Jihadists Target Egypt's Christians

by AF Branco, Editorial Cartoon
by Gary Bauer: The chaos that has gripped Cairo since the removal of Muslim Brother President Mohamed Morsi spread throughout Egypt this weekend. The death toll from the violence surged past 800. This morning Islamist militants executed more than two dozen police recruits in the Sinai Peninsula.

The headlines have focused on the fighting between the Egyptian military and the Muslim Brotherhood. Virtually ignored is the increasing ferocity of the jihad against Egypt's Christian population. Dozens of churches, Christian businesses, schools and homes have been ransacked and burned.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that a mosque in Al Nazla incited violence during morning prayers, telling Muslims, "Your brothers … are being killed by Jews and Christians." Surely the mosque's leaders knew the charge was false. But the mob was whipped into a frenzy and churches and Christian families were under siege all day long.

According to a British media report a Catholic school in the Cairo suburbs was attacked. The cross was ripped from the gate. The classrooms were burned and the nuns were "paraded" through the streets "like prisoners of war." The black flag of Al Qaeda has been raised over numerous churches.

Sadly, the western media and Washington's political elites have expressed more concern about the treatment of the Muslim Brotherhood. Members of Congress are demanding that the U.S. suspend aid to the Egyptian government battling the radicals. The Obama Administration is urging the interim government to negotiate with the Muslim Brotherhood, but he has made no demands that the Muslim Brotherhood stop attacking Christians.

Meanwhile the king of Saudi Arabia is standing with the Egyptian military against the Muslim Brotherhood. Something is terribly wrong when the president of the United States appears more sympathetic to Muslim extremists than the king of Saudi Arabia. The BBC reported over the weekend that the U.S. foreign policy, reputation and credibility are "in tatters."

It's not surprising that media and political elites are silent about the plight of Christians in Egypt. But it is mystifying and heartbreaking that so few pastors find this a worthy topic to discuss from the pulpit.

Christianity in Egypt predates Islam by centuries. Egypt's Coptic Church traces its founding to Saint Mark who was martyred in Alexandria. Over the years, I've heard Christian leaders and believers say, "Well, Gary, this is what the Lord promised us would happen." And they stop there.

Yes, Jesus tells us that those who follow him will be persecuted by the world. But it is a theological fallacy to conclude that believers are to be silent in the face of such persecution. The Christian faith also teaches that evil will quicken as we approach the end of history. That fact does not pardon us from our obligation to fight that evil.

If your pastor did not mention the persecution of our Christian brothers and sisters in Egypt this Sunday, I would ask you to respectfully request that he speak up soon. The plight of Christians in Egypt is a reminder that as Islam advances, so too does the threat to religious liberty. Wherever Islam obtains majority status, religious minorities are not only in legal danger, but also in physical danger.
Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of theCampaign for Working Families

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