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Egypt, (Morning Star News) – A Coptic Christian is in critical condition after he, his mother and brother were stabbed in Egypt on Sunday night (Nov. 17), according to media reports.
The Muslim assailant in a village in Upper Egypt’s Minya Governorate told them that Christians must not sit outside before attacking them, leaving the adult son in critical condition at a hospital’s Intensive Care Unit with several wounds to the stomach, according to media reports.
Area residents told Egyptian news media that a non-Christian with a criminal reputation assaulted the family members with a dagger at about 10:30 p.m. after arguing with them as they sat in front of their house in Nassiriya village, near Beni Mazar. Beni Mazar is 219 kilometers (136 miles) south of Cairo on the west bank of the Nile River.
The residents said the argument started when the assailant, identified only as Ali M., walked by the family members as they sat in front of their house and began shouting for them to go back in, saying no Christians were allowed outside. A Facebook post identified the assailant as a Muslim named Ali Eid Morsi; the post has since been removed.
When the adult son, identified as Shinoda Aziz, objected and stood up to the assailant, the suspect retrieved a dagger from his home, returned and attacked him, according to the area residents. When his mother started screaming, the assailant started stabbing her in the head and also attacked the younger son, cutting his face, they said.
Al Mowatna News reported that news anchor Osama Eid confirmed the attack. The news outlet added that the assailant is known for involvement with drugs and prostitution.
The family reportedly told police the assailant intended to kill them.
Security forces in Minya have reportedly arrested the suspect and are questioning witnesses.
An area source told Morning Star News by phone that the village is tranquil. The area was said to be predominantly Coptic Christian in the country that is about 90 percent Muslim.
Egypt ranked 16th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2019 World Watch List of countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.
Some of the most vicious incitement against Christians in Egypt originates from a petite Egyptian woman sitting at a computer in her home in a quiet suburb of New Jersey, reports Coptic Solidarity.
It is not as though Egypt’s Muslim community needs any encouragement to go after Coptic Christians, but Arat (Ayat) Oraby does her part, calling the Copts a “gang” that needs to be boycotted and subjugated.
“The problem of the Christians in Egypt is that they follow the church gang,” she wrote. “They believe that (Coptic Pope) Tawadoros the criminal, or any other criminal who will replace him, was selected by the Lord and speaks on His behalf. The church gang deceives its followers in this despicable way, just like a thief or a swindler from the Middle Ages.”
She often refers to Christians as “Nazarenes,” as they are called in the Quran and by ISIS, and tells Egyptians to boycott Coptic businesses and buy only from fellow Muslims.
A Coptic priest was murdered on the streets of Cairo last week by a young Muslim, the latest in a string of murders and church bombings that began more than a year ago.
The Investigative Project on Terrorism Thursday naming Oraby as the head of the spear when it comes to inciting violence against Egypt’s Christian community. Read More
Cairo, Egypt—A policeman, who was an explosives expert, was killed while attempting to defuse a bomb near a Coptic church in Cairo on Saturday. State television reported that two other policemen and a bystander were also injured in the blast. Only two days before Coptic Christians celebrate Christmas on January 7th, the device was one of two found hidden in a bag on a rooftop near the church.
Security was tighten with armed policemen guarding churches, guards checking the identities of visitors and metal detectors set up outside churches.
Coptic Christians are the largest religious minority in Egypt who equal approximately 10 million in the nation. There has been increased levels of recent violence and attacks against them. Many Christians say they are discriminated against and the state doesn’t offer them enough protection.
Egypt’s president, Abdul Fattah al-Sisi claims he’s a defender of Christians and religious freedom. In 2017, the Muslim president commissioned the largest Christian Cathedral in the Middle East as a gift to the Copts. In time for Christmas celebration, The Nativity of the Christ Cathedral held its first mass on Sunday which al-Sisi participated, according to the BBC. The worship center is located near Cairo.
The Cathedral opening coincided with the opening of the new Al-Fattah Al-Aleem Mosque nearby. Both religious facilities are located in a new development serving as the country’s administrative capital.
On Nov. 2, 2018 seven Coptic Christians were killed and others injured after an attack on buses which has been claimed by ISIS on Friday. During funerals that took place on Saturday, mourners expressed grief and outrage that they’re not better protected by the government of Egypt. President Sisi sent condolences to the families and promised an investigation into the attack.
On Nov. 4, Egypt says police killed 19 jihadist suspects linked to Copt attack. see report
Coptic Christians are Egyptian Christians – the word Coptic literally translates to Egyptian. They originated in the city of Alexandria during the Apostolic period. The Coptic Church was established by the Apostle Mark during the middle of the 1st century (c. 42 AD). The Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria is based in Egypt,. Copts have suffered severe persecution and death for generations due to their beliefs. Since the Arab Spring in 2011, They’ve have suffered increased religion-based discrimination and violence. Please pray for our brothers and sisters in Egypt.
(Agenzia Fides) – A 40-year-old Coptic Christian was found dead with a gunshot to the neck, in the Egyptian town of Al-Arish, capital of Northern Sinai, on Thursday, February 23. The body was found inside his home, which had been set on fire. This is the third Coptic Christian killed in Al Arish in the past 48 hours, and the seventh murdered in the Sinai Peninsula in the last two weeks.
On Wednesday, February 22 the authorities found the bullet-riddled body of a Christian about 65; his son also died with him, burned alive by jihadists. On February 12, some masked men on a motorcycle gunned down a Christian veterinarian, while he was at the wheel of his own car. In late January, a 35-year-old Christian officer was killed.
In recent days, in a video posted on the Telegram messaging site, the Islamic State had promised to strike the Christian community, defined by jihadists as “the preferred prey”. Among these, the most serious was the suicide bombing on December 11 against a Coptic Orthodox church in Cairo, which caused 29 victims.
A priest says 1,000 Christians have fled, with some receiving threats on their mobile phones
Hundreds of Christians have fled the city of el-Arish in Egypt after a spate of attacks by suspected Islamic militants.
A priest told the Associated Press that he and some 1,000 other Christians had fled for fear of being targeted next. He blamed lax security, saying: “You feel like this is all meant to force us to leave our homes. We became like refugees.”
It was earlier reported that militants had shot dead a Coptic Christian man, Kamel Youssef, in front of his wife and daughter. The account had been given by two officials speaking on condition of anonymity.
A priest in the city said militants then kidnapped and stabbed his daughter before dumping her body near a police station. It wasn’t immediately possible to confirm his account. Read More
(World Watch Monitor) Today, 16 December, is the date set for the signing of a UN-facilitated agreement on forming a new national unity government in Libya. Since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, the country has been engulfed by conflicts between various coalitions of armed groups. The country is split between an internationally recognised government and rival groups contending for power. However, experts see this political development as likely to make little difference to the chaotic situation. The rise of armed groups which have pledged allegiance to Islamic State has further exacerbated the risks. World Watch Monitor has heard in detail about the recent deaths of two Egyptian Coptic Christians caught up in the lawlessness:
For Wasfi and Fahmi Michael, there wasn’t much of a choice.
“My sons had to go to Libya to simply put food on the table,” said Bakhit Michael, father of the two Copts, slain in November.
“There was no way for them to earn a living here at home,” the 60-year-old bereaved father said, noting his sons’ wages in Libya were supporting their own wives, their mother and him in a village off Sohag, 292 miles south of Cairo.
Four brothers, including the murdered Wasfi and Fahmi, their two sisters, their mother and father, all shared one home, with each sibling and spouse in a different room.
o far, the story of this family does not differ from a common narrative of poverty and lack of opportunity lived by many households in Upper Egypt, in the country’s south.
“Back home, they could only hope to get 60 Egyptian pounds [about US$7] a day, hardly enough to buy a sack of flour,” the father told World Watch Monitor. Nor could they count on regular wages.
“They could be working a day, stay idle and unpaid for three more!”
This compares to at least 50 dinars, or about $35, a day in the hitherto oil-rich neighbouring Libya.
For the Christians, the ordeal wouldn’t have differed from that faced by their Muslim compatriots, had it only been a matter of economic and social deprivation. But following an all-too-familiar scenario faced by many Christians in an increasingly assertive Islamic Middle East, the Christian Egyptians were picked precisely for being that: Christians.
The two brothers had been in Libya for the greater part of a decade. They were at different times joined by the other two brothers, Sabri and Tharwat, as well as by two cousins on both sides of the family, Nasser and Ashraf. Their tools of trade were simple handyman tools, and their home in Misrata, in western Libya, was one room shared by all four. Rooms in the same building housed other Egyptians – Muslims and Christians – from Upper Egypt.
Early last month, Wasfi and Fahmi Michael were tricked by a Libyan into going out “to inspect a job”. The 36-year-old builder and his 29-year-old brother, both uneducated, were picked up by the man, while Mohamed Shaaban, a fellow helper, was asked by the Libyan to stay behind.
“There’s no need to bring Mohamed along. You and your brother are good enough to do the job for now,” Mohamed later told Sabri the Libyan man said to them.
Later, the bodies of both Wasfi and Fahmi were recovered with “white gloves on their hands,” a likely sign of their murder as the work of Ansar-ul Sharia, one of many militant Islamic groups now active in lawless Libya.
“The money on Wasfi, a total of 14 thousand Libyan dinars [more than US$10,000] was left untouched. Wasfi used to take all his earnings wherever he went to safeguard against theft, if left at their communal accommodation,” said Nasser Michael.
“Forensics put the likely date of their murder as 12 November, seven days after their kidnap,” he said.
Killed for being Christian
After 20 Egyptian Christians (and one Ghanaian) were killed – and their deaths filmed as a ‘spectacle’- on a Libyan beach by IS in February, the Christians were left in no doubt as to their precarious position after the Egyptian government told them to leave Egypt.
“My three brothers and other Christians tried to go back to Egypt. But they were left stranded,” 25-year-old Tharwat Michael said.
An unknown number of Coptic Christians, including from the Michael brothers’ village and surrounding towns, are still left trapped in Misrata, said Father Soliman Botrous, a priest from the brothers’ church in the village of Awlad Ali.
“The roads are all unsafe. If they take the land route to Egypt, they must pass by Sirte. ISIS is there waiting. If they try to reach Tripoli for the airport, Fajr Libya [Libya Dawn militias] and again ISIS control the area,” Tharwat said.
“Right up to the time of their murder, they could find no safe way through!” the younger brother said.
Either way, being Christian meant a likely death sentence.
“For instance, at Sirte, on the road from Misrata to Egypt, Christians are made to disembark from cars and are taken to their death,” Fr. Botrous added.
“A month ago, Wael Farouq, a Christian from the nearby Egyptian village of Shawawnah, suffered bone fractures in his work in Misrata. He had to go back to Egypt for treatment. A doctor in Libya, an Egyptian, helped issue him identity papers as a Muslim, so he was able to cross the land route. At Sirte, the vehicle was stopped in search of Christians. When they found all to be Muslims, the car was allowed to pass,” he said.
‘They kept the faith’
On 6 November, Wasfi Michael was picked up from home as agreed by the presumed Libyan contractor at 4pm, said Sabri, the brother who shared a room with Wasfi and Fahmi.
“By 6pm, neither Wasfi’s, nor Fahmi’s, phones were answering,” he said.
It was not until 10 days later that the bodies were identified in a hospital in nearby Zleiten. Sabri, and the two cousins Nasser and Ashraf, learnt that the bodies of Wasfi and Fahmi were dumped on 14 November in the desert, 160 km from their Misrata home.
“Their Christian ‘tattoos’ of the Virgin, St. George and of crosses on their arms were cut repeatedly with a penknife,” Nasser said. Their captors had tried to forcibly remove the typical Christian symbols, more common among rural Copts, he said.
The bodies were moved to a hospital in Misrata on 17 Nov. “At the second hospital, they at first resisted stating the cause of death as murder. They wanted to state it as ‘death by natural causes’,” Nasser said.
After a very late intervention by the Egyptian Ambassador, the only help the family recalled being offered by Egyptian authorities, the deaths were stated as due to “gunshots to both heads above the eyebrow line.”
Procedural woes only added to the family’s suffering.
“It took us eight days in Misrata hospital to finish the papers to release the bodies to the aeroplane,” Nasser said.
Once landed at Alexandria on 25 Nov., however, airport authorities kept the family waiting from 5pm until 1am to release the bodies, and the family then had to pay for an ambulance to take them, Tharwat Michael added.
Bakhit Michael recollected the last time he heard from his eldest son: “Often we’d ask them to come back. They said they could only wait till the roads were safe to do so. On 6 November, Wasfi and Fahmi talked to me and to their mother on the phone. They asked me if I needed anything. I said we were missing them. Wasfi said ‘Bye dad for now, a Libyan is at the door coming to pick us up for work.’ That was the last we heard from them.”
Back in the Awlad Ali village church, the funeral was full of mourners.
“For all the pain we feel, we know they are in heaven. They would not renounce their faith, but kept it till the last. This makes us walk with heads up high!” the father said, indicating that his sons must have been pressurised to recant their faith.
And for a Church long acquainted with a sustained history of persecution, Fr. Botrous had this to say: “Wasfi and Fahmi are martyrs for Christ. They kept the faith to their last breath, and are now crowned in heaven.”
For those left behind, a simple plea for comfort and peace is all that is now needed, he added.
As the world is reeling and rocking to and fro, thinking we’ve witnessed all the terror and horror that we can, the king of evil shows more execrable images to the world. While we as Christians do not have a spirit of timidity, we are saddened and mourning with our brethren. The Bible also tells us we are not to mourn as those who have no hope. 1 Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. We do however share in their sorrow and in their suffering, as if we are in the body with them. We can not splinter the Body of Christ.
Now more than ever we must put on the armor, take a stand and stand firm linking arms and prayers in this tribulation that has fallen upon the Earth. The Revelation of Jesus Christ is very explicit about the trials we are to face. But our hope is in Him, and when we overcome, we will receive a crown of righteousness. We must not lose sight of this. The words have been written, the story has been told, we were warned and instructed to watch and be ready. And we know how the story ends. Do not be distracted, we must keep our eyes focused on Christ and Him alone. As Peter learned how important that is when he attempted to walk on the sea. The moment he took his eyes off of Jesus, he began to sink. Focused on Jesus, we must stand as one in the Body of Christ. We can’t scatter the body and go off to our own desires, whether it be ignoring the coming storm, or spreading hatred. It’s time to stop calling each other names, does it really matter what denomination we are? Are we not one in the Body of Christ? There is only one definition of Anti-Christ and that is “he who denies that Jesus is Christ.” Christ gave us a commission and that was to spread His light and make disciples of all men, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
We are witnessing a annihilation, the genocide of Christians in immeasurable numbers. And it will only get worse. We condemn these unspeakable acts of evil and barbary, we condemn an ideology that preys on the poor, the weak and the innocent. We condemn any entity that exhibits such blatant disregard for human life, and the basic of human rights such as dignity. We call on the Body of Christ to unite and support one another as the early church did when faced with tribulation. We call on our governments to condemn such evil attacks on the same poor, widowed, the infirm, the orphaned or those who don’t respect religious beliefs of others.
When the sea turns red with the blood of Christian Martyrs it’s time for the Body of Christ to speak out as one. It’s time for us to raise our voices in our churches and to our elected officials to denounce these acts. It’s time for our Government to recognize what has happened, what is happening and what will happen if the world remains silent.
Satan wants to instill fear. He wants us to believe he is all powerful, we are crushed and he will triumph. But the history of the persecuted church has shown that through martyrdom, the gospel has gone forth. Tertullian said that the blood of the martyr is the seed of the church. When the blood of our Egyptian brothers spilled into the sea, may it not be in vain, but expand the Church to spread the Good News of Christ to all shores. Therefore let us pray for God’s victory to be manifested in the death of His precious saints. Let us pray for much fruit to come from the martyrdom of these precious brothers. And let us put away the photos and propaganda stories meant to paralyze us in fear. Let us turn it around and encourage each other with the promises of our Savior, our Lord, our King, Jesus Christ.
Pope Francis condemns beheading of 21 Coptic Christian by ISIS
Pope Francis has today expressed ‘profound sadness’ at hearing of the brutal murders of the 21 Christian Egyptians. ‘Today I read about the execution of those twenty-one or twenty-two Coptic Christians,’ the Pope said in his native Spanish according to Breitbart. ‘Their only words were: “Jesus, help me!” They were executed for nothing more than the fact that they were Christian. The blood of our Christian sisters and brothers is testimony that cries out [to us]. via Pope Francis condemns beheading of 21 Coptic Christians by ISIS | Daily Mail Online.
I haven’t watched the video but I have heard the descriptions, I have seen the images of the waves of blood in the sea, I have heard the warnings to the “Nation of the Cross”, I have heard them say that they will put the blood of Christians into the sea with the blood of Osama Bin Laden. What I have not heard is the words from our leader that he condemns the killing of Christians. What he said is far from condemnation, according to him he is Christian, but he shows no mercy, no compassion, no empathy no sorrow for our brethren. He issued this statement by press secretary Josh Earnest late Sunday, “the killing of the 21 Egyptian men a “despicable and cowardly murder” that should accelerate the need for a political resolution to the burgeoning conflict in Libya.“ And now it’s being reported that what Government remains in Libya is condemning Egypt for what they say is an attack on their sovereignty. Really? Which begs the question that we asked in the beginning of the Libya invasion, why? Why did we replace one dictator with a monster? What did they expect would happen?
My heart is with our Brethren and their families. My prayer is for Peace and comfort that can only come from our Father. For endurance, for strength and courage. Christians are mourning, we are mourning with the families of these precious souls, these men have been given white robes at the feet of our Savior, and are hearing the words, well done my good and faithful servant, welcome home.
Revelation 6: When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.