National Review Interview on Coptic Orphans, Egypt & Christians in the Middle East

NReviewI’m glad to share the news that  Kathryn Jean Lopez, senior fellow at the National Review Institute, recently interviewed me on the situation in Egypt.

This came about because I was fortunate enough to meet her at the March 18, 2015 press event of In Defense of Christians, where I spoke on a panel with H.G. Bishop Angaelos.

Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online, and founding director of Catholic Voices USA. Below are excerpts from the interview, which ran under the headline “A Coptic Charity Empowers Egypt’s Orphans.” I hope these excerpts encourage you to read the full interview, which covers more topics about Christians in the Middle East.

We touched on the importance of the Middle East’s Christian communities:

LOPEZ: Why must Copts and other Christians continue to exist in the Middle East?

RIAD: From my perspective, we must continue to exist in the Middle East in order to keep bearing witness to Christian love and the message of Jesus in the region of His birth. That, and we need to preserve a tradition of Christianity that dates back to the time of Christ himself. The roots of our faith are precious.

I also had the chance to spotlight some of the incredible work being done by others in Egypt.

One story I’d point to is the Sisters of Maadi … The sisters treat hundreds of thousands of Egyptians in Cairo each year, 90 percent of them Muslim, and they really model Christian love in action to poor people. I’d also point to the Catholic school system in Egypt. Someone should really write a whole book — not even a TV segment, but a whole book — on their role in promoting tolerance and peaceful coexistence in Egypt by educating generations of future leaders. And then there’s the work of Father Dawood Lamey, who inspires many to use their professional skills in the service of holistic village development.

I was grateful to Kathryn Jean Lopez and National Review to have this opportunity, because, as I mentioned in the interview:

It’s important that Westerners understand our role in shaping and defining Christianity, and our determination to be a positive presence in a region of the world where Christians are increasingly threatened.

About Nermien Riad

Nermien Riad founded Coptic Orphans in 1988 after volunteering for an orphanage in Cairo. When she saw that most of the children had living widowed mothers who simply couldn’t afford to feed them, she gathered family and friends to sponsor children in Egypt. Today Coptic Orphans works through a network of 400+ church-based volunteers in Egypt, who visit fatherless families in their homes and make sure they get everything they need to unlock their full potential. That way, they don’t have to get married off as child brides, work as 10-year old family breadwinners, or go to live at an institutional orphanage.