On November 1, 2017, I was honored to take part in a landmark event. For the first time in history, a leader of Egypt, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, met with American evangelical leaders. We met for nearly three hours at the Presidential Palace in Cairo. Our delegation wanted President el-Sisi and the Egyptian people to know that American evangelicals pray that Egypt would be prosperous and at peace. President el-Sisi warmly expressed his gratitude for our visit.
Other members of our delegation included Christian author Joel Rosenberg (who organized the trip), former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, and religious freedom advocate Johnnie Moore. Every member of this diverse group praised President el-Sisi for his wise and courageous handling of the crisis in Egypt during the anti-government protests of June 2013, leading to the overthrow of Islamist leader Mohamed Morsi.
"I was grateful for the opportunity to meet President el-Sisi personally and shake his hand."
I was grateful for the opportunity to meet President el-Sisi personally and shake his hand. With tears in my eyes, I told him how my wife and I had watched him on television from our home in Atlanta, Georgia, when he visited the Coptic Cathedral in Cairo on Christmas Eve 2015. I thanked him for his promise to rebuild Christian churches that had been destroyed in recent years.
Michele Bachmann later said, "As evangelicals in the U.S., we came to support and thank President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi for his unprecedented evenhandedness toward Christians and other minorities in Egypt."
The year-long rule of Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, from June 30, 2012 to July 3, 2013, brought Egypt to its knees, both economically and socially.
Those twelve terrible months united Egyptian Muslims and Egyptian Christians in an historic nationwide protest that brought more than 30 million people into the streets of all twenty-seven Egyptian provinces. The BBC said it was the largest assemblage of protesters in history.
That protest prompted the Egyptian army (which most Egyptians view as the guardian of the people) to step in and bring stability to the nation. The ouster of Morsi was followed by twelve months of de facto military rule. During that time, Adly Mansour, Chief Justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt, was appointed Acting President.
In 2014, then-Field Marshal el-Sisi ran for president and won the office, receiving more than 22 million votes (roughly double the number of votes President Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood received in 2012). Egyptian Muslims and Christians alike speak glowingly and proudly of their current president.
Near the end of our time together, I told President el-Sisi that I believed he was God's gift, not only to Egypt and the region, but to the world. I assured him that every peace-loving Christian was praying that God would protect and bless President el-Sisi, and give wisdom to him and everyone in leadership throughout Egypt.
I hope you'll join me in fulfilling that promise, in praying for the Egyptian president, the Egyptian people, and the Egyptian nation during this unprecedented time of both crisis and opportunity in the Middle East. God bless you as you pray for the peace of Israel and the peace of Egypt, and that the name of Jesus would be glorified throughout the world.
Grace and peace,
Michael Youssef, Ph.D.