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The Church Persecuted

Here, we aim to offer support for those committed to pray in support of Christians around the world who face persecution.  In particular, we include below brief details of the nation for this month.  This year we will be featuring the 'next twelve nations' rather than starting again at [1] in January. This might result in the occasional repeat as the order might have changed since last year.  For further information to support you as you pray, click on the links below.

Image Egypt
Leader:  President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
Population:  95 million (9.5 million Christians)
Main Religion:     Islam

Government:      Federal Republic
World Watch List Rank:  17

A rise in violent and deadly attacks caused the deaths of 128 Christians last year and left many injured.

So-called Islamic State targets Christians and the government’s low regard for fundamental rights means there is little protection. Muslim-background believers face enormous pressure to recant; official recognition of conversion is almost impossible. Building places of worship is difficult because of administrative restrictions, communal hostility and violence. Church leaders are monitored by the state. Believers, especially women, face discrimination and abuse at work. 

Please Pray:
  • That the God of all peace would comfort and provide for Christians who are ousted from their homes for leaving Islam
  • For Christians who have been slighted in social, political and legal affairs to entrust their situation to God
  • That evn the leaders of Islamist groups would be brought to Christ, 'the Way, the Truth and the Life'

More Information:

They forced our father to get out first. The terrorist shouted he had to convert to Islam. But my father said 'No'. Then they shot him.

These are the words of a twelve-year old boy. In May 2017, Mina (12) and his brother, Marco (16) were being driven in their dad's pickup, with a few of his colleagues, to the monastry in Minya where he worked. As they approached the monastry, they saw a bus full of Christian visitors being attacked by a group of armed terrorists. The men who didn't want to confess Islam as their religion were shot dead. As the pick-up truck neared the the monastry, the same thing happened. First, they had to stop. Then, one by one, the men in the truck were forced out and given the same choice. All chose Jesus above their human life.Then the terrorists discovered the two boys. One of them shot at the boys but missed. Another said 'No, let them live to tell the story'. Amazingly, the boys tried to fetch help, with Marco driving for the first time in his life. But it was to no availe. When they arrived, their father died in their arms.

Egypt has the largest surviving Christian population in the region but the majority of the population is Muslim. In recent years, radical political Islam has become more visible and the society has suffered the implications of the presence of radical Islamic groups. In 2017, more than 100 Christian families fled attackes in North Sinai, 49 people died in Church bombings in Cairo and Alexandria on Palm Sunday, and 29 Christians on a family trip were shot dead on Ascension Day - tin the same attack that took the life of Marco's and Mina's Father. In August, 73 churches and monastries, plus 22 other church buildings were either partially or totally burnt down or damaged and 212 private properties belonging to Coptic Christians were attacked, looted and set o fire.

In terms of Government, it seems that competing visions of the Egyptian state have been vying for dominance in the country. One vision (advanced by the army and political establishment) puts more emphasis on nationalism as opposed to religion while, on the other hand, Islamists (including the Muslim Brotherhood) want to make religion the foundation and central element of Egyptian identity. Both visions have offered Egyptian Christians little by way of rights and security and as the competition between these two camps unfolds, Egyptian Christians are often caught in the political crossfire. The high level if illiteracy, economica stagnation and demographic pressure also means that - regardless of the political dispensation in the country - Egyptian society continues to be susceptible to the influence of the most radical and intolerant versions of Islam that are particularly appealing to the youth and the poor.

Believers from a Muslim background, as in many countries, bear the brunt of persecution, often from their families who may punish them for abandoning the Islamic faith with beatings or expulsion from the home. However, the Coptic Church, which in the past has been tolerated because of ti's size and historical presence, is now being targetted, too. Christains also face discimination in education, health and legislation which hinders aspects of church life. 

For more details please see the following website:

Open Doors       Christian Solidarity Worldwide

 
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Pastor: Revd Paul Jackson MTh BA
churchoffice@gatewaybaptist.org.uk
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