EGYPT – As violent unrest continues to throw Egypt into chaos, Christians are increasingly finding themselves to be the targets of persecution and abuse.
Presently, the greatest threat to Egyptian Christians comes from supporters of Mohamed Morsi—the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated president who was ousted last month. According to recent statistics, only 13% of Egypt’s 85 million residents are Christians, while 85% are Muslim.
This week, the Maspero Youth Union (MYU)—a Coptic activist organization—have been providing detailed reports of violence committed against Christians and Catholics. On Friday, the group posted a thorough list of the many buildings that have been attacked and terrorized in recent days, saying that some Copts have even been killed while attempting to defend their church buildings.
“Maspero Youth Union continue to monitor and record the attacks against our churches,” MYU’s Facebook page reads, “and we demand the government to provide security and protection against the wave of hatred and terrorism Copts are facing.”
The youth organization’s list of vandalized Christian and Catholic-owned buildings include 32 churches that were “completely destroyed, burned and looted;” eight churches that were “attacked and partially damaged;” nine schools, libraries, and other Coptic ministry buildings that were “burned and looted;” and at least 114 houses and shops owned by Copts that have been severely damaged.
On Thursday, OpenDoorsUSA—a ministry committed to serving persecuted Christians around the world—issued a press release titled “Egypt Is Bleeding!”, in which an unnamed Egyptian Christian leader describes some of the horrific violence and crimes being committed against Christians. In the release, the eyewitness writes that Wednesday was “a day of many tears, pain and agony,” with over 230 deaths and 2,000 injuries.
“This is not the time to sit to at a discussion table to decide who is right and who is wrong or what should or should not have been done in the first place,” the man states. “The issue now is not either to decide whether Muslim Brotherhood protesters who were forced to leave Rabaa-el Adawia and Nahda Squares (where they have camped and blocked the streets for the last 45 days) were peaceful protestors who had a legitimate political case to defend or were not. I can pretty much go further to say that it’s not even the time to weep over tens of churches, Christian buildings, schools, Bible bookshops, shops and houses of Christians that have never systematically been targeted, looted, attacked or burnt down like what happened yesterday in Minya, Assiut, Sohag and several other cities.”
“In all of this mess,” the Christian leader continues, “the loss of church buildings [is] great, but not to be compared with the loss of the many souls, the pains of the wounds and the fear and anxiety that have filled the hearts of all that can yet happen in Egypt today and the days to come. Buildings can eventually be re-built, but when lost, souls can never be restored. … Please continue to pray for my country. Those are the hardest days we’ve ever witnessed. The peaceful Egypt is now soaked into violence, hatred and desire to revenge. My heart and the hearts of millions of Christian and Muslim Egyptians are bleeding as we see Egypt turning into a strange country we’ve never knew before.”
Photo: Facebook/Maspero Youth Union