Egypt's Churches Condemn ISIS' 'Terrorist Acts Of Murder' Against Christians

Egyptian Christians mourn the victims of the bombing of Cairo's Coptic cathedral at Mokattam Cemetery in Cairo, Egypt on Dec. 12, 2016.Reuters

Churches in Egypt are continuing to respond to the hundreds of Coptic Christians who have been displaced from their homes by the threat of ISIS' brutal crusade against the faith community.

Hundreds have fled El-Arish, a coastal city in Northern Sinai, Egypt following threats and attacks from violent jihadists.

First hand accounts from displaced Copts report death threats and violent killings from ISIS militants. Christian satellite network SAT-7 reported the story of Nabila Fawzy, who witnessed the killing of her son and husband.

She said: 'We were about to sleep when there were hard knocks on the door. My son opened the door...they entered the house all the way to the living room, shot him in the head. He fell...there was blood running from his nose. He was dead...there were two masked men standing there.

'I asked them 'what did you do to my son?' They were carrying weapons on their shoulders and pistols...I was screaming 'what did you do to my son?' They told me to go out, they held my hand and threw me out on the street'.

Nabila's 66-year-old husband 'saw his son dead on the floor and pleaded for mercy saying 'be merciful to me I am an old man...I am not a trouble maker'', but was shot in the head by the masked men. The family's house was then looted and burned down.

The Protestant Churches of Egypt released a statement in which they announced that they 'condemn the terrorist acts of murder and displacement that occurred recently in the North Sinai, targeting citizens—especially Christians—in Arish and other neighboring cities'.

The statement confirmed that the terrorism was primarily directed at 'undermining the unity of Egyptians who stand together under their political leadership in the face of terrorism'. George Makeen of SAT-7 told Christian Today yesterday that ISIS are targeting Christians because they wish to undermine Egypt itself, and Christians are among its weakest minorities.

The Protestant churches of Cairo highlighted three communities - Kasr el Doubara church, the Evangelical church of Ismailia, and Evangelical Moukatam - that have actively been receiving refugees, providing essentials such as food, shelter, and clothing. They have been working alongside Egypt's Ministry of Solidarity, Ministry of Housing and Ministry of Education to provide housing, substitute education and ensure paid vacation for all workers who have had to flee their jobs.

The Coptic Evangelical Organisation for Social Services (CEOSS) has dedicated finances to the provision and distribution of essential resources for the affected. The group has also conducted eye health convoys in partnership with Egypt's Ministry of Health, while working across different areas to address the pressing needs of the displaced.

Attacks on the Coptic Christian community, which represents about 10 per cent of Egypt's majority Muslim population, have spiked in recent weeks, particularly after ISIS released a video calling for fellow jihadists to target the faith community. At least seven have been killed in attacks since January 30, and the ISIS bombing of a Cairo Coptic church in December killed 27 and injured many more.

Bishop Angaelos, the General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK told Christian Today yesterday: 'The Christian community in Egypt has faced persecution for centuries, and particularly in recent decades. It continues to be faithful, prayerful and vibrant. That's something we're proud of and inspired by.

'But we should not let this forgiving nature to allow us to turn our eyes and not see what they're going through, in pursuit of basic human dignity, the sanctity of life, and the value of citizenship.'