Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Veiling the Faith

The veils have been up since Sunday, this is a picture from last year: I was going to write something quite different about veils and then a lady came to my door to tell me she has just fled from her home in Cairo and had moved here with her children, so this is quite different than what I had intended.

She had lived in block of flats, on her floor was sheikh and his three wives, he harangued her about not having her face covered, especially when she passed his door. The next day his wives came to visit and told her that she should be veiled and covered, and then finally that she should convert to Islam. She explained that as much as she respected Islam she could not renounce her Christian faith. They told her to think about it, the next day they returned and told her she must convert, if she didn't some of the young men in the block would kidnap her children and they would throw acid in her face, as this had happened to other Christian women.

She fled immediately to another part of Cairo, when she saw the women outside of her children's school she took them out of school. They sent messages through other Christians that would track her down and carry out their threats, as she had insulted Islam simply by rejecting it.

From what I know there has always been a degree of tension between Christians and Moslems in Egypt, the problem is now that it has been ratched up. I asked her if the police would have done anything, she said, "Yes, they would have trumped up some charge against her and given her whereabouts to the people who were threatening her, we Christians no longer have the protection of the law".

She might have been a little neurotic, Christians from Egypt that I meet tend to be both neurotic and frightened, they are expected to veil their faith, to take down crosses from their churches, homes and businesses and to hide any signs of their faith and for the women to veil their faces. The veils for me symbolise solidarity with those who have to hide their faith.

Pray for our brothers and sisters in Islamic countries especially in Syria and Egypt, and for the refugees in my parish.


Deacon Augustine said...

More positive fruit from the "Arab spring" which our government is paying £billions of our money to support!

Genty said...

I hope this lady is granted permanent leave to stay. The idea that Islam will co-exist with Christians or any other faith is fatal wishful thinking. Islamists will not rest until Christianity is obliterated. The template has never changed.
It's the women who suffer most and time their self-indulgent sisters in the West directed their enthusiastic denunciation of "downtrodden" women in the Church to the real persecution of women.

Physiocrat said...

The pressure on Christians from Muslims is increasing all the time. They are gradually being squeezed out - the Chaldean church is the most recent victim.

NBW said...

My prayers go out to this lady and all Christians that are stuck in Islamic countries.

Ma Tucker said...

I pray that Our Lady will crush it all under her immaculate heel.

Deacon David said...

One of the things that we as Christians in the West can do is refuse to permit our own secular, so-called "tolerant" governments to force us to veil our faith. If we can live a robust and public version of the faith, we can offer at least light to those elsewhere in the world where religious persecution is far more aggressive than we experience. By contrast, if our faith in Christ means so little to us that we agree hide it for merely the appearance of getting along, then how can we expect those threatened with physical harm for not apostatizing to remain faithful?

Hughie said...

Fr, please excuse the indelicacy but in my youth I was a medical student. One of my identical twin best friends -- Dr Barnie Riddell RIP, a senior Psychiatrist in Glasgow -- used to say, and I know it is not original: "Just because you are paranoid, it doesn't mean the bastards are not out to get you!"

The Arab Spring is now a Christian Winter.

Mike Cliffson said...

Has Cameron gone along along with Obama and the rest of the politically correct West in maintaining a UN sponsored refusal to grant Christians fleeing Islam refugee status ? We can and should pray, and help those who do get out, and write MPwardsetc in most of the Anglosphere and once Christendom.And ..
As for "possibly neurotic", it's as possible as moon cheese.

Supertradmum said...

We must never take our religious freedom for granted. I follow two Christian sites on persecutions and things are getting worse daily in both Egypt and Iraq.

I am always saddened by the purple coverings, which is how we should feel in the two weeks before the Passion. The hidden God waits for us and we wait for Easter...thank you for sharing. My prayers for this woman and her family.

fidelisjoff said...

It is sad the Uk Government seems to have no interest in the discrimination against minorities if they are Christian but exaggerated sensitivity towards Muslims. This attitude fuels Islamic religious intolerance. The media just refuse to publicise anti Christian attrocities as they hate seeing Christians as victims especially in Muslim countries.

JARay said...

Last October I was in Turkey and I visited the Catholic Cathedral in Istambul...(Yes, there is one and it is a beauty but it is hidden away and you have to be shown it by someone who knows where it is).
My Pilgrimage group received a talk there on the situation of the Church in Turkey. It is less than 0.03% of the population. But, it has been flooded with refugees from Syria and the Church is struggling to provide food, shelter and education for the christian refugees. It desperatly relies on help from Aid to the Church in Need.

viterbo said...

This 'prayer for Christians in Egypt' taken from Psalm 3:

Why, O Lord, are they multiplied that afflict me? many are they who rise up against me. Many say to my soul: There is no salvation for him in his God. But thou, O Lord art my protector, my glory, and the lifter up of my head. I have cried to the Lord with my voice: and he hath heard me from his holy hill. I have slept and have taken my rest: and I have risen up, because the Lord hath protected me. I will not fear thousands of the people, surrounding me: arise, O Lord; save me, O my God. For thou hast struck all them who are my adversaries without cause: thou hast broken the teeth of sinners. Salvation is of the Lord: and thy blessing is upon thy people. Alleluia

James said...

Islam a "religion of peace" my foot. When will the ecumaniacs in the hierarchy itself wake up and smell the proverbial coffee? This pandering to the enemies of Christ by our spiritual leaders is sickening. One genuinely wonders how many of them are actually Catholics, who believe in the One True Church. Sadly, I believe only a small minority. I pray that Pope Francis will not be a panderer, but will be a robust defender of the Church. Our Lady, pray for him. We will know this when the media turns on him!

gemoftheocean said...

She's far from "neurotic." She's a realist. I think any women who have suffered under Islamic threats (and this quite often includes Muslim women) have already served their time in purgatory and should go to the head of the line at the pearly gates.
[yes, countless men have suffered too - but the Muslims mark out non-compliant women like a pack of jackals.]

bob-brookes said...

I am slightly ambivalent about the whole question of the relationship of Islam to Christianity at a practical level. Perhaps you may find my short appraisal interesting at a general level -

Thank you for your Blog which is always interesting.

God Bless

Patrick Gray said...

I've never seen it (is this the famed Mary Magdalene Brighton, or is that His Hermeneuticalness) before - what a beautiful church!
Praying for all those under the Moslem yoke.

Thomas JD Travers said...

Regarding the Egyptian woman, thank you Fr Ray for that thought/reminder about Islam. It is something I know a bit about as I have invested many years of my life working with the Arabs and living among them.
The role of Christians in the Arab world is given little attention in the West. The fact is that in the whole of the Arabian peninsula – or Al Jazirah as it is known – Christian worship is permitted only in the tiny principalities that fringe the Arabian Gulf where the generosity of the Muslim rulers permitted churches to be built (and also Hindu temples).
One comment re. Turkey reminds me of a trip long ago to Istanbul, and indeed it is true what the contributor wrote, I found the Catholic church behind a facade - like going through the door of a terraced house to find Westminster Cathedral in a secluded courtyard behind. The church was hidden for its own protection and that of those attending Mass.
Maybe to your refugees in Brighton you can say Salaam A Laykum this Easter! ('Peace be with you' in Gulf Arabic.)