Egyptian Christians in desperate poverty as political upheaval continues

May 15, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

At the end of a long day distributing packages of rice, pasta, lentils, jam, oil and detergent to needy Egyptian Christians, the team had just one package left. They felt a strong prompting from the Lord to give it to a particular poor, humble Christian even though he had not asked for help. A team member told him, “I was praying and God put you on my heart. I want to give you this package of food.” At first, the man refused to take the package and suggested that there were others in greater need, but the team insisted that he take it. Next day his wife ran after the team to tell them, “You came at just the right time for us. You arrived at 4.00 p.m. and my family had no food to eat for dinner. Thank you for coming at the right time.”

Christians in Egypt live in extreme povertyEgypt, April 25, 2013: Barnabas Fund is continuing to support impoverished and helpless Egyptian Christians with essential supplies as their country’s political crisis continues unabated.

For many years our dedicated partners on the ground have been supplying our disadvantaged brothers and sisters with food and other basics. But the needs have increased still further as a result of the upheaval that has racked their country for the last two years.

For example, one Christian family in Minya was completely dependent upon the income of their daughter, who worked at a small clothes store. After the so-called “Arab Spring” revolution, sales completely stopped and the shop closed down. Her father is disabled and there was therefore no other source of income. Our partners arrived at the home just as the family had spent their last few remaining pounds. Three months of food aid literally kept the family alive while they explored other possibilities for work.

The turmoil that has followed the revolution of 2011 and the subsequent election of an Islamist government has deepened an already dire economic crisis. Businesses have failed, tourism has slumped, and inflation and unemployment have risen. The country appears to be teetering on the edge of bankruptcy.

Even before the recent upheavals, more than 40% of the Egyptian population was living below the poverty line. As a despised minority, the Christian community already suffered more severely than others, with many of them living on no more than $2 a day. Now they have no defence against the destructive effects of a disintegrating economy.

Christians in Egypt are further threatened by their increasingly precarious position in society as Islamism tightens its grip on the country. Islamist violence against Christians has surged alarmingly since the revolution, and the security forces sometimes side with the aggressors rather than their victims.

This month anti-Christian attacks in al-Khosous claimed several lives, and another Christian was killed when Muslims attacked the funeral procession for some of the victims in Cairo. The police are reported to have fired tear gas at the mourners and to have made no attempt to restrain a gunman who was firing from a roof.

With their freedoms – such as they are – and their very lives in danger, poor Egyptian Christians are securely locked into a wretched and pitiable existence. The continuing help that Barnabas provides gives them not only the basic resources that they need, but also a measure of dignity and security amid the disorder that surrounds them.

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund, said:

Our brothers and sisters in Egypt are in urgent need. They have long been kept in poverty by cruel discrimination, and now economic crisis and political confusion are worsening their desperate plight. Whether Egypt becomes an Islamic state or descends into chaos, their prospects are bleak. Please help us to sustain them at this harrowing time.

– barnabas team

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