Taxi Driver Killed over Cross in His Rearview Mirror -- Further Updates on Egypt

Mission Network News:  Report: 42 churches attacked in Egypt
Posted: 23 August, 2013


A taxi driver had a cross in his rear-view mirror. He was subsequently killed and his taxi destroyed.

Christians on the ground have expressed the following:

1) Christians are being blamed for what is happening in Egypt

2) they must keep a low profile or risk their lives or property

3) while the West feels this is coming from vigilantes, they believe the Muslim Brotherhood is behind it

Also, Human Rights Watch concludes the following (this opinion will carry a lot of weight as it will be considered more objective than reports coming from the Muslim Brotherhood, the military or the Christian minority in Egypt):  

1) At least 42 churches and dozens of Christian owned and operated schools, homes and businesses have been attacked

2) this represents an intimidation campaign from the Muslim Brotherhood

3) the authorities in Egypt have been "largely absent or failed to intervene" when churches or properties come under attack.

Pray for Egypt's Christians:

1) that this low profile will be temporary and will not have a long-term impact on their witness/lives

2) that God would protect and provide for them, according to His will.  We all know that in the mystery of God's will, some are appointed to die (see Revelation 6:9-11) or, to put it another way, also to suffer the ultimate price that Christ paid. 

"No Hate Was Being Preached" Praying in a Burnt Church, Minya, Egypt


Posted on August 19, 2013 by WILLEM J. DE WIT

A pic of the congregation worshiping in the burnt building

From “Death Where Is Your Sting?”
Photos of Burnt Church in Minya, Egypt

Posted on August 16, 2013 by WILLEM J. DE WIT
Behind the back of Rev. Sameh on the picture, there are shelves with Bibles and hymnals. I’ve been told that the fire-raising gang took special pleasure in setting the Bibles on fire. Below the last page of a burnt hymnal. The readable part is the refrain of an Easter hymn: “Dead where is your sting? . . . The Lord is risen indeed.” By now, this picture circulates widely among Egyptian Christians on Facebook, for mutual encouragement.

Bookshops of the Egyptian Bible Society Burnt and Destroyed
Posted on August 14, 2013 by WILLEM J. DE WIT

The Bible Society of Egypt has been in operation for 129 years and this is the first time we have been the victims of such attacks. We thank God for His protection, praise Him that none of our staff were injured, and are determined – as soon as things settle down – to rapidly restore these two bookshops to continue providing God’s Word in those two strategic cities.
Sincerely in Christ,


Ramez Atallah
General Director
The Bible Society of Egypt







Egyptians gathered in the ruins of the Evangelical Church of Malawi after it was ransacked, looted, and burned on Thursday by an angry mob, in Malawi, south of Minya, Egypt, Saturday. In the province of Minya, protesters attacked two Christian churches, security officials said.
Roger Anis/El Shorouk Newspaper/AP

Organized Strategy in Egypt:  Attack Police Stations First Then the Churches

In Egyptian village, Christian shops marked ahead of church attack
The Saint Virgin Mary Church in Al Nazla is one of 47 churches and monasteries that have been burned, robbed, or attacked in a new wave of violence against Christians in Egypt.
By Kristen Chick / August 18, 2013

This article reveals:
1) On June 30, when millions of Egyptians took to the streets to protest against now ousted President Mohamed Morsi, residents of Al Nazla marked Christian homes and shops with red graffiti, vowing to protect Morsi's electoral legitimacy with “blood.”

2)  Islamists spread rumors that it was Christians who were behind the protests against Morsi and his ouster by the military on July 3.

3) When the news reached Al Nazla, that the police attacked two protest camps full of Morsi supporters on Aug. 14, a local mosque broadcast through its loudspeakers that Christians were attacking the protesters, say residents. Hundreds of villagers marched on the Saint Virgin Mary Church. They broke down the gate and flooded the compound, shouting “Allahu akbar” and “Islam is the solution,” according to Christian neighbors.
-- “First they stole the valuable things, and then they torched the place,” says Sami Awad, a church member who lives across the narrow dirt alley from the church. “Whatever they couldn't carry, they burned.”

4) The Saint Virgin Mary church in Al Nazla is one of 47 churches and monasteries that have been burned, robbed, or attacked since Aug. 14 in a wave of violence against Christians since the police crackdown on the former president's supporters, according to Ishak Ibrahim of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. He adds that dozens of Christian schools, other religious buildings, homes and shops have also been attacked and burned, and seven Christians killed. 

