Egypt: Protestant leader rejects community reconciliation system

Thousands attend Kasr El Dobara Evanglical Church in Cairo each week. There are thought to be as many as 2m Evangelicals in Egypt
The head of Egypt’s Protestant Church has said he urges clergy not to take part in “reconciliation sessions” that aim to resolve community conflicts without the involvement of the police and legal system. Rev. Dr. Andrea Zaki said he “strongly” opposed the scheme because it renders the law “absent”. The reconciliation . . . Read More

5 years on, what has Pope Francis done for religious freedom?

Pope Francis greets people during his inauguration on 19 March 2013. (Photo: Getty Images)
Pope Francis, the son of Italian migrants, appeared on the steps of St Peter’s Basilica five years ago to be introduced as the first Latin American pontiff. Below, World Watch Monitor looks at a few of the highlights of his tenure so far, and his impact on freedom of religion . . . Read More

Pence’s plans to help Middle East Christians overshadowed by political storm

NASA HQ PHOTO
US Vice President Mike Pence’s postponed trip to the Middle East goes ahead this weekend amid myriad tensions and a fast-shifting diplomatic landscape. Pence’s trip is a shortened version of the one planned for last month, which was abruptly cancelled when protests erupted at President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem . . . Read More

Egypt: 21 churches receive long-delayed government approval to build

Egypt: 21 churches receive long-delayed government approval to build
Twenty-one churches in Egypt’s southern rural Minya governorate can restore, expand and rebuild their churches after receiving approval from the Minya Governor. Governor Essam al-Bedeiwi approved the 21 applications over the last six months. Some of the churches had been waiting for more than 20 years for a permit to come . . . Read More

IS renews threat to Copts as Al-Azhar head says Islam ‘at war with itself’

Pope Francis welcomes Sheik Ahmed Muhammad Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, during a private audience in Vatican, 7 November 2017. (Photo: AFP PHOTO / OSSERVATORE ROMANO / Handout)
A pro-Islamic State (IS) group media outlet has issued a new threat against Egypt’s Coptic Christians, saying they must be attacked as “infidel fighters” and their churches must be blown up. The message, issued by the Wafa Media Foundation, said Copts did not accept dhimmitude – the condition of submission imposed . . . Read More

Al-Azhar says Islam ‘totally incompatible’ with violence, as IS shifts focus to Upper Egypt

Al-Azhar says Islam ‘totally incompatible’ with violence, as IS shifts focus to Upper Egypt
Scholars at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, the pre-eminent seat of Sunni Islamic learning, have submitted a bill to the Egyptian government, which “aims to reaffirm the total incompatibility between the violence justified by religious arguments and Islamic law”. As World Watch Monitor reported on 21 June, Al-Azhar has distanced itself from . . . Read More

Weary Copts urge Pope Francis to challenge Sisi over attacks and chronic discrimination

Weary Copts urge Pope Francis to challenge Sisi over attacks and chronic discrimination
Egyptian Copts have welcomed Pope Francis’ “insistence” that his visit to Cairo this week go ahead despite the recent attacks on two churches that killed 45 worshippers. The head of the Catholic Church will arrive in Cairo on Friday and visit President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar . . . Read More