Persecution of Christians Rising in Islamic Countries

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- With Islamists poised to take over governments overthrown during the "Arab spring," Christians and other minorities may soon be subject to Sharia (Islamic) law.

Some say assurance by Islamist groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafis, and Ennahda, that non-Muslims would not be mistreated under Sharia is, at best, questionable.

In Egypt, attacks on Coptic Christians have increased exponentially since the fall of Hosni Mubarak's regime last year.

Egyptian Christians have been beaten, shot and stabbed to death, and their homes and churches have been fire bombed by angry Muslims.

On Monday, Egypt's Islamist-dominated parliament held its first session. The Muslim Brotherhood now holds 47 percent of the seats, and the Salafist al-Nour party 25 percent.

Syrian Christians have also come under increasing persecution.

"The Christian community in Syria has been hit by a series of kidnappings and brutal murders; 100 Christians have now been killed since the anti-government unrest began," the Jerusalem Post quoted the Pakistan Christian Post.

According to the report, two Christians were gunned down recently at a bakery. In a separate incident, three attackers killed a Christian as he drove with two young children in the car.

In Libya, Muslims staged a demonstration Friday, demanding that legislation in the post-Gadhafi government would be based on the principles of Sharia, not secular, law.

"We as a Muslim nation have taken Islamic Sharia as the source of legislation," National Transitional Council chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil said in October, according to Reuters.

Jalil added that "any law that contradicts the principles of Islam is legally nullified."

Many experts wonder if Sharia law can support "genuine" democracy. Last July the American Thinker re-posted the "Top ten reasons why Sharia is bad for all societies," originally published in August 2005.

According to that report, under Sharia, an apostate -- anyone who leaves Islam for any reason -- can be put to death if they refuse to repent. Criticizing the prophet Mohammed, the Koran or Sharia law is also punishable by death.

In Iran, for example, Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani has been on death row for refusing to renounce his faith. And in Pakistan, Asia Bibi, a Christian woman, is still facing the death penalty for allegedly insulting the prophet Mohammed.

Also according to Sharia law, a woman caught in adultery can be stoned to death (after being buried up to her chest). Homosexuals are liable for the death penalty. And thieves are punished by severing a hand.

Husbands may beat their wives, and anyone caught drinking or gambling is subject to flogging.

Saudi Arabia bans tourists from bringing in "items and articles belonging to religions other than Islam," the kingdom's national carrier, Saudi Arabian Airlines, states on its website. That includes Bibles, crosses, or the Star of David.

Though the U.S. and other Western governments are establishing ties with the rising Islamist movements, many observers say increasing persecution of Christians, Jews, and other minorities in emerging Islamic countries is an indication, that democracy and Sharia law won't coexist.

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From her perch high atop the mountains surrounding Jerusalem, Tzippe Barrow helps provide a bird’s eye view of events unfolding in her country.

She and her husband made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) several years ago. Barrow hopes that providing a biblical perspective of today’s events in Israel will help people in the nations to better understand the centrality of this state and the Jewish people to God’s unfolding plan of redemption for all mankind.