I don’t live in a Muslim country (yet!), and I’m certainly in no position to pass judgment on those who do. However, when "Christian leaders" consider national unity and social peace to be so important that they refuse to even question the authority of the Qur’an, I question whether these people are actually Christians. As reported by Agence France Presse on September 27, 2010:
CAIRO — The head of Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Church said on Sunday he regretted the fact that Muslims were offended by the comments of a senior bishop who cast doubt on the authenticity of some verses in the Koran.
"I'm very sorry that the feelings of our Muslim brethren have been hurt," a visibly moved Pope Shenuda III told Egyptian television in an interview.
He was referring to remarks by Bishop Bishoy, secretary of the Coptic Church's Holy Synod, who said that some verses of the Koran were inserted into the holy book after the death of the Prophet Mohammed...
..."Religious dialogue must be limited to common points... dialogue must be for the good of the country," Shenuda said.
"We should never discuss theological differences.
"The simple fact of bringing up the subject was inappropriate, and escalating the matter is inappropriate," he said...
...Egypt's constitution guarantees freedom of expression, but there is great sensitivity when it comes to religious matters. Simmering tensions occasionally flare up into violent incidents between Muslims and Christians in Egypt.
Three Egyptian Muslims are currently on trial for allegedly gunning down six Copts after they emerged from Christmas services in Nagaa Hammadi in southern Egypt.
Coptic Christians make up around six to 10 percent of the 80 million population and complain of systematic marginalisation and discrimination.
In contrast to Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church Pope Shenouda III, the Lord Jesus Christ was willing to discuss "theological differences" with the Pharisees (see, for example, John 8:12-59). The apostle Paul was willing to discuss "theological differences" with the residents of Athens (Acts 17:16-34) and Ephesus (Acts 19:23-41). When he was facing the Sanhedrin, he identified himself as a Pharisee in his belief in the resurrection of the dead, contrary to the Sadducees; the result was a violent division within the Sanhedrin (Acts 22:30-23:10).
From a related article:
Anba Bishawi, secretary of the Synod and bishop of Damietta and Kafr Al-Sheikh, clarified in a communiqué released yesterday that he honored the belief of all Egyptians, and rejected all harm to religions and religious symbols, particularly Islam and Muslims, who are "our partners in the homeland."
The clarification came in response to statements attributed to Bishawi by the media, that he allegedly stated that the Copts were the homeowners in Egypt and that the Muslims were their guests – sparking fears of religious conflagration in the country.
In an attempt to calm matters, Coptic Patriarch Shenouda said on Egyptian television yesterday that the media had distorted Bishawi's statements, and stressed that the Muslims and Christians were sons of a single homeland, and that he was even willing to say that the Christians were the guests of the Muslims, because the Muslims were the majority in the country.
I don't know if the quotes attributed to Bishop Bishawi were accurately reported, but if Pope Shenouda was quoted accurately it betrays a nauseating attitude of dhimmitude. It hardly needs pointing out that Jews and Christians inhabited Egypt long before Islam existed; Muslims in Egypt have no right to treat Egyptian Christians as "guests" instead of "equals," and Christians shouldn't be willing to put up with that kind of treatment (I could comment on the similarity between non-Muslims' attitude of dhimmitude in countries with a majority Muslim population and that of English-speaking residents of Quebec, but it wouldn't fit into the scope of this blog).
As for Egypt, the people of that nation will come to know the Lord, according to Isaiah:
And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the LORD of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the LORD because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a saviour, and a great one, and he shall deliver them.
And the LORD shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the LORD in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the LORD, and perform it.
And the LORD shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the LORD, and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them.
In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians.
In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land:
Whom the LORD of hosts shall bless, saying, Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel mine inheritance. Isaiah 19:20-25