JOIN THE PRAYER EVENT FROM ANY LOCATION. BEGINS TONIGHT AT 9PM EST – Everyone can be a PRAYER WARRIOR on this conference call!
Tonight we’re Joing in July to pray with and for our persecuted brothers and sisters. At 9pm EST, the lines will be open for 24 hours of continuous prayer. Through out the call, prayer participants will be offered the opportunity to hear directly from persecuted Christians joining us from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. We will also be given the chance to ask them questions. DON’T STAND IN SILENCE! SEE DETAILS HERE
MEET YOU ON THE CALL!
(Voice of the Persecuted) IRAN: Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, once sentenced to death for apostasy, was charged on Sunday, July 24th with acting against national security. He was also accused of being Zionist and informed that he had no right to evangelise. On the same day, he was released on condition of raising 100 million Touman bail (US$ 33,000) within a week, or face arrest.
In 2009, Nadarkhani was initially arrested and charged with apostasy after questioning why his children’s school only taught Islam in their religious education, which he said was unconstitutional.
Since his release from prison in September 2012, Nadarkhani was arrested for second time on May 13th. His wife Tina was also arrested but released later that day. This was also the second time Nadarkhani has been arrested since his release from prison in September 2012. But three other Christians are were still being detained, following raids on a number of Christian homes in the northern city of Rasht. CSW also reported that the Christians had their Bibles, computers and mobile phones confiscated.
On multiple occasions, Yasser Mossayebzadeh, Saheb Fadaie and Mohammad Reza Omidi have been arrested. Omidi was initially detained in December 2012 and later sentenced to 80 lashes for allegedly drinking alcohol as part of Holy Communion. (Alcohol is banned in Iran.)
Yasser Mossayebzadeh and Saheb Fadaie were arrested on May 13 alongside Youcef Nadarkhani and his wife who had been released later that day, but Mossayebzadeh, Fadaie and Mohammad Reza Omidi, were detained.
MEC reports that Mossayebzadeh and Fadaie were each forced to pay the equivalent of $33,000 for bail and have been released. Omidi was not then given that option, though it is not yet clear why, but later he was also granted bail.
Since 2015, more than 150 Christians have been detained by the Iranian authorities. Many are in jail, while others, including Mossayebzadeh and Fadaie, have been released conditionally, pending sentencing or an appeal.
MEC’s Rob Duncan said the current pressure being placed on Christians in Iran is “not as much through open violence and arrests, as through fear and intimidation”.
“There are fewer raids on house churches, but instead people are summoned to security for interrogation,” he said. “There is a lot of pressure on people to leave the country as a result. Also, when people are arrested and charged, bail demands are high and can financially cripple a family.”
Iranian Ministry of Intelligence Denies Christian Prisoner Conditional Release
A Christian woman, Maryam (Nasim) Naghash Zargaran is nearly three years into her four year prison sentence for the same charge as Nadarkhani. Her request for unconditional release on health grounds has been turned down by an Iranian court. Mohabat News reported that the refusal is due to the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence does not want her freed.
The report states an Iranian court has refused to release Iranian female Christian prisoner, saying intelligence forces do not want her out of prison. This is while there are signs of her developing MS disease.
It is now [three] weeks since female Christian prisoner, Maryam (Nasim) Naghash Zargaran resumed her hunger strike and new reports indicate that her health is deteriorating quickly. Her body has become very weak, posing an ever increasing health risk due to her heart condition.
Clinical staff in prison have expressed their serious concern over her poor health condition.
Her family was able to visit her earlier and found that she even refuses to go to the prison clinic as the staff mistreat her there.
Last Wednesday prison physicians examined her in relation to her recent request for conditional release because of her health issues and compiled a health report for the court reviewing her release request.
The medical report confirmed her heart disease and even found traces of MS disease in her. Despite receiving this report, the Iranian court stated that officials at the Ministry of Intelligence do not want Ms. Zargaran to be released.
Christian prisoner, Maryam Naghash Zargaran resumed her hunger strike on July 5, 2016 asking for “immediate and unconditional release”.
On the sixth day of her hunger strike, Ms. Zargaran wrote a letter stating “it is the time now to break my three year silence”. She wrote of her illegal arrest and interrogation as well as the unjust handling of her case, leaving her no choice but to go on a hunger strike.
Recently, her mother pleaded with Iranian prison and judicial authorities in a short video to handle her daughter’s case justly and speedily. She also asked for her daughter’s release unconditional release as she suffers from serious health issues.
