By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife
CAIRO, EGYPT (BosNewsLife)– A gathering of Christian leaders from across the Middle East that was to be held in Egypt next month has been postponed due to “security concerns”, organizers confirmed to BosNewsLife Saturday, November 14.
Christian officials from over 20 nations of the Middle East were due to participate in the ‘Call2All’ Congress, which was scheduled for 1-4 December 2009, an official said .
“The event was originally planned to be this December in Egypt, but the committee has requested that we move the event to April at a different location due to security concerns,” Call2All President Mark Anderson told BosNewsLife.
Call2All describes itself as a “worldwide movement” calling all Christians to be involved in the Biblical “Great Commission”, which includes evangelizing, as described by Jesus Christ in Bible book Matthew 28 verse 18-20.
Egyptian security forces have however undermined efforts to organize the event, officials said. “The freedom we have in our region is partial and limited in many ways. We received a direct message from the state police that they are closely monitoring our efforts to put together such an event,” said the Call2All Organizing Committee.
“This would practically mean a high level of travel restrictions would be imposed, the status of some resident missionaries would be affected and there would be safety issues…In the light of this, we agreed that to call the conference under such conditions will limit the outcome considerably,” the Committee added.
Egyptian officials could not immediately be reached for comment, but there have been several reported incidents of Christians being detained for their activities in the mainly Muslim nation.
“We think the committee is exercising wisdom and moving the event to April could actually give us more time to serve the many who want to come,” Anderson told BosNewsLife. “We were planning for 500 leaders, it appears now we will have to accommodate many more than that.”
He said Call2All would be “securing new facilities in a different location over the next few weeks,” without elaborating. “We will let you know the new venue as soon as possible.”
It comes at a time of growing pressure on devoted Christians in the Middle East, church groups say.
Especially Muslims converting to Christianity have reportedly been targeted in countries such as Iran.
Anderson said he had urged supporters to keep the Christian leaders of the Middle East in their “prayers”. “They face significant challenges on almost a daily basis.”