Throughout the Middle East, Christians are under assault. While the persecution is widespread, it is particularly intense in Syria, Iraq, and Egypt.
In Egypt, Coptic Christians—a group that can trace their ethnic lineage back to the times of the ancient Egyptians and their Christian lineage back to the times of the Apostle Mark—have recently been targeted by Islamists and non-Jihadi Egyptians.
National Review reported: “Egypt’s Copts make up approximately 10% of the population, but have been targeted by Islamist groups as well as fellow Egyptians in the last few decades as sectarianism became virulent throughout Egypt and terrorism spread from Syria’s war zone. ISIS has claimed responsibility for several church bombings, including the two 2017 Palm Sunday bombings that killed 45 people and injured over 100. More recently, in November 2018, Islamic militants opened fire on two buses carrying Copts on a pilgrimage to an ancient monastery, killing seven.”
The violence has continued. In the last week, there have been more attacks on the Coptic Christian community. On Monday, three Coptic Christian homes were destroyed over a false report claiming that a Copt Christian had insulted Islam on Facebook. The police arrested the alleged writer of the post for violating blasphemy laws. The Egyptians who burned the homes to the ground were not arrested.
Scenes like this are occurring too often throughout Egypt. It is not just radical Jihadist groups who are carrying out violence against Christians; it is everyday Egyptians as well. These Egyptians view Christians as heretics committing blasphemy against Islam.
Fortunately for the Egyptian Christians, they appear to have a defender in their president, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who has called on his fellow Muslims to treat the Christians peacefully.
In a recent speech, El-Sisi said, “When we wish our Christian brothers a happy feast or congratulate them on building new churches, we represent our religion…such gestures are not meant to show off. There is a big difference between practicing and understanding the religion.”
That brave statement by President El-Sisi could put him on the ISIS hit list. It wouldn’t be the first time an Egyptian President was assassinated by radical Jihadists who felt betrayed by their president. In 1981, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was assassinated by members of El-Jihad, an Islamic terrorist group angered by Sadat making a peace deal with Israel.
Sadly, the Middle East isn’t the only region in the world in which Christians are being persecuted.
An underreported genocide has been occurring in Nigeria. In a March article for FreedomWire, I wrote that “church leaders said that over 6,000 persons, mostly children, women, and the aged have been maimed and killed in night raids by armed Fulani herdsmen…killing, maiming, burning, and destroying churches and other sacred places of worship, and forceful seizure and occupation of ancestral, worship, farming, and dwelling lands of the indigenous Christians.”
Unfortunately, the international community has largely ignored the anti-Christian violence in Egypt and elsewhere. They are largely silent on the persecution of Christians. However, it is a safe bet to assume that if Christians were persecuting Muslims on a large scale, it would be front page news around the world.
Maybe it’s time for us to take a stand and say that persecuting any group based on their religion, regardless of who they are or where they’re from, is simply unacceptable.