Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Prayer requests for Egypt

Last week, Middle East Concern requested prayer following violent clashes between Christians and Salafi Muslims in Imbaba, Egypt.

Twelve people were killed (Christians and Muslims), many injured and arrested, and two church buildings and numerous Christian homes were damaged by theft, looting and arson.

In response, the government reaffirmed its determination to tackle sectarian violence.

There are two developments requiring continued prayer.

First, the Supreme State Security Prosecution has started legal proceedings against 23 Salafi Muslims allegedly involved in the Imbaba incident. The charges used include terrorism, premeditated murder, vandalism of public and private property, and intimidating citizens.

Second, the government has announced it is considering re-opening a number of church buildings that were closed under President Mubarak. Sixteen have already been approved for re-opening, of which at least three have already been opened. More re-openings are expected this week provided the authorities are satisfied that adequate security measures are in place.

Fear of sectarian incidents was one factor in the original decisions to close the buildings.

Regrettably, one re-opening was marred by a sectarian clash on May 19. As a group of Christians approached the Church of the Virgin in Ain Shams, Cairo, a crowd of Muslims, including Salafis, tried to block their way. The two groups threw stones at each other. Police quickly restored order and made some arrests. The Christians then approached the church via a back route. No injuries were reported.

Egyptian Christians request our continued prayers.
  • Pray authorities will fulfil their commitment to bring all perpetrators of sectarian violence to justice
  • Pray the re-opened church buildings will be well used
  • Pray further re-openings will happen peacefully
  • Pray security measures will prove adequate
  • Pray the bereaved will know the comfort of Jesus
  • Pray the wounded and traumatized will know the healing touch of Jesus
  • Pray church leaders will know the Spirit's enabling as they pastor their congregations and deal with community leaders
  • Pray the Good News of Jesus will be made available to all that seek it

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