Egypt’s Christian community continues to be a primary target for Islamist terror attacks. Today is Coptic Christmas. Please pray that Christians are able to gather in churches and celebrate in peace and that any attempt to harm them would fail.
In May 2017, 28 people were killed and 23 injured when gunmen opened fire on three buses carrying Coptic families and schoolchildren to visit a monastery. Victims included women, children and the elderly. The wounds, both physical and emotional, of an attack like this can take years to heal: please hold the survivors and the families of those killed in your prayers today.
The attack on the buses has been linked to the terrorist group Islamic State (IS, Daesh): in May, the IS-affiliated magazine Dabiq published an article in which the group’s leader boasted about killing Copts. Please pray that God would protect Copts from further attacks and frustrate the violent plans of IS.
In July 2017, authorities closed the Virgin Mary and St Paula church in Minya, claiming that local Muslims objected to it. Minya has been a very difficult place for Christians for decades. Please pray that the church would be re-opened soon.
‘The violent and deadly crimes you perpetrate are abhorrent and detestable, but YOU are loved. You are loved by God, your Creator, for He created you in His Image and according to His Likeness, and placed you on this earth for much greater things, according to His plan for all humankind.’ These are the challenging words of Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK, in a statement to the perpetrators of attacks against Copts. Let’s join him in praying this difficult but necessary prayer today.
Unfortunately, as the government addresses the terrorist threat, it is also cracking down on civil society groups and individuals that could help tackle radicalisation. Pray for new and effective strategies that do not limit fundamental freedoms.
Father God, today we pray for Egypt and all those who are the target of violence and discrimination. Grant them protection and courage in their day to day lives, we pray, and grant the government wisdom in its strategy to tackle terrorist violence without alienating its citizens. Amen.