Egypt (MNN) — In recent months, Coptic Christians in Egypt have seen an increase in persecution attacks.
June marked the third year since protests removed President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood from power. Religious tolerance, however, has not improved since then.
It was also in June this year that an angry Muslim mob looted and burned 80 Christian homes.
Several news sources, including Ahram Online News, shares terrifying incidents that have taken place since May. One story details an angry mob dragging a 70-year-old Christian women naked through the streets. Rumors that her son, also a Christian, was having a relationship with a Muslim woman sparked the uproar.
SAT-7, a Christian satellite television ministry to the Middle East and North Africa, has also taken notice of the increased violence. We spoke with SAT-7’s Rex Rogers to learn more.
Coptic Christians living in fear
Rogers describes the events as situations spiraling out of control and causing fear among Christians: “Mobs attacking people, mobs attacking churches. There’s record of Christian women who are greatly concerned about kidnapping and rape,” he says.
Many of these women have been so afraid of their religious affiliation attracting violence that they’ve changed their Christian names to fit in better.
Christians in Egypt have difficulty, not only with building new churches, but even remodeling the ones they have.
It’s extremely difficult to rebuild in cases where churches have been burned down. Christians will wait in long lines to get permissions to build their church, and will often be ignored.
Persecution: a cry for attention
Rogers explains that in the past, Coptic Christians were generally left alone because they don’t usually proselytize. But with the rise of Islamic extremism, this is no longer true. He says these extremists attack to gain attention for themselves.
“It’s still extremists who hate Christians and Christianity, who hate Christ, who hate the Church, and who see attacks on them as a means of shoring up their status and stature within their group. And they religiously believe this is a great thing to do.”
Though we may feel helpless from across the world, there are many things we can do to help our Christian brothers and sisters.
We can start with prayer, Rogers says, and let ministries working in these areas know we are praying. This is especially helpful for SAT-7 as a television broadcast.
“You can get on air and speak to 20 million people in the Middle East and North Africa, it’ll be accessible to 500 million, and we can say to all those people, ‘Western Christians are aware, they are praying for you. They are part of the Body of Christ, they know you’re part of the Body of Christ.”
You can also give to SAT-7 or other ministries working in the area. Rogers says very little money is coming from Western civilization to reach the Middle East. And yet, so many people there are looking for hope only be found in the Gospel.
SAT-7 reaches out to viewers with the Gospel, with discussions on relevant topics, and other resources including shows for children.
To support SAT-7 financially, click here.