Egypt (MNN) — Coordinated attacks disrupted Palm Sunday worship over the weekend in two of Egypt’s Coptic Churches. The twin suicide blasts, thought to be the work of ISIS, have killed several dozen people. Yesterday, family and friends buried and mourned their loved ones. President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi has called for a three-month state of emergency, several sources report.
(Photo courtesy of SAT-7)
The first blast went off at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Alexandria, and the second at St. George’s Church in Tanta. The attacks echo another violent church bombing which took place in December, killing 30.
We spoke with David Curry of Open Doors USA to talk about why Coptic Christians continue to be a target of terrorist attacks like these. He says one possible reason they’re a target is because this Church is vibrant and growing rapidly, something “that can’t be said of every Middle Eastern country.” In addition, this Christian minority is extremely vulnerable in a Muslim-majority country.
According to the Associated Press, the President is concerned that the attack on Christians by ISIS in Egypt will be a growing trend.
Speaking on the attacks from this weekend, Curry says, “It just draws attention, during this holy week, to persecuted Christians around the world and the kinds of lifestyle pressures they have every single day.”
(Photo courtesy of Open Doors USA)
Curry says he is proud of the way these believers continue to pursue their faith and worship in the open, even though they know fully the risks of doing so.
Open Doors works alongside believers in Egypt, number 21 on the World Watch List, in a variety of ways. They help minister to families through their youth and family ministries. They also work to equip and educate believers, and provide for basic needs like medical care. And, they advocate for these believers.
The response from the Global Church
When asked how we can help, Curry says, “One thing we can do is to stand in solidarity with these believers.”
But to do this, he says, we cannot take our own freedoms for granted, or ignore them. As you go to celebrate Easter this Sunday with your family, and even as you go about your week, please remember the persecuted Church in your prayers.
“There’s a great cost that people pay around the world to attend a church, to read a Bible. If we don’t understand that, it’s really going to minimize our sense of solidarity with these Egyptian Christians and others around the world just like them who have great danger to attend in community with others, church services or Bible studies.”
You can also get behind your prayers by working with Open Doors USA as they support the persecuted Church in Egypt. Click here for more information.