Showing posts with label Copts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Copts. Show all posts

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Third Attack on Copts Since the Beginning of the Year -- Fear Among Christians Grows

Christians in Egypt: The Third Attack This Year
(Cairo) In Egypt, the third assault has been directed against members of the Coptic minority since the beginning of the year. Security forces discovered the body of the Christian physician Bassam Sadouat Zaki.
On January 3, the Coptic merchant Youssef Lamei had been murdered in Alexandria. Only 48 hours later the corpses of the Christian couple Gamal Sami Guirguis and Nadia Amin Guirguis had been found.
The surgeon, Bassam Sadouat Zaki, practiced his profession in the city of Asyut in Upper Egypt, some 370 kilometers south of Cairo. According to the first surveys, he was stabbed with a knife on 13 January.
On January 5, the police discovered the corpses of the Coptic Guirguis couple. They too had been murdered by stabbing. As in the case of Zaki, the bloody act happened at home.The couple had been surprised with death in their sleep. The crime occurred in the governorate of Al-Minufiyya in Lower Egypt, 85 kilometers north of Cairo.
A few days ago some suspects were arrested. Neither the police nor the prosecutor's office wanted to provide more details.
Two days before the murder of the couple, the Copt Youssef Lamei had been murdered in Alexandria in the street where he was taking a break in his shop. While the authorities are silent about the motive  in the other two cases, the Islamic background of the murder in Alexandria is certain. The perpetrator shouted loudly, "Allah Akhbar" while he killed his victim with a sword before the horrified eyes of those passers-by and the inhabitants of the neighborhood.
Four murders within eleven days. Finally, on December 11, a brutal assassination attempt took place at the Peter and Paul Church in the district of al-Abbasiyya in Cairo. Directly adjacent is the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate. On the day when the Muslims celebrate the birth of Muhammad, Islamists detonated an explosive device in a Coptic church, killing 25 Christians. The jihadist militia of the Islamic State (IS) has taken responsibility.
There is growing fear among the Christians of the country.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Asianews
Trans: Tancred
Link to Katholisches...

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Coptic Christian Beheaded in Egypt

Copts are suffering a new wave of Islamic violence.
(Cairo) on Monday, July 4, a Coptic Christian was stabbed in Tanta (Gharbia Governorate) by Islamists and then beheaded.
The 33-year-old pharmacist and Coptic Christian, Magdy Attia, was lured with a medication order into a house and killed there. According to Egyptian media reports, the house is inhabited by Salafists.
Witnesses said they had seen Magdy Attila half an hour with two men outside the building in a lively discussion. Other witnesses reported cries for help, which came out of the house.
The body of the Coptic Christian was found with nine stab wounds and beheaded. Video surveillance cameras were recorded two men covered with blood who left the house. They were identified and arrested by the police.
The police did not have any further details about the background of the event. The arrested men are Muslims.
Egypt is currently beset by a new wave of anti-Christian violence. On Tuesday, a Coptic Orthodox nun was killed. According to police, it had been a "tragic accident". She had been killed  by an "stray bullet". A few days earlier the Coptic priest, Raphael Moussa, was killed on the Sinai Peninsula. The attack was acknowledged by the jihadist militia known as the Islamic State (IS).
The city Tanta in the Nile Delta is located approximately halfway between Cairo and Alexandria and has approximately 450,000 inhabitants.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: asenseofbelonging (Screenshot)
Trans: Tancred
Link to Katholisches...

Monday, May 27, 2013

Copts Demand Justice for Egyptian Christians

Egypt: there is no concern or relief for the indigenous people of Egypt in the face of continued US-backed support for Muslim Brotherhood in the region.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Jesus Instead of Jihad -- Every Year Six Million Muslims Convert to Christianity

(Cairo / Abuja) Islamist violence is rapidly increasing in Africa.  Muslim terrorist groups increasingly operate in countries which were, until recently,  calm and stable as the Islamist wildfire spreads. The sociologist Massimo Introvigne was the OSCE Representative against persecution and discrimination of Christians in 2011.  He sees a targeted strategy beyond the phenomenon of Islamic violence. "The Islamists are convinced that the decisive battle about whether the world is Muslim or Christian will take place in Africa."  Even more important to Introvigne is, "that Islam is going to lose this battle. So it responds with bombs. "
It was the Libyan Islamic scholar and director of a training center for Imams and preacher of the Koran, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Qataani, who already proposed to raise the alarm a few years ago in an interview with the Arab-Muslim television channel Al-Jazeera. He did it with a highly explosive statement largely ignored in the West: "In Africa alone, every hour, 667 Muslims convert to Christianity, 16,000 every day, six million a year."  Introvigne confirmed the figures, which are now the same as in 2006, when Al-Qataani raised the alarm. African Christianity has a great inner strength. The contact of Muslims to Christianity led millions of Muslims to be baptized. One could say that they "fled" leave Islam. Despite the associated dangers to life and limb