Ms. Zargaran’s mother said she has made every effort in her power for her release. She said, she been going to the authorities every day, without receiving a solid answer from them.
Ms. Zargaran is serving her prison sentence while suffering from various health conditions, including severe anemia, diabetes and high blood cholesterol. Her medical treatment has been inadequate as Iranian judicial authorities have not allowed her to receive much needed health care outside prison.
She was first called into the intelligence office for interrogation in the winter of 2011 where she was questioned about her Christian activities.
For updates on Nasim visit and share the Free Maryam Naghash-Zargaran – Nasim page on Facebook.
Reports obtained by Mohabat News indicate that three Azeri Christians were arrested on June 24, 2016, during their visit to Tehran, Iran’s capital. These believers entered Iran as tourists to visit their fellow Christian brothers and sisters. The Iranian Intelligence Police raided a residential house in the outskirts of Tehran where they were visiting and arrested them all, along with one of the Iranian believers. They were immediately transferred to an unknown location.
The Azerbaijani citizens who were arrested were identified as:
1- Bahram Nasibov, 37 years old and married
2- Yusif Farhadov, 52 years old and married
3- Eldar Gurbanov, 48 years old and married
In addition to the three Azeri men named above, all who were present in that house were arrested as well, but all except one were released after questioning and collection of their personal information, under the condition that they will report to the police immediately upon being called. READ MORE
Pray for those imprisoned by Iran for their faith in Jesus and be their VOICE!
(Voice of the Persecuted) France—Father Jacques Hamel, (age 85), was a French Catholic priest in the parish of Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray in the Normandy region in northern France. Local media reported that he still officiated regularly as an auxiliary priest at the church in St Étienne-du-Rouvray, near Rouen, and in neighbouring Elbeuf where he would step in when the parish priest was not available.
While leading the service in the absence of the parish priest on Tuesday morning, two Islamic jihadists entered the church and took Father Hamel, two nuns and two worshipers hostage. But they targeted the elderly priest and slit his throat.
Sister Danielle, one of the hostages, was in the church celebrating mass when the men stormed the building. She described the brutality of the attackers.
“‘They told me, “you Christians, you kill us”. They forced him to his knees. He wanted to defend himself. And that’s when the tragedy happened. They recorded themselves. They did a sort of sermon around the altar, in Arabic. It’s a horror.’
While they were attacking the priest, Sister Danielle managed to escape and call for help. Reports claim one of the hostages, an elderly parishioner, suffered severe knife wounds. The Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility and two of its “soldiers” had carried out the attack.
When police arrived they tried to negotiate with the attackers, whom prosecutor Francois Molins said had lined up three hostages in front of the door as human shields to prevent police storming the church.
The three – two nuns and one parishioner – exited the church, followed by the attackers, one of whom was carrying a gun, who charged police shouting “Allahu akbar”, Mr Molins added. The pair were shot dead by police.
One of the attackers had fake explosives in a backpack. It would take hours for police to ensure the area was safe.
Father Moanda-Phuati, the parish priest of the Église St.-Étienne, where Father Hamel served, quickly returned from his trip. He spoke about the martyred priest and told French news agency—Le Figaro,
“He was a courageous priest for his age. Priests have the right to retire at 75 but he preferred to work in the service of the people because he still felt strong. He was very popular, a good man, simple and without extravagance. We benefited greatly from his experience and wisdom at the parish of Saint-Etienne. He served people for most of his life.”
Fr. Hamel was loved by the congregation. In the June 2016 edition of the parish news letter, Fr, Hamel shared,
The summer holiday time:
Spring was rather cool. If our moral was somewhat lowered, patience, was going to happen eventually. And the holidays.
The holidays are a time to take a distance with our usual activities. But this is not a simple bracket. It is a time of relaxation, but also of healing, dating, sharing, conviviality.
A Healing time: Some will take a few days for a retreat or a pilgrimage. Other reread the Gospel, alone or with others, as a word that sustains today. Others can recharge the great book of creation admiring them so different and so beautiful landscape that we rise and we talk about God.
May we hear in those moments God’s invitation to take care of this world, do, where we live, a warmer, more human, more fraternal.
a time to meet with relatives, friends: a time to take the time to experience something together.A time to be considerate of others, whoever they are.
A time of sharing: Sharing our friendship, our joy. Sharing our support to children, showing that they matter to us.
A time of prayer as: Attentive to what happens in our world at this time. Pray for those who are most in need, for peace, for a better living together.
