Evangelicals in Egypt head to US in support of President Sisi's UN visit

ReutersEgypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. A delegation from the Evangelical Church in Egypt is traveling to the US in support of Sisi's visit to the UN.

A delegation from the Evangelical Church in Egypt left Cairo yesterday to head to the US in support of President Abdel-Fattah Sisi ahead of his visit to attend next week's United Nations (UN) General Assembly.

The state-owned MENA news agency reported an official statement from the Evangelical Church that said the delegation's visit, which reportedly comes in coordination with evangelical churches in the US, is an expression of support for the Egyptian state from the Church.

The Church, which has around 250,000 members, said that it coordinated the visit to "support Egypt at such a critical stage in the history of the region."

The Church requested that next Sunday be devoted to prayer for the "success of the visit" and support for Egpyt.

Sisi is set to attend the UN General Assembly next week. On 21 September, he will also attend the UN Security Council summit on Syria to discuss migrants and refugees, as well as an African leaders' meeting on climate change.

The show of support comes amid growing tensions between the Government and Coptic Christians. Yesterday, Christian Today reported that Human Rights Watch (HRW) is warning that the Government in Egypt is signalling that Christians can be attacked "with impunity" because of a new law that discriminates against the religious minority.

The new law, published byAl-Youm al-Sabaa, allows local authorities to forbid new church buildings and requires any new churches that are built to be "commensurate with" the number of Christians in the area. It is also feared that the law's security provisions effectively sanction mob decisions against Christians.

Christian Today reported in August that the new law was being heavily criticised by the Coptic Christian community.

Now HRW has warned that the law discriminates against the increasingly-beleagured Christian minority in Egypt.

There have been a number of recent incidents of mob attacks against Christians that have left one person dead, several injured, and properties destroyed.

Most Christians in Egypt are Coptic Orthodox and they are believed to make up between six and ten per cent of the 93 million population.