Coptic Christians & Persecution

6 days ago, Coptic Christians in Cairo experienced an attack while protesting restrictions that have been put on building churches as well as protesting an attack on a church in southern Egypt. My daughter’s friend, Sarah, a journalist, had an eye-witness account of the event as it occurred at a large building that houses Egyptian radio and television, Maspero. Her account brought tears to my eyes.

Perhaps some of you have read or seen videos from Sunday, October 9. The brutality of armored personnel carriers going at high speeds through crowds of people; the resulting deaths and crowded halls and morgue of the Coptic Hospital; the urging of restraint from political leaders. The more I read, the more it seems that one side did show restraint, while the other showed aggressive force.

From the start of the church in Egypt, Coptic Christians were aware that they could be persecuted for their faith. Alexandria, under the rule of the Roman emperor, Neru, was the home of this new faith, brought to Egypt by St. Mark, and it was not welcomed kindly. Rather, there was a bitter reaction to the point of St. Mark being brutally dragged by rope through the streets of Alexandria by Roman soldiers the Monday following Easter. He was later killed on that day in 68 AD. This was not the end of persecution. The Copts have been persecuted by many of Egypt’s political rulers, yet have clung fast to the Cross and the messages of humility and hope that come from the Cross.

In the Coptic Church, persecution is perceived as a Biblical part of living out the Christian faith. It’s not about culture wars and ideology over social issues. It’s about believing in the core of the gospel message and standing firm, though you may face imprisonment, beatings, and death.

The fact that Coptic Christians have known persecution for centuries does not exempt me or any Christian from speaking out against persecution, and the right to believe as one chooses, but it does give a perspective and raises a challenge for me. The challenge is that of sustaining a faith, and growing the church despite, and through, persecution. The words from Luke 9:23 are clear:

If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me

I have much to learn from Christians in other countries. The comfortable pews and buildings that have become a part of my days of worship have lulled me into a belief that persecution is about a colleague disagreeing with my stance on a social issue. That doesn’t seem to be the true meaning of persecution, not historically, and not in the present. I don’t think I am to chase after persecution, but I do believe I am to daily learn more of what it means to live as a Christian, so that should it come, there will be no question but to cling to the Cross with no looking back.

9 thoughts on “Coptic Christians & Persecution

  1. Abused. One of my most often written about subject on the net.. even whether it is verbal, mental, physical abuses now too.. ironically some of the people claiming that someone else has been abusing them has been the major abuser themselves and that is why they are so conscious of the other persons supposedly abusing them.. another case of one’s need in dealing with the beam in one’s eye over the toothpick in the other persons eye.. often notice the opposition political party accusing the governing party of abuse when they now also have done the same thing ?

    One of the thing that has caught me by surprised were the proposed solutions for the abuse.. some were really unacceptable, such as accepting the abusers and merely forgiving them when God himself does not.. anyone doubt this, look at God’s Punishment of the Apostle Paul specially for his past abuse of the Christians now too. I know from observing others that one’s abusing a Christian can lead to one’s early death. I have found the best way not to get abused anymore is to rightfully not to associate with the abuser anymore, after exposing their abuse to them and others, till they really do repent of it, and a clearly Biblical approach according to the Bible Book of Corinthians now too. They cannot hit you, abuse you if you are not there. As simple as that

    Abused! How much abuse is acceptable? None! If you are being abused do not hesitate ASAP to call the police, human rights courts, news media.

    And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. (1 Cor 13:3 KJV)

    Matt 32:29 You shall love your neighbour as yourself.. and that means you will do him no harm now too.

    And who are these abusers? why is is that they so readily abuse others now too? They tend to be persons who have their own value system, and clearly also a lack of love for others, and a lack of love for their jobs now as well. In case you did not notice it I do not accept any physical, verbal, mental, human rights abuses by anyone of anyone and I rightfully do instead demand their full, open exposure and public prosecution now as well and no matter who they are, Prime Minister, Premier, MP, MNA, MLA, MPP, Doctors, lawyers, cops, pastors, etc..

    Did you know that sibling rivalry, abuse is one of the most common forms of family violence? Siblings will use physical violence because they have learned it from their parents, a bad mother or a bad father, or other adults. In fact, one study found that 76% of the children who were repeatedly abused by their parents also abused their siblings.. and their spouse next too

    Verbal abuse is always unacceptable too. So are the Bullies now too.

    Everyone needs to set boundaries on what is acceptable behavior. No verbal abuses, no bullying, no lying, no foul languages, no hitting or other violence should be allowed. Another step parents can take to prevent abuse between siblings is to model their own respectful behavior in your family. Children learn how to interact with others by observing them.

