Troy conference to explore persecution of Christians in the Middle East
The persecution of Christian churches in Egypt and other locations in the Middle East is going on with little or no reporting by the American media. The persecution going on particularly in Egypt will be explored in a one-day conference Jan. 18 at Calvary Chapel in Troy. The conference will be held from 10 a.m. 3 p.m. and there will be a lunch provided.
The conference will be conducted by Advocates for the Persecuted.org.
Here are some of the accounts from activities in recent months
• Egyptian Christians targeted by Fundamentalists
Anti- Christian graffitti on a church wall in Heliopolis area in Cairo
This is only part of what the Christian Egyptians are facing since the ousting of Morsi on July 3, 2013 after millions of Egyptians took the street on June 30 requesting the ousting of the tyrannical regime of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
• The Minya Area Attack
On July 3, Morsy supporters looted and burned St. George’s Coptic Catholic Church and al-Saleh church in the village of Delga, in Minya, about 150 miles south of Cairo. The attacks injured eight people – Christians and Muslims. This was reported in the local media.
The details of the incident were told by Father Ayoub Youssef of St. George’s church to Human Rights Watch that on July 2, a group of Morsy supporters gathered close to the church shouting anti-Christian slogans. “They were shouting, ‘Islamic! Islamic! Egypt is Islamic, despite what the Christians want!’ and ‘Christians are against the revolutionaries!’” Youssef said.
The following day, Gen. Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi announced on television the removal of Morsy from power. Al-Sissi was flanked by Egyptian political and religious leaders including the head of the Coptic Church, Pope Tawadros. Youssef said that immediately following al-Sissi’s declaration, Morsy supporters attacked and looted the church and then set it on fire.
Five minutes after the army’s statement, and once Pope Towadros started to talk, a group of more than 500 people attacked the three-story building.
Youssef said that later that evening he went to the police station to file a report. When he returned home he found that his apartment above the church had been robbed. “They took my personal belongings and my books and everything,” he said. “And what they couldn’t take, they vandalized. That night, they also looted the church and raided the homes of seven or eight Copts.”
Tharwat Bekhit, a local Coptic lawyer, told Human Rights Watch that mobs also looted 12 Coptic-owned shops, including gold shops and stationery and grocery stores.
Police and army forces did not protect the church during the attack.
Christian residents of Delga told al-Masry al-Youm (one local newspaper) that most of the Christians in the area had fled, afraid to return home and unsure whether their homes have been burned.
Another incident in North Sinai on July 5, 6, and 11, unidentified assailants killed three Coptic Christians, one of them is a Coptic priest (Mina Aboud)
Unidentified armed men kidnapped Magdy Lamei Sama’ei, a Christian salesman of power tools.On July 11, Lamei’s body was found decapitated in a graveyard in Sheikh Zuweid after kidnappers demanded a ransom.
A family member to Lamei’, Fahd Philip Fam describes the situation saying: “three segments are targeted in Sinai by Jihadists, the police, the army and the Christians”.
Nivine Aziz, an employee in El Arish governorate, said that many Christian families had to leave their homes in North Sinai.
She added: “we are part of the people of Sinai, we share their destiny. However because we don’t belong to any of the tribes, we are an easy target. We live in Sinai for more than 30 years, we have homes, lands, our children don’t know any other homeland, they were born and grow up there. But the threats we’re having make many of the Christians leave.”
On July 11, security sources reported the killing of another Christian merchant, 60-year-old Magdy Habashi, abducted by unidentified gunmen on July 6 in Sheikh Zuwaid. His decapitated body was later found in a cemetery.
And on the afternoon of July 6 in Arish, three masked gunmen repeatedly and fatally shot Father Mina Aboud, a Coptic priest, as he was driving.
For more information, contact Calvary Chapel in Troy.