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What future for Christians in Egypt afte...

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What future for Christians in Egypt after brutal assault by security forces, Islamists and thugs?

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What future for Christians in Egypt after brutal assault by security forces, Islamists and thugs?

Project(s): 00-345

Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Egypt

At least 25 dead and hundreds injured as Christian protestors attacked

Thousands of Christians protesting against the torching of a church and other injustices came under brutal attack by security forces, Islamists and violent thugs in Egypt on Sunday.

Video footage shows military vehicles charging at Christians who were protesting near the state TV building in Maspero Square, Cairo.

Egypt-cairo-clashes-YouTube-5X3.jpg

They were also shot at, beaten and dragged through the streets by soldiers, Muslim attackers and plain-clothed thugs in what has been described as the worst violence in Egypt since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak in February.

One of the rally organisers said:

The army and police were waiting for us about 200 metres away from the Maspero TV building. They started firing at us before two army armoured vehicles came at great speed and drove into the crowds, going backwards and forwards, mowing people under their wheels.

Eyewitnesses reported seeing an armoured vehicle crush 15 people.

The Christian hospital where many of the wounded were being treated came under sustained attack by a group of men chanting “Islamiya, Islamiya”, and Christian-owned businesses were targeted by thugs.

The Health Ministry has said that 25 people were killed and 329 wounded, though other Egyptian sources put the death toll higher.

Media manipulation

Cairo-State-tv-Building_4X3.jpg
State television building, Cairo
(Kodak Agfa ) / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

In a bid to control reporting of the incident, the military forcibly closed at least two independent media outlets, while state television broadcast anti-Christian statements. There were also calls for people to take to the streets to “protect” the army.

Although Muslims were among the aggressors, some were also reportedly present to defend the Christians from the security forces and to protest against the military’s continued hold on power. Calls were made for the resignation of the military council.

Christians flee violence

The protest was sparked by the destruction of St George’s Church in Aswan province on 30 September. This was the latest in a long line of violent attacks on Christians in Egypt, which have intensified since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak as hard-line Islamist groups, notably the Salafists, have grown in strength and influence. Christians feel that the military council is not doing enough to protect them and are too lenient on the perpetrators of anti-Christian attacks.

The violence is driving thousands of Christians out of the country. A report by the Egyptian Union of Human Rights Organisations (EUHRO) said that 100,000 Christians had emigrated from Egypt since March. 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.

And as the country moves towards parliamentary elections at the end of November, it seems increasingly likely that Islamist groups will emerge triumphant, making the future for Christians in Egypt look ever more dangerous.   

Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund, said:

Christians in Egypt have endured decades of discrimination and persecution, but the brutality unleashed against them on Sunday reveals new depths of hostility towards them. It is not surprising that those who can are now leaving the country, but what will happen to those who remain? Are they going to be forced out or subjected to even worse state-sponsored violence?

Give Today

If you would like to help Egyptian Christians affected by anti-Christian violence or injustice, please send your donation to project 00-345 (Victims of Violence Fund). Please click to donate online using our secure server.

If you prefer to telephone, dial: 0800 587 4006 from within the UK or +44 1672 565031 from outside the UK. Please quote project reference 00-345 (Victims of Violence Fund).

If you prefer to send a cheque by post: Click this link for the address of our regional office. Please quote project reference 00-345 (Victims of Violence Fund).

For a quick donation of £3.00 by SMS (see terms and conditions here) text Barnabas/345 to 70007 (Please note: This facility is presently only available to UK supporters).

Please Pray:
  • For the restoration of peace between all sections of Egyptian society.
  • For all those who have lost loved ones or been injured in the violence. Pray that the Lord will draw close to them and comfort them in their grief and pain.
  • For the future of Christians in Egypt. Pray that their rights as citizens will be upheld and that they will be allowed to live peaceful lives in their homeland.
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  • Pray for Barnabas Fund partners in South Sudan who have been supporting Christians forced from their homes by violence. Conflict between supporters of President Salva Kiir and his sacked deputy Riek Machar in December and January displaced around 860,000 people. Churches were burned down and a number of pastors killed, while many people lost their belongings and were left destitute. Give thanks that churches in and around the capital, Juba, were able to provide food and other essentials to many families with help from Barnabas. Pray that they may continue to be salt and light in their country at this unstable time (Matthew 5:13-16), and that it will soon be safe for displaced Christians to return home. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 14 hours ago

  • Pray for the residents of a mainly Christian village in Borno state, Northern Nigeria, in the aftermath of a horrific attack by Boko Haram militants on 15 February. Ask for God’s comfort for the relatives and friends of the 106 people in Izghe who were gunned down and slaughtered in their houses or in the open as they tried to flee. Pray for strength for the numerous residents who were wounded or whose properties were looted and torched. Pray too for the many Christians who fled into the neighbouring state after the attack, and ask that the Christian community in the North of Nigeria will be preserved in the face of Islamist violence. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Violent attacks by militants from the Islamist group Boko Haram continue unabated in Northern Nigeria. On one horrendous day of violence on 26 January, at least 138 people were killed. A church in Wada Chakawa village in Adamawa state was targeted; the attackers locked the congregation inside and then detonated bombs, shooting and cutting the throats of people who tried to escape. They then went on a four-hour rampage in the village. Later the same day, Kawuri village in neighbouring Borno state was burned to the ground. Boko Haram is fighting to establish an Islamic state, and Christians are among its main targets. Pray that the Nigerian authorities will succeed in containing its insurgency. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Apr 2014 00:00

  • Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we give You thanks on this Easter Day for the living hope that You have given us and all Your people through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (1 Peter 1:3). We pray that the prospect of an enduring inheritance and future salvation will encourage our persecuted brothers and sisters to persevere in their faith, whatever may happen to them. We pray that we too may be sustained by this hope in the sufferings that we experience for the sake of Christ. We ask that the joy and resurrection power of the Lord will give strength and peace to persecuted believers today and every day. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Apr 2014 00:00

  • 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 00:00

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