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ICC NOTE: This is a good commentary on the attacks that occurred on Good Friday. Not only do Christians have to endure violent attacks but many times they lack the protection from authorities.

Assyrian International News Agency

The Dangers of Being Christian

Posted 5-17-2006

For the full text go to: http://www.aina.org/news/2006051712917.htm

This past Good Friday, a man entered Mar Girgis Church in Alexandria , Egypt , and stabbed one worshipper to death and wounded two others. He then went to another church and stabbed three other Christians.

The events in Alexandria were a reminder of the, at best, tenuous status of Christians in the Islamic world.

The Egyptian government immediately dismissed the possibility that animus toward Christians played a role in the attacks. Egypt ‘s Interior Ministry said that the attacker suffered from “psychological disturbances.” How convenient.

Egyptian Christians, known as Copts, did not buy it, and for good reason: Police officials had a different version, announcing that “three men had been arrested in four simultaneous church assaults.” According to the police, these assaults had killed one and injured another 17.

That sure sounds like a coordinated attack to me. CBS News put it this way: The Egyptian government has a history of “[playing] down incidents that can be perceived as sectarian in nature.” By “sectarian,” it means violence against Christians.

This isn’t the only manifestation of the Copts’ second-class status. Copts, who constitute at least 10 percent of Egypt ‘s population, are discriminated against in employment, especially in government. And to add insult to injury, they face “severe restrictions” when it comes to building or repairing their churches.

The Islamic world’s treatment of its Christian minority raises crucial questions for our effort to export democracy as a way to combat terrorism — an effort I support. But if democracy means anything, it means the protection of fundamental human rights like freedom of religion. So long as Christians remain targets of religious persecution in the Islamic world, not only will there be no future for Christians; there will be no future for true democracy, either. Our government and Christians must keep up the pressure.