Christians, especially in the worst affected
area of Upper Egypt's Minya province, have
become too afraid to leave their homes, on
account of a 48-hour anti-Christian rampage
orchestrated by supporters of ousted Presi-
dent Mohammed Morsi.
In speaking with the Catholic charity, Aid to
the Church in Need (ACN), Coptic Catholic
Bishop Kyrillos William of Assiut called on
Western governments to work with Egypt's
new regime, in defeating extremists responsi-
ble for the wave of terrorism which targeted
nearly 80 churches and other Coptic centers.
Coptic Catholic Bishop Joannes Zakaria
described how he was saved by police who
stopped Islamists from setting fire to his
Luxor home, during the wave of violence
which has paralyzed the region’s Christian
community, comprising its bishop, priests,
sisters and the laity; even to the point of
preventing them from leaving their homes.
80 churches, convents, schools, clinics, and
other centers were hit, Bishop William criti-
cized the West for neglecting to acknowledge
the scale of unprovoked attacks on harmless
communities by Mr. Morsi’s supporters.
Yes, these groups have a right to demonstrate, but not with arms. The Western
governments do not see the reality of what is going on here. A group of terror-
ists have used arms against us. [Western governments] should not be support-
While speaking from Assiut, Bishop William added, “They [Muslim Brothers]
were not alone: there were 35 million who went on the streets against Morsi.
Christians are being punished. We have been scapegoated.”
He stressed that, in spite of repeated efforts,
including those of Western governments to
encourage the Muslim Brotherhood to en-
gage in dialogue, the Islamist movement
responded with violence.
His comments coincided a statement issued
by Alexandria's Coptic Catholic Patriarch,
Ibrahim Sidrak, where within he said that
... “our free, strong and conscious support
for all state institutions, particularly the
Armed Forces and police, for all their
efforts in protecting our homeland.”
to-shoulder with Christians in defending churches and other Coptic buildings from
attack. Bishop William said: “Our people are close to normal Muslims, moderate
Muslims. When the fundamentalists came for the Christians in [Assiut’s] Old
Town, the Muslims sent them away using arms. In other cities, Christians and
Muslims came to protect churches and they stayed next to the churches all day.”
separation between religion and the state. Many bishops underlined how the attacks
of last week came as a surprise. Bishop William said, “We had expected some re-
sponse [from the Muslim Brothers], but not to this degree of brutality.”
on the 16th of August, when extremists tried to break into the bishop’s house and
set fire to it. However, members of the armed forces intervened “and saved us,
thanks be to God.”
the Sisters and the people cannot move [about]. We keep staying in our homes
to be saved from any kind of violence.” The bishop said that both in Luxor and
in outer villages, “some” churches and homes of Christians were set on fire and
that some Christian-run shops were destroyed. He added that in Dabbiah, a vil-
lage close to Luxor, five Christians and one Muslim had been killed. All of the
bishops appealed for prayers.
In a message to ACN, Bishop Zakaria said, “We are happy to be suffering and to be
victims and to lose our churches and our homes and our livelihood to save Egypt
for the Christians and the Muslims. We need the prayer of everybody to solve our
problems. It is the future of our children that we are concerned about so that good
Christians and Muslims can live alongside each other.”
Aid to the Church in Need was founded in the ruins of WWII, during the Christmas
of 1947. It's chain of command literary begins with the Chair of Peter and it's the
Catholic Church's version of the historic Marshall Plan. As the title indicates, its
clientele are those in need ... sometimes in immediate need.
If you wish to be part of the ACN mission, even in something as simple as donating
Mass stipends, feel free to contact Michael Varenne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You're also welcomed to contact ACN via:
Aid to the Church in Need Aid to the Church in Need
725 Leonard St. Phone: 718-609-0939
PO Box 220384 Toll Free: 800-628-6333
Brooklyn, NY 11222-0384 FAX: 718-609-0938
© Aid to the Church in Need.
Edited by Patrick Anthony Pontillo