Saturday, June 23, 2007

Egypt: Muslim mobs attack churches near Alexandria

Tensions between Muslims and Christians continue to rise in Egypt:

Muslim rioters attacked two Coptic Orthodox churches, damaged Christian-owned shops and injured seven Christians in two unrelated incidents in northern Egypt during the past week, local Christians said.

Witnesses said that a mob in Zawyet Abdel-Qader, 20 miles west of Alexandria, had freely vandalized the town’s Christian quarter for 90 minutes the night of June 8 before police intervened.

In a second incident in Dekheila, six miles west of Alexandria, police immediately halted a mob attack on the Church of the Holy Virgin on Tuesday night (June 12), preventing all but minimal damage from occurring.

Local Christians confirmed that each attack was triggered by a fight between a Muslim and a Christian, but Akram Anwar Bekheed, a local member of the National Democratic Party in Zawyet Abdel-Qader, laid partial responsibility on the government.

Bekheed said that the government had created a permissive atmosphere for sectarian violence by allowing previous attacks on churches to go unpunished in the interest of keeping peace.

Please join me in praying for the Christians in these nations where they are outnumbered by the Muslims. Pray that they can share the love of Christ with their neighbors and that he will protect them from persecution.