When it comes to the massacres of Middle East Christians, Westerners are as silent as Egypt’s churches this Easter Sunday
(By Nicole Foy, The Observer). As Holy Week comes to an end, there have been many reasons for Christians to be confused, concerned, or frustrated over the last year. But this past Holy Week, for the first time, I found myself truly enraged.
I understand that I am more in tune than the average news consumer when it comes to the Middle East and the plight of Christians in that part of the world. Working for a nonprofit that rebuilds the lives of Iraqi Christians devastated by the Islamic State, I live and breathe these stories. But finally, after years of mainstream media silence, Christian genocide is undeniable. Still, a disturbing ignorance persists.
Like many Christians, I first heard of the twin bombings at Coptic Christian churches in Tanta and Alexandria, Egypt on the way to my own Palm Sunday service. As I pored over reports of worshippers pulled from the destruction of their churches, I thought that surely this time, it would be enough. This time, Western Christians would awake from their political stupor, clear their eyes of the fog of protests and petty outrage, and unite toward action with one strident voice of solidarity. When the horrific attacks were claimed by the Islamic State, it only heightened my expectation of the outrage I was sure would pour out from worshippers leaving their services with their families.
I was wrong.
Once again, I underestimated the apathy of Western Christians.
In an age of apoplexy over misspoken words, tax returns, violent takedowns of airline passengers, or anything that can be captured by a smartphone, when it comes to the massacres of Middle East Christians, Western Christians are as silent as Egypt’s churches this Easter Sunday.
Western Christians have little excuse for their ignorance and silence. At roughly 10 percent of Egypt’s population, the Coptic Christian minority is the Middle East’s largest Christian community—and one of the oldest. Egypt is rich in early Christian history and scholarship; the Gospel writer Mark established its first churches. Yet although the church predates Islam in Egypt, they have borne the brunt of rising sectarian tensions since Arab Spring in 2011 and continue to endure a systematic campaign of terror designed to drive them from the region.
In fact, for many it was the Islamic State’s kidnapping and brutal beheading of 21 Coptic Christians in February 2015 that solidified the Islamic State as the most evil entity in the world.
In the United States, Christians’ only concern is how faith and politics mix. Our greatest challenge—and not to demean it in anyway—is how political correctness impacts the followers of Christ, who are often demonized by the press and on college campuses. But we have it easy compared to our brethren in the Middle East.