NBC News (Feb 11): Crowds in Tahrir Square erupted in jubilant cheers on Friday after Vice President Suleiman, appearing briefly on Egypt state TV, announced that President Mubarak has stepped down from presidency.
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We should be praying for Christians in Egypt- there are many opponents of the Gospel who will use this period of instability to settle scores by ramping up persecution, church burning, etc.
Actually Derek, Christians have encircled Muslims at prayer, to protect them as they prayed;
and Muslims have come as ‘human shields’ during Christian services to protect the Christians.
Egypt is an ancient land, and it has one of the oldest Christian liturgies: the Coptic rite. The city of Alexandria was one of the very first cities to become a center of Christianity when the Apostles spread out from Jerusalem into the Roman Empire and beyond.
I wouldn’t be too concerned as long as those coming into Egypt regard the dignity of the Egyptian people as people of integrity.
Right now, the Egyptian people who are Christian and who are Muslim are in solidarity for each other’s protection and freedom of religion.
The ‘extremists’ of any religion will always try to destroy that solidarity among the Egyptian people.
They tried. They failed.
May they always fail.
I don’t doubt for one minute that there are anecdotal, positive interactions happening with Christians, Muslims and other Egyptians. But the reality is that persecution of Christians in recement months has been on the rise, even before the current strife. The recent bombing in Alexandria, in particular, isn’t something that we should brush aside and minimize in importance. It was a big event and a lot of believers are justified to be concerned about the safety of their families when they merely go to church – something I daresay few Americans can appreciate.
The bombings were the reason why Egyptian Muslims came to the Church to be there as ‘shields’ while the Christians prayed.
As I said, it will always be the ‘extremists’ of a religion who will hold others in contempt and try to terrorize and demonize them.
Derek makes a very good point. I think of the group “Muslim Brotherhood,” which some have portrayed as taking a very active role in these revolts, and potentially the most likely group to gain power in Egypt. While they have publicly denounced terrorism, they also promote Sharia law, which is discriminatory against many groups, including Christians. Who can say if this particular group will be more or less moderate than other groups in the area?
My point is not so much about the Muslim Brotherhood though. My point is that revolutions can lead to unpredictable results. Who, at the birth of the United States, would have predicted our nation becoming what it has become? Who would have predicated the copious bloodshed that came about because of the French Revolution? If history has taught us anything it is that revolutions are rarely clean, and that what comes out of them is not always better than what existed before.
Even if the regime that comes to power is better than the one that has just left, there is always the possibility, perhaps even the likelihood, that, until power is consolidated, in some of the more isolated areas there will be outbreaks of lawlessness and violence. It is always reasonable to assume that the principalities and powers of this age will seek to use political unrest to attack the people of God wherever they may be. Thus, we should always be in prayer for our brothers and sisters when such turmoil arises.
There have been those Americans who expressed solidarity with Mubarek out of fear of the ‘Muslim Brotherhood’.
There are Americans in solidarity with the Egyptian people who celebrate today, believing that these people were able to put aside their fear of a dictator and stand up for their freedom.
It all comes down to whether one watches FOX News or CNN, I suppose.
FWIW, I didn’t find out about the persecution of Christians on the TV, I read about it in Catholic news sources, local radio and the Washington Post. Generally speaking, this isn’t a topic that seems to garner a lot of national or cable news attention, which is why I suggested we should not forget to pray for our brothers and sisters.
When the protests first started, I stated that my concern that even if democracy comes to Egypt, that doesn’t necessarily mean there will be true “freedom” for anyone who isn’t an Islamist. I hope I’m wrong.
The Catholic people in Egypt welcomed the Muslims who came to be human shields for their protection, I’m sure.
It is true. We must always pray that people who stir hatred and harm others have a change of heart, and that God watches over the good Christian people of Egypt to keep them safe . . .
and that He watches over the good Muslim people of Egypt, to keep them also safe from all harm.
You are right, Derek.
We need to pray.
I have been to Egypt a few times, and I know Christians living there very well. They are nervous for the very reason Derek brought up. Under Mubarak they gained more and more freedom.
They are quite nervous right now. I didn’t get my info from Fox or CNN, I asked Christians who lived there myself.