Egyptian Christians have requested our prayers following an attack on a church in the Giza area.
Last Sunday (20th October) two men approached the Virgin Mary Coptic Orthodox church in Warraq al-Hadar, Giza, on a motorcycle. One of the two opened fire using an automatic weapon on people attending wedding services. Two died at the scene and a third later the same day, while a fourth died of her injuries the next day and a fifth person, a Muslim, died on Thursday (24th). A further 17 people were wounded, several seriously.
Five men were arrested on 21st October in connection with the incident. There have been reports that security guards were either not present at all during the event or that they had left the scene prior to the attack. Many are doubtful as to whether more adequate security could have prevented or limited the effects of the attack, but are calling for an investigation into whether there was failure or negligence on the part of security forces.
A few weeks previously there was another incident in which Christians were targeted in a shooting. On 30th September Bishop Anba Makarios of Minya survived an apparent assassination attempt when his car came under fire as he entered el-Sario in Abu Qurqas, Minya province. The driver was able to proceed to the home of a local Christian, where both took shelter. The security services were contacted and arrived 90 minutes later. Nobody was hurt but the car and the home were damaged by bullets.
These were the most serious incidents affecting Christians since the wave of attacks on church property in mid-August as part of the reaction by some supporters of former President to his removal from office. At least 80 churches and other buildings owned by Christians in several provinces across Egypt were burnt down, looted or otherwise damaged. The interim government established a commission to document the damage and oversee repairs. Egypt’s Council of Churches submitted a list of the 48 most seriously damaged buildings to the commission. The churches undertook to repair those buildings with minor damage. The commission has begun its work, with the first surveys conducted in early September.
During the attacks in August, moderate Muslims acted in defence of church property. Likewise on 20th October, Muslims assisted in the aftermath of the shooting attack, and attended the funerals held the next day. Several Christian leaders report that relationships amongst Christians and moderate Muslims have been strengthened in recent months, with cooperation for the benefit of society and the nation.
Egyptian Christians request our prayers that:
a. The bereaved will know the comfort, presence and peace of Jesus
b. The wounded and traumatised will know the presence, peace and healing touch of Jesus
c. Christian leaders and Christian communities will continue to respond with restraint and forgiveness as they did during August
d. The clear rule of law, applied equally to all citizens, will be established throughout Egypt
e. The church will be strengthened by these events, and the truth about Jesus will be shared widely
f. Inter-communal relationships amongst all people of goodwill will grow ever stronger, and the rejection of extremism and violence by the vast majority of Egyptians will be clearly seen
g. Extremists will be challenged by and respond to the Spirit’s conviction of sin.
Source: Middle East Concern