Egypt (MNN) — Religious rights organization are condemning the arrests of Christians and other non-Muslims in Egypt. According to reports, 155 people have been arrested there for publicly eating and drinking during Islam's holy month of Ramadan.
One Christian group in the country says enforcing Islamic law on non-Muslims would be equal to creating another Taliban in Egypt.
President of Open Doors USA Carl Moeller isn't surprised by the increasing tensions. "This is a time when religious tensions are often highest. The conditions in Egypt are usually such that extremists can make these kinds of moves. And when people are exposed to extremist ideology, the government can respond in a way that singles out Christians."
Since Christians don't fast during Ramadan, Moeller says, "This makes them stand out. If they're seen to be publicly flaunting the rest of the country's practice of fasting, this is going to incite some violence, and these Christians will suffer additional harassment simply for practicing Christianity."
Moeller believes Egypt is a paradox. He says in some respects Egypt is very open to the west and has taken on radical elements before. However, he also adds that "radical Islam finds its center in Cairo at the Muslim brotherhood. Groups like al Qaeda were founded in Egypt. The soul of the radical movement really rests in the intellectual capital of Cairo."
While Ramadan continues through September 20, Moeller is asking you to pray that Christians will be strong despite the tensions. He's also asking you to pray for Muslims. "We need to pray that during this time of Ramadan there would be an openness for Muslims to engage in spiritual dialogue with their Christian neighbors."
Open Doors is doing all they can to help support the minority Christians in the region, and you can help. "We stand with the visible church and also what we would call the 'secret' or 'invisible' church in these areas as well."