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Muslims attack and torch previously threatened church in Egypt

Country/Region: Egypt, Middle East and North Africa

Muslims have carried out their threat to destroy a church in an Egyptian village; they also torched homes and other property belonging to Christians.

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A mob of Muslims descended on St George’s Church, which was being renovated, in Elmarinab, Aswan province, after Friday prayers on 30 September. They demolished the dome, walls and columns before torching the building. Construction materials were also set alight.

Other property owned by Christians – four homes, a large depot of electrical goods and a supermarket – were also torched.

Eyewitnesses said that the Muslims prevented the fire brigade from entering the village, while a social worker at the church said that the security forces just “stood there watching”.

Demolition threat

Local Muslims had previously threatened to demolish the church and use it as a mosque.  The century-old church of St George was being rebuilt – with permission from the Aswan governor – because its dilapidated state made it unsafe to use for services. Local Muslims had made no complaint about the rebuilding until the work was nearly complete and services were being held there.

They then began to demand that the building be stripped of any sign of its being a church, including crosses, bells and domes, and they barricaded Christian residents in their homes until their requests were met.

The Muslims claimed that the original building was not a church but a hospitality home, despite valid documents to the contrary.

Various peace-keeping efforts failed, and on Friday (30 September) the imam of one of the village mosques called for Muslims to take matters into their own hands.

The Governor of Aswan said that the church contractor had exceeded the height limit for the building, and that both parties were therefore at fault.

Following the incident, Christian villagers were reportedly staying indoors, as it was rumoured that Muslims had threatened to torch their homes.

Several Christian organisations staged a rally in Cairo, culminating in Tahrir Square, on Saturday (1 October), protesting against attacks on churches.

Mass emigration

Since the revolution, Christians have increasingly been subjected to violent attacks by Islamists. A report by the Egyptian Union of Human Rights Organisations (EUHRO) said that increased sectarian tensions had resulted in the emigration of 100,000 Christians from Egypt since March.  

EUHRO director Naguib Gabriel said that the Christians were not leaving voluntarily but were being forced out by the aggressive tactics of hard-line Salafist Muslims.  

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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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  • Cry out to the Lord for Christians in the Central African Republic (CAR) who have been driven from their homes by the violence that has engulfed their country. Attacks by Islamist Séléka militants and retaliation from “anti-balaka” militias has generated a huge humanitarian crisis in which around two million people, many of them Christians, are in need of emergency assistance. Give thanks for the work of Barnabas partners who have been providing food rations to hundreds of displaced believers in the capital, Bangui, and distributing food, medicines, clothing and seeds to thousands in various regions. Pray that the aid will reach those who need it most, and that the Lord will comfort the relatives and friends of the thousands who have been killed in the fighting. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 17 hours ago

  • “Jesus Christ performed tremendous miracles in all our lives through this Shalom Camp.” A pastor spoke of how God had worked through a Barnabas-sponsored weekend Bible camp for persecuted Christians in Sri Lanka. The camp was attended by believers from five different churches that had been the target of threats or attacks by Buddhist or Hindu extremists. The participants heard teaching on the Biblical basis for persecution and took part in group discussions; they came away refreshed and encouraged, and for many the camp was a time of great spiritual renewal. Give thanks to the Lord for the peace He has brought to these persecuted believers, and ask that the weekend will continue to bear much fruit in their lives. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Apr 2014 00:00

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  • Condemned Christian mother Aasia Bibi’s final appeal hearing is scheduled to take place tomorrow (14 April) having been deferred twice. She was sentenced to death for blasphemy in November 2010 having been falsely accused of insulting Muhammad following an argument with Muslim co-workers. Aasia has been languishing in jail since the accusation was made in June 2009. Pray that her appeal will finally go ahead and that the judges will have the courage to acquit and release Aasia; there are concerns that they may give in to pressure from hardline Islamists who have been calling for her execution. Pray that Aasia, her husband and children will know the Lord’s peace as they await the verdict. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Apr 2014 00:00

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