Archive for Egypt

Religious Tensions in Egypt

Posted in Egypt with tags , , , , , on June 17, 2008 by Mike

The Middle East Times has an interesting article about the increasing religious tensions between the country’s Muslims and its Coptic Christians.

Still, to say that Egypt’s Christian Copts — 16 million in a country of 81.7 million — have coexisted peacefully with the Muslim majority may be stretching the truth. While the two communities have largely gotten along over the years, there have been periodic clashes, some of them violent, some of them leaving many dead and wounded.

Ever since the Muslims became the majority in Egypt around the middle of the first century, Egypt’s Christians and followers of St. Mark the apostle and evangelist, known as Copts, found themselves relegated to the position of second-class citizens. Their situation began to improve in the early 19th century under the stability and tolerance brought to the country under the dynasty of Mohammad Ali.

Yet, despite Egypt’s generally more moderate approach to religion when compared with other Muslim countries — such as Saudi Arabia, for example — strife between the country’s Muslim and Christian communities will periodically make the headlines.

Ahmad al-Aswani, an Egyptian writer, posted on June 7 an essay on the liberal Web site Aafaq.org, in which he sheds light on a series of escalating attacks on members of the Copts community.

“What is happening to our Coptic brothers … is no longer a matter of sporadic incidents,” writes al-Aswani. “It is open season on Egypt’s Copts,” said the Egyptian writer in a dispatch translated from Arabic by the Middle East Media Research Institute.

“It is no longer a matter of sporadic incidents,” said al-Aswani.

Read the rest of the article for examples of the violence that Muslims have committed against Christians.

7 Suspects in Attacks on Christians Released

Posted in Egypt with tags , , , , on December 21, 2007 by Mike

The Assyrian International News Agency is reporting that 7 Muslims who were arrested in the wake of Muslim attacks on Coptic Christians in a town south of Cairo, Egypt, were release just two days later.

The attackers had hurled stones and set fire to several shops, smashed windows of a Coptic church and damaged two cars in the early morning hours Sunday in Isna, about 560 kilometers (350 miles) south of Cairo.

Police detained 15 people suspected of taking part in the attacks. The seven released were believed to be the main suspects, the official from the prosecutors’ office said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

The grounds for the release of the seven, the fate of the remaining detainees or what this meant for the investigation was not immediately clear.

Muslim Mob Destroys Christian Stores

Posted in Egypt with tags , , , , on December 18, 2007 by Mike

The Christian Post is reporting that a mob of angry Muslims attacked and destroyed numerous Christian-owned stores in a city south of Cairo, Egypt.

At least 13 shops were destroyed and the windows of a church damaged, according international news agencies. Although the motivation behind the destruction remains unclear, Reuters claimed the riot started after a Muslim girl was suspected of having sexual relations with two Christian boys.

This was followed by another report that a Muslim woman had her veil forcefully removed by two Coptic Christians in a car parking lot on Saturday, reported the Canadian Press.

Currently, police have upgraded security and imposed a curfew on the town.

Coptic Christians account for 10 percent of the total population of Egypt and often face persecution from the Egyptian government. They claim that their rights in particular are being curtailed through requirements such as needing a license to build a church whereas Muslims can build mosques anywhere as they please.

A religion of peace?

Posted in Overseas with tags , , , , on February 25, 2007 by Mike

Grant Swank has a great commentary at The Conservative Voice about how Christians are increasingly being attacked in Muslim countries, with authorities turning a blind eye, passing on the story of a 78-year-old Christian man in Egypt who was killed while at church. A Muslim stormed into the church with two long knives and stabbed several people, shouting “god is great!”

When these atrocities occur, little if nothing is done by the authorities. They too are extremist Muslim. They too read the Koran and its demands that non-Muslims be put out. Therefore, why should Christians be guarded when they are to be extinguished?

What free nations need to realize is that Christians living in these conditions elsewhere put up with this murderous threat every day of their lives. It is not just an occasional trap. It could happen any day, any hour, any time. Christian children are brought up to be on the watch for fear of their lives.

