November 02, 2017
If anyone understands the horrors of religious persecution, it's Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. After months of watching ISIS march across the Middle East, staining the surf with innocent Coptic blood, Egypt is just one of the many countries desperately seeking an end to the violence. From bombs ripping through congregations on Easter to masked gunman mowing down little children on a bus, caskets have been filled with the agonizing evidence that these victims were targeted for one reason: their faith.
For Christians in the Middle East, harassment and terror have become a way of life. Eliminating it is the tall task of the world's leaders in this titanic struggle against evil. Fortunately for Christians in the region, Egypt's President el-Sisi is not shying away from that work. He and his administration are determined to rebuild what hate-filled men tried to destroy, including his people's freedom to worship without fear.
I had the unique privilege of hearing that from President el-Sisi himself at a meeting in the presidential palace yesterday. Organized by our good friend Joel Rosenberg, a delegation of American evangelicals made the trip to Cairo to try to repair the damage done by Barack Obama's indifference to international religious freedom. A one-hour meeting quickly turned into three, as we had the opportunity to meet, not just with the president but Khalid Fawzi, chief of Egyptian intelligence and Dr. Andrea Zaki, the president of the council of Protestant Churches in Egypt.
Among other things, the president reiterated his desire to protect religious freedom for all people. Despite a string of attacks, the country is making progress in protecting Egyptians from being targeted because of their religious identity. In addition to the Egyptian government working to rebuild the church buildings destroyed by the Islamists, President el-Sisi is committed to working to ensure that every human being can exercise their God-given right to religious freedom. As part of this work, we encouraged Egypt to increase public awareness of the cultural, economic, political, and national security benefits of true religious freedom.
Hopefully, the el-Sisi administration will serve as an example in the Middle East. Not too far away, in Iraq and Syria, religious freedom has taken a horrible toll over the last few years. While we've advocated for this human right worldwide, much of our focus has been absorbed in recent years by the Middle East, where both Democratic and Republican administrations in the United States have recognized a genocide is occurring against Christians, Yezidis, and others at the hands of ISIS.
Now that ISIS is being pushed out of the region, we must ensure these communities are able to return and rebuild. In that vein, we were pleased to see that the Trump administration is now funneling aid directly to groups helping these communities on the ground instead of the inefficient U.N. system.
Here in Egypt, I'm greatly inspired by the powerful faith and determination of the Christians who not only survived the uprising and the terrorism of the Muslim Brotherhood, but are now seeing their churches thrive as people seek the truth. Tomorrow, I'll have details of our meeting with evangelical church leaders in Egypt.
For more on the meeting with the Egyptian president, check out the coverage from the Christian Post.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.