For both Christian and Muslim youth the Arab Spring fostered hopes for greater democracy and respect for human rights. Recently, however, increasing sectarian violence and a rise in fundamentalist voices calling to establish Egypt as an Islamic state are dimming these hopes and isolating Christians. This new political shift combined with Islamist militant violence, opens a dark new chapter on Egypt’s post revolution future.

Should Egypt become a full-fledged religious state governed by Shar’ia law, Egyptian Christians would confront a stark choice: submission to ever-greater religious persecution or emigration. The question facing the world’s political leaders, however, is another: with Egyptian Christians numbering eight million, the risk of aggression begetting aggression could engender a spiral of sectarian violence destabilizing Egypt and the whole of the Middle East.

For Christians in the Middle East, the prophecy of Jesus Christ is lived out every day: ‘If anyone wants to follow me, let him take up his Cross’. And this Cross is heavy, because it touches not only the individuals, but entire families.