As the Western media shift attention from crisis to crisis in the Middle East, one continuing, omnipresent tragedy goes wilfully ignored, the violent persecution of the regions’ remaining Christians. Nowhere is this more evident than Egypt, where the new government, dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, press on with the drafting of a new constitution with Sharia Law it is core and little tolerance for Christians.
As Syria and Gaza dominate the headlines, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has quickly gone about shaping what was once a relatively moderate nation into an Islamist republic. The Arab Spring’s ambitious hopes for pluralist democracies has quickly faded, only to be supplemented with theocratic regimes potentially worse than those which preceded them.
The Christians of Egypt, amounting to approximately 10% of the population, have expressed growing despondency as to the nature of the draft constitution. Church leaders have found themselves repeatedly shut out of dialogue by the nations’ Salafis who are determined to enshrine their dominance into law. While the future constitution looks bleak for religious minorities, the persecution of the Coptic community continues each day. Since President Morsi and the Muslim brotherhood gained power dozens of Christians have been murdered in addition to increased attacks on Christian property and the burning of Churches. Kidnappings are not uncommon as well as reports of qualified Christians being turned away from employment.
Speaking from his office in Westminster to the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, Lord Alton, Honorary President of the British Coptic Association and Chairman of the Cross-Party Working Group on Human Dignity, appealed to the Egyptian government to remain true to their election assurances:
“Mohammed Morsi swept to power on the promise that he would rule for all Egyptians, including the Christian community. As the future constitution is drafted and the next chapter of Egyptian history determined, President Morsi must be held accountable to his solemn pledge to bring peace and tolerance to the marginalised communities of Egypt. The Coptic community have shown remarkable forbearance in these past five months, I sincerely hope their patience with the new government will not be betrayed through further degradation.”