Christians Urged to Pray for North Africa Amid Rising Hostility

With religious tensions on the rise in North Africa, Barnabas Aid has urged Christians to pray for peace and religious freedoms following recent elections.

The call for prayer comes after the Islamist Ennahda party, once banned, was elected into power.

Many are predicting that Egypt's ultra-conservative Salafi party is headed in a similar direction, which has left local Christians fearful.

"Anti-Christian hostility has increased markedly since the revolutions, particularly in Egypt," wrote,

There have been an increasing number of religious hate crimes particularly in south Egypt, where tensions have risen following the death of a Coptic Christian – who was murdered by a Muslim.

Sources have suggested that Christians are not respected and are constantly discriminated against in the dominantly Muslim regions of North Africa.

Many fear that their rights as Christians will be taken away after what critics are calling "extremists" are elected into power.

Christian locals say that their safety is in jeopardy, and complain that they are often made to feel forced to convert to Islam by Islamic locals.

Although Egypt's Coptic Christians have tried protesting to raise awareness about these problems, many are left feeling discouraged. It was reported that a recent demonstration resulted in the deaths of 25 locals, after the current ruling military government attempted to shut it down.

News website Voice Of America (VOA) interviewed ‘Said,’ one of Egypt’s Coptic Christians who explained that, “Coptic Christians do not have the same rights as other people in the country, and that others look down on them as if they are not human.”

As a result of the increasing safety concerns, Barnabas Aid has a message for all Christians.

"Pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in the region and ask that the Lord will grant them strength and protection in these times of political turmoil."

Tunisia, which helped form the Arab Spring, elected what critics call an Islamic political party with dangerous jihadist regimes, after the fall of Zine el-Abidine ben Ali.

Critics say Egypt is likely be run under Shariah law which is based on the teachings of Prophet Muhammad and his 7th-century companions – if the Salafi party wins.