Miles Windsor, Senior Manager for Strategy and Campaigns for RFI’s Middle East Action Team, recently authored an article for Religion Unplugged titled, “Securing Peace For Egypt’s Christians At Coptic Eastertide.” In it, Windsor describes how Egyptian Christians attended their churches and cathedrals boldly to celebrate Easter this year, in spite of the “looming threat posed to such a basic exercise of religious freedom” and the fifth anniversary of the twin suicide bombings that targeted St. George’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Tanta and St. Mark’s Coptic Cathedral in Cairo on Palm Sunday 2017.
Windsor explains that while Egyptian Christians still face threats of repression, hatred, and persecution, there have been improvements for them in recent years. For instance, he cites Egypt’s President, Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, presenting himself as a “defender of the Christian community,” and the passage of a 2016 law on the building and restoration of churches that has granted more than 2,400 approvals for churches to be built. Windsor argues, however, that more remains to be done by the national government, local authorities, and religious communities to secure religious freedom in Egypt:
Civil servants, law enforcement agents and other key actors throughout every governorate of Egypt must be trained to understand the benefits [of religious freedom] for all citizens. Imams and ministers with oversight of all Egypt’s religious communities should be supported so that they’re well-equipped to dispel anxieties about the religious implications of liberty. And schools should be provided with curricula that will secure more peaceful and civil communities in future generations.
As Egyptian Christians made their way to their Easter services, they continued to walk in the footprints of their forebears — and their savior. They trust God. They are not afraid. They endure with dignity through all hardship and suffering, and through faith and in God-given strength, they will prevail. But Egypt must work harder to defend its children. It can seize a brighter future of peace and justice for all if the will is there.
Read the full article: Securing Peace For Egypt’s Christians At Coptic Eastertide.