SANTA ANA, Calif., Oct. 10, 2011 /Christian Newswire
/ -- According to the Associated Press, clashes resumed today in Cairo between Christian protesters and Egyptian security forces a day after at least 26 people were killed and 180 injured, including many Christians.
Violence erupted in the streets of Cairo on Sunday when Christians protested the burning of a Coptic church in southern Egypt a week ago, according to press reports.
Dr. Carl Moeller, president/CEO of Open Doors USA, calls for a halt to the violence and for prayers for peace and calm.
"Please pray with me for a halt to the loss of lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ in Egypt," he says. "Pray for calm. Pray for those who have resorted to killing and wounding to stop their actions."
Moeller says that Egyptian Christians are frustrated over a string of church bombings and closures since the first of the year. On New Year's Day a suicide bomber killed 22 Christians in front of the Two Saints Church in Alexandria.
"Instead of more freedom since the end of the Hosni Mubarak regime in January, Christians have been even more targeted by Muslim extremists," he states. "And they feel the current military leaders have done little to protect them and insure their religious rights."
According to Compass Direct News, attacks on Coptic churches are part of a larger and ever-increasing trend taking place in Egypt whereby a government official in a province or municipality grants permission for a church to be built or re-opened and hard-line Muslims threaten violence if services take place. Coptic leaders accuse the government of playing a colluding role in the violence by not enforcing the law, including a recently renewed and expanded Emergency Law, which stipulates imprisonment as a penalty for acts of sectarian strife, "thuggery" and vandalism of private property.
Egypt is ranked No. 19 on the Open Doors 2011 World Watch List of the 50 worst persecutors of Christians. Egypt has by far the largest Christian minority in the Middle East – an estimated 10 million. The population of Egypt is 80 million.
Today Egypt's Coptic church leaders called on followers to fast and pray for three days to mourn Christians killed in the clashes.
Moeller adds: "This is a time for the entire body of Christ to pray for the church in Egypt and the entire region. It is also a time for all peoples of every religion to come together and work for true freedom, democracy and peace."
Open Doors partners with the church in Egypt by:
· Bringing awareness of human rights violations
· Providing needed employment opportunities for persecuted Christians
· Providing resources and training to empower local churches and pastors.
An estimated 100 million Christians worldwide suffer interrogation, arrest and even death for their faith in Christ, with millions more facing discrimination and alienation. Open Doors supports and strengthens believers in the world's most difficult areas through Bible and Christian literature distribution, leadership training and assistance, Christian community development, prayer and presence ministry and advocacy on behalf of suffering believers. To partner with Open Doors USA, call toll free at 888-5-BIBLE-5 (888-524-2535) or go to our Website at www.OpenDoorsUSA.org.
(For more information or to set up an interview, contact Jerry Dykstra at 616-915-4117 or email firstname.lastname@example.org