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Egypt: Coptic Christians attacked after Facebook post showing ‘contempt of Islam’

We are in prayer for our brothers and sisters of the Coptic Orthodox Christian Church in Egypt as they are persecuted for their faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

The ongoing political violence in Egypt has led to unprecedented attacks on the country’s Coptic Christian minority, the worst in their history. Copts make up roughly 10 percent of the Egyptian population. They have been the target of revenge attacks by Muslim mobs ever since Egypt’s first Islamist president Mohamed Morsi was overthrown in a military coup in 2013. Over 40 Christian churches all over Egypt were gutted by arson and looted – some over a thousand years old and full of priceless relics — in the months after Morsi was toppled. Copts have also been murdered in ongoing sectarian violence.

The Christians, of course, do not respond in kind. One of the Coptic Church’s senior leaders, Bishop Thomas, says revenge is not his religion’s way. “Forgiveness is a very important principle in the Christian life,” he says. “When you are able to present forgiveness, and love, you are able as well to ask for justice.”

“Egypt: Copts attacked after Facebook post showing ‘contempt of Islam,’” World Watch Monitor, July 11, 2018:

…Monday’s attack took place after Muslim villagers in Menbal, which has a population of 45,000, 30% of whom are Copts, accused a Coptic Christian of publishing a post on his Facebook page that insulted Islam, said the source, who did not wish to be named. In his post, published last Thursday (5 July), the 35-year-old Abdo Adel had compared Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, with Jesus.

The Muslim villagers filed a complaint with the police in the nearby city of Matay. Adel was arrested the following day (Friday 6 July) on charges of insulting Muhammad and contempt of Islam. He was put in custody pending further investigation.

On the day of his arrest, a group of young Muslim men tried to attack his house and had to be dispersed by police who were guarding the Copt’s home, according to the source.

‘We will displace you’

Three days later, on Monday evening, the police were called in at 11.30pm because a mob was attacking Copts and their properties in the village.

“The Muslim extremists in our village and the nearby villages incited the Muslim villagers against us …. They began pelting the Coptic-owned houses with stones and bricks, while shouting ‘Allahu akbar’ [Allah is the greatest] and chanting slogans against Copts, such as ‘We will displace you and the priest from our village, oh kaffir [infidels], oh the worshipers of the cross, oh defiled people’,” Girgis Shawky, a 32-year-old resident told World Watch Monitor.

Windows were smashed and some of the Copts sustained minor injuries. The attackers also attempted to break into the St. Tadros Church and the house of the priest, Fr. Makarious El-Kommas Antoun, but security personnel who were guarding the properties stopped them by firing in the air, he said….

“We lived very terrible moments while the mob were attacking our homes. Our children were screaming,” said Hany Adly, a Copt who owns an electrical-supplies shop in the village.

“All of us [Copts] have stayed in our homes. We are afraid to get out to the village streets. There is a state of panic and fear among all of us here. I cannot open my shop. Despite the presence of security forces in the village, we are still receiving threats from our Muslim neighbours. They say they will take revenge on all of us as soon as the security forces leave the village. We are afraid that they will attack us this Friday after their noon prayers.”…

Meanwhile, Fr. Antoun posted a formal apology on his Facebook page on Friday, saying: “We strongly denounce what was published on the Facebook page of this man, which is understood as an abuse to our Muslim brothers.” However, he added: “We do not accept this abuse. May God protect our country from evil.”

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