VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

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Persecution Watch: Praying for Believers in Egypt

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday August 25, 2022 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

Egypt: Population: 104.6 million, Christians 16.2 million

1.    Egypt, Christianity is legal, but Christians are excluded from many parts of society. Religious freedom, particularly the right to practice Abrahamic religions (Islam, Judaism, and Christianity), is included in the Egyptian Constitution. However, the Egyptian constitution also establishes Islam as the official state religion. Much of the social exclusion and discrimination of Christians comes from within their local communities. Christians are barred from holding jobs and prominent positions in Egyptian academia, which often require their faculty to study the Quran or adhere to tenants of Islam. There have also been reports that Christians are denied jobs for failing to meet requirements from employers that could only be met by Muslims. In rural areas, Christians often take trains into northern Egypt or to the neighboring country of Libya in search of employment

2.    The Egyptian government requires churches to register. In 2016, the Egyptian government passed a law that appeared to aid Christians in gaining the necessary permits to construct more churches. However, acquiring a church-construction permit is an extensive process. “There are laws regarding churches. It’s a long process to submit papers for building a new church.  Since September 2017, just 1,800 churches have been registered out of over 5,000 pending applications. Many churches remain unlicensed, and since 2016, the Egyptian government has closed numerous unlicensed churches, particularly those located in the villages of Upper Egypt (southern Egypt). The Egyptian president, Abdel-Fattah El Sisi, has lately approved the construction of several large churches in large cities such as Alexandria or Cairo. However, much of the Christian population is located in the rural villages of Upper Egypt where authorities often stall or deny the construction of new churches. “In the cities, Christians are generally free to practice their religion. But poor Christians in rural Minya can’t afford to go [to the cities],” “In fact, Christians in Minya don’t blame Sisi for the lack of churches. They say it’s officials under him who are caving into Muslim extremists in the villages.” In 2018, the U.S. State Department reported that “a group of Muslim villagers hurled stones and bricks, breaking the windows of a building used as a church…. The attack followed a government inspection of the building, a step toward legalizing the church.”

3.    An individual’s religious affiliation is listed on their ID card. The Egyptian government includes a person’s religious designation on their ID card, which then dictates what Islamic laws concerning marriage, divorce, or inheritance apply. If someone converts from Islam to Christianity, it is difficult to reflect that change in religious designation on an ID card. According to Open Doors USA’s World Watch Research, if a married couple converts from Islam to Christianity, by law their marriage is declared void and their children illegitimate. “The law states individuals may change their religion,” says a report on Egypt by the U.S. State Department. “However, the government recognizes conversion to Islam, but generally not from Islam to any other religion.

4.    Christians who converted from Islam face social pressure. Within society, apostasy from Islam is not tolerated. Muslim friends and family often place enormous amounts of pressure on Christians to DE convert.

5.    Christian human rights activists have been imprisoned. Human rights activist and Coptic Christian, Ramy Kamel has been in prison since 2019. Kamel has defended the rights of Coptic Christians in Egypt by documenting attacks on Christian churches by Islamic extremists. He was arrested on charges of “spreading false news” and “belonging to a terrorist organization.” USCIRF has stated that Kamel has been detained in solitary confinement for over a year without trial.  

6.  Islamic State (ISIS) and Salafist jihadists fuel violent attacks on Christians in both rural areas and cities. The presence of Islamic extremists in Egypt has increased dramatically since the rise of ISIS in 2014. Extremist groups operate within both rural villages, particularly in Upper Egypt, and in large cities, like Alexandria. In villages, Islamic extremism has inspired local violence against Christians from kidnappings to church vandalism, to violent mobs and coordinated attacks. In the cities, churches have been struck by shootings and suicide bombers, often in the middle of services. ISIS and Salafist jihadists have explicitly targeted Christians. In a video claiming responsibility for a suicide bombing, ISIS labeled Christians in Egypt ‘our first target and favorite prey.’

