EGYPT – Muslim extremists committing daily atrocities against Christians
Islamic extremists are carrying out daily atrocities, including kidnapping and murder. against Egyptian Christians. A local source, who asked to remain anonymous for security reasons, told Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) “There are many extremists Muslims who commit horrific acts every day – every day we hear about another Christian being murdered… Every day we hear about a fight, a revenge… Al Saed is full of these extremists.” Al Saed is a region in southern Egypt, covering the south of Cairo, the Suez Canal area and the Sinai Peninsula.
The source told ACN that a Christian from Ismailia, Egypt was kidnapped six months ago. IS extremists had demanded a substantial ransom for his return but the victim’s whereabouts are still unknown.
The most horrific attack was the IS suicide bombing at St Peter and St Paul Coptic Orthodox Church on 11 December 2016 that killed 26 people including six children and injured dozens. Soon after the attack Coptic Catholic Bishop Kyrillos William told ACN : “We are very upset. It was only on Tuesday (20th December 2016) that the Coptic Church received the 26th martyr of the latest attack, a ten-year-old girl who had died of her injuries. However, at the same time, we are seeing a deep trust in God and great strength.” He thanked all those who had shown “solidarity and sympathy”.
Bishop William confirmed that Egyptian authorities had improved security measures following the bomb attack, He added : “The fear remains. The Islamic State has announced further attacks, which means that it is still possible.”
In the beginning of this year, IS changed tactics and started targeting individual Christians. Four Christians had their throats cut by extremists within a ten-day period last month. Gamal Sami Guiguis and Nadia Amin Guirguis had their throats slit in their beds on the 6th January and two days earlier a merchant, Youssef Lamaei had his throat slit by a Salafist extremist outside his shop. The fourth victim, Dr Bassam Safouat Zaki, was killed in his own apartment with multiple stab wounds to chest and throat.
ACN has also received reports of an underground extremist threat in Egypt: “There are also some people called the sleeping cells. These are the people who look law abiding on the outside, but when they have a chance they will wake up and be more violent than the extremists themselves.”
ACN is helping Christians in Egypt build churches, educate priests and provide pastoral care to young people.