Discrimination against Christians Egypt’s Christians have long been used to being treated as second-class citizens. Churches have found it almost impossible to obtain government permits to construct new buildings and repair existing ones because building a church required a presidential permit and years of paperwork, while the authorities procrastinated and sidelined applications. In contrast, building a mosque required only a regular planning permit. Christians suspected of carrying • COPTS (KOM EL-LOUFY) out unauthorised repairs or using homes for Waiting to worship church services have been attacked by Photo: Copts United Muslim mobs. The village of Kom El-Loufy in Minya province, Upper Egypt is home to about 1,800 Copts. An official application to build a church in the village was first filed ten years ago but still has not been granted. When the Copts met for an Easter celebration this year, Muslim villagers gathered in front of the house where the celebration was being held, attacked those present and burned down three homes. Egypt does not allow anyone who is born a Muslim to change the religious identity on their ID card to Christian, whereas it is a simple procedure to change from Christian to Muslim. Egyptian citizens are required to carry ID cards stating their religion, and this prohibition causes difficulties in many aspects of life for Christians who are former Muslims (including church attendance, employment, travel, marriage, registration of • IDENTITY CARD children and education). Christian converts are Source of problems often forced to choose between continuing to Photo: Al Jazeera be officially identified as a Muslim or obtaining forged documents showing their Christian identity. The kidnapping of teenage Christian girls is a continuing social problem in Egypt, and Christians protest that the police fail to act when such kidnappings are reported. Invariably, the accused man’s family and friends say that the Christian girl converted to Islam of her own free will and the police then tell the girl’s family that they can do nothing. In the vast majority of cases, the Christian girl remains with the Muslim community.
Pray… that Christians will be treated fairly in Egypt.
Published on Aug 30, 2017
The impact of recent terrorist attacks on Christians in Egypt is described in this issue which also focuses on the reaction of Christians to...