7.   Christian women are often kidnapped and forced to convert. Many young Christian women are kidnapped by Islamic extremists, forced to convert to Islam and then often married off to Muslim men. “The Salafist group I knew rented apartments in different areas of Egypt to hide kidnapped Coptic girls,” said a former Muslim and former trafficker in Egypt in an article with Open Doors USA. “There they put them under pressure and threaten them to convert to Islam. And once they reach the legal age, an Islamic official comes in to legally change their religion to Islam.”When the family of a missing Christian woman reports to the authorities, police are slow to react or respond. “Because local police are more often than not in collusion with the kidnappers, the families have to come up with enormous sums to get their daughters back,” stated an article from The Washington Times. “If the family is poor, their daughter is gone forever.”

8.   Mass violent attacks on Christians and churches are common. The possibility of being killed for confessing Christ is continually present for Christians in Egypt. Attacks are frequent in the rural areas of Upper Egypt, especially in the Minya Governate, according to Open Doors USA The Minya Governorate is notorious for the high number of attacks on Christians. However, believers in the economically disadvantaged rural areas in the north experience a similar degree of oppression. Islamic extremist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood have nationwide support, but violent Islamic militants are only openly active in the northeastern area of the Sinai Peninsula.

  • Pray that the President El Sisi and His ministers will become forceful in getting lower-level provincial government leaders to observe the law and not willfully disadvantage Christians.
  • Ask God to change the hearts of influential local leaders, to recognize and value the contribution Christians make to society.
  • Pray for the protection of Christian girls and women from Muslim radicals, their attacks to mock and shame and especially forced marriages.
  • Pray to the Lord to deliver Christian women who have been forced into marrying a Muslim, to give them hope in their difficult circumstances.
  • Pray stable and fulfilling work for Christian men, so they can provide for their families. Pray for Christian Egyptian families as they seek to follow Jesus in the midst of constant pressure.
  •  Pray to the Lord that He will bind the forces of darkness and that permissions to build churches will be approved without delays.
  • Pray for the left behind family members to recover and experience healing when an Egyptian Christian is martyred.
  • Pray to the Lord for the NGOs who minister to the persecuted Christians with spiritual and physical aid.
  • Pray that Christians will be given wisdom and boldness and protection as they go out to bring the good news to the lost.
  • Pray to the Lord that He will reveal Himself to those who rebel against Him in a way that speaks to their hearts, appears to them in their dreams.
  • Pray that Christians have good internet coverage where they live and that the messages will edify them as well as touch unbelievers who serve the net.
  • Pray for the Christian radio stations that broadcast into Egypt that the Lord will reach many who need to be encouraged by the word.
  • Pray for church leaders to be protected in their communities from false accusations of inciting religious hatred.
  • Pray that persecuted believers will not become bitter and be able to love and forgive.
  • Pray to the Lord for a vital and growing Egyptian church.

We are continuing to lift up these persecuted witnesses to the Lord:

Leah Sharibu prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Pray for her release.

Alice Loksha Ngaddah was kidnapped in February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.

Pastor Wang Yi to be released from Chinese prison.

Anita a Christian convert, facing a long prison term who escaped from Iran and praying to go to a country where she can express her faith openly.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran for his release and his family as their persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence.

The Harvest

“I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18)

Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: (667) 770-1476 (Note: We have a new call-in phone number)

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Praying for Egypt Jordan and Lebanon

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Tuesday August 23, 2022 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

1 Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Dear Prayer Warriors, I pray that you will be encouraged by the Apostle Paul. Let not our labor in the Lord be in vain. 

Tonight, we will pray for Brothers and Sisters in Egypt, Syria and Jordan. 

We are continuing to lift-up these persecuted witnesses to the Lord:

Alice Loksha Ngaddah was kidnapped in February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.

Leah Sharibu prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Pray for her release.

Pastor Wang Yi to be released from Chinese prison.

Anita a Christian convert, facing a long prison term who escaped from Iran and praying to go to a country where she can express her faith openly.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran for his release and his family as their persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence.

The Harvest

“I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18)

The Lord’s servant,

Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Conference Call Leader

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: (667) 770-1476 (Note: We have a new call-in phone number)

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Praying for Believers in Egypt and Morocco

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Tuesday March 22, 2022 in a prayer conference call for the Persecuted Church hosted by Persecution Watch. 

Tonight, on the prayer conference call, we will pray as the Holy Spirit leads for Christians in Egypt and Morocco.

Hebrews 13:3 “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.”

