Violence continues in Egypt following last July’s ousting of Mohamed Morsi, with many Muslim Brotherhood members casting blame on Christians for the overthrow. Around 70 churches were attacked last summer in retaliation for the military dispersal of protest camps set up in the wake of Morsi’s deposal.
Father Morcos Joachim told World Watch Monitor that in the most recent attack, when Church of the Virgin Mary came under fire on Jan. 28, the assailants were seeking to avenge the arrest of many members of the Muslim Brotherhood during their Jan. 25 protest march. “They targeted the security forces to seek revenge for the arrest of many Muslim Brotherhood members and also they targeted the church for inciting the sectarian strife between Muslims and Christians,” he said.
Fr. Joachim described how four armed men parked outside the church that afternoon and opened fire, killing 33-year-old officer Mohamed Taha Syed Abu Hamid, whom the priest described as a “very respected and kind man.”
The priest said local residents chased the assailants away, shooting and injuring one of them, 30-year-old Mohamed Abdel-Raman. He was later arrested, along with two other suspects, Mohamed Abdel-Hamid Ibrahim and 29-year-old Abu Anas. The fourth suspect’s identity has yet to be released.
Fr. Joachim said the number of policemen outside the church has increased since the attack.
A church member added that local Muslims had joined Christians in chasing after the attackers in the aftermath of the shooting. “Many people followed the car,” Girgis Adel said. “They were able to stop it and hold one of the attackers after injuring him in his arm, but the others were able to escape. The Muslim residents cooperated with their Christian brothers to follow the attackers and arrested one of them.”
Source: World Watch Monitor
Father, we continue to be thankful for the protection of Your people in Egypt. We pray comfort for the family of officer Hamid who gave his life protecting the church during the Jan. 28th attack. Thank You for the cooperation of both Muslims and Christians in bringing about justice. While we pray for Christians who seem to be especially targeted by the attacks, we also lift up the many Muslims who also have suffered in the continued violence and pray that many will see Your love lived out in the lives of Christians and turn in faith to Christ. And we pray for the perpetrators of violence that You would soften their hearts to turn to Christ that peace might rest upon the land of Egypt and that a multitude would rise up to worship Christ. In the name of Jesus who reigns above all rulers and authorities, Amen.