Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Michael Terheyden

6/5/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

To date the fate of the Coptic Christian community remains uncertain in a post revolutionary Egypt. This uncertainty is vividly depicted in two recent court rulings: one hopeful, the other crushing. But I see only one hope for Coptic Christians, a fundamental change in the mindset of the Muslim people.

Coptic Christians demonstrate in front of the High Court in Cairo in response to the Abu Qurqas ruling

Coptic Christians demonstrate in front of the High Court in Cairo in response to the Abu Qurqas ruling

Highlights

By Michael Terheyden

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/5/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in Middle East

Keywords: Christian, Coptic, Persecution, Elections, Egypt, United States, Michael Terheyden


KNOXVILLE, TN (Catholic Online) - To date the fate of the Coptic Christian community remains uncertain in a post-revolutionary Egypt. This uncertainty is vividly depicted in two recent court rulings. According to an article published by Compass Direct News, one of these rulings offers hope to the Copts while the other dashes that hope. As for me, I see only one hope for the Copts, a fundamental change in the mindset of the Muslim people.

The first ruling reaches back to an incident that occurred on January 11, 2011, shortly before the revolution broke out. The incident involved a Muslim police officer on a Cairo-bound train who killed a 71 year old Coptic man and wounded his wife plus four others. Witnesses said they saw the deranged police officer roaming the train looking for Christians and yelling "God is great" as he shot them.

On March 12, 2012, a judge sentenced the police officer to death. Samia Sidhom, the managing editor of a Cairo newspaper, said the ruling came as a surprise. It was rare, she added, because it went against an unwritten rule that says judges are not to give the death penalty to Muslims for killing Christians. It was so rare that it had to be approved by the state appointed Grand Mufti.

Although this ruling seems hopeful on the surface, the second court ruling did not go so well. This case involved a riot that broke out in the village of Abu-Qurgas on April 18, 2011. The riot began after a bus driver became angry about a speed bump placed in front of the home of a wealthy Christian. The incident resulted in the death of an elderly Christian woman and two Muslim men and dozens of Coptic homes and businesses being set on fire.

As a result, 12 Christians and eight Muslims were arrested. The charges included murder, disturbing the peace, inciting sectarian strife, arson, and possession of unlicensed firearms. The trial ended on May 21, 2012. The judge found all 12 Coptic Christians guilty and sentenced them to life in prison, while all the Muslims were acquitted and released.

The ruling was a bitter shock to the Coptic community because, according to the article, all eight Muslims had been charged with the same crimes, and no Muslim property had reportedly been damaged. A Coptic human rights lawyer in Egypt, Athanasious Williams, said the trial was completely unjust.

He expects Christians will continue to be persecuted in Egypt regardless who wins Egypt's run-off election for president scheduled in mid June between the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate Mohammed Mursi and Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, a former member of the Mubarak administration.

Williams said, "I am expecting the worst in all cases. Either the Islamists will take over, or Ahmed Shafiq will. If the Islamists take over, we will be like Iran, and they will enforce sharia law, and there will be no freedom of religion. There will be no freedoms of any kind. There will be no freedom in art, opinion or anything. If Shafiq takes over, it will be the same way it was before."

As far as I am concerned, hope for Egypt's Coptic Christian community does not rest on court rulings or the upcoming presidential election, although these are very important. What is really needed is a fundamental change in the mindset of the Muslim people. Without that, I do not believe there is hope for the Copts or Egypt or the entire region.

When I refer to the Muslim mindset, I am thinking of something Robert Reilly said in his book, The Closing of the Muslim Mind. He said the idea of "cause and effect" does not exist in the Muslim mind. Thus, they generally do not see an inner logic to things. Nor do they learn or develop critical thinking skills. Without a foundation of fixed knowledge, he says, there is only opinion and sophistry, which promotes irrational behavior and forces people to live in a world where myth and fantasy seem real.

This social condition can be explained in large part based on the Muslim understanding of ultimate reality, that is, God. Both Muslims and Christians believe that God is all-powerful, but for Muslims this quality is supreme and essentially negates all of God's other qualities. This one idea colors just about everything Muslim's believe about God, reality, human nature, and society.

Related to this exaggerated notion of God's sovereignty, is the idea that only God is real, that reality is illusion. Thus, Muslims believe that God is unlimited, pure will and power. For them, this means that Allah cannot be bound by order in the universe or reason or anything limiting. Allah can act capriciously, and without regard for the good of the person or creation. For Muslims, then, reality is not ordered; it is unknowable and without purpose.

