Egypt, Christian Persecution, and Ramadan
ICC Note: Open Door’s CEO, David Curry explains the growing anti-Christian sentiment in Egypt, especially in line with the Ramadan celebration. While the government maintains a secular nature, within communities there seems to be a growing intolerance for minority religions, especially Egyptian Christians.
06/06/2016 Egypt (MNN): In the days leading up to Ramadan, which began June 5, there has been a build-up of anti-Christian sentiment in Egypt.
Open Doors’ CEO and President David Curry says, “I’ve been in Egypt a couple of times and know a bit about what’s happening to the Christians there. It is a bit of a mixed bag in the sense that Christians, I think, still remember well what it was like to live under the Muslim Brotherhood. Which was very difficult…lot of restrictions, lack of freedom. So in light of that, I think Christians are still pretty optimistic within Egypt.”
However, just last week Curry reports there was a Christian grandmother who was stripped naked and paraded through the streets. A rumor had spread about her son possibly having an affair, so she was punished. “This sort of thing, which humiliates the woman, is exceptionally dangerous… highlights the fact that Christians are still considered second-class citizens there in Egypt,” Curry explains.
It also exposes the weak responses from the government in these situations. In this case, the government barely did anything to calm the mob’s negative response and it hasn’t taken much proactive action either. And regardless of the fact that Egypt embraces conservative Muslim traditions, there’s still the need for Christians to live with the freedom of religious expressions without fear of persecution.
However, there have been rumors of the terrorist group ISIS having a strong foothold in the country. Curry says, “What we know is that the government itself is trying to actively push out ISIS. They’re fighting against it, trying to camp down radical elements within the country. This government, itself, is a response to the Muslim Brotherhood, which was a very severe government.”
But Curry does say, despite this governments’ secular nature compared to the previous, ISIS does want the country. “Egypt has a massive population, as regards and related to other countries there in the Middle East. And it’s a very critical country because it has so many cultural imprints on the rest of the Arab world. So I think ISIS would like to get in-roads there,” Curry explained.
As a whole, Curry doesn’t believe the people of Egypt want another Islamic extremist regime ruling the country. But, the attacks in Egypt by ISIS have been stirring up dissension within communities. Especially during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, with violence and persecution towards Christians spiking.