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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. Mattias

    God Bless All Christians around the World !

    February 10, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  2. Gail White

    Most Americans are unaware that for much of Western history a monarch had the unquestioned right to choose the religion of his people. So the easiest way to change a country's religion was not to send missionaries from house to house, or armies across the land, but to convert the king. And this is how such diverse countries as France, Russia, Armenia and England became Christian (not to mention the Roman Empire when Constantine converted). There was no need for bloodshed as people automatically adopted the king's religion. The notion of individual freedom in this matter is a modern one.

    February 10, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  3. geecee827

    MarcusA – You don't know for sure that the Muslim Brotherhood supports Al Queda. It's just that they have the word "Muslim" in their name and that evidently scares the crap out of you. Wow. And Obama is a Christian and admitted it adamantly at last week's National Prayer Day in Washington, DC, but you Fox Noise braindead listeners don't want to believe it to the point where 40% of you actually believe Obama is a Muslim. And so what if he is??? But, let's not get our facts correct, right? That might disappoint you haters who want to see evil in everything and everyone. You thrive on being scared all the time. Must be a nice life living with constant fear and hate!!

    February 10, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  4. a coptic orthodox

    to bspurloc.....can you please pick up the Bible and find me anyyyyyy quote or any saying from Jesus or the disciples or apostles that tell us to hate, kill, or persecute others. In fact, our Lord and God Savior Jesus Christ does that believe He should be forced into peoples lives but He gives us the FREE WILL to choose if we want to live a Christian life or not. So for the Crusades, those people were not acting as Christians should. They were not representing the true Christianity. But the KORAN DOES have verses about killing and hating! Those people that kill in the name of ALLAH are following what is told to them in the KORAN. The Crusades WERE NOT following what was told to them in the BIBLE.

    And as far as Egypt, MOST of the Christians are Coptic Orthodox. They had nothing to do with the Crusades nor do they believe they were right. We kept our faith true and by the law that was given to us, so as a result, like i said, WE NEVER EVER KILLED ANYONE as Orthodox Christians. So how about you stop using the Crusades against us because we did not have anything to do with it. We want to live in peace and that means living in peace with Muslims as well! We may not agree with their religion but we are willing to love them and live in peace. And about 99% of the coptic orthodox people i know agree. So their is your FACT!

    February 10, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  5. MarcusA

    The Coptic Christians are doomed. Period. This military coup will end with a takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood - an organization that supports both Al Qaeda and Christian genocide. And Obama? He'll say and do whatever he thinks will get him reelected.

    February 10, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
  6. Reality

    Two cures for the situation:

    Saving Muslims and Christians is quite easy!!!

    Muslims believe in the existence of angels.

    A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.

    i.e. no Gabriel, no Islam

    And to put a final nail into Christianity:

    From that famous passage: In 1 Corinthians 15 St. Paul reasoned, "If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith."

    "Heaven is a Spirit state" as per JPII and Aquinas i.e. there can be no bodies. i.e. there was and never will be any physical resurrection/ascension of human bodies."

    And is it not ironical that JPII along with Aquinas are the ones who put finality to the words "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless."

    February 10, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • K.C.

      Good luck with that line of reasoning when the trumpet blows.

      February 10, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Reality

      K.G.

      As in Moroni's trumpet????

      February 10, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
  7. JM

    Thank you, Ashley Makar, for your opinion. While I value it greatly, I disagree with it on certain levels. It is absolutely true that Christians in Egypt, including the largest of these groups, the Coptic Orthodox are both hopeful and somewhat fearful of the coming changes.

    However, our Church has always preached extreme tolerance of other faiths and is as pacifist as any Church in recent history. Your article did not come across that way to me. You point out a single instance of rage by Christians throwing rocks at a Mosque and balance it out with the bombing of a Church and the murder of 23 innocent men, women and children, not to mentions the hundreds injured. But you do not tell the whole story. While I can never recall another instance when Egyptian Christians were so full of rage that they became so bold as to shed decades of fear taught to us by the various and numerous terrors inflicted upon us by members of the Muslim community, I can recall dozens of dozens of instances of Christians being killed by this same community over the past three or four decades. Have you been paying attention? Over the past year or two alone, things have escalated severely. How could you overlook this when pointing out why we are so worried about the coming change?

