Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Tunisian Reformist Researcher on Discrimination Against Christians in Egypt

Here is a link to the article (link).

Some quotes:

"[But] in a country in which there are monasteries, and in which the voice of the muezzin reverberates along with the sound of the bell calling to prayer, one cannot brandish the motto 'Islam is the solution' or call for the return of the 'Islamic caliphate' - and it is inconceivable for the constitution to set out that the state is Islamic.

The rich Cristian tradition of Egypt is vital to the soul of Christanity everywhere. This is the land that sheltered Christ. God chose Egypt to protect Christ when He was helpless. Egypt was the loving shield of a loving God. Through time the Coptic Christians of Egypt have suffered and held strong. Now, more than ever, the Church of Martyrs needs it's brothers and sisters of all Christian faiths around the world to extend their prayers, love and active support.

"The second example of the violation of the Copts' religions rights is manifested in religious coercion, that is, in pushing women, particularly underage girls, to convert to Islam under pressure... In this framework, there are cases of young girls abducted and forced to convert to Islam...

This is a horror that numbs the mind. At first my mind says, "That can't be true...it just can't. How can anyone do that?" But it is. The UN had mentioned it. The evidence has become to strong to deny. As Christians, we must not repeat the sin of Peter and say, "I do not know Him."

For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.' Matthew 25:42-45

"But anyone who follows the events and the facts of daily life has noticed what the official discourse hides. Harassment has increased and the discrimination between Muslims and Christians has gotten worse... The state has not lifted a finger [to stop] the escalation in the discourse of the extremists, who support the Islamist movements and control the various institutions - particularly the media institutions...

If Islamists control the media, and they do, then I need to ask: With all the horrors we hear of, what do we not know.

"Feebleness, fear, and a sense of oppression and helplessness have infiltrated the souls of a not inconsiderable number of Copts, and they would rather remain silent than reveal the secret. They would rather submit to the powerful regime than fight it. This oppression has led them to accept the deeds of the ruling class, and to submit to the reality that is accepted as 'natural' in the society of the majority...

"The Copts are divided in opinion not [only] with regard to the appropriate time to deal with this matter, but also with regard to the [appropriate] way of defending [themselves],... and with regard to terminology: Is it permissible to talk of 'persecution,' 'discrimination,' and 'violation [of rights],' or is it necessary to use expressions like 'being ignored' and 'neglected' by the state, or '[the state] turns a blind eye?' Similarly, they disagree on the methods of struggle against discrimination... and whether the issue of the Copts should be presented as a problem of a 'minority that is persecuted and besieged' or else considered within the broader framework of the lack of democracy in Egypt and the violation of fundamental human rights?...

In summary, Dr. Grami stated: "Global and local circumstances no longer allow the situation to continue as it is... and even though some elements have objected to raising the Coptic issue at the present time, public debate on this most sensitive Egyptian issue cannot be put off any longer."

A great church is suffering. A great people are losing their hope. The above paragraphs should impress upon the reader the dire need to support actions that peacefully help the Copts.

An option is:

Coptic Orphans (link)

And see the links in my sidebar to keep aware of these issues.

I hope I didn't preach on too much, I just thought the article I linked to was a very nice summation of the situation.

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