The recent story about an Egyptian court essentially ruling that the Coptic Church in Egypt must violate Christian teaching opened up, for me, the fundamental issue of whether or not Christians can live in peace and justice under Moslem rule.
The Copts of Egypt – who are the descendants of the pre-Moslem population of Egypt – have suffered for a very long time, but of late the persecution of the Church in Egypt has gotten worse. Various fanatics incite violence against the Christian community (which makes up officially about 5% of the population, but is probably closer to 10%; anywhere from 4 to 8 million or so Christians…the Moslem government likes to downplay the number of Christians in Egypt), and nothing is ever done to the perpetrators.
And so it goes around the Moslem world – where there are Christians under Moslem rule, persecution, robbery, rape and murder are common and justice is impossible to obtain. In the Assyrian area of Iraq, the Christian communities of Lebanon and Pakistan – anywhere you care to mention, if Moslems rule over Christians, then the Christians are in a bad way. Meanwhile, Moslems under Christian rule can not only be sure of justice, but can actually be sure of kid glove treatment by people of the West determined to show they bear no ethnic or religious hostility to Moslems.
It is time, I believe, to consider that it isn’t possible for Christians to live under Moslem rule. When one thinks about it, the fact that Christians are forbidden to live and worship in Mecca is all that needs be said – we Christians are considered to be the merest filth to Moslems. We are unclean and unfit to come within sight of Islam’s holiest city. This attitude very naturally spills over to other areas of life – very easy for a Moslem to move from “you aren’t as good as me” to “why don’t I just take what I want from you?”.
Unless and until Moslems drop this attitude – unless and until they allow a Christian church to open in Mecca (and there are secret Christians there – we can’t live openly there, but Moslems do lack the willingness to do hard, dirty work on their own…so, they hire foreigners, a large number of whom are Christian, to do it for them, even in Mecca), we simply cannot trust Christians to be under Moslem rule.
Out of the Moslem States, where there is a sufficiently large and compact Christian population, we should assist in the creation of non-Moslem nations. Part of Egypt, part of Iraq, part of Sudan, part of Lebanon – and part of the West Bank – must be freed from Moslem rule, at least to the point of internal autonomy which will prevent some Moslem hate-monger from stirring up violence and persecution for whatever reason.
Such a process would not be easy, but far easier than just allowing things to continue as they are now, with endless bloodshed and persecution. Additionally, by starting to make an issue out of this, we might even start to force some Moslems of good will to rethink the Moslem attiude towards “infidels”. Change some times does not grow organically in a society – every now and again, the pace must be forced. As regards Christians under Moslem rule, the time for forcing things has arrived.