    We are taught to forgive, and your parents have done a beautiful job of instilling that same sense of forgiveness and love in you. But please do not taint the discussion by trying to color Christian behavior in much the same light that you color the behavior of members of the Muslim community towards us in recent times. This is not intended to be hurtful to you but, by doing so, you do your people a great disservice.

    My parents too, remember a day when members of both religions lived in harmony and piece, when we were neighbors and neighborly at that. I pray we return to those days once again, but to blame the Mubarak government for provoking Muslim-Christian strife is terribly distorted. Members of the Muslim community have done that all by themselves as certain members of their leadership continue to encourage their followers to do us harm.

    I can understand why CNN was so enthusiastic about publishing your comments. In viewing their reporting and the turn it took after Mr. Cooper and others in the press first got a sense of how messy these events can become, their coverage has taken a very unfair and biased turn. Mubarak's regime was enormously flawed but at least where the Christians are concerned, they did what they could to prevent the wolves from descending upon the sheep.

    I wish you the best in your future endeavors Ms. Makar. I mean that sincerely. I will even encourage my children to follow your example of teaching tolerance, striving towards a deeper understanding of their faith and beliefs, and obtaining a strong education.
    I would just hope that when they voice their opinions, they make the difficult choice of sticking to an unsavory truth rather than posting forward with a convenient and politically correct half truth. My apologies if I have offended. It was not my intention. Thank you, once again.

    February 10, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • neochess

      Man, what an article

      You should be the one to write this opinion not the one who never lived in Egypt, or never listened to a screeching preacher from a Mosque.

      February 10, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
  8. victor salib

    Ashley, excellent article. As a coptic immigrant myself, I agree with you most of what you said. What is hapening now in Egypt is something I have never winessed before whether during the first 27years of my lifewhich I lived there or the last 16 years where I lived here. As I am stay glued to my computer following the events unfold, I am more and more convinced that the tension between Christian and Muslim Egyptians was a favorite child of the infamous 1952 "revolution". The last 3 thugs we had for presidents Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak fueled the tension by allowing islamist to attack Christians without punishment to create the sense of urgency and allow them to continue the use of Marshall laws. An effort to divert all Egyptians' attention away from the totalitarian corrupt regimes. Although I do not believe Nasser was a thief, I do believe that he was power hungry and narcissitic. All three of them encouraged the breeding of hatered and anymosity between Egyptians of different sects. I etrongly believe that the voices of those young people in Tahrir square will quiet all others who would try to take the prople's freedom away. Even the Muslim Brotherhood will have no siginifcant impact in a free Egypt.

    February 10, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  9. JESUS JONES

    JESUS RACE IS IMPORTANT TO ME, BECAUSE CLEARLY, ANGLO CHRISTIANS WITH THEIR HYPOCRACY, HAVE PORTRAYED JESUS AS A WHITE GUY WHICH HE WAS NOT. IF WE ARE ALL IN SEARCH OF THE TRUTH, WHY CREATE LIES? WHY NOT CELEBRATE BY PLACING BLACK OR ARABIC PORTRAYLS AND CRISIFIXES OF JESUS IN YOUR HOMES? JESUS WAS BORN ON MAY 14, WHY DID CHRISTIANS STEAL THE PAGAN SOLSTICE TO CELEBRATE JESUS BIRTHDAY? IN MY OPINION CHRISTIANITY IS THE BIGGEST HOAX AND PERVERSION IN MODERN HISTORY.I'M SURE JESUS WAS A GREAT PROPHET, BUT PEOPLE HAVE DISTORTED AND CREATED LIES TO SUIT THEIR OWN NEEDS. IT'S CLEAR TO ME, THAT FOLLOWING A BUNCH OF LIES..IS NOT GOING TO GET ME CLOSER TO THE TRUTH..LOL ALSO, WHY DID KING JAMES REWRITE THE BIBLE AND LEAVE OUT THE APOCRYPHA...( THE MISSING 14 BOOKS OF THE BIBLE??) GOSH...I WONDER IF THEY DIDNT HAVE THE BUDGET TO INCLUDE THOSE BOOKS, OR THEY DIDN'T SEE THE WHOLE TRUTH NECESSARY FOR THEIR NEW RELIGION? MY OPINION IS THAT CHRISTIANITY OF TODAY IS A LIE, SO ALL TYHE FOLLOWERS ARE BEING LEAD AWAY FROM GOD.

