Since July, when the Egyptian military removed the increasingly authoritarian Mohamed Morsi as President of Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood has declared open season on the ten percent of the country who call themselves Coptic Christians. Despite a few notable exceptions, many American Christian leaders have done little to call international attention to the atrocities that have been committed by the Muslim Brotherhood against their fellow Christians in the subsequent two months.
While it is perhaps not surprising that political leaders and the mainstream media have failed to call out the Muslim Brotherhood for these offenses, as Breitbart’s AWR Hawkins recently noted, it is disconcerting that many American Christian leaders are ignoring the death and suffering experienced by Coptic Christians in Egypt at the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Most notable for their silence on Coptic Christian suffering are those Evangelical “leaders” who loudly proclaim that Biblical principles require the passage of the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill that will provide amnesty to illegal aliens living in America. One of these “leaders” has gone so far as to denounce American Christians who oppose the “social gospel” based efforts to grant citizenship to illegal aliens in the United States without securing our borders or enforcing our existing immigration laws.
Three organizers of the George Soros-backed Evangelical Immigration Table in particular, Richard Land, Lynne Hybels, and Revered Sammy Rodriguez, have apparently failed to utter a single public word condemning the Muslim Brotherhood for its violent attacks on Coptic Christians, their churches, and their residences.
In his farewell address to the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, a group he’s led for 25 years, Richard Land made no comments about Muslim Brotherhood’s history of violence against Coptic Christians. That failure is perhaps understandable, since the comments were made in June, a month before Morsi’s removal.
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However, since that time Land, whose voice has loudly proclaimed the injustices visited upon illegal aliens in the United States by our current immigration laws, has offered no pleas to the United States government that it defend the persecuted Coptic Christians of Egypt.
In an op-ed in Charisma News on Aug 22, 2013, Reverend Samuel Rodriguez made no reference to the violent attacks by the Muslim Brotherhood against Coptic Christians. Indeed, Rodriguez only referred to Egypt once when he cited a passage in the Old Testament that he says supports the passage of “Gang of Eight” immigration bill to legalize currently illegal aliens in America:
This passage of the Bible does not conflict with Leviticus 19:33-34, the passage often used to argue for immigration reform. Rather, it conforms with it, as Leviticus states, “When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the Lord your God” (NIV).
Lynne Hybels, co-founder of the Willow Creek Community Church has also been silent about the Muslim Brotherhood violence against Coptic Christians, as well. Ms. Hybels, did, however, offer this apology to her Muslim friends in 2011 who she says have been subjected to a “rising level of hostility — and hate crimes” in the United States since the 9/11 2001 World Trade Center attacks.
She was moved to make a public statement, she said, “because of a video I watched this week in which protesters in Orange County, California, shout insults and accusations against a group of Muslim men, women and children who are attending a fund-raiser for a women’s shelter. It is a shocking, horrifying video.”
“I offer this public apology,” Hybels wrote, “to my friends and acquaintances who are sincere, peace-loving, American Muslims. I am so sorry. You do not deserve this.”
Over the past two months many Egyptian Coptic Christians have been asking what they have done to deserve this:
On August 17, the Associated Pressreported that “[n]early 40 churches have been looted and torched, while 23 others have been attacked and heavily damaged since Wednesday, when chaos erupted after Egypt’s military-backed interim administration moved in to clear two camps packed with protesters calling for Morsi’s reinstatement.”
Kirsten Powers reported at the Daily Beast that “Two security guards working on a tour boat owned by Christians were burned alive. An orphanage was burned down.” In Luxor, Power noted, the Catholic bishop “told the Vatican news agency . . . that he has been trapped in his home for 20 days by Islamist mobs chanting Death to the Christians!’ ’People who reside in the villages of the area that have nothing because food supplies are running out and people are afraid to leave the house,’ he said.”
According to the Associated Press, “[m]any Morsi supporters say Christians played a disproportionately large role in the days of mass rallies, with millions demanding that he step down ahead of the coup.” Violent attacks on Christians and churches by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood are widespread. ”After torching a Franciscan school, Islamists paraded three nuns on the streets like ‘prisoners of war’ before a Muslim woman offered them refuge. Two other women working at the school were sexually harassed and abused as they fought their way through a mob.”
On August 18, The Christian Science Monitorreported that a month and a half earlier, “[o]n June 30, when millions of Egyptians took to the streets to protest against now ousted President Mohamed Morsi, residents of Al Nazla marked Christian homes and shops with red graffiti, vowing to protect Mr. Morsi’s electoral legitimacy with ‘blood.’ ”
Six weeks later, on August 14, “[w]hen the news reached Al Nazla [of the Egyptian military's crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood], a local mosque broadcast through its loudspeakers that Christians were attacking the protesters, say residents. Hundreds of villagers marched on the Saint Virgin Mary Church. They broke down the gate and flooded the compound, shouting ‘Allahu akbar’ and ‘Islam is the solution,’ according to Christian neighbors.”
Then came the recriminations against the residents of the houses that had been marked as Christian with red graffiti.
The Christian Science Monitor also reported that, according to Ishak Ibrahim of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, “dozens of Christian schools, other religious buildings, homes, and shops have also been attacked and burned, and seven Christians killed. Police have done little to stop the attacks.”
The State Department’s response to this existential threat to Christians in Egypt has been tepid at best. As Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, wrote at National Review on August 14:
When asked about growing violence against Egypt’s Christian minority at yesterday’s press briefing, U.S. State Department spokesperson Marie Harf responded simply that it is “concerned”:
QUESTION: So another thing which is on the scene, a local issue, but it was ignored for a while, which is like a lot of in the last few weeks at least, or the last week in particular, there are a lot of attacks on the churches in Egypt. I’m not sure if you are following it or the political process is more important than doing these issues.
MS. HARF: Well, we’ve obviously seen these reports and would express our deep concern about them. Clearly, any reports of violence we’re concerned about, and when it involves a religious institutions, are concerned about that as well. So we will continue speaking out against this and continue talking to all parties and all sides about renouncing this violence, about moving forward with a democratic process, and that dialogue is ongoing as we speak.
Beyond the general aim of “moving forward with a democratic process,” the Obama administration apparently has no policy specifically directed to help this religious minority. This can only mean it is either unwilling to use or has lost all leverage with Egypt’s military, which Secretary Kerry had so generously continued funding.
Lacking a firm resolve on the part of the Obama administration to defend Christians from the most recent instance of global persecution perpetrated by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Coptic Christians must rely upon American public opinion as the best hope to change American foreign policy in a direction that favors their long term survival. Yet many American Christian leaders–and especially those evangelical “leaders” who support amnesty for illegal aliens–apparently share the Obama administration’s indifference to the fate of Egypt’s Coptic Christians.