Friday, August 14, 2009

Mr. President, what about Egypt’s Christians?

obama_mubarak_black_white On Tuesday (August 18) U.S. President Obama will host Egyptian President Mubarak in Washington. Among the topics up for discussion will be world peace. While these two leaders are meeting there will be a peaceful demonstration outside the White House organized by a group concerned about the plight of Egypt’s Coptic Christians. The Coalition of Coptic Organizations wrote an open letter to President Obama prior to Mr. Mubarak’s visit reminding him that there can be no world peace unless there is peace in the Middle East. The letter went point out a woefully neglected issue that is critical to peace in the region, the systematic discrimination and persecution of the Copts of Egypt. These Christians make up anywhere from 8 to 12 percent of the country’s population of 80 million, yet are represented by less than a .25% of its parliamentary elected officials. During the Mubarak Era, Copts have suffered over 200 major terrorist attacks on their persons, homes, businesses and churches. Most often, perpetrators are not arrested, and those arrested are seldom convicted. The attacks are on the increase with over 20 occurring within the last three months alone according to the Coptic organizations who sent the letter to Mr. Obama. A government policy limits hiring and promoting Copts to high ranking jobs. Many influential positions are completely out of reach for Christians. An antiquated law from the Ottoman Empire governs church constructions and refurbishing. Building a new church requires Presidential Decree and repairing existing ones requires permits from regional governors.

When I visited Egypt earlier this year I was told by Christian leaders of the harassment and problems they endure in this Muslim dominated society. Some of the worst treatment of Christians is directed at those who have left Islam to follow Jesus. For example these Christians can’t change their I.D. cards from Muslim to Christian, and if they try, many problems will follow as Mohammed Hegazy found out. One University professor who converted to Christianity from Islam many years ago says “The situation is getting worse by how the government and society treats these converts because of the influence of the fundamentalist Muslims has increased and they are controlling areas of the society, these people are treated badly and are rejected.”

Another terrible issue facing the Christians of Egypt is the abduction of Christian female teens. These girls are taken by Muslim men and forced to convert to Islam. Other have been enticed to renounce their Christian faith by promised of wealth and a more prosperous life as a Muslim. Earlier this month on the Persecution and Prayer Alert we reported two more Christian girls who were kidnapped by Muslims. One of our contacts in Egypt told me what happens in many of these cases. They drug them, then force them to marry Muslim men, they abuse them sexually and take pictures, and with those pictures the girls feel ashamed and they can’t return to their families, so they continue as Muslims. “Mustafa”, who also is a former Muslim says there were about 40 cases of minor girls of 15, 16 and 17 who were kidnapped last year and never returned to their families.”

While the peace protest goes on outside the White House on Tuesday, will you ask God to move on the hearts of these two leaders for the sake of our suffering brothers and sisters in Christ in Egypt?


Anonymous said...

All governments and leaders are accountable to God for their actions in governing.It is the duty of the church to give witness to the authorities of this and of the punishment when disobeying.There are numerous passages in the bible about this.Humanistic grounds for tolerance and respect are not for the church to be used.With "humanistic",i mean e.g. New Age philosophies.
Suzanna Meyer

Lorraine said...

As the mother of a lovely 17 year old daughter, my heart especially cries out for these abducted girls and their families! I will be remembering them all in my prayers for all the young people I already know and love! I simply cannot imagine the pain of having my sweet girl taken away and forced into such things, and never to see her again!

Anonymous said...

Why not organize a letter-writing/e-mail petition campaign as has been done for Christians in jail in China and other countries. these e-mails can be addressed to the Egyptian embassy and President Mubarak. Also, President Obama could be asked to open Congressional hearings on persecution of Christians in Moslem countries.VOM COULD START this campaign.

Glenn Penner said...

As VOMC is based in Canada, the effectiveness of this would be limited. Would be better if a US-based ministry initiated this