We will continue to lift up these persecuted witnesses to the Lord: 

  • Leah Sharibu, prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Pray for her release.
  • Alice Loksha Ngaddah, kidnapped February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.
  • Pray for Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
  • Pray for Anita, a Christian convert facing a long prison term who escaped from Iran and praying to go to a country where she can express her faith openly.
  • For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their Persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence.

The Harvest

“I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18)

The Lord’s servant

Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Conference Call Leader

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday (Nightly as the Lord leads us to pray for Ukraine)

From any location on your phone

Time: (Note: USA time zones – please check your time zone)

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: (667) 770-1476

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Persecution Watch: Praying for the Persecuted Church

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Tuesday, March 8, 2022 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

Dear Prayer Warriors for it is written, 

 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

” Strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. Acts 14:22

 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” 1 Peter 4:12-14

Based on the linked reports below, we will also pray for Believers in Uganda and Nigeria.

New Christian Seriously Injured after Church Service in Uganda

Islamic Terrorists Kill Three Christians in Chibok, Nigeria

We have a prayer request 

A wife and her husband are former Muslims, now Christians in Egypt. Her husband as sharing about Christ on Facebook and was arrested. As of this writing, he has been in jail for 3 months. He is being tortured by the authorities and the prisoners. She is pregnant with their first child and is due any day. She has no money, so our co-worker took her to a local hospital and prepaid for her maternity and delivery.

  • Please pray for her during this stressful time and please pray that her husband will be released soon.

We will also continue to lift up these persecuted witnesses to the Lord: 

  • Leah Sharibu, prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Pray for her release.
  • Alice Loksha Ngaddah, kidnapped February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.
  • Pray for Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
  • Pray for Anita, a Christian convert facing a long prison term who escaped from Iran and praying to go to a country where she can express her faith openly.
  • For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their Persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence.

The Harvest

“I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18)

The Lord’s servant

Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Conference Call Leader

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday (Nightly as the Lord leads us to pray for Ukraine)

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: (667) 770-1476 (Note: We have a new call-in phone number)

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Persecution Watch: Pray for Egypt

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Saturday February 8, 2022 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

Egypt: 102 million people, 10% Christians, many are educated and are the nation’s professionals.  

Egypt is mentioned in Genesis 12 where Abraham fled because of the famine in Canaan.  Genesis 15:18 – the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “to thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt [Nile] unto the river Euphrates.”

Egypt was a Christian country before the 7th century, with notables like theologian Saint Augustine of Hippo, and Saint Anthony of the Desert (251 – 356 AD), an Egyptian holy man who helped start the monastic movement.

Egypt fought armed conflicts with Israel in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973, and occupying the Gaza Strip intermittently until 1967. In 1978, Egypt signed the Camp David Accords, withdrew from the Gaza Strip and recognized Israel. The two nations have been at peace for over 43 years.

In 2012 Mohamed Morsi was elected president with the backing of Muslim Brotherhood, which lead to massive protests. The next year the military removed Morsi from office.

With 102 million people, Egypt has the largest Muslim population in the Arab world, the world’s sixth largest Muslim population, and also has the largest Christian population in the Middle East. 

10–15% are Coptic Christians, and 1% are other Christian denominations. As a testament to their faith, Egypt’s Coptic Christians have a cross tattoo on their right wrist. 

According to columnist DAVID BROOKS, after an ISIS attack on Egyptian Christians, Egyptian students at Fuller Theological Seminar (in California) told Americans: “This is a cause for a celebration. This is about acknowledging what it means to live as a Christian in a context in which you have the privilege of martyrdom.” That idea is foreign to most American Christians, but the Egyptians led a celebratory service, which was followed by communion.

Prayer points:

Most Christians are Coptic.  

  • Pray for the Coptic Pope and other leaders to have wisdom in dealing with the Muslim government.

Many church buildings are decades or centuries old, but almost never given permits to repair their buildings.  

  • Pray for wisdom and favor so churches can have places to meet.

The secret police keep track of all Christian leaders and their meetings. 

  • Pray for wisdom, and freedom to preach the Gospel.
  • Pray for the traditional Egyptian church can teach western churches how to thrive under persecution.

Joseph changed the nation, working for the government. 

  • Pray for the educated Christians will also transform the country.

Many Christians are nominal. 

