May 30, 2013 by Open Doors

Christians Find Work Hard to Find in Egypt:

It’s harder than ever to find a job in Egypt, where the unemployment rate has risen to a record 13 percent. For young Egyptians, the jobless rate is much higher. For out-of-work Christians, finding a job can be especially tough. They are 10 percent of a country where Islam is the state religion. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party holds the highest offices in the government. When quarreling citizens arrive at legal loggerheads, the new constitution turns to Islamic law to resolve the impasse. In the streets,kidnappings for ransom are increasing and churches are often attacked and burned. The International Monetary Fund, which is negotiating a multibillion-dollar loan to Egypt, put the situation in diplomatic language in April: “Prolonged political and policy uncertainty, social unrest, and security problems have taken a toll on confidence. As a result, real GDP growth has remained sluggish.”

Along with measures to instill government fiscal discipline, the IMF says “The most immediate challenges are to . . . protect the most vulnerable segments of the population.” Longer term, the report urges Egypt to enact “structural reform” that results in “more socially balanced growth.” At ground level, Egyptian Christians use a more personal language to describe their place in the economy. World Watch Monitor spoke with three Cairo Christians who are looking for work. Each of them asked not to be photographed or identified in full. Publicly criticizing a system they view as favoring Muslims, they said, would only make the long odds against finding a job even longer.

Forced Marriages Increasing in Nigeria:

The Bauchi pastor who was arrested for harbouring girls fleeing forced islamization and forced marriage has been released on bail. Last month Open Doors posted a prayer point about the pastor who was arrested and charged with kidnapping after three girls age 15, 12 and 10 sought refuge at his house. Their names are withheld for security purposes. Trouble started when the father of the girls converted to Islam. Although his wife followed him into Islam, his daughters refused to do the same. Their father then gave them a week to change their minds. Before the week was over, all three girls had fled their village and sought refuge at the pastor’s house fearing forced marriage to Muslim men. The girls were moved to an undisclosed safe location. However, a Muslim youth spotted the girls at the pastor’s house and reported to the family, whom he knew.

Under the directive of the District Head the Police in Bauchi arrested the pastor, charged him with kidnapping and sent him to prison. Police searched his house but found no evidence to prove his guilt.

Open Doors were concerned over the safety of the pastor while has was in prison. Most senior prison officers are Muslims. On his first day in custody, the pastor was taken to the controller’s office several times for interrogation. The following day he was taken to the controllers’ office again, but this time he was beaten. Still he felt it was in the minor’s best interest to not disclose their whereabouts.

After three hearings the pastor was granted bail on condition that he reports to the police station daily until the final hearing. The girls remain at the safe location. The sudden loss of their home has naturally disheartened them, but Open Doors has been informed that they feel safe and comfortable.

This is not the first such report of forced islamization and forced marriage that has reached Open Doors – it has become a common method whereby Muslims work to forcefully eradicate Christianity from the north. Open Doors World Watch Unit confirms that in 2012 Christian girls faced serious threats of abduction and forceful marriage. In Kano, for instance, a house was located where over 40 Christian girls were abducted, Islamized and many married off to Muslims. Open Doors field experts say that some of the Sharia states even have established ministries for the abducting and converting of Christian girls.

Join others in praying.