Christmas in Cairo

"Christmas in Cairo" Continued...

Issue: "State of the Union 2003," Jan. 25, 2003

Mr. Noor has been fearless also about unity and purity within the church. He established presbyterian government, with elders, in his own church and lobbies for an inerrant view of Scripture in Cairo's evangelical seminary, where he is chairman of the board. "In seminary we are free to teach polemics, comparative religion classes, and apologetics," he said. Outside seminary walls, those topics are combustible and aren't publicly debated.

Mr. Noor insists he is "completely free to preach with no restrictions." But he usually follows one rule: No attacks on Islam. He is proud to say that Scripture lessons he regularly gives on Egyptian Radio aren't censored. How does one learn so many rules of survival? "It is built in us," he said with a smile.

Christians in Egypt have recently known real seasons of religious unrest. In Jan. 2000, a massacre of Christians in Al Kosheh during Ramadan left 21 Christians dead and around 50 wounded. It destroyed over 100 Coptic homes and businesses.

Most Egyptians believe Mr. Mubarak is doing more to eliminate terrorist cells. During the week before Christmas, Mubarak forces arrested 14 members of Muslim Brotherhood, also known as Al Jihad, as they met in Cairo. Al Jihad orchestrated the assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in 1981, as well as a number of other assassination attempts against Egyptian government members. It has targeted Christian groups in Egypt, too. A sister organization, Al Gamaa al Islamiya ("Islamic Group") has targeted both Christians and foreign tourists. It was responsible for the attack on Luxor in November 1997 that killed 67 tourists and four Egyptians. Lessening those threats will reduce tensions for minority Christians, too.


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