Published: 14:00 GMT Daylight Time - Thursday 21 June 2012
Egyptian Christians in need as economy falters amid political turmoil
Country/Region: Egypt, Middle East and North Africa, Africa
“You came at just the right time for us… my family had no food to eat for dinner. Thank you for coming at the right time.”An Egyptian Christian mother who received a food package from Barnabas
Barnabas Aid is helping thousands of poor Christian families in Egypt who have been struggling to make ends meet as the country’s economy falters amid intensifying political turmoil.
Barnabas is feeding
needy Christian families in Egypt
Many of Egypt’s sizeable Christian minority, an estimated eight million people (ten per cent of the population) were already extremely poor, as a result of discrimination, before the revolution. But their plight has worsened in the fallout from that tumultuous event, which has seen the economy – particularly the tourism industry – near collapse, resulting in soaring prices and food scarcity.
Barnabas Aid is helping Egyptian Christians in a number of practical ways including feeding needy families, enabling Christians to set up small businesses to support themselves and covering medical expenses.
This support has proved to be a lifeline for those at the end of their own resources. One family in Minya, whose sole breadwinner lost her job in a clothes shop when it fell victim to the economic crisis, received a food package from Barnabas Aid just as they had spent their last few Egyptian pounds. Our partners encouraged them, saying:
When you have a really difficult time, God will show up.
As well as financial hardship, Egyptian Christians have suffered a marked increase in physical violence at the hands of Islamists since the revolution. Fearful that a Muslim Brotherhood victory in the presidential elections would lead to the establishment of an Islamist state, many Christians voted for the former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq, for which they have faced further harassment and hostility from Islamists.
Many Egyptian Christians are very poor and live in “garbage villages”
Barnabas Aid is concerned that Egyptian Christians may become even more vulnerable as the country descends into political turmoil with the military and Islamists on a collision course.
The dissolution of the Islamist-dominated parliament following an Egyptian Supreme Court ruling last Thursday (14 June) was slammed by the Muslim Brotherhood as a “coup against the entire democratic process” and warned that Egypt could see “dangerous” days ahead if power is returned to those linked to the previous regime.
Tensions increased on Sunday (17 June) when the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) issued a declaration granting itself sweeping powers and limiting those of the president. Thousands of demonstrators have once again filled Tahrir Square, the epicentre of last year’s “Arab Spring” protests, decrying the military coup.
Amid this turmoil, the results of the presidential election, which were due to be announced today (Thursday 21 June), have been delayed.
The military and Islamists are now on a collision course; some commentators are predicting massive violence, perhaps even civil war.
Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Aid, said:
The events of the last week have plunged Egypt back into a state of uncertainty and instability, making everyday life extremely difficult for its long-suffering citizens. Christians have been increasingly vulnerable since the revolution and their future in the country is looking ever more precarious. Barnabas Aid is standing with them throughout this tumultuous time both in prayer and with practical support.
For a quick donation of £3.00 by SMS (see terms and conditions here) text Barnabas/910 to 70007 (Please note: This facility is presently only available to UK supporters).
- That Egypt will not descend into a state of civil unrest and that political order will be restored, in keeping with the democratic wishes of the Egyptian people.
- That the country’s economy will improve with jobs becoming available and resources more affordable.
- For Christians who are in hardship and concerned about their future in Egypt; pray that the Lord will give them His peace and provide for all their needs.