After noticing that the International House of Prayer (IHOP) had recently conducted one of its "One Thing" worship conference in Egypt, Israel Today writer Ryan Jones decided to get in touch with Bahy Rafla, an Egyptian Christian friend who attended the gathering.
That the conference was held in the shadow of the recent Muslim Brotherhood takeover and a series of attacks on local Christians was very encouraging.
Israel Today: Does the recent One Thing conference show that there is an active Evangelical Christian presence in Egypt?
Bahy Rafla: Yes, especially at the Kasr El Dobara Church [Ed. Note - situated in the heart of Cairo, Kasr El Dobara boasts an attendance of 7,000 people, making it the largest Evangelical church in the Middle East.]
Israel Today: How are Christians being treated in Egypt today? Is there a difference between how Coptic Orthodox Christians and Evangelicals are treated by the Muslim majority?
Rafla: The treatment now is not always good, but not always bad. But at times it can be very bad. Muslims don't differentiate between Coptic Orthodox Christians and Evangelicals, but they do seem to favor the Evangelicals a bit more.
Israel Today: How do Egyptian Christians in general view Israel? Again, is there a difference in views on Israel between Coptic Orthodox and Evangelicals?
Rafla: I see that Evangelicals totally agree with Israel, but I see the Coptic Orthodox are divided on the issue. Some Coptic Christians side with Israel and have no problem visiting the Holy land for Easter, but others don't like Israel and have taken up the Palestinian cause.
But, in general Egyptian Christians don't like politics and don't like to speak about politics. They are very simple people who care most about the spiritual growth and their relationship with God.
Israel Today: There is much talk over here of Egypt's new rulers wanting to impose a stricter form of Sharia Law. Is this something that concerns Egyptian Christians like yourself?
Rafla: Yes, we live in an Islamic country and we must follow their Islamic laws, but there are also many liberal Muslims who don't agree with imposing Sharia. But for now no one really has a clear picture of how things will look in Egypt in the coming months.
Israel Today: Will there ever be truly warm relations between Israel and Egypt, and if so, what part do believers have to play in that?
Rafla: I don't know and I think in Israel no one knows, but I think we will have a clearer picture in a year.
Bahy Rafla is a tour guide and Egyptologist. Anyone planning a trip to Egypt can contact Bahy via his website: www.royaltyegypttours.yolasite.com or by email: Bahy333@yahoo.com
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