(Egyptian Partner Sharing)

While Ramadan is a celebration for Muslims, for many Christians these days are a struggle. Let me take you along in the day in the life of a Christian in Egypt during Ramadan, taking myself as example. During Ramadan, all Muslims become stricter and less tolerant towards Christians. The daily life challenges of a Christian in Egypt in Ramadan day are not new. The practical implications differ from one setting to another, yet always the spirit of a strict religious attitude governs the atmosphere, no matter where Christians live.


Christian men and women can notice the presence of Ramadan without any doubt not only by louder speakers of the mosques but also, by the starring looks of fasting Muslims that appears on their pale faces. A young Christian woman from my church shared with me yesterday that she felt so uncomfortable with all those dirty looks in the bus.


A Christian man rides a public bus, and here is what he sees: unlike usual days, many Muslim men and women would be reading their Quran’s, many times even in loud voices especially when it comes to reading a passages about Christian and Jews; those infidels who will go to hell, according to some Quranic verses. A keen Muslim believes that by doing this, they may be earning additional good points from Allah. The Christian man stands listening submissively until his stop comes. There is nowhere else to go.


On the other hand, a Christian woman is screened by the majority of the travelers on the same bus. Because she is not covered under the Hijab, she stands in the bus helplessly receiving all despising looks. Although courtesy dictates that a woman is usually invited by men to take their seats on the busy bus, yet being a Christian woman, such a gesture of courtesy is denied from her.


Both Christian man and woman, finally arrive into their work place, already exhausted of the tough start of the day. They can’t escape the heavy thought that this is yet another day where they will sit in an office with Muslim colleagues who are hungry, thirsty and not interested in any work duties of discussions unless they were to criticize Christian faith. After all, provoking and intimidating a Christian is a good way to kill sometime of the long hours before the Muslims can go home to prepare for the sunset breakfast.


The call for the sunset prayer announces the permission for fasting Muslims to eat and drink after a long fasting day. The first hour after the sunset prayer call is always a very quiet hour throughout the country. Streets are nearly empty; no public transportations, all shops are closed and every public activity is put on hold until everyone have had their long waiting for breakfast.


I sometimes use this time to go out to our small balcony to enjoy the rare quiet moments of the overpopulated busy capital. This is when I enjoy the evening breath and I look around and pray for all those millions of Muslims that God may listen to many of them who are truly keen to know and serve the true God. I pray that those who have a true heart desire to reach out to God, will find Him reaching out to them through the love of Jesus reflected in the lives of shining Christians throughout the country of Egypt.