Christians in Egypt have endured some of the worst atrocities at the hands of Islamist extremists whose sole aim is to eliminate Christians from their ancient homelands. Despite the increasing attacks and violence, minority Christians in Egypt show no signs of leaving their country – and continue to persevere in their faith.
On Friday 26th May 2017 militants ordered the pilgrims off the buses – and demanded that they renounce their Christian faith and make the Islamic profession of belief. When the Christians refused they were killed with a single gunshot to the head or throat.
The Coptic Christians had been travelling to the monastery of St Samuel the Confessor, in Egypt’s Mina Province, when their vehicles were stopped by ten masked gunmen. One by one the extremists took the Christians off the buses and insisted that they renounce their faith. 29 people – including children – lost their lives to the Daesh (ISIS) extremists when they refused to convert.
“How many martyrs in this land, from the first centuries of Christianity, have lived their faith heroically to the end, shedding their blood rather than denying the Lord…”
But the horrific slaughter of pilgrims was only one incident in a long line of atrocities that our brothers and sisters in Egypt have endured. These attacks peaked in 2013 when more than 60 churches, both Catholic and Oriental Orthodox, were devastated by the Muslim Brotherhood – churches like the Good Shepherd in Suez, which Aid to the Church in Need is helping to rebuild after it was torched.
During his visit to Egypt the preceding month, Pope Francis said: “How many martyrs in this land, from the first centuries of Christianity, have lived their faith heroically to the end, shedding their blood rather than denying the Lord…”
Aid to the Church in Need has been providing the Church in Egypt with pastoral support and financial help over the years, especially in recent months as the Church has come under increasing targeted attacks