Egypt (MNN) — The first of Egypt's three-tiered elections are scheduled to take place in November, with the increasing likelihood that the Muslim Brotherhood will take charge.
"The main issue right now that is on the table and that believers need to pray about is that Islamic Brotherhood does not get full control of the country," agrees Tom Doyle with E3Partners, who just returned from Egypt.
"In January, 10% of the people polled in Egypt thought Islamic Brotherhood would be fit to lead the country, and that they would be willing to follow them," explains Doyle. "That's changed now–fast forward nine months later–to 50% of the country."
Concerns for Christians are rising with the popularity of the Brotherhood. "Under Mubarak, there was a measure of protection for Christians because of the history, because of the respect that they've earned in the country. With a new government, with Islamic Brotherhood coming, all bets are off," Doyle explains. "And most believers would feel that it's going to get violent."
Despite the Brotherhood's stance as "moderate," believers' fears are not unjustified. The Muslim group may be coming into power at a time when a recent poll showed that "82% of all Egyptians believe that if a Muslim converts to Christianity, he should be killed," according to Doyle.
Doyle adds that upon the government collapse, 30,000 prisoners who had known terrorist pasts were released. Many of them had anti-Christian agendas. Above-ground churches closed their doors for weeks afterward out of fear of attack.
Other Christians are hopeful. "Many Egyptians are saying, 'Well, maybe [the Muslim Brotherhood] is not as bad as they were.' But what we'll have is a much more radical Islamic country," observes Doyle. "To me, it resembles what's happened in Iran."
Things aren't looking good for Egyptian Christians, and as Open Doors' Carl Moeller mentioned in an interview with Mission Network News earlier this year, "Egyptians have had the tradition of setting the course for a large part of the intellectual direction of Islam." If Egypt becomes more radical, other nations may follow–a danger for Christians in North Africa in particular.
Unbelievably, Christians have refused to let the threats to their nation and own safety ruin their witness though. Believers continue to face prison terms and jail sentences for their faith, unwilling to cease planting churches and spreading the Good News that they so passionately believe will transform their nation.
Doyle was blown away by the strength of the believers with whom he met. He says not only do they continue to spread the faith in Egypt, but Egyptian Christians are even sending out missionaries to Libya, Morocco, Mauritania to make the truth known across North Africa.
The perseverant Christian response to what could be a radical shift in government is unconscionable. Pray for their continued strength in sharing the Gospel. Pray also that they would continue to be encouraged during this precarious time.
If you would like to support believers in Egypt as they continue in their bold efforts to make Christ known to a nation–and even a continent, visit e3partners.org and give to Middle East efforts.