World Watch List: 16
Leader: President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
Population: 99.3 million
Christian: 9.9 million
Main Religion: Islam
Source of Persecution: Islamic Oppression
In cooperation with local partners and churches, Open Doors supports the persecuted church in Egypt through:
- Equipping and training of believers
- Bible and Christian literature translation and distribution
- Literacy classes
- Socio-economic development
- Advocacy and emergency relief
Second class citizens
Although Christianity has deep roots in Egypt going back centuries before Islam came to the country, Christians are often marginalized and treated as second class citizens in modern Egypt. They face discrimination in the justice, education, basic social services areas. As the largest Christian population in the Arab world, the church in Egypt has critical significance. The fight between the regime and radical Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood has polarised Egyptian society, with the church caught in between the crossfire.
Hostility and prejudice against Christians
Especially in rural parts of the country, intolerant and radical imams spread hostility and prejudice against Christians. Ordinary Muslims who are influenced by them discriminate and commit acts of hatred against Christians. Believers from a Muslim background are often beaten or expelled from their homes in order to pressurise them into renouncing their new faith. They have to continue fulfilling Islamic faith obligations like taking part in the daily Islamic prayers or in the Ramadan fast.
Even though there are a lot fewer Christians killed in the WWL19 reporting period, there are more attacks against properties belonging to Christians and believers who were abducted. There are thousands of churches waiting to be officially recognised, but requests to do so often result in mob violence.
In rural areas and towns in the south, Christian girls are abducted or lured into marriage with Muslim men. As such, they cannot leave the house on their own and need male relatives to protect them at all times. Converts from Islam will likely be divorced by their Muslim husbands, lose custody of their children, and be punished for shaming the family honour.
Male believers struggle to find jobs. They also feel shame when they are unable to defend their faith. These two factors create a lot of frustration which causes problems in the family.
- For Christian converts who have been expelled from their homes for leaving Islam. Pray that God will provide for them and comfort their hearts.
- For young Christians looking for a job as they are discriminated against on the job market. Many Muslim employers prefer Muslim employees, even if they are less skilled.
- Pray for the youth ministry, which helps Christian youth to stay close to Jesus during insecure times.