World Watch List Rank: 17
Leader: President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
Population: 93.4 million (9 million Christians)
Main Religion: Islam
Source of Persecution: Islamic extremism
Photo credits: Jan Pieter Meijer for Open Doors // Open Doors
"Lord, thank you for the amazing work of our brothers and sisters in Egypt strengthening Christians facing poverty and persecution. Give courage to Muslim-background believers facing rejection and abuse- show them how much you love them. Help the Church to be encouraged and to stand strong."
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Both the indigenous Coptic community and Muslim-background Christians face mounting pressure as Islamist groups become more violent.
In the Sinai region, radical groups are a threat to the stability of the country. Elsewhere, unofficial 'customary law sessions' have seen Christians punished for crimes outside of a proper legal process. In June 2015, several Coptic families were expelled from their village. Christian women are particularly vulnerable, often changing their Christian names to Muslim ones to avoid rape or kidnapping.
Building or even repairing a church is difficult, if not impossible, and Christians find themselves placed at the end of the queue when it comes to things like education and welfare. Socially and culturally, girls and women are viewed as far inferior to men, which means that being a Christian girl is even harder. At schools, many Christian children face discrimination. Placed at the back of the class, they can be ignored and marginalised.
Muslim-background believers, as in many countries, bear the brunt of persecution - often from their families - who may punish them for abandoning the Islamic faith with beatings or expulsions from the home.
In cooperation with local churches and other partnering ministries, Open Doors supports the church in Egypt through:
- Literacy training and education projects
- Youth and family ministry
- Advocacy support
- Medical outreach
- Women's empowerment training and ministry to widows.