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My Take: Why Egypt's Christians are hopeful but nervous
Crosses and Qurans were raised in Cairo’s Tahrir Square this week.
February 10th, 2011
11:05 AM ET

My Take: Why Egypt's Christians are hopeful but nervous

Editor's Note: Ashley Makar is a graduate student at Yale Divinity School and co-editor of Killing the Buddha.

By Ashley Makar, Special to CNN

Photos from Cairo show triumphant hands in the air - some raising up Coptic Christian crosses, others holding up Qurans.

Egyptian Christians and Muslims gathered together this week to pray for those who’ve died in the uprising against President Hosni Mubarak’s regime.

Muslims formed a protective circle around Christians as they prayed in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Monday, just as Christian protesters had done for Muslims during last Friday’s prayers.

As the daughter of a Coptic-American immigrant to the United States, I’m astonished by such sights. In the many summers I’ve spent between Cairo and Alexandria, I’ve never seen Christian prayers in a public square. I’ve never seen a cross anywhere near a Quran.

Most Egyptian Christians are Coptic, a group of orthodox Christians who trace their lineage to St. Mark, the apostle who evangelized Alexandria in the first century. The majority of Egyptians were Coptic by the seventh century, when Arab Muslims brought Islam to Egypt.

Today, Copts constitute around 10 percent of Egypt’s population.

Christian-Muslim relations in Egypt have been contentious, particularly in recent months. On New Year’s Eve, 23 Copts died in a church bombing in Alexandria. On New Year’s Day, Coptic protesters threw stones at a nearby mosque, clashing with local Muslims and riot police.

The Egyptian government blames the Alexandria church bombing on a foreign terrorist group linked to al Qaeda. The government continues to investigate the bombing.

But from Washington to Cairo, Copts are venting doubts about the integrity of the probe. It’s the talk of the Coptic town.

And it's one reason for a new solidarity between Egyptian Christians and Muslims.

Copts can’t trust the government to protect them. Some discern a pattern of Mubarak provoking Muslim-Christian strife to distract Egyptians from government corruption. When militant Islamists become scapegoats for violence, the Mubarak regime gains brownie points from U.S. supporters for helping the fight against terrorism.

At the same time, Copts really do feel vulnerable to Islamist attacks. Coptic churches received threatening letters not long before the Alexandria church bombing. Simply put, Copts don’t know who to trust.

Too often, I’ve seen that feeling of vulnerability morph into anti-Islamic sentiment. I’ve often found myself defending Muslims in conversations with Coptic-Americans.

It’s true that Copts have long been persecuted in Egypt, often at Muslim hands. Some Egyptian Christians have been killed by Muslims in recent years.

But I haven’t seen the Coptic Church do much in the way of reconciliation. I’m grateful for my Coptic heritage, especially for the beautiful litanies - ancient Coptic prayers - that I often recite on my own. But I can’t wholeheartedly be part of a church whose theology is too orthodox to engage in interfaith dialogue.

Many Copts are ambivalent about the uprising against the Mubarak regime. Though the official church remains silent on the demonstrations at Tahrir Square, Copts have participated in large numbers.

Egyptian Christians are excited and afraid: Excited to rally with the secular youth who began the anti-Mubarak demonstrations, largely through Facebook and Twitter. Afraid that the Muslim Brotherhood will swoop in and take the reigns.

Excited at the prospect of a democratic Egypt. Afraid that free and fair elections could turn into Islamist rule.

Until this month, Copts have tended to prefer the repressive stability of the Mubarak regime over radical change that may put Islamists in power. As my dad’s Coptic-American friends say, the devil you know is better than the one you don’t.

But I’m cautiously optimistic that real change is happening in Egypt, that the solidarity between Muslims and Christians, between urban elites and rural farmers, and between computer-savvy youth and illiterate workers - is sustainable.