It will still be the year of mercy. Are we attentive heart of beautiful things to each and those who may feel a bit more alone.
Let the holidays allow us to refuel friendship joy and relaxation. Then we can, better equipped, hit the road together.
Happy holidays to all!
Vatican Radio reported Pope Francis is horrified and shocked by an attack in a church in Rouen, in northern France, where a priest was slain and another hostage was seriously wounded.
A statement released by Fr Federico Lombardi, Director of the Holy See Press Office said: “we are particularly shocked because this horrible violence took place in a Church, in which God’s love is announced, with the barbarous killing of a priest and the involvement of the faithful”.
Fr Lombardi also said the Pope shares the pain and the horror caused by this absurd violence and expresses firm condemnation of every form of hatred and prays for the victims.
French president François Hollande addressed the nation following the church attack. He visited the scene on Tuesday, said the country is now ‘at war’ with ISIS after the terror group claimed responsibility. He warned that the militant threat in the country has never been so severe. He also said France will use all human and physical resources in the war against Islamist militancy.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS!
(Voice of the Persecuted) I challenge the Christians of the world to pray for their persecuted brothers and sisters, to act on their behalf and to live out the life of Jesus in this needy world around us. Only then we will see a radical change take place in the lives of people. Only then we will see the love of Christ replace the hatred of this world. —Brother Andrew
The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
Does prayer work? Does God really answer prayer? Does He really answer prayer regarding the persecuted Church?
A little over a year ago a tragedy took place in Charleston, South Carolina. A demonic crazed gunman walked into an African-American church wanting to start a race war between black and white. The young man was welcomed warmly by the people of that church holding a prayer meeting…
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Nigeria (Morning Star News) – Two days after a slain pastor in one part of Nasarawa state, Nigeria was buried, a Muslim Fulani herder in another part of the state cut off part of the hand of another pastor working on his farm.
The Rev. Hamza Alkali, 66, had to have the rest of his hand and wrist amputated. He told Morning Star News he managed to tackle the assailant and wrest the knife away from him or he would have been killed in the attack in Sabon Gida village, near Keffi, on July 7, two days after Muslim Fulani herdsmen with machetes killed the Rev. Zakariya Joseph Kurah at his farm near Lafia, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) away.
“If God was not with me, the Fulani man could have succeeded in taking my life,” Pastor Alkali said. “God was with me, because I told the Fulani man that God who created me in His image will not give him power to kill me.”
Affiliated with the Nigerian Baptist Convention, Pastor Alkali said when he first saw the herdsman coming onto his farm he thought he was just passing through. He continued working when the Fulani came up to him without greeting and asked him to hand over his mobile phone.
“Shocked at the Fulani man’s audacity, I wanted to know from him whether he was asking for my mobile phone because he lost his somewhere, or he was ordering me to hand over my mobile phone to him. The Fulani man insisted that I should give him my mobile phone. I then responded by telling him that I left my mobile phone at home.”
The herdsman then told the pastor he would search him.
“I was baffled and wanted to know why he would want to search me,” Pastor Alkali said. “He bluntly told me that if I don’t hand over my mobile phone to him he would kill me. Then I now told him, ‘You have no right or power to kill me. The God that created me and sent me to this place will not allow you to kill me.’ I repeated these words twice to him.”
Pastor Alkali came to Nasarawa state from his native Kaduna state more than 14 years ago. The herdsman’s intent was first to take away his mobile phone to prevent him from getting help once he attacked him, he said.
“Suddenly, the Fulani man pulled out his sword and attacked me. When I saw the sword he was dangling coming towards my face, I tried to protect my face raising my hands up, and within seconds the sword cut off my left hand into two. I saw part of my cut-off hand on the ground bouncing up and down. I then realized that if in the first attempt to kill me the Fulani man cut off my hand, unless I do something to protect myself, this Fulani man would no doubt in his second attempt to kill me cut off my head.”
The pastor rushed at him, wrestled with him and held him, in spite of his severed, bleeding hand. While held on the ground the herdsman was still gripping the sword, and the pastor managed to snatch it from him. The assailant ran away.
“I was there and the blood from my cut-off hand was rushing out,” Pastor Alkali said. “I started shouting and calling on some Christians working on farms close to mine to help rescue me. They came and pursued the Fulani man. But then they could not get him, and so they returned to find ways of taking me to the hospital.”
