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Praying for the Persecuted Church in Len...

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Praying for the Persecuted Church in Lent - Egypt

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Praying for the Persecuted Church in Lent - Egypt

Project(s): 11-220, 11-599, 11-706, 11-819

Country/Region: Egypt

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.

Egypt
Many Christians in Egypt are very poor because of the discrimination they suffer, and have to live and work in filthy garbage villages
The Church in Egypt is one of the oldest in the world but today around 90% of the population are Muslims; there are between six and nine million Christians (about 10% of the population).

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.

Barnabas Fund projects in Egypt include:

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)
Please Pray:
  • 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.
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Praying for the Persecuted Church in Lent - Egypt

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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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    • The case of an Egyptian Christian man arrested following complaints by Muslim neighbours that he had been using his home as a church without a permit highlights the need of the Christian community for more places of worship. The 55-year-old man from Minya in Upper Egypt, where Christians are particularly vulnerable to persecution, was arrested once before, in 2011, for the same offence. Every church building in Egypt requires a permit, but these are notoriously difficult to obtain. Pray that the authorities will show leniency to the Christian man and that a provision in the new constitution addressing the issue of church buildings will be enacted. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Sep 2014 00:00

    • Kidnapping for ransom has been a persistent problem for the Christian community in Egypt amid the political upheaval and instability following the “Arab Spring” revolution of 2011. On 14 June, Wadie Ramses, a well-known surgeon, was seized in El-Arish. The assailants opened fire on his vehicle and took him away wounded. They later demanded a ransom of ten million Egyptian Pounds (£800,000; US$1.4 million) for his release. Two days later, Christian merchant Gemal Shenouda was captured near his home in the same city. It is thought that Islamic militants with links to al-Qaeda, who have been behind escalating violence in the Sinai region, are responsible for the kidnappings. Pray for the safe return of our two Christian brothers and that they and their families will know the Lord’s peace. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Sep 2014 00:00

    • On 18 June, Bishoy Armia Boulous (31) was sentenced to five years in prison and given a fi ne of 500 Egyptian Pounds (US£70; £40) for “disturbing the peace by broadcasting false information” in connection with reports he produced relating to anti-Christian violence in Minya for a Christian TV channel. His lawyer believes that Bishoy has been targeted because of his conversion from Islam. The Christian gained notoriety in Egypt in 2007 as the first person to try to change his religion on his ID card, a case that is still unresolved owing to the political tumult in the country over the last three years. Pray that the Lord will be Bishoy’s strength and shield (Psalm 28:7), and that he will soon be released. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Sep 2014 00:00

    • Saudi Arabia remains unique in the extent to which it restricts the public expression of any religion other than Islam.” In its annual report for 2014, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom highlighted the extraordinary restrictions faced by Christians and other non-Muslims in one of the most rigid and hardline Islamic states in the world. No churches exist in Saudi Arabia because of an Islamic tradition that Muhammad said there should be only one religion in the Arabian peninsula. Pray for peace and perseverance for the small number of Saudi converts and the many expatriate Christians practising their faith in this repressive context, and ask that the authorities will yield to international pressure to introduce greater religious freedom. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Sep 2014 00:00

    • On 23 June, Vahid Hakkani, a Christian convert in prison in Iran, resumed a hunger strike in protest against the refusal of a court to grant him and two other Christians conditional release. Vahid had broken his previous strike in May after another of his fellow-detainees was set free. The prison authorities have reportedly confiscated his personal belongings from his cell and are denying him the right to make phone calls; they have also separated the Christian prisoners from one another. Even before his first hunger strike, Vahid had been suffering from a digestive problem and internal bleeding. Pray that his health may not fail altogether and that his action will secure justice and freedom for him and his friends (Psalm 69:33). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Fri, Sep 2014 00:00

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