In the days leading up to Ramadan, which began yesterday, there has been a growing tension and build up of anti-Christian sentiment in Egypt.
In a recent interview, Open Doors’ CEO and President David Curry said: “I’ve been in Egypt a couple of times and know a bit about what’s happening to the Christians there. It is a bit of a mixed bag in the sense that Christians, I think, still remember well what it was like to live under the Muslim Brotherhood. Which was very difficult … lot of restrictions, lack of freedom. So in light of that, I think Christians are still pretty optimistic within Egypt.”
However, just last week Curry reported about a Christian grandmother who was stripped naked and paraded through the streets. A rumour had spread about her son possibly having an affair, so she was punished. “This sort of thing, which humiliates the woman, is exceptionally dangerous and highlights the fact that Christians are still considered second-class citizens there in Egypt,” Curry explained.
It also exposes the weak responses from the government in these situations. In this case, the government barely did anything to calm the mob’s negative response and it hasn’t taken much proactive action either. Regardless of the fact that Egypt embraces conservative Muslim traditions, there’s still the need for Christians to live with the freedom of religious expressions without fear of persecution.
There have also been rumours of the terrorist group ISIL having a strong foothold in the country. Curry noted that, despite this governments’ secular nature compared to the previous, ISIL does want the country. “Egypt has a massive population, as regards and related to other countries there in the Middle East. And it’s a very critical country because it has so many cultural imprints on the rest of the Arab world. So I think ISIL would like to get in-roads there,” he explained.
As a whole, Curry doesn’t believe the people of Egypt want another Islamic extremist regime ruling the country, but, the attacks in Egypt by ISIL have been stirring up dissension within communities. This is especially the case during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, when violence and persecution towards Christians increase dramatically.
However, despite persecution, the Egyptian Christian church is growing and many people in Egypt, as well as other parts of the Middle East, are very open to the Gospel and Jesus Christ.
- Pray for Christians in Egypt, especially over this time of Ramadan, for protection for them and their communities, particularly in areas where ISIL is actively working.
- Pray for the government, for wisdom as it deals with anti Christian sentiment. Pray that they will protect the rights of Christians to live without fear, and to worship in freedom.
- Pray for any plans of ISIL to take over Egypt to be thwarted.
- Pray for Muslims across Egypt, including members of ISIL, to encounter the living Christ Jesus and to realise the truth of His Gospel over this time of Ramadan. Pray that many lives and communities across Egypt will be transformed b the work of the Holy Spirit as they fast and seek God over this month.
Psalm 140 vs 4: “Guard me, O Lord, from the hands of the wicked; protect me from the violent who have planned my downfall.”
Source: https://www.mnnonline.org/news, http://www.persecution.org