In recent weeks, a spate of anti-Christian violence has rocked the Church in Egypt, leaving Christian communities across the country distressed and intimidated. Churches have been destroyed, Christians mobbed and attacked, sometimes publicly shamed, and their homes torched.
All this flies in the face of the efforts of President al Sisi to promote the dignity and respect of Christians in Egypt and rebuild churches damaged in previous surges of anti-Christian violence.
There is no justice for the Christians who are suffering from this persecution. On the contrary, embattled Christians are usually railroaded into giving up their legal rights in favour of entering into a “reconciliation” process, in which local Islamic leaders conspire with local community leaders to curtail Christian victims’ rights and impose oppressive terms on the Christian community – in effect covering up, if not actually condoning, the sectarian violence instead of putting an end to it.
Despite the surge of anti-Christian violence taking place now, occasionally we hear of Muslims defending their Christian neighbours. Villagers recently fought a church fire together, as we report in this week's Christian Action, and in another incident, Muslims came to the defence of a Christian church leader in the village of Qaryat Al Bayda, just south of Alexandria. He would otherwise likely have been murdered. A local Christian activist, Ramy Kashwaa, said, "Had it not been for the intervention of our sane Muslim brothers, the minister could have died."