According to Samuel Tadros, an Egyptian and an expert in religious freedom, Egypt’s Christians continue to face worrisome persecution, despite the words and actions of its president to show goodwill to the community.
Historically, Egypt has tended to be more tolerant and relaxed towards Christians than its Middle Eastern neighbors. However, even though Copts – Egypt’s ethnic Christian group – have been bullied under previous regimes, the persecution has recently become much more personal, warned Tadros.
“What worries me is not just that a government does not allow a church to be built. What really worries me is the fact that normal people – not Islamists, not terrorists – just normal Muslim guys, would form a mob and attack their neighbours. Not people they don’t know: their very neighbours.”
Mob violence against neighbours is especially alarming in a country with a history of Christians and Muslims living together. And, despite expressions of solidarity and goodwill from the Government, Christians face persecution on a daily basis throughout the country, especially in rural villages in Upper Egypt.
Yet mob violence is not the only problem for Copts. They face employment discrimination, with an unofficial employment cap at around one percent for Christians in the police force and the army, even though Christians account for 10 percent of Eygpt’s population.
Another new threat is blasphemy accusations, where people can be accused of making a Facebook post deemed insulting to Islam, or of even being tagged in such a post. These accusations invite mob violence and blasphemy trials that are all but a mockery of due process.
Tadros warns that Egypt must take anti-Christian persecution much more seriously and laws must fuel a crackdown against anti-Christian violence, while enabling the building of churches. However, he also acknowledges that those changes will prove futile if the culture’s acceptance of public Christianity does not improve.
“You can change laws. You can change the educational system. But once the hatreds have taken over the hearts and minds of a local population, that’s much harder to change.”
- Pray for Egypt’s Christian Coptic Community, for protection from mob violence, and for a renewed acceptance of Christianity as part of Egypt’s heritage.
- Pray for the Egyptian government, to govern with action, in terms of protecting the Coptic communities.
- Pray for the Spread of the Gospel in Egypt, that many will have encounters with te Living Christ Jesus and have hearts and minds transformed through His love and grace.
Romans 1 vs 16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith,”
Source: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com, http://www.persecution.org