Christians are being killed and churches are burning to the ground in Egypt. Over 60 church buildings have been attacked in just the last week, including the 5th century built Virgin Mary and Anba Abraam monastery in southern Egypt. Muslim Brotherhood loyalists are the aggressors; they promise to build a mosque in place of the demolished church. They are furious that their president, Mohammed Morsi, was ousted from power on July 3rd.
Coptic Pope Tawadros II stood with General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi when Morsi’s removal was announced. But he was one of many leaders standing against the Muslim Brotherhood’s hold on power and not a dominant figure in military overthrow of President Morsi’s government. This in part is why the Coptics are being singled out, but Egypt’s Christians have long been a persecuted minority, representing about 10 percent of Egypt’s 80 million residents. Since the Arab Spring and Morsi’s climb to power, Christians have seen increasing hostility in Egypt. Thousands have fled the country to protect their lives and their families since 2011.
Now the persecution is growing worse. The homes, businesses and schools of Christians are being marked with black X’s for future attacks. A 10 year-old girl was shot and killed on her way home from Bible study last week. Even an orphanage has been attacked. Many are calling what’s going on in Egypt a pogrom—a publicly sanctioned purgative attack on a religious or ethnic group. It seems the desire of the Muslim Brotherhood is to rid Egypt of all Christians.
Egyptian Christians in Nashville took to the streets this week to protest the attack of their brothers and sisters in Egypt. “Obama, Obama don’t you care? Christian blood is everywhere,” they chanted, hoping for American military intervention. They waved Egyptian flags and repeated, “Pray for Egypt!”
Sherif Barsoum, an organizer of the rally in Nashville and member of St. Mina Coptic Orthodox Church calls us to “pray for a free Egypt, a democratic Egypt, and peace in the Middle East.”
We will be praying for that peace and the safety of Egyptian Christians at the Denison Forum. Would you please join us?