Therefore, reason is not valued, but neither is morality, for human behavior has no moral value beyond absolute obedience to Allah's capricious will. So Muslim law, for instance, is not necessarily tied to human experience or objective reality or truth or reason. Consequently, Muslim law does not concern itself much with individual rights. Nor does it generally contain well-defined rules or precedents. This allows Muslim lawmakers and judges much discretion, as we have seen.

Postmodernism in the West does not acknowledge Islam's all-powerful God, or any other god for that matter, yet it parallels an Islamic world view in some significant ways. Like Islam, Postmodernism sees the world as unknowable. There is no one truth. Truth is relative, if there even is such a thing. So it is not important to seek truth. Instead of truth, Postmodernism seeks power that is unrestrained by moral limitations and can be exercised arbitrarily just like Islam's all-powerful God.

Although they come from opposite ends of the spectrum, both Islam and Postmodernism arrive at a view of reality which is essentially irrational and amoral. Reilly says that both Islam and Postmodernism (secularism, socialism, liberalism, etc.), demand that reality conform to their world view. He also says they both seek earthly utopias through politics and stringent control of the population.

Christians, on the other hand, have a profound belief in a universe that is objectively ordered and intelligible. It is a universe created by an all-powerful but loving God, the triune God. Therefore, Christians believe that the universe is objectively real and that much can be known about it through the use of reason and that it is basically good and filled with beauty. 

Furthermore, Christians seek to understand their faith through reason. The Christian faith is not just about great mysteries and life after death; it also speaks of our nature and our relationships with each other, and it sees intelligible order in both. We call this order natural law, and it attests to our dignity as moral beings with inherent rights. Human beings are not the puppets of capricious, amoral gods. Nor are they mere products of evolution which can be molded by the postmodern, secular state into whatever it wants.

I see a time coming when more and more people around the world will demand to be ruled based on objective truths which they can come to know through reason and freely submit to, not out of fear, but out of admiration and loyalty to the goodness and beauty of those truths. This, then, is the real hope that I see for the Copts.

The Copts have displayed great courage time and time again. This was evident as thousands of Copts risked their well-being and possibly their lives when they demonstrated this past week in front of Egypt's High Court and demanded justice for their fellow Copts from Abu Qurqas who were condemned to life in prison. But they can do only so much in such a hostile society, and greater hostility is likely after the runoff elections for president in a couple weeks.

Islamists have already gained control in parliament, and their candidate is leading in the presidential election. It is believed that an Islamist government will institute sharia law in Egypt, which is highly discriminatory of non-Muslims. So the Copts are not in a position to effectively advocate for change despite their heroic efforts.

However, Christians in the West are in a position to help: if not directly, at least indirectly. This is especially true for Christians in the United States. In addition to prayer--prayer always comes first--it would seem that one of the best things we can do to help the Copts is to protect a Christian mindset in our own country from the ravages of Postmodernism.

Our country was founded in large part on the Christian mindset mentioned above. Our constitution is based on an objectively ordered view of the world and reason. And the first paragraph of the Declaration of Independence specifically mentions the natural law. If this mindset is allowed to be extinguished in the most powerful country in the world, then it is unlikely it could take hold in Muslim society. More likely is that the world would plunge into a darkness filled with opinion, sophistry, myth, and fantasy for generations.

If we show just half the courage our Coptic brothers and sisters have shown, then we can protect a Christian mindset and the light which it brings to the world. To do this, we need to stand up for truth, goodness, justice and beauty every chance we get. We also need to show strong support for leaders who will stand up for these values and oust those who do not.

While this mindset and its light will not guarantee a better life for the Coptic Christians in Egypt, it is absolutely essential because it provides the foundation for a better life. So, in this respect, just by protecting a Christian mindset in the United States, we can help keep hope alive for the Copts and all Christians and people of goodwill around the world.
 
 
-----

Michael Terheyden was born into a Catholic family, but that is not why he is a Catholic. He is a Catholic because he believes that truth is real, that it is beautiful and good, and that the fullness of truth is in the Catholic Church. However, he knows that God's grace operating throughout his life is the main reason he is a Catholic. He is greatly blessed to share his faith and his life with his beautiful wife, Dorothy. They have four grown children and three grandchildren.

-----

---


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


Copyright 2016 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2016
Universal:
Respect for Women: That in every country of the world, women may be honored and respected and that their essential contribution to society may be highly esteemed.
Evangelization: Holy Rosary: That families, communities, and groups may pray the Holy Rosary for evangelization and peace.



