Christian Living

Jerusalem Dateline

Praying for Egypt's Christians

Egypt is in flames, in crisis and possibly on the cusp of civil war. Some analysts like CBN News terrorism analyst Eric Stakelbeck warn Wednesday's violence, death, and destruction might only be a prelude of worse days to come. Here's that story with Stakelbeck's analysis.

But one story less covered has been the attacks against churches, Christian businesses, and believers in Jesus Christ throughout Egypt.

The attacks are retaliation by the Muslim Brotherhood and their supporters against Christians who they say helped remove former President Mohammad Morsi from power. CBN News's Gary Lane reported on that massive retaliation.

Lane also reported on the Brotherhood's war on Egyptian Christians.

The Morning Star News published this report of some specific incidents:

"Wael Ibrahim, manager of the Assuit branch of the Egyptian Bible Society, watched helplessly from a distance as a group of Morsi supporters circled his store several times at 9:15 a.m., threatening to attack any Christian who approached. He left only to receive a cell phone call informing him that his store was on fire.

"I watched from afar, and I saw the Muslim Brotherhood people divide up into teams of 10 to attack anyone who approached the store," Ibrahim said. "I eventually left and I called the police because it was all I could do. I left, and half an hour later I got a call, and someone told me the Bible Society was on fire, so I quickly went back. But I couldn't get close enough to defend the place."


Ibrahim said he watched the Bible Society structure burn down, and then the mob set fire, one-by-one, to every Christian-owned store in the area.


"They didn't just attack the store, they attacked the café and every store on the street that had any connection with Christians - they destroyed so many stores," he said, adding that the Bible Society lost all merchandise and literature. "All the books were burned. There is nothing left."

Attacks on Christians

Prior to the attack on the camp, leaders in the Muslim Brotherhood warned that if it were broken up, Christians would be attacked.

Immediately before and after Morsi's ouster, his supporters had repeatedly blamed the Christian minority for the protests that led to his removal from office. In sermons across the country, numerous imams called for Christians to be attacked, according to human rights activists.

"I believe they are angry because they created a story where the Christians are to blame for the collapse of Morsi," said one evangelical Coptic lay pastor who requested anonymity. "Before the protest, we were only 7 percent of the population and not worth paying attention to. But suddenly during the protest, we ballooned into 33 million people and were the only ones at any of the protests. No Muslims, no secular people, just us."

The timing of the attacks has led many Copts to speculate that they were planned and not spontaneous.

"It had to be pre-planned," the pastor said about the attack on The Church of Mar-Girgis in Assuit. "It happened at the exact time the attacks happened in Cairo."

The attacks were scattered across the country, from The Church of Mar-Girgis, which was attacked in Arish in the northeast Sinai Peninsula, to a handful of churches in Giza outside of Cairo, to churches and religious facilities in Upper Egypt. Most of the attacks happened in Minya Governorate, with the city of Assuit following close behind. The attacks happened across theological lines; it appears no denomination was spared.

The government has ordered a curfew in most cities and declared a "state of emergency," a form of martial law. Copts are responding to the attacks with a mixture of sadness, fear and anger. Part of the anger, said Mina Thabet, spokesman of the Maspero Students Union, is the belief that the world has abandoned the Copts.

"They just can't see the Copts are a religious minority who are being attacked," he said. "They're attacking, killing, burning … And some [Copts] have nothing left. I am afraid for the coming days. The [Western governments] have left us unsecured. I think it's the next form of genocide."

Surely this is a time to rally around the Christians in Egypt who are facing this wave of violence, persecution, danger and death. It's a time to pray for their safety and protection and for raised voices in the West for their plight.