My dad left Egypt decades ago and settled in Birmingham, Alabama, where he has a small Coptic church community and invites Egyptian friends over for dinner - Christians and Muslims alike.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Ashley Makar.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Africa • Egypt • Foreign policy • Interfaith issues • Opinion

soundoff (196 Responses)
  1. JESUS JONES

    JUST MY OPINION..BUT I BELIEVE MOST RELIGIONS STEER PEOPLE AWAY FROM GOD, AND I'D CONSIDER THEM ALL "EVIL". GOD IS FREE, ALWAYS AVAILABLE, AND IMPERFECT. WE ARE CREATED IN HIS IMAGE AND WE AREN'T PERFECT. WE ARE HERE TO LEARN LESSONS AND WE AREN'T HERE FOR VERY LONG. WE CREATED OUR OWN HEAVENS AND HELLS, BY LIVING OUR LIVES THE WAY WE CHOOSE, AND AT THE END IF YOU HAVE MANY REGRETS YOU WILL LIVE IN YOUR OWN HELL IN YOUR AFTER LIFE. HEAVEN TO ME , IS THE PLACE WE ALL GO TO WHEN WE ARE DREAMING.WE DIE WE SLEEP, WE DREAM, ITS WHERE WE ALL CONNECT AND MEET. BIBLES AND KORANS WERE WRITTEN BY MEN OR WOMEN, AND NOT BY GOD, SO THEY CANNOT BE TRUSTED AS TRUTH, ALSO TRUTH CHANGES OVER TIME AS WE DISCOVER MORE? WHETHER YOU TRY TO FOLLOW THE WAYS OF BUDDAH, ALLAH, JESUS, SIKHS, HINDUS, PAGANS, OR SATAN, AS LONG AS YOU LIVE YOUR LIFE DOING GOOD, RIDDING YOUR HEART OF HATE, AND BEING THANKFUL FOR GOOD THINGS, I BELIEVE WE WILL ALL MEET AT THE SAME PLACE.

    February 10, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
    • hilltop

      this is nonsensical.

      February 10, 2011 at 1:42 pm |
    • JESUS JONES

      OMG, SOMEONE DENOUNCED MY BELIEFS AS NONSENSICAL?? HILLTOP IS PROB ONE OF THOSE WHITE ANGLO CHRISTIANS THAT WON'T ADMIT THAT JESUS WAS BLACK! (racist). WWJD IF HE KNEW THAT WHITES PERVERTED THE TRUTH, STOLE ALL THE PAGAN HOLIDAYS AND CLAIMED THEM AS CHRISTIAN ONES, AND PREACHED INTOLLERANCE AND HATE?..I AM PROUD TO HAVE NO RELIGION..BUT A STRONG FAITH IN GOD!

      February 10, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Jesus was black? Silly me. All this time Christians understood He was Jewish. Well that settles it Jesus Jones is right! (spoken as sarcastically as possible)! P.S. stop yelling! P.P.S. What god? With all your black people this and white people that, what god? The God of the Holy Bible is NOT a respector of persons!!

      February 10, 2011 at 2:23 pm |
    • JESUS JONES

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_of_Jesus
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptians
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Egyptian_race_controversy
      IT IS UP FOR DEBATE, BUT JESUS WAS NOT A PASTY WHITE GUY, HE WAS ARABIC OR AFRICAN!..THE QUESTION IS, HOW MANY WHITES WOULD FOLLOW AN ARABIC OR BLACK MAN AS THEIR MESSIAH??

      February 10, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      No debate! He was Jewish! Why is His race or anybody's that important to you?

      February 10, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Marky

      You are apparently off your meds, and are out to lunch if you think Jesus is anything but Jewish. Scripture and history (written by Josephus) are very clear about that fact. He could not be the Messiah unless he was Jewish. His race is immaterial to Christians; if you read Song of Solomon, one of the most beautiful stories of love is between Solomon and his black wife. Solomon was Jewish. No one in their right mind cares about their color, one way or another, but Jesus was, is and forevermore will be Jewish.

      February 10, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Didn't Jesus believe in himself as the Savior? He certainly had a personal relationship with himself.
      Would he be the first Christian and not Jewish, Messianic Jew maybe?