Motion conversion from Islam to Christianity not only in Africa

The conversion movement from Islam to Christianity is found not only to take place in Africa. The baptism of the former Egyptian Muslim, Magdi Allam by Pope Benedict XVI. at the Easter Vigil in 2008 was the most spectacular and most visible element of this movement.  In addition Allam adopted, like many Muslim converts,  a typical Christian name. He opted for Cristiano. This refers to the personal name Christian. In his case, however,  Allam gave a broader message that will say: Magdi "the Christian" Allam, not the Muslim.
Empirical studies are not available. Careful observers, like the sociologist Introvigne, can based on various criteria of that largely unnoticed phenomenon, however is pouring in  approximate numbers. According to the British Times 15 percent  of immigrants to Europe have abandoned Islam and Muslims have become Christians. In the UK the number is now estimated at 200,000. In France, every year about 15,000 Muslims become Christians. Some 10,000 of them Catholics, the rest Protestants of various denominations, especially of independent churches.

Growth of Islam only by high birth rate in Islamic states - Christianity is growing by adult baptisms

In Africa, such as Sheikh Al-Qataani complained to Al-Jazeera, "Islam has always been the main religion. There were times when 30 African languages were ​​written in Arabic script. "Today's size relationship between Islam and Christianity makes it clear how much Islam has declined in recent years. Al-Qataani stated in his interview that there was  a direct comparison between Islam and the Catholic Church, "other Christian denominations were not added into the count”. With the increase in the number of Christians and the millions of Muslims who convert to Christianity, said Sheikh Al-Qataani: "These are huge numbers."
Introvigne confirms the conversion movement against the initially expressed assumption Al Qataani could have estimated the numbers intentionally increased to arouse the Islamic world. "The global growth of Islam is almost exclusively from the high birth rates in Muslim countries where thanks to Western medicine, infant mortality could be reduced substantially," said Introvigne. Outside the Islamic States of Islam is clearly in decline. The growth of Christianity in contrast, results mainly adult baptisms. The Evangelical Wolfgang Simpson wrote: "Over the past two decades, more Muslims came to Christ than in all previous centuries."

Father Joseph Hergets evangelization of Muslims

Priests, like the Austrian Lazarist Father Josef Herget, the founder of the Institute St. Justin in Mariazell, are among the silent but still active missionaries who lead the Muslims from Islam to Christ. They live dangerously. Father Herget wrote back in 1975, when the issue of Islam in the West has been given little weight, his master's thesis on the topic: Christian Preaching in the Islamic World. Another, the Egyptian Coptic priest and Islamic Scholar Zakaria Botros was described by the Arab-Islamic newspaper Al-Insan al-Jadid as the "number one enemy of Islam.”  Botros’ broadcast via satellite from the U.S., in which he explains from a Christian perspective, the problematic parts of the Koran (Jihad, status of women, stonings, etc.) may lead to secret mass conversions among Muslims. His mastery of the Arabic language and his knowledge of Islamic sources allow him to contact directly to an Arab-Muslim audience in the Middle East.
The conversions were initiated, as many viewers of Channel Botros Alfady,  after initial outrage it was clear that the Ulema are not able to convincingly answer Botros’ broadcasts. Botros like Hergets is dealing with Islam differently from the usual Western criticism that focuses on political and social issues and often betrays a condescending bigoted undertone. This form of criticism is also a cause for the fact that many in the West ignore the Christians of the Middle East and North Africa. Such criticism, which is seen as prejudiced, external interference, to close to the majority of Muslims. They usually respond downright irritated or filling not least on the ranks of Islamist movements,  militias and terrorist groups because too many politically charged issues come into play, in which the West is not perceived as the morally superior side, but mutated into an enemy. Botros and Herget, to stay with the two representatives of the evangelization of Muslims, on the other hand,point to salvation. This is the crucial difference that they will open the hearts of many Muslims, and at the same time offer a way out of a spiral of violence with harsh confrontations.

