An Open Doors worker in Egypt recently shared with us what Egyptians are experiencing leading up to Ramadan (which begins this Friday), and how we can be praying:
When I walk down the streets of Cairo today, I can tell that Ramadan is near. The general atmosphere looks and feels very festive. The famous, colorful Ramadan lamps are hanging from balconies, and street lights and colorful paper begin to appear, streaming across narrow streets and alleys. Most of the shops have put out special decorations and nice displays of lamps, sweets, dried fruits and nuts in preparation of the holy fasting month.
The advertisements of TV productions, usually saved for the special month, are everywhere to be seen. Most Egyptians want to sit back and relax after eating their sunset breakfast, following numerous series and talk shows especially produced for the very special religious season.
As much excitement as the Islamic holy month brings to Muslims, it does carry a great deal of burdens and concerns to the Christian community in Egypt. It is a very long 30 days during which Christians in schools, work or public spaces will receive harsh looks and verbal harassments from devout Muslims because of their faith. They are ridiculed for not fasting like Muslims. Even in some cases, Christians may face physical violence due to the fact that they were caught eating their lunch by their fasting Muslim coworkers or neighbors!
It’s not un-common for Christians to hide somewhere to eat their lunches away from the eyes of the Muslims. I remember as a young boy having to eat and drink in the school toilet to avoid trouble with Muslim classmates and teachers.
It’s almost protocol during the month of Ramadan for devout Muslims, wherever they are, to turn to the Christians around them and bombard them with intimidating questions about their faith. They aim to distract themselves from the long fasting hours and, if they’re lucky enough, to plant doubt in the hearts of the Christians.
We, the Christians of Egypt, feel many different emotions regarding Ramadan. Our hearts are crying out loudly to the Lord, that He may show Himself clearly to the millions of Muslims who seek genuinely to find Him. We also pray that the Lord will use every one of us to act as a light to show our Muslim friends the true way to the loving God. Please pray with us that many Muslims around the globe will have an encounter with the true God.