Middle East

Do Egypt's Evangelicals Get Along with the Coptic Orthodox?

More than they used to, say observers and insiders.

Participants in Egypt's recent protests stunned observers in many ways. One major surprise came when the world witnessed protesters of different faiths cooperating with one another in a way Egypt has rarely seen before.

"When Muslims prayed in Tahrir Square, the Coptic Orthodox and Coptic Evangelicals protected them from anyone who would want to interfere," said Len Rodgers, executive director of Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding. "And then, during a Coptic Orthodox Mass in Tahrir, the Muslims protected the Coptic Orthodox. This is, I would say, unprecedented. It's a very unusual and, I would say, optimistic possibility for the future."

It is unique enough for Muslims and Christians to guarantee one another the chance to pray and worship unmolested, but for many years evangelical Christians and Coptic Orthodox believers also have had a hard time coming together on much of anything.

The first major Protestant presence in Egypt arrived with a group of Presbyterian missionaries in the ...

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