  • Pray for the renewal movement that is already occurring!

Persecution started increasing 30 years ago.  

  • Pray for the government to not see believers as a threat.
  • Pray against mob violence by vigilante Islamist groups, and for police protection.

Usually police come late, or not at all.

  • Pray against the actions of terrorists against monasteries, city churches, and Christians in rural areas.
  • Pray for believers to stand for their faith, and also to live a holy life.
  • Pray for believers incarcerated or tortured, on false charges.

“…contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” Jude 1:3

There are reports that several thousand Christians every year convert, or are coerced to become Muslim, especially girls. 

  • Pray for their faith!

Recently more Muslims have been converting to Christianity, but many are then imprisoned on false charges. 

  • Pray for more conversions, and grace to not waiver!
  • Pray for foreign believers to have freedom to work, in NGOs and church support.
  • Pray for Christian literature, radio, internet, the Jesus film, etc.

 We are continuing to lift up these persecuted witnesses to the Lord: 

  • Leah Sharibu, prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018. Pray for her release.
  • Alice Loksha Ngaddah, kidnapped February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.
  • Pray for Pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
  • Pray for Anita, a Christian convert facing a long prison term who escaped from Iran and praying to go to a country where she can express her faith openly.
  • For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their Persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence.

Michael Laird, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: (667) 770-1476 (Note: We have a new call-in phone number)

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Praying for Leaders in the Middle East

(Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday, January 27, 2022 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch.

EGYPT – President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi

  • Pray that the Lord will reach President al-Sisi and help him to see the value of Christian communities.
  • Pray that the police force will be directed and comply to protect all citizens, that includes Christians.
  • Pray that the president will reign in the radical Muslim fractions.
  • Pray that Christian leaders can be elected to government offices.

IRAN – Ayatollah Ali Khameni

  • Pray for the Lord that He will influence the Ayatollah to value Christianity.
  • Pray to the Lord that He will convict the government leaders overseeing Christian persecution.
  • Pray to the Lord that He will blind and confuse the government leaders in controlling the Gospel going out through their nation.
  • Pray to the Lord that He will raise up Muslim leaders who are in opposition to the Ayatollah’s hardline policies on non-Muslims.

IRAQ – President Barham Salih

  • Pray for the Lord to turn the President’s heart to Him.
  • Pray to the Lord to give the President and government leaders wisdom and strength to end the waves of violence.
  • Pray to the Lord that He will help the President to reign in the radical Muslim fractions.
  • Pray that President and government leaders will open up to Christianity.

JORDAN – King Abdullah II

  • Pray to the Lord that King Abdullah will continue to have compassion for Christians.
  • Pray to the Lord to protect King Abdullah from the demands of radical Muslims.
  • Pray that Christian leaders will be elected to government positions.
  • Pray to the Lord that King Abdullah will continue allow persecuted Christians to find refuge in Jordan.

Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

USA Time Zone:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: (667) 770-1476 (Note: We have a new call-in phone number)

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

What is Persecution Watch?

Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God. The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern time in the United States (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted, and the missions became one. Brother Blaine passed into glory on December 26, 2019. It was truly a blessing for all of us to serve alongside this dear man of God and he will be greatly missed. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch remains an important part of our mission. Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with the dedicated Persecution Watch prayer warrior team.

Prior to the passing of Brother Blaine, he confirmed the passing of the torch as prayer conference call leader to Nadia Dybvik. Nadia has a burdened heart for the persecuted and is a prayer warrior standing in the gap for them. She joined the Persecution Watch prayer team in 2013 and has been part of the core ever since. Before becoming the prayer call leader, she served in the role of prayer moderator since 2015. Blaine chose Nadia for her faithfulness to pray for the persecuted and her strong commitment to the Persecution Watch mission. We are blessed not only with her gift of prayer, but her genuine love for every brother and sister in Christ that comes on the call to pray. May the Lord continue to bless Nadia and the prayer team in the mission and their personal lives.

“Pray for us” is the number one request that we hear from the persecuted. As the members of the first century Church were moved by the Holy Spirit to pray, we too must continue to serve those suffering persecution by lifting them up to the Lord through prayer.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the conference call to share the trials they are facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer. Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone.

