Category Archives: Christianity

Family Loses Seven in Egyptian Attack

Why isn’t the Muslim world enraged over this kind of activity by ‘their own’??

CAIRO—For Samia Morkous and her family, the trip to a Coptic Christian monastery was meant as a pilgrimage of gratitude for her husband’s recovery from lung surgery. Then Islamic State gunmen ambushed the tour bus south of Cairo.

Her son Sameh opened the door of the small bus and then recoiled and fell back from shots to his head, said Mrs. Morkous. Several gunmen boarded the bus and demanded that the occupants recite the Muslim creed.

Those who refused—or who answered with Christian hymns—were immediately killed, Mrs. Morkous said at a Cairo hospital where she is recovering from bullet wounds to her thighs suffered in the Friday attack.

When it was over, Mrs. Morkous’s husband, Mohsen; two adult sons; a teenage grandson; a 4-year-old granddaughter; and two other rela- tives were among 30 people killed.

“We came to get blessings and rejoice with our children,” Mrs. Morkous, who lives in Tinley Park, Ill., said of the trip to the ancient St. Samuel Monastery.

“It was like the world flipped upside down around us,” she said of the attack.

The couple were on their first trip to Egypt in nearly two years, after immigrating to the U.S. several years ago.

Mr. Morkous had successfully recovered from lung surgery and recently became a naturalized American citizen. He worked at a nephew’s hair salon in Country Club Hills, Ill., said Rev. Samuel Azmy, his priest at the St. George Coptic Orthodox Church. Mrs. Morkous, who is 56, holds a green card.

The ambush in Minya province, about 190 miles south of Cairo, was the deadliest terrorist attack ever on Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority. It marked the latest in a series of Islamic State attacks on Copts since December, including three bombings of Coptic churches that killed 70 people.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, facing increasing criticism from Copts who say he has failed to protect them, ordered rare cross-border airstrikes on militant camps in Libya in the wake of the attack.

The strikes were aimed at the Libyan city of Derna. Forces headed by a Sisi ally, Gen. Khalifa Haftar, say the city is home to armed groups linked to al Qaeda, but not Islamic State, which was driven out in 2015.

On Tuesday, the Libyan National Army said it had set up an operations room to coordinate airstrikes with Egypt. Spokesmen for both militaries declined to give more detail on the arrangement, including whether Egypt had launched any additional airstrikes after the initial round.

A spokesman for Mr. Sisi also didn’t respond to messages and calls seeking comment. Mr. Sisi, in a televised speech following the Friday attack, said the gunmen had trained in unspecified militant camps in Libya.

Visitors to Mrs. Morkous’s hospital room kissed her hand, asking for her blessings and offering condolences. They told her that her family members were in a better place and marveled at an interview she gave to a local television station in which she said she is praying for the murderers.

She recalled the attack in a low voice and short sentences punctuated by deep breaths. “There was heavy gunfire,” she said.

In an effort to save a relative who had a gun pointed at him, Mrs. Morkous said she removed her gold jewelry and handed it to a gunman. He shot her family member anyway.

“May the Lord forgive them,” she said.

A family friend, Samuel Mokhtar, said Mrs. Morkous will return to the U.S. only if her daughters-in-law whose husbands were killed and her grandchildren who lost their fathers accompany her.

“She won’t leave them behind,” he said.

—Tamer El-Ghobashy and Shibani Mahtani contributed to this article.


The Twilight of [White] Christianity

This has been in progress for decades…
By William McGurn WSJ 4/4/2017

A specter is haunting America—the specter of white Christian nationalism. If you are looking for signs, it’s not hard to find them. Inside the White House, presidential strategist Steve Bannon invokes a 1973 French novel called “The Camp of the Saints,” in which France is overwhelmed by its own compassion when authorities prove unable to resist a flotilla of rusting ships carrying a million destitute Indians. Another novelist, Joyce Carol Oates, tweets her shock that in many parts of our country Christianity has become “virtually synonymous” with white nationalism. Which is pretty much the same take as the American press, at once baffled and frightened by the 80% of the white evangelical vote won by Donald Trump.

One small problem with reading too much into any of this: The overwhelming reality of 21st-century Christianity is that it is nonwhite—and growing more so.

A century ago it would have been easy to conflate whiteness and Christianity. Europe and North America together then accounted for 4 out of 5 of the world’s Christians. Today Christians on these two continents are outnumbered by their coreligionists in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

By 2050, reckons the Pew Research Center, 1 of every 3 Christians will be African. These are easily available facts, but the ignorance is striking. For example, how many journalists who think of “evangelical” as “white” appreciate that the tradition of America’s black churches is also largely evangelical?

Philip Jenkins, a Baylor University professor and author of “The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity,” describes what he says is a tectonic shift southward this way: “The church started in Asia and Africa, and now it’s coming home.”

Recognize this and the divisions look very different. Start with “The Camp of the Saints.” Though the title comes from Revelation, the most striking thing about this novel is how little a role Christianity plays in it. The focus is more on race, as indicated by a cover note on an early English translation: “A chilling novel about the end of the white world.”

The story features a progressive Latin American pope, a French culture too enfeebled to defend itself, and hordes of impoverished migrants demanding benefits. In the aftermath of the unhappy experiences in Europe kicked off when Angela Merkel opened Germany’s door to nearly a million Syrian refugees, it’s easy to understand why the book resonates.

But here’s the kicker. Manifestly Europe has entered a post-Christian era. But its Christianity was not killed by outsiders coming in. This was death by suicide. If Europe’s Islamic population threatens anything, it is the cramped and arid secularism that long ago replaced Christianity as the Continent’s reigning creed and is so plainly ill-equipped to meet today’s challenge.

Meanwhile, Christianity continues to grow in the global South, upending many a pet assumption in the process. Within the Anglican communion, for example, it’s hard not to notice that challenges to the progressive theology favored by the church’s white Englishmen and Englishwomen often come from the church’s nonwhite contingents in Africa and Asia. These new Christians are also emigrating and evangelizing, which helps explain all those Nigerian churches in Houston.

More to the point, while whiteness may once have been a fact of European Christian civilization, Christianity is subversive of the idea that a young girl shivering with AIDS in Africa is any way inferior in dignity or worth to a white American. Which may be why those most obsessed with white identity get that Christianity is a problem for them.

Take Richard Spencer, the man credited with coining the term “alt-right.” Recently Mr. Spencer tweeted out an article from his website cautioning followers “not to fall prey to the pro-life temptation.” The white-identity movement, the article suggests, ought to recognize that those most likely to avail themselves of abortion are “the least intelligent and responsible members of society: women who are disproportionately Black, Hispanic and poor.”

The rightist movements in Europe make similar distinctions. In France Marine Le Pen, the National Front leader running for president, has flipped on her party’s earlier rejection of abortion. Like so many others in Europe, her objection to her nation’s growing Muslim population isn’t leading her back to Christianity. To the contrary, it’s leading her to a secular French absolutism that is more welcoming of public Christian symbols—but only so long as they are reduced to the merely cultural.

In an Atlantic piece about what happens when conservatives stop going to church, Peter Beinart makes a similar point. “The alt-right is ultraconservatism for a more secular age,” Mr. Beinart writes. “Its leaders like Christendom, an old-fashioned word for the West. But they’re suspicious of Christianity itself, because it crosses boundaries of blood and soil.”

Indeed. How ironic that the champions of white nationalism are finding their most formidable obstacle to be global Christianity—and especially its increasingly nonwhite demographic.