News / Middle East

Egypt's Christians Look Ahead after Religious Violence

Egypt's Christians Look Ahead after Religious Violencei
X
April 10, 2013 11:56 AM
The latest spasm of religious violence in Egypt is raising some concern about the fate of the approximately eight million Christians in the Islamist-led nation. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott has more from Cairo.
Elizabeth Arrott
The latest spasm of religious violence in Egypt is raising some concern about the fate of the approximately eight million Christians in the Islamist-led nation. 

A few months ago, Cairo's Saint Mark's Cathedral was a place of joy - as Christians welcomed a new Coptic pope.

Now the streets outside the main Coptic Church in Egypt are scattered with rubble, the remains of deadly fighting between those in the church and angry Muslims outside.

This latest bout of religious violence has prompted some Christians to consider the relative calm of the past -- before the revolution and the rise of Islamist politicians.

A Coptic man near the cathedral grounds says this type of thing has never happened before, nor has the country ever reached this state of affairs.  It will hurt not only Christians and Muslims, but the nation as a whole. "This is wrong," he says. "We are one people and one country."

Analysts say a tradition of tolerance is eroding as security diminishes, the economy tumbles and conservative strains of Islam gain strength.

Youssef Sidhom, editor of the weekly Watani newspaper, is an advocate for Coptic rights.  “This worries very much not only the Christians of Egypt, but also a good percentage of the Muslims of Egypt, whom I describe as moderate Muslims,” he said.

Political analyst Hisham Kassem says many Egyptians are beginning to take a stand. ”There is more frustration with extremism.  The people are beginning to see how unnecessary it is, okay, that it does not improve their life in any way.  In fact, it takes it to the opposite direction," he noted. "But, right now, there is only one solution in the short term, which is the firm application of the law."

Many feel the government has failed to do just that. Coptic Pope Tawadros criticized President Mohamed Morsi Tuesday for favoring promises over action.

Editor Sidhom says the fear that the government cannot, or will not, protect Christians has prompted some to consider drastic action of their own. “Of course, there are those who express their worries and concerns about tomorrow," Sidhom stated. "And, they do not hide their desire to leave Egypt if they can.”

Hisham Kassem says such thoughts recall the flight of another religious minority, in the 1950s and '60s. “There is a movie played in Cairo cinemas called On the Jews of Egypt, and it’s about the Jews who were forced to leave. And there is that fear now -  people just don’t want the day to come when there is a movie called On the Christians of Egypt," he said.

Numbers may be on the Christians' side.  In a country with some eight million Christians, analysts say Egypt has no choice but to confront the problem and find a remedy.

You May Like

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Sanjay Gupta from: India
April 10, 2013 11:23 AM
to all the Westerners out there... do not confuse "Christians" with some sort of benign disposition... they are still Arabs... and Arabs are Arabs...

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid