On 27 May, a convoy of Coptic Christians – consisting of a coach carrying families, a minibus with children and one adult, and a pickup truck carrying eight workers – was stopped by militants
armed with machine guns at 9.30am on a remote desert road near El Idwa. Eight to ten masked attackers wearing military uniforms blocked the Christians’ vehicles. The militants forced all the Copts to hand over their jewellery, money and mobile phones at gunpoint. The Christians were ordered to convert to Islam: “Bear witness that there is no god to be worshipped but Allah, and that Mohammed is the messenger of Allah.”
However, the Copts refused, saying, “We are Christians.” At this point, the attackers opened fire, shooting first the men and then a number of women and children. Most of their victims were shot in the head. All eight men in the truck were killed, and children were amongst the dead – including four-year-old Marvey, from a small village near the city of Bani Sweif. He was shot in the head as he was cradled in the arms of his mother. The day after the deadly attack, SAT-7 Arabic radio presented a vital Christian viewpoint on the threats that believers face from extremists. One believer asked, ‘Why are we being killed? We don’t hate anyone. Our religion is one of love.’
Sorial Gabriel, a Coptic priest, said: ‘We will never ask for anything but peace. We have nothing but peace. The world is witnessing how the Church is growing, and the Cross is glowing.’ The Christians remain firm in their faith; one said, ‘If we are weak then God is strong and protects us’. A professor at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo said: ‘I was on Egyptian national television and an extremist said to me, “In God’s name, I hate you.” I replied, ‘In God’s name, I love you.”
These attacks come in the wake of a series of deadly assaults against Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority, who constitute about 10 per cent of Egypt’s population of 91 million. In a propaganda video released in February this year, the militants vowed to wipe out Egypt’s Coptic Christians and ‘liberate Cairo’.
Source: Open Doors
Bible Study: Revelation 2:10
OCTOBER Thank God for the steadfastness of Coptic brothers and sisters, who would face death rather than renounce their faith in Christ.
PRAY WIDER for Christ’s comfort and strength under trial for the bereaved.