Radical Islam can be defused only by religion, not secularism, materialism and feminism

Raymond Ibrahim wrote in the National Review: "Many Western critics fail to appreciate that, to disempower Islam (radical or otherwise), something theocentric and spiritually satisfying — not secularism, democracy, capitalism, materialism, feminism, etc. — must be offered in its place. The falsehoods of Islam can only be challenged and supplanted by the truths of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And so "Father Zakaria Botros has been fighting fire with fire" and so must we." 
People seem to bear no longer the direct or indirect violence. Roman Silantjew, secretary of the Interreligious Council of Russia, said that in the successor states of the former Soviet Union, two million Muslims converted to Christianity.  One of the main reasons for this is the desire for peace that they recognize in Christianity.

Two million converts in Russia, 250,000 in Malaysia, 80,000 in Algeria

In Algeria, there were approximately 80,000 Muslims who were baptized, which prompted the country's government to enact laws against Christian proselytism. In these years, Moroccan media continued its complaint against the baptism of tens of thousands Berber. People see in war and crisis zones, how Islam is and they decide for Christ, as the representative of an evangelical community in Sudan said.
In Malaysia, said the Mufti of Perak of 250,000 Muslims that have submitted officially to the authority the application for change of religion to Christianity. Such a change is only allowed for members of ethnic minorities. On the number of Malays who were baptized in secret, there is no information.

People recognize Christianity as a religion of peace, Islam as a religion of violence

Protestant and Pentecostal communities are very decisive. Sometimes they are irresponsible to the distress of the indigenous Christian churches in Islamic countries who are victims of Islamist reprisals. The Catholic Church is more reserved. The Egyptian Jesuit Samir Khalil Samir, a leading expert in the Islamic world and the Pope's adviser, complained that the Catholic clergy "discourages for fear or misunderstood, 'ecumenism ', sometimes even to advise against conversions" in Islamic states. It’s not different  in European countries. The situation is admittedly says Khalil, not easy. Free Church communities "come and go, the Church has lasted 2000 years, it is here today and it will be tomorrow."  Free Church groups, because of their small structures  are barely palpable. likewise because they are in not officially recorded in most countries. Therefore, they are not vulnerable to attack. Quite different is the situation of the Catholic Church and the Eastern Churches. You are officially registered. The authorities know all the Christian places and know the families that belong to Church. They are vulnerable to attack because of its visibility and not only in a particular country, but also in other countries.

Differences between evangelical communities and the Catholic Church

The indigenous churches were accustomed coexistence with Muslims for centuries and in a certain form. A form which allows a convert to Islam, but not vice versa toward Christianity. The long time and the Islamic sword they had resigned themselves to defend their own area but not to reach from it. It is a form of self-defense, which is firmly entrenched in the mentality of the Eastern Christians, and could only be overcome slowly. Overcoming, which Christians very much require, is often given to life-threatening situations.
Missionaries from the outside would have, however, often lack the necessary familiarity with the cultural sensitivities, which could lead to dangerous confusion among the Muslim population. Between these extremes, it was necessary to find ways of evangelization. Working in this field are several Catholic initiatives, such as those of the Austrian Father Josef Herget and his Catechetical education.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Image: Dad News

Link to Katholisches...

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Bishop Tawadoros per Los is the New Pope of the Copts

Pope Shenouda III
In Egypt, the Coptic Christian minority has elected a new Pope.  At a Liturgy in the Markus Cathedral of Cairo, Bishop Tawadros per Los was elected as the 118th church head.

Odds on the office have favored Bishop Raphael from the capital of Cairo and Tawadros from Beheria in the Nile Delta as well as the Monk Raphael Awa Mina.

A small boy, blindfolded, drew the name out of a glass bowl with the new Pope's name on it, which was sealed in red wax. Thus the Copts considered this also as "God's Will".  There were three candidates for the election.

The 60 year old from the Nile Delta will be solemnly installed on the 18th of November.  He follows in the footsteps of Pope Shenuda III after 40 years at the head of the largest Christian community in the Middle East.

Fear of Expulsion

The Copts make up about 10 percent of the 83 million Egyptians, of which the largest part are Sunni Muslims.  This also makes the Copts the largest Christian community in the Near East.

