Word comes from the Minya area city of Dalga that many of the town's 20,000 Christians are now being forced to pay the Jizya tax required by Islamic law.
Islamic extremists have controlled the town since police were forced out July 3--the day the Egyptian people and their military deposed Mohammed Morsi from the presidency.
According to a Voice of The Martrys contact in Egypt, Muslims have forced at least 140 Christians to pay a daily jizya tax starting at 200 Egyptian pounds per day. That's the equivalent of $29, or $203 per week!
I've met with many Christians over the years in Minya and elsewhere in Upper Egypt. Many of them earn less than $5 per day. Few can afford to pay this extortion money. "You pay us the jizya and we will not destroy your home or business!"
This is a criminal act like paying "protection" money to members of the mafia.
Here are portions of the email received from the VOM contact:
"We contacted a Coptic priest...in Dalga and asked him about what is going on in Dalga against Christians...we asked him if it is true what we heard the Christians in Dalga are now paying jizya, and he replied "Yes, this is happening EVERYDAY!!! ...More than 40 families left Dalga village because of the threats they are facing, and those who stayed in Dalga--as they do not have relatives outside Dalga to go and live with--had to pay jizya to the Muslims there to let them live in safety as a price paid for their protection!!"
Pray for the Christians of Dalga. Their churches have been destroyed and they are living in constant fear and pressure from Islamic extremists. The interim government has pledged to send in police to the area to protect them, but so far, the police reinforcements have arrived in villages other than Dalga.
Pray that God, not the Jizya tax, will give them the protection and security they need at this time!