Several incidents regarding the Copts have occurred in the past few months. In spite of the incidents, Coptic leadership and Coptic parliamentarians continue to express their support of, and loyalty to, the regime and its leadership.
The incidents are mentioned here in reverse chronological order.
Atfeeh, Province of Giza – Dec 22:
قرية كفر الواصلين مركز اطفيح
A rumor spread that a bell would be hung on top of a three story building that hosts a church and its services including child care and an events hall. Following Friday prayers a Muslim congregation marched to the church and promised to destroy it, pelting it with stones and injuring three women. The building is owned by the church which is awaiting licensing after a Coptic owner sold it to the Church which named it El Amir Tadros Church.
Security ‘sources’ denied anything was happening in Atfeeh and stated that it was some minor incident. But it wasn’t.
Attiya beaten and imprisoned
Police finally intervened and 15 people were arrested. The Egyptian prosecutor also ordered the jailing of the Coptic owner of the building, a 63 year old man known as Am Eid Attiya, who was severely beaten and has been hospitalized, accusing him of establishing a house of worship without proper authorization and conducting prayers with his priest! Another attempt at forcing Copts into reconciliation session. Parliamentarians, who had not even visited the area, called for a reconciliation session.
The case remains open. Continue reading
Entrance to the Monastery of Anba Samuel the Confessor
convoy of three bus and two smaller buses carrying mostly Coptic children and women on their way to Anba Samuel the Confessor Monastery in Minya, Upper Egypt, has been attacked by 10 masked gunmen, killing 39 29 and injuring 27 others. According to Maghagha Bishopric, the terrorists took all the jewelery and money from the victims before they fled. According to survivors, the militants were dressed in military clothes but the Ministry of Interior said they could not verify this. . In addition, a truck carrying some workers from Minya who work as laborers in the monastery, came upon the convoy and the attack, and the terrorists opened fire on them as well.
Warning of attack
Journalist Nader Shukri says the terrorists threw flyers in the buses after killing the Copts that basically said ‘congratulated people on the beginning of Ramadan and fasting’!! It also had an explanation of the benefits of fasting. ?! صوما مقبولا وذنبا مغفورا وكل سنة وانتم طيبين [Updates to follow as more news becomes available].
Several embassies, among them the US embassy in Cairo, had warned Egypt of an imminent attack the day before.
Presidential decree with state of emergency
Not even a week after President Sisi’s ‘successful trip’ to the US in which he met with his biggest fan the new US president, the church bombings occurred. As usual, the Orthodox Church had called on its people in New Jersey and New York to go greet Sisi on the streets with flags as a show of support – which they did.
President Sisi did not make an immediate statement following the Palm Sunday attacks but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued the absurd statement that ‘this is a failed attempt at striking Egypt.’ In addition, the prime minister announced a three-day mourning period. By evening, the president ordered the military to ‘help police’ secure vital infrastructure in the country. The following day, April 10th, at 1pm, the president appeared on TV and declared a state of emergency [martial law] for three months, contrary to the constitution which stipulates that such a decision must be made after the approval of parliament. He also announced the formation of a ‘high council for combating terrorism.’ He also admonished the media, and made the absurd comment that “the incident happened.. it’s unbelievable that I keep seeing it played over and over on all TV channels!” Included in the declaration is an article that this high council will take control of ‘renewing the religious discourse’ – a demand that he and others had made several times before.