At present they are concerned about the impending Islamization of Egypt.  There are increasingly violent conflicts between the Copts and the Muslim majority.

Link to ... tageschau...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Egypt: Leadership Change in Coptic-Catholic Church -- Patriarch Naguib is Seriously Ill

Patriarch Naguib with Pope Benedict
(Cairo)  The Synod of the Coptic-Catholic Church of Egypt elected a representative in the past few days with complete authority to decide for Coptic Catholics. The decision became necessary as a result of the serious illness suffered by the Superior of the Egyptian Church, Antonios Cardinal Naguib, the Patriarch of Alexandria.  The Catholic-Coptic Church in union with Rome belongs to the most important eastern Church and stands particularly in the lamplight owing to how it stood throughout the Islamicization in Egypt.  Patriarch Naguib was ever a decisive voice for the Christians on the Nile,  till recently just before the outbreak of the "Arab Revolution", which he then greeted, but because of the advances of radical and extremist Islamist groups began to observe with increasing skepticism.

The Coptic-Catholic Church Bishops decided, to appoint a vicar in the place of the Patriarch, who is to support him in his work. This is so that the Church leadership can be maintained, despite the illness of the Cardinal. As a representative, the Bishop Kyrillos Kamal William Samaan, Bishop of Assiut was appointed. The 65 year old Church leader belongs to the Franciscan Order.

Bishop Samaan is to undertake the leadership complete breadth of the Church leadership for the Coptic-Catholic Church in accordance with canon law, if not also the title. Canon 132 of Canon Law for the East hand over to the Vicar complete rights and duties, even if it doesn't confer the title of a Patriarch.

The serious illness of Patriarch Naguib represents for Egypt's Christians a serious blow. The Coptic Catholics are in comparison to the numerous and much larger Coptic Orthodox, only a tiny community, about 0.25 percent [About 163,630 according to Wiki] of the Egyptian population. On the international level they are in any case an important voice for all of Egypt's Coptic Egyptians. Through the universality of the Catholic Church, they can also provide for the almost 10 million Orthodox Coptic members.

The Copts of Egypt, who are the actual descendants of the antique Egyptians and had lived in Egypt centuries before when Christians had made it bloom, are experiencing in recent times yet again a strong anti-Christian persecution by today's dominant Islam.

In his first address Bishop Samaan called upon the Copts, to pray for a speedy recovery of Cardinal Naguib and continue on the path prepared by the Patriarch to seek "dialog for our beloved Egypt". "We are ready to dialog", said the new Vicar of the Patriarch in the direction of the other religious and political powers of Egypt.

Bishop Samaan was born in Shanaynah in the vicinity of Assiut. He studied in the beginning of the 80s at a Papal University in Rome. In 1990 he was consecrated Bishop, and took an active part in the Christian-Islamic dialog. Since November 011 he belonged to the Council of Eastern Churches.

Patriarch Naguib can not, because of his stricken health, take part in the Consistorium, that Pope Benedict XVI. had called for this weekend. The Egyptian Cardinal is valued as a highly esteemed member of the "Senate of the Church", whose voice has especial weight on matters of the Oriental Christians. The 77 year old Cardinal was elected as the Patriarch of Alexandria in a 2010 Synod of Coptic Bishops. In October 2010 he was the General Commentator on the Synod for the Near East. Shortly after, Pope Benedict XVI raised him to the rank of Cardinal on the 20th of November 2010, where he is at present the only representative in Rome of Oriental uniate Churches.

Link to katholisches...

The Patriarchate's Website in Arabic

Egypt: Parliament Considers the Expulsion of the Copts

A Parliamentary committee desires to attempt the expulsion of eight Coptic Families from their home village Sharbat near Alexandria.

Frankfurt-Cairo ( The Egyptian Parliament has, according to reports by the human rights organization IGFM, a fact finding committee is prepared to expel Coptic Christians. AS the International Community for Human Rights explained on Thursday, the Parliamentary Committee has proposed the explusion of eight Coptic families from their home village Sharbat near Alexandria. The families have received the notice that they will be forced to leave their homes by the police and the village elders, since their safety can longer be guaranteed anymore.

