὰ ἀλλεπάλληλες σφαγὲς κατὰ τὴν πορεία τῆς μουσουλμανικῆς κατάκτησης τῆς Αἰγύπτου, πόλη τὴν πόλη καὶ χωριὸ μετὰ τὸ χωριό. Παρακάτω, παρατίθενται τμήματα τῆς ἀφήγησης τῆς κοπτικῆς Ἱστορίας τῶν Πατριαρχῶν καὶ τοῦ Χρονικοῦ τοῦ μονοφυσίτη ἐπισκόπου Νικίου Ἰωάννη, ποὺ ἄκμασε στὰ τέλη τοῦ 7ου αἰ., ὅταν ἡ Αίγυπτος ἦταν ἤδη ἰσλαμοκρατούμενη. Τὸ Χρονικὸ τοῦ Ἰωάννη Νικίου ἀρχικῶς γράφτηκε στὰ ἑλληνικά, ὡστόσο σήμερα σώζεται μόνο στὰ αἰθιοπικά, καὶ ὑπάρχουν γαλλικὲς (H. Zotenberg) καὶ ἀγγλικὲς (R. Charles, D. Litt) μεταφράσεις. Ἡ Ἱστορία τῶν Πατριαρχῶν σήμερα σώζεται στὰ ἀραβικά, καὶ εἶναι μεταφρασμένη στὰ ἀγγλικὰ ἀπὸ τὸν B. Evetts.
Σύμφωνα μὲ τὴν Ἱστορία τῶν Πατριαρχῶν, ὅταν οἱ Μουσουλμάνοι μὲ τὸν Amr-Ἄμβρο εἰσῆλθαν στὴν Ἀλεξάνδρεια, γκρέμισαν τὰ τείχη, ἔκαψαν ἐκκλησίες καὶ μοναστήρια.
Σύμφωνα μὲ τὸ Χρονικὸ τοῦ Ἰωάννη, οἱ Ἄραβες ἔσφαζαν τοὺς κατοίκους τῶν πόλεων οἱ ὁποῖες παραδίδονταν, γέρους, μωρά, γυναῖκες. Ἔσφαζαν στὴν ὕπαιθρο καὶ σὲ πόλεις ἄδειες ἀπὸ στρατιῶτες ὅποιον ἔβρισκαν μπροστά τους. Οἱ Μουσουλμάνοι ἔκαιγαν τὶς αἰγυπτιακὲς πόλεις. Κατέστρεψαν τὰ σπίτια ὅσων Ἀλεξανδρινῶν ἔφυγαν ἀπὸ τὴν Ἀλεξάνδρεια μετὰ τὴν παράδοσή της. Γαλλικὴ κι ἔπειτα ἀγγλικὴ μετάφραση:
…And these Ishmaelites came and slew without mercy the commander of the troops and all his companions. And forthwith they compelled the city to open its gates, and they put to the sword all that surrendered, and they spared none, whether old men, babe, or woman
…And when the Moslem learnt that Domentianus had fled, they marched joyously and seized the city of Fajûm [Φαγιούμ]and (A)bûît, and they shed much blood there.
‘Amr…doubled the taxes on the peasants and forced them to carry fodder for their horses, and he perpetrated innumerable acts of violence.
in the city of Damietta they also refused to admit him, and he sought to burn their crops….he destroyed the houses of the Alexandrians who had fled….And the inhabitants of that city on hearing of this project took to flight with their possessions, and abandoned their city, and the Moslem burned that city with fire. … And the Moslem marched against other cities to war against them, and they despoiled the Egyptians of their possessions and dealt cruelly with them.
…And thereupon the Moslem made their entry into Nakius [Νικίου], and took possession, and finding no soldiers (to offer resistance), they proceeded to put to the sword all whom they found in the streets and in the churches, men, women, and infants, and they showed mercy to none. And after they had captured (this) city, they marched against other localities and sacked them and put all they found to the sword. And they came also to the city of Sa, and there they found Esqutaws and his people in a vineyard, and the Moslem seized them and put them to the sword
the city [of Kîlûnâs], they forthwith made themselves masters of it, and put to the sword thousands of its inhabitants and of the soldiers,…and they gained an enormous booty, and took the women and children captive and divided them amongst themselves, and they made that city a desolation (lit. destitute). And shortly after the Moslem proceeded against the country (city?) of Côprôs and put Stephen and his people to the sword.
Ὁ Ἰωάννης Νικίου ἀναφέρεται στὴν παράβαση τῶν συνθηκῶν ἀπὸ τὸν Amr-Ἄμβρο σὲ βάρος τῶν Αἰγυπτίων καὶ στην φορολογικὴ καταπίεση τῶν Κοπτῶν ἀμέσως μετὰ τὴν ἀραβικὴ κατάκτηση:
…’Amr had no mercy on the Egyptians, and did not observe the covenant they had made with him, for he was of a barbaric race.
…the Egyptians; but the latter, and particularly the Alexandrians, were very hard pressed by the Moslem. And they were not able to bear the tribute which was exacted from them. And the rich men of the city (country ?) concealed themselves ten months in the islands.
he [ὁ Ἄμβρος-Amr] increased the taxes to the extent of twenty-two batr of gold till all the people hid themselves owing to the greatness of the tribulation, and could not find the wherewithal to pay.
And none could recount the mourning and lamentation which took place in that city [Ἀλεξάνδρεια]: they even gave their children in exchange for the great sums which they had to pay monthly.
Αὐτὴ ἦταν ἡ ἤπια μεταχείριση ποὺ ἐπεφύλαξαν ἀπὸ τὴν ἀρχὴ τῆς κατάκτησης τῆς Αἰγύπτου οἱ Ἄραβες Μουσουλμάνοι στοὺς Αἰγυπτίους.
Εἶναι ἀξιοσημείωτο ὅτι ἡ ἀναφορὰ τοῦ Ἰωάννη Νικίου, τὴν ὁποία παραθέτει ἡ P. Sijpesteijn (πὼς ὁ «Ἄμβρος» τῶν βυζαντινῶν πηγῶν δὲν πείραξε ἐκκλησίες) ἀκολουθεῖται ἀμέσως ἀπὸ τὴν ἀναφορὰ στὴν βαριὰ φορολογικὴ καταπίεση τῶν Κοπτῶν ἀπὸ τοὺς Μουσουλμάνους, ἀπὸ τὸν φιλάνθρωπο Amr.
Ὁ Ἰωάννης Νικίου κάπου στὸ Χρονικό του καταλήγει σὲ μιὰ διαπίστωση, καὶ μιὰ εὐχή:
And the yoke they laid on the Egyptians was heavier than the yoke which had been laid on Israel by Pharaoh, whom God judged with a, righteous judgement, by drowning him in the Red Sea with all his army after the many plagues wherewith He had plagued both men and cattle. When God’s judgement lights upon these Ishmaelites may He do unto them as He did aforetime unto Pharaoh!