Arab Spring a 'mixed blessing' for Christians
Published 18 July 2012
The overthrow of oppressive regimes in the Arab Spring may not lead to a brighter future for Christians in the Arab world and Middle East.
Steve Bell, the head of mission agency Interserve, told the Keswick Convention that Christians were uncertain about the future in the wake of the Arab Spring.
"It is potentially a mixed blessing as the repressive regimes also repressed the salafi extremists and criminals, who are now being released to differing degrees on society and minorities such as culturally Christian communities, who feel insecure in the short-term," he said.
One positive outcome in Egypt was an improvement in relations between the churches and the faiths.
He recalled the television footage of Muslims and Christians protesting side by side in Cairo's Tahrir Square and the banners that had displayed both the Islamic crescent and the Christian cross.
"God is at work in the Egyptian church, as Coptic Orthodox and Evangelicals – long divided by historic animosity – have come together to pray and fast for the nation."
Turning his attention to Syria, where thousands have been killed in the ongoing uprising, Bell commented, "It is a trauma the nation has to go through in order to be free.
"The UN must be highly frustrated with the current abstainers, and it shows their true colours. It has been a brutal regime for the last sixty years, and we need to keep praying for them."