Ever since President Morsi was ousted in 2013 by the army, the Muslim Brotherhood has urged its followers to believe that the leader of the Coptic Church was involved in bringing down their leader. Christians have been targeted countless times since then in revenge attacks.
In the country’s North Sinai governorate, Christians have been fleeing the region for months, forced out of their homes by angry jihadists. Churches, Christian homes and Christian businesses have been pelted with stones as local Muslims seek to intimidate the minority Christian population.
The removal of Morsi was seen as a positive development for the Christian minority, who have suffered discrimination for many generations. The new Egyptian constitution adopted in 2014 declares that freedom of belief is “absolute” and grants freedom to practise religion and establish places of worship to Christians (and Jews as well as Muslims. It requires Parliament to issue a law that would relax the longstanding restrictions on the building and renovation of churches so as to allow Christians to worship freely.
Egyptian Christians are often discriminated against in employment, so some choose to go to Libya for work, where they can earn a much higher wage and send money back to their families. But in Libya they have been targeted by Islamic State (is) jihadists. In February 2015, IS released a video showing militants brutally beheading 21 Egyptian on a beach in Libya. The men had been abducted by masked gunmen who went door to door at a residential complex in Libya. Checking IDs, they took the Christian residents and spared the Muslims.
Pray for protection for Egypt’s Christians and that they will be filled with wisdom to know how to act in the current situation, and with love towards their neighbours who would do them harm. Pray for the families of the Christian Egyptians living in Libya who have been kidnapped, and some of them killed, for their faith. Give thanks for positive changes in the government’s attitude toward the Christian community. Pray that these changes at the top will be reflected in the wider society.