In America, we have the opportunity to worship whomever we please, where ever we please. We can convert to another religion without ridicule or we can try to convert others to ours with being reprimanded. It often doesn’t dawn on us that this is privilege because it’s afforded to us every day of our lives and sometimes we take it for granted that we can make weekly visits to a house of worship without living in fear that it will cost us our lives.
There are many countries where a variety of religions and dominations are not accepted. Outside the U.S., there are many people who suffer persecution, torture and even death, just like times past, for choosing to oppose the commonly accepted religion among their people. This was the case for the now deceased evangelical Egyptian Christian, Ezzat Atallah.
According to Yahoo! News, Atallah was taken into Egyptian custody after authorities there suspected him of trying to spread and convert Libyans to Christianity in the dominantly Islam country. Wikipedia reports that 90 percent of Egypt consists of Muslims and Christians only make up 10 percent of the population. Yahoo! reported that he was accused by Islamic militia groups and died three days after being transferred to another jail.
Baqi Sadaqa, the priest of the church where the funeral was held, said the following:
As reported by Yahoo! News:
Atallah was held and tortured by Islamic militants in Benghazi for 11 days in two different places before he was transferred to Tripoli. There, his wife was able to meet him, and she saw signs of torture on his body. Sadaqa said he told his wife that he was beaten, hung by ropes and lashed.
Yahoo! also reported that an Egyptian diplomat believes Atallah died of natural cause, not from the injuries of being tortured because he had diabetes and heart problems, but it’s not hard to find holes in his theory when considering why he was taken to jail in the first place and the mistreatment he suffered while there.
It’s hard to imagine being killed for something you believe in. People may disagree on faiths here in America, but most of these are verbal altercations. No one tries to force you to believe in something by harming you or taking your life. As a whole, we should remember to be thankful that we can pray, praise and worship in any form we we desire or not, for those who don’t have a faith they believe in.
As a Christian, this story makes me all the more grateful and happy that come Sunday morning, I have the freedom to drive to my church, walk into a public place to exalt the Father and then leave without fear or worrying that someone saw me.
What do you think about this story? Do people take the freedoms we have in America for granted? If you’ve lived in or are from another country, how does the aspect of religion differ from the U.S.?
Picture source: http://www.johnsanidopoulos.com/2010/10/egypt-christians-say-intolerance-grows.html