ACN Malta expresses sorrow at the terrorist bombing of Christian churches in Egypt
Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) – Malta was very saddened to hear the news of the horrific religiously motivated terrorist bombings in Egypt yesterday. As a charitable organisation that promotes religious freedom and helps persecuted Christians, we would like to express our heartfelt sympathy for the Egyptian people and particularly Egyptian Christians at this time of grief and sorrow. It is especially poignant that the attacks were deliberately carried on Palm Sunday, one of the most important days in the Church calendar when Christians worldwide gather to commemorate Christ’s entry into Jerusalem.
While there are no words to ease their pain, our thoughts and our prayers are with all the families who lost loved ones as a result of this atrocity. As they try to come to terms with their loss, we hope they will take comfort from knowing that their loved ones followed in their Saviour’s footsteps on earth and now are with Him in heaven. As ACN’s founder, Fr Werenfried van Straaten, said “The persecuted of today are the saints of tomorrow.” We also pray for the recovery of all those who were seriously injured and are still hospitalised.
In recent years Egypt’s Coptic Christians – who make up about 10% of the country’s 90 million population – have often been targeted by Islamist militants. Almost 500 incidents have been recorded nationwide since mid-2012, including attacks on homes and churches as well as violence against individual Christians. Most attacks have been focused on the Sinai peninsula, where an IS-linked jihadist group is active. However, sectarian violence is not uncommon in other parts of Egypt. Cairo has also suffered a string of attacks in the past two years, including the bombing of a Coptic cathedral last December which killed 25 Christians. In recent months religiously motivated attacks on Christians have intensified. At the beginning of March several hundred Christians were forced to flee their homes in North Sinai province where they have lived for generations following a series of murders and death threats from Islamic radicals.
As a Church family we know that God will turn what our enemy meant for evil into good. Persecution has strengthened the faith of Egypt’s Christians, as it has that of Christians in Iraq and Syria who have kept their faith and belief in God in spite of the horrors they endured at the hands of Islamic State. Further information about religious persecution in Egypt and worldwide can be found on www.religious-freedom-report.org
ACN Malta also condemns the recent terrorist attacks in UK, Sweden, Asia and Africa as well as the horrific attacks on civilians in Syria and Yemen which have resulted in the loss of so many innocent lives. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of all the victims. May they rest in peace.