Not long ago, I wrote about the growing danger facing Coptic Christians in Egypt and reported about an attack earlier this month that claimed the lives of more than two dozen Christians in that country.
As I reported earlier, not only did the government fail to defend the Coptic Christians, which account for 10% of Egypt’s population, its own military carried out the brutal murder of dozens of Christians. This is the reality of the new Egyptian regime under the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood.
With Coptic Christians in the crosshairs, there’s a new push to bring attention to their plight. Hundreds demonstrated outside the White House this week in an effort to put this issue in the media spotlight. As one demonstrator told a reporter: “We want justice for the killing of our Coptic brothers in Egypt,” Shawky Boulos, who came from New York for the protest, told CNSNews.com. “We want justice now.”
Another demonstrator was more direct: “It is like a horrible nightmare. We watch on TV and see our people being run over by tanks,” said Mary Wassef, 66, who took a bus with friends from her church in northern New Jersey. “This is my church and my homeland. But now they want to force all Christians to convert or leave. If you hang a cross in your car, they pull you out and smash you to pieces.”
And, now there are reports that many Christians have decided to flee – to leave Egypt. It’s been estimated that 93,000 Christians already had fled the country since March, a figure some are predicting could top 200,000 by the end of the year.
Steven Cook, a senior fellow for Middle East studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, said Christians face what he called a “pretty tenuous situation” exacerbated by the Mubarak regime’s efforts to drive a wedge between Egyptian Muslims and Christians. “After three decades of manipulating sectarian tensions for their own political purposes, it’s now very, very easy to whip up anti-Christian sentiment,” said Cook.
That is why our work at the ACLJ and through our international affiliates is so important. And that is why it is so important for you to stand with us – speak out against this global persecution of Christians.
You already know that your voice – your support – is having a tremendous impact. The situation of Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani in Iran, who faces execution for his faith – his crime, being a Christian in a country governed by Shariah law – has received immense media attention because you spoke out. And while his case is now before Iran’s Supreme Leader, we must keep up the pressure on Iran.