We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you. If you are new to the call and cannot find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

God bless and protect you in your faithfulness to serve.

Lois Kanalos, Founder, Voice of the Persecuted, Nadia Dybvik, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Leader and the Persecution Watch Prayer Team

NOTE: Please fill out the form in the sign up link below to be included in our distribution list to receive urgent prayer requests, prayer points, notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Persecution Watch: Praying for Believers in Egypt

5/13/2021 (Voice of the Persecuted) You are invited to join us on Thursday, May 13 in a prayer conference call for the persecuted church hosted by Persecution Watch. 

Egypt: Population 1.3 million, Christians 16.2 million [15.8%]

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has promised to improve the situation of the country’s Christians, who by many estimates constitute about fifteen percent of the population and face pervasive discrimination and intolerance. To date, al-Sisi’s most significant step has been his issuance of the Church Construction and Renovation Law (Law 80/2016) in September 2016. The law was supposed to address the longstanding demands of Egypt’s Christian communities for a more just and streamlined system of obtaining permits to build, renovate, and repair churches. Special restrictions on churches including the need for high-level state permission for building; deference to Muslims’ objections to the presence of churches in local communities; and interference by security agencies have all made it very difficult to build and operate churches in Egypt. One result has been a disproportionately large disparity in the number of Christian and Muslim places of worship.

Law 80/2016 has been widely touted as a crucial step toward addressing deep-rooted problems of discrimination faced by Egypt’s Christian population, and it includes some positive elements. But the hopes for significant change that accompanied its issuance have not been realized. More than two years into the implementation of Law 80, the positive impact has been minimal.

  • Of nearly 3,800 unlicensed churches waiting to be legalized, the authorities have recognized less than one third.

The law has not changed the fundamental problem: the state’s treatment of churches as a security issue that must be tightly managed to avoid provoking conflict with Muslim communities. Moreover, the al-Sisi regime has failed to make any real progress on other systemic problems hindering Christians’ freedom of worship, including unlawful church closures, harassment of worshippers by security agencies, failure to protect churches from sectarian violence, and

Who is most vulnerable to persecution? Most incidents and mob attacks take place in Upper Egypt, the southern part of the country which is known to be more conservative and radical than the north. The Minya Governate is notorious for having the highest number of attacks on Christians. However, Christians in the economically disadvantaged rural areas in the north experience a similar degree of oppression at the hands of Islamic extremists, especially in the villages and towns of the Nile Delta region. Islamic extremist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood have nationwide support, but violent Islamic militants are only openly active in the north-eastern area of the Sinai Peninsula.

  • Pray for president al-Sisi that the Lord will give him strength and guide him to fully implement the spirit and directions of the Church Construction and Renovation Law.
  • Pray to the Lord that He will it make possible for Christians to be elected to responsible government offices.
  • Pray for the release of all Christians imprisoned or held captive, and for the safety of all Christians as they go about their daily lives.
  • Pray for an end to all false accusations and senseless attacks against Christians, and that there will be an urgency in local police forces to seek justice for all wrongdoing.
  • Pray for the protection of church buildings and safety for the worshippers.
  • Pray that Christians in Egypt will have courage and wisdom to shine the light of Christ brightly in their communities.
  • Pray that the Lord will protect young Christian girls and teenagers from being abducted. They are abducted for their faith with the intention of forced conversion and marriage or trafficking.
  • Pray for the Lord to convict the abductors, spoil and foil their plans. Appear to them in their dreams.
  • Pray for special protection of converts from the Muslim faith, that they can withstand pressures from family and community.
  • Pray to give the persecuted the ability to pray for and forgive their persecutors. 
  • Pray for unity of the Christian churches. That they stand together.
  • Pray to the Lord that the efforts of the Muslim radicals will be ineffective to stop the growth of His church.

Again, we want to lift up persecuted witnesses to the Lord:

  •  Leah Sharibu, prisoner of Boko Haram since 2018, pray for her release.
  • Alice Loksha Ngaddah, kidnapped February 2019. She is a mother of two, working as a nurse for UNICEF. Pray for her release.
  •  Pray pastor Wang Yi to be released from prison.
  • Pray for Anita, a Christian convert facing a long prison term who escaped and now waiting for a visa to go to a country where she can express her faith openly.
  • For the release of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani from Iran, and his family as their Persecution continues. Pastor Nadarkhani is serving the second year of his six-year sentence, recently reduced from ten years.

