Published: 00:01 GMT Standard Time - Thursday 25 February 2010
Praying for the Persecuted Church in Lent - Egypt
Project(s): 11-220, 11-599, 11-706, 11-819
Last year, 2009, was marked by a surge in anti-Christian violence in Egypt. Muslim mobs targeted Christians in a variety of locations, especially in Minya province, destroying homes, shops, cars and crops, setting churches on fire and injuring local Christians. Many Christian women and girls were kidnapped by Muslims, forced to convert to Islam and married off to Muslim men. Some Christians were killed.
The Egyptian constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but Christians are discriminated against in education and employment. As a result, many are extremely poor. Thousands of Christians live in “garbage villages” and earn a living sorting the household rubbish. In April 2009 many of them lost a major part of their livelihood when the Egyptian government culled their pigs (claiming erroneously that it was a necessary precaution against swine flu).
Presidential permission is needed to build churches, and obtaining the permit is a very slow and often futile process. Permission from local governors is needed for repairs to church buildings. There is much hostility from the Muslim community towards the idea of Christians having new places of worship and many of the anti- Christian attacks last year centred on this.
While there is no law against leaving Islam, converts to Christianity usually face harassment and severe pressure, sometimes even threats to their lives, either from the community or from the authorities. Identity cards are vital in Egyptian society, and converts from Islam to Christianity face serious problems because they are unable to change the religion listed on their ID cards to show their new faith. This makes it very difficult for them to live as Christians, and means that their children are also automatically considered Muslims.
Feeding needy families (Ref. 11-220)
Women’s training centres (Ref. 11-706)
Self-sufficiency for former pig farmers (Ref. 11-819)
School for garbage village children (Ref. 11-599)
- Pray that the Lord will bring justice to His faithful people in Egypt.
- Pray for all those Christians who have been injured or have lost family, friends and property in the attacks in 2009, that they may be able to love and forgive their enemies and that their witness will open the eyes of those who persecute them.
- Pray that Egypt will grant recognition of their new faith to converts from Islam to Christianity and will allow them to live openly as Christians.