    February 10, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Hypocrisy comes in ALL colors, genders, nationalities, ages, languages, beliefs, educational levels, financial wealth or lack! Walk in some "black" churches you will see an African Jesus. Guess what ? That isn't Jesus. Walk into a 'White" church, you will a European Jesus. Guess what? That is not Jesus! Most importantly, no one alive has seen Jesus in the flesh. Saying that, it doesn't bother me in one bit! It does seem to bother you much! I cannot worry about what books hav ebeen removed. Wanna know why? Glad you asked! I KNOW that God is able to preserve His word. I know that He is able to reveal Himself to me through what is available to me. I don't have the time to be concerned what folk did 200 years ago! I have to live today. I have battles to fight today! Maybe I should consider reading what was removed! Could not hurt right? BUT to walk around and not even live by what we have available TODAY because your angry and concerned about what happened 200-300 years ago makes no sense! You said you trust in God, yet you call Christianity a lie! You CANNOT have it both ways! I am interested in knowing your "religious" background! Mind sharing it??

      February 10, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • jackson

      I'M GLAD THAT YOU WROTE IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS. THAT MUST MEAN YOU ARE RIGHT! or maybe too stupid to only use capital letters when needed.

      February 10, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Ed

      Three simple steps:
      1) turn off your caps lock and stop screaming
      2) take your medication to calm yourself down
      3) most importantly, recognize that the hate inside your heart will ultimately kill you from within

      February 10, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • john

      Jesus Jones: I am not a scholor on the Bible, but from your post I can tell your are even less. The 14 books you refer to were as I understood, 7 and were not relevent to the Bible which was put together much later then the start of the Christian church. I would go onto tell you what I understand in regards to how it was assembled but you would not believe me nor understand when I tell you the very Spirit of God was present as this was done. The Bible was never put together to form a religion but to guide those people who have choosen to follow The Christ.

      February 10, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • JESUS JONES

      OK..YOU CAN HAVE GOD WITHOUT JESUS! HE WAS JUST A PROPHET, JUST LIKE THE 1000'S OF OTHER PROPHETS THAT PREACH THEIR DIVINE WISDOM. I DON'T RECALL ANY BURNING BUSHES IN THE LAST 2000 YEARS, OR PARTING OF ANY SEAS, OR WALKING ON WATER..ITS ALL BS, AND YOU DEFEND IT BECAUSE YOUR BRAINWASHED..PLAIN AND SIMPLE. JEWS DONT THINK JESUS WAS THE MESSIAH EITHER , NOR MUSLIMS, NOR ANYONE ELSE EXCEPT CHRISTIANS, WHO IN MY OPINION ARE BLIND FOLLOWERS.

      February 10, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
    • JESUS JONES

      I DON'T HAVE A RELIGION OR CARE TOO..I CAN HAVE GOD WITH OUT JESUS. CHRISTIANS ARE ONLY 33% OF THE WORLDS RELIGIONS. SO DOES THAT MAKE THE OTHER 67% OR PEOPLE WRONG??LOL THE REASON CHRISTIANS BUG ME, IS THAT THEIR ALWAYS SO DEFENSIVE ABOUT THEIR FAITH, AND ALWAYS TRYING TO PROTHLECIZE EVERYONE, AND THEIR BIGGOTS, AND ZEALOTS. I LIVE IN THE US AND HAVE TO WATCH ALL THE CHRISTIANS GO TO CHURCH TO GET A DOSE OF FEEL GOOD FROM SOME MORON PREACHER IN A DRESS, WHO KNOWS AS MUCH ABOUT GOD AS THE GUY RUNNING THE GAS STATION ON THE CORNER..LOL THEN THEIR MAGICALLY FORGIVEN FOR THEIR SINS BECAUSE THEY SAID SOME MUMBO JUMBO PRAYER, AND ATE SOME STUPID WAFER. AND THEY CALL EVERYONE WHO ISNT A CHRISTIAN EVIL, OR A CULT. THE ONLY REAQSON CHRISTIANS ARE 33% OF THE WORLDS RELIGION IS BECAUSE THEY SENT MISSIONARIES INTO 3RD WORLD COUNTRIES AND TOLD THEM THEY COULD EAT THEIR FOOD IF THEY BELIEVED IN JESUS LOL.

      February 10, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • john

      JJones: I understand you now. You have made up your own religion. How is that truly working for you?

