Baptists in Cairo call for peace
C a i r o – Following violent unrest in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, local Baptists have sent out a call for prayer. In the confrontation between peaceful Christian demonstrators and the military on October 9, twenty-four Christians lost their lives and several hundred were injured, in some cases seriously. The Christians, primarily Coptic, were demonstrating against violent attacks by militant Muslims on a church in Upper Egypt, during which a newly renovated church building was destroyed. In light of the lack of police intervention to oppose these attacks, Christians throughout the country organised protest marches. They were calling for the perpetrators to be punished and the destroyed church to be rebuilt. However, in front of the headquarters of Egyptian television, the military, which had arrived in the meantime, attacked the demonstrators. They fired shots and steered an armoured vehicle directly into the crowd.
Christians in Egypt responded to the attacks with three days of prayer and fasting. In addition, they decided to provide financial support to families who had suffered the loss of loved ones. As the pastor of the Baptist church in Cairo, Mounir Malaty, writes, these tragic experiences are fittingly addressed by the theme given to their church this year. They have placed their activities under the exhortation from 1 Thessalonians 3:3: “that no man should be moved by these afflictions”. He asks that Baptists throughout the world pray that God, through his love, would overcome the spirit of hate and violence in Egypt. Part of that would be for Christians in the country to forgive their neighbours and renew their love toward them, so that they can fulfil their true mission. Another request: Pray for “believers to regain their confidence in the Lord and get rid of their fear”. Eighty-seven percent of the approximately 83 million inhabitants of Egypt are Muslim, and ten percent are Orthodox Coptic Christians. Eighteen churches with 2 100 members belong to the Union of Baptist Churches in Egypt.