Egypt (MNN) — Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, recently released the Egyptian-American charity worker, Aya Hijazi, 30, along with her husband and four other workers who have been imprisoned in Cairo for the past three years.
The release of these six humanitarian workers comes at a time when the United States and Egypt seem to be mending ties — or at least moving in that direction.
However, this “mending” may not actually have that much effect on minorities in the country, such as Christians.
Terry Ascott with SAT-7, a Christian satellite ministry to the Middle East and North Africa, shares, “When we think of a president, we think he has absolute power in a country like Egypt. If he says something, it’s done. The truth is there are millions of people who have their own Islamic agendas…and they’re working actually against each other very often…and what you’ve got is a country that’s not easy to govern.”
The majority in Egypt is not respectful to religious minorities. Many are scared by a free press, and Islamic teachings can be found in many different sectors of society such as in schools, politics, and the military.
President Sisi, known for supporting the equal treatment of all Egyptian citizens, has a lot working against him.
“Now, he’s done some great things. He was the first and only president who ever went to congratulate the Christians on the feast of Christmas. He went to the cathedral to offer his condolences when the 21 [Coptic Christians] were killed in Libya, when they were martyred on the beach by ISIS,” Ascott shares.
Faith in Egypt
Still, President Sisi’s ideal Egypt is far from a reality. Minority religions, particularly Christians, are regularly targeted by Muslim extremists. And, as Ascott says, there’s little that can be done to protect oneself when someone else is willing to give their life to take yours.
Yet, despite the discrimination and persecution Christians are met with in Egypt, they are still flourishing.
“It’s a very important country for the future of the Christian faith. Half of all the Christians in the whole Middle East and North Africa live in Egypt. In that respect, it’s a great resource port, it’s a missionary sending center. It’s a ministry sending center,” Ascott shares.
“And if you look across the churches in the Gulf and other places where there are small numbers of Christians, many of the pastors and Christian leaders are Egyptians who’ve gone there to witness for their faith and to support local communities.”
How to Help
Through SAT-7, Christians across the globe can walk alongside their Egyptian brothers and sisters in Christ through a myriad of ways. For starters, you can stay informed on what’s happening in Egypt and the Middle East, and the challenges Christians in the region are facing.
The next step would be to get involved with a Christian organization in the region, such as SAT-7. Through SAT-7, Christians can volunteer, donate, partner, and invite others to do the same.
Then of course, prayers are always needed.
Please pray for President Sisi, for wisdom in is role of leadership, and for God to use him. Also, pray for the Christians, both Coptic and Evangelistic. Pray for them to be encouraged, for the Holy Spirit’s continued work in their lives, and for their physical and spiritual protection.
“We don’t hear [about the good] in the news, we only hear the bad news. We only hear [about] the bombings and the attacks [in Egypt]. But actually, Christians are being sought and liked in a very, very dark and difficult part of our world,” Ascott concludes.