Egypt Christians vote, pray

By December 1, 2011

Egypt (MNN) — A satellite television broadcast will continue airing following Egypt's parliamentary elections this week. SAT-7, Christian satellite television for the Middle East and North Africa, will continue airing its unique current affairs series "Salt & Light" until the Eastern Christmas, January 7.

According to SAT-7's Web site, broadcast live on Wednesday evenings, each Salt & Light episode helps raise awareness about issues that will impact the country's Christian community and other minorities, and their potential future status — encouraging everyone to participate in the political process rather than passively await an outcome determined by others. The show invites both Muslim and Christian politicians to answer tough questions and provides a platform for Christian leaders to bring a Biblical perspective on key issues.

SAT-7's Egypt Bureau Director, Mr Farid Samir, explained, "It's a new initiative to have Muslim guests on such programs. We started inviting them last month because SAT-7 wants to bring all voices to this public debate while at the same time avoiding any political position. In fact, this definitely is not a political program but one intended to help raise important issues, encourage appropriate participation, and bring people hope.

"The slogan for Salt & Light is: 'Changing the news to Good News,'" Samir added.

Yesterday's broadcast provided analysis of this first round of elections – including a look at violations by some of the parties and individuals — and encourage all Egyptians, especially Christians, to continue their involvement in the coming weeks of voting. "Islamists will only have a majority in the new parliament if moderate Muslims and Christians do not go out and vote for candidates that they think are best for the country – no matter what their backgrounds are," added SAT-7 CEO, Terry Ascott.

Samir says that another reason to continue the program is that it provides a valuable and uniquely Christian perspective for those in other countries who will also be facing critical elections in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings.

After casting his vote on Monday, Samir, said, "I feel so encouraged by the good atmosphere on the street and at the polling stations – especially after the violence of the past week, which left 40 demonstrators dead and more than 2,000 wounded. Overall, the elections have been peaceful and people have organized themselves well with the cooperation of the army."

Many Christians feel the Church needs to be the "salt of the earth" and play a practical role in the community – not just praying in church. This has been exemplified by the use of Kasr El Doubara Evangelical church as the main field hospital for anyone needing treatment in Tahrir Square. With a Muslim Brotherhood doctor overseeing all the medicines and supplies and working alongside Christians there was a lot of raised eyebrows. This resulted in secular TV channels visiting and interviewing Christian and Muslim volunteers, which in turn attracted a number of political figures and other journalists wanting to see for themselves how the two communities could work side-by-side.

Speaking on Salt & Light, the head of Egypt's Coptic Evangelical Church (and The Vice Chair of SAT-7's International Council), Rev Dr Safwat El Baiady said, "This is true worship! I cannot be praying while my brothers are injured and in need of help…Before I go to pray, I must help those in need and stand with those who fight injustice."

SAT-7 has 3 different 24/7 Arabic satellite channels: SAT-7 ARABIC, SAT-7 PLUS and the region's only Christian channel for viewers under 15 years old, SAT-7 KIDS.


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