Comments


More Middle East

UPDATE: 70-year-old Christian woman stripped and beaten by Muslim mob Watch

Image of The mob attacked the mother of a man who was rumored to have had an affair (Reuters).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Egyptian authorities have arrested six men suspected to have participated in the mob and are currently looking for 12 more. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - President Abdel-Fattach el-sissi demands the culprits be held accountable and issued his military one month ... continue reading


New Taliban leader to refuse peace talks and continue terrorizing reign Watch

Image of New Taliban leader as ruthless as the last (Pinterest).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed the death of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mohammed Mansour by U.S. drone strike - but another leader has risen. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Days after burying Mansour in an undisclosed location in ... continue reading


Why YOU should care about the anti-American elected to lead Iran's most powerful religious body Watch

Image of Ahmed Jannati has been elected to lead Iran's Assembly of Experts (Iran Human Rights Organization).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

After a Tuesday vote, Iran's Assembly of Experts elected 89-year-old Ahmed Jannati as its next supreme leader.Jannati is famous for his extremely conservative views of Islam and is now in a position to choose Iran's next Supreme Leader. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading


ISIS leaders punished with NEW EXECUTION METHOD using DOGS Watch

Image of ISIS leaders who fail their duties are now sentenced to death by dogs (HWT Image Library).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

It's a bad time to be an ISIS commander. In response to the continual failures on the battlefield, ISIS commanders are now being executed by being fed to aggressive dogs. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A Kurdish commander spoke to the Iranian media outlet ... continue reading


Are we in danger? Islamic State calls for attacks on Europe and US during upcoming Muslim holy month Watch

Image of Abu Mohamed al-Adnani released a 31-minute speech to call ISIS supporters to fight (ISIS video).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

ISIS followers have been urged to strike at Europe and the United States by a 31-minute speech Abu Mohamed al-Adnani posted online. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In his speech, al-Adnani told his followers: "The tiniest action you do in the heart of their land is ... continue reading


Iran gleeful: Israel is just eight minutes away from destruction Watch

Image of Iran has precision ballistic missiles which can strike Israel.

By David Drudge (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

A senior Iranian military adviser has said that Israel can be destroyed within eight minutes, if the order is given. The estimate is based on the amount of time it will take for a missile to reach Israel. LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Ahmad Karimpour, an ... continue reading


'Isil runs a normal state ... where there are disabled people and so on': Man shot then crucified in public square by wheelchair Jihad Watch

Image of ISIS' wheelchair executioner at work again.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

An ISIS militant confined to a wheelchair has made headlines once again for executing an innocent. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to <a ... continue reading


ISIS desecrates Christian headstones Watch

Image of ISIS militant stands with the help of crutches beside destroyed Christian headstone.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

In a newly released video, an ISIS militant, supporting himself on crutches, stood beside the remains of a destroyed Christian headstone. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The video, shown on <a ... continue reading


Al-Qaeda's new hit list includes Bill Gates Watch

Image of Al Qaeda issues new hit list aimed at American economic leaders.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The latest issue of Al-Qaeda's propaganda magazine 'Inspire' claims the assassination of several American business leaders can be of use in the Prophet's holy war. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to Daily Mail, a hit list was released for lone wolf jihads ... continue reading


Jesus' baptism site to be cleared of landmines Watch

Image of Christian pilgrims often come to get baptized in the same river Jesus was baptized (Alamy Stock Photo).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Barbed wire, 5,000 landmines and danger signs written in Arabic, English and Hebrew surround the site believed to be the area Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Though the Israeli and Jordanian armies concluded their war in ... continue reading


All Middle East News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • 100k Americans work for China as China continues to purchase major US ...
  • Alabama Supreme court recognizes same-sex adoption
  • How much did Goldman Sachs' CEO invest in hedge fund?: Hillary ...
  • Advent Prayer HD Video
  • St. Joan of Arc: Saint of the Day for Monday, May 30, 2016
  • Daily Readings for Monday, May 30, 2016
  • Daily Reading for Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Kings 8:41-43
41 'Even the foreigner, not belonging to your people Israel but coming ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 117:1, 2
1 Alleluia! Praise Yahweh, all nations, extol him, all ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 7:1-10
1 When he had come to the end of all he wanted the people to hear, he ... Read More

Reading 2, Galatians 1:1-2, 6-10
1 From Paul, an apostle appointed not by human beings nor through any ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 29th, 2016 Image

St. Maximinus of Trier
May 29: Bishop of Trier, Germany, from 332, and a miracle ... Read More