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Celebrating the return of Anthonius
Photo: World Watch Monitor

On the morning of April 5th, a 13-year-old Christian boy was kidnapped in Upper Egypt. After a ransom had been paid in exchange for his freedom, the young teen was safely released 12 days later. Anthonius Farag was snatched outside his school early that morning in the village of Mansheyyit Manbal (near Matay, which is about 230 kilometres south of Cairo). On the same day of the kidnapping, the perpetrators released a Muslim child after identifying the student's religion by his name, but sped away in a vehicle forcefully retaining the Christian teen.

This latest case is not isolated. According to the Coalition of Coptic Egypt (CCE), a concerned advocacy group, the Upper Egyptian province of Qena alone saw no less than 72 cases of kidnapping, extortion and related violence against Copts during the period of 2011 to 2014 (the most recent figures received by the advocacy group for this province). Victims targeted in the kidnappings ranged from children to the elderly.

Targeted violence against Copts has also occurred elsewhere in the country. During a two-year period leading up to July 2015, CCE representatives state that "127 Coptic families were forced to leave Rafah, Sheikh Zuweid and al-Arish after a rash of attacks." This phenomenon is plaguing the Egyptian northeastern Sinai Peninsula where an apparent Islamist insurgency caused by militants has been taking place. Additional reports on persecution -- including informative video documentaries -- are available here.

As fellow believers, we can share in the joy of Anthonius' family and friends who are rejoicing over his safe release from captivity, giving thanks to God for protecting his life. At the same time, please join us in praying for other Christians in Egypt who are experiencing tremendous challenges due to persecution. Thankfully, the Lord will fulfill His promises by making the wrongdoings of others "right," using what the enemy has meant for evil to bring about greater good in the lives of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). May the transforming love of Jesus touch the hearts of Egyptians who are opposed to Christianity so that they, too, may know of His tender loving mercy.