Why Persecution of Egypt's Christians Is Not Over

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Egypt's Christians are hoping they'll be better protected from violence when the country elects a new president next month.

But that may be wishful thinking.

CBN News Contributing Analyst Raymond Ibrahim says while attacks have subsided since the Muslim Brotherhood left power, persecution of the country's Christian minority is likely to continue. 

Longing for Harmony

Islamic extremists often attack Egyptian churches during Christian holidays, but not this year.

Easter services like the one led by Pope Tawadros at Cairo's Saint Mark's Cathedral proceeded without incident. Perhaps the tight security provided by police served as a deterrent to would-be terrorists.

Members of one Coptic Christian family, the Abdullahs, said they felt safer this Easter than they did last year when the Muslim Brotherhood controlled the government.

Anwar Abdullah said he wants peace and stability to return to his country.

"I hope that people here become loving to one another again, like in the old days, when people used to visit each other and were friendlier," he said.

That's the desire of most Egyptians who want to live in peace with their neighbors, free from attack.

More Violence Ahead?

With only a month to go before Egyptians elect a new president, former Army Chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is favored to win.

He led the effort to remove former President Mohammed Morsi from power and declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.

But if he is elected president, can he protect Christians? Ibrahim says believers may still experience violence.

"There's a mob mentality; it's been there for quite a while, and no matter who is in charge of the government -- the Muslim Brotherhood, the military, el-Sisi, and so forth -- you have the mob that's easily provoked," Ibrahim explained.

"And then behind the mob you have the Islamic clerics, specifically the Salafis who incite the mob," he said.

And the government may be unable to stop them.

A Disturbing Trend

Ibrahim said attacks against Christians and their churches usually happen on Fridays, the Islamic day of prayer. That's when enraged militants cast their wrath on non-Muslims.

Ibrahim told CBN News the story of recent Christian murder victim Mary George Sameh.

"It's a very unfortunate, though increasingly typical story. Mary George was a young, 20-something Coptic woman," he began.

"During a Friday -- I think it was two or three weeks ago -- she was parking at a church, and according to one eye witness, her cross identified her, the cross in the rear view mirror of her car," he continued.

"Her car was rampaged, attacked; she was pulled out, beaten, tortured, and killed," he said. "And, of course, she was there doing a very Christian thing: bringing medicine to an elderly Christian woman who was in need of it."

US Assistance

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has agreed to help the Egyptian government combat Islamic terrorism in the Sinai.

The Pentagon said it will resume delivery of 10 Apache helicopters to the Egyptian military. The shipments were halted last year after the army removed the Muslim Brotherhood from power.

Also, President Barack Obama has yet to appoint a new U.S. ambassador to Egypt. The position has been vacant since Ann Patterson left the job nearly eight months ago. Egyptians said she was too close to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Secretary of State John Kerry has recommended the position be filled by Robert Ford, the former U.S. ambassador to Syria.

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Gary Lane

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