Thursday, 9 May 2013

Re: The Mass Exodus of Christians from the Muslim World

Recently there has been a Fox News article which is scare-mongering over the future of Christians in Egypt. Coptic Christians in Egypt have lived alongside Muslims in Egypt and Assyrian Christians have lived alongside Muslims in Iraq for centuries too. Here is a snip from the Fox News article:

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recently said: “The flight of Christians out of the region is unprecedented and it’s increasing year by year.” In our lifetime alone “Christians might disappear altogether from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt.”

So there is a belief that Christianity could be wiped out from Afghanistan, Iraq and Egypt within the next few decades. As for Afghanistan and Iraq, I can see why Christians (and others for that matter) have left such places - they are war-torn and offer little security.

Fox News should stop portraying the new regime in Egypt as savages and should recognise that the Byzantine Christians persecuted the Egyptian Coptic Christians so much so that when the Muslims overtook the Byzantines in Egypt in the 7th century the Copts saw it as a relief:

Amr ibn al-Aas had been  continuing his campaign in Egypt after his victory at Heliopolis in July 640. Realising the danger the Patriarch Cyrus – a strange character who became easily despondent in difficult circumstances and as cruel when he felt secure – quickly entered into peace negotiations and asked Emperor Heraclius for his approval, but instead the Emperor accused him of defeatism and treachery. However, Heraclius died in February 641, and his son and successor, Constantine 3rd, less than four months later. After considerable turmoil in the Imperial capital, Constans 2nd [r. 641-68], the eleven-year-old son of Constantine 3rd, was crowned but failed to command the loyalty of his subjects.

 In Egypt itself, Cyrus had already alienated large number of Copts by the savagery of his religious persecution and they began to desert the Roman cause. Determined to resume negotiations, he hastily signed an agreement in November 641 surrendering the whole of Egypt to the Arabs. Almost a year had passed since Cyrus concluded with Amr the first peace treaty, which had been contemptuously torn up by Heraclius. The terms of the new treaty were severe for the Byzantines, who were forced to leave this rich province with eleven months’ grace but the local Christians and the Jews received the same treatment which had previously been accorded to the ‘People of the Book’ in Syria, Palestine and Iraq.

 The garrison of Babylon had already surrendered two months after the  death of Heraclius, and six months later Amr started building a permanent military camp, named Fustat, near this fortress. The military colony later grew into a thriving metropolis and continued to be the Muslim capital of Egypt until 973, when the Fatimids [909-1171] made the new city of Cairo, found near it (in 969), the seat of their government. Alexandria (capital of Hellenic Egypt), like the rest of the country was evacuated by the Byzantine army in September 642 in accordance with the Cyrus-Amr peace treaty, and was occupied by the Arabs. Thus came to an abrupt end the Byzantine rule in Egypt, and the Copts viewed it with relief. Cyrus had died earlier in March 642.

 In 642, Amr ibn al-Aas built a mosque , which bears his name and still in use , to the north of the Babylon fortress, and was the first mosque to be built in Egypt.

Taken from: A Chronology of Islamic History 570-1000 CE, Ta-Ha Publishers, 4th Edition p.72-73


Radical Moderate said...

So its ok that Egyptian Muslims are persecuting Egyptian Christians in the 21st century because 1400 years ago Byzantine Christians persecuted Coptic Christians.


Yahya Snow said...


Nobody apart from you said that...

Radical Moderate said...

Snow Man,

So why bring up what happened fourteen hundred years ago in response to what Muslims are doing today?