Friday Prayers for Egypt: Aya, Easter

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Aya, Easter

God, Easter passed peacefully, but not Egypt. Though there were no troubles on the holiday, others sandwiched. A few days earlier Copts praying in a village were pelted with stones, as police looked on. A few days later terrorism struck at St. Catherine’s Monastery in the southern Sinai, as police responded. One officer died, a … Continue reading

ISIS Attacks Major Christian Monastery in Egypt

ISIS Attacks Major Christian Monastery in Egypt

This article was first published by Christianity Today on April 19, 2017. Two weeks after killing 47 Egyptians in twin church bombings on Palm Sunday, the Islamic State claimed a fresh attack on the ancient monastery of St. Catherine on the southern Sinai peninsula. One policeman was killed and four injured during an exchange of … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Palm Sunday

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Palm Sunday

God, Easter is coming. May it be safe for Egyptian Christians. Sunday is coming, and Monday after that, and Tuesday… May it be safe for Egyptians. Forty-five people are dead after twin suicide bombings at churches on the start of Holy Week. Among them are Muslims, though only one faith was targeted. This time. Some … Continue reading

An Eye on Egypt after the Palm Sunday Bombings

An Eye on Egypt after the Palm Sunday Bombings

This article was first published at Providence Magazine. Episode one. “They are just following the teachings of their book, and the example of their prophet,” said a Coptic friend following the twin church bombings in Tanta and Alexandria on Palm Sunday, killing dozens. I refrained from rolling my eyes, as this was a moment for … Continue reading

They Will Know We are Christians by Our Drinks

They Will Know We are Christians by Our Drinks

This article was first published in the April print edition of Christianity Today. The deadliest incident faced by the persecuted church last Christmas wasn’t radical Islamists. It was alcohol. Liquor mixed with aftershave killed about 50 people at Christmas parties in a Pakistani village, and sickened about 100 more. In Pakistan, as in many Muslim-majority … Continue reading

Does Egypt Still Matter?

Does Egypt Still Matter?

As America under Trump re-determines its policies in the Middle East, the feelings of the region’s people matter very little. ‘Hearts and minds,’ sure, but cold-calculating interests generally rule geopolitical considerations. All the same, I can imagine the Egyptian angst in reading this recommendation by the Hoover Institute for Washington to re-up its cooperation with … Continue reading

What Jesus Can Teach Muslims Today

What Jesus Can Teach Muslims Today

The New York Times carried a very Christian op-ed recently, penned by a Turkish Muslim. Mustafa Akyol is one of Turkey’s leading journalists, and argues that the crisis in the Muslim world today can be solved by turning to Jesus as example. But first, a primer for those who don’t know the basics: While Muslims … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Bread and Entry

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Bread and Entry

God, Facing a severe decline in tourism, Egypt doubles the entry fee. Facing corruption in the bread market, Egypt scales back supply. Both decisions can be seen as sensible, God, but outcry is loud and execution haphazard. Give wisdom for right policy. Immediately the government postponed the visa price hike, and hints a final decision … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Blind Threat

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Blind Threat

God, As one era passes, another begins. One died, and then two others. There is no connection, save a pernicious idea. Defeat it, God, and save the people – target and targetter alike. Far away in America, the Blind Sheikh passed away after many years of incarceration. Linked to terrorism in the first World Trade … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Divorce and Authority

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Divorce and Authority

God, You know best the worth of a woman. You know what is timeless, you know what is cultural. Help Egypt to know as you do, and act accordingly. Troubled by rising divorce rates, the president pushed for reform. Hoping a standardized process might curb rash decisions, he asked administrative witness and registration be made … Continue reading

Ballerinas of Cairo

Ballerinas of Cairo

Al-Monitor highlights a new effort to get art to the street. Ballerinas of Cairo has some great pictures, combining cultural physique with iconic cityscape. By taking to the streets of Cairo, the young artists have succeeded in breaking the stereotype that ballet is an art form for the upper class only. Despite the dangers of … Continue reading

Islam, Jihad, and Syria

Islam, Jihad, and Syria

Two days ago I shared my new article at Christianity Today contrasting Muslim and Christian polls about eschatology. As ISIS surged in the Middle East, it activated also Christian visions of Armageddon. But it is good also to look at the raw material. This article by Josh Landis contains many interesting tidbits on how Syria … Continue reading

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Falling Short

Friday Prayers for Egypt: Falling Short

God, Egypt was almost happy. Perhaps she was a little. The national soccer team came close to reclaiming its heritage as ‘best in Africa’, but fell short in the final. But so also seemed many of Egypt’s actors this week, for good or for ill. A women’s labor strike at a textile factory abandoned the … Continue reading