A new report from Human Rights Watch has revealed the extremity of the bloodshed against Egypt's Coptic Christians. Since Aug. 14, 37 churches have been either destroyed or badly damaged, and at least five others were attacked, leaving at least four people dead. In addition, scores of Christian businesses and schools have been looted, vandalized and torched.
But the egregiousness nature of these actions is only matched by the lack of response by Egyptian authorities themselves, said Joe Stork, the acting Human Rights Watch Middle East Director.
"For weeks, everyone could see these attacks coming, with Muslim Brotherhood members accusing Coptic Christians of a role in Mohammad Morsy's ouster, but the authorities did little or nothing to prevent them. Now dozens of churches are smoldering ruins, and Christians throughout the country are hiding in their homes, afraid for their very lives," said Joe Stork in a statement. more >>
As Christians in Egypt find themselves at the center of hostile attacks by Islamic protesters, a church in Minya was forced to cancel Mass on Sunday for the first time in 1,600 years.
"We did not hold prayers in the monastery on Sunday for the first time in 1,600 years," explained Priest Selwanes Lotfy of the Virgin Mary and Priest Ibram Monastery in Degla, south of Minya. The priest revealed that supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi destroyed the monastery, which includes three churches, according to Times of Israel.
He added that one of the attacker had wrote on the monastery's wall "donate [this] to the martyrs' mosque." more >>
A petition started by the American Center for Law and Justice is urging President Barack Obama to make sure foreign aid given to Egypt comes with the condition that Christians are protected from the escalating attacks they are suffering at the hands of Muslim-Brotherhood backed Islamists.
"Seventy churches shouldn't be burned down throughout Egypt. That's happening because the military is not yet willing to stand in the way," Jordan Sekulow, ACLJ executive director, said in a phone interview with The Christian Post on Tuesday.
"Words are not enough. Yes, the United States – when we speak, it's powerful, but what also makes us powerful is the amount of funding we provide to the world and I think this is one of the opportunities we have to at least give this Muslim majority population and military, which we've had a pretty good relationship with, the opportunity to do the right thing." more >>
Patriarchs and heads of churches from all over Jerusalem have praised those in Egypt who are facing violence and bloodshed but have maintained their faith and spoken out against the violence. They are now calling on both Muslims and Christians to unite in opposition of terrorists inciting violence throughout the nation.
"We are following the situation in Egypt, where unprecedented violence and terrorism has wages and a large number of soldiers in Egypt have been murdered, as well as the targeting of churches," according to a statement issued today.
"We appreciate the stance shown by many Muslim citizens protecting their Christian brethren, aiding them in defending churches and public institutions, calling for the perpetrators to abide by the values of tolerance." more >>
The Russian Association of Islamic Accord, which is also known as the All-Russian Muslim Board, has called on Egyptians to protect the country's Christian population.
Mufti Farid Salman, head of the Ulema Council of the association, called on the Egyptian Muslim population to maintain the safety of churches in the country, to protect Muslim and Christian clergy and to "severely punish the extremists who sowed the seeds of chaos and revolt," according to Interfax independent news group.
"It is unacceptable to tolerate the continuation of this orgy of Saran followers, who have burned down several dozens of churches and have looted monasteries in the past few days in an attempt to further fan the flames of this fratricidal war, cease the efforts of those to desecrate, destroy and loot numerous mosques and madrasahs [religious schools]," the mufti continued in a statement. more >>
An Egyptian Christian, who is a research fellow at an institute for religious freedom in the U.S, says last week's attacks on Christian churches and believers in Egypt are the worst in 700 years and believes Western media has not covered the chaos accurately.
"Egypt has not witnessed this size of an attack on Christians, on churches [current reports of up to 50 churches damaged or destroyed] since 1321," said Samuel Tadros, a research fellow at the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom, to The Christian Post on Tuesday.
Tadros said the news of these attacks has been stifled by confused coverage rather than intentional Western media bias appearing to support the Muslim Brotherhood. Since the violence that included hundreds of deaths on August 14, many Christians including the Coptic Orthodox Church, have denounced the news coverage. Also, the scholar argued that foreign journalists have a tendency to focus on events in the capital, Cairo, rather than those throughout the region. more >>