      February 10, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  2. Thomas Philip

    Frankly – Sounds like a Muslim. What do you expect from a Muslim? Persecuting the infidels is accepted by their religious code of ethics. I totally agree with Aaron's comments.

    February 10, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
  3. Mark

    Did you read this? Muslims put up a protective shield for Christians, and vice versa? Can you imagine America's intolerant evangelical Christians doing this for Muslims? Me neither.

    February 10, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  4. Brian

    I don't blame them for being "nervous." This euphoria reminds me of when the Shah was overthrown. Our news clowns and "analysts" were so happy about it they almost wet their pants. We know how that played out. Iran ended up with a medieval theocracy.

    February 10, 2011 at 1:13 pm |
    • neochess

      The news clown have evolved now. They are getting excited about the Ikwan "Muslim Brotherhood" without having read a word of what they say in Arabic. Try Sayyed Kutb for starters and you will know the thought fountain for Zwahiri. Try reading Al-Shaab to get glimse of the horror. Why Anderson Cooper not reading their literature is beyond me.

      February 10, 2011 at 1:17 pm |
  5. MM

    The Muslims are only tolerant of the Christians because they add to their numbers during the demonstration. But, I don't think the Muslims are sincere because they talk out of both sides of their mouth. Say one thing to the Muslims and another thing to all others. Can't trust them! Don't trust them!

    February 10, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  6. neochess

    "Excited to rally with the secular youth who ..."
    My fellow Copt, you are so naieve to make that statement. No wonder, you have grown up in America and do not know the dynamics of the Egyptian society in the past 30-40 years. Youth in Egypt now are not secular, and the notion of secularism is an insult to them. Try to march with the Youth and shout "Secularism Secularism".

    Who does CNN want to deceive with those Op-Ed. Why can not they come to me to give them examples of how the Muslim Brotherhood is controlling the Universities and life in Egypt, and how they treat the dissenters? I am not sure why CNN is hell bent on painting a picture of people starving in democracy, at a time when they write in their newspapers that "if you start with democracy you end up with gay marriage"

    February 10, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
  7. The End of Christianity in Egypt and the Arab World is in sight

    As a professor of History, and a scholar in comparative religion in the Arab World, I agree that St Mark converted the descendant of Pharaohs into Christianity and Islam showed up in Egypt ONLY in the seventh Century. The Muslim because of their misguided Faith cannot tolerate any other religion. The Muslim can lie as much as they want and deceive anyone willing to be deceived. The proof is where are the five million Arab Jews that lived in the Islamic and Arab World since the beginning of time? They were dispossessed, killed, and hanged under the false pretense of Palestinian that left willingly Israel. The writing is on the wall for Christians, Be forewarned.

    February 10, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  8. Ruth

    If you think this will end in Democracy you are incredibly naive. This will end in a worse dictatorship, Sharia law, and less tolerance.

    February 10, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  9. Nonimus

    Personally, I think religion is a private matter and should be kept out of the public/political arena entirely, however, peaceful relations between faiths is a start.
    I was thrilled to hear of the Coptic mass in Tahrir square and the protection provided at it by Muslims.
    Best wishes to all peace-loving Egyptians.

    February 10, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • john

      I hear this said from time to time – that religous ideas should be kept in private. The question I ask you is if my faith calls for me to live my life in accordance with my faith, how do I seperate that from public life? Is that not what all this turmoil is about? Mankind is made up of many faith walks, and we believe we have committments to our culture in accordance with that faith. The trouble comes in when these various faiths do not agree, or clash with one another. And so the struggle of how do we live together but still allow each to express and worship freely.

      February 10, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • Nonimus

      @john,
      Freedom of religion is like any other freedom, you can do pretty much what you want unless it harms someone or infringes on another's rights to do the same. This (unfortunately for me) allows people to display and practice their faith in public, but it shouldn't influence public policy or laws.
      The protests in Egypt have a lot of religious overtones, which is sad in my mind, as I would rather see a movement toward secular democracy and freedom without any reference to Coptics or Muslims. But it is better than nothing and hopefully it will bring progress and a better life to the people of Egypt.

