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.
California Coptic group creates a video for the commemoration
Plaque in church: “they died at the hands of ‘army trucks’ that ran over them”
Nothing has been done since that 9th of October night in 2011 when 29 Copts were killed and several hundred injured. From denials to playing the blame-game, nothing has been done. No one was held accountable; no justice resolving the issue. As with anything else, the ruling regime hopes it will go away, especially now that it secured Coptic support and succeeded in urging them to go greet the President in front of the UN with banners and flags. But that’s another story.
As a reminder, the events occurred when Copts went out on a demonstration to protest the demolition of a church in Marinab, Upper Egypt, and were met in front of the Egyptian television building at Maspero, by the army with their trucks and rifles and they were run over. Egyptian media kept reporting that army men were wounded and that it was the Copts who began shooting – which was, of course, untrue. Continue reading
The problems and controversies surrounding the proposed law for the construction of churches have escalated. As mentioned in a previous post, the law consisted of 8 articles some of which were contested by many Coptic leaders. On August 18th, the Orthodox Church suddenly issued a vague statement saying that the law that was circulated had been changed and that it was not what they had agreed to during negotiations with the government. The statement also warned that the law as such would harm national unity – without further clarification. In attempts at putting pressure on the Church, Al Youm Al Sabeaa, the security-oriented newspaper, stated that the Church was ‘choosing to clash with the government.’ Continue reading