      February 10, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • JESUS JONES

      THANKS FOR ASKING, I REALLY ENJOY MY RELIGION.IT HAS ASPECTS OF ALL RELIGIONS, ITS SORT OF A UNITARIAN SYNTHESIS. SIMPLY, I PRAY TO GOD! I GIVE THANKS, I RESPECT OTHERS AND THE WORLD AROUND ME. GOD SPEAKS THROUGH OTHER PEOPLE, SO ITS IMPORTANT TO TALK TO PEOPLE, GOD GIVES US SIGNS EVERYWHERE. (like seeing people less fortunate reminds us how lucky we are!) I TRY TO DO ONE GOOD DEED A DAY, I TRY TO CURB ADDICTIONS, AND KEEP MYSELF WITHIN MORAL BOUNDS, TRY TO BE OF SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY, I TYRY TO PLACE MYSELF ON THE LEVEL WITH ALL MEN..WE ARE ALL CUT FROM THE SAME CLOTH, WHAT MAKES US DIFFERENT IS HOW WE PERCEIVE THE WORLD. MOST PEOPLE ARE PRODUCTS OF A CAPITALISTIC MARKETING AGENDA, AND BUY INTO THE BS OF THE AMERICAN DREAM. MOST PEOPLE SAY, THEIR "CHRISTIANS", BUT KNOW NOTHING OF GOD..THEY DON'T EVEN ATTEND A CHURCH? AM I A FISHERMAN IF I'VE NEVER GONE FISHING? THE WHOLE CONCEPT OF HEAVEN AND HELL IS REDICULOUS. PEOPLE ARE INHERENTLY SELFISH AND "EVIL, THATS WHY WE HAVE LAWS TO GUIDE THEM. STRIVING FOR GOOD IS OUR QUEST HERE ON EARTH, AND DOING THE RITE THING. AND WHAT APPEARS TO CALL ITSELF GOOD, IS SOMETIMES BAD IN THIS WORLD....TOO MUCH OF IT ANYWAY, AND WHAT OTHERS SAY IS BAD, IS SOMETIMES GOOD! I STRIVE TO FORGIVE OTHERS, TO RID MY SOUL OF HATE, AND TO IMPROVE MYSELF, ITS MY OWN SPIRITUAL JOURNEY, THAT ONLY I CAN ACHIEVE. NO MINISTER OR CLERGY CAN CHANGE THAT. THERES LAWS THAT I ABIDE BY, WHICH ARE SET UP BY LAW ENFORCEMENT.I DONT NEED A RELIGOUS CREED. AN IM NATIVE AMERICAN, SO I LOOK TO NATURE TO FIND GODS TEMPLE, WHICH IS WHERE WE COME FROM!, AND I BELIEVE THAT WHEN WE ARE DREAMING, WE ARE ALL CONNECTED TO THE WORLD FROM WHICH WE COME, AND WE CAN TALK TO OUR DECEASED FRIENDS, AND OUR LIVING ONES WHILE WE SLEEP OR DAYDREAM. AND WHEN WE DIE, WE GO BACK TO THAT WORLD. THE ONLY HELL WE CREATE IS LIVING OUR LIFE HERE WITH REGRETS, SO AT THE END OF OUR LIFE WHEN WE LOOK BACK, WE SAY..."I WISH I WOULD HAVE"..THOSE ARE THE THINGS THAT HAUNT US, OR THE "I'M SORRY FOR".....WE SHOULD LIVE OUR LIVES HERE AND NOW WITHOUT REGRETS OR SORRY FORS..THEN WE WILL LIVE IN OUR HEAVENS...LOL

      February 10, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      OK..YOU CAN HAVE GOD WITHOUT JESUS"
      -----–
      Sure you can. There is just one MAJOR problem. That god you refer to is not the God of the Bible, is NOT the one, true God!

      John 14:6 KJV
      Jesus saith unto him, I am the way , the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

      If you say no and Jesus says yes, then somebody is lying and it is NOT Jesus!

      Notice the term I AM!

      From exodus 3
      13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?
      14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM : and he said , Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

      Jesus is declaring Himself to be GOD. So, can you have God without Jesus? Not the One True God!

      February 11, 2011 at 10:36 am |
  10. Marco555

    If I was a Christian anywhere in the ME, I'd want to be in Egypt.

