Islamists tell Egyptian Christians ‘Convert, go broke, or die’

Photo credit http://www.nytimes.com

South of Cairo, Fear and Tension After Violence Toward Christians: Two months after the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, the Egyptian government is struggling to contain his supporters in some parts of the country.

Also read this story in the New York times Sept. 16,2013 –  In Islamist Bastions of Egypt, the Army Treads Carefully, and Christians Do, Too

Egypt (MNN) ― Egypt is still upside-down and sideways.

Nearly a month after a state of emergency was declared, the interim government extended the order by two months.

This action gives security forces greater powers of arrest. In mid-August, authorities and protestors clashed violently over the ouster of President, Mohamed Morsi. That led to a backlash of violence that claimed nearly 1,000 lives in the days that followed, with Christians targeted as the scapegoat. Open Doors CEO David Curry says, „Some of these extremist groups think that Christianity itself, the very existence of it, is problematic, so they’re trying to snuff it out. So there’s a confluence of events which is making it very, very dangerous to be a follower of Jesus in Egypt.”

Ever since, a night-time curfew has also been in effect in much of the country. With that in place, how did Islamists managed the takeover of a Christian village in the south? Police can’t be everywhere and can’t protect everyone, Curry says. The lack of protection is especially dangerous for the residents in Dalga, which was taken over by hardliners a couple of weeks ago. „There are about 20,000 believers that have an enclave there (in Dalga), and they gather together and they go to church. They want to worship in freedom.”

What’s more, since the siege began, word has leaked out that the Muslim Brotherhood has demanded that the Christians recant, pay a „jizya,” or suffer the consequences. Curry explains, „They’re literally being taxed until and unless they convert to Islam. So there’s a tax levied. If you don’t pay the tax, you’re going to be attacked, you’re going to be punished, and your property is going to be attacked.”

The „jizya” is a kind of tax that Islamic law requires religious minorities to pay Muslims. The amounts demanded are ruinous. „We’re talking about real money in terms of the Egyptian lifestyle. It may be that a person is made to choose between holding on to their faith and being martyred for their faith.”

Already, Muslims in southern Egypt have killed two Christian men for failing to pay it. The Voice of the Martyrs reports that a Muslim man demanded a Christian in a village in Assiut pay him nearly $1,500. They’ve also forced at least 140 Coptic Christians to pay 200 Egyptian pounds daily (US $30). When you consider that roughly 40% of Egyptians live on less than $2 USD a day, there aren’t many who can remain in their hometown safely. Forty Coptic Christian families have left as a result of the tax.

Still, Curry says there have been reports of people coming to Christ. He explains, „The Christian faith is vibrant, and it’s going to find its fruition because people are seeking answers, and they’re not looking for political answers.” Additionally, the followers of Christ have something that piques curiosity in times like these. „When people are introduced to Jesus, there’s peace. There’s life there. That’s what we want for them. Certainly, there are still great things happening even in the midst of this difficulty and in this persecution.”

Reclame

Egyptian Christians under attack

Photo credit Coptic Pope Tawadros II via EgyptianStreets.com Coptic Christians praying in a burned down church.

  1. USA Today has a map of some of the locations where Christian churches were burned here- http://www.usatoday.com
  2. And a list of burned out churches of Egypt has been compiled here- http://nilerevolt.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/1198/ and will be updated as warranted.

Open Doors USA reports via Mission News Network:

Egypt – Chaos continues in Egypt as the Muslim Brotherhood calls for more protests. Open Doors USA spokesman Jerry Dykstra shares this from an Egyptian believer: „He said, ‘These are the hardest days we’ve ever witnessed. A peaceful Egypt is now soaked in violence.'” Supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi are taking out most of their anger on one group: „Christians are being turned into the scapegoat. Many of the Muslim Brotherhood protestors are blaming Christians for the ouster of Morsi,” explains Dykstra. Their rage continues to claim lives. At last report, the death toll rose above 500, and over 3000 people are injured. In times like these, there’s only one thing we can do: pray . „Supplies can be replaced, and churches can be rebuilt. I think what we really have to focus on is the heart and soul of the people in Egypt. We need to pray for peace and the name of Jesus Christ to go out.”

The Christian Post reports:

The death toll in Egypt following clashes on Wednesday between Pro-Mohamed Morsi Islamic protesters and government military forces has climbed to 525, officials say, but the real number is suspected to continue to rise in the coming hours and days as the situation becomes clearer.

Christians make up about 8 million of Egypt’s population of 80 million and have been victims of Muslim attacks for years. Some Christians were worried when Islamists took over Egypt’s government in 2012 and relieved when the military ousted them from power last month. (source)

and Christianity Today:

at least 27 churches have been attacked and two Christians killed in retaliation, reports Morning Star News (MSN). Houses, monasteries, orphanages, schools and businesses belonging to Copts were attacked in nine provinces „causing panic, losses and destruction for no reason and no crimes they committed except being Christians,” the Maspero Youth Union, a Coptic activist group, told USA Today.

while Egyptian Street reports:

Violence in Egypt has taken a dark turn for sectarianism as more than 45 churches and Coptic institutions were torched or stormed across the country.

In cities across Egypt, from Sohag and Minya to Cairo and Assiut, Islamists took to the streets attacking churches. In one case in Minya, a Coptic man and his wife were detained before being killed by armed individuals.

In one incident, Islamists torched parts of one of Egypt’s oldest churches that was reportedly built in the 4th Century.

