Arab Spring Not Exactly Warm for Christians
A year into the Arab Spring, if the future does not look bright for people who took to the streets of Egypt, Libya and Tunisia, at least they are now talking about a future for the first time in . . . well, forever.
But for the small minority of Christians in those countries? Not so much, warns a Santa Ana-based nonprofit that seeks to protect Christians in lands where they are not welcome.
"Many hail this movement of popular discontent that has toppled dictators as victory for democracy," says Carl Moeller, president and CEO of Open Doors USA. "But within Arab Spring are troubling incidents against Christians, even those in countries yet unreached by the revolutionary wave."
In a statement Open Doors USA sent out yesterday, Moeller noted that Westerners believe "the notion of democracy is majority and minority groups working together, each having a voice at the table." But what is unfolding in the lands of the Arab Spring, he said, "is far from Jeffersonian."
"A possible result is the law of mob rule, where Islamists are likely to control governments, exclude minority faiths even from police protection, and Christians live in constant terror from the clear message: There is no place here for Christians," Moeller warns.
There are reports of Coptic and evangelical Christians being victimized by violence in Egypt, something Moeller says even the Simon Wiesenthal Center has noticed. So have Christians visited in Egypt by Open Doors USA representatives, according to the release, which tells of a Coptic Christian recently teilling a visiting team that "we have lived side by side with Muslims for many decades without problems, but a lot of these extremists hold very radical views and are not afraid of using violence. It feels we are going backwards--moving in the wrong direction."
Some Christians have already left Egypt while others are preparing to go, according to the organization, Moeller believes a mass exodus would be "disastrous," as the world learned in Iraq, where there were nearly 1 million Christians in the early 1990s but now there's only an estimated 345,000. "Pray that does not happen in Egypt," he says, ". . . that there is not another religicide."