The Egyptian government government’s lackluster response to deadly attacks against Christians is tantamount to telling Muslim fanatics it’s “open season” on Christians, Middle East expert Ken Timmerman tells Newsmax.TV. More attacks are inevitable unless the government and religious leaders crack down on the terrorists, says the best-selling author.
Timmerman, a Newsmax contributor, was commenting on recent violence against Christians in Egypt, including an assault this week on a train headed to Cairo that killed one Christian and wounded five others and the bombing of a Coptic Christian church that killed 21 people. The New Year’s Day bombing led to rioting.
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“I’m very worried about what’s happening in Egypt, also Pakistan, Iran as well as Iraq,” Timmerman said. “When Hosni Mubarak, the president of Egypt, pulled back his ambassador on the 11th of January from the Vatican, this was a very dangerous symbol. He was essentially telling Muslim fanatics in Egypt that it was an open season on Christians.
“The pope had criticized the actions both of the Egyptian government in failing to restrain Muslims in Egypt and Muslim leaders themselves for failing to exercise control or influence over their faithful. So these attacks on Christians I’m afraid are going to multiply in Egypt unless the Egyptian government cracks down and makes it very, very clear that this is not tolerated behavior inside their country.”
It is important to realize that Christians have been persecuted in the Middle East for hundreds of years, Timmerman said. In the third century, there were 300 Christian bishops in North Africa alone. After Islam swept through in the seventh and eighth centuries swept, there were only three left.
“We have to realize Christians are a persecuted minority in the Middle East,” he said, adding that American Christians and churches should do everything they can to help their counterparts in the Middle East.
Timmerman recently turned his expertise into a work of fiction, “St. Peter's Bones,” which will be released Jan. 17. The book was born of three years of research into the plight of persecuted Christians in Iran, Jordan, and Iraq. Timmerman said he initially set out to write a work of nonfiction but shifted to the novel format to bring the story alive. He described the book as a war story, a love story, and a religious thriller.
Regarding issues in other areas of the Mideast, he said:
- There is a great deal of tension in Lebanon because of Hezbollah’s withdrawal from the coalition government. A contact in Israeli intelligence told him the Syrian government and the Saudi government will intervene to “prevent an all-out war” and “forge some kind of security agreement to put Hezbollah back in the box and bring them back into the government.”
- U.S. sanctions against Iran finally are having an impact, and the last thing the Israelis want to do is attack Iran. The computer virus that infected Iran’s nuclear weapons program may have set it back two to three years.
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