There is no ‘Nation of the Cross’

There is no ‘Nation of the Cross’

‘To the nation of the cross, we are back again.’ So boasted the black-clad narrator of the latest ISIS video, this time chronicling their slaughter of 30 Ethiopian Christians captured in Libya. Two months earlier, the victims were Coptic Christians, whose beheadings came entitled: A message signed with blood to the nation of the cross. … Continue reading

A Christian Taliban

A Christian Taliban

In case anyone needed reminding, the use of religion to further militant political goals is not exclusive to Islam. The Intercept reports from Ukraine, where middle aged Dmytro Korchynsky has formed a private battalion, the Jesus Christ Hundred, dedicated to St. Mary, to fight the Russians. In the 1990s he fought alongside Muslims in the … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Brotherhood Twisting

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Brotherhood Twisting

God, Former president Morsi received his first prison sentence this week: Twenty years for inciting violence against protestors while in office. Afterwards his supporters took to protesting, but far fewer than once before. Even so, again, there was violence. But by the end of the week the Brotherhood abroad reconstituted itself. And the first public … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Books, Hijabs

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Books, Hijabs

God, Too much should not be made of these markers, but they may reveal a mindset of some. Long on the defensive, Egypt’s non-Islamists feel empowered. Among the results are a book burning at a school, seized from the Brotherhood. And a call for women to remove their head coverings, at a summer rally in … Continue reading

Egypt Exports Interfaith ‘Bridge’

Egypt Exports Interfaith ‘Bridge’

IN IRAQ, ISIS zealots smash centuries-old artifacts and blow up churches. In Yemen, Shia militias plough through cities as Sunni neighbour Saudi Arabia rains down missiles. Egypt is not without its own religious tension, but a timely interfaith art exhibition in Cairo intersects with perhaps the only potentially good news coming out of the region. … Continue reading

Photos: Easter Greetings at the Coptic Cathedral

Photos: Easter Greetings at the Coptic Cathedral

The following pictures show a lot of handshakes, but the message should not be lost in the repetition. Government officials, most of them Muslim, congratulate Copts for their holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. Similar pictures could be seen on Christmas, but Easter is a far bigger deal. In Egypt, Christmas is an official holiday, … Continue reading

Crucifixion and Liberation in Cairo

Crucifixion and Liberation in Cairo

Last summer the body of Hisham Rizk turned up in a Cairo morgue. The 19 year old graffiti activist had been missing for a week, and the official autopsy labeled him as having drowned in the Nile River. No further information was given on the English language Ahram Online. But withholding comment only fuels speculation … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Declaring Reform

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Declaring Reform

God, The public statements coming out of Egypt are positive. Help the public reform to follow. You know what is needed, God, but officials surely have an idea as well. The housing minister announced efforts to eliminate slums within a year. The interior minister called on citizens to report police abuse. And following visits by … Continue reading

Where Tolerance is at Home

Where Tolerance is at Home

A scant eighty feet from St. Mina Coptic Orthodox Church in Port Said, two small bombs exploded last month. Despite the second detonation being delayed until after a crowd had gathered and police were summoned, no one was killed. Even so, it is one more mark of an insurgency aiming to destabilize Egypt. ‘It is … Continue reading

CARAVAN: Art as a Path to Grassroots Peace

CARAVAN: Art as a Path to Grassroots Peace

So much is wrong with the Arab world today, it can obscure all that is right. At the heart of both are interfaith relations, and the CARAVAN art exhibition showcases the good while addressing the bad. International in scope, its contributions stretch across continents, touching the famous and simple alike. “We know much more about … Continue reading

The Church in the Shadow of Israeli Elections

The Church in the Shadow of Israeli Elections

Rev. Azar Ajaj is the president of the Nazareth Evangelical Theological Seminary. An Arab Israeli, he helped shape my recent article for Christianity Today about the identity struggles of Arab Christians during the recent elections. Asked by many friends about these elections, Ajaj decided to pen a letter in response. The summary and quotes below … Continue reading

Escaping ISIS in Libya

Escaping ISIS in Libya

Consider the horrible ordeal of Coptic Christians in Libya, as the Islamic State stormed their compound. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review tells how one escaped, helped by his Muslim friend: Hani Mahrouf awakened at 2:30 in the morning when fists pounded on the door of his housing compound in Sirte, Libya. It was Islamic State gunmen, searching … Continue reading

Defending Rabaa

Defending Rabaa

Omar Ashour is an academic at the Brookings Institute who recently published a paper entitled, ‘From Collusion to Crackdown: Islamist-Military Relations in Egypt.’ It is an insightful retelling of two epochal moments in history, the 1952 Free Officers revolution and the 2011 Arab Spring. In both, he details how the military establishment and the Muslim … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Regional Agreements

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Regional Agreements

God, It is good for men and nations to agree. It demonstrates the fruit of relationships overcoming the thorn of interests. But it is only the beginning, and more hard work must follow. Of course, not all agreed upon is necessarily good. Weigh recent decisions, God, and spare the region from harm. With Ethiopia and … Continue reading

The Great Game

The Great Game

Growing up, I loved the game Diplomacy. Die-hard aficionados compete in hours-long, even days-long competitions vying for mastery of early 20th Century Europe. For both lack of sufficient passion — and players — I enjoyed the computer version. The basic premise is to be one of the seven great powers at the time — England, … Continue reading