Muslims 'Invoked God's Wrath on Christians' Over Loudspeakers Before Church Terror Attacks

(Photo: Reuters/Asmaa Waguih)Coptic Christians attend a church service during Holy Easter week in central Cairo, Egypt, April 17, 2014.
(Photo: Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)Relatives of victims react next to coffins arriving to the Coptic church that was bombed on Sunday in Tanta, Egypt, April 9, 2017.
(Photo: REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany)Protesters, who are against Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, gesture in Tahrir Square in Cairo July 3, 2013.
(Photo: Reuters/Stringer)Christians attend Sunday service in the Virgin Mary Church at Samalout Diocese in Al-Our village, in Minya governorate, south of Cairo, May 3, 2015. Copts have long complained of discrimination under successive Egyptian leaders and Sisi's actions suggested he would deliver on promises of being an inclusive president who could unite the country after years of political turmoil. However, striking out at extremists abroad might prove easier than reining in radicals at home. Orthodox Copts, the Middle East's biggest Christian community, are a test of Sisi's commitment to tolerance, a theme he often stresses in calling for an ideological assault on Islamist militants threatening Egypt's security.
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Coptic Christians in Egypt, who've been targeted in a number of recent terror attacks, have said that for years Muslim imams were allowed to preach hatred and violence against Christians to the public over loudspeakers.

Michel Fahmy, a resident of Cairo, told AFP in a report on Wednesday that local imams would blare sermons over loudspeakers from mosques "invoking God's wrath on Christians."

"In mosques there are prayers to harm Christians," Fahmy said, noting that some sermons are specifically targeted against Islam's "enemies."

"They incite to violence, youths are being filled with hatred against us and acting on it," the 50-year-old souvenir shop owner added.

"It concerns us all. It leads to terrorism and to Christians being targeted."

Forty-five people were massacred in twin Palm Sunday bombings in Alexandria and Tanta last week, which was claimed by the Islamic State terror group.

There have been numerous other attacks in recent months and years as well, including a Dec. 11, 2016, suicide bombing at a Cairo church, just weeks before Christmas.

Last Sunday's massacre was so devastating that it is forcing some churches to cancel their Easter celebrations, with the the Minya Coptic Orthodox Diocese announcing that it will limit its events to just liturgical prayers "without any festive manifestations."

Fahmy suggested that part of the problem is the way young people are educated.

"Society does not teach youths that Muslims and Copts are brothers and of the same nation, upbringing plays a big role" he said.

Lillian Anis, another Copt who works in a clothing store, noted that Muslims and Christians attend different religious classes, and it is usually the Copts who are looked down upon.

"The problem starts at school where children are treated differently," Anis said.

"In school some refused to speak to me because I was a Christian," she added.

Still, there have been instances of Muslims who have defended Christians directly in the line of fire, including a Muslim police officer who was killed in the terror attack on Palm Sunday.

Brigadier General Nagwa El-Haggar was reportedly guarding the entrance to St. Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria on Sunday.

The Egyptian Interior Ministry revealed earlier this week that Al-Haggar "died heroically" as she rushed to aid her colleagues to prevent a suicide bomber from entering the church. The terrorist detonated his bomb outside, which killed Al-Haggar, along with other police officers.

Al-Haggar "is considered the first woman to be killed during duty in the female police force in the history of the Interior Ministry," a security source told Egyptian media.

Despite the horrific attacks they have faced, Coptic Christians remain emboldened by their faith, other reports have said.

A video posted on Facebook following the Palm Sunday bombings showed hundreds of Copts, who make up only 10 percent of the population, enthusiastically chanting the Nicene Creed in Arabic outside of a church.

"The Copts are an inspiring group that has been under so much pressure for their faith and yet they are standing strong and really showing the love of Jesus in the face of great opposition," David Curry, president of Open Door USA, told The Christian Post.

Curry said that they are "determined to celebrate Holy Week, to celebrate Easter and keep the focus on Jesus," adding, "but I think their hearts are breaking, clearly."

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