The Parish Magazine January 2022

Editor.Bob.Peters

Serving the communities of Charvil, Sonning and Sonning Eye since 1869

The Parish Magazine - January 2022 11

The Persecuted Church: Focus on Egypt by Colin Bailey

Good news from Egypt in 2021

2015: Security guards and police guard a Christian church in Cairo Maximn, dreamstime.com

It is illegal for Christians to worship in an unlicensed church building in Egypt,

but a programme has started of registering churches and church buildings.

Applications started once Ottoman-era restrictions on church buildings were

repealed in 2016. At the beginning of 2021 there were 1,930 churches waiting to be

granted licences under the Law for Building and Restoring Churches. Prime Minister

Madbouli urged the speeding up of licensing. By April, Egyptian authorities had

reached the halfway mark in licensing churches. This brought the total granted

official recognition to 1,882.

On one day in November, 63 churches and affiliated buildings were licensed by

the Egyptian Cabinet committee. It was the 21st batch of registrations and brought

the number of licensed churches to 2,021 — 3,730 had applied.

In March, the teaching of Christianity and Judaism was to be introduced

into schools and in April, it was reported that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi had

apologised on behalf of the nation when an appeal court acquitted three Muslim

men charged of stripping naked an elderly Christian woman and dragging her

through the streets during mob violence.

'AN OASIS OF STABILITY'

In August, Christians were saying that their situation is better than anyone

can remember. President al-Sisi has been quick to support Christians verbally and

practically whenever anti-Christian incidents occur. Barnabas Fund reported that

although there have been a few kidnappings of Christians, the government has

exerted itself to get the hostages released. The extremist Muslim Brotherhood has

become less influential since Al-Azhar University has controlled most of the mosques.

In October, it was announced that Egypt was to lift its nationwide state of

emergency that had been imposed four years previously, following bomb attacks

against churches. Suicide bombers had targeted two major churches on Palm

Sunday 2017, killing at least 65 people and injuring 126. Responsibility for the blasts

had been claimed by ISIS. At the time of the bombings, Egypt was experiencing

a growing wave of violence linked to IS militants, much of it targeted against

Christians, particularly in the north east Sinai region.

The decision to lift the ban was announced by President al-Sisi via Facebook on

25 October: Egypt has become, thanks to its great people and its loyal men, an oasis of

security and stability in the region.

Please pray for Egypt, its president, prime minister and its people, and that the

whole Muslim community of Egypt will follow their president’s lead in treating the

Christian minority as respected equals.

email: youthminister@sonningparish.org.uk

better support our young people — Westy!

References and further reading

https://barnabasfund.org/news/egypt-lifts-four-year-state-of-emergency-imposed-after-church-bombings/

https://www.facebook.com/BarnabasFund/posts/10159385328465726

https://www.facebook.com/BarnabasFund/photos/10151828779630726/10159252291890726

https://fal.cn/3eW8K

https://fal.cn/3e8YH

https://www.facebook.com/BarnabasFund/photos/a.10151828779630726/10158984279065726

https://www.facebook.com/BarnabasFund/photos/a.10151828779630726/10158944839790726

https://www.facebook.com/BarnabasFund/posts/10158905315065726

https://www.facebook.com/BarnabasFund/photos/a.10151828779630726/10158847771755726

https://www.facebook.com/BarnabasFund/posts/10158710692435726

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