Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Mounir Bishay

5/6/2009 (5 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Hundreds of Coptic young girls, including many under aged, are being kidnapped, raped, forced to convert to Islam and marry Muslim men.

We are confident that the Lord has established His altar in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof. (Isaiah 19:19)  God will continue to have His presence in Egypt.  The Copts of Egypt will continue to be God’s people, and they will continue to be blessed. (Isaiah 19:25)

We are confident that the Lord has established His altar in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof. (Isaiah 19:19) God will continue to have His presence in Egypt. The Copts of Egypt will continue to be God’s people, and they will continue to be blessed. (Isaiah 19:25)

Highlights

By Mounir Bishay

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/6/2009 (5 years ago)

Published in Middle East


LOS ANGELES (Catholic Online) - The word Copt is derived from the Greek word, Ai-gypt-os meaning Egypt. The middle part of the word gypt was later pronounced as Copt and used to mean Egyptian. From the time Egypt embraced Christianity in 54AD to the time Islam invaded Egypt in 642 AD, all people of Egypt were called Copts, After the Islamic invasion, some Copts embraced Islam and excluded themselves from the name. Those who remained faithful to their Christian faith clung to their Coptic identity, and still do.

There is no official count for the Copts of Egypt today. The Egyptian census bureau keeps this as a secret. This is also seen as a reason to avoid any demands by Copts for equitable treatment. However, reliable statistical sources put the number at more than 12 millions, about 15% of Egypts population of 80 millions.

Christianity was introduced to Egypt in 54 AD by St. Mark, a North African Jew and one of the 70 apostles of the early church. St. Mark is the writer of the Gospel of Mark, one of the four gospels of the New Testament. He was the first Patriarch of an unbroken 117 patriarchy of the Coptic Orthodox church. St Mark was the first martyr of many Coptic martyrs who gave their life for the faith. In 68 AD, St Mark was killed when he was seized and dragged with a rope through the main streets of the city of Alexandria.

St. Mark put the foundation of the Church of Alexandria, one of the ancient pillar churches at the time. The other churches were the mother Church in Jerusalem, the Church of Antioch, the Church of Rome, the Church of Ephesus, and the Church of Constantinople. St Mark also founded the school of Alexandria which produced great theologians in the history of Christianity such as Clement of Alexandria and Origen.

In the year 642 AD the Arabs led by Amre Ibn El As invaded Egypt under the banner of Islam thus ending the Coptic era. Islam soon spread in Egypt as a result of imposing a high tax on Copts (People of the Book) called Jizya. Those among the Copts, who were able to pay the tax, did so and remained as Christians. The poor Copts were offered two choices, either to convert to Islam or be killed. Many Copts were martyred. Those Copts who remained Christians were reduced to the Dhemmi status, a third class citizenship, after the Arab Muslims and the Egyptian Muslims. It is a class of people who are allowed just to exist with little or no rights. Soon the Arabic language was forced onto all Egyptians and the Coptic language was restricted until it completely disappeared except in church liturgy.

Copts in modern times

The Copts in modern Egypt are suffering from discrimination and persecution. They are frequently subject to terrorist attacks on their persons, homes, businesses and churches. Not a month passes by without a major assault taking place. According to a study made by Ibn Khaldoun Research Center, more than 240 major attacks took place just between the years 1972- 2003.

Hundreds of Coptic young girls, including many under aged, are being kidnapped, raped, forced to convert to Islam and marry Muslim men.

The Egyptian Constitution stipulates that all Egyptians are equal under the law. But the discrimination is widely practiced with sanction from the government. Areas of discrimination include but not limited to education, employment, freedom of religion, building churches, and parliamentary representation.
Many colleges limit the enrollment of Copts by imposing a quota of 1 or 2 % while the Copts are about 15% of the populations. A total educational system, from elementary to college, called Al Azhar which is fully funded by all tax payers does not accept Copts as students or as teachers or administrators
Many high ranking jobs are out of reach of Copts. Examples are key police and security positions, mayors, police chiefs, deans of colleges, presidents of universities and most diplomatic positions.
Christians who want to convert to Islam are welcomed with open arms, while Muslims who would like to convert to Christianity are usually imprisoned and tortured, some die from torture.
Building churches still require a permit from regional governess for repairs. Building new churches still require approval of the President. Even when the president approves, the security apparatus must also investigate to see if the Muslim community would not object. If they object, the church may not be built. Many new communities dont have churches. A permit to build a church could take as long as 20 years and may never be secured.
Egypts Parliament has just two Coptic elected representatives; one of them was disqualified for holding dual citizenship. This is out of 444 total representatives, which amounts to less than % of the total representatives. The president appoints few more Copts who owe their loyalty to the government rather than to the Coptic people.

As a result of this harsh treatment, many Copts are leaving the country of their forefathers to become immigrants in countries all over the world. In addition, some of those who are weak in the faith among the Copts are abandoning their Christian faith and converting to Islam. A Muslim writer predicted that Christianity will disappear from Egypt within 100 years. Humanly speaking, some may look at that with concern. However, Christianity in Egypt went through much harsher periods than that, under Islam in the last 1400 hundred years, and still stands strong as the great Pyramids.

