Living in America, I often forget just how lucky I am. Really though, the word “lucky” doesn’t even begin to do justice to the level of freedom and prosperity to which we are accustomed. Even at its worst, Conservatives and religious people in the United States are mocked, and verbally bullied. Rarely is there intolerance of such an extreme nature that people are imprisoned or killed because of their beliefs.
It’s easy to think that imprisonment and execution are fantasies from hundreds of years ago; not ever happening in modern times. But outside the United States, especially in the Middle East, minority religious persecution is rampant, and often barbaric.
According to the Associated Press, an Egyptian woman and her seven children were arrested and sentenced to 15 years in prison for illegally changing their names. Following the death of her husband in 1991–for whom she converted to Islam–Nadia Ali Mohamed wanted to go back to her Christian roots; and convinced her children to do the same.
In 2004, following their conversion, the family had their Islamic names changed back to their Christian names on their identification cards. In 2006, it was discovered that their identification documents had been forged. Nadia, her children, and the clerks who aided them were all arrested and sentenced to prison.
Obviously, this is not about forged documents; it is about intolerance of Christianity. Since the election of Mohammed Morsi, of the Muslim Brotherhood, Christian persecution in Egypt has ramped up significantly. There has even been news of crucifixions following the election.
Mohammed Morsi is an extremist; plain and simple. He has consolidated power, moved against Egypt’s judges, and sparked protests throughout the country. He has–in short order–become quite the little tyrant. Through all this, the United States has remained relatively silent on his growing dictatorship.
There are those who are comforted by their insulation living the United States. They believe that persecution on that extraordinary a level would never be allowed to occur here. Those people are correct–currently. However, if it happens slowly enough, history has shown that we are often blind to the beginnings of a dynamic change.
The United States needs to assert itself, and cut off all federal funding to Egypt; and we all need to be aware of the possibility of a changing current, pulling the sand from beneath our feet.