The New York Times
The Copts of Egypt are one of the oldest Christian communities in the world, dating to the first century A.D., said Ross Douthat. They’ve survived the fall of Rome, the rise of Islam, and innumerable rulers. “But they may not survive the Arab Spring.’’ Since a popular uprising toppled Egypt’s government, the 8 million Coptic Christians have faced increased persecution and mob violence, and 100,000 Copts have already fled the country. Two dozen Copts were killed last week in clashes with the Egyptian army.
Sadly, “this is a familiar story’’ for Christians throughout the Arab world: When tyrants fall and democracy movements take root, religious and ethnic minorities are invariably persecuted. The same phenomenon happened in Europe during the 20th century, when “multiethnic empires’’ were cut up into homogeneous nation-states, through war, genocide, and redrawing of national borders.
Obviously, “a democratic Middle East would be a remarkable triumph for humanity.’’ But in more democratic—and more overtly Islamic—nations, Christians and other minorities may be driven out. Is it worth it? “Maybe we should ask the Copts.’’