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Are We Witnessing a Christian Spring in the Middle East?

Are We Witnessing a Christian Spring in the Middle East?
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi (R) speaks, as Coptic Pope Tawadros II listen on, during the inauguration of the massive Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ in the New Administrative Capital of Egypt on January 6, 2019. (Mohamed El-Shahed/AFP/Getty Images)

By with Michael R. Shannon
Saturday, 02 March 2019 09:30 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Joel C. Rosenberg is the bearer of glad tidings for Christians living in the Middle East and Christians worldwide who are concerned about their brethren there. He writes, “As 2019 begins, Christians in the [Middle East] are experiencing the most encouraging season of personal security, religious freedom and peaceful coexistence with Muslims in living memory. The media are largely missing this historic development, but it’s worth taking a closer look.”

There is one country where major progress has been made, another where progress continues, and one where tentative progress is beginning.

Egypt is where a courageous Islamic leader is taking a great personal risk to protect the nation’s native Coptic Christians. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is taking a series of high-profile steps to demonstrate to all Egyptians that Christians are an important part of that Muslim-majority country.

Copts make up approximately 10 percent of the population in Egypt. But in recent years, “The Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS and other jihadists have blown up and burned down dozens of churches, attacked Christians with machine-gun fire, and tried to incite sectarian violence.” Briefly the nation had an Islamist president who was replaced by al-Sisi after a coup.

Al-Sisi sent an unmistakable message to those jihadist thugs when he presented the leadership of the Coptic church the largest cathedral in the Middle East, built with government funds, during a nationwide television broadcast. He put Copts on the map and himself in the crosshairs.

He has also assigned detachments of police to guard all Christian houses of worship in Egypt and Rosenberg reports, “…every church damaged or destroyed has been rebuilt at government expense.”

In Jordan, King Abdullah continues to allow Christian worship. “Abdullah vigorously protects the right of Jordan’s 145,000 Christians to build and operate churches, teach the Scriptures, run tours of important Christian holy sites and operate an Evangelical seminary.”

Thanks to the king’s support, a national park was established on the site where tradition says John the Baptist baptized Jesus and the event was acknowledged by God. A total of 13 different Christian denominations have been granted permission to build individual churches in the park and conduct baptisms in the Jordan River.

In recognition of his efforts, King Abdullah was awarded the 2018 Templeton Prize that singles out an individual that “has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life's spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works."

Finally, Rosenberg led the first Evangelical delegation to ever be invited to visit the United Arab Emirates. During his visit he learned, “more 700 Christian congregations operate freely there, and that Christians constitute 10 percent of the population.”

Let’s hope we can see a time in the not too distant future when Christians are as free to practice their religion the Middle East as Muslims are here in the U.S.

Michael Reagan, the eldest son of President Reagan, is a Newsmax TV analyst. A syndicated columnist and author, he chairs The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Michael is an in-demand speaker with Premiere speaker’s bureau. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.

Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher for the League of American Voters, and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.

© Mike Reagan

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Let’s hope we can see a time in the not too distant future when Christians are as free to practice their religion the Middle East as Muslims are here in the U.S.
christians, middle east, jordan, egypt
Saturday, 02 March 2019 09:30 AM
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