5) Police have done little to stop the attacks.  This may be explained by evidence that points to an organized effort by pro-Morsi mobs with a definite strategy that attacks police stations first, then the churches.  
On the morning of the attack in Al Nazla, says Awad, a local mosque broadcast a message around 9 am. “Your brothers in Rabaa El Adawiya are being killed by Jews and Christians,” the loudspeakers boomed, according to Awad and other Christian residents. The crowds attacked the police station before attacking the church, say residents, possibly part of the reason the police did nothing to stop the attack that lasted from around 9:30 am until 7 pm. The attackers even brought trucks to carry away their loot. The police guards that had been posted outside the church walked away when the angry crowds approached, say neighbors. One fire truck that tried to approach the church was repelled by the crowd, and the police never came.
-- A spokesman for the foreign ministry last week cited attacks on police stations as the reason that police failed to respond and protect churches and Christian institutions from attacks.


6) Mr. Awad and other church members described the shock of seeing their neighbors and acquaintances among the angry mob sacking the church.
-- Awad stated, “We were neighbors and friends, we did business together and talked together. However, when they had to choose between religion and us, they chose religion.” He declined to identify those who attacked the church. 

Read the article for more insight into what happened and how


A Must Read:  Understanding the present situation in Egypt
- Written by Dr. Terence Ascott, CEO and Founder, SAT-7 International


"Many of us involved in Christian ministry in Egypt are appalled at the misunderstandings about the situation in Egypt being propagated by even normally balanced international media like the BBC, and the way it has, in general, portrayed the Muslim Brotherhood as the victims of injustice.

So, on behalf of myself, Ramez Atallah (General Secretary for The Bible Society of Egypt), Pastor Fayez Ishaq (part of the leadership team at Kasr El Dubarrah Evangelical Church), other ministry leaders in Egypt and the leadership of Middle East Concern, please allow me to paint a bigger picture of what has been going on the past year or so . . . "

Important details:
1) Morsi and his allies were replacing experienced Egyptian leaders with cronies who were ruining the Egyptian economy

2) Morsi and his allies were supplying Hamas

3) Morsi was giving himself sweeping powers that were illegal

4) Morsi and his allies were seeking to establish a theocracy

5) Upwards of 30 million wanted him out (much more than voted him in)

6) the military stepped in according to the will of the vast majority of Egyptians

7) the camps that were entered by Egyptian troops had caches of arms

8) the "protestors" committed violence against Egyptian troops

9) the leaders of the "protestors" called for violence against the army, the police, and especially Coptic Christians

10) some Muslim neighbors sought to protect the churches but the Christians warned them to protect themselves, they were only buildings, the true Church is the people

11) as a result, police stations, hospitals, private and public property were destroyed. Many Christian churches (at least 40 so far), homes and businesses were also attacked, as well as a monastery, three religious societies, three key bookshops belonging to the Bible Society in Egypt, three Christian schools and an orphanage.

12) "The Muslim Brotherhood have been, and remain very effective in portraying themselves as the victims to the media, pointing to how Morsi had been 'democratically' elected and that the army 'coup' was a major setback to the country’s democratic progress. They have known what buttons to push with the Western press and this seems to be the version that most of the World is hearing - but it is not a version of truth that resonates with the vast majority of Egyptians."

Please pray that:
The current violence will end soon
The effective rule of law and order will be re-established for the benefit of all citizens
There will be effective protection of church and other property against attacks by extremists
Egypt will be governed for the benefit of all its citizens, with people of different persuasions able to live alongside one another peaceably
Egyptian Christians will have opportunity to play an increasingly prominent and effective role in addressing the needs of all Egyptians and helping to bring healing and reconciliation in the country


Orthodox Church in Suhag - photo courtesy of Bishop Mouneer Hanna Anis from http://dioceseofegypt.org/2013/08/urgent-prayers-for-egypt/



Further Update:  40 plus churches burned and destroyed in 24 hours
 
http://photos.prnewswire.com/featured/prnthumbnew/20130816/MN65195


Update:  Christian voices apparently being heard.  Michael Youssef interviews and other voices protesting the lack of coverage of churches is turning the tide.

Note the following reports that include much coverage on what is happening to Egyptian Coptic churches, businesses, etc.

Egyptian Protestors Turn Fury on Coptic Christians -- ABC NEWS video

CNN: 'Horrible': Christian churches throughout Egypt stormed, torched


You have probably noticed that Western media has said precious little about the burning of Christian churches and other violent actions against Egyptian Coptic Christians since Wednesday's action by security forces to disperse Muslim Brotherhood supporters. Often, if it is mentioned, it is just a sentence or small paragraph in an otherwise lengthy report of the violence. Why is it that the West doesn't see or refuses to admit that this is a big part of the story? I think a lot of it comes down to moral confusion. Without a moral compass, the Western media and Western politicians are left to struggle with issues of elections, democracy, coups, demonstrations and efforts to disperse them.

In a Fox News report, we read:

The death toll in Wednesday's violence, which stood at 525, according to the latest Health Ministry figures, made it by far the deadliest day since the 2011 popular uprising that toppled longtime ruler and autocrat Hosni Mubarak. The Health Ministry said Thursday that 3,717 people were wounded.

