Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Coptic Church and the Muslim Brotherhood

Philip Jenkins’ book, The Lost History of Christianity: The Thousand Year Golden Age of the Church in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia—and How It Died has a chapter entitled “The great Tribulation.” It is about the persecution of Christians, and in particular the Coptic Christians of Egypt and other places in the Middle East, during the fourteenth century. He begins with this:

Although Egypt’s Christians had often been subject to outbreaks of persecution, the events of 1354 reached an alarming new intensity. Mobs demanded that Christians and Jews recite the Muslim profession of faith upon threat of being burned alive. The government struck at churches and confiscated the estates of monasteries, destroying the financial basis of the Coptic Church. And unlike in previous conflicts, the persecution now reached the whole country, rather than being confined just to Cairo. Under increasingly violent conditions, many Christians accepted Islam, in a massive wave of conversions. (98)
After explaining that not all Muslim rulers were so ferocious, Jenkins goes on to document the ruin of Christianity in the Middle East during that time. Jenkins prefaces’ this tribulation chapter with this thought:
Oppression and persecution were not integral to Islamic rule, but such conditions could and did develop at particular times, and when they did, they could be devastating. At their worst, we can legitimately compare the conditions of Christians under Islam with that of Jews in contemporary Christian Europe, and the Egyptian campaigns of the fourteenth century look almost identical to contemporary European anti-Semitism. (100)
I write this to bring a better understanding of the two videos I am placing here. The Muslim brotherhood in Egypt is returning Egypt to the fourteenth century. The videos are devastating:

"This week, Egyptian political activist Cynthia Farahat testified before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in the House of Representatives. Reps. Frank Wolf and James McDermott presented Under Threat: The Worsening Plight of Egypt's Coptic Christians."

Hat-Tip Dexter Vanzile

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