Egypt (MNN) — Church leaders in Egypt already canceled summer trips and ministries after security services learned of plans for increased violence against churches over the summer. Now, Egypt’s government is extending the state of emergency for another three months
“God willing, this intelligence is based on limited plans and this isn’t going to be an ongoing problem, but we’re just going to have to wait and see how things develop,” said Miles Windsor of Middle East Concern. He said most believers planned to resume work in August, but there are still plenty of safety concerns.
Even if the response to this problem is new, the persecution isn’t. All year there have been attacks, shootings, and bombings directed at Christians trying to gather in worship.
“There [are] ongoing problems in villages in upper Egypt and demonstrations against churches leading to attacks on people’s homes, churches, and livelihoods,” said Windsor.
“For the most part actually church leaders are saying that the government is trying its best and seeks to provide significant security for churches.” But since the attacks are so unpredictable, security can only accomplish so much.
And this blanket attack isn’t just directed at the church. “It’s not just Christians who are facing these threats, but anybody really who doesn’t subscribe to the particular brand of Islam that is espoused by these Islamist militants,” Windsor said. Women who don’t wear veils across their entire faces are often attacked, security personnel are targeted on and off duty, and anyone who believes differently than extremist groups like the Islamic State could be in real danger.
Even though church leaders of Egypt’s major denominations have seen it prudent to cancel some activities until August, Egypt’s church is growing, not failing. But as congregations grow, so does the risk, and Windsor asks that you ”pray that God would thwart these plans of harm and violence” and end extremism in Egypt.
“We know that people can do brutal things and commit acts of great evil, but we have a God who’s more powerful. So we can be praying that Christians in Egypt will continue to worship and tell people about Jesus.”