It is the other way around, with the help of modern technology, we are seeing many Muslims inside Egypt and all over the Islamic world are hearing the message of Jesus and embracing the Christian faith. We are confident that the Lord has established His altar in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar at the border thereof. (Isaiah 19:19) God will continue to have His presence in Egypt. The Copts of Egypt will continue to be Gods people, and they will continue to be blessed. (Isaiah 19:25)

-------

Mounir Bishay is president of the Los Angeles based Christian Copts of California
E-mail: Mounir.Bishay@sbcglobal.net

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Middle East

There is no future for the Christians in Iraq, Anglican vicar warns Watch

Image of Christians in Iraq have been subjected to persecution, and more than a million have been forced to flee.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Terrorist fighters from the Islamic State are almost ready to enter the capital of Iraq, the vicar of St. George's Anglican Church in Baghdad warned on Facebook. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Rev. Canon Andrew White posted that "the Islamic State are on the ... continue reading


Netanyahu says threat of Hamas and ISIS reaches far beyond Israel Watch

Image of The spread of Islamic terrorism was compared by Netanyahu as a

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Speaking at the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the threat of Hamas and ISIS reaches far beyond Israel. Islamic militants across the globe share the same goal of world domination, ... continue reading


Islamic State blasts Obama in powerful critique delivered by hostage John Cantile Watch

Image of John Cantile delivered the Islamic State's latest, scathing critique of Obama's strategy.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Islamic State has delivered a powerful critique of Obama's war speech, asking that if two Gulf Wars did not stop the spread of Islamic influence in the region, then why did he think a third would be more effective? LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Whoever is ... continue reading


NO COMMUNION for first time in 2,000 years... Watch

Image of Iraqi Christians receive communion in the Kurdish city of Arbil. Sunday was the first time in 2,000 years no communion was offered in Nineveh, because no Christians remain.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Last Sunday there was no communion in Nineveh for the first time in 2,000 years. The Islamic State has finished Christianity in Iraq, having killed and forcing to flee the nation's population of over 200,000 Christians. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The ancient ... continue reading


More than 3,000 Europeans fighting for ISIS, anti-terrorism chief says Watch

Image of Seizing large parts of Iraq and Syria in recent months, Islamic State - or known as IS, ISIS and ISIL, has had active troops from the European continent within its ranks.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The number of Europeans joining Islamist fighters in Syria and Iraq has risen to more than 3,000, the European Union's Anti-Terrorism Chief Gilles de Kerchove has told TV reporters. Even worse, De Kerchove warned that Western air strikes would increase the risk ... continue reading


ISIS executioner in Foley beheading identified - but not made public Watch

Image of ISIS has beheaded James Foley, American journalist Steven Sotloff and British aid worker David Haines, gruesomely showing their killings in videos posted online.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

FBI Director James Comey says that the United States believes it has identified the ISIS militant in the video showing American journalist James Foley's killing - but did not publicly identify the man. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "The reason this is so ... continue reading


URGENT email from Iraq asks Christians to pray for ISIS victims in Queragosh -- but is it a hoax? Watch

Image of Christians in Iraq are subject to intense persecution and hardship. They remain at risk and in need of emergency aid.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An email was forwarded to the editorial staff of Catholic Online, requesting urgent prayers for the people of Queragosh, who were being slaughtered by terrorists from the Islamic State. In investigating the matter, the editorial team quickly established the email is a ... continue reading


U.S. mission in Syria determined to be 'a matter of years,' Rear Admiral John Kirby says Watch

Image of Calling the torture and killing of Sameera Al-Nuiamy savage and cowardly, U.N. special representative for Iraq Nickolay Mladenov says that the Iraqi government and the international community must do all they can to ensure those responsible for her death are brought to justice.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The airstrikes against Islamic State strongholds in Syria will likely drag on for several years, according to Rear Admiral John Kirby. As airstrikes continue to pummel used by the terror group to help fund its operations, Kirby pulled no punches with his ... continue reading


Refineries used by Islamic State targeted in airstrikes Watch

Image of Fighter jets from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates flew alongside U.S. aircraft during the operation, hitting 12 locations. Initial reports say that the strikes were successful.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Mobile oil refineries in eastern Syria were pounded by U.S.-led warplanes this week in an attempt to hit Islamic State "in the pocketbook." The refineries have been fueling IS' terror brigade. According to Navy Rear Admiral John Kirby, the airstrikes were aimed ... continue reading


Bin Laden son-in-law sentenced to life in prison Watch

Image of Convicted in March on conspiracy charges, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith answered Osama bin Laden's request in the hours after the attacks to speak on the widely circulated videos used to recruit new followers willing to go on suicide missions.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Osama bin Laden's son-in-law, Sulaiman Abu Ghaith was sentenced to life in prison for acting as al-Qaeda's spokesman after the September 11 terror attacks. Before sentencing, Abu Ghaith said through an interpreter that he "would not come here today and seek ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Job 9:1-12, 14-16
1 Job spoke next. He said:2 Indeed, I know ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 88:10-11, 12-13, 14-15
10 Do you work wonders for the dead, can shadows rise ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 9:57-62
57 As they travelled along they met a man on the road ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 1st, 2014 Image

St. Therese of Lisieux
October 1: Generations of Catholics have admired this young saint, called ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter