A man shouts near a casket during a funeral Oct. 21 for one of the victims killed the previous day in an attack at a wedding outside the Church of the Virgin Mary Coptic Orthodox in Cairo. (CNS photo/Mohamed Abd El Ghany, Reuters)
From two troubled Middle Eastern countries come these
stories of Christians under attack.
First, over the weekend three people were killed and 18
more were injured in an
attack on a Coptic Christian church during a wedding:
girl was among those killed at the Church of the Virgin in Cairo's working
class neighbourhood of Al-Warrak, while 18 others were wounded in the late
Sunday attack, officials said.
two men on a motorbike and one of them opened fire," as a crowd emerged
from a wedding service, the interior ministry said. Khaled al-Khatib, a senior
official from the health ministry, confirmed the casualties, though it was not
immediately clear if all three were Coptic Christians.
Hazem Beblawi condemned the attack in a cabinet statement, calling it a
"despicable criminal act," and said security forces were searching
for the assailants.
terrible acts will not succeed in dividing Muslims and Christians," he
Christians, the majority of whom are Copts, have been targeted since Morsi was
swept out of power by the army amid mass protests against his year-long rule,
and in particular since an August 14 crackdown by security forces on two Cairo
camps of Morsi supporters.
enraged by the deadly crackdown and accused Coptic Christians of backing the
coup that toppled Morsi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood and was Egypt's
first democratically elected president.
While no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, Asia
News reports, “A few minutes
before the shooting, some Islamist leaders, jailed a few months ago for
incitement to violence, posted messages on Twitter threating
Meanwhile, in civil war-torn Syria, bombs were found last
week in one of the world’s oldest churches, according
to the country’s most senior churchman:
On a visit to London to
highlight the persecution of Christians in the civil war, Patriarch Gregorios
III said the two devices were found at the Cathedral of Constantine and Helen
in the rebel-held town of Yabroud.
Not only is the church
one of the oldest in the world, but it lies in a town where Christians and
Sunni Muslims have so far resisted efforts by al-Qaeda-affiliated rebel groups
to drive a wedge between them. …
The Patriarch said that
early on Tuesday morning, two remote controlled bombs were discovered planted
in the church, one of them in the confessional box. Challenging the town's
image of harmony, he also claimed that local Christian families had been asked
to pay a monthly protection tax of $35,000 by local "armed groups".
"Yabroud is under
the control of armed groups, and Christians are asked for protection money, yet
in spite of this, there are these bombs being placed in the church," he
He added that in the
event of a rebel victory in the country's civil war, life for Christians could
get even harder because of the hardline Islamist elements in the
"The extremists are
against even the normal rebel opposition," he said.
"This is an issue
for Muslims as well as Christians. I am not afraid from Islam, I am just afraid
of chaos, which will allow these groups to play a very destructive role."
The patriarch was
speaking as part of event organised by Aid to the Church in Need, a Catholic
charity that supports Christians facing persecution around the world. In a new
report, it has highlighted particular concerns about the Christian minority in
Syria, who are at risk from al-Qaeda factions in the rebel movement fighting
President Bashar al-Assad.