For years I’ve kept a few key-word email alerts at The New York Times. If the paper of record is talking about Christians, Christianity, evangelicals, or the church I get a notification so I can make sure and read it. Typically I get about one a week. Recently I’ve been getting multiple alerts per day – most of them related to Egypt and the plight of Coptic Christians there.
Roughly ten percent of the Egyptian population are Coptic Christians – a branch of the Eastern Orthodox Church of Alexandria. These Christians represent the largest Christian population in the Middle East. These days the Christians are being heavily targeted for supporting the ouster of Morsi. If you click here, you can see some of the pictures they’ve posted of the damage. It’s heartbreaking to see. Here’s a quick excerpt from today’s article:
Hundreds of Islamists poured into the street, torching, looting and smashing the village’s two churches and a nearby monastery, lashing out so ferociously that marble altars were left in broken heaps on the floor. Over the next few days, a wave of similar attacks on the Coptic Christian minority washed over the country as Islamists set upon homes and churches, shops and schools, youth clubs and at least one orphanage, killing at least three people, according to an Egyptian human rights group. As Christians were scapegoated for supporting the military ouster of Mr. Morsi, the authorities stood by and watched: in Nazla, as in other places, the army and the police made no attempt to intervene. Few Christians in Nazla expected an investigation into the attacks. A police station in the area had been attacked before the churches.
I’m guessing that most of us don’t have a clear understanding of the situation in Egypt. I try to stay up on it and even I struggle. It’s hard to know which of these factions is more corrupt. What a mess. If you want to try to get a sweep of what’s been going on there since 2011, Here’s a great timeline. Start at the bottom and work your way up to the top and you can start to get a feel for the progression of events. NYTimes is one of the few outlets who has kept boots on the ground the whole time. Nobody has covered the events in Egypt more carefully over the past three years.