Egyptian Christians under Persecution

Posted on May 4, 2017 by

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Egyptian Copts are the largest christian denomination in Egypt. They make up about 10% of Egypt’s population. They speak the Coptic language/ which is where they get their name.

Although most Egyptians identify as Arabs, Copts do not. They identify themselves as the remaining descendants of the civilization of the Ancient Egyptians, with Pharaonic origins. Coptic Christians face constant trouble from the Egyptian state — for example, getting permission to build churches is made nearly impossible, they are frequently openly discriminated against, and the predominantly Muslim Government is then criticized for turning a blind eye to their plight.

On the morning of Sunday, 9 April, 2017, Egypt was rocked by two terrorist attacks that were carried out just minutes apart. The first attack was in a northern city, Tanta. It happened at a Palm Sunday service at St. George Church, and it proved fatal for twenty-seven people and wounded more than seventy, as reported by CNN.com.

CNN also reported that the explosive device was planted under a bench in the main praying hall of the church.

“The attack will not undermine the resolve and true will of the Egyptian people to counter the forces of evil, but will only harden their determination to move forward on their trajectory to realize security, stability and comprehensive development,” Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said.

”The United States will continue to support Egypt’s security and stability in its efforts to defeat terrorism,” acting spokesperson Mark Toner said.

The second attack came in Alexandria, Egypt’s second biggest city. It was at the Alexandria cathedral, where the Egyptian pope was in attendance. This second blast left seventeen dead and more than forty injured. The attack happened just minutes after the Pope had finished the service. He escaped unscathed by the attack.

Three police officers were killed during the second attack due to their efforts to stop the attacker from entering the church. According to CNN, in a statement made on the Telegram messaging platform and sent around by several ISIS supporters, the militant group identified the bombers as Egyptian nationals. Egyptian authorities have yet to confirm the bombers’ nationalities.

“The Crusaders and their apostate followers must be aware that the bill between us and them is very large, and they will be paying it like a river of blood from their sons, if God is willing,” ISIS said.

Not much longer before the Palm Sunday attacks, Egypt’s capital Cairo was struck by ISIS at the Cathedral of St. Mark. The attack happened on 13 December 2016 and killed at least twenty-five people, according to newsweek.com. Forty-nine others were wounded and at least six of the dead were children.

ISIS, in a statement reported by Reuters, said that one of its fighters—named Abu Abdallah al-Masri—had carried out the attack. Another attack dates all the way back to the first day of 2011. It was a New Year’s eve celebration at one of the biggest churches in Alexandria with thousands of Christians in attendance. A suicide bomber blew himself up inside the church, leaving twenty-three dead and around one hundred injured.

The explosion was so powerful that it caused scattered body parts, destroyed cars, and smashed windows. Egyptian Christians continue to face persecution on a daily basis in the middle eastern world; they are attacked for their beliefs and often killed as well.

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Posted in: Mina Isaac