Thursday, August 15, 2013

Churches burn as hundreds die

After the Egyptian military attacked Muslim Brotherhood protest camps in Cairo, leaving several hundred dead and almost 3,000 injured, Muslim Brotherhood supporters took out their anger on Christian churches.

Asia News reported that Islamists had attacked seven Catholic churches and 15 religious buildings belonging to the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Protestant church.

One of Egypt's oldest churches, the fourth-century Church of the Virgin Mary in Minya, was destroyed by fire. A second church in Minya was ablaze. Muslim Brotherhood supporters threw firebombs at Mer Gergiss Church in Solag. It was destroyed.

As though expecting trouble, Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II had called on all Egyptians to prevent bloodshed. "With all compassion I urge everyone to conserve Egyptian blood and ask of every Egyptian to commit to self-restraint and avoid recklessness and assault on any person or property," he wrote.

In vain. Christians have been victims of Muslim attacks for years - but this, activists said, was "the worst co-ordinated attack on Egypt's Coptic community in modern history." 

The Maspero Youth Union, a Coptic activist group, said churches, houses, monasteries, orphanages, schools and businesses belonging to Copts were attacked, "causing panic, loss and destruction for no reason and no crimes they had committed apart from being Christians."

Two "beautiful, fully equipped" Bible Society bookshops were destroyed. There was little or no police or military protection.

You would have thought a little restraint might have helped. But any excuse to attack Christians seems to be good enough.

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