Twelve-year-old Yusuf looked around helplessly at his classmates, gathered around him a few months ago at his school in Minya, which is located in Upper Egypt. The other boys taunted and harassed him, mocking the Christian boy for believing what they called his “corrupt” Bible. Finally, he fled the school grounds, sobbing and crying. By the time he got home, he felt so humiliated and defeated that he tore up his Bible in angry frustration.
Egypt’s Christians of all ages often face such attacks on the fundamentals of their faith. They are confronted with hostile lies about their Christian beliefs in the media. Repeatedly, they are forced to listen to attacks publicly broadcasted from the loud speakers of mosque minarets, deliberately generating doubts about Christian theology throughout the country. Walking down the streets or riding public transportation, Christians are frequently hit by recorded Quran tapes or speeches by famous Islamic preachers mocking issues of Christian faith: “The Bible is not the Word of God”, they argue. “Jesus was not crucified, and God can’t be a trinity”.
Children like Yusuf have their share in this suffering, whether in school from their playmates or even from their neighbors, who keep ridiculing Christian convictions without permitting them to answer back or defend their beliefs.
‘I Know and Am Not Afraid’ is an apologetics program established in 2012 to help Christians know how to answer the most common accusations and false claims they face every day about their Christian faith. Designed to expand country-wide, the project aims to equip a younger generation that is facing daily pressure to stand up for its faith. The program includes material related to surviving hardship, as well as an awareness course related to civil rights.
Pray that this initiative will impact the lives of young Christians like Yusuf, so they will be able to stand strong in the face of persecution.
*Names, photographs and other information have been changed for security purposes