From "The Economist" - Jan. 5th- 2019



Coptic Christians


Blue Christmas



Egyptians celebrating the birth of Jesus face bombs, bullets and official neglect


Sometimes, the simplest of gestures carries weight. In 2015 Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi became the first president of Egypt to attend a Christmas mass. He has done so each year since, and will probably do so again on January 7th, the date on which Egypt's Coptic Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus. The long-persecuted Copts are glad that the Muslim president of their mostly Muslim homeland offers them this token of respect. But Mr Sisi has done little else to improve their plight.


The Copts are the largest Christian community in the Arab world, numbering about 10m. Successive governments have ignored laws promising them equality. Copts are frozen out of senior government jobs, particularly in the security services. Textbooks gloss over the history of the church, one of the oldest branches of Christianity. After Mr Sisi's coup against Muhammad Morsi, Egypt's first elected president, in 2013, Copts suffered vicious attacks by Mr Morsi's Islamist supporters.


Even the Copts' right to worship is circumscribed. For most of its modern history Egypt restricted church-building under decrees written by the Ottomans and the short-lived monarchy of 1922-53. Security services had to approve new houses of worship. Permission was rarely granted. In 2011, the last year for which data are available, there was one church for every 2,780 Christians. Per person, Muslims had about four times as many mosques, which are not subject to onerous restrictions.


In 2016, to great fanfare, Mr Sisi's government passed a law to replace these antiquated regulations. It established a formal process for requesting construction permits and a committee to review them. If governors wish to refuse a new church, they must provide a written explanation within four months. But the law has done little to ease the burden, in part because the intelligence services still have an outsized role in the process. Since the law was passed just eight permits have been issued for new churches, a slower pace than before 2016.


The 2,500 Copts in Komel-Raheb, 200km south of Cairo, must drive 40 minutes to the nearest church. Since 2001 they have sought permission to open one in their village. In December they celebrated mass in a building owned by the archdiocese, which they hope will soon receive a licence. Muslim villagers attacked them, pelting their homes with stones. Police rarely bother to investigate such cases. Instead they round up both Christian and Muslim villagers until local leaders agree to a "reconciliation session". After one such meeting in Komel-Raheb, Copts agreed to suspend further prayers.


The state views churches as a security issue—because terrorists attack them and the police fail to stop the attacks. Seven Copts were shot dead near a Minya monastery in November, on the same road where 28 Copts were killed the previous year. The jihadists of Islamic State claimed responsibility for both attacks. In December a policeman shot two men outside a church in Minya. The victims were not militants. They were local Copts, a father and son who had a dispute with the cop over a parking space. Even where Mr Sisi's government has deployed more church guards, their presence may not be a comfort. ■

………………..


THINGS  WILL  NOT  CHANGE  IN  EGYPT;  CHRISTIANS  WILL  REMAIN  A  MINORITY  AND  WILL  CONTINUE  TO  SUFFER  PERSECUTION.  CHRISTIANITY  AND  ISLAM  DO  NOT  MIX.


I  HAVE  TOLD  YOU  A  NUMBER  OF  TIMES  ON  THIS  WEBSITE  THE  FUTURE  OF  EGYPT  IN  BIBLE  PROPHECY,  FOR  THE  END  TIMES  OF  THIS  AGE.


EGYPT  IS  NOW  AND  HAS  BEEN  FOR  DECADES,  REGARDED  AS  THE  LEADING  NATION  IN  THE  ARAB/MUSLIM  WORLD.


ACCORDING  TO  DANIEL  11:450-45,  EGYPT  WILL  HEAD  UP  A  UNION  OF  ARAB  NATIONS  AT  THE  VERY  END  TIME.  THEY  ARE  CALLED  THE  “KING  OF  THE  SOUTH”  IN  THE  BOOK  OF  DANIEL.


THEY  WILL  “PUSH  AT”  THE  “KING  OF  THE  NORTH” [A  RESURRECTED  HOLY  ROMAN  EMPIRE,  THE  7TH  AND  FINAL  HOLY  ROMAN  EMPIRE].  THE  KING  OF  THE  NORTH  WILL  SWEEP  DOWN  AND  WILL  CONQUER  EGYPT.  THIS  END  TIME  BEAST  POWER  WILL  THEN  MARCH  INTO  THE  HOLY  LAND  AND  DESOLATE  JERUSALEM.


SO  WILL  START  THE  LAST  ABOUT  42  MONTHS  OF  THE  END  OF  THIS  AGE.


THEN  WILL  COME  THE  FAMOUS  “BATTLE  OF  ARMAGEDDON” [REVELATION 16]  AND  THE  RETURN  OF  CHRIST  JESUS  THE  MESSIAH,  TO  ESTABLISH  THE  KINGDOM  OF  GOD  OVER  ALL  NATIONS.


Keith Hunt