After the police moved on the camps, street battles broke out in Cairo and other cities across Egypt. Government buildings and police stations were attacked, roads were blocked, and Christian churches were torched, Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim said.

World Magazine reported:

Attacks also continued on churches throughout the country, and the Bible Society of Egypt reported protesters burned down its bookstores in Assuit and Minia. 

A spokeswoman for the American Bible Society said colleagues in Egypt reported demonstrators had attacked some 15 churches and three Christian schools, setting some on fire.

The spokeswoman said Ramez Atallah of the Bible Society of Egypt noted that Christian properties weren’t the only ones under attack, and that demonstrators had retaliated against other targets across Egypt.

Mouneer Anis—the top primate over all Anglicans in the Middle East—issued a bulletin on Wednesday, and reported St. Saviour’s Anglican Church in Suez was “under heavy attack from those who support former President Morsi. They are throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at the church and have destroyed the car of Rev. Ehab Ayoub.” 

The bishop also reported attacks on Coptic churches in Upper Egypt and a Catholic church in Suez, and asked Christians to “pray that the situation will calm down, for wisdom and tact for the police and army, for the safety of all churches and congregations, and that all in Egypt would be safe.”

Egyptian police staged a crackdown on two sprawling protest camps in Cairo on Wednesday, seeking to end a six-week standoff with pro-Morsi supporters crippling parts of the capital.

Meanwhile, thousands of Morsi supporters set fire to at least three churches in regions outside the capital, stoking fears over rising persecution of Christians across parts of Egypt.



Egyptian born Christian leader Michael Youssef of Leading the Way ministries posted on his Facebook page a link to this webpage, giving a Christian version of what is happening on the ground in Egypt:  http://dioceseofegypt.org/2013/08/urgent-prayers-for-egypt/



As of Wednesday morning, according to local witnesses, at least 18 churches had been destroyed, and fires and riots were continuing to spread in Christian areas, the witnesses said.

Much of the information about what is going on in Egypt is coming from social media, where admittedly some of the information could be biased, as anyone can post information that suits their agenda. But if correct, the reports paint a picture of total devastation of the community, with little to no protection provided by authorities to churches.

Using the hashtag #EgyChurch, Egyptian users of Twitter and other social networks broadcast messages like “Can't keep up with the number of churches, Christian businesses, and affiliates being attacked by 'peaceful' Muslim Brotherhood,” “It's clear the Copts are having their churches burnt,” and “This is quickly becoming the worst sectarian catastrophe we've seen in our lifetimes.”
Posters decried the lack of government intervention – with some implying that the army was permitting the rioting in order to settle scores with the Coptic community – as well as the utter lack of coverage of the rioting by the Western media.

Dramatic photos showed churches on fire, with smoke billowing out of buildings and people trying to escape blazes taking refuge on rooftops. 

The army has not issued a comment on the matter.

U.S. officials have condemned the violence in Egypt, but have not specifically condemned the actions against the churches and the Copts. 


Another Arutz Sheva 7 (Israel National News) report:

Supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi have reportedly been lashing out at Christian targets, besides confronting the government.

In Fayoum, in Upper Egypt, pro-Morsi supporters set fire to a Christian youth center located next to the Muslim youth center where they had been protesting, according to a report on Ahram Arabic cited by the BBC.

Ahram Arabic also reported that pro-Morsi supporters threw fire bombs at the Al-Raey Al-Saleh Church and set three military vehicles on fire. Clashes are ongoing between protesters and military forces.

The BBC said that there have been a number of attacks on churches around Egypt Wednesday, including in Minya and Sohag.



Some good news from the Muslim side of things in Egypt include the following reports from Israel National News:

"In one image, a group of long-cloaked Muslims stand in front of a church, arms linked, in order to prevent Muslim Brotherhood rioters from approaching the building."-- "Egypt's Churches Aflame as Brotherhood Targets Christians," Arutz Sheva 7 (Israel National News)

The Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya movement – a close ally of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood – also urged its loyalists “enraged by police attacks on the Rabaa and Nahda sit-ins,” not to assault “Christians or their religious buildings.” -- "Egypt's Islamist Rage Targets Christians," Arutz Sheva 7 (Israel National News)

While the second could be a ruse to deflect responsibility, it also could demonstrate a schism in the Muslim Brotherhood over the appropriateness of such violence against Egyptian Coptic Christians.

Check out this refreshingly different interview and coverage of what is happening in Egypt:

Christians Collateral Damage or Targets in Egypt?

Pray as Michael Youssef is doing media interviews that may re-shape the coverage. After I saw that he was to be on CNN, hours later the CNN coverage of what is happening to churches expanded into paragraphs and details. We need to pressure the media to reveal the truth and pray for our brethren.

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