Thursday, November 20, 2008

Professor Accuses Egyptian Government of Doubletalk

Ibrahim: Muslim Extremists Have Free Hand to Persecute Christians

A Coptic Orthodox professor accuses the Egyptian government of double talk.

Fouad Ibrahim teaches geography at the Coptic theological college in Waldsolms near Frankfurt, Germany. He was speaking at a press conference organized by the International Society for Human Rights (ISHR) in Waldsolms, November 19.

According to Ibrahim the Egyptian government professes adherence to religious freedom and tolerance when speaking to the Western world. But internally it gives Muslim extremists a free hand to harass and persecute the Christian minority.

The Coptic Christians, especially in rural areas, live in constant fear, said Ibrahim. When their businesses or churches are attacked the police always holds back and does not arrest the aggressors but the Christian victims, he claimed.

Pope Shenouda was forced by the government to declare to the outside world that there was no discrimination of Christians. Otherwise there would be more intimidation. Therefore the Coptic Christians and human rights organizations had the duty to call attention to the plight of Egyptian Christians.

According to Ibrahim Muslim converts face even more severe repercussions if they openly confess their Christian faith. They could be murdered for apostasy by Muslim extremists without fear of government interference.

In Ibrahim’s view Muslim extremists are not a minority in Egypt. Should there be free elections the extremists would win a majority.

ISHR spokesman Martin Lessenthin called on the German government to urge the Egyptian authorities to end the discrimination of Christians. Approximately twelve million Egyptians among the 79 million inhabitants are Coptic Christians. In addition there are smaller groups of Catholics and Protestants.

Assist News Service


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