Monday, November 06, 2006

Non-Western Christians and the cross

When the British Airways employee was suspended for refusing to remove the cross from her neck, we heard lots about this on our news. So this brought about a look at what the cross means for those Christians in the Muslim world.

To those of us living in the Western world, we look at the cross on a chain as a piece of jewelry. But, to those non-western Christians, it means much more. It identifies them sympolically with their faith, church, and community.

The Muslims look on the cross with hatred, because it identifes the so-called 'false religion'. But, those Christians, who live in the Muslim world, the cross symbolizes the persecution and martyrdom they have had to endure for centuries.

Muslim hatred for the cross is evident in the hadith (traditions) that foretell the Muslim belief that, in the End Times, Jesus will reappear as a Muslim and will break all crosses. In history for example, Caliph al-Mansur (754-775) forbade the public display of the cross and destroyed the crosses on top of many churches.

Forbidding the public display of crosses continues to be the case in modern day Saudi Arabia. Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim (996-1021) forced Christians to wear a five-pound cross around their necks as a sign of humiliation.

Coptic Christians in Egypt tattoo it on the inside of the right wrist. They want to be identifed as marked followers of Christ.

"They want to be identifed as marked followers of Christ.

But, they face persecution, when doing so. In April 2005, a 17 year old girl was kidnapped, raped, and tortured for 23 hours, by an extremis Islamic group. They tried removing her tattoo from her wrist with scissors. Imagine the pain this young girl went through for her identity with Christ. Would we be able to endure the pain she went through for her love of our Saviour?

Linked at Conservative Cat
Pursuing Holiness
Third World County
GM's Corner

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1 Comment:

jan@theviewfromher said...

Thank you for this post. It is good to be reminded of how easy Christianity is for us here in America. On a missions trip to Egypt a few years ago, I asked someone about the tattoo on his wrist. I wondered at how painful that might have been to get. He only smiled, and said, "Sister, the cross is pain."