Egypt’s Coptic Christians Face Dual Attacks in Three-Day Span

Farrukh Saif

April 27, 2024

Egypt-Coptic

In just three days, two separate incidents highlighted the dangerous situation faced by Coptic Christians in southern Egypt. Rumors and grievances over the church construction plan fueled these attacks. These incidents shed light on the ongoing discrimination and violence faced by the Coptic Christian minority in the country.

Alarming Incident in Al-Fawakher:

The first incident occurred on 23rd April 2024 in the village of Al-Fawakher in Minya province, where Muslim extremists targeted homes and shops owned by Coptic Orthodox Christians. Late at night, the extremists set fire to several buildings, trapping residents inside and attempting to prevent their escape. While thankfully, there were no fatalities, the attack highlighted the vulnerability of the Coptic community and the failure of local authorities to provide timely assistance.

Reports indicate that the attacks were triggered by the Coptic community’s efforts to obtain a permit to build a new church in the village. Despite promises of safety from the authorities, the pleas for help from the Coptic residents went unanswered until security forces arrived after the damage had been done. This delayed response has raised serious concerns about the government’s commitment to protecting religious groups and ensuring their freedom of worship.

Attack in Al-Kom Al-Ahmar:

Just three days later, on 26th April 2024, another attack shook the village of Al-Kom Al-Ahmar, where Coptic Christians were targeted following rumors that an evangelical church had obtained a permit to construct a church building. Once again, extremists resorted to violence, attacking Coptic homes and instilling fear in the community. While security forces eventually intervened to restore calm and arrest perpetrators, their delayed arrival allowed the attacks to continue unabated for some time.

Persistent Challenges and Discrimination:

These incidents reflect a disturbing trend of intolerance and hostility towards the Coptic Christian community in Egypt. Despite claims of promoting religious tolerance and coexistence, the reality for Coptic Christians remains fraught with challenges. From systemic discrimination to violent attacks on their homes and places of worship, the Coptic minority continues to face significant obstacles in practicing their faith freely and safely.

The Coptic Orthodox Church in Egypt has a long history of persecution, with churches and homes frequently targeted by extremist Muslims. The vulnerability of the Coptic community was tragically highlighted in August 2022 when a deadly fire at the Abu Sefein Church claimed the lives of dozens, including innocent children.

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As Egypt prepares to celebrate Orthodox Easter, these attacks serve as a sobering reminder of the ongoing struggle for religious freedom and equality in the country. It is imperative that the government takes decisive action to address the root causes of discrimination, ensure the safety and security of Coptic Christians, and hold the perpetrators of these attacks accountable.

But in Egypt, like in many other Muslim-majority countries, the protection of Christian citizens remains a significant challenge. Discrimination and persecution against Christians are unfortunately common occurrences, with many facing these challenges on a daily basis.

The Coptic Christian minority in Egypt deserves nothing less than the fundamental right to practice their faith without fear of persecution. It is time for Egypt to uphold its commitment to religious freedom and protect the rights of all its citizens, regardless of their religious beliefs.

Farrukh Saif

Farrukh H. Saif, a courageous Christian human rights activist, established the Farrukh Saif Foundation in 2009 to confront religious discrimination, blasphemy laws, and bonded slavery in Pakistan. His dedication to liberating bonded laborers from brick kilns and advocating for blasphemy victims and asylum seekers has garnered international acclaim. Despite encountering threats and fatwas, his impactful work persists in supporting marginalized communities. In 2018, the foundation merged with The Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved, enhancing its global outreach.

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