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Threats to Egyptian churches ahead of Eastern Christmas this weekend

Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Egypt

I do not want another Nag Hammadi massacre to happen again. Egyptian church leader

Threats of attacks on Egyptian churches have been issued ahead of Eastern Christmas services this weekend.

Basilica-of-St-Fatima-Church-Cairo-4X3.jpg
Egyptian churches are vulnerable to attack by Islamists
CC BY 2.0 / Bakar_88

A senior church leader said that he had received several threats of attacks to be carried out on churches in Nag Hammadi on Christmas Eve, January 6. This was the scene of a horrific anti-Christian massacre on the same day in 2010; six worshippers were killed in a drive-by shooting as they left the Christmas Eve service. 

Egyptian Christians celebrate Christmas on 7 January, traditionally holding a midnight service on Christmas Eve. Following the threats, churches in Nag Hammadi cancelled all their New Year’s Eve and Christmas Eve festivities, and plan to end Christmas Eve services at an earlier time.

Christians in Egypt are particularly vulnerable to attack by Islamists around the New Year and Christmas period. Last year, 23 worshippers were killed in a bombing outside a church in Alexandria following a New Year’s Eve service.

The latest threats have been reported to the police, and an appeal has been made to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces for protection. The Egyptian military had previously undertaken to protect churches New Year’s Eve celebrations. And the Muslim Brotherhood, the leading Islamist group in Egypt, has pledged to defend churches during Christmas.

Kidnapping spate  

The heightened danger in Nag Hammadi comes as Christian families in the area are being targeted in an escalating series of kidnappings. Eleven Christian children were seized between August 11 and 24December 2011; the captors demanded ransom payments for the return of the youngsters.

The leader of the kidnappers has allegedly threatened to carry out a massacre in Nag Hammadi after the security forces made a failed attempt to arrest him and his gang.    

Elections continue

Egyptians have this week been voting in the third and final round of elections for the lower house of parliament.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party emerged from the first two stages with the largest share of the vote, with the more hard-line Salafist al-Nur Party in second place.

The final results are expected on 13 January.

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

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  • Give thanks for the Christ-like responses of Christian leaders in CAR to the crisis that threatens them and their churches. They have distanced themselves from the anti-balaka militias, saying that these should not be labelled as Christian and that they hold no mandate from the churches. The leaders have also condemned the violence in the country, whatever its origin, and have called on Christians to pursue forgiveness, reconciliation and healing. Churches are hiding, defending and caring for thousands of Muslims endangered by the anti-balaka, and one of CAR’s most senior church leaders has invited the president of the country’s Islamic community to move into his church compound. Pray that this powerful witness to the grace and love of Christ will help to bring peace to the shattered country. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sat, Apr 2014 00:17

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