Despite Support From Their President, Egypt’s Christians Are Attacked By Their Neighbors

ICC Note: While Egypt’s President has showed greater support for the Christian minority, the reality of daily persecution for Egyptian Christians remain. From church bombings, abductions, to discrimination and exclusion from high level civil service jobs, persecution takes a variety of forms in Egypt and is driven by deeply ingrained prejudices that continue to divide the country.

05/21/2015 Egypt (CNA) Egypt’s Christians continue to face worrisome persecution, despite the words and actions of its president to show goodwill to the community, an expert in religious freedom testified to the US Congress on Wednesday.

Egypt has historically has been more tolerant and relaxed towards Christians than its Middle Eastern neighbors, said Samuel Tadros, an Egyptian native and a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom in Washington, D.C.

Although Copts – Egypt’s ethnic Christian group – have been bullied under previous regimes, the persecution there has recently become more personal, Tadros warned.

“What worries me is not just that a government does not allow a church to be built. What really worries me is the fact that normal people – not Islamists, not terrorists – just normal Muslim guys, would form a mob and attack their neighbors. Not people they don’t know: their very neighbors.”

Mob violence against neighbors is especially alarming in a country with a history of Christians and Muslims living together.

Egypt’s current constitution, adopted in January 2014, extended the rights of Christians and Jews to build places of worship, which had been strictly regulated before.

Tadros testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs’ subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa May 20, on the threats to religious freedom in Egypt.

The country has had a tumultuous past few years, with multiple regime changes. In 2011 Egyptians successfully forced the resignation of president Hosni Mubarak, who had held power for 30 years. Elections brought in the Muslim Brotherhood party headed by President Mohammed Morsi, but his rule proved to be an especially tense time for the country’s Christians.

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