Being Christian No Easy Feat in Muslim Egypt: Discrimination Is Condoned by the Government

By Duin, Julia | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), October 13, 1999 | Go to article overview

Being Christian No Easy Feat in Muslim Egypt: Discrimination Is Condoned by the Government


Duin, Julia, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


CAIRO - The Rev. Menes Abdul Noor's office on the second floor of his Presbyterian church could belong to any megachurch pastor: a CD player, a copy of the Christian magazine Voice and books by charismatic evangelists Billy Joe and Sharon Dougherty of Tulsa, Okla.

The difference is the map of Cairo on his wall, the Arabic version of Windows 95 on his computer and his unusual guest list.

"I am visited by Muslims who want me to become a Muslim," he said. "I respect their religious zeal and I respect their preachers for coming to see me. Muslims will say the Bible is wrong, that Jesus is not God."

He pauses. He has heard these arguments often.

"They say, `We have prayers.'

"I say, `I have prayers, too.'

"They say, `We pray five times a day.'

"I say, `Prayer is talking to my lover. Should I only talk to Him five times a day?' "

This often stops them. "Usually they leave," he says, "or they come back as seekers.

"I have been asked by the police to report the Muslims who come to me. I say no, it's the secret of the confessional. I am not going to do your dirty work for you."

COMPLAINTS OF PERSECUTION

Spokesmen for Egypt's 6 million to 10 million Christians say persecution is a way of life. The Islamization of this country greatly disheartens the country's Christian minority, especially its Coptic church, one of the world's oldest Christian communities.

Others compare Egypt to living in a shooting gallery. In the last two months, there have been attacks on three Coptic priests in southern Egypt, one of whom died Sept. 2. Government officials say violence affects Muslims as well; the Christians say attacks are disproportionately aimed at them. Christians interviewed also volunteered that things could be worse - after all, Egypt is where Arabic-speaking Christians order their Christian books.

Muslims who publicly convert to Christianity - that is, attend church regularly or get baptized - often end up in jail, unless they manage to flee the country or unless a human rights group agitates on their behalf. Egyptian law forbids Muslims to "apostacize" to another faith.

"Proselytizing Muslims is not a task I would recommend to anyone," said Abdelaleem Abyad, press attache at the Egyptian Embassy in Washington. "The traditional penalty for apostasy is death, but that is not implemented in Egypt. But you risk social ostracism."

Mr. Noor's church, Kasr El Dobara, openly evangelizes Muslims. At a revival held in February, 851 persons indicated a desire to become Christian.

When American evangelist Luis Palau held a crusade at the church in March 1998, those attending had to cram inside the sanctuary and adjoining rooms because no large Christian meetings are allowed outside a church. Except in one place.

CHURCH DUG INTO MOUNTAIN

The drive to one of the world's most unusual churches runs through Cairo's garbage dump. East of town, about 30,000 people live in the fetid suburb beneath the shadow of Moqattam, a large mountain sprouting a nest of radio and TV antennae.

One's car jolts through narrow alleyways out of a casbah movie, past acrid trash and piles of plastic bottles. Just when one begins to think there may really be such a place as purgatory, an arch looms up and the pale walls of a monastery comes into view.

Next to it is a church, a huge cavelike auditorium seating about 10,000 people, blasted into the limestone of Moqattam and built in the past decade. The man responsible was a Coptic priest, Father Saman, who did the blasting during Ramadan, when the sounds could be concealed by the traditional blasting of holiday cannons.

As Egypt's largest church, it is also the only church for the suburb's 30,000 Christian garbage pickers, many of whom who fill it on Thursday nights for healing services. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Being Christian No Easy Feat in Muslim Egypt: Discrimination Is Condoned by the Government
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.