Islamic supporters of Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi launched on Wednesday arson attacks against churches, resulting in the destruction of at least three buildings. Muslim Brotherhood supporters wreaked havoc on Coptic Christian businesses and property throughout the country.
There may have been more than 20 incidents of burning of churches and attacks on Christian institutions, based on unconfirmed reports on Twitter from Coptic leaders and organizations who are closely following the outbreak of anti-Christian violence.
Bishop Anba Suriel, the bishop for the Coptic Orthodox Church in Melbourne, wrote on his Twitter micro blog, “over 20 separate attacks on churches and Christian institutions all over Egypt.”
Suriel added, ”These attacks on the Copts is unprecedented in the modern era.” He called on the international community not to be passive.
The Egyptian state news agency Mena reported assaults on three churches, including the destruction of the Mar Gergiss church. AFP reported that the attackers tossed firebombs at Mar Gergiss in Sohag, on the west bank of the Nile. The city of Sohag has a large Coptic community.
AFP reported two churches were attacked in El-Menia province, causing fire damage to both buildings.
There were reports that one of Egypt’s oldest churches, the fourth century Virgin Mary in Minya, was engulfed in flames.
Speaking with The Jerusalem Post from Ottawa, Irwin Cotler, a former Canadian justice minister and current Liberal MP, said the “Army should be providing more protection to the Copts.”
Cotler spearheaded a report – Securing the Human Rights of Coptic Christians in Egypt After the Arab Spring – in Canada’s Parliament in May to protect the rights of Copts and “hold those responsible for attacks on Copts.”
The anti-Christian violence by radical Islamists and Muslim Brotherhood supporters is taking place within “a general culture of impunity,” he said.
Suriel complained on his Twitter feed that Western media have ignored the violent attacks.
Dexter Van Zile, the Christian media analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, told the Post, “The bishop has a legitimate beef with people.”
The “silence is troubling” from “the people charged with promoting human rights,” Van Zile said. “Progressive Christianity does not want to confront Islamic violence.”
Van Zile added it is “outrageous” that Copts are being scapegoated for ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated president Morsi.
Writing on the website of the conservative National Review, Andrew C. McCarthy, a leading US expert on radical Islam, blamed Western media reports for ignoring and distorting the “Islamic supremacist aggression against Egypt’s Christians – which was a prominent feature of Muslim Brotherhood governance.”
He blasted Wednesday’s AFP report for exculpating “the Islamic supremacists by editorializing, in the report, that these were ‘reprisal’ attacks.”
McCarthy wrote, “The Brotherhood is not ‘retaliating’ against Christians. Islamic supremacists are persecuting Christians… which is what they do in Muslim-majority countries.”
The Egyptian news outlet Daily News reported “two churches in the Fayoum village of Al-Nazla were set on fire, in addition to the local Christian Friendship club.”
“Mary Mina Church and its services building were set on fire,” said Basem Beshay, the media officer of the local Dostour Party branch.
According to the Daily News, Beshay added, “The Third Apostolic Church, its medical center and the house of the priest were set on fire by protesters.”
Beshay said arson attacks targeted a Christian-owned pharmacy and an interior design store in Minya.
The violence on Wednesday comes after the shooting of a young Coptic girl in Cairo last week. After completing her Bible class at the Ahmed Esmat Street Evangelical Church, Jessi Boulus was shot. Her uncle works as a pastor at the church.
View original Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Muslim-Brotherhood-and-Morsi-supporters-torch-Egyptian-churches-323096