HEY KIDS – LET’S How many Christians are there? Most Egyptians are Muslims, but about one tenth are Christians (about nine million). There are far more Christians in Egypt than in other Middle Eastern countries, and they are proud of their history. Ancient tradition says the gospel writer Mark brought Christianity to Egypt some years after Jesus died and rose again. Most Christians are members of the Coptic Orthodox Church, with small numbers belonging to other kinds of churches. The leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church is Pope Tawadros II (pictured), who trained as a pharmacist and managed a pharmaceutical factory before becoming a priest. The word Copt means Egyptian.
Why are Christians being attacked? A terrorist group called Islamic State of Egypt wants to get rid of Christians so there will only be Muslims in Egypt. It is linked to Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. In February, the group posted a video saying it would wipe out Egypt’s Christians. Since December, its members have killed over one hundred Christians and injured many others. They bombed three churches in December and April (St Mark’s Coptic Cathedral in Cairo, a church in the city of Tanta and a cathedral in Alexandria) and in May they attacked buses bringing Christians to a monastery in southern Egypt.
How is the government protecting Christians? President al-Sisi (pictured) has promised to protect Christians. The government provides police guards at church buildings and some churches have metal detectors at the gates. In April, four brave police guards – one man and three women – stopped a bomber who was trying to enter St Mark’s Cathedral in the coastal city of Alexandria. The guards were all killed, along with 18 other people, but they saved the lives of many Christians inside the church. In July, the government told church leaders to cancel all special summer events like camps or outings because it had learned that terrorists were planning more attacks.
Published on Aug 30, 2017
The impact of recent terrorist attacks on Christians in Egypt is described in this issue which also focuses on the reaction of Christians to...