    February 10, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  11. MMM

    Decent article. However, the author's experience in having to defend Islam to Copts should not be generalized to all Copts. Most Egyptian Copts I know have very close Muslim friends that they even treat better than family and love dearly. Although as Christians, we do not agree with the Muslim faith, we are taught by Christ to love others-regardless of their faith, status, background etc. Indeed, our Coptic history is replete with persecution. But through it all, we are guided to forgive and love. Love. That is our story.

    February 10, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  12. aly

    you guys all of you shame on you. how could you turn such a beautiiful time in Egypt where chriistians and Muslims finally saw themselves as one and the same "EGYPTIANS" who truly care about fixing their country and getting rid of its corrupt gov officials who've been at theiir seats forever. How could you turn back and look at all your problems with the other faith instead of looking past all of it to see the possibility of ONE people emerging together for the good of the country and the good of the people ALL the people. and I'm Muslim Egyptian and I 've never ever seen where my religion in mosques or elsewhere says to be anything but kind and friendly to all christians and all other faiths.

    February 10, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  13. Lurker

    How would a Jew be received in a prayer circle?

    Whinging about who's killed more people is sort of nonproductive.

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

      Ah? Can you please elaborate.

      February 10, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  14. Joshua

    As far as killing non believers, I suggest you read the Torah

    February 10, 2011 at 2:35 pm |
    • Mike

      And how does this apply today?

      February 10, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • mike

      Go speak to a West Bank Jewish Settler

      February 10, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Mike

      And what do those West Bank believers do exactly as far as kiling infidels?

      February 10, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  15. gc

    The faiths should talk...and...Muslims must be allowed to convert if they so choose and vice-versa. Any religion that relies upon imprisonment and the threat ot death to coerce obedience has a problem. Anti-blasphemy laws should have at most a very limited footprint in a democratic republic (especially when it comes to enforcement against minority religions, including minority Muslim sects). These type of laws as implemented across the Muslim world are simply a tool to repress minority groups.

    February 10, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  16. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    Check with our Islamic apologist Mr. Fareed Zakaria, Egyptians (like the rest of the Islamists) are largely secular, peace loving people. They ONLY bomb a few Churches and kill a few 100's Christians once in a while!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

    February 10, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  17. American Reporters Naive

    I was shocked by the ignorance and naivety of the American Reporters, as they are ignorant about the Arabic culture and the Arabic language, I wish CNN and others will sent people that speak the language before they deceive they audience with distorted views that are made for American consumption. Have they wondered how come so many speak English? The signs carried were telling Mubarak to go to Tell Aviv and the Star of David was on Mubarek forehead, while the reporter was claiming that the brothers of Islam all what they want is DEMOCRACY. Shame on the American Press.

    February 10, 2011 at 1:51 pm |
    • bspurloc

      exactly the problem, most Americans are lost in this christian talibanized religion, separation of church and state does not exist in the United States however separation of christian taliban and non believers does exist.
      If a President to be were to cast down christianity he would INSTANTLY be reported as being a devil or evil with christian taliban mullahs demanding to throw him out of the country..... excommunication or death is the christian way

      February 10, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  18. lewis

    This author is an idiot, and he sounds like a secular christian. You atheists know them best. The christians who say they are christians because they were born in christian families but never graduate beyond that. The copts are heavily persecuted. And he defends the Islamic radicals?

    February 10, 2011 at 1:45 pm |
    • Ridah

      By the Way the author is a she not a he. It would be good to read carefully and analyze before claiming someone is an idiot. Additionally, the author has the right, as you do too, to express her opinion and see things through her view point and experiences.

      February 10, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • veritas

      Who are you to judge who is and is not a Christian? The last time I check Christ said, "Do not judge or you too will be judged." Just because someone doesn't meet YOUR definition of a Christian does not mean that he/she is not a Christian. Christians are not a monolith. There are many different types with a wide variety of beliefs.

      February 10, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Marky

      Jesus himself said his followers (Christians) were those who kew him as the Savior (Messiah), and understood who He was and were willing to serve Him. Not someone who isn't something else, so they must be a Christian, not someone who just says they are a Christian, but someone who accepts Jesus as the Messiah and follows Him and His teachings.

      February 10, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  19. hemusbull

    There are many absolutely absurd facts:
    1) it never ever have been and doesn't exist muslim democracy;
    2) there is no tolerance between christians and muslims in muslim dominated society;
    3) tolerant and romantics type of beleives never governed any country successfully – from T. Moore's to M. Gandi's times;
    4) there is no other religion which believes in the killing of non beleivers.
    Are you still optimistic?!

