Violence against Copts Escalating in Egypt under Al-Sisi’s Rule

Egypt’s Christian Copts held many hopes regarding the military regime in Egypt under Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi rule

The Coptic block supported the military coup in 2013 against the first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi due to his religious background as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. They also backed and supported al-Sisi in the presidential elections that brought him to power in 2014. But unfortunately,  the Copts didn’t find their hope fulfilled in return to their great favor under the secular military rule.

A series of attacks against Christians in Egypt have escalated the last month that prompted the Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of Minya to call on police to enforce the law protecting citizens from sectarian violence, reported Christian Today.

Archbishop Anba Makarios said the attacks are continuing at an average of one every 10 days.

Recently, an Orthodox Christian nun from Mar Girgis Monastery in Old Cairo was killed on 5 July, after reportedly being hit by a stray bullet on the Cairo-Alexandria Highway. Following the incident, a man and his son were also killed in what was described as a “revenge attack”.

Moreover, Rafael Moussa, a Coptic Orthodox priest of the church of St. George, was murdered in Al Arish, a coastal city in North Sinai. The Islamic State (ISIS) took responsibility for the murder, describing Moussa as a “disbelieving combatant.”

ISIS has previously claimed responsibility for the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christian migrant workers, earlier abducted in Libya in February 2015.

In late May, a 70-year-old Christian woman was allegedly stripped naked by a mob of Muslim citizens in her village in the conservative southern province of Minya. The alleged assault was provoked by rumors that the woman’s son was involved in a love affair with a Muslim woman. Egyptians expressed their anger and outrage on the social media with the trending Arabic hashtag #EgyptStrippedNaked being used by activists to express solidarity with the victim.(However, these reports were denied later by many quarters, including  Abu Qurqas MP, the mayor of Al-Karm village, and the woman’s neighbors.)

Software engineer and blogger Mina Fayek said, “Copts in Egypt face prosecution and discrimination,” he continued, “The government does very little to protect Christians.”

He also mentioned that despite al-Sisi’s promises to win the Cops’ support but Fayek took the words with a grain of salt and said they are deeply disappointed.

He added, “Sisi is full of sweet talk but he has yet to deliver on his promises. He’s done little more than pay lip service to ending the discrimination against Christians who have yet to gain access to high-ranking positions in universities and in the security establishment. Imagine being excluded because of your faith,” Fayek said.

Al-Sisi has vowed promises to bring the perpetrators of anti-Christian attacks to justice and has promised to rebuild churches damaged in sectarian attacks during the Morsi era. He has also twice paid “surprise visits” to the cathedral to greet Christians during Orthodox Christmas Mass services.

His words to the cathedral’s congregants in January 2015 including, “We are all Egyptians in the first place” had moved some of the Christian faithful attending the service to tears. However, al-Sisi’s promises have brought nothing to Cops until now under Al-Sisi’s military rule.