Again, in free countries Muslims demand freedom of religion. They expect freedom to erect their mosques, have their clerics teach whatever they want to preach, hold their secret meetings, run their propaganda-filled web sites and see through the eventual Islam World Rule.

On Muslim web sites, for instance there are stark warnings to Muslims to watch out for persecution in free nations. They are instructed step by step how to report any discrimination and then press for immediate, accurate action.

However, when Christians are slain in a Muslim country such as Egypt, it’s over and out for the Christians. Another life lost. So it goes. It’s just another “Christian story.”

Swank goes on to describe the dangers that women, both Muslim and non-Muslim, face in Islamic countries.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in a recent report said that violence against women had increased alarmingly, with some of the incidents incited by Mullahs opposed to women’s emancipation.

“Islamists also campaigned against the Women Protection Bill which was recently passed by parliament, which seeks to provide protection to women who have suffered discrimination under Islamic Sharia laws.

“Women make up just over 20 per cent of the lower house of parliament, according to the country’s main human rights group, and there are three women ministers in the cabinet of the federal government. But widespread discrimination against females continues to be a problem in what remains a male-dominated society, particularly in the countryside, where most Pakistanis live.”

It is time for “moderate” Muslims to step up in countries where they can speak freely and speak out against the atrocities that so-called extremist Muslims are committing against mankind. If they don’t speak out soon, there will be no need to use the word “extremist” when describing these terrorists.

Spiritual revolution in Middle East

Posted in Overseas with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 25, 2006 by Mike

Just ran across Joel C. Rosenberg’s blog. In case you haven’t heard of him, he has written some great novels, the first of which was “The Last Jihad”. I guess that since I’ve only just finished reading this first one, I can’t actually say the rest are great, but he did win “Best Novel of 2006” by the ECPA for “The Ezekiel Option”. He’s got a great post about how Christianity is spreading throughout the Middle East, even in those countries which are run by fundamentalist Islamic regimes.

Iraq: more than 5,000 new Muslim converts to Christianity have been identified since the end of major combat operations, with 14 new churches opened in Baghdad, and dozens of new churches opened in Kurdistan, some of which have 500 to 800 members. Also, more than 1 million Bibles shipped into the country since 2003, and pastors report Iraqis are snatching them up so fast they constantly need more Bibles.Egypt: some reports say 1 million Egyptians have trusted Christ over the past decade or so. The Egyptian Bible Society told me they used to sell about 3,000 copies of the JESUS film a year in the early 1990s. But last year they sold 600,000 copies, plus 750,000 copies of the Bible on tape (in Arabic) and about a half million copies of the Arabic New Testament. “Egyptians are increasingly hungry for God’s Word,” an Egyptian Christian leader told me. Last Christmas, I had the privilege of visiting the largest Christian congregation in the Middle East, which meets in an enormous cave on the outskirts of Cairo. Some 10,000 believers worship there every weekend. A prayer conference the church held in May 2005 drew some 20,000 believers.

Afghanistan: only 17 Muslim converts to Christianity before 9/11/01, but now more than 10,000. Dozens of baptisms every week.

Kazakstan: only 3 known Christians in 1990, but now more than 15,000.

Uzbekistan: no known Christians in 1990, but now more than 30,000.

Sudan: more than 1 million Sudanese have converted to Christianity just since 2000, and some 5 million have become Christians since the early 1990s, despite a radical Islamic regime and an on-going genocide that has killed more than 200,000. Seminaries are being held in caves to train pastors to shepherd the huge numbers of people coming to Christ. Why such a dramatic spiritual awakening? “People have seen real Islam, and they want Jesus instead,” one Sudanese evangelical leader told me.

Iran: in 1979, there were only 500 known Muslim converts to Christianity, but today Iranian pastors and evangelical leaders tell me there are more than 1 million Iranian believers in Jesus Christ, most of whom meet in underground house churches.

He’s got some more great stories in the rest of the post.