For months encroachments against the Christian minority have increased in this Muslim land. According to IGMF, the proposed investigation has particular importance, because it anticipates also the future Parliament's conduct in its orientation regarding conflicts between religions.
Link to

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cardinal Schönborn Protests Against Murder of Copts in Egypt

Austria   this afternoon the Viennese Cardinal Christoph Count von Schönborn, together with the Coptic Bishop Gabriel, demonstrated for the persecuted Christians in Egypt. The participants gathered in front of Vienna's National Opera House and processed to Vienna's famous Gothic Cathedral, der Stepensdom. An ecumenical recollection took place there for the 27 Copts who were shot or run over by armored vehicles on the 9th of October during a peaceful demonstration in Cairo. For the lives of the unborn, the Cardinal has still yet to take to the streets.

Link to

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Egyptian Army Crushes Christians With Armoured Vehicles

Edit:  the drivers of these vehicles look pretty determined to run people over.  There are thirty nine dead so far.

Remember when the secular media was excited about the so-called Arab Spring? 

It shouldn't take an expert in Middle Eastern Affairs to know what happens in the wake of an Arab Revolt. The passions run high and so even the Army and the government can't resist joining in.

Here's an excerpt of an eyewitness narrative of the events so far.

The march from the Cairo district of Shubra was huge, like the numbers on 28 January. In the front row was a group of men in long white bibs, “martyr upon demand” written on their chests. A tiny old lady walked among them, waving a large wooden cross: “God protect you my children, God protect you.”

The march started down Shubra Street around 4 pm, past its muddle of old apartment buildings, beat up and sad but still graceful compared with the constructions from the Mubarak era next to them - brutish and unfinished-looking.

A man explained why there were bigger numbers than the march last week in response to the attack on the St. George’s Church in Aswan: the army had hit a priest while violently dispersing Coptic protesters in front of the Maspiro state TV building on Wednesday. A video posted online showed a young man being brutally assaulted by army soldiers and riot police.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Muslims Attack Church and Threaten to Kill Priest

Minya, 24 June (AKI) - Hundreds of Muslim extremists surrounded a church in central Egypt and threatened to kill the local priest, the Assyrian International News Agency reported. The extremists began targeting the church in a village 7 kilometres south of the city of Minya in March after renovation work began, threatening to demolish the church.

AINA Friday cited eyewitnesses as saying that the Muslim mob, dressed in white robes and long beards, chanted: "We will kill the priest, we will kill him and no one will prevent us."

One of their leaders was cited as saying they would "…cut him to pieces," AINA reported.

The priest Father George Thabet, who was holding morning mass and was locked in the church with several parishioners. Security forces arrived five hours later and escorted the priest away in a police car to the Coptic Diocese in Minya.

Link to IGN, here.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Copts Are Fighting Back

[AlMasryAlYoum] Sectarian clashes between a number of Muslims and Coptic Christians resurfaced in the Fateh district of Shubra al-Kheima on Monday, after two Muslims were shot and killed by a Copt on Sunday. Security forces surrounded the area, imposed a security cordon around churches in the area and arrested seven Muslims and Copts carrying weapons. In a confrontation, one police officer was shot in the foot.

A security official told Al-Masry Al-Youm that a number of Muslims went to the Shubra al-Khaima Church on Monday after learning that the killer was hiding there. Clashes erupted and gunfire was exchanged.
The official went on to say that the police imposed a security cordon around the area and arrested four Copts and three Muslims who had a machine gun, five pistols and 235 bullets in their possession.

Link to original...

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Video of the Egyptian Army's Attack on St. Bishoy Monastery

We'd reported on the death of a Coptic Priest who recently died from multiple stab wounds last month on the twenty third, well, here's the video documenting the related attack on the Bishoy Monastery walls.

These people have a sense for patience and hope as they sang Kyrie Eleison as Egyptian Army APCs battered down the protective wall surrounding their Monastery.

H/t: DG for video.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Cairo: Body of a Priest Found with 22 Knife Wounds

Not only unprotected, but also actively persecuted by the military: Coptic Christians in Egypt -- Soldiers shoot monks and priests.

Dusseldorf-Cairo (  Further attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt: The Coptic Orthodox Bishop for Germany, Anba Damian, complained this Thursday to the 'Westphalian Hoxter' of attacks by soldiers against the Anba--Bishoy-Cloister in Wadi El Natrun.  There this Wednesday a monk was shot and another was abducted. Some collaborators with the Monastery have been severely wounded, said the Bishop.

Still more, this Tuesday the body of a Coptic Priest was found with 22 knife wounds.

