Village Church Attacked During Memorial for Egyptian Martyrs

It is 40 days since the execution of 21 Coptic Christians by ISIL in Libya. As mourners gathered on Friday in the village or Al-Our, home of 13 of the 20 Egyptian martyrs, cars from a surrounding village arrived carrying more than twenty armed men, who joined the crowd of more than 100 locals and made their way to the Virgin Mary Church, currently the only church for the towns nearly 2,500 Christians.


One of the villagers, Milad Nageh, told International Christian Concern (ICC) what happened: “At 8pm, a group of armed Muslim young men in six or seven cars from nearby villages stormed our village. Many Muslim fanatic young men {from our village} joined those who came from the other nearby villages and attacked the church.

“They shot guns at the church and pelted it with stones and blocks. They smashed the sign of the church, destroying the ground of the church yard and breaking the windows of the … church. They also burned a car that was parked in the front of the church.

” … This attack … was arranged before, because a truck loaded with cement blocks had unloaded all of their blocks in the front of a Muslim home nearby the church two days ago. We thought that these blocks would be used in construction of a building belonging to the owner of this home, but they were to attack the church,”

The mob then went on to attack the home of one of the martyrs, as his brother described: “After the Muslim Friday noon prayers some Muslim young men attacked our home … while I was alone in the home with the my wife, wives of my brothers, and my mother. My brothers were in the church at this time. The attackers attempted to storm my home, I hurried and locked the door and barred it. They then hurled stones at my home.”

Calls to the police to protect the Church were ignored as they stood around watching the attacks. When more rioters came in the evening, the police again did almost nothing to prevent the attacks on the church, dispersing the crowd only after much of the damage had been done.

Local leaders from the Christian and Muslim communities are to hold “reconciliation meetings” to try to stem the tensions that sparked this latest round of violence, but for the families of the men martyred in Libya, these attacks serve as yet another reminder that it is not just with ISIL in Libya that they face hostility, but now even in their own homes in Egypt.

  • Pray for the families and friends of the Coptic Christians killed in Libya, as they seek to grieve their loss, whilst facing serious threats to their own lives and security.
  • Pray for the reconciliation meetings, to be more than just a token gesture, and to bring about resolution to the tensions between Christians and Muslims.
  • Pray for the Egyptian government and security forces to be serious abut protecting the Christian communities.
  • Pray for an end to hostility across the Middle East.

Psalm 20 vs 1: “The Lord answer you in the day of trouble! The name of the God of Jacob protect you!”

Source: International Christian Concern,

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