|Christian persecution sparks fears among the religious minority|
I am not a religious person, but prosecution of any type is wrong. Egypt's rise of the attacks on Christians has triggered fears among some that the region's largest non-Muslim population - Egypt's 7 million Coptic Christians - could be at risk.
Leaders in the United States said they are terrified that a new Egyptian government with a strong Islamic fundamentalist bent would persecute Christians. They are quietly lobbying the Obama administration to do more to protect Christians in Muslim countries and are holding prayer vigils and fasts such as one that ends Wednesday evening at Copt churches around the country, including four in the Washington area.
Some major U.S. Christian figures, including well-known evangelical leaders and representatives of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, declined to publicly discuss the situation in Egypt, saying they wanted to avoid bringing dangerous attention to the country's Christians by appearing to complain or to advocate for some particular political outcome.
Their trepidation stems from repeated attacks on churches in Iraq, where hundreds of thousands of Christians have fled in recent years, and from the New Year's Day bombing of a Coptic church in Egypt that killed almost two dozen worshipers and wounded nearly 100. The Coptic church is one of the oldest Christian communities in the world and is based in Egypt.
However, the protests have focused on jobs, free speech and democratic elections, not religion, so it's unclear what the end of Mubarak's rule would mean for religious minorities. But in recent years, Iraq has lost about half its historical Christian population because of persecution, and Christians have been leaving Iran and Lebanon in lesser numbers.