Prayer Alert, July/August 2015
In Cairo a great deal of security is provided to some of the city’s main churches. St Mark’s Cathedral has armed security around its perimeter, and inside its walls we saw at least two armoured personnel carriers to protect it against potential attacks. Couple this with the airport style security as you walk into the cathedral, as well as at another church we visited in Cairo, and you could easily get the picture that Christians in Egypt receive a lot of protection from the Government.
Yet travelling down to the city of Minya and surrounding villages, about 250 km south of Cairo, we heard a very different story. There we met Christians who told us of continuing attacks on their homes and their businesses, with many families having to flee to safe havens. But even in these ‘safe’ places they told us they still get threatening messages and phone calls from their persecutors.
Despite constitutional changes Christians in rural Egypt are still in danger of persecution, reports Release’s Paul Thomas. Some Christian girls have been kidnapped for ransom, and we met one family where the father had been gunned down following a dispute with their neighbours.
We also met ‘Paul’ (not his real name) who told us about the opposition he had recently experienced from militants. Paul had been running successful Sunday school classes in his village, and decided to use his home secretly as a church. When this was discovered he was reported and imprisoned. During this time he was beaten, and at one point left in a cell with four Islamists. It seems that the authorities expected that they would kill him...