WHO IS THE LEADER OF EGYPT?
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi is the leader of Egypt.
HOW MANY CHRISTIANS LIVE IN EGYPT?
10 million Christians live in Egypt, making up 10 per cent of Egypt’s population of 99.4 million. That might sound like a small proportion, but Egypt is home to half of all Christians in the Middle East.
WHY ARE CHRISTIANS PERSECUTED IN EGYPT?
Egypt is a strongly Islamic nation. Just under 90 per cent of the population of Egypt are Sunni Muslims.
Al-Azhar University in Cairo is considered to be the oldest and the most prestigious centre of advanced Islamic studies among Sunni Muslims and attracts students from all over the Middle East. President al-Sisi has called upon scholars at the university to fight radicalism and introduce reforms in Islamic teaching. However, in rural and impoverished areas in particular, radical imams and less tolerant brands of Islam are growing in prominence. The government is making efforts to reverse this trend, but has not been very successful so far.
The self-proclaimed Islamic State has vowed to wage war against Christians in Egypt.
WHAT IS LIFE LIKE FOR CHRISTIANS IN EGYPT?
Egyptian Christians are often victims of social exclusion, and face constant discrimination in areas such as justice, education and basic social services. In rural areas, Christian women have been targeted for abduction and forced marriage. Believers from Muslim backgrounds face pressure from their families and communities – they may be beaten or expelled from their homes.
Thousands of churches are still awaiting official recognition, and there were dozens of attacks on churches during the 2019 World Watch List reporting period. And yet, even in the face of terrible violence, Christians in Egypt have shown incredible grace and forgiveness - Coptic Christians were even nominated for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize for their refusal to retaliate.
" I would have been willing to die for Jesus."
- Samiha, victim of a bomb attack on St Peter’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Cairo
Samiha is an incredible example of this. She was injured when there was a bomb attack on St Peter’s Coptic Orthodox Church. And yet, she says, "If I would meet the family of the attacker, the only thing I would ask them is: 'Do you know Jesus?' I pray they will find the right way."
HOW CAN I HELP CHRISTIANS IN EGYPT?
You can give to provide vital support
Through local churches and partners, Open Doors supports the church in Egypt with literacy training, education, advocacy support, medical care and youth, family and women’s ministry.
Give to support the work of Open Doors in the Middle East.
You can tell others
The story of Fady, a Christian student from Egypt, is included in our free Can you believe it? pack. Order yours and inspire your church or small group with stories of faith, hope and love.
You can pray
Brother Andrew, the founder of Open Doors, says, “Our prayers can go where we cannot... There are no borders, no prison walls, no doors that are closed to us when we pray.”
A PRAYER FOR EGYPT
Lord Jesus, thank You for our brothers and sisters in Egypt. May You comfort and provide for all those who have been attacked, or lost loved ones, in recent years. Help Christians who come under attack in their schools, their workplaces, and their family lives to flourish, that others may see Your light and love shining through them.