FSPC welcomes Christian politicians from Egypt

Two of the twelve Christian representatives of the former upper house of the Egyptian Parliament attended the Assembly of Delegates of the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches and met with members of the Swiss Parliament as well as with a delegation from the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
from left: Ehab El Kharrat, Freddy Elbaiady, Gottfried Locher

Solidarity with Christians in the Middle East: this was the motto of the visit by Freddy Elbaiady and Ehab El Kharrat in Bern. From Sunday to Wednesday, the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches FSPC welcomed the two Christian members of the Egyptian upper house, which was dissolved earlier this year.

FSPC President Gottfried Locher had invited the parliamentarians to Switzerland during his visit with Egyptian Christians in May 2013. On Monday, Assembly of Delegates President Verena Enzler and FSPC President Locher welcomed Elbaiady and El Kharrat as guests of the Assembly of Delegates in Bern.

Mohamed Morsi’s election victory failed to bring about the promised democracy, Elbaiady explained. Much to the contrary, minorities, including Christians, had been denied their civil rights. He said that many Christian churches suffered attacks and abuse, and that more than 100,000 Christian families had already left the country.

At less than one percent of the population, Protestant Christians are an absolute minority in Egypt, El Kharrat added. The solidarity of the Swiss Protestant churches is necessary for survival, he emphasized: “We don’t need money, we don’t need material support, but your compassion, your encouragement and your prayers – we need partners among the churches to keep us from losing our courage.” FSPC President Gottfried Locher described the realization of the meeting in Berne as living proof of the solidarity of the FSPC and its twenty-six member churches.

The FSPC was able to facilitate contacts between the representatives of the Christian minority in Egypt and key decision-makers in Swiss politics and society. After attending the Assembly of Delegates, the two visitors met with Swiss members of parliament, as well as with a delegation of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA. This Wednesday Elbaiady and El Kharrat traveled on to Brussels, where, facilitated by the Conference of European Churches CEC, they will meet with representatives of the European Parliament.