Will There Be a Place for Christians in Muslim-Majority ‘Arab Spring’ Countries?

Carl Moeller

Open Doors USA

Last month an American soldier coming home from Afghanistan was seated next to me on a flight. He saw my “One With Them” rubber barbed-wire wristband that I was wearing in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Christ who share our faith, but not our freedom. I explained that the wristband is being worn by thousands in support of persecuted Christians around the world.

The soldier nodded as I spoke. He’d seen for himself during his tours of duty in Afghanistan that the country allowed no room for him to practice any faith but Islam. After the U.S. invasion, Afghan authorities added to the nation’s flag the Islamic creed: “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger.”

The U.S. State Department reports that in March 2010 Afghanistan’s lone church structure was razed by the property owner. Today no public churches remain in Afghanistan. In the decade since the U.S. invasion more than 1,700 American military personnel have died in this South Asian country. U.S. taxpayers have funded some $440 billion to establish the new Afghanistan. Yet, “the [Afghan] courts consider all citizens to be Muslims by default,” the State Department report said. “Conversion from Islam is considered apostasy and is punishable by death under some interpretations of Islamic law in the country.” Afghanistan’s media law prohibits publicizing and promoting religions other than Islam, the report said.

This marked decline in religious freedom in Afghanistan, which the State Department reported, concurs with the Open Doors World Watch List (WWL), an annual ranking of 50 countries where persecution of Christians is most severe. In 2004, Afghanistan was 13th on the WWL. This year the country ranked third based on persecution levels in 2010.

Imagine how that American soldier felt putting his life on the line in Afghanistan to free its people when religious freedom, the most basic of freedoms, was not extended to him. In recent weeks the new “Arab Spring” governments of Libya and Tunisia have each announced that their constitutions will be compliant with Shariah, or Islamic law, although Libya later softened that announcement. I’ve heard Western political analysts downplay these leaders’ statements that Shariah would be the basis of laws as just a way to consolidate Islamic power bases. I don’t think the legal systems of Saudi Arabia and Iran represent the heart and soul of what Americans want to see happen in these popular North African democratic revolutions.

Meanwhile, ongoing attacks against Christians in Egypt have led to their steady exodus from the nation where St. Mark planted a church around the year 43 A.D. Many fear Syria’s government will likewise topple. Lebanese Christians remain fearful of the future. Sudanese leaders have declared their intent to fashion Sudan’s laws in compliance with Islam as well.

Read on…

Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

6 thoughts on “Will There Be a Place for Christians in Muslim-Majority ‘Arab Spring’ Countries?”

  1. Nu spuneam ca primavara araba risca sa se transforme in consmar si libertatea in inchisoare? Nu toate religiile nu sunt la fel. Trist este ca politica se foloseste de ele si inca cu cit succes.

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    1. Da. Se poate. Dar libertatea, chiar daca numai pentru majoritate, este mai buna ca dictatura (care este comoda oentru vestici).
      In ce priveste neegalitatea religiilor, sa nu maturam atit de repede sub pres grozaviile facute de crestini in istorie. Acelea sunt realitati, nu potentialitati, cva cele de care vorbim aici.

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      1. Sa nu uitam insa nici faptul ca Crestinismul a construit o societate care pina in prezent le depaseste pe toate si ca biserica a avut mai mult un rol benefic decit devastator. Poate trebuie sa fim atentii la istoria pe care o citim pentru ca daca este doar o istorie politic corecta s-ar putea sa avem informatii mai devitate decit altfel. Ma preocupa mai degraba ce e corect decit ce este politic corect.

        As vrea sa stiu ce a construit pina acum Islamul.

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      2. Daca vreem sa fim corecti, trebuie sa ne uitam la intreaga istorie a crestinismului si in aceasta exista pagini extrem de negre, care nu vor disparea dace ne facem ca le uitam. Apoi, crestinismul exista de 2000 de ani, in vreme ce islamul numai de 1400. Cu alte cuvinte, corect ar fi sa comparam islamul de acum cu prestinismul de pe la 1400. Sincer sa fiu, nu prea cred ca comparatia este prea mult in favoarea crestinismului.

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  2. This is what I have tried to convince people for 2-3 years. I was told: I am islamophobic, ignorant.
    Sad… May the Lord be with them.
    However, the Gospel cannot be stopped. It the reports aren’t wishful thinking the church makes strong inroads in Iran. Sammy Tippit claims to have effective satellite evangelism in Iran; there are some proofs that the authorities have hard times to cover this up. I picked Iran because this seems to inspire other Muslim countries.
    I know this will raise some feathers, but the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may have been some judgment of the Lord. I’ll leave this do Him; He is still Lord of the history and is not indifferent to what Nations do.

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    1. Cred ca va dati seama ca nu sunt complet de acord cu atitudinea catastrofica a autorului, chiar daca sunmt si eu la fel de preocupat ca si el de persecutia crestinilor in spatiul islamic.
      Aceasta nu ma impiedica insa sa gazduiesc pe blog opinii cu care nu sunt 100% de acord. Nu ma astept insa neaparat sa apreciati asta.
      Nu ma pot abtine sa nu observ o anumita bucurie in tonul dvs. Ceva de genul ‘nnu v-am spus eu?’. Sa nu ne grabim insa. Vom trai si vom vedea.
      Deocamdata ceea ce fac crestinii dvs. din armata americana in Pakistan este mult mai brutal si mai lipsit de sens decit ceea ce AR PUTE SA FACA islamistii in Egipt sau aiurea.
      Incercati totusi sa judecaticit ar fi de greu.

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