They took him first to the police station at Sabon Gida, where he pastors a congregation of 80 people, and from there police took him to the Federal Medical Centre, Keffi.
Pastor Alkali said he has never had any conflicts with the assailant, whom he had never met before, or any other Fulani herdsman, so he was surprised that he was attacked for no apparent reason except that he was a Christian pastor.
Throughout years of doing ministry in Sabon Gida he has enjoyed good rapport with both Christians and Muslims, he said. Many Muslims visited him in the hospital, he said.
“Both the Muslim leader in community and chief imam of the mosque in the village also visited me here in this hospital,” he said. “And this is all because of the way and manner I related well with them while working as a pastor there.”
A father of four, Pastor Alkali had pastored Sabon Gida Baptist Church between 1992 and 1996 and then retired, but in 2011 members of another congregation (undisclosed for security reasons) asked him to pastor their church.
He said that since Jesus Christ was persecuted, Christians must endure hardship and face any persecution head-on.
“Every Christian that is passing through persecution should stand firm, as God will not abandon such a person,” he said. “Our persecutors should know that one day they will stand before God to account for what they done here on earth. So what they should do is to come closer to God. They should repent and leave the evil ways they are following.”
The pastor said he and many other Christians in Nigeria are attacked for their faith.
“There are many out there who are victims of such attacks, and they are suffering,” he said. “These armed Fulani men are killing innocent people in Nigeria. The best thing that needs to be done by the Federal Government of Nigeria is that it must act to end these atrocities against Christians. These killers should be stopped.”
VOP Note: Please keep Pastor Alkali and the nation of Nigeria in your prayers.
- Pray he will be protected from infection and recover quickly.
- Pray he will overcome future obstacles caused by his injury.
- Pray the community will continue to gather around his family.
- Pray that the Fulani herdsman will remember the amazing witness of God’s protection over our brother and come to faith in Jesus.
- Remember to pray for our brothers and sisters living in Nigeria.
- Pray for peace and that the Gospel continues to prosper in Nigeria.
Oh God, thank you for your presence in Nigeria. In the Holy name of Jesus, we pray, Amen
Voice of the Persecuted is on the ground in Nigeria to care for our Christian brothers and sisters who have suffered brutal persecution.
We are committed to being a VOICE for persecuted Nigerian Christians and bring them comfort, relief, and encouragement. We have committed to a long-term mission in Nigeria. When they are able to return home, we will be there to encourage and help rebuild villages and their lives. They will not be forgotten!
We want you to know that even in great hardship, they thank God and feel extremely blessed that He has kept His hand on them. They are so encouraged and thank God for each one of you who have joined this mission through prayer and your support.
Together with your generous help, we can reach the goal to alleviate horrific suffering. In darkness and desperation, let us serve in love, with open arms and giving hands to provide light and hope.
HELP SAVE THE PERSECUTED
Every day, we thank God that He is working through you to care for His children and to further His Kingdom! As you greatly bless others, may God continue to bless you. Thank you so much for your support. We couldn’t do it without you!
You may also send your gift to:
2740 Third St
P.O. Box 122
Trenton, MI. 48183
If the Lord is placing it on your heart and you are able, please help us to continue the mission in Nigeria. Donations always desperately needed
(Morning Star News) – One Christian is dead, several others have been wounded and a fire gutted a church building after Muslims across Egypt waged a weekend of violence against Copts.
In Tahana El-Gabal village in Minya Governorate, on Sunday night (July 17) Fam Mary Khalaf, 27, was overpowered by a group of Muslims who stabbed him repeatedly in the chest. One of the knife stabs went directly into his heart, killing him instantly, a statement from the local parish reported.
Three others were seriously injured in the attack: Nagib Hanna, father of the Rev. Metaous, a local Coptic priest; Malak Aziz, brother of the Rev. Boutrous, another local priest; and Azza Jouma, a Christian neighbor of the three victims, was stabbed in the face.
The attack started when four Muslims began harassing Metaous’s primary school-age son as his grandfather was looking after him outside his home. The men threatened to run the boy over, witnesses told human rights activists investigating the incident. Once the stabbing began, the group of four quickly grew into a mob of more than two dozen screaming, “Stand by your Muslim brother!”
The assault was one of numerous cases of violence against Copts in Minya Governorate over the past few months, including an attack in May in which an elderly Coptic woman was stripped, beaten and paraded naked through her village streets because of a rumor, later shown to be false, that her son was having a romantic relationship with a Muslim woman.
