Call for prayer as Egyptian elections loomTuesday 1 May 2012
Release International has called for a month of prayer for Christians in nations caught up in the Arab Spring – especially in Egypt where persecution looks set to grow after the presidential elections.
‘This is a hugely significant time for Christians in the Middle East and North Africa as their countries undergo seismic shifts in their political structures,’ says Release Chief Executive, Andy Dipper.
‘Hard–line Islamist groups are making significant inroads into the political process,’ he adds, ‘While there are great opportunities for Christians to contribute to the development of their societies, they need our prayers for protection and wisdom like never before.’
Release has produced a prayer guide, focusing prayer throughout May on Egypt, Libya, Syria, Morocco, Yemen, Tunisia and Bahrain. The greatest concern is Egypt, where Christians are worried that persecution will increase following the presidential elections on May 23–24.
Up to 100,000 Christians have already left the country since last year’s uprising, and persecution has increased as Islamist groups have grown in influence over the past two decades.
‘Christians in Egypt are taking advantage of what they feel is a window of opportunity to spread the Gospel,’ says Andy Dipper. ‘Pray that with God’s help, they can lead many to Christ.’
Egypt was a majority Christian country for more than 1,000 years. Last year’s parliamentary elections led to a huge victory for the Islamist parties, especially the Muslim Brotherhood and the hard–line Salafist Nour. Extremist groups want to introduce strict Sharia (Islamic) law across Egypt and have launched attacks on Christians, public officials and foreigners.
‘Pray for the new President,’ says Andy Dipper of Release, ‘that he will uphold and champion religious freedom and work hard to encourage religious tolerance in Egypt.’
Egyptian Christians tell their stories in the latest edition of Release magazine. The magazine and Prayer Shield can be downloaded from www.releaseinternational.org