A human rights group has warned that despite the passage of a new law in Egypt that aims to protect churches, long-standing restrictions on church construction remains in place, and little is being done to guarantee that radicals who attack Christians will be punished.
"Many Egyptians hoped that governments would respect and protect freedom of religion, including for Christians, after the 2011 [Arab Spring] uprising," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
"Instead, the authorities are ignoring the underlying systemic issues and sending a message that Christians can be attacked with impunity." more >>
Christians in Egypt are split on whether to support a new law that no longer requires Christian churches to get approval from the country's president just to make renovations but also puts in place unprecedented regulations that govern the construction of churches.
On Tuesday, lawmakers in Egypt passed the nation's first-ever law providing specific rules and regulations on the construction of Christian churches, which critics argue gives too much power to local governments to deny church construction for the sake of conservative Muslim objection.
Although the law is being criticized by Christian activists and lawmakers, the law has actually been approved by the Coptic Orthodox Church, even after the church body rejected a draft of the bill on Aug. 18. Additionally, the Associated Press reports that a majority of Egypt's 36 Christian lawmakers also largely favored the bill, as did two-thirds of the Egyptian parliament. more >>
God's plan for the Middle East is "working perfectly" even though the persecution of Middle Eastern Christians is seemingly getting worse by the day, a persecuted Christian woman told American churchgoers on Sunday.
The Christian woman, who is referred to by the pseudonym of "Maryam" for security purposes, was encouraged by a group of six pastors and ministry leaders from the United States to travel to America and share her family's story of persecution and speak about the dedicated faith displayed by Christians in the Middle East.
This past Sunday, Maryam visited MeadowBrook Baptist Church in Gadsden, Alabama, and shared the story of how her father was sentenced to six months in jail after he complained to police about a Muslim man who was blocking the entrance to his store, threatening to kill him and disfigure his daughters with acid. more >>
The first Egyptian Christian convert to seek a change of religion on his ID card declared last week that he has returned to Islam after having been imprisoned for over two-and-a-half years.
In 2007, Mohamed Hegazy, also known by his Christian name Bishoy, became the first Egyptian man to sue the government to officially change his religion of record from Islam to Christianity so that his child could be raised as a Christian and get married in a church.
In response, many radical Muslim leaders called for Hegazy to be killed as an apostate. In December 2013, Hegazy, who worked for a Coptic Christian television station, was arrested and accused of spreading a "false image" of persecution against Christians in Egypt. In June of 2014, Hegazy was sentenced to five years in prison. more >>
Coptic Christian children in Egypt have spoken out about the terror they have suffered in attacks by radical Muslims on the Christian community, as one of the nation's top bishops asks President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to provide more protection.
One 11-year-old girl recalled the night that angry Muslim residents torched her family's home in the village of Kom El Louf in Minya over suspicions that Christians were trying to use the building as a church.
"I was terrified. I saw men pour petrol on bundles of wood and throw them on our roof. When it began to fall on us, my father dragged us out," Susana Khalaf said in an interview with The Financial Times. more >>
A Christian convert who was jailed and horrendously tortured because of his faith in Christ says the radical extremist problem facing the world today is much bigger than just the Islamic State.
Although many in the world today might view IS (also known as ISIS or ISIL) as the largest threat facing the world, the leader of the international human rights group One Free World International, the Rev. Majed el-Shafie, told the British news site Express the day after two IS-affiliated radicals killed a French priest during a morning mass in Normandy that "ISIS is not the problem."
In an interview, Shafie, who was the subject of the 2012 documentary "Freedom Fighter," shared the story of how he was imprisoned, heinously tortured and sentenced to death by government actors in Egypt for converting from Islam to Christianity and helping build house churches in 1998. more >>