Ishak Ibrahim, a human rights researcher at the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), said the attacks in Egypt and specifically in Minya continue because no one is being punished for committing them.
“What happened in Minya is nothing but a natural result of not enforcing the law in previous sectarian attacks against the Copts, and forcing the Copts to go through reconciliation meetings and obey illegal solutions that are demeaning,” he said.
The Tahana El-Gabal stabbing death came about a day after a mob of Muslims, enraged over a rumor that a church building was being constructed in the governorate, attacked Copts in their village. Starting shortly after 9 p.m. on Friday (July 15), groups of Muslims set on the Copts in the village of Abu Yacoub, causing minor injuries and torching five homes.
The attack lasted into the early morning hours of Saturday (July 16). Firefighters showed up several hours after the structures had been destroyed.
The bishop of Minya, identified according to tradition only by his consecrated name, Makarious, said in a press statement that the rioting mobs were in complete violation of the law and that there was no excuse for the violence.
“Nobody has the right to attack others and kill and destroy their property, no matter what,” he said.
The Abu Yacoub riot was the second such incident in 15 days to take place in Minya Governorate over a rumor that a church building was being constructed, and the third in the country in 30 days. In a surprisingly similar incident, on June 30 another mob rioted in response to a rumor of the building of a church in Kom El Loofy village in Minya Governorate. The 300-strong mob torched four Coptic-owned homes and otherwise harassed or assaulted Copts.
On June 17 in Amriya, a village south of Alexandria, local Muslims accused area Copts of building a church in a Coptic-owned construction site and began rioting. The mob assaulted Coptic men in the village and then attacked and looted several Christian-owned homes and a Coptic community center.
In the Amriya attack, police later arrested six Muslims and six Copts, including the owner of the construction site. The Muslims were released with no charges, in time to break the Ramadan day-time fast, but the Christians were charged with holding prayers without permission and building without a permit, then released the following morning.
The EIPR’s Ibrahim said the anti-church riots pose a dangerous problem for Copts, because they indicate that even if laws in Egypt change to allow them to freely construct church buildings, certain elements of Egyptian society still wouldn’t allow it.
“The government is not strong enough to protect the Copts from all these attacks,” he said.
Authorities are now trying to force Coptic communities in all the cases into what is known as a reconciliation process. Instead of criminally charging the perpetrators of Christian persecution, the government seemingly does everything it can to force victims into “Reconciliation Committees.”
Reconciliation Committees are based on traditional tribal councils, where two equal entities come together to solve a dispute. The committees are supposed to lead to equitable justice for all parties, but because Copts have significantly less power coming to the table than members of the Muslim majority, they are often victimized a second time instead of receiving justice. In some cases, Copts have been made to pay damages to attackers who destroyed their property in unprovoked incidents.
Bishop Makarious has urged all the victims to stand firm and refuse to participate in such committees because the perpetrators so often escape without punishment.
“We’re going to continue demanding the enforcement of the law and will not give up,” he said. “Every time they are set free, that is just encouraging others to do attacks in the same way, because they feel they are protected by the government.”
While mobs are burning down Coptic homes, churches are destroyed in mysterious fires. On Saturday (July 16) at 2:30 a.m., Copts rushed out into the streets of Al-Madamoud in Luxor Governorate to find flames shooting out of the roof of the Church of the Archangel Michael. An iconographer restoring the church’s religious paintings was stuck inside the building on the top floor in a room for visitors.
He had been allowed to sleep in facilities on the top floor of the church building. He was screaming for help and was about to jump, likely to his death or at least a crippling injury, but the gathered crowd was able to save him with a ladder.
When people pushed open the doors of the church building to go inside and fight the fire, they found the altar engulfed in flames and the blaze spreading everywhere. The men and women began trying to douse the flames with garden hoses and bottles of drinking water. By the time firefighters arrived two and a half hours later, the building was gutted.
The next morning, Safwat Samaan, director of human rights group Nation Without Borders, was able to visit the scene. Members of the congregation crowded into the blackened shell of the build with tears welling up in their eyes.
“It broke my heart to see old men, eyes full of tears and women wailing,” he said.
Now members of the congregation are afraid authorities will claim the fire was accidental, as officials nationwide have in so many other church building fires. Authorities claim the fires are accidental, started by unattended candles or an electrical short, even when no candles are present and electricity is shut off to the building.
