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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Hidden Martyrs Of Egypt

Egypt has a growing problem with its native Christian population being attacked by Islamic radicals. Last year, there were 29 such attacks, compared to 24 in 2008. The government plays down these attacks, and often doesn't prosecute the perpetrators. Egypt wishes the problem would just go away, but it won't.

Ten percent of Egyptians are descended from those that did not to convert to Islam 1,400 years ago. These are the Coptic Christians, and since the government lifted restrictions on radical Islam in the 1970s, the seven million Copts have been a regular target of Islamic thugs. Thousands have died and most Copts live in fear.

Religious persecution has been around for thousands of years, and few religions have been completely innocent of it. However, currently it is Islam that has shown the most aggressive attitude towards those who don't share their religious beliefs. In practical terms, a lot of religious persecutions over the centuries has been caused more by ethnic, than religious, differences. But 21st century Islam is unique in that the persecutions focus on the religious issue. This tends to make the persecution more violent. Being on a mission from God tends to increase the level of violence. Radical Islam has always been a component of Islamic life, although usually a fringe type activity. But over the last few decades, the Islamic radicals have increased their power enormously. Radical Moslems have taken over the government in Iran and Afghanistan, and came close in Algeria. Radical Moslems, even when they are a numerical minority, have far greater political power because of their militancy and willingness to use extreme violence. And the easiest people to use violence on are non-Moslems.

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