      February 10, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • john

      Thank you Nonimus: for your thoughtful answer. I think what is hard for most people is where is the line drawn. For example; My faith says that abortion is wrong, and that we should not allow it. Even I see that – yet how can we push this onto people who don't share our beliefs. How do I deal with that? There is so much more to whay I want to say but there is so much to it. Oh that we could all live peacfully together.

      February 10, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  10. hilltop

    We need to pray for this interseting transition. The christians in Egypt have valid concerns for being nervous about this change. Israel should also be watching closely. My hope is for greater freedom for the people of this great nation. My fear, however, is that Egypt will descend into chaos and become much more intolerant of christianity and Israel than they have been in the past.

    February 10, 2011 at 12:21 pm |
  11. Carol in New Mexico

    Unlike Ashley Makar, I know very little about Egypt's Copts, just that they are a minority which keeps to itself and suffers periodic persecution. Like Ashley, I was amazed to learn these Christians had emerged from their community to pray in Tahrir Square - and to learn that Muslims were protecting them just as the Copts earlier protected praying Muslims.

    Ashley understands better than I just how awesome this is - but I do understand that it's awesome. Awesome that a frequently persecuted minority decided to risk openly praying in a Muslim-dominated place that is the heart of protest activity. Awesome that protestors have stepped up to make sure praying people were safe - just as they have stepped up to protect journalists, tourists, and the treasures of Egypt - from harm by those whose motivations have nothing to do with a desire for reform.

    Coptic or Muslim, these mostly young people have set an example the rest of us should learn from and use - but probably won't.

    February 10, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
  12. Aaron

    Frankly, almost all the major contributions of Islamic societies came during the early years of Islam. The longer Islam became ingrained in a society, the less it contributed to discoveries. You need a history lesson, start with the wars of Muhammad, read about the slave raids into Christendom by the Caliphates, study the Armenian genocide at the hands of the Ottomans, and finish today with the persecution of Christians.

    "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

    February 10, 2011 at 12:15 pm |
    • zkhan

      You should go back to history..... Christianity has shed more blood than any other faith in the name of religion. Islam is now perceived as a threat because it is the fastest growing religion. If it is so barbaric, how does any rationale person explain this?

      February 10, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • Marky

      ZkhAN, It isn't rocket science to see that Islam spreads by violent overthrow of existing gov'ts and then the Imams move in and demand Shar'ia Law, and the next thing you know, wow! "everyone is muslim in this country". It always starts off with "unrest", then the "outsiders " come in and off it goes. Please, forced conversion doesn't work for any religion. The difference is, Christians, being Christians, realized it was wrong and stopped, confessed it was wrong and have been paying for their mistakes ever since, thanks to the muslims who scream it from the rooftops along with their "prayers". We see you violence and your hatred and it is repulsive. True Christians are not filled with hate or violence, and will stand against those in their midst who are behaving so. Muslims will not do the same, instead they defend the violence and hatred, and excuse it. If anyone is fooled by these behaviors, how sad.....

      February 10, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
  13. Beam

    Well I enjoyed the article and I don't understand why those who think she got her facts wrong have to attack her with harsh verbal put downs like that. When you reduce yourself to that level of name calling...who really is the ignorant, brain rotting fools here? What is so horrible about having some class and politely stating what you think are the facts and leave the trash talk out of it? I think people would be more inclined to listen to those that don't lower themselves to that level..otherwise, why should we? Its like reading some rantings of a middle schoolers.

    I swear I can't read anything on the net anymore without seeing people argue and name call and cuss in the comment area. Are people really that angry? Did we really learn nothing in our English classes on how to write properly to present our ideas with respect and dignity toward others? Or do we no longer care and just want to act like verbal animals? I know a comment, an article, a blog that is well written without deteriorating to gutter talk, tend to sway me more then those that don't. And most don't anymore. Oh how I yearn for writings showing some dignity in their comments...meanwhile my heart and prayers go out to all Egyptians.

