Organizations such as Open Doors International, Voice of the Martyrs and International Christian Concern work to defend the human rights of persecuted Christians around the world, to send financial assistance, to advocate for their rights and release from imprisonment, to create awareness of their plight, and to send Bibles and food to the oppressed and refugees.
Tag Archives: Egypt
By Melissa Nordell
Experts are warning of possible targeting of Christians in many Middle East countries. The danger is especially apparent in Syria after the so-called “Arab Spring.” In Syria, the conflict still continues between government forces and rebels, and the government itself is quite unstable, according to a report by CNN.
“In the past, they [Syrian Christians] have had (a) great outpouring of piety in the public squares on Easter,” said Nina Shea, director of the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute. “This time, I suspect it is going to be vastly different. They are fearful,” she told CNN.
By Jeremy Reynalds
A charitable medical center that performs free heart operations on children in Egypt is under threat from radical Muslims, who want it closed down because it was founded by a Christian surgeon.
According to a news release from Barnabas Aid, the center in Aswan city was established by the world-renowned cardiothoracic surgeon, Sir Magdi Habib Yacoub, an Egyptian Christian who emigrated to Britain in 1962. His charitable organization covers all the center’s costs, and operations are performed free of charge on both Christian and Muslim children alike.
By Aidan Clay, International Christian Concern (ICC)
“We don’t know if our daughter is still alive,” Magda told ICC during a recent visit to Egypt. “We haven’t seen or heard from her in five years. Her kidnapper called us and said she was dead and buried.”
Mary disappeared in June 2007, but to her mother, Magda, it feels like only yesterday that she was sleeping peacefully in her own bed under the loving care of her parents. For those who lose a child, as Magda had, the pain never goes away.
By Mary Abdelmassih
In mid-October Egyptian media published news of an altercation between Muslim and Christian students over a classroom seat at a school in Mallawi, which led to the murder of a Christian student. The media portrayed the incident as non-sectarian. However, Copts Without Borders, a Coptic news website, was first to report the Christian student was murdered because he was wearing a crucifix.
“We wanted to believe the official version,” said activist Mark Ebeid, “because the Coptic version was a catastrophe, as it would take persecution of Christians also to schools.” He blamed the church in Mallawi for keeping quiet about the incident.
Today the parents of the 17-year-old Christian student Ayman Nabil Labib, broke their silence, confirming that their son was murdered on October 16, in “cold blood because he refused to take off his crucifix as ordered by his Muslim teacher.” Nabil Labib, the father, said in a taped video interview with Copts United NGO, that his son had a cross tattooed on his wrist as per Coptic tradition, as well as another cross which he wore under his clothes.
By Mary Abdelmassih
The Egyptian Military Court ordered imprisoned Christian activist and blogger Michael Nabil Sanad, who has been on a hunger strike for nearly 60 days, to a mental health hospital. Mark Sanad, Michael’s brother, said that he visited him on Saturday in El Marg prison but was surprised to discover that Michael had been sent to Abbasiya mental health hospital in Cairo. Both hospitals are known for their inhumane treatment of patients and are reserved for seriously ill psychiatric patients.
Michael was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment on 10 April 2011 on charges of “insulting the military and dissemination of false news about the armed forces” in his blog “Son of Ra.” He had posted on his blog an article titled “the people and the army were never one hand.” He went on a hunger strike August 23 to protest his prison sentence.
By Elizabeth Kendal
As US-allied dictators fell in Tunisia and Egypt, Iran scoffed while the US-allied dictators in the House of Saud shuddered. Everything changed, however, when Bahraini and Saudi forces, with the tacit approval of the US, crushed the ‘pro-democracy’ protests at Pearl roundabout. The media are confused by what they see as ‘mixed responses’ because they fail to realise that who falls is far less important than who rises. In Bahrain the protesters were Shi’ites; their success would have been Iran’s gain. When dissent was crushed in Bahrain, the ‘Arab Spring’ transformed into a struggle over the regional balance of power. For decades, the US – Sunni Arab axis prevailed. Then the Iraq War opened the way for Shi’ite Persian Iran to gain the ascendancy. As the struggle for the regional balance of power heats up, Syria becomes absolutely pivotal.
Syria is 90 percent Sunni Arab, yet it is central — both geographically and strategically — to the Iran-Syria-Hezballah (Shi’ite) axis. This situation arose because the ruling Assad family belong to the obscure Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi’ism considered heretical across Islam. Needing allies, Syria’s former president Hafiz al-Assad (father of the current president Bashar al-Assad) forged close bonds with Musa al-Sadr, the most prominent Shi’ite leader in Lebanon. In 1973 al-Sadr issued a fatwa recognising Lebanon’s Alawites as Shi’ites. This was not only a coup for the Alawites, it was vital for the region’s Shi’ites, for without Syria there would be no ‘Shi’ite Crescent’.
The rapidity of change sweeping the Middle East has left some commentators breathless, with many cheerleading the prospects for democratic reforms in Egypt and other Middle East countries. But hopes for benevolent democracies that conform to American ideals may prove wanting – with dire consequences for Israel.
“Everyone was caught by surprise,” says Bob Morris, director of HaDavar Messianic Ministries. “Who would believe that two governments would fall because of one man’s actions?” he asks, referring to the Tunisian vegetable vendor who sparked popular uprisings in several countries after he lit himself on fire as a protest.
As mighty doors swing on small hinges, an obscure Tunisian man brought the fall of powerful leaders. “God doesn’t need the armies of the world or the kings, he only needs one man to bring change,” Morris notes.
To some observers, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt seem to be playing a constructive role in moves toward democracy. “They are using democracy as a doorway to power,” Morris believes. “If the Muslim Brotherhood is voted in, that’s the last election they will ever have,” he predicts. “They despise democracy — submission to Islam and to Allah is their ideal.”
“All they have to do is get enough votes and they will do away with the constitution and democratic institutions and set up Sharia law. If they come to power, one of their goals is the destruction of Israel.”
The next event Morris sees on the prophetic calendar is an attack on Israel led by a coalition of countries – chiefly Russia and Iran. “The events in the Middle East today could be setting the stage for that invasion,” Morris observes. He believes Egypt will be a minor player or uninvolved in the attack. He also believes the rapture could occur at any time.
“We know from Ezekial 38 and 39 that when the Russian coalition invades Israel nobody will support Israel.” He foresees the U.S. will be unable or unwilling to support Israel when that happens, other than to lodge verbal complaints.
“We’re on the threshold of this today,” Morris notes. “We have our armies spread out in significant conflicts all over the word, and we have our economic troubles.” Due to budget constraints, some in congress already favor a major pullback in foreign aid.
Any move toward democracy may bring unwanted consequences. “The things that scripture talks about we are beginning to see bubble up to the surface,” Morris notes. “The storm is building.”