PUBLISHED ON 15 JULY, 2016 BY LYNDSEY KOH
Egypt (MNN) — An Amnesty International report was released on Wednesday confirming human rights violations in Egypt. People whom the state deems ‘dangerous’ — however they define it — are being unlawfully abducted by agents of the military-controlled government and tortured without formal charges or trials. There have been 630 disappearances so far this year.
Abductions of state-dissenters at the hands of the government aren’t necessarily new in Egypt, but analysts and world leaders note this report confirms a dramatic increase in the country’s political kidnapping activity. Egyptian officials deny the evidence.
Emily Fuentes with Open Doors USAexplains, “Whenever there [are] reports like this, it’s really important because it highlights all the human rights violations happening in this country. And from our end of working with persecuted Christians, we know how significant the violations are against Christians. So we’re thankful anytime Amnesty or other international groups highlight information like this, because minorities are often the targets of abductions or cases like this. We see it usually with press or then also religious minorities.”
In this environment of government censorship, minorities are apprehensive, and especially Coptic Christians.
Fuentes explains, “Christians have to be on high alert in countries like Egypt. Even though it’s only ranked number 22 on our World Watch List — basically in the middle [of] the countries where Christians face the most persecution — there’s a lot of day-to-day things that Christians kind of have to be on alert for.”
While marginalization tends to occur in more rural areas and villages in Egypt, Christians do suffer from suspicion and persecution in the Muslim-majority nation.
“For example,” says Fuentes, “Christian women, it’s almost impossible for them to work, mainly because a bus driver will not pick them up while they’re waiting for the bus to get to work if they’re not seen wearing a Muslim dress. And they’ll either be harassed by people on the bus or by men on the streets for not wearing the head covering. And it takes them maybe three to four hours to even get to work because so many buses have passed them by.
“Their safety is really at risk too for things like abductions or being harassed or violently hurt so it’s daily things like that that Christians have to think of…. Kids have to think about supplemental education because they’re usually discriminated against as Christians.”
There haven’t been reports of Christians specifically targeted by the state in these abductions, but when nations start to forcibly silence citizens without formal charges or trial, the protection of all minority groups becomes jeopardized.
“So things like the abductions, Christians are very aware that they could be targeted for it too and really have to be wise how they go about ministry but also how they go about daily life.”
You can check out prayer points for Egypt and Christians there through the Egypt page on Open Doors’ World Watch List. Meanwhile, Fuentes gives this prayer request:
“Pray for them with just the daily persecutions they face from society. Sometimes that can be some of the most taxing form of persecution just coming day-in and day-out from Muslim family members or neighbors who don’t understand why they’ve converted or why they choose to be Christians, or they view them as second-class citizens if they’ve been Christians for generations.”
Pray for God to embolden the hearts of our Egyptian brothers and sisters in Christ, as they seek to represent Jesus Christ to their neighbors. Pray for true justice and religious freedom in Egypt.
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