By Peter Wooding, Europe Bureau Chief for ASSIST News Service
EGYPT (ANS – April 12, 2017) — As Egypt’s president declares a three-month state of emergency following the Palm Sunday attacks on two Coptic churches, which claimed at least 44 lives, Christian charity Leading The Way is intensifying its efforts to help those facing ongoing persecution across the country.
Coptic Christians inside the northern Sinai Peninsula in Egypt are regularly targeted for kidnapping and even murder by Islamic militants. Many families from the town of Al-Arish and nearby areas were recently forced to leave their homes, fleeing to extended family or refugee camps or staying outdoors in the gardens of churches.
Leading The Way’s Help The Persecuted team responded by visiting some of these families to assess how they could help. The families recounted how Christian displacement increased after militants began gunning down Christians at their homes and in front of their families. There were many disturbing stories, but also a remarkable demonstration of faith.
One of the Christians who fled the city described the threats his community faced, saying: “Life completely stops after four in the afternoon, and the terrorist attacks start targeting Christians’ property, daughters, and wives. No one can leave the house — not for any reason. We escaped from this hell on earth and left all our property behind.”
Yared Ramzy*, who had been working in agriculture in Al-Arish, said: “We have been burying many martyrs’ bodies. They have died for the name of Christ. I remember when Dr. Farag* was killed. He was in his clinic where he used to serve everyone, and a group kicked him out of the clinic and asked him to say the Islamic testimony. When he refused and firmly stated that he is a Christian and will remain a Christian, they shot him dead.”
Dr. Farag’s 17-year-old son, Aziz*, shared: “My father had received many threatening phone calls demanding him to convert to Islam and to force my mother and sister to wear the hijab, but he never heeded their threats .He wanted us to stand firm in our faith and not allow the fear of death to overpower our honor. They robbed his clinic and shot him in daylight in front of his friends and neighbors. I extend forgiveness to the ones who killed my father and sent him to heaven to be with Jesus.”
Leading The Way is providing practical help through safe housing, living expenses, and spiritual support for 53 persecuted families — roughly 265 people who are vulnerable and currently living in and around churches.
Help The Persecuted Coordinator Mary* concluded: “Our hearts are broken following these latest attacks on two Coptic churches as well as for the many families fearing for their lives on a daily basis. We ask all Christians around the world to pray for peace in this region and pray that our brothers and sisters in Egypt would know that we are standing with them at this difficult time.”
To find out more go to: HelpThePersecuted.org
* Names have been changed for their protection.
To learn more about Leading The Way’s Gospel outreach here at home (UK) and in the Muslim world, visit uk.LTW.org or call 0800 432 0419.
About Leading The Way:
Now celebrating over 25 years of ministry, Leading The Way‘s television and radio programs are broadcast to more than 190 countries in 24 languages. Leading The Way also produces DVDs, CDs, books, a monthly devotional magazine, and daily e-devotionals to spread the light of Christ. This Atlanta-based organization partners internationally with in-country follow-up teams to encourage new believers in their faith and to provide tangible support to persecuted believers around the world.
Editor’s Note: For media enquiries contact Peter Wooding by phone at +44 (0) 7500 903067 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo captions: 1) Woman after attack on her church in Al-Arish. 2) Leading the Way founder, Dr. Michael Youssef, preaching. 3) Coptic Christians receiving aid. 4) Peter Wooding filming in London.
About the writer: Peter Wooding, the younger son of Dan and Norma Wooding, is an award-winning radio, TV, and print journalist. Having previously spent 10 years as news editor with UCB Radio in the UK, he has travelled extensively reporting from countries including Greece, Russia, Serbia, South Sudan, the Philippines, Uganda, South Korea, Zambia, Gambia, Mozambique, Croatia, Israel and India. Peter, whose most recent trip was to Ukraine, reports regularly for ASSIST News Service, Samaritan’s Purse, and Leading The Way. Peter, who has recently been appointed London Bureau Chief for the Global News Alliance, and his wife Sharon live in North Wales, UK, with their three daughters, Sarah, Anna and Abigail. To contact Peter, please e-mail him at: email@example.com or by telephone at: +44 7500 903067.
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