President al-Sisi’s authoritarian style of government has to some extent restored the rule of law in Egypt, but also implies a stricter compliance with the relatively restrictive legislation related to religious affairs. This is not in the advantage of the country’s Christian population. The large Coptic minority, while facing important difficulties, has been tolerated because of its historical presence and its demographic size. In recent years this has changed, however, causing historical Christian communities to be targeted as well. There is a small but growing community of Christian converts (Muslim Background Believers, MBBs), who bear the brunt of persecution, most often from family members.
Christianity has existed in Egypt for centuries, and although believers have often been tolerated because of their historical presence and demographic size, they have been recently targeted. After a series of attacks on Coptic Orthodox believers this summer, a breaking point was reached.
Three years ago this month, the Egyptian Christian community was devastated by a two-day wave of attacks mobilized by affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood that left many churches, Christian schools, Christian bookstores, and homes in ruins and flames.
On July 25th, Pope Tawadros, the patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt chose the historical Hanging Church in Old Cairo district to hold a prayer service for Egypt and the critical situation facing Egyptian believers.
On Monday, it marked one year since the Islamic State slaughtered 21 Egyptian Christians.
These regular acts of the Islamic State have begged the question: is the Islamic State more unified than the Body of Christ?