A property dispute in a village south of Cairo between Coptic Christians and Muslims brought to public awareness the continual tension within Egypt between its Coptic Christian population, which represents 10% of the population, and the Muslim majority. The Christians wanted to extend a church in an area whose ownership was in dispute, which led some imams to hand out leaflets complaining that “We condemn the building of churches in our beautiful town.” A crowd of Christians clashed with Muslims until police brought things under control.
One of the under reported issues is the Christian population of Egypt. As Muslim fundamentalism grows stronger in the country due to President Murbarak’s inept economic and social programs, there is a rising anti-Christian feeling in that nation. It always fascinates me how George Bush, the born-again Christian, has done more harm to Christians in Iraq and the Middle East than any other president in American history, but this is never raised by his right wing religious supporters. Christians used to play prominent roles in the Palestinian leadership, but have now disappeared from sight.
Information from the Lebanon Daily Star