Egypt’s persecution of Christians intensifies
According to a 24 November 2017 OneNewsNow article, persecution of Christians has steadily increased.
The persecution watchdog, International Christian Concern (ICC), reports that it is becoming standard practice for Egyptian authorities to close a church whenever a Muslim mob forms to attack Christians and churches.
ICC’s Claire Evans pointed to an incident taking place on October 27, when a mob attacked St. George Church in a small village in Minya province.
“Even though the Christians did not start this – they clearly did not start it – they’re the ones who are being punished by having their church closed,” she explained.
Evans told OneNewsNow that it is very typical for authorities to close down a church in that situation.
“Mobs will form, or violent groups, or an individual will realize and tell themselves ‘All I have to do is give an appearance that some violence will occur,” he explained. “You don’t even have to start a mob – you just have to complain to the authorities – and the authorities will respond by closing down the church.”
Egyptian authorities try to give the appearance that they are all about safety, but they are actually about giving militant Muslims a free ticket to persecute Christians.
(Read more at OneNewsNow)
God bless Christians in Egypt for His provision of strength and patience. Whatever we can do to support these brothers and sisters in Christ, we must.
However, in the land of Islam, one not only has to fear the punishment for adhering to Christ, but also the punishment for not being the right type of Islam.
On the other hand, one notable figure did say regarding the treatment of Christians: “Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of mine, even the least of them, you did it to me..”
Death Toll in Egypt’s North Sinai Mosque Bombing Rises to 235
In a 24 November 2017 Newsmax article, the details of a Islamist attack on a mosque were detailed.
In the deadliest-ever attack by Islamic extremists in Egypt, militants assaulted a crowded mosque Friday during prayers, blasting helpless worshippers with gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades and blocking their escape routes. At least 235 people were killed before the assailants got away.
The attack in the troubled northern part of the Sinai Peninsula targeted a mosque frequented by Sufis, members of a mystic movement within Islam. Islamic militants, including the local affiliate of the Islamic State group, consider Sufis heretics because of their less literal interpretations of the faith.
The startling bloodshed in the town of Bir al-Abd also wounded at least 109, according to the state news agency, and it offered the latest sign that, despite more than three years of fighting in Sinai, the Egyptian government has failed to deter an IS-led insurgency.
President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi vowed that the attack “will not go unpunished” and that Egypt would persevere with its war on terrorism. But he did not specify what new steps might be taken.
(Read more at Newsmax)
It will be interesting to see if Egyptian authorities close the mosque in Bir al-Abd and if the Egyptians actually attack ISIS or if they scapegoat another group.
On the other hand, it will also be interesting to see if the government will put any efforts toward limiting the conflict between faiths (or between brands of Islam) to debate.
One has to wonder if the ISIS group that attacked this mosque was emboldened by the complacency of Egyptian authorities when it came to previous attacks on Christian churches (mentioned below and in other posts). Would this pendulum have swung back and hit the mosque if it had been caught after the swing at the church?
Egypt counter-attacks ISIS groups in the Sinai
A 26 November 2017 NZHerald article closed with these statements:
Private newspaper al-Masry al-Youm reported that more than 20 masked gunmen were involved in the attack with automatic rifles.
A three-day period of mourning has been declared for the victims. No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.
Egypt later said it would delay the opening of the Rafah border crossing to Gaza after the attack because of security concerns.
The crossing had been due to open for three days from this weekend.
Striking at a mosque would be a change in tactics for the Sinai militants, who have usually attacked troops, police and Christian churches.
US President Donald Trump described the assault as a “horrible and cowardly terrorist attack” in a Twitter post.
“The world cannot tolerate terrorism, we must defeat them militarily and discredit the extremist ideology that forms the basis of their existence,” he said.
(Read more at the NZHerald)
As mentioned before, there seems to be great peril in being in the wrong type of Islam. That is, within a religion that seeks to justify itself only by works, it seems that there are enough Islamists ready to declare other Muslims not Muslim enough.
It is too bad that, while Islam counts Jesus as a prophet, they do not follow Jesus’ example of forgiveness toward the adulteress. While there must be an accounting for sins (especially the idolatrous sin of murder), the offering of forgiveness brings us closer to God.
The example of Jesus with the adulteress
The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him.
But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.
When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?”
She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.” (John 8:3-11 NASB)