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A mass exodus of Christians is fleeing the Islamic world, writes Raymond Ibrahim for Fox News. “The flight of Christians out of the region is unprecedented and it’s increasing year by year,” The U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) wrote in its annual report. More than half the Christian population has fled Iraq since the outbreak of war in 2003 while a similar exodus is beginning in Egypt and is expected to occur in Syria’s near future.
In this article, Raymond Ibrahim, the son of Coptic Christian parents who left Egypt to the US, warns the international community that “Christians throughout the Islamic world are under attack.” Ibrahim focuses specifically on Christians in Egypt by looking at the church’s past and present. “An examination of the treatment of Christian churches in Egypt suffices as a model for understanding the fate churches under Islamic dominion,” Ibrahim writes. “Indeed, as one of the oldest and largest Muslim nations, with one of the oldest and largest Christian populations, Egypt is the ultimate paragon for understanding all aspects of Christianity under Islam, both past and present.”
The Supreme Ulema Council in Morocco recently published a fatwa calling for the death penalty for Muslims who leave Islam. In this article, Morning Star News interviews a Moroccan Christian convert active in the house church movement who said that many former Muslims who converted to Christianity fear for their lives.
Egypt’s Christians celebrated Coptic Easter over the weekend amidst heightened concern of discrimination and persecution following the country’s 2011 revolution that led to the political rise of Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood.
Mohamed Abu Samra, secretary-general of the Islamic Jihad Party in Egypt, recently said that "it is permissible to kill some Christians today," MidEast Christian News reports. Samra goes on to say that Egypt’s Christians want to establish a Coptic state and chanted 'we’ll bring Islam down’ during a recent gathering at the Coptic Cathedral. Samra’s extremist rhetoric could not be further from the truth. Conversely, it is Muslims who are quickly establishing an Islamic state in Egypt while churches are being attacked and Christians are being killed. More than 80 Christians have been killed since the country’s revolution in early-2011.
After decades of silence, Egyptian Christians are now “adopting a more confrontational approach, vocally protesting the wrongs being done them,” Mark Movsesian writes for FirstThings.com. Following Egypt’s 2011 revolution, more than 80 Christians have been killed and several churches have been destroyed while the Islamist-dominated government repeatedly fails to protect them. In the latest incident, two Christians were killed by Muslim rioters during a violent assault on mourners attending a funeral at St. Mark's Coptic Cathedral in Cairo on April 7. "This is our country, we will not leave it," chanted Christian protestors hours before the attack.
“What was originally dubbed as the Arab Spring has evolved into a series of deadly seasons, especially for the indigenous Christians of the Middle East,” Nabil A. Malek, president of the Canadian Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, writes for the Montreal Gazette. Recent violence that resulted in the deaths of at least six Coptic Christians in early April is just one more indication that nothing has changed in the 'new' Egypt, which many hoped would bring justice and equality. The only freedoms gained were those of Islamists and Christians are at their mercy. “The Islamic regimes that replaced the ousted dictators seem to be bent on clearing away the remaining Christians of the region,” Malek writes.
A Muslim mob surrounded and threw stones at a Coptic Church in Wasta, a village in Beni Suef province, Egypt over a romance between a Muslim woman and Christian man. The girl is believed to have converted to Christianity and reportedly fled to Turkey with the Christian man. “For more than a month, Muslims have attacked churches over the incident and forced Christians to close their shops in the town,” the Associated Press reports.
“Christians throughout the Islamic world are under attack,” writes Raymond Ibrahim. “The ongoing attacks on Christian churches in the Muslim world are perhaps the most visible expression of Christian persecution under Islam. In churches, Christians throughout the Islamic world are simply being Christians—peacefully and apolitically worshipping their God. And yet modern day Muslim governments try to prevent them, Muslim mobs attack them, and Muslim jihadis massacre them.”
Recent violence that resulted in the deaths of at least six Coptic Christians is just one more indication that nothing has changed in the 'new' Egypt, which many hoped would bring justice and equality, as perpetrators of anti-Christian violence continue to go unpunished. Many Christians feel their rights have been all but ignored after the country’s revolution that led to the political rise of Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood. “The current government views Copts not as equal citizens but rather as an interest group that needs to be placated,” Paul Sedra, an Egypt expert and associate professor of history at Simon Fraser University, told the Daily Beast.
Coptic Pope Tawadros II says fear is driving many Christians to emigrate from Egypt, Ahram Online reports. At least 93,000 Christians have left Egypt following the country’s revolution that led to the political rise of Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood, according to the Egyptian Federation of Human Rights.
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ICC is constantly monitoring the state of Christian persecution in countries around the world and looking for ways that we can act as bridge between our supporters and the persecuted church. Beyond the projects you see above, we are working in many other areas to provide practical assistance to our brothers and sisters in Christ. View our other projects page to understand more of our work and keep up to date on our current projects.