Easter in the East

  Yet, neither the White House nor our NATO allies have condemned a spike in violence against Christians throughout the region.In Egypt, members of the Muslim Brotherhood — described as a “secular movement” by Western diplomats and intelligence officials — are telling Coptic Christians to avoid public displays of their faith “for their own protection.” Intimidated by murders, the firebombing of churches in Alexandria and Helwan, and the destruction of Christian homes and businesses by Islamist mobs, thousands of Copts are appealing for refugee status in Europe. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which has been ruling Egypt since the February 11 ouster of Hosni Mubarak, has promised to “investigate all violations of religious freedom.” Yet no one has

Read More »

Clues to Egypt’s Amendments

Almost alone among the political groups in support of the amendments were the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group outlawed under Mr. Mubarak, and the National Democratic Party, the former president’s ruling party. Both hope to capitalize on their already strong organizations in summer elections for parliament, which will then be charged with writing an entirely new constitution.   But on Sunday, many Egyptians were still basking in the aftermath of what appeared to be the first relatively fair and violence-free election in their lifetimes. Jubilant residents of Cairo honked horns and set off fireworks after the results were announced. Journalists covering the announcement abandoned any pretenses of objectivity and yelled “Allahu Akbar!”—”God is Great!”—when the tallies were read out by

Read More »

Egypt Gets Crash Course in Constitutional Confusion

The outcome is very much in doubt, with some of the same figures who led the opposition to President Hosni Mubarak now calling for “no” votes on the referendum to signal discontent with the hasty, patchwork process. Critics say the rush to balloting works against democracy because it risks vote fraud, disruption and intimidation of the electorate, in part because overall security is still not up to strength to ward off attacks by members of the former regime.“It’s too tight a time frame for the first democratic test of Egypt since the democratic revolution,” Amr Hamzawy, an Egyptian political scientist and research director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, said. “We haven’t even seen the final amendments yet.”Hamzawy

Read More »

Christian Copts Demonstrate Against Governor

The 5-storey community center, which cost four million Egyptian pounds, belongs to the Coptic diocese of Mallawi and serves children and youth with special needs from 75 villages all over Minya governorate. It has a workshop to teach them a suitable vocation, as well as a free day clinic. The Governor wanted to demolish the services building in January 2011, but could not because of the Coptic anger and demonstrations all over Egypt after the massacre of the Two Saints Church in Alexandria on New Year’s Eve, where a bomb killed 25 Copts and injured nearly 100. “Those children and youth, some of them cannot talk or do anything for themselves,” said to one demonstrator, “so why deprive them of

Read More »

Italian Cardinal Warns of “Religious Cleansing”

The 2010 Report on Religious Liberty in the World, presented every two years by the international charity Aid to the Church in Need, reports that the number of persecuted Christians in the world is 200 million. Most notable among the recent attacks against Christians include a Dec. 30 wave of 11 bomb attacks that killed two Christians and wounded 16 in Iraq; an Oct. 31 massacre at the Syrian Catholic cathedral in Baghdad, which that day claimed more than 50 lives; and the Jan. 1 bombing at the Coptic Church of the Saints in Alexandria.Middle East Despite the diverse situations that form the background of these events, Cardinal Bagnasco reflected, the “the Middle East is certainly the region with the

Read More »

Pope Benedict Appeals for Religious Freedom

The politician, Salman Taseer, had campaigned against the law and had petitioned the government to re-examine the case of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who was sentenced to death last November under the legislation.Mr. Taseer’s “tragic murder,” the pope said, “shows the urgent need to make progress in this direction: the worship of God furthers fraternity and love, not hatred and division.”Referring to the attacks on Christians in Iraq and Egypt, Benedict called on the governments of those predominantly Muslim countries to adopt “effective measures” to better protect religious minorities. Urging Pakistan to repeal its blasphemy law, the pope said the legislation was being used “as a pretext for acts of injustice and violence against religious minorities.”The pope has often

Read More »
Close Menu