Christians in Egypt tread carefully after hope turns to fear following Arab Spring

Mar 21st, 2012 | By | Category: News Posts

Fox News published and astonishingly honest story on the conditions Christians live under in Egypt. During the George W. Bush presidency it was forbidden at that network to mention the horrid repression of Christians in Islamic nations. Now that a democrat is treating the situation of Christians in the Middle East with the same disregard that George W. Bush showed the Fox News Network speaks up. Interesting!

Destroyed Coptic Church in EgyptA little more than a year ago, as the Arab Spring swept through North Africa, people in the region began experiencing a taste of freedom.

That was certainly true in Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo, where Egyptian Muslims and Christians celebrated the downfall of President Hosni Mubarak, who had been in power for more than 30 years.

But for Christians in Egypt, the elation didn’t last long. “I thought that after the revolution we would get all our rights back, but that wasn’t true,” said pharmacist Michael Eid, 28, a Coptic Orthodox Christian, as he sat in the courtyard of a church in a bustling part of downtown Cairo.

“Christians are still considered second-class citizens in Egypt.”

Egypt has the largest Christian population in the Arab World, about 10 percent of the nation’s 85 million people. And most Egyptian Christians are Coptic Orthodox. But the Christian community is a minority in an overwhelmingly Muslim country, and its relations with Muslims remain strained, even after the Arab Spring.

While you see churches in many places around Cairo, there is almost always a minaret right in front of the church or right around the corner. The great majority of women you see on the street are wearing the headscarf — something that has increased in recent decades. If a woman does not wear it, it’s a sign she’s probably a Christian or a moderate Muslim; in either case, she is in the minority.

Christianity has a long history in Egypt, dating back to the Apostle St. Mark, who is believed to have brought the Gospel to Alexandria in the 1st century.

“Egyptian Christians have history in mind, and it’s a history full of hardship, suffering and even bloodshed,” says Bishop Mouneer H. Anis, the Anglican Bishop in Cairo.

Anis, who presides over a small but thriving Anglican community, said that every time he goes to Alexandria, he feels the witness of St. Mark and other Christian martyrs. “Without the blood of the early Christians, we would not be Christians today,” he said.

Christian suffering in Egypt is not just the stuff of history books. More than two dozen Christians died during a demonstration at Maspero, in downtown Egypt, just last year, many of them run over by Army trucks. Anis recalled that he went to the funeral of the Maspero victims and saw how people were mourning as each coffin was brought out of the church. But he said they also clapped, and “You don’t clap except for a hero.”

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