Could “Arab spring” turn into “Christian winter”?

A WCC interview with David Victor R. Youssef, from the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services.

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Churches in Egypt are praying and helping migrants, who flee home due to political turmoil, violence and uncertain future. There is a great need to develop stable democratic societies if the “Arab spring” is to bear fruits. Or else it might turn into an “Arab winter” with religious minorities at the risk of persecution.

David Victor R. Youssef expressed this concern at the World Council of Churches (WCC) Global Ecumenical Network on Migration meeting taking place in Beirut, Lebanon from 5-7 December, organized by the WCC office for Just and Inclusive Communities and hosted by the Middle East Council of Churches.

Youssef works for the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services and was interviewed by Naveen Qayyum, the WCC staff writer.

What is the political situation in Egypt after the “Arab spring”? And how is it resulting in migration?

This year Egypt has witnessed many political, social, cultural and religious changes. Yet this is not the end of struggles in Egypt. The Egyptian revolution, which followed the Tunisian one, has led to many uprisings in the region, and that we refer to as “Arab Spring”.

From the Gulf to the ocean, Arabs are finally fighting for their freedom against dictators. While they celebrate the dramatic political changes, these changes are accompanied by a state of instability. This instability has forced poor people to migrate to safe countries searching for better living.

Despite there being relatively less turmoil in Egypt than in some other countries, many people have moved to escape from violence. Similarly many Egyptians working in other countries returned to Egypt, having to face unemployment, poor economic conditions and security threats.

However, as a reaction to radical Islamic groups rising after the collapse of the security apparatus, many Egyptians, especially Copts, preferred to migrate to the West.

Can you explain the recent political developments in Egypt?

The major development in Egypt is the ousting of the former dictatorial regime. Now, the Egyptians are full of hope to push their country into true democratic transitions.

However, there are many factors that frustrate the Egyptians. This includes the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) being too slow in leaving power in favour of a civilian regime. Many protesters have demanded to accelerate this transitional period.

Read on…


Author: DanutM

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

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