Egypt is continuing to crack down on Christians and supporters of liberty and religious freedom, as the Egyptian government fails to protect some of it citizens and outright persecutes others.
In the wake of the Arab Spring, Egypt is teetering on the brink of lawlessness as evidenced by recent kidnappings, melees, and killings.
There are new reports that the Egyptian military government has arrested 43 individuals, including 19 U.S. citizens, “as it appears to be tightening the noose around the country's pro-democracy civil society.”
Christians still face the most danger in Egypt, which will now be ruled by the radical Islamic Muslim Brotherhood.
Less than two weeks ago, a mob of over 3,000 angry Muslims attacked a Christian community in Egypt because one man apparently had a photo on his cell phone that they considered “intimate.” The Muslim mob burned businesses and homes of Christians to the ground. A local Christian pastor said, “We contacted security forces, but they arrived very, very late."
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a bestselling author who left Islam and became a woman’s rights activist, says, “From one end of the Muslim world to the other, Christians are being murdered for their faith.”
Both kinds of persecution—undertaken by extragovernmental groups as well as by agents of the state—have come together in Egypt in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. On Oct. 9 of last year in the Maspero area of Cairo, Coptic Christians (who make up roughly 11 percent of Egypt’s population of 81 million) marched in protest against a wave of attacks by Islamists—including church burnings, rapes, mutilations, and murders—that followed the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak’s dictatorship. During the protest, Egyptian security forces drove their trucks into the crowd and fired on protesters, crushing and killing at least 24 and wounding more than 300 people. By the end of the year more than 200,000 Copts had fled their homes in anticipation of more attacks. With Islamists poised to gain much greater power in the wake of recent elections, their fears appear to be justified.
The international community must take a stand against this warrantless violence and persecution of Christians.
In a glimmer of hope, one prominent Coptic Christian leader, “Mama Maggie” who has been called the "Mother Teresa of Cairo," has been nominated for the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize for her work among the poor and destitute in Egypt.
We can only hope and pray that international publicity garnered by people like “Mama Maggie” will bring public attention to the plight of Coptic Christians in Egypt. The ACLJ will continue to keep you informed about this situation as we continue fighting for religious liberty around the world.