Bishoy Armia Boulous converted from Islam to Christianity seven years ago and compounded his offense in the minds of most Egyptians by suing the government to give him a new Christian ID card. Now he has been arrested–again–as a journalist for reporting on anti-Coptic violence and has been sentenced to 5 years in prison. Christianity Today tells the story of this bold convert. [Read more…]
No, it wasn’t aliens who moved those massively huge blocks for the Pyramids. An ancient drawing shows builders dragging a monument on a sledge with someone pouring water in front of it. Egyptologists interpreted that as some kind of purification ritual. But scientists have discovered that pouring water on sand reduces the friction so that it would be possible to drag a multi-ton object on a sledge through the desert sand. See the picture and an account of the research after the jump. [Read more…]
In Egypt, the military rulers and the democratically-elected Islamists they overthrew are engaged in a bloodbath. At least 600 people have been killed so far. The Islamists are taking the opportunity to target Christians along with their property and their churches. Houses and businesses owned by Christians are being spray-painted with red graffiti to mark them for burning.
After the jump, to make it seem real, is a list of Christian churches (of many denominations), schools, institutions, homes, and businesses that have been destroyed. [Read more…]
Maria-TV is a new Egyptian television station, all of whose employees are women. Though it’s getting attention in the West because all of its broadcasters wear the niqab, the total covering except for a slit for the eyes, the purpose of the station is to battle Christianity. (The crusade for all Egyptian women to wear niqab, which the pre-revolutionary secular regime discouraged, itself targets women who are Coptic Christians, whose, of course, reject the veil, making them easily identified.) This story includes a new word that, unfortunately, may get more and more currency: “Anti-Christianism.”
Maria TV’s owner, Ahmed Abdallah, is a prominent Salafist preacher, well known in Egypt for his anti-Christian rhetoric. Abdallah and his son Islam, the channel’s chief executive, were arrested last month for burning a Bible during a protest outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Sept. 11.
And while the women who work for Maria TV said they want to promote their belief that all Egyptian women should be covered, the channel also serves as a vehicle for what the chief executive said was an effort to dim the influence of Christianity in the Muslim-majority region. . . .
The all-female Maria TV launched July 19, the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, broadcasting for four hours each day using al-Ummah’s satellite frequency. The channel takes its name from Maria al-Qibtiyya, an enslaved Coptic Christian from Egypt who became one of the wives of the prophet Muhammad. The name represents “transferring from slavery to freedom, from Christianity to Islam,” the chief executive said. . . .
The women at the channel say they find it ironic that the niqab is often seen as a symbol of oppression. “My freedom is Islam, my freedom to talk from my niqab, work in my niqab, go to university in my niqab,” the manager said. “So I am trying to bring across the idea that every human has a right to live and choose the lifestyle they find appropriate.”
During the interview, Islam Ahmed Abdallah stood up to answer a cellphone that had been ringing inside a plastic bag. After switching it off, he explained that it belonged to a former Coptic Christian his team had recently converted to Islam. New converts are not allowed to use technological devices during their first three months as Muslims, to prevent relatives or other loved ones from trying to make them reconsider, he said.
Makram-Ebeid, the Coptic woman who served in parliament, said some of her fellow Christians are terrified by what they see as a “wave of anti-Christianism.”
Paul Marshall of the Hudson Institute passed along a letter he received from his friend, a Coptic bishop in Egypt. It shows the spirit of the Christians there, as they endure terrible persecution (as we have been blogging about). They aren’t about preserving their Christian culture or taking vengeance or planning violence. They remain focused, through it all, on “painful love,” working forgiveness and praying for their persecutors:
Thank you for sharing our difficult time.
We are passing through a dark tunnel of violence, feeling grieve of death and injustice. The light of forgiveness is shining with a painful love. Trying to bring forgiveness and justice together is a big struggle, but we are committed to the love that never fails.
We are hardly pressed on every side, yet not crushed. We are perplexed but not lost, persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed. We do not lose heart and continue to work for justice to be fulfilled. We continue to love and declare forgiveness so the peace of God will overshadow all hearts. We continue to work on the healing and support of the innocent victims. And we continue to pray for the victims, for the offenders and for a better future.
Thank you all for your love, care, words and actions to bring justice and forgiveness together.
Bishop Thomas Coptic Orthodox Bishopric
of Elqussia and Mair , Assuit ,Upper Egypt
& Anafora retreat farm Αnαφορα , Cairo , Egypt