    February 10, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
    • Ridah

      I think you should check your facts. I believe Turkey is a Muslim Country that is also a vibrant democracy, Indonesia, Malaysi, Pakistan are also Muslim Countries with vibrant democratic governments. Christians and Muslims have always lived together in Muslim countries in peace until recently when some outside agents have instigated artificial problems. As for your insinuation that Islam believes in the killing of non-believers, if it were true then you would not have any Christians in any Muslim country and by the way I recommend you read about Islam from an objective source and don't listen to people whose sole purpose in life is to make for a hateful and venomous environment so that they can thrive.

      February 10, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
    • Joshua

      So you never heard of Turkey? How about Lebanon with mixed faiths? Stop distorting the facts.

      February 10, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • Mike

      Turkey is a semi-Democracy. Pakistan is everything but a Democracy. Malaysia, something but a Democracy. Now the largest Muslim-populated country, which is India, is a Democracy.

      February 10, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • neochess

      Turkey is supposed to be a secular Country, but is going down the drain with the Islamists at the helm.
      Pakistan is democracy, where you get killed if you insulted the prophet, I guess that is the democracy Muslim style. Why bother call it democracy?

      February 10, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • Frank

      Pakistan is a democracy? How stupid are you? Pakistan has blasphemy laws that the people seem to overwhelmingly support. So yeah, I guess that's democratic! Most people are Muslims, most want blasphemy punished by death, and blasphemy is punished by death! Horay for democracy!

      Likewise in Indonesia and Malaysia we see people caned for gambling, adultury and alcohol use. We see the Indonesian province of Aceh have a democratic referendum in which the people voted to implement stoning and flogging and the enforcement of Islamic moral codes. This is a good thing to you, Ridah? It's technically democracy; but that only shows that when Muslims get democracy, it doesn't last. Democracy is a tool used to implement Sharia and nothing more.

      February 10, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • bspurloc

      your facts are pretty acurate "4) there is no other religion which believes in the killing of non beleivers."
      You pointed out the Christian religion to a TEE, the Crusades killed more non believing HUMAN BEINGS than ANY OTHER religions in human history. got any more facts about the christian murderous religion?

      February 10, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • veritas

      Turkey is a democracy. India is not a Muslim country. There are Muslims that live there, but there are also Muslims that live in the United States, and many other countries in the world. India is Hindu (predominantly).

      February 10, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Jennifer

      You are correct in every point

      February 10, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  20. a coptic orthodox

    As a Coptic orthodox Christian, I am a little upset about this article. Our Pope Shenouda has always told us to pray for those who are hurting us and to be kind to them and not start problems in Egypt against Muslim people or anyone. So if anything you should be PROUD to be part of a church and religion that preaches to love and forgive and to be kind regardless of what people do to you. I know for a FACT we are more than willing to work with Muslims to live in peace.

    As for the stones being thrown at the Muslims, it’s not right and our religion and church does not agree with it. But you can’t judge the people who were leaving a peaceful place after trying to celebrate the New Year in peace, and walked out to see their friends, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, neighbors on the floor dead. I would be angry toooo!! It’s horrible. Put yourself in their shoes.
    The Coptic Church NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER attacked anyone EVER in its history. Our ORTHODOX faith is taken directly from the words of Christ and the apostles without changing anything! We were told to love even our enemies and THIS IS WHAT WE DO and you SHOULD BE VERY PROUD OF IT.

    As far as Islam goes, if they allow freedom and they respect other religions, then how come all the Christians leaving in Islamic countries have to live in fear? How we need permits to do anything? How come we face soooo much discrimination and persecution?

    How can so much hate come out of one religion? Between 9/11 and all the killings left and right in countries all over which are done in ALLAHS name, how can you say Islam is a religion that allows peace! For the person that converted into Islam, you def should be doing A LOT more research.

    February 10, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
    • john

      Wow! I always like to hear the rest of the story and you delivered an emotional part of it. Thank you. My mother use to always remind us that you do not understand another until you have walked for a bit in their shoes. Keep looking up my friend.

      February 10, 2011 at 1:52 pm |
    • a copt

      THANK YOU!!!

      I completely agree!!

      I just want to add that Coptic Christians do not hate Muslims, but rather we condemn the religion, Islam. Islam preaches hatred to all non-Muslims encourages these acts of violence that Copts have witnessed and endured time after time.