In a frantic email to Egyptian Streets, a Coptic student in Minya said, “They are burning everything we own, and there is no security in sight. Is this Islam? Is this what the Muslim Brotherhood want? To burn Egypt to the grounds!”

Muslim Brotherhood Continue to Kill Christians and Children in Egypt

Photo via www.guardian.co.uk

via the ChristianPost

On July 7th, masked men shot dead a Coptic priest and other attacks on the minority group were reported in Egypt after the military ousted President Mohamed Morsi, who is from the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood that now appears to be seeking revenge from Christians for allegedly supporting the „coup.”

The priest, identified as Mina Aboud Sharween, was shot dead in the coastal city of El Arish in North Sinai Governate on Saturday. Gunmen, believed to be from the Brotherhood, came on a motorcycle and killed the 39-year-old priest, according to the local news site Egypt Independent.

On Friday, a Coptic Christian, identified as Magdy Iskandar Farid, was injured and houses and shops belonging to Christians were burned near the al-Dabe’iy area in southern Luxor Governorate. The attack followed rumors that Copts had killed a Muslim man, according to AINA news agency, which also reported that hundreds of Coptic Christians have fled the area. 

The Tagammu Party in Egypt has strongly condemned renewed attacks on Christians in several cities and provinces of the country following President Morsi’s ousting. The party has highlighted that the Muslim Brotherhood has made attempts, in vain, to seize power by carrying out violence against peaceful demonstrators, as well as brutally killing and intimidating Christians. „The Brotherhood is madly trying in vain to seize rule of the country though people do not want the rule of its guidance office,” the party said in a statement on Monday.

„In the face of angry demonstrations against them, and instead of listening to the voice of reason, the Brotherhood used automatic rifles and swords against unarmed demonstrators and killed children and threw them from the top of buildings. Egypt has never seen this brutality and it has nothing to do with religion, nationality or morality.”

„The brutal crimes have extended to kill Christians, our partners in the homeland, for no reason but to scare them. There was the criminal murder of a priest while he was standing in front of a church in Arish, a Christian engineer was kidnapped in Arish while he was leaving his house, five Christians were killed in Luxor and the homes of Copts were burned. In Delga village, Minya, Copts were terrorized and a Catholic church was torched over incitement of a Brotherhood pharmacist. Intimidation of Copts is occurring in several places,” the statement added.

„If the army did not take action, how many children would die? How many Christians would fall? How many churches would be demolished? How many children would be massacred?” the party questioned. „The Brotherhood criminals are fighting their last battle and the people’s hate of them is increasing.

Read more at http://global.christianpost.com/

Islam Expert Warns Christians May Completely Disappear From Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt

The Christian Post reports:

The mass exodus of millions of Christians from one part of the Islamic world to another as the result of persecution by Muslims has reached epidemic proportions, says a Middle East and Islam expert. In fact, Christians may completely disappear from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt, warns the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Photo to the right from Christian Post: Syrians run from an explosion at the Al Zaatari Syrian refugee camp in the Jordanian city of Mafraq, near the border with Syria March 8, 2013.

„This matter of Muslim persecution of Christians is a humanitarian crisis at this point,” said Raymond Ibrahim in a recent interview with Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch. Ibrahim is the author of the recently released book, Crucified Again: Exposing Islam’s New War on Christians.

„We are reliving the true history of how the Islamic world, much of which prior to the Islamic conquests was almost entirely Christian, came into being,” he wrote. „The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recently said: ‘The flight of Christians out of the region is unprecedented and it’s increasing year by year.’ In our lifetime alone ‘Christians might disappear altogether from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt.'”

Ibrahim said that current reports from Islamic regions support this warning.

„Iraq was the earliest indicator of the fate awaiting Christians once Islamic forces are liberated from the grip of dictators,” he pointed out. „The 2010 Baghdad church attack, which saw nearly 60 Christian worshippers slaughtered, is the tip of a decade-long iceberg.”

Ibrahim pointed out that 10 years ago, at least one million Christians lived in Iraq.

„Today fewer than 400,000 remain – the result of an anti-Christian campaign that began with the U.S. occupation of Iraq, when countless Christian churches were bombed and countless Christians killed, including by crucifixion and beheading,” he wrote.

The same pattern has developed in Syria, Ibrahim said. „Entire regions and towns where Christians lived for centuries before Islam came into being have now been emptied, as the opposition targets Christians for kidnapping, plundering, and beheadings, all in compliance with mosque calls telling the populace that it’s a ‘sacred duty’ to drive Christians away.”

Some 100,000 Christian Copts have fled Egypt, their native country, soon after the „Arab Spring,” he further lamented. Reports of attacks and evictions by al-Qaida linked Muslims perpetrated on Christians and especially the Coptic Orthodox Church appear commonplace.

Christians are not only fleeing countries such as Iraq, Syria, and Egypt, but also „black” African and „white” European nations with Muslim majorities, according to Ibrahim.

As many as 200,000 Christians fled Mali after an Islamic coup last year. According to reports, Ibrahim said, „the church in Mali faces being eradicated,” especially in the north „where rebels want to establish an independent Islamist state and drive Christians out … there have been house to house searches for Christians who might be in hiding, churches and other Christian property have been looted or destroyed, and people tortured into revealing any Christian relatives.” At least one pastor was beheaded, Ibrahim wrote.

He gave several other examples of the humanitarian crisis and said that none of the reports come as a surprise to those „following the plight of Christians under Islamic persecution.”
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/islam-expert-warns-christians-may-completely-disappear-from-iraq-afghanistan-egypt-95556/#MmSMKt18wedspc2p.99

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