Last week we prayed for the heightened tensions among Christians in Egypt in the wake of violence against Christians in Baghdad. And in November violence did indeed break out. At least 23 homes and numerous businesses, all Christian-owned, were damaged or destroyed in the village of Al-Nawahid in Qena Governorate, 282 miles south of Cairo.
Five people were injured, two seriously as hundreds of Muslims rampaged through their community with firebombs. According to R’fat Samir, a human rights activist in Luxor, the attack started when a throng of hundreds of Muslims rushed into the village chanting “Allah Akbar!” or “God is Great!” The rampage began at 8 p.m., at the start of Eid al-Adha – the Muslim Feast of the Sacrifice. The attack was in response to an alleged illicit relationship between a 20-year-old Members of an ethnic religious group from North Africa but primarily Egypt, where they are the largest Christian denomination in the country. man, Hussam Naweil Attallah, and an 18-year-old Muslim woman, Attallah’s neighbor.
It is not clear who started the rumor. While a medical exam exonerated the couple of the alleged involvement, security forces were called in anticipating violence. These same security forces reportedly moved away for unknown reasons shortly before the attack and then thwarted efforts to stem the violence. Police have been slow to report the action as reported by the victims and eye witnesses. According to Samir, there is a feud going on in Al-Nawahid among three families for political control of the area, and two of the families are inciting violence, using Christians in the area as pawns to depose the current mayor.
Father as our hearts turn toward the situation in Egypt, we call on You to bring peace and reconciliation to the village of Al-Nawahid. We ask that you would sustain the Christians there whose homes and businesses have been destroyed. Provide food and shelter for the homeless. May Your church there be united in faith and may You grant them hearts of forgiveness as well as protection from those who would bring them harm. And we call on You, Spirit of the living God, to dispel the darkness of sin and godlessness with the light of Your gospel.
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