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April 13, 2011

Who Do You Believe?

While Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler is using the pages of Christian Century to downplay Muslim hostility toward Coptic Christians in post-Mubarak Egypt, another priest in the Anglican Communion, Rev. Mark Durie from Australia, is working to highlight the real and undeniable campaign to deny Christians in Egypt their human rights. In an April 11 blog entry, Durie provides context to a number of attacks on Coptic churches reported by the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA). He writes:

The ancient dhimma pact, which determined the status of non-Muslims after Muslim conquest and occupation, includes specific regulations limiting the construction, repair and maintenance of churches, as well as the public display of religious symbols and public performance of rituals. Muslim legal authorities based these regulations on the model of the Pact of Umar, a treaty attributed to the second Caliph, ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab, around the time of his conquest of Syria in 634-638. A version of this pact can be found in Ibn Kathir's highly respected commentary on the Qur'an (see here), from which various quotations below are taken.

Now, 1400 years later, a series of assaults on churches in Egypt have demonstrated the enduring power of this piece of paper to control the lives of Middle Eastern Christians today.

When readers decide whose testimony is more reliable, they will have to choose between Chandler’s on-the-scene reporting and Durie’s excavation and analysis of the historical record. Durie is the author of The Third Choice: Islam, Dhimmitude and Freedom (Doror, 2010) and Liberty to the Captives: Freedom from Islam and Dhimmitude Through the Cross (Doror, 2010).

Posted by dvz at April 13, 2011 11:18 AM

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