I was interviewed last night about the situation of Egypt’s Christians: “The Plight of Egypt’s Coptic Christians,” by Wolff Bachner for The Inquisitr, March 29:
Most of us in the West have little knowledge of what life is like for Christians in the Muslim world. Take for example, the Coptic Christians, who were once the dominant religious group in Egypt. Previously the mainstay of their nation, Copts are now living as an oppressed minority, denied religious freedom and equal status in Egyptian life. The Copts are routinely denied meaningful employment and may not hold positions in the Egyptian Civil Service. Copts are refused permission to build new churches and even a request to renovate a church that is badly in need of repair can lead to an outbreak of severe Muslim violence against the Copts. Recently, there have even been calls for a return to collecting Jizya from the Copts, a tax that the Qur’an instructs Muslims to charge to all Dhimmis (non-Muslims) whenever Muslims are in power.
To give our readers an accurate picture of the situation in Egypt, we asked Raymond Ibrahim to answer several questions about the Coptic Christians. Raymond is the son of Coptic Christian parents who were born in Egypt and he has first hand knowledge about Coptic life under Islam. Raymond is a highly respected Middle East and Islam specialist, a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum. A widely published author, best known for The Al Qaeda Reader (Doubleday, 2007), he guest lectures at universities, including the National Defense Intelligence College. Raymond also briefs governmental agencies, such as U.S. Strategic Command and the Defense Intelligence Agency. Among other media, he has appeared on Inquisitr.com, MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS, Reuters, Al-Jazeera, CBN, and NPR. Raymond is fluent in Arabic and he has studied the Qur’an and many ancient Islamic historical documents in the original language. You can find Raymond’s latest writings at http://www.raymondibrahim.com.
Here is our interview with Raymond Ibrahim:
1. Who are the Coptic Christians and what is their history?
The Copts are the indigenous inhabitants of Egypt, before the Arab/Muslim invasion around 641 A.D.. The the word “Copt” simply means “Egyptian”; however, because all Egyptians were Christian in the 7th century””Egypt was a major Christian center, so much so that Alexandria vied with Rome over ecclesiastical leadership”””Copt” also became synonymous with “Christian.” In short, the word Copt is similar to the word Jew: both words convey a people and a religion. Tradition teaches that St. Mark, author of the Gospel of the same name, proselytized the pagan Egyptians of the 1st century; by approximately the 3rd century, Christianity was the dominant religion; and by the 7th century when Islam burst into Egypt, Christianity was the religion.
Read the rest, including some good observations following the interview by the author, Wolff Bachner.