Egypt: local Anglican bishop calls for prayers as Christians are persecuted

religion | Aug 16, 2013 | By Martin Barillas

According to various reports, thousands have been injured and more than 600 are dead following days of protests by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi. In one case, more than 200 charred bodies were observed by Western reporters. These are yet to be explained by the Egyptian military, which has opened fire on protesters and set their tent cities on fire in the heart of Cairo. The Muslim Brotherhood vows to continue the struggle as world leaders, such as President Barack Obama, call for dialogue and an end to violence.
 
Egypt's Christians, a community that goes back to apostolic times, has been subjected to special mistreatment and persecution. Christians, despite being a small minority in Muslim-majority Egypt, have been blamed for the fall of Morsi. Members of the Muslim Brotherhood are torching Christian churches throughout the country. For example, protesters threw firebombs at the Mar Gerhiss Coptic Orthodox church in Sohag. Islamists also burned down a Coptic church in Minya that had been built in the 4th century AD. Coptic Orthodox Bishop Suriel, who resides in Australia, tweeted his lament over the persecution of Christians in his native country, saying "They can destroy our churches and our homes but they will never shake our faith and love for Egypt. United we stand. Lord have mercy."
 
In a statement released to the press, Anglican Bishop Mouneer Anis of Egypt called for prayer. He wrote "Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!"
 
As I write these words, our St. Saviour’s Anglican Church in Suez is under heavy attack from those who support former President Mursi. They are throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at the church and have destroyed the car of Rev. Ehab Ayoub, the priest-in-charge of St. Saviour’s Church. I am also aware that there are attacks on other Orthodox churches in Menyia and Suhag in Upper Egypt (photo above), as well as a Catholic church in Suez. Some police stations are also under attack in different parts of Egypt. Please pray and ask others to pray for this inflammable situation in Egypt."
 
Early this morning, the police supported by the army, encouraged protestors in two different locations in Cairo, to leave safely and go home. It is worth mentioning that these protestors have been protesting for 6 weeks, blocking the roads. The people in these neighborhoods have been suffering a great deal—not only these people, but those commuting through, especially those who are going to the airport. The police created very safe passages for everyone to leave. Many protestors left and went home, however, others resisted to leave and started to attack the police. The police and army were very professional in responding to the attacks, and they used tear gas only when it was necessary. The police then discovered caches of weapons and ammunition in these sites. One area near Giza is now calm, but there is still some resistance at other sites. There are even some snipers trying to attack the police and the army. There are even some rumors that Muslim Brotherhood leaders asked the protestors in different cities to attack police stations, take weapons, and attack shops and churches."
 
A few hours later, violent demonstrations from Mursi supporters broke out in different cities and towns throughout Egypt. The police and army are trying to maintain safety for all people and to disperse the protestors peacefully. However, the supporters of former President Mursi have threatened that if they are dispersed from the current sites, they will move to other sites and continue to protest. They also threatened to use violence. There have been a number of fatalities and casualties from among the police as well as the protestors, but it seems that the numbers are not as high as expected for such violence. However, the supporters of former President Mursi claim that there are very high numbers of casualties. The real numbers will be known later on."
 
Please pray that the situation will calm down, for wisdom and tact for the police and the army, for the safety of all churches and congregations, and that all in Egypt would be safe."
 
May the Lord bless you!"
 
+Mouneer


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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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