Marlowe's Shade

Friday, December 10, 2004

Spencer on the Persecution of Christians


Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch reports on how attacks on Christians are increasing in the Muslim world. And it isn't Christian missionaries trying to make inroads into Dar ul Islam, but indigenous Christians like the Egyptian Copts, whose beleaguered communities have existed for centuries.

The latest outrage in Egypt has been, like all the others, almost universally ignored by the international media and human rights groups. Wafaa Constantine Messiha, wife of a Coptic priest in Egypt, was abducted by jihadist Muslims and forced to convert to Islam. The Mubarak regime has done nothing. This is no isolated incident: Wilfred Wong of the Jubilee Campaign, a Christian human rights group, notes that “the attempts to force Christians to convert to Islam in Egypt are on the increase and the methods are getting increasingly varied and well organized. Some of these forced conversions are carried out by Muslim individuals, with the help of their friends, while others are being conducted by well funded groups.”

The situation has gotten so bad for Copts in Egypt that Pope Shenouda III, the leader of the Coptic Church, recently spoke out boldly about one common method of abduction and forced conversion: “I have received so many letters about what’s happening to the Christian girls who go to supermarket stores to shop. At the store they tell them that they have won and have to go upstairs to receive their award or prize. After that we don’t know what’s happening to these girls upstairs. There is a lot of talking going on about this matter, and I see that what’s happening will create a religious clash in the country. I’m urging the police to take a serious action against what’s happening.”

Even Christians in "secular" Arab states where their religious freedom is supposed to be guaranteed are not safe.

This is just one manifestation of the discrimination and harassment that Christians and other non-Muslims still face all over the Islamic world. Even though the laws of many Muslim-majority nations guarantee equality of rights and freedom of conscience, in practice Christians face discrimination and harassment — and even, on occasion, penalties derived from Sharia, Islamic law. Sometimes the secular law gives way to Sharia even if Sharia is not on the books. One notorious example was the case of Robert Hussein Qambar Ali, a Kuwaiti who converted from Islam to Christianity in the 1990s. He was arrested and tried for apostasy, even though the Kuwaiti Constitution guarantees the freedom of religion and says nothing about the traditional Islamic prohibition on conversion to another faith. One of Hussein’s prosecutors explained: “With grief I have to say that our criminal law does not include a penalty for apostasy. The fact is that the legislature, in our humble opinion, cannot enforce a penalty for apostasy any more or less than what our Allah and his messenger have decreed. The ones who will make the decision about his apostasy are: our Book, the Sunna, the agreement of the prophets and their legislation given by Allah.”

While the world press trumpets bogus charges of atrocities committed against Muslims on a daily basis, not a word is mentioned about the plight of indigenous Christians.
papijoe 7:07 AM