Seven people killed in Egypt church

Our thoughts and prayers at the Cafe are with the families and communities of the Egyptian Coptic Christians who were killed yesterday after leaving Coptic Christmas Mass.

Gunmen kill 7 at Egypt church after Christmas Mass
From The Washington Post

Three men in a car sprayed automatic gunfire into a crowd of churchgoers in southern Egypt as they left a midnight Mass for Coptic Christmas, killing at least seven people in a drive-by shooting, the church bishop and security officials said.

. . .

The attack took place in the town of Nag Hamadi in Qena province, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) from the famous ancient ruins of Luxor. A local security official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, confirmed that seven were dead and three seriously wounded.

Bishop Kirollos of the Nag Hamadi Diocese told The Associated Press six male churchgoers and one security guard were killed. He said he had left St. John's church just minutes before the attack.

Comments (7)

As I read an article in the New York Times this morning reporting on this tragic event, I couldn't help but be amazed that Egypt was once a vital center of Christianity. Now the Christians are a minority and a small minority at that. This latest violence was most likely an act of retaliation for an earlier one perpetrated by a Christian. And it goes on and on. When will we learn?

Peter,

I was also struck by the same thought as yours. "and it goes on and on"...

Peter Carey+

Why do we always hide behind God when we are displaying the worst in us?

In that particular case, the whole community was targeted because of what one man, who happened to be "Christian" did: he raped a girl. It was, of course, an excuse to scare the Christian community, since Islamic fundamentalism has been rising in the whole Middle East.

The Coptic community has suffered persecution for about 15 centuries. At first, from Orthodox leaders, who used the Byzantine government to suppress them. After that, under Islamic governors, who systematically promoted persecutions, forced conversions, taxation and even pogroms at times. Still, not so much time ago, there was a considerable amount of Christians in the Middle East. Many have emigrated to Europe and the Americas in the 20th Century. Note that I didn't mention that Eastern Orthodox Christianity and Islam persecuted them. Those who did it were people who happened to say they followed such religions.

And of course, I'm naive to think that Coptic people have oppressed other religions in the past. But I really don't think this was even possible to happen in the near past.

Egypt still has a long way to go in terms of religious freedom. There, it is forbidden by law to convert from Islam to Christianity. "Mixed" marriages are not allowed. Christian churches - some of them centuries and centuries old - have to go through a ridiculously bureaucratic process in order to be refurbished. And Christian worship, as far as I know, has to happen behind closed doors.

I strive to be respectful of all faiths, and believe we all need to engage in interfaith dialogue. But I cannot help but say that the persecution that is actively promoted against Christians in many Islamic countries (some of it endorsed by their governments) is as immoral as the proposed Ugandan law, and I'd dare to say as immoral as the Swiss government recent prohibition of minarets. Amnesty International report a growing number of Coptic Christians being attacked in Egypt recently, and I believe this demands from us more than just lamenting. A good start would be something similar to what has been done re: the Ugandan legislation. It's time to write congressmen, pass the news on, mail people in important positions, etc.

"And of course, I'm naive to think that Coptic people have oppressed other religions in the past. But I really don't think this was even possible to happen in the near past." should be

"And of course, I'm NOT naive to think that Coptic people have oppressed other religions in the past. But I really don't think this was even possible to happen in the near past."


It would be a good thing if organizations like the WCC would speak out on this topic.

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