The "Society for Threatened People" also participated this Thursday, saying that more than a thousand Copts had demonstrated against new attacks against Monasteries.  The participants protested against the destruction of the protective fences around the Monastery by the Army, at which more Copts were severely injured.

The protests were directed otherwise against the murder of David Boutros.  The body of the priest was found on Tuesday in this home in the village of Schatb near the city of Asyut.

Boutros was, according to reports in the interim, already murdered at some time this weekend with 22 knife wounds in the neck, back and stomach.

Damian accused the Egyptian Army of not protecting the Monastery from plundering and even hindering the efforts of the Monks in defending themselves. "The unarmed Monks and workers of my home Monastery Anba-Bishoy in Wadi El Natrun were fired upon with much hate and still more anger,"  declared Damian.

According to the testimony of the Bishop the Army stopped the Monks from building a defensive wall around the Monastery, as the security forces withdrew and while a thousand prisoners were released from the jails in Wadi El Natrun.  On Wednesday the Army returned with four bulldozers and destroyed the wall again.  Just as this was happening, the soldiers fired on the Monastery with machine pistols.

Link to

And yet there's not much "danger" to these  uprisings says Vatican "expert".

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Islamists Kill 21 in Alexandrian Church Bombing

[Christian Science Monitor] An Egypt church bombing today has raised fears that global terrorist organizations are exploiting the country's rising sectarian tension as justification for attacking Christians.

The powerful explosion took place outside a Coptic Christian church in Alexandria during a New Year's Eve mass early Saturday, killing at least 21 people and wounding more than 80. It came just as some of the worshipers, which numbered about 1,000, had begun to leave. Wrecked cars and debris were left scattered in the street.

Security authorities initially said the blast had come from a car bomb, but later said it appeared to have come from a suicide bomber, and not a car. A statement released by the Interior Ministry said the bomb was filled with nuts and bearings to kill as many as possible.

Read further...

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sheikh Incites Muslims to Attack Christians in Egypt

At one point, an inept, knife-wielding Muslim attempts to convert a Copt by force.

ISTANBUL, March 17 (CDN) — A mob of enraged Muslims attacked a Coptic Christian community in a coastal town in northern Egypt last weekend, wreaking havoc for hours and injuring 24 Copts before security forces contained them.

The violence erupted on Friday (March 12) afternoon after the sheikh of a neighborhood mosque incited Muslims over a loudspeaker, proclaiming jihad against Christians in Marsa Matrouh, in Reefiya district, 320 kilometers (200 miles) west of Alexandria, according to reports.

The angry crowd hurled rocks at the district church, Christians and their properties, looted homes and set fires that evening. The mob was reportedly infuriated over the building of a wall around newly-bought land adjacent to the Reefiya Church building. The building, called al Malak al Khairy, translated Angel’s Charity, also houses a clinic and community center.

“I was very surprised by the degree of hatred that people had toward Christians,” said a reporter for online Coptic news source Theban Legion, who visited Reefiya after the attack. “The hate and the disgust were obvious.”

The attack was a rarity for a northern coastal resort town in Egypt; most tensions between Copts and Muslims erupt in southern towns of the country.

According to a worker building the wall around the newly-bought plot, local Sheikh Khamis along with a dozen “bearded” men accused the church and workers of blocking a road early on Friday, staff members of Watani newspaper said.

Worried that the dispute could erupt into violence, one of the priests ordered the workers to take the wall down.

The governor of Marsa Matrouh approved the building of the church center and granted a security permit to conduct religious services in 2009.

Following afternoon mosque prayers, Sheikh Khamis rallied neighborhood Muslims, gathering more than 300 people. The mob broke into groups, attacking the church and nearby houses of the Coptic Christian community. There are nearly 2,000 Coptic Christians in Reefiya.

Around 400 Copts fled into the church building while the rioting mob looted and destroyed 17 houses, 12 cars and two motorcycles, according to Watani.

Local security forces were unable to contain the attack and called-in back up from nearby Alexandria. At nearly 1:30 a.m. on Sunday (March 14) they managed to contain the crowd and let the Christians out of the church.

Police arrested 16 young Christian men among those who were inside the church building, according to Watani. Later, four of them who were released because they were underage told reporters that security forces beat them. Police also arrested 18 of the assailants.

