More Christians continue to suffer violence in Egypt, advocacy group says

Egypt is a place that played a role in biblical history, from which God delivered his chosen people, the Israelites. This country, however, has now become a dangerous place for Christian believers.

Incidents of sectarian violence continue to rise in Egypt, with some affecting Christians, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), which fights for the protection of religious freedom, justice and human rights across the globe.

For instance, just last week, a mob of Muslim men stabbed to death a Christian man, sparking tensions among religious communities in Egypt.

In a Vatican Radio interview, a CSW Egypt Advocacy Officer, who requested anonymity for his personal safety, lamented how members of religious minorities, including Christians, have become the target of attacks in Egypt in recent years.

The CSW advocacy officer said these kinds of attacks against Christians began to rise some three years ago, following the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi from his post in 2013.

"In the last three, four months or so, we have seen a spate of attacks against Christian communities for a number of reasons," the advocacy officer said.

These reasons include rumoured Church buildings and romantic relationships between Christian men and Muslim women, he explained.

He added that "regular small scale sectarian attacks" are more frequently observed in governorates in upper Egypt compared to the country's main cities.

Asked about the current mood of Christians in Egypt, the CSW advocacy officer said they feel "generally very encouraged and appreciative" especially after "unifying" statements were made by Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, who even recently attended a Coptic Christian Mass.

However, he pointed out that the behavior in smaller communities in the grassroots of Egyptian society "does not mirror" the "accommodating" rhetoric of the President. He added that security services have been "slower to respond" against attacks on Christians.