Coptic Christians

August 23, 2016

Persecution in Egypt: “Discord, Death and Destruction” Faced by Coptic Christians

Persecution against Coptic Christians producing “discord, death and destruction”¬†looms in their home country of Egypt, according to The Economist. They highlighted the story of one Coptic shop owner. After falling behind on bills to Muslim clients, his adversaries burned down his house after accusing him of adultery. Also, his “elderly mother was stripped naked and dragged around the village.”

Tragically, this type of violence occurs regularly in Egypt because perpetrators often go unpunished in the Muslim majority country. The justice system treats Coptic Christians like “second-class citizens.” Indeed, opponents commit violence against Coptic Christians (about 5 to 15 percent of the population) on a monthly basis without major repercussions. Cases are often referred to “reconciliation councils” outside of the courts, which often fail to hand out punishments any harsher than fines for crimes like arson.

The situation for Coptic Christians has only deteriorated since the Arab Spring in 2011, and not just in Egypt. Twenty-one Coptic Christians were beheaded by ISIS in February 2015 in neighboring Libya, which underwent a revolution of its own.

Back in 2013, the late CBS News correspondent Bob Simon reported on 60 Minutes that Coptic Christians had experienced “one of their worst periods ever” the previous summer in terms of persecution. “Copts were murdered by Islamic extremists and dozens of their churches were gutted, after Egypt’s military overthrew the ruling Muslim Brotherhood government,” Simon said.

Simon interviewed Bishop Thomas, whom he described as “senior cleric” in the Coptic Church. The bishop offered a heartfelt and steadfast Christian message.

“Forgiveness is a very important principle in the Christian life,” Bishop Thomas said. “When you are able to present forgiveness and love, you are able as well to ask for justice. One day in this life, justice has to be fulfilled.”

Let us pray for Coptic Christians, both in Egypt and wherever else they may be living; that God keeps them safe, that acts of violence are met with justice, and that God will use their Christ-like reaction toward suffering as a witness to their neighbors.

One Response to Persecution in Egypt: “Discord, Death and Destruction” Faced by Coptic Christians

  1. George says:

    The bIshop’s hopeful words are saddening. He is clearly right in his call for “forgiveness and love” and it’s absolutely right to ask for justice. But it is doubtful that “one day in this life justice has to be fulfilled.” May it be so, but man’s justice will not produce God’s and too often produces at best nothing, and often, greater injustice. But the writer’s hope, “that God will use their Christ-like reaction toward suffering as a witness to their neighbors” is realistic for Copts in Egypt and for Christian victims throughout the middle east. An observer of today’s Christian holocaust might think God is either non-existent or unmindful as many european Jews did. But His ways are not our ways and we always see things differently than He. In eternity we will probably understand and will have no complaints or admonitions. But, meanwhile, we should not expect the kind of defense, deliverance or justice we would prescribe. We ask and hope, but understanding His ways are not our ways and we don’t know what He’s doing and what will be the eternal outcome of the things we rightfully loathe and decry. We only pray with absolute rightness of conviction, “Thy will be done” and all the rest we pray only with hope.

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