Andy, Persecution Watch Prayer Call Moderator

Prayer Conference Call Details

Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday

From any location on your phone

Time:

9:00 PM Eastern

8:00 PM Central

7:00 PM Mountain

6:00 PM Pacific

Call in number: 712 775-7035

Access Code: 281207#

Recommended: For those who may be subject to added charges for conference calls. Please download the app, it’s free!

MOBILE APP: Free Conference Call HD also provides a quick and easy way for you to dial into conference calls without having to remember the dial-in credentials. Save all of your conference call dial-in numbers and access codes using this free app. With the Free Conference Call HD you can instantly dial into a conference call via 3G/4G data network and or regular mobile carrier. Google Play link or App Store – iTunes

If you are experiencing any difficulties joining the call, please let us know.

What is Persecution Watch?
Persecution Watch is a U.S. national prayer conference call ministry that prays specifically for the global Persecuted Church. For over a decade, Blaine Scogin led this national network of believers who faithfully pray for the persecuted and the global harvest for the Kingdom of God.

The group meets via a free call-in service every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday night at 9pm Eastern (please check your time zone). Blaine also served as Prayer Director for Voice of the Persecuted and our missions became one. The prayer mission of Persecution Watch is an important part of our own.

With the passing of Blaine into glory on December 26, 2019, Voice of the Persecuted is committed to continue the prayer conference call for the persecuted along with our dedicated prayer warrior team.

On occasion, persecuted brothers and sisters have been invited on the call to share the trials they’re facing. The team serves to encourage them by washing their feet in Spirit led prayer.

Time is often reserved for those on the call to ask questions. We believe this helps to gain a better understanding of the situation that persecuted Christians endure in their specific nations. Q&A also helps us to focus our prayers based on their current needs.

Persecution Watch also hosts callers who want to pray united from other nations. If your heart is perplexed by the sufferings of our persecuted brothers and sisters, you no longer need to pray alone. We welcome all who desire to pray for the persecuted church and consider it a joy to pray together with you.

If you’re new to the call and can’t find your voice, listen in and pray silently or on mute. We are grateful and thank the Lord for bringing us all together to pray in agreement for our persecuted family in Christ. We can all be prayer warriors on this call!

NOTE: Persecution Watch has a new email address for the prayer team and those who would like to receive urgent prayer requests, weekly call prayer points and notification of special prayer events and special guest speakers.

Please fill out the form below to be included in our new distribution list to receive this important information. We are grateful for your prayers and to the Lord for guiding us as we continue the Persecution Watch prayer call mission.

Note to Voice of the Persecuted (VOP) readers: The Persecution Watch prayer team is also the prayer team of Voice of the Persecuted. SIGN UP today.

Egypt’s Claim of Killing Suspected Executioners of Christian Suspicious

(Morning Star News) – The Egyptian Interior Ministry’s claim – a day after Islamic terrorists released a video showing the execution of a 62-year-old Christian grandfather – that police had killed three of the suspects in the killing seems suspicious at best.

The Egyptian government didn’t bother to say on what date the three members of the Islamic State affiliate in the North Sinai were killed in a gun battle in the Abtal area, a convenient omission since it’s also unclear when Coptic Christian businessman Nabil Habashi Salama was killed. The video was released on April 18, and the government statement was released the next day.

The government claimed three other suspects involved in the execution escaped. Terrorist and government assertions are difficult to verify as media access is restricted in the restive North Sinai, but if the Egyptian government claim that three jihadists were killed is true, it also raises the question of why security forces couldn’t rescue Salama before he was executed.

When Salama was kidnapped in the coastal town of Bir al Abd in the North Sinai in early November, it wasn’t clear who had done it or why. Was he perceived as a well-off businessman whose family could pay a large ransom? A Christian to be despised for his part in the leading the construction of a church building? Or perhaps they thought his Coptic Orthodox denomination was rich enough to pay a ransom.

The three unmasked men who seized Salama off the street in Bir al Abd had to steal a vehicle to make their get-away, which seemed a bit less sophisticated than a typical IS operation.