    February 10, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
  14. FrankLW

    They prayed in public only because either the Christians, like those advocating true democracy and intellectual freedom, were duped into supporting the overthrow by the radical Muslims who will definitely assume power in the advent of a vacuum, or they are interested in hedging their bets, knowing that if the Muslims usurp power it will be critical for them to be able to show they supported the overthrow. Of course, it won’t ultimately help them much; fundamentalist Muslims do not take kindly to Christians (or ancient archeological treasures that they consider idolatrous abominations, for that matter…) and brutal theocracy is the only alternative there to dictatorship; democracy is just not an option unfortunately.

    February 10, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  15. MrShabazz

    Muslims ruled spain for about 400 years. That period in Spain was known as the Jewish Renaissance. When the muslims were kicked out of Spain and the Christians took over, that was when the Spanish Inquisition started. We know how Jews and other groups were treated then.

    February 10, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
    • Aaron

      Every religion and every idea has black spots in its history, that isn't a question. The difference is that Christianity spread through peace, and we atoned for our centuries of sin. Islam started through conflict and taxation, and it continues to spread through conflict, terrorism, and persecution. If Islam is peaceful, if it is truly free, let every Islamic nation open up the doors to churches, let Christians openly speak about the gospel, let science and free thought rule the day. What are Muslims scared of? The truth and the mirror.

      February 10, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • Frankly Speaking..

      Mr Aaron again,

      The only religion that let science and free thought float around in the past when christians were persecuting scientists and philosophers was Islam. You need a lesson in history my friend..

      February 10, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • Ruth

      And in 1948 one million Jews were thrown out of Arab Muslim states on pain of death. That's a better example of how Muslims treat others today.

      February 10, 2011 at 12:49 pm |
    • Viva La Raza

      Christianity spread through peace????? You have GOT to be kidding me. The European were hardly peaceful when they used Christ's name in subduing, converting or killing the entire western hemisphere. Let's not forget that the Spanish inquisition was at least as active in Latin America as it was in Iberian Spain.

      February 10, 2011 at 12:50 pm |
    • Nonimus

      " The difference is that Christianity spread through peace, and we atoned for our centuries of sin."
      What??
      Crusades
      Conquistadors
      Inquisition

      And what atonement are you talking about?

      February 10, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
  16. Ed

    Thank you for the informative article.

    February 10, 2011 at 11:57 am |
  17. Frankly Speaking..

    Race to spit out your hate for islam and enlighten us with your amazing ignorance! Quick!!

    February 10, 2011 at 11:52 am |
    • Aaron

      Christians are the most persecuted people on the planet. Over 200 million Christians live in countries (predominately Muslim countries) where they aren't allowed to fully practice their faith. Churches are routinely burned down in places like Nigeria, Egypt, Iraq, Pakistan, and Indonesia. Coptic Christians are typically relegated to jobs like garbage collectors. This isn't hate, this is a sad reality. Muslims aren't allowed to learn or challenge the truth,because it is illegal in Islamic countries. سامحك الله

      February 10, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
    • Frankly Speaking..

      Here goes the first one..Mr Aaron, your broadly classified "truth" is based on isolated regimes and incidents that have NOTHING to do with the religion. Learn to separate people from religion. If you see a jew eat pork doesnt mean the entire jewish community is hypocritical ?

      Remember how jews and pagans were treated a couple of centuries ago. Dont have to roll back so much, how about 300 years ago when anyone who stood up against the biblical passage of earth being flat ?. I hope that makes sense

      February 10, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
    • Aaron

      Please see my post to Mr. Shabbazz. Also how is it isolated when it occurs in ever single Islamic country to this day! Yes 300 years ago there were obvious problems with Christians majorities, even 50 years ago their were problems, however, we have progressively learned and atoned for our sins, Islamcontinues to rule as a fascist system. Christianity is a way of life, Islam was created as a political system.

