Our prayers for fellow believers in Egypt who are experiencing fresh waves of persecution this week:
Churches, houses, monasteries, orphanages, schools and businesses belonging to Copts were attacked in nine provinces “causing panic, losses and destruction for no reason and no crimes they committed except being Christians,” the Maspero Youth Union, a Coptic activist group, said Thursday.
As if sensing trouble, just two days before Wednesday’s violence, Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II called on all Egyptians to prevent bloodshed.
“With all compassion I urge everyone to conserve Egyptian blood and ask of every Egyptian to commit to self-restraint and avoid recklessness and assault on any person or property,” Tawadros wrote on his official Twitter account Monday.
Youssef Sidhom, editor-in-chief of the Christian weekly Watani, said the recent attacks are painful and vicious but it be worse if they are allowed to divide the two faiths.
“Christians shouldn’t be moved by this, shouldn’t be dragged to fulfill the target that lies behind this, which is segregating the national solidarity between Christians and Muslims in the very difficult time Egypt is passing through,” Sidhom said.
Christians make up about 8 million of Egypt’s population of 80 million and have been victims of Muslim attacks for years. Some Christians were worried when Islamists took over Egypt’s government in 2012 and relieved when the military ousted them from power last month.
But the ancient Coptic communities here that predate Islam by centuries say they now see a new wave of violence against them since the ouster.
In Upper Egypt – a swath of arid land from south of Cairo to Sudan that is home to many hard-line Islamist Egyptians – four Christians were killed when a mob of several hundred people in the Luxor governorate attacked with knives, tree limbs and hammers two days days after the overthrow of Morsi, Amnesty International said.
They also vandalized Christian homes and set properties on fire, Amnesty said.