The Coptic Church in the village of Atfih, a Cairo neighborhood, was recently burned down. Many Christian homes and small shops were also set ablaze by Muslims in that village.
The Atfih city council succeeded in achieving reconciliation between the Copts and Muslims, after promising Christians that the church will be rebuilt before Easter.
However, some Muslims refused to agree on rebuilding the church and went to pray where the church ruins lay.
Recently, 10 Christians were killed and many others seriously wounded in Moqattam Garbage Village, where the largest Coptic Church in the world is located. Moqattam is a chain of hills in southeastern Cairo. Egyptians call it Moqattam Mountain.
According to eyewitnesses who live in Moqattam, a large group of Muslims, mostly youths, began to attack Christians living in the majority-Christian village.
Very quickly thousands – Muslims and Christians – were involved in the fight. Christians who live in this village were defending their homes and shops and, having no weapons, they began using stones.
The attackers, shouting Allah Akbar, had all kinds of weapons in what seems to have been a very organized attack.
Eyewitnesses reported that one Muslim also died as he was defending his home against the attackers.
The army, which is in charge now in Egypt after President Hosni Mubarak stepped down Feb. 11, sent in several tanks. However, they had no real influence on what was happening until later in the evening.
Egypt is going through a very challenging and rough time.
The system is collapsed. The army seems weak and unable to make right decisions in a timely manner.
I am wondering where has the Western media gone?
The media was a major factor in forcing the Mubarak regime to step down. Now I can barely find a line describing what Christian minorities have been facing.
The revolution not only caused good, needed and essential changes, but it also caused a huge collapse in the societal structure. Those shallow Muslim-Christian slogans of love and peace have begun to fade, and the economic and security systems have been severely damaged.
Many Egyptian companies haven’t come back to fully functioning. Many Western companies have not yet returned. Thousands upon thousands are jobless, which creates an unhealthy environment.
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Egypt needs prayers. The good fruits of the revolution are about to be lost.
Here I am asking for prayers to be said and actions to be taken. I am addressing these prayer requests and calls for action to the worldwide community, especially Christians in the West where I live.
1. Please pray for protection for all Egyptian families and for our national wealth, economically and culturally, not to be lost.
2. Pray that these attackers do not take on a radical religious nature – namely, that they do not lead to a religious government representing only the majority of Egyptians.
3. Ask God that our future government would bring justice and social opportunity to underprivileged Egyptians.
4. Pray that this new era would witness fair treatment of Coptic Christians, including protection for them and their belongings.
5. Most important, pray that we Christians of Egypt will have the opportunity and courage to share our peaceful faith, the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Concerning actions to be taken, people in the United States must first petition their government to make sure that financial and social aid to Egypt reaches all Egyptians, not only a few leaders who may waste it in corruption.
Additionally, I hope the West makes it a priority to foster religious freedom in Egypt, especially protection for the Christian minorities.
I recall Saint Francis of Assisi, the wonderful follower of Jesus Christ, who said, “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love.”
Ayman Ibrahim is a Christian from Egypt and a doctoral student at Fuller Theological Seminary.