      February 10, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • Laura

      "...no muslim ruler has the right to thrust Islam on anyone who believes otherwise."

      Really? Is that why Egyptian Christians have to get permits to do ANYTHING to a church, including buying a chair or painting a wall? Is that why Egyptian Christians have to state that they are Christian when applying for a job or filling out government paperwork? You get your facts straight? Do you wonder how a population went from 100% Christian to 90% Muslim over 1,000 years? Taxes, beating, death, and threats, that's how.

      "Race to spit out your hate for islam."

      Are all Muslims to blame for this? Absolutely not! I have many Muslim friends who frown upon this, but the fact is that it happens and Christians have the right to be afraid. No one said anything about hating Islam. You're the one who races to cry foul anytime someone expresses warranted fear of a SELECT FEW who use the name of your beloved religion as a vehicle for destruction of non-followers. Muslims need to wake up and realize it's not us against you. It should be all of us against those who abuse your religion (any other group for that matter) that promotes violence against innocents!

      February 10, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
    • Frankly Speaking..

      @ Laura

      "Do you wonder how a population went from 100% Christian to 90% Muslim over 1,000 years?"

      I dont have to wonder, i was a christian myself..It was reading the quran followed by an extensive research (abbout 3 years) that led to 1 less christian and 1 more muslim.. I have meet a lot of people in 2 years who have Dont be surprised if your kids or generations after you open up their minds to reason and accept Islam. Could be you too ? who knows

      February 10, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
    • JSLaw

      Really, FranklySpeaking, I think it is you who are arrogant, ignorant and misinformed. My wife is a Christian and spent most all of her childhood and young adult years growing up in Saudi Arabi. When visiting family in the U.S., she basically had to smuggle her Bible in old, dirty laundry. Church meetings had to be held in the basements of member households. All proseltyzing of any form was strictly forbidden. All Christmas decorations could only be set-up in the basements even though they lived on an International Base. When leaving the International Base, she was required to cover her head even though she is not Muslim.

      The author of this article may come from Coptic heritage, but she is, sadly, a very young, naive, and sheltered person. The Muslim Brotherhood do not oppose open Christian prayers in the street for the time being ONLY becuase it currently serves their purposes. Call me a skeptic, call me ignorant, but I don't think this will end well at all for the Coptics. I do not hate Islam, but I am not ignorant to the fact that Christians in Islamic nations are almost uniformly treated as being sub-human.

      February 10, 2011 at 12:53 pm |
    • JSLaw

      "I dont have to wonder, i was a christian myself..It was reading the quran followed by an extensive research (abbout 3 years) that led to 1 less christian and 1 more muslim.. I have meet a lot of people in 2 years who have Dont be surprised if your kids or generations after you open up their minds to reason and accept Islam. Could be you too ? who knows"

      Now who is being fully ignorant with the biased and subjective agenda? If you truley believe that those coversions were due to honest truth seeking made possible by the free exersice of religious worship and the discemination of information coupled with individual rights of choice, then you know absolutely nothing of your history or anything relevant to this topic. Go spread your ignorance and biased distaste for Christianity elsewhere.

      February 10, 2011 at 1:02 pm |
    • Laura

      Frankly speaking, I will never convert to Islam. I'm very much at peace with being Coptic Orthodox. I'm sorry you weren't spiritually fulfilled through Christianity. That, however is your choice. My one comment about that, though, is that Christianity gave you the freedom to make that choice. I think you and I can agree that Muslims cannot freely convert to Christianity. If you disagree, please point me to incidents that prove me wrong.

      You didn't respond to my question about why you get up in arms when Christians express fear of extremists. Can you give me a rational reason as to why Muslims get so upset about Christians being afraid of Egypt becoming an Islamist state? Because I'm pretty sure that, If there was a small group of Christians that believed the very existence of a Muslim minority was a threat to Christianity, and there was an opportunity for those Christian extremists to take power, that Muslim minority wouldn't feel too safe, either.

      February 10, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
    • Frankly Speaking..