That was the ruling in the fire at the Catholic Church of St. George, also located in Luxor Governorate, which caught fire under mysterious circumstances on April 20 at 3 a.m. Authorities claimed the fire was the result of either unattended candles or a short in a wire, but there were no candles, and a church attendant had turned off the main electric line to the building.
Because of the similarities between the fires at the Church of the Archangel Michael and the Church of St. George, many Copts have suspicions that a serial arsonist is targeting churches in Luxor, Samaan said.
“I wonder if this was just an accident, or if this was a planned arson, but the results will be in the hands of the firefighters and the police,” Samaan said. “I am concerned they will come to yet another all too convenient ruling.”
In a signed statement made received and shared by Vanguard news, Chairman of NCEF, Solomon Asemota (SAN), identified doctrine of hatred as significant to factors affecting the country.
“What the nation is witnessing today can be attributed to three immediate factors:
The doctrine of hatred that was used to indoctrinate Almajiris in the various Islamic Madrassas in the North where Muslims were deliberately taught to hate Christians and people of other faiths.
“Secondly, the concept of “sacred space” in which Islamists believe, for example, that the road leading to their mosque belongs exclusively to them. “The “sacred space” concept is applied to every area in which Islamism has traveled. The belief is that all land on earth has been given by Allah to Muslims and it is theirs by right, to stage a Jihad to retake them.
“Thirdly, the result of one Nation operating two political systems of Democracy and Sharia.
“Nigeria is witnessing a recurring decimal of violence as a result of narrow minded religious indoctrination and the onus is on Muslim leaders in the country to take steps to reverse this anomaly in the best interest of everyone. “No country can make progress and live in peace when a section of the population is consumed with hatred for other citizens.
“The National Christian Elders’ Forum wishes to emphasize, once again, that the main cause of the crisis in Nigeria is rooted in the conflict of ideology – Democracy versus Sharia in which one nation has two systems of government. It is impossible to have two national ideologies (Democracy and Sharia) as we witness today. “Nigeria was established by our founding fathers, British and Nigerians, as a Democratic country to accommodate all the divergent groups within the nation. Those whose aim is to turn the Nation into a Sharia state are the architects of the present distress.
“The National Christian Elders’ Forum is calling on all Christian leaders to meet urgently and appraise the situation in the Nation with the Vice President, Pastor Yemi Osibanjo SAN as Chairman. “There is the need for a holistic response to the relentless attacks by Islamists on Christians and Christian communities. Thereafter, there should be a meeting with Muslim leaders. This is the only way out of this agony, because while the Islamist Jihadists are few, the majority of Muslims must lead in the fight against Islamist extremism. “If Nigeria is to remain a nation that all the citizens will call their home, Islamic leaders must champion the cause of dismantling the “doctrine of hatred” and promote Democracy which guarantees freedom of choice for all the citizens. “Those pushing for Sharia ideology should be persuaded by their Muslim counterparts that in a multi-cultural and multi-religious society like Nigeria, Sharia as a national ideology cannot stand. “If this is not done, and done quickly, then the nation that is tottering on the edge of the precipice will be pushed beyond the brink. Christians constitute a significant portion of the Nigerian population and, it is impossible to have Nigeria without Christians.”
Cairo (Agenzia Fides) – The start of parliamentary debate on the new Egyptian law that should regulate the construction of churches and places of worship had been announced for the end of May, but almost two months later, the text of bill has not yet been brought into parliament, and is subjected to constant changes. The delays are of concern in the Churches and Christian communities in Egypt. Coptic Orthodox Patriarch Tawadros II, in a recent interview, reported he often prays for the intention that the legislative process of the new law will soon be accomplished.
Egyptian sources consulted by Agenzia Fides, reported that Anba Paula, Coptic Orthodox Bishop of Tanta, continues, as representative of Churches, to meet with officials of the Ministry of Justice and the competent parliamentary committees to make further adjustments to the text, so that it can be approved and does not risk being rejected in court by a parliamentary vote against.
The bill, presented to the relevant parliamentary offices in mid-May (see Fides 16/05/2016) consisted of 13 articles. In the draft it recognized among other things the right of Bishops to appeal to the State Council for delays imposed in an unnatural manner concerning procedures for the construction of new churches.
The new legislation, should lead to the total filing of the rules laid out by the so-called “Hamayoni Decree”, the law which dates back to the Ottoman period which is the cause of many disputes at a local level. According to these rules, the construction of Christian churches is subject to obligations that do not weigh on the construction of mosques, such as the ban on the construction of Christian places of worship close to schools, canals, government buildings, railways and residential areas. (