Changes in Egypt
Addison, an Egyptian believer, says the government is treating Christians well, but Muslims they meet on a daily basis and the changes they make can cause problems.
“For example, at the airport, and even at the metro stations, we are starting to have small kiosks for people to pray, which for me, it doesn’t make sense why. They can go to the mosque and pray… That’s public transportation, and we’re not a Muslim country. We’re Muslim and Christian.”
Addison says an airline used to announce verses from the Quran before taking off as a prayer of safety. The custom ended temporarily but has since been reinstated.
These small changes, along with the presidential election on the horizon, have created a sense of unknowing and unsteadiness for the Christians in Egypt.
“Sometimes it makes me feel afraid,” Addison says.
“How it looks like in four years? How it looks like in ten years? If we’re going that way, that doesn’t look good.”
President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is well known for not discriminating against Christians and even standing with them.
In a recent speech after IS militants attacked and killed believers in Egypt, President el-Sisi said, “We in Egypt do not discriminate, we do not say ‘this is a Muslim and this is a Christian’; we say we are Egyptians.”
The President’s stand with the Christians has provided a wall of protection to indigenous believers different from what previous leaders offered.
“I’m not worried with el-Sisi government or with el-Sisi himself, but we have three more years in his second period. What’s next?” Addison asks.
“With el-Sisi, we have no problem because he is with the Church. He is supporting the Church. He is a very good friend of the Pope and he is all the time helping, and supporting, and saying that we are all Egyptian, but who’s next?”
The leadership of Egypt could drastically change how Christians are treated and what they are permitted to do.
Currently, despite President el-Sisi’s support of believers, there are restrictions on evangelism, and Addison says the Church does feel pressure.
Believers are only allowed to share the Gospel with others if they are inside a church. Outside, they cannot share in public.
With President el-Sisi, Christians know they will have protection despite the restrictions, but a new leader raises concerns for their future.
According to the constitution, Egyptian presidents are only allowed two terms, but Addison wonders whether the government will change the constitution since no presidential candidates have come forward so far for the next election. The election in 2018 saw one other candidate, Moussa Mostafa Moussa, but President el-Sisi won with 97 percent of the votes.
While many believers do stand with the president, Addison says some believers do not due to the economic problems.
“Our economy is really bad. The prices are increasing maybe triple or more and people can’t survive with this. That’s why they feel angry against him. So, political situation, he is fine, but economical situation, is bad. It’s out of his hands. He has nothing to do with this, but people are angry.”
Al-Monitor News reported that prices of potatoes and tomatoes rose by 146.7 percent.
With the changes in the nation, an unclear future, and economic problems, prayer is essential. Pray for Christians’ future and for the next president to lead the country well and protect the believers. Pray for the economy and courage, strength, and freedom among the believers in the nation.
Header photo by sophia valkova on Unsplash.