Christians in the Middle East express hope despite the violence perpetrated by the terror group ISIS. Christians, who had been battered by the viciousness and brutality by the terror group, cling to hope in the New Year. Amid mass exodus of Christians from Syria, especially from the areas occupied by militants; the battle between the Syrian army and the rebels continues.
In keeping with, Sameh Fawzi, a former adviser to the Egyptian Coptic Patriarch: “Most Middle East Christians underwent tragic experiences in 2016 as they continued to escape, especially from restive countries like Syria and Iraq, in pursuit of safety in Europe.
True, there is still fear within Christian circles in the region that the same suffering will continue in the New Year but there is hope as well,” he added that in December an explosion has killed 26 people in a Coptic church in Cairo.
Christians in Egypt remain hopeful and optimistic as the government has approved the law which allows them to build churches. The law eliminated several obstacles previously faced by the Christians in construction of churches in the country.
A Christian researcher Ishaq Ibrahim stated: “The law has had a positive effect on Christians and showed them that they live in a country that views them as equal to their Muslim compatriots. Such laws contribute to the empowerment of this country’s Christians.”
In Lebanon, Christians enjoy peaceful co-existence with Muslims. In this regard, Lebanese Christian politician Fares Souaid: “Historically, Lebanese Christians have contributed to the Arab renaissance and proved that they were able to play a (positive) role in modernizing this region. They have partnered with Muslims, who share with them this common space.”
The Middle Eastern governments will need to strive hard in order to protect Christians and other religious minorities and safeguard them from the violent militants. These governments face the monstrous task of not only protecting their Christian population but also to safeguard them either from genocide or from exodus.
There are suggestions that these regional governments need to introduce revised school curricula in order to present the concept of Christians as first-class citizens and as the religious minorities. Reverend Poules Halim, official spokesman of the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church stated: “This will be the real challenge for these governments in the new year and in the years to come. School curricula reform will greatly improve the standing of Christians in the region, even if they continue to be targeted by radical groups like ISIS.”