Christian persecution continues in Egypt amid the terroristic slaughter of more than 300 Sufi Muslims during worship at a North Sinai mosque, Morning Star News reported.
Weeks before the Nov. 24th attack at the Al-Rawdah Mosque, attributed to Muslim terrorists who carried an Islamic State (ISIS) flag, Coptic Christians in the country already faced the closure of many Christian houses of worship for fear of similar attacks, Morning Star reported Nov. 27.
In addition to targeting Christians, Islamic terrorists who follow a strict Salafi version of Islam also terrorize Sufi Muslims, considered to be mystics.
Churches closing their doors
Coptic Orthodox bishop Anba Morcos of Shobra El-Kheima closed the Pope Kerlis VI and Archdeacon Habib Gerges church before Nov. 17 services, Morning Star said based on reports in the Egyptian newspaper Almasry Alyoum. Morcos decided to close the church, located about 30 miles outside Cairo, after the governor of Qalyubia warned of possible Islamist attacks, according to news reports. The church had served about 1,000 families who now have no place to worship, area residents told Morning Star.
In addition, Coptic Orthodox Bishop Anba Makarios of Minya told Morning Star that government officials closed four churches over a two-week period after Islamic terrorists attacked three churches there, although he described his statement to Morning Star as “preliminary.”
Among churches the government reportedly closed in Minya Governorate are the Virgin Mary church in El-Sheik Alaa village, Anba Mousa El-Aswad church in Kershery village, and Abu Sefeen church in Abu Qurqas city.
Coptic Christians have historically faced targeted terrorist attacks surrounding Christmas, a holiday Coptics celebrate annually Jan. 7. During the 2017 Coptic Christmas season, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for a Dec. 11, 2016 attack that killed 28 at a chapel next to St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo.
During Easter celebrations in April, ISIS claimed responsibility for two separate attacks at St. Mark’s Cathedral and St. George’s Church in Tanta that killed 28 and wounded more than 125, it was widely reported.
As recently as February, ISIS vowed in a propaganda video to wipe out Copts in Egypt and “liberate Cairo,” World Watch Monitor reported.
Regarding the Nov. 24 mosque attack, Egypt’s Interior Ministry killed 11 men described as “terrorist elements” during a raid Nov. 28 on a suspected militant hideout in nearby Ismailia, PressTV.com reported. Police also arrested nine others at the hideout.
Militants were using the hideout to train terrorists and store weapons and logistical equipment used in attacks in North Sinai, police told PressTV.com, a news and documentary network. Separately, three suspected militants were killed in central Sinai, a military spokesman said, but offered no additional details.
An estimated two dozen or more terrorists attacked the mosque, using guns and hand grenades, witnesses have told the Associated Press. The attackers used the ISIS rallying cry Allahu Akbar, or God is great, witnesses said.
ISIS has not claimed responsibility for the attack that killed 305 and injured nearly 130, according to news reports.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ general assignment writer/editor.)