Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pray for Maher and his daughter

Message from Middle East Concern:

On 2nd April we asked for prayer for Maher, a believer from a Muslim background (BMB), and his daughter. Maher is involved in a legal battle to officially change his religious registration from Islam to Christianity so that both he and his daughter may be identified as Christians.

Maher made a short statement at a hearing held on 4th April. The judge requested a formal certificate issued by the Coptic Orthodox Church accepting Maher as having become a Christian, despite the fact that such a certificate, previously issued by the Church of Cyprus, had already been submitted to the court.

The Coptic Church issued this certificate, the first time it has ever done so to a BMB. It was presented to court officials on 11th April. Maher's lawyers do not yet know whether the certificate will meet the judge's requirements.

The next hearing is scheduled for 2nd May.

The issuing of such a certificate is controversial. There have already been threats issued against the church leaders responsible. Previously, church leaders have declined to issue such certificates for fear of a backlash from the authorities (through discrimination in official processes, e.g. passport applications and permits for property maintenance work) or society (through mob violence against church property or Christian communities).

Egyptian Christians request our prayers that:
a. Maher and his daughter will know the presence and peace of Jesus each day
b. All parties involved will act with integrity
c. Maher's legal team will know God's wisdom and enabling
d. The case will be successful, allowing them to have their identity cards changed and setting a precedent for other BMBs
e. Coptic churches will be protected from any backlash
f. All officials involved will be exposed to the claims of Jesus and be drawn to His offer of love and life.

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