The reasons for his execution became clearer with the release of the video. His son told Coptic Orthodox leaders that while in captivity his father had told him he was kidnapped for his role in building the church of St. Mary, St. Karas and St. Abanoub in Bir al Abd, according to a tweet by a church bishop.

“He poured his heart and soul into this church and always said, ‘Do not think that I am building this church for here; I am building for myself a home in heaven,’” the bishop reported Peter Salama telling him. “In their efforts to have him abandon the faith, they humiliated my father, and broke all his teeth to torture him. Yet, through all this, and we are so joyful for him.”

In the video, one of three IS terrorists standing with rifles behind the kneeling Salama says, “We thank the great Allah who ordered his followers to kill, and the kafirs [apostates] to be subjugated until they pay the jizya while down on their knees. This is a message to Crusaders in every spot on earth: As you fight, you will be fought, and as you capture you will be captured.”

Then the militant, using a derogatory term for Christians, addresses Egyptian Christians, saying, “This is your reward for supporting the Egyptian army,” and shoots Salama in the head, killing him, according to Egyptian newspaper Watani.

As the Egyptian military has waged a campaign against IS in the Sinai, the Islamic extremist militants see Coptic Christians as supporting the Egyptian army, even as some Copts lament indifference by the government and security forces’ lack of effectiveness; critics say the government could have rescued Salama long ago.

In the video, the jihadists also kill two Bedouin tribesmen they accuse of fighting with the military. The Bedouins have provided intelligence on jihadist militants to military and police.

The Coptic Orthodox archbishop in his tweet quotes Salama’s son as saying, “We are currently telling our kids that their grandfather is now a saint in the highest places of heaven. The ISIS militants used to contact me during the time when my father was kidnapped, and, though I knew he said this under pressure, he would say, ‘All is fine, thanks to God.’ He explained to me that the militants wanted to enforce the Jizya tax on the Christians, and that he was kidnapped due to his efforts in building the church.”

The Jizya, a koranic protection “tax” on Christians and other non-Muslims, grants the right to practice another religion but is used to subdue them as second-class citizens.

“It was heart-wrenching to see the execution of my father,” Peter Salama told Watani, adding that since his father’s execution he has received threats from IS terrorists. “He had never done anything wrong, in fact he loved to serve everyone and was loved by all in Bir al-Abd.”

Earlier in the 13-minute video, Salama is made to look like a man confessing a crime as he admits he was responsible for building the Coptic Orthodox church in Bir al Abd and, in an obviously coerced statement, says that his “church is cooperating with the Egyptian army and intelligence’s war on the Islamic State.”

‘He Died a Great Man’

Salama owned shops selling mobile phones, garments and jewelry in Bir al Abd.

The kidnappers reportedly demanded a ransom of 5 million Egyptian pounds (US$318,000, though church sources say the demand was 2 million Egyptian pounds), and after the family was unable to pay it, Salama’s relatives followed local security officials’ advice to relocate from the area. They had to shut down all Salama’s businesses and leave.

Islamic extremists who have long terrorized the Sinai ramped up violence in 2013 after the army deposed President Mohamed Morsi, an Islamist of the Muslim Brotherhood, as part of a popular uprising. Christians were among IS’s favorite targets for torture and murder.

In the North Sinai in February 2017, in the Al-Arish area east of Bir al Abd, about 350 Coptic families fled after jihadist militants carried out a series of killings and threats. Copts also had to flee Al-Arish in July 2013 after a priest and a Christian businessman were killed.

While there are doubts about the military’s effectiveness, Pope Tawadros II, head of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, lauded security forces’ efforts against terrorists in a statement mourning the death of Salama.

“Even as the Church mourns her faithful son and servant, she feels joy at his heavenly award in Jesus Christ who he held on to and shed his blood for,” Tawadros said. “The Church confirms her support of all the Egyptian state’s efforts in battling terror, the attacks of which only make us more adamant in preserving our national unity. In this regard, we applaud the efforts of the Egyptian military and police. We offer our condolences to the family of the martyr and pray for the peace of our land.”

Salama had two sons and a daughter. His daughter, Marina Salama, said her piercing grief and shock over his death came with great respect for his faith.

“He lived and died a great man,” she said. “He is now in a better place, with Jesus whom he loved and served.”

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