June 1, 2012
Why Coptic Converts From Islam See Islamist Government As Blessing In Disguise
Cairo trip reveals new strategies Egyptian Christians are testing to thrive in an increasingly Islamist Egypt.
As Coptic Christians dodge blame this week for "betraying the revolution" after the first free presidential election in Egypt's history resulted in an unexpected runoff between the old Mubarak regime and the Muslim Brotherhood, CT offers an exclusive snapshot of new strategies Copts are testing to thrive under an Islamist government.
Are Christians fleeing Egypt? Some, yes. Nearly every church can name a family that has emigrated. Many more families desire to follow suit but cannot.
But the closer one looks, an irony emerges. Coptic leaders report that a significant number of Christians, especially in rural or poor communities, do fear the future. But many of the most ardently Christian—former Muslims who now follow Christ and have the most to lose under an Islamist government—are the most eager to stay. They hold to their love of country—and to their belief in God's promise in Isaiah 19: "Blessed be Egypt my people."
One case study is a Muslim-background believer turned human-rights activist who fancies himself the Christian version of Che Guevara. ... [He] sees the coming days as a blessing in disguise.
"I am glad we are moving into an Islamist era, because [Egyptians] are like Doubting Thomas; we don't believe until we see and touch," he said. "People believe [political] Islam is the best, but they need to be freed of this idea. Entering this era will be a chance to be freed from this illusion."
CT recently reported from Cairo on the host of new Christian movements that have sprung up since the revolution and their strategies to not merely survive but thrive in an increasingly Islamist Egypt.