      February 10, 2011 at 2:06 pm |
    • neochess

      I could not have said it better myself.

      As a Copt I am horrified at the mediocrity of CNN reporters.
      I am starting to have a theory. The liberal media want to make Obama the Reagan of of the Muslim World.
      I am sure they have never lived in a Muslim country or listened to sermon in a Mosque.
      Democracy is the last item on the table of a common Muslim.
      I am old enough to have seen their marches in the Universities, " La Sharkiia Wa la Ghrabiia, La Elmainnia Wa La Dimokratiia, Islamiia, Islamiia" or Neither Western or Eastern, Neither Democracy nor Secularism, Only Islamist Islamist.

      February 10, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • bspurloc

      "I know for a FACT we are more than willing to work with Muslims to live in peace" you need to pick up some history books because your FACTs are a bit cloudy..... Always easy to point fingers while denying the reasons blood is dripping from them.....
      Was Cleopatra hopeful and Nervous when the Romans came to town with their almighty christian talibanism?

      February 10, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Aaron

      bspurloc...if you're going to play devil's advocate, at least have a slight grasp on history. Julius Caesar was not a Christian. The Romans did not convert to Christianity in mass until the 300s AD. In fact, Julius Caesar and Cleopatra were running around in the century BEFORE Jesus was born. Christianity did not even exist at time.

      February 10, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Scott H

      bspurloc fails at timelines. Nice try though. Public schooled, no doubt.

      February 10, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Karla

      Unfortunately, what your saying is not backed up by facts. The Middle Eastern culture is very conservative–both for Muslims and Copts. And not at all tolerant. In fact, Islam actually wins on that front–surprisingly.

      The Coptic Church is actually LESS tolerant than Islam. Did you know that Copts may not get divorced in Egypt?
      Muslims may–and some speculate that's why some women convert to Islam. So they can divorce their abusive
      husbands. Just recently, a Coptic woman, Inni Ibrahim, was murdered by her US-Egyptian dual national husband–after being
      told that she could not divorce–and had to stay with the abuser.

      Pope Shenouda just recently said that people are not born gay.

      He also said that Assyrian Christians will not enter heaven.

      As for tolerance, I wouldn't look at the past 40 years as a measure of a faith's tolerance. For hundreds of years (800 to be precise–longer than the US has excited), Christians and Jews lived and prospered under the Ottoman Empire. For 300 years, Jews took refuge in Moorish Spain from being killed by Christians in Europe during the Dark Ages.

      There has been Coptic violence directed at Muslims in Egypt–just as there has been violence directed at Copts by Muslims.

      What is going on now in Egypt has nothing to do with either religion. It's about freedom for both. Mubarak was an equal opportunity oppressor. He hurt both.

      One hopes that the new government would allow some sort of sharing of power between faiths like is done in Lebanon–but then again, Christians are nearly 40% of Lebanon, not 10% like in Egypt.

      February 10, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • SilverWind

      Interesting...

      >>>> a copt
      >>>>THANK YOU!!!

      >>>>I completely agree!!

      >>>>I just want to add that Coptic Christians do not hate Muslims, but rather we condemn the religion, Islam. Islam preaches hatred to all non-Muslims encourages these acts of violence that Copts have witnessed and endured time after time.

      Definition of CONDEMN in the Merriam Webster Dicitionary:

      transitive verb
      1: to declare to be reprehensible, wrong, or evil usually after weighing evidence and without reservation
      2 a : to pronounce guilty
      b : sentence, doom

      Synonym for the word HATE

      Definition: be antagonistic toward something; hate (verb)
      Synonyms: abhor, abominate, antipathize, avoid, be allergic to, be averse to, be turned off to, bear malice toward, condemn, contemn, deplore, despise, detest, disapprove, disesteem, disfavor, disrelish, eschew, execrate, grossed out on, have hard feelings, have no stomach for, have no taste for, loathe , look down on, lose interest in, make faces at, mind, not appreciate, not care for, not endure, not feel like, not take kindly to, object to, regret, resent, scorn, shudder at, shun

      Notice the word condemn is listed under the synonym for the word hate. Please explain to me, what is the difference between hate and condemn? What is the difference between Christians and Muslims feelings towards each other? When will human beings learn to respect each other and just get along?

      February 10, 2011 at 4:30 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.