    Hate and Verbal abuse unrestrained often next do lead to physical abuse. Hate, Verbal or physical abuse is always unacceptable too. So are the Bullies now too …

    Now I too have learned the great secret in helping bad people to personally repent or to change their wicked ways.. the public exposure and the demand of their rightful prosecuting, dismissal of the same wicked persons, as well as their bad superiors, and generally best done not by a phone call, but rather done in writing, with many copies to the right parties, news media, ministers, elected officials and the general public next too even such as those you do eventually see on my web blogs

    Beware always of men and women, bullies, tormentors, control freaks, persons, civil and public servants, politicians, pastors, leaders, elders, who falsely do, will try to enslave you, oppress you, exploit you even while they claim they are proclaiming the truth, democracy, trying to help you, etc.,

    Is 51:23 ..your tormentors {and} oppressors, those who said to you, Bow down, that we may ride {or} tread over you; and you have made your back like the ground and like the street for them to pass over.

    I have learned a long time ago that public exposure and prosecution of the abusers serves everyone’s best interests

    Here also is what I know for sure, the older the person is the more extreme, more severe, the more difficult the punishment has to be on them to cause them to personally to change in their own negative ways, for they are too set in them now too.

    The WRONGFULLY STILL Unrepentant bully’s problem is that he or she is one of those bad persons who only feels truly alive when voicing hostility and contempt for his “enemies.” Without that, he or she starts gasping for air. It’s his nature.. self-destructive” .. clearly these immoral Bully, Basher of others, Abusers of others has a disappointed, deflated ego, negative self worth, most likely related to past unresolved guilt, as a result of that the bully, he or she, tries falsely to build their ego up by bashing, hating others, by being an antagonists against his proclaimed enemies, which too often also is most people , for he or she no longer trust anyone, and Abusers this is a common very typical approach, fact in the character build up of Bullies, Bashers, but their approach is futile, the subsequent feeling of self worth dissipates too quickly, are actually replaced by guilt, and his ego, self worth likely needs to be recharged with new hate.. and is replaced with more and larger hatred of the others. I have seen this type of wrong behavior not just in bad managers, bad politicians, bad persons, but in alcoholics, and most often in Albertan rednecks ,but also in religious fundamentals evangelicals who promote hated towards Pentecostal Christians as well, and now as well as the crooked pastor wrongfully fighting for control over others. Public exposure and prosecution of these bad persons here too services everyone’s best interest.

    http://thenonconformer.wordpress.com/2008/07/07/control-freaks

    http://thefocusonthefamily.wordpress.com/2008/07/03/verbal-abuse-is-always-unacceptable-too/

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  2. Very interesting post Marilyn. I couldn’t find the link to Sarah’s article though. Do you know about the Barnabas Fund? They are a Christian organization who bring aid to persecuted Christians around the world and they often have news of Christians who are being persecuted that doesn’t make the international news.

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    1. Thanks for letting me know Sophie – I will check out the link. Yes I have heard of Barnabas fund but didn’t remember them while writing the post. Thanks for the reminder.

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  3. You have a lot of points that you have made in your comment, and I appreciate that you read the post. The Arab Spring, however, is a whole different conversation and discussion. Many who lived there for years have a bit different perspective than those who have the media alone to inform them. The post here does not deal with the Arab Spring, but rather points to an event from this past week that caused deaths and injuries in a violent way toward the minority Coptic population in Cairo. Taking this event and looking at the past and the historical response to persecution from the Copts themselves can be convicting for the western Christian. Do I think that we should stand for people anywhere who are victims of persecution and human rights abuses – my answer is a resounding ‘Yes!’ And to your statement that Jesus fought for human rights and against abuses – I totally agree. Jesus also recognized that we live in a fallen world and so gave us the words from John: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
    It would be a much longer post and conversation to look at the Arab spring, the resulting attempts at governance and ongoing uncertainty in the Middle East. And it is critical to look at this not only from a western perspective, but from a broader point of view

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  4. The fact that Coptic Christians have known persecution for centuries does not justify, Jesus himself eventoday does not accept verbal, physical, human rights abuses and is one of the reasons so many Mulsim persons are so poor..

    The governmental protests have been now also spreading rapidly through the Middle East and North Africa. A major slogan of the demonstrators in the Arab world has been Ash-sha`b yurid isqat an-nizam (“The people want to bring down the regime”) This Arab Spring also known as the Arabic Rebellions or the Arab Revolutions) is a revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests occurring in the Arab world. Since 18 December 2010 there have been revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt; a civil war in Libya resulting in the fall of its regime; civil uprisings in Bahrain, Syria, and Yemen, Algeria,[Iraq, Jordan, Morocco,and Oman, and minor protests in Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan,[ and Western Sahara. The protests have shared techniques of civil resistance in sustained campaigns involving strikes, demonstrations, marches and rallies, as well as the use of social media to organize, communicate, and raise the revolutionary campaign.

