Pope Tawadros II, the leader of Egyptian Coptic Christians, is believed to be in hiding amid unprecedented violence against that community. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
(JNS.org) Several of Egypt’s Coptic Christian
churches canceled Mass services last Sunday for the first time in more than
1,600 years, amid the unprecedented wave violence against them.
churches in Minya, located in Upper Egypt, canceled their Sunday Mass after an
attack by supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi last week that
destroyed their monastery.
did not hold prayers in the monastery on Sunday for the first time in 1,600
years,” Priest Selwanes Lotfy of the Virgin Mary and Priest Ibram Monastery in
Degla, just south of Minya, told Egypt’s al-Masry
of the extremists wrote on the monastery’s wall, ‘donate [this] to the martyrs’
mosque,’” Lotfy added.
supporters have accused Coptic Christians of playing a disproportionately large
role in the ouster of the former president. Coptic Christian Pope Tawadros II
was outspoken in his support of protests against Morsi in the days leading up
to his ouster. On his Twitter account, he encouraged followers to join the
protest movement. Following Morsi’s removal, Pope Tawadros, along with his
Muslim counterpart the Grand Imam of al-Azhar University Dr. Ahmed el-Tayyib,
appeared together to endorse Egypt’s military roadmap for a new government.
Since Aug. 14,
when the Egyptian military cleared two pro-Morsi encampments in Cairo, dozens
of Christian churches, schools, businesses, and homes have been targeted by
Islamic terrorists. At least two Christians have also been killed in the
violence. Pope Tawadros is believed to be in hiding.
the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) called on President Barack Obama to
condemn the Muslim Brotherhood’s anti-Christian violence.
observing with horror the way this horrifying and murderous Muslim Brotherhood
assault on Egyptian Christians has been proceeding for several days with hardly
any international reaction,” ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said in a
statement. “The ZOA strongly condemns these attacks on innocent Christians
across Egypt by the radical Muslim Brotherhood mobs.”
Christians constituted a majority of Egypt’s population until the Middle Ages,
when Islam, introduced by the Arab invasions in the 7th century, eclipsed their
religion. Today, Coptic Christianity comprises nearly 10 percent of Egypt’s 85
million people, making it the largest single Christian community remaining in
the Middle East.