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EGYPT: Legal Battle Ends with ‘Return to Islam’

EGYPT: Legal Battle Ends with ‘Return to Islam’

Mohamed Hegazy battled with the Egyptian courts for nine years to be officially recognised as a Christian. His fight has ended – with his apparent decision to return to Islam.

Please pray for Mohamed, who has endured relentless persecution since he tried to change the religious status on his ID card to ‘Christian’. He announced his return to Islam in a video posted on YouTube.

Mohamed, 34, had been behind bars intermittently since December 2013, charged with “protesting without permission” and “defamation of religion.” A court finally ordered his release on bail on 29 June. But it took a further month before he was freed: his lawyer, Karam Ghobrial, was deliberately ensnared in red tape and Mohamed was transferred between several different police stations.

In his YouTube video, he makes the Shahada, the Islamic proclamation of allegiance, and then delivers an apparently well-rehearsed statement: “I say this out of my complete free will. I am not being held by any agency, nor am I under any pressure of any kind.”

Mohamed Hegazy changed his name to Bishoy Armia Boulous after he became a Christian at 16. He has been imprisoned twice, tortured and beaten regularly in jail: his family were forced to go into hiding.

Paul Robinson, CEO of VOM’s ministry partner Release International, says, “We must pray for Mohamed Hegazy. We do not know what he has gone through recently, added to all that he has suffered since his conversion to Christianity. God knows his heart.”

Source: Release International, World Watch Monitor

Prayer Points

  • Pray that Mohamed and his family will know that the God of all love and compassion will never leave them or forsake them. Pray that Mohamed will find peace and rest again in his relationship with Christ.
  • Pray for Mohamed’s Egyptian lawyer, Karam Ghobrial, who has also paid a high price for defending his client. Pray that God will strengthen and protect him.
  • Pray for our Christian family in Egypt; pray they will not be worn down by harassment and persecution but stand firm in their faith.

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EGYPT: Copts Attacked

EGYPT: Copts Attacked

Eight Christian homes were attacked and an equal number of Copts were detained after Muslims in an Egyptian village went on a rampage following rumours of a house church being built.

The attack last week in Saft el-Khirsa (180km south of Cairo) trails more than a dozen others that have, over the past two months, made an already vulnerable community more nervous. Of those attacks, three have seen Copts injured and their properties vandalised in the wake of claims that churches were being secretly set up.

Egypt is yet to approve a common law granting churches the same building rights as mosques. Discussions to redress this imbalance have fruitlessly been going on since the 1970s.

In Saft el-Khirsa, Coptic homes and stores were pelted by angry crowds shouting, “We don’t want a church,” and “No god but Allah, Christians are the enemies of Allah,” according to local witnesses.

Saft el-Khirsa, a village of some 12,000, is home to 70 Christian families. In a situation repeated across the country, the village is not served by a church, while ten mosques serve the Muslim community.

After police eventually put an end to violence, eight Copts, including some whose properties were vandalised, were rounded up and taken to custody. Ten Muslim attackers were also arrested. When asked why they were detaining victims as well as perpetrators, police said it was a matter of ‘state security’.

 Source: World Watch Monitor

 Prayer Points

  • Pray this most recent attack will galvanise the authorities to make changes to ensure justice is upheld; pray for the release of all innocent parties.
  • Pray the Lord will shower His generous provision on all who have suffered loss.
  • Thank the Lord for the way He is working in Egypt despite the opposition; ask Him to further unify His church and encourage them to be bold in their witness.

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Tearing down walls in North Africa (excerpt)

Tearing down walls in North Africa (excerpt)

‘Jay’ has served for more than a decade among Muslims in North Africa, sharing the love of Christ and discipling believers to become strong in their faith and share Jesus’ love with their countrymen. Here, he describes how God is tearing down walls to allow His word to go forth.

Listen to the full interview on VOM Radio here