    The fact that the the largest, most organized demonstrations have often occurred on a “day of rage”, usually the Muslim Friday after noon prayers indicates who is realy behind these uprisings. The reintroduction of Sharia is a longstanding goal for Islamist movements in Muslim countries. Sharia deals with many topics addressed by secular law, including crime, politics and economics, as well as personal matters such as sexuality, hygiene, diet, prayer, and fasting. Where it enjoys official status, Sharia is applied by Islamic judges, or qadis. Sharia law would also next ban democracy and the personal freedoms we all in America do now take for granted.

    The Muslim religion has a long history of atrocities,oppressions, injustices that are reason enough to abolish these notions of any divinity pronto. The laws should treat people of all faiths equally, while protecting Muslims and non-Muslims alike from the religious extremists attempts to use the legal instrument of shari‘ah (also known as Islamic jurisprudence, or fiqh) to incubate, “Islamism,” or “radical Islam.”

    The kettle says the pot is black but it next does the same bad things. These Muslim rebels or terrorists, in the Middle East, North Africa Muslim countries misrepresent themselves these days often to all, and even by the news media , even the Canadian news media tends to spread their lies , sadly even even the Canadian government, that these citizen protests are valid now, but while they the rebels or terrorists, do claim they are now overthrowing the central, political government and it’s leader cause it has been cruel, despotic, undemocratic government, evident in the face of the state attempts at repression, and internet censorship, but the basic truth is that they the rebels or terrorists, are all now calling for the overthrow or are overthrowing these bad governments because they are or were mostly secular governments, and and the rebels or terrorists, really do want to establish a religious Muslim state governed by sharia laws where they too themselves next will even become dictatorial, undemocratic, and yes they will oppress others, the Jews and the Christians now included.

    Something the news media even in Canada plays down, and falsely spins the truth, so it is no wonder many people are skeptical as to what they now read, see, hear on the news.. it is too often a distortion.. at least some still tell the truth.

    CAIRO — Hundreds of Christian Copts protested recently outside the state television building on Tuesday after a church was burned in the southern Aswan district. Next Egyptian Coptic Christians carry coffins as they make their way to Abassaiya Cathedral during a mass funeral for victims of sectarian clashes with soldiers. The current and alarming escalation in the systematic targeting of Egypt’s Copts should now lead us all to be extremely concerned about what could be around the corner in the other Arab countries now too. Incidentally most of the news media does not tend to say the truth that these now too common killings, murders are the acts of Muslim terrorists, or Muslim religious fanatics but are rather done by democratic loving persons, separatist’s!!! How unreal!!

    The Muslim supporters even had undeniably lied, as they did recently in Egypt and said that the others , such as the innocent, supposedly mostly rich Christians and Jews, now themselves were solely to blame for the murders, violence

    Twenty-five died and more than 320 were injured when a Coptic protest against the failure of the government to investigate an attack on a church last month was overrun by provocateurs and the Egyptian military. There had been a series of anti-Coptic incidents since the revolution . One of the main conclusions to be drawn from these incidents, he said, was that the Christians did not have the right to build their places of worship in the same way Muslims do. Major-General Adel Emara, a member of the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, denied the soldiers had run over protesters or used live ammunition in Sunday’s clashes. To the disbelief of all those who witnessed the violence and the many thousands who viewed the footage on news channels and YouTube, he then accused protesters of ”savage” attacks on the military. http://www.smh.com.au/world/egyptian-military-failure-written-in-coptic-blood-20111014-1lp8u.html

    Amnesty International the London-based rights group said it had uncovered evidence of torture and ill-treatment of thousands of people detained in recent months. Libya’s interim authorities must end arbitrary detention and abuse of inmates, Amnesty International said it had found a pattern of torture and abuse of suspected Gaddafi loyalists, as well as soldiers and suspected mercenaries. The Amnesty report raises fears of a return to the types of abuses committed in the Gaddafi era. Torture and mass killings were widespread both before and during this year’s conflict as any dissent was quickly suppressed. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15284264

    So why should any decent government now support these rebels or terrorists.. oil interests?

    Have we not all have had enough experiences with these persons? Even New Mosques are growing in Canada. Just what we need more home grown Muslim terrorists.

    .. no abuse is accepted

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