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Threats to Egyptian churches ahead of Eastern Christmas this weekend

Country/Region: Middle East and North Africa, Egypt

I do not want another Nag Hammadi massacre to happen again. Egyptian church leader

Threats of attacks on Egyptian churches have been issued ahead of Eastern Christmas services this weekend.

Basilica-of-St-Fatima-Church-Cairo-4X3.jpg
Egyptian churches are vulnerable to attack by Islamists
CC BY 2.0 / Bakar_88

A senior church leader said that he had received several threats of attacks to be carried out on churches in Nag Hammadi on Christmas Eve, January 6. This was the scene of a horrific anti-Christian massacre on the same day in 2010; six worshippers were killed in a drive-by shooting as they left the Christmas Eve service. 

Egyptian Christians celebrate Christmas on 7 January, traditionally holding a midnight service on Christmas Eve. Following the threats, churches in Nag Hammadi cancelled all their New Year’s Eve and Christmas Eve festivities, and plan to end Christmas Eve services at an earlier time.

Christians in Egypt are particularly vulnerable to attack by Islamists around the New Year and Christmas period. Last year, 23 worshippers were killed in a bombing outside a church in Alexandria following a New Year’s Eve service.

The latest threats have been reported to the police, and an appeal has been made to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces for protection. The Egyptian military had previously undertaken to protect churches New Year’s Eve celebrations. And the Muslim Brotherhood, the leading Islamist group in Egypt, has pledged to defend churches during Christmas.

Kidnapping spate  

The heightened danger in Nag Hammadi comes as Christian families in the area are being targeted in an escalating series of kidnappings. Eleven Christian children were seized between August 11 and 24December 2011; the captors demanded ransom payments for the return of the youngsters.

The leader of the kidnappers has allegedly threatened to carry out a massacre in Nag Hammadi after the security forces made a failed attempt to arrest him and his gang.    

Elections continue

Egyptians have this week been voting in the third and final round of elections for the lower house of parliament.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party emerged from the first two stages with the largest share of the vote, with the more hard-line Salafist al-Nur Party in second place.

The final results are expected on 13 January.

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christian, persecution, charity, church, persecuted, sookhdeo, Islam

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    • Heavenly Father, we lift up to You today the heartbroken family of Mary Sameh George, a young Christian woman who was killed in an Islamist attack on a church in Egypt. We pray that You will comfort them and give them Your peace. We thank You that Mary was not ashamed to make her allegiance to You known, even taking the risk of provoking murderous anger against herself. We pray also for the families of three others who were killed in this attack at a church in Ain Shams, a suburb of Cairo, on 28 March. Lord God, may the hostility of Muslim Brotherhood supporters towards Christians in Egypt be restrained. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 24 hours ago

    • Give thanks that as believers in some areas of Egypt continue to be at risk of violence from Islamists, Barnabas Aid is able to provide various kinds of practical help for needy Christians there, especially those most affected by the political turmoil. We are supporting Christian families in Upper Egypt with housing costs, medicines, food and schooling for their children, and 30 Christian students who were on the verge of dropping out of education because of lack of money have received funding to complete their education. Pray for all those receiving this help, that they will also be encouraged spiritually. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Jul 2014 00:00

    • Give thanks that the authorities in Egypt are pursuing justice for the Christian community following widespread violence against them by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood last summer. Christians were scapegoated by the Islamists for the downfall of President Mohammed Morsi. On 14 August, mobs torched scores of churches, Christian institutions and private property in what was described as the worst single day of violence against the Egyptian Church since the 14th century. Over 100 Muslims have been charged in connection with the attacks; at the time of writing they were due to stand trial for rioting, attacking citizens and targeting the churches and homes of Christians. Pray that justice will be done and restitution made to churches and individuals who suffered material losses. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Jul 2014 00:00

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