      @ JSLaw

      Chill my man, I am defending Islam not Saudi Arabia..You need to read before you dump hate, like i mentioned earlier Islam is not a nation or a race or a people. I am a blue eyed, blonde caucasian! You need to get a hold of that before you write anything else. Less than 20% of muslims are rooted in the middle east, get it now ?

      @Laura
      " I will never convert to islam"
      Thats what I used to say with a peculiar belligerent tone.. Open your heart AND open your mind (reason)..you will have no trouble picking the difference

      February 10, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • Warren

      @Frankly Speaking

      Funny you mention that you were freely able to make the choice to convert from Christianity to Islam. Too bad you fail to mention the hardships Muslims encounter when they attempt to convert to Christianity in Egypt.

      February 10, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
    • Laura

      I do open my heart and mind to lots of religions, but a religion that treats women and non-followers like second-class citizens, and does not allow people to challenge their beliefs is not for me. Frankly, Frankly Speaking, I have serious doubts that you're a convert.

      February 10, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • Laura

      And by the way, you STILL haven't answered my question about why you get up in arms when Christians express fear of extremists. Again, I ask you to give me a rational reason why Muslims get so upset about Christians being afraid of Egypt becoming an Islamist state. Maybe you can't because you're a blond-haired, blue-eyed, caucasian convert who CLEARLY didn't do his research.

      February 10, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  18. Ed K

    Egypt Christians youth needs to participate and keep active in this revulation. They need to be part of any future government and be part of nation leaders and decision makers. Otherwise they will b e out of power like what happened in 1952 revelution where they got marginalized. Christian Egyption youth must Wake up and become more invloved.

    February 10, 2011 at 11:50 am |
  19. greenhands

    Democracy is the only way to protect christians and muslims in all countries. Mubarak is the biggest devil that you need to remove. Thank you Obama for supporting the ppl of Egypt.

    February 10, 2011 at 11:42 am |
  20. Christian

    "But I can’t wholeheartedly be part of a church whose theology is too orthodox to engage in interfaith dialogue."
    Are you really this naive? Do you think that once in power, the Muslims will tolerate any other religion? You are one of the useful idiots that the Muslims have come to appreciate.

    February 10, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • Aaron

      I totally agree with your comment. Muslims only pay lip service to the protection of minority religions. They outlaw interfaith marriages, unless it is beneficial to them, they outlaw minority religions from proselytizing, they segregate Christians into poorer regions and neighborhoods by not affording them the same opportunities as Muslims. It is great that they are working together now, but it won't last. Islamic ruled countries have a history of subjugating Christians, from slave armies in Egypt and the Ottoman empire, to persecution in Iran and Afghanistan. This won't end well for the Coptics.

      February 10, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • Frankly Speaking..

      Muslims have ruled India for 800 mighty years but still about 80% of indian population remains hindu..You ignorance shines in pointing out someone's naivity without getting your own facts straight. Egypt has been muslim for about a 1000 years now yet about 10% of the population (about 10 million if you cant do the math) remains christian, no muslim ruler has the right to thrust Islam on anyone who believes otherwise.

      These are only a few examples and quite honestly no matter how many i give, your arrogance will not be dampened. Cant blame anything but your upbringing but then you have a brain to think and question. Alas! you have decided to let it rot, so be it my friend.

      February 10, 2011 at 11:49 am |
    • really?

      Please don't use the name Christian and be so ugly to someone. Can't you state your view without calling names? You are embarrassing the REAL christians, who call themselves so because they try to model their life after Christ.

      February 10, 2011 at 11:58 am |
    • Chris

      "Do you think that once in power, the Muslims will tolerate any other religion? You are one of the useful idiots that the Muslims have come to appreciate."

      Way to parameterize 20% of the world...that's ~1.2 billion people. Quit spreading ignorance and disseminate something more useful.

      February 10, 2011 at 12:17 pm |
    • Totally Agree!

      Yes, young people in particular... and writer of this story - Stop being naive!

      February 10, 2011 at 12:33 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.