Some of the attackers and security forces were also wounded in the altercation. Of the wounded Copts, two were reportedly rushed to a hospital in Alexandria in critical condition. Sobhy Girgis, 33, was taken to Alexandria’s Victoria Hospital for internal bleeding in the kidney from injuries sustained from rocks the crowd threw at him, and Mounir Naguib, 41, was treated for multiple stab wounds, according to Watani.

Naguib, a teacher, said he was accosted while on his way to the Angel’s Charity building, with a knife-wielding member of the mob asking him if he was a Christian. When he said he was, the Muslim told him to convert to Islam by pronouncing the two testimonies of the Muslim faith (that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is his messenger).

“When I refused, he stabbed me in the thigh and hit me on the head,” Naguib told Watani.

One Copt, Nabil Wahba, told of how his house was destroyed. Wahba said he came home at 6 p.m. to find around 40 men hurling stones at his house. At 9 p.m. they came back with clubs and iron pipes, ripping the windows open and throwing fireballs into the house.

“When we tried to put out the fire, they hurled stones at us, while others were pulling down the garden fence and setting the other side of the house aflame,” Wahba told Watani.

Security forces pulled Wahba and his sister out of his blazing house.

On the same day that violence erupted in Marsa Matrouh, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released a report denouncing Egypt’s legal system for not bringing people to justice for violent acts against Christians and their property.

According to the report, in the last year there have been more than a dozen incidents in which Coptic Christians have been targets of violence.

“This upsurge in violence and the failure to prosecute those responsible fosters a growing climate of impunity,” USCIRF Chairman Leonard Leo states in the report.

Since 2002, Egypt has been on the USCIRF “Watch List” as a country with serious religious freedom violations, including widespread problems of discrimination, intolerance and other human rights violations against members of religious minorities, according to the report.

Commenting on the Marsa Matrouh attack, the Theban Legion reporter stated that among the mob were members of Bedouin communities who are intolerant of plurality and diversity in society.

“The law of the land is supposed to be a civil law, and we would like to see a civil law applying to everybody,” he said.

Link to original...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Copts Rally in Washington D.C.

In January 21, 2010 on a winter afternoon, over 2000 Coptic Christians rallied, chanted, sang, prayed, and marched outside the White House to get the attention of U.S. President Barack Obama and the American public on the continuing human rights violations of the Copts in Egypt. They came from Maryland, Virginia, New York, New Jersey, and other parts of America to protest the recent terrorist attack on Copts in Egypt on January 6 (Coptic Christmas Eve), with terrorists killing Copts as they left their religious services in Nag Hammadi (near Luxor). The latest attacks were part of a continuing history of oppression, rape, murder, and forced conversion from Christianity to Islam of the Coptic people and women in Egypt.

Read further...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Chuck Colson Takes Media To Task in Its Poor Coverage of Copts' Plight

The most recent Egyptian assault took place in in the ancient city of Nag Hammadi – a gunman opened fire on a crowd of worshipers leaving Midnight Mass. Seven Coptic Christians were killed, and at least six more were wounded. The shooting was said to be in retaliation for an alleged (emphasis Colson’s) sexual assault by a Christian man against a Muslim girl in November, which was followed by five days of looting and burning of Copt homes and businesses.

Read further...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Pope condemns murder of Coptic Christians in Egypt

(AFP) – 1 day ago

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday condemned the murder of six Coptic Christians in a January 6 attack in Egypt, and denounced violence against Christians.

"The violence against Christians in certain countries has caused indignation among many people, among other reasons because it has manifested itself during the holiest days of the Christian tradition," the pope told pilgrims in St Peter's Square.

The drive-by shooting happened in the southern Egyptian town of Nagaa Hammadi as Copts celebrated their Christmas Eve along with other Orthodox communities.

"There can be no violence in the name of God," Benedict said.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved. More »

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Copts Clash with Egyptian Police

CAIRO — Clashes erupted on Thursday as thousands of Coptic Christians in a southern Egyptian village gathered to bury six of their number gunned down on Coptic Christmas Eve by men believed to be Muslims, security officials said.

Officials and the local bishop said three men in a car had raked pedestrians with gunfire along a street containing two churches and a shopping precinct late on Wednesday.

Bishop Kirilos said the victims were people who had just emerged from church after attending a Christmas Eve service, and the proximity of the shopping area might have drawn some of them to it.

Six Copts and a Muslim policeman were killed, while at least nine more Copts were wounded, two of them seriously, a security official said.

Read further...