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A church in Cairo, Egypt, was recently prevented from re-opening due to pressure from authorities and local Muslims. Three years ago, in November 2008, Egypt's State Security Intelligence service closed down the Church of the Virgin Mary and St. Abraam in Ain Shams, a poor section of the city, after a group of protesting Muslims blocked the entrance. On May 19, the day the church was scheduled to re-open, hundreds of Muslims gathered outside to protest. They surrounded the building, preventing anyone from getting into it and trapping priests who were inside. They also threw rocks and threatened to kill the lead priest. Several people were injured, including a Christian bystander who was beaten by Muslims when he tried to record the attack on a cell phone. As a result of the protest, the provisional military authority has backed away from its promise to the church to re-open. At last report, it was unknown if any of the Muslim protestors have been arrested.

Pray for healing for those injured. Pray this congregation will indeed be able to re-open its church. Pray that, in the face of violence, Egyptian believers will confidently entrust themselves to Christ and preach the gospel without hesitation (2 Timothy 1:7-12). Pray that authorities will justly protect Christian citizens against opposition from militant Islamists.